David Frank Tournament of Scholars

2020 — Eugene, OR/US

Daisy Burge Paradigm

8 rounds

I'm Daisy and I did 3 years of policy debate in high school + helped to coach novice policy and parliamentary debate my senior year. My general judging philosophy points can be found below:

1. Speed: I am alright with spreading so long as it's coherent. I'm a little rusty with speed so when in doubt, go slower. If my pen is down, I can't understand it.

2. "I'm doing 11 off then case" please don't, I find this type of debate hard to follow and often it just turns into a spreading competition.

3. Kritiks: I adore good kritik debate and despise bad kritik debate. I predominantly did kritik debate when I was competing and have continued to familiarize myself with the literature. I'm well-read predominantly in French post-structuralism, the Frankfurt School, and Neo-Marxism. Please impact your arguments and thoroughly explain your alts.

4. Topicality: Prove the link and impact thoroughly

5. Framework: Defining your intellectual framework is essential for high-level debate. Framework debates are some of my favorites

6. Please, please, please do clearly defined impact calculus in your 2AR/2NR

Travis Cram Paradigm

Travis Cram

Director of Debate, Western Washington University

Years Judging: several

Email chain/contact: traviscram@gmail.com

NDT 2020 Update.

I have zero rounds on the space topic. I suggest you use your supplemental strikes accordingly. Otherwise, read on:

1. Seriously, I have no rounds on this topic. De-acronym things if you can.

2. I recently suffered mild hearing loss in one ear. It hasn't affected my ability to process speed, but if you act like a couple of jackwagons in CX and just talk over each other, I won't be able to understand you. It turns into garbled noise. To be fair, it was garbled noise before the hearing loss. One at a time please...

3. I'm a better than average judge. I flow, pay (too much) attention to CX, I read relevant cards (but not the speech doc in real-time). I don't care about what arguments you make or what you go for. I am committed to working hard, giving every debater a fair shake, and communicating my decision to you so you can improve, grow, and win debates later.

4. I do not see judging a debate like studying a wiring diagram. I don't think debate is about making lists, checking them off, making new lists, checking them off, etc. Every debate is different; that is why we keep having them. Tell me what I need to know. Tell me why I should believe it. Tell me why it matters and what I should do with it. Tell me why and how your opponent is failing to do those things.

5. Policy debate is really struggling right now and we are all much better at plunging knives into each other in search of blame than we are accepting some common responsibility for improving things. Please take any opportunity in front of you to make the debate you are having a better one, and less of a toxic, frustrating, draining, sludge.

Here are my top unpopular opinions about debate, to really scare you away:

1. "Having offense" is not axiomatic, or even helpful.

2. Full-bore worldview conditionality has made debate worse by nearly every measure. And yet I expect it will continue.

3. I cannot understand for the life of me why the debate community agreed to dramatically revise what it means to be affirmative, and yet not touch the burden of rejoinder.

4. I don't think a single one of you understands what an opportunity cost is.

5. Debate is not about truth seeking. The best thing about debate is that it shows you how far from the truth you are at any moment.

Here is all my old stuff:

NDT 2015

One big substantive revision: I’m a terrible judge for the “floating pic.” My voting record for them is roughly 2-6. The phrase “which means it is logically possible to vote negative” could just as easily mean “which means it is logically possible I could make an actual argument, but I am not going to.” If you like this argument, “sink” a little in the block and explain why it solves advantages and is congruent with the links that you go for in the last rebuttal.

Two slight philosophical revisions: Despite the frustration I often have with debate, I’m still fundamentally a fan of the game. I encourage anyone down on debate to try teaching. And I don’t mean “be an educator.” Get in front of a classroom and work with a group of students and realize how lucky we are to have so many students who care at all to find their voice and make an argument. However, although my perspective or method of judging hasn’t changed, two things related to “debate about debate” have been on my mind.

First, every debate I’ve judged contains a set of assumptions about what the activity we are involved in IS and what that activity is capable of accomplishing. When those assumptions are the terms of the debate, I find many arguments made to be unpersuasive. So let me foreground my own assumptions to help make your arguments more compelling. This quote from Rowland (1987) has always resonated with me: “Academic debate is a poor means of making policy or testing science, but a very good means of teaching the argument skills necessary to perform in those fields.” Of course, that statement needs updating. Academic debate is also a poor means of academic research. Our various filters and constraints distort too much and leave too much out. Our “scholarship” is oftentimes a wordy literature review. It is also a very poor means of evaluating policy or understanding risk. Cases and disadvantages say little about the collective action dilemmas, institutional cultures, resource limits, or contextual constraints that inhere in decision-making. Despite the limitations, debate is an excellent means of cultivating the faculties necessary to excel in any of these endeavors. Rowland again: “Through dialectical interchange, debate teaches students to discover, build, test, and refute arguments.” What is the upshot of all of this? I think debate matters a lot. And I think the reason it matters is because it teaches students how to argue. Thus, I prioritize “debate frameworks” that seek to teach students how to argue well.

Second, I am troubled by debate’s recent “substantialist” turn wherein the threshold for argumentative engagement is to read specific evidence against an opponent’s argument while topicality or theory arguments are dismissed as “dodging” the debate. Placing procedural arguments beyond the pale makes little sense to me. Debate is a game of arguments. Arguments consist of a claim, grounds for believing it, and the reasoning that connects those two. A well-reasoned explanation about what debate practices should be, when supported with plausible examples, makes a helluva lot more sense than “substantive engagement” with evidence that bears zero relationship to competitive debate other than at the level of basic vocabulary. Moreover, if debate is a game best left to the students, it seems fairly obvious that that should also entail giving students the freedom to argue over the game’s procedure. The upshot? Topicality makes more sense to me than framework. Debate theory matters, and it can matter a lot if done well.

My previous philosophy follows:

Big picture things:

- There’s not a ‘right way’ to debate other than to communicate or argue well. That said, in terms of that whole K/policy divide thing (if it is a thing), I think there is a major educational benefit to finding a way to affirm a topic that doesn’t devolve into just impact-turning framework. Basically, the following two statements are equally unpersuasive: “It is unethical to affirm the topic.” “Policy-making is the only relevant consideration.”

- Debate is a lot of things to me, but I privilege its communication and argumentation aspects ahead of others. That has pretty big implications depending on your interpretation of ‘I said that’...

- Specificity is my god-term in debate. The more specific at every level, the more likely I am to be persuaded by it.

- Debaters make arguments using evidence; evidence does not make arguments. The claims or verbiage of a card are less important to me than the reasons provided by you or the author for believing it.

- I don’t have a formula or an algorithm; last rebuttals should articulate the world they are going for. Saying something is 'logically possible' is not the same as defending the status quo as a policy, or actually making a floating pic.

- The affirmative has the Burden of Proof to overcome presumption. The team advancing an individual argument has the burden of proof to advance a complete argument. If the significance of that distinction is unclear to you, ask and I can happily explain.

- High speaker points: demonstrating specific knowledge, identifying crux questions, dynamic warrant comparisons (even if, because), explanatory clarity (esp. in 2nr/2ar), humor and civility, clarity, and proficiency at line-by-line execution. I also have soft-spots for teams that are risk-takers, scrappy, or willing to impact turn some stuff.


- All interpretations must be reasonable. Negatives need to win a real impact to T, not just that debate could be better or simply go for ‘our violation is more precise’. Affirmatives need to have a real impact to excluding their plan that doesn’t rely on impact turning T as genocidal or calculative.

Theory & Counterplan competition:

- Theory arguments are best when the link and impact are both things the negative did, not necessarily what they justified. Elaboration and pen-time can make these arguments very viable.

- I am generally suspicious of any CP that either: logically allows for the entire aff’s mandate to occur in some world; doesn’t compete off of an explicit stance taken in the plan or 1ac; does not contain a solvency advocate that assumes every level of fiat/mandate the CP engages in.

- I am highly unlikely to reject any counterplan that has ALL of the following: a comprehensive solvency advocate; excludes part of the affimative’s explicit mandate; uses the same actor as the plan.

- Conditionality as it concerns counterplans that don’t do the plan in anyway is good. Conditionality as it concerns the negative doing any and everything under the sun is very questionable.


- I love them. I love them even more when the cards are good and the link is strong. Still not signing up for the cult of uniqueness. The phrase ‘uniqueness determines the direction of the link’ is at best nonsense and at worse an excuse for having a crappy disadvantage.

- This is the area where evidence quality and specificity are often the most important. This is also the area where these questions are often the least debated.

- Most 'turns the case' arguments are not turns but are solvency take-outs or mitigators. If you have all of the components of a turn, by all means argue it like a turn. If you don't, I think you'd be better off arguing that it is a solvency take-out, which should prompt you to find some external offense or the aff will likely win a classic try or die frame to their advantage.


- I find sanctimonious indignation annoying, no matter who it comes from. Yes, they read a K. Get over it. Yes, they impact turned your K. Get over it.

- The following two statements are equally absurd: “the ethical/methodological underpinnings of the aff are irrelevant.” “the consequences/outcomes of enacting the aff are irrelevant.”

- I think that a specific critique of the affirmative is a negative response that has its place in debate. Topicality creates bigger barriers to whether philosophical approaches have their place on the aff side of the topic.

- ‘Method/ontology/ethics first’ type arguments only raise the level of play to encompass those considerations as relevant variables; it still invites another set of debating by both sides to either defend or indict specific methodologies as broken or valuable. Thus, ‘they concede method first’ doesn’t create a side constraint on my flow like it may for other judges.

- I find assertions about what the role of the ballot is or should be to be pretty silly and arbitrary, frankly. I think instead you should interpret what DEBATE is (what type of activity is it and what is its function) in an empirical sense as a way of framing arguments.

- Critical debate is where the likelihood that I will not vote on an argument simply because I don’t understand it is the highest.

Miscellaneous- here’s some random crap you may or may not find interesting:

- Negotiated impact turn debates are awesome. Try it sometime.

- Have a timer and don’t steal prep.

- Levity is a virtue. At the end of the day, debate is absurd and it makes little sense to let its pressures rule your emotions or behavior. Be willing and able to laugh at yourself above all else and keep a healthy dose of perspective even when the round gets heated. Let me underscore that. Don’t be a jerk. Being good at debate doesn’t excuse you from being a terrible human being.

Serena Fitzgerald Paradigm


Have fun and be yourself. Please have warrants and impact comparison. This isn't comprehensive - feel free to email me with specific questions at serena.e.fitzgerald@gmail.com.

Speaker points are based off of a combination of skill and being nice. Memes can also help.

I mostly judge PF these days; if you have questions about other events let me know.

Having a citation for something doesn't automatically make it true; you should explain why the author comes to that conclusion. In other words, have a warrant.

Speed is fine, but make sure your opponents are okay with it too!

Theory, kritiks, etc are fine, but if your opponent isn't familiar with progressive arguments, do your best to explain the arguments to them to not exclude them from the round

Only arguments that get made in your speeches get flowed, so if you provide evidence during cross or prep time, please make sure to read it during your speech

I'll call for evidence if it looks sketchy. I want to see what you actually read in the round, so just giving me a link isn't enough

Please no new arguments in summary or final focus except in response to arguments your opponents made

Please do impact weighing! It's also usually good to collapse to just one impact to give yourself more time to focus on it.

Glen Frappier Paradigm

Glen Frappier

Gonzaga University

Years Judging College: 24

Updated for 19-20 season.

Rounds Judged on Space Topic: ZERO. FREE STRIKE!

If there is an email chain going around with the speech docs please include me. gfrappier@gmail.com.

I appreciate smart, quick and clear debate. If you’re unclear I will let you know once or twice but after that it’s on you.

I prefer argument characterized by depth and substance and generally despise when a laundry list of unwarranted claims is passed off as good argument. The best debates seem to be those where the debaters are doing a lot of comparison of the arguments and evidence. I always thought Ross Smith's lecture on "Extending An Argument" did an excellent job of capturing the essence of the depth I appreciate. If you haven't seen it, you really should google it.

Speaker Points. I find I award speaker points based on the 3 broad categories or content, organization, and delivery. A smart, quick, articulate debater who reads good evidence, makes well reasoned arguments, and effectively manages the flow can expect good points. Flashes of brilliance and displays of exceptional debating are always rewarded. Poor debating, bad evidence, being mean, poor decision-making will all hurt your points.

Evidence. This is the lifeblood of a persuasive argument. We all interpret evidence differently so if yours is open to multiple interpretation tell me what your reading of it is and why thats the preferable interpretation. It should be qualified. Evidence from experts in a field with a lifetime of experience thinking, researching, writing and publishing on topic is more persuasive than a blogger with no credentials, or an undergrad working on their degree.

The affirmative should advocate for a topical example of the resolution. I’m open to different interpretations of how plans/advocacy should function, but I tend to believe that a community agreed upon controversy/topic serves as a valuable point of stasis.

Cross Examination is binding. I do my best to pay attention and flow CX. Great CXs payoff in points (and sometimes wins).

Counterplans. There are those I find more of a stretch than others theoretically, but generally tend to err neg on most theory questions.

Critiques. Sure, why not. If you have a link to the aff and an impact then it sounds like you have an argument and i'll listen to it. Still, i don't read much philosophy and probably will not be familiar with the literature you're relying on for your argument. In those cases its in your interest to slow down and explain.

Korry Harvey Paradigm


I debated a lot (CEDA, NDT), and have coached and judged even more (CEDA, NDT, NPDA, NPTE, Worlds). I teach courses in argument theory, diversity, and civil dialogue, and I am heavily involved in community service. While my debate background comes primarily from a “policy” paradigm, I have no problem with either good “critical” debates or “persuasive communication”, and am willing to listen to any framework a team feels is justifiably appropriate for the debate.


I think that debate is simultaneously a challenging educational exercise, a competitive game of strategy, and a wonderfully odd and unique community – all of which work together to make it fun. I think debaters, judges, and coaches, should actively try to actually enjoy the activity. Debate should be both fun and congenial. Finally, while a written ballot is informative, I feel that post-round oral critiques are one of the most valuable educational tools we as coaches and judges have to offer, and I will always be willing to disclose and discuss my decisions, even if that may involve walking and talking in order to help the tournament staff expedite an efficient schedule for all of us.


Unique consideration

I am hearing impaired. No joke – I wear hearing aids in both ears, and am largely deaf without them. I think most would agree that I keep a pretty good flow, but I can only write down what I understand. I work as hard as just about any of your critics to understand and assess your arguments, and I appreciate it when you help me out a little. Unfortunately, a good deal of my hearing loss is in the range of the human voice – go figure. As such, clarity and a somewhat orderly structure are particularly important for me. For some, a notch or two up on the volume scale doesn’t hurt, either. However, please note that vocal projection is not the same as shouting-- which often just causes an echo effect, making it even harder for me to hear. Also, excessive chatter and knocking for your partner can make it difficult for me to hear the speaker. I really want to hear you, and I can only assume that you want to be heard as well. Thanks for working with me a little on this one.


Approach of the critic to decision-making (for example, adherence to the trichotomy, stock-issues, policymaker, tabula rasa, etc.)

Although I don't see absolute objectivity as easily attainable, I do try to let the debaters themselves determine what is and is not best for the debate process. Debaters should clarify what framework/criteria they are utilizing, and how things should be evaluated (a weighing mechanism or decision calculus). I see my role as a theoretically “neutral observer” evaluating and comparing the validity of your arguments according to their probability, significance, magnitude, etc. I very much like to hear warrants behind your claims, as too many debates in parli are based on unsubstantiated assertions. As such, while a “dropped argument” has considerable weight, it will be evaluated within the context of the overall debate and is not necessarily an automatic “round-winner”.


Relative importance of presentation/communication skills to the critic in decision-making

As noted, clarity and structure are very important to me. It should be clear to me where you are and what argument you are answering or extending. Bear in mind that what you address as “their next argument” may not necessarily be the same thing I identify as “their next argument”. I see the flow as a “map” of the debate round, and you provide the content for that map. I like my maps to make sense.


That said, good content still weighs more heavily to me than slick presentation. Have something good to say, rather than simply being good at saying things.


Additionally, 1) although I think most people speak better when standing, that’s your choice; 2) I won’t flow the things your partner says during your speech time; 3) Please time yourselves and keep track of protected time.


Relative importance of on-case argumentation to the critic in decision-making

I find that good case debate is a very effective strategy. It usually provides the most direct and relevant clash. Unfortunately, it is rarely practiced. I can understand that at times counterplans and kritiks make a case debate irrelevant or even unhelpful. Nevertheless, I can't tell you the number of times I have seen an Opposition team get themselves in trouble because they failed to make some rather simple and intuitive arguments on the case.


Openness to critical/performative styles of debating

See above. No problem, as long as it is well executed – which really makes it no different than traditional "net-benefits" or "stock issues" debates. To me, no particular style of debating is inherently “bad”. I’d much rather hear “good” critical/performative debate than “bad” traditional/policy debate, and vice versa.



While I try to keep an open mind here, I must admit I’m not particularly fond of heavy theory debates. I think most debaters would be surprised by just how much less interesting they are as a judge than as a competitor. I realize they have their place and will vote on them if validated. However, screaming “abuse” or “unfair” is insufficient for me. I’m far more concerned about educational integrity, stable advocacy and an equitable division of ground. Just because a team doesn’t like their ground doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have any. Likewise, my threshold for “reverse voters” is also on the somewhat higher end – I will vote on them, but not without some consideration. Basically, I greatly prefer substantive debates over procedural ones. They seem to be both more educational and interesting.


Parliamentary procedure

While I have no problem with them, I tend not to follow much of the traditional stylizations or formal elements of parliamentary practice: 1) I will likely just “take into consideration” points of order that identify “new” arguments in rebuttals, but you are more than welcome to make them if you feel they are warranted; 3) Just because I am not rapping on the table doesn’t mean I don’t like you or dig your arguments; 4) You don’t need to do the little tea pot dance to ask a question, just stand or raise your hand; 5) I don’t give the whole speaker of the house rap about recognizing speakers for a speech; you know the order, go ahead and speak; 6) I will include “thank yous” in speech time, but I do appreciate a clear, concise and non-timed roadmap beforehand.


I lean toward thinking that “splitting the block”, while perhaps theoretically defensible, is somewhat problematic in an activity with only two rebuttals and often only makes a round more messy.

Trond Jacobsen Paradigm

Not Submitted

Lauren Knoth Paradigm

Lauren Knoth

Saved Philosophy:

Currently in Olympia, WA working as a Senior Research Associate in criminal justice at a non-partisan state agency. I earned by PhD in Quantitative Criminology at Penn State with an emphasis on actuarial risk assessments at sentencing and victimization.

Judging Philo:

Debate is a game. Each team will play it differently and ultimately you should stick to what you’re comfortable with. I will try my best to be a robot that judges strictly based off a technical evaluation of the flow, checking my biases and rendering a purely objective decision based on the arguments made in the round. The below information is largely irrelevant in that framework, but I present to you, as transparently as possible, any personal preferences I have that would make the round more enjoyable for me (but again, whether or not I enjoy the round is largely irrelevant and will not affect my decision). This philosophy is to make you aware of how I see the round in general, since no debate ever addresses every question necessary to render an RFD, I tend to think it important for you to know my starting points and how I will evaluate the round absent a world where I’m persuasively told otherwise. The bottom line is if you win the offense in the round and can clearly explain this using warrants and interacting with the opponents positions, you’ll win my ballot. I also prefer debates to be civil and without any ad hominem arguments. If this occurs, it will be reflected in your speaker points.

Preface on speed: this should be no problem; however if you are ridiculously fast, you may want to knock down to your mach 7 or 8 speed instead of mach 10. Clarity is most important, and if I can’t understand or follow you, I won’t hesitate to say clear. Developed, warranted arguments are also more important than a million unwarranted blippy arguments.

Advocacies/Interpretations: two options – (1) provide me with a written copy of the text (preferred) or (2) slow down when you read the plan/cp/alt and read it at least twice. This is also important in theory debates. Too often a team has lost because they didn’t understand their opponents original interpretation OR the judge didn’t catch the entirety of the interpretation (Just ask Joe Allen). Really I do think the proliferation of texts is a good thing.

Topicality: I need a framework for evaluating this argument, and without one I am likely to default to competing interpretations. Any other framework (i.e. reasonability) needs to be explained well. Other than that, I enjoy a good T debate and when done well I think it can be strategic.

Theory: Overall I think there needs to be a discussion of the different interpretations, and like T I need a framework for evaluating the argument. It is up to the debaters to tell me if the particular theory argument is a voting issue, or a reason to reject the argument. One important distinction – thanks to my years being coached by DD, I do think there is an intimate relationship between aff and neg flex that often is ignored. Theory should be used to justify why you get to read specific arguments, not just reasons those arguments may be good or bad in general. For example, situations with large aff flex (insert whatever reason why) may justify the use of multiple conditional strategies (read: neg flex) for the negative. Including discussions of these critical issues is more likely to persuade me one way or another on a theory position. **One theory argument I am particularly compelled by is multiple worlds. I dislike when teams read multiple conditional strategies that contradict each other. At a minimum, if I’m not voting on this theory argument, I think it does justify severance perms from the aff (again read: aff flex). For example, if the neg reads a war with NK disad and a security K based on the representations of a war with China Adv, I think the aff should be able to “perm: pass the plan without the security representations in the adv.” If the neg is able to severe out of their discourse and reps with the NK disad, why shouldn’t the aff be allowed to do the same thing? Multiple conditional strategies can be deployed without these large contradictions.**

Disads – yes please. Particularly if they are intrinsic. I understand the strategic choice to read politics in some instances (ask Calvin Coker); however, with topic areas and specific resolutions (i.e. pass X policy) I am more likely to be persuaded by a topic specific, intrinsic disad.

CPs - Love them. I don’t care if they’re delay, consult, enforcement pics, adv cps, etc . I think each can be strategic and justified through NB. I am more persuaded by functional competition than textual competition. You can have this theory debate if you want, but I think your time is better spent beating the CP and NB.

Ks – also fine. The biggest problem I have with K’s is the common assumption that everyone in the community is familiar with X author and everything they’ve ever written ever. This is certainly not the case for me. Criminal theorists I can get behind since I am immersed in this literature frequently; however other authors I am likely to need additional explanation for. This may be as simple as a clear concise abstract or thesis at the beginning of your K. This is also important if you are using author specific language that isn’t common knowledge. It may be strategic to slow down in the beginning and make sure that important terms or concepts are made clear early. Intrinsic k’s are preferred to the always linkable cap etc., but I am willing to listen to any of them. See the intro to this philosophy about identity based/performance K’s.

***Important*** I need to have a clear explanation of what the alternative does, and what the post-alt world looks like. Stringing together post-modern terms and calling it an alternative is not enough for me if I have no idea what the heck that means. I prefer to know exactly what action is advocated by the alternative, and what the world looks like after passage of the alternative. I think this is also necessary to establish stable solvency/alternative ground for the opposing team to argue against and overall provides for a better debate. Good theory is nothing without a good mechanism with which to implement it, and I'm tired of this being overlooked.

Identity based criticisms – I’m honestly probably not the best judge for these arguments in the sense that I am distal from the literature and don’t know how to evaluate claims of personal identity. Often when I've seen these arguments, they replicate the types of violence they are attempting to solve for and they make far too many assumptions about the people in the room. If you read these arguments that is okay with me, but please try to avoid these issues. If you do not personally know me or the people you are debating, please refrain from ascribing labels to them or to me as well. I am generally persuaded by framework arguments against these positions, however simply saying “framework” will not win my ballot. All I am saying here is that my threshold for framework may be lower than critical leaning judges, in a similar way that people have different thresholds for topicality and spec arguments. Let me be clear that I am not saying I will not listen to or ever vote for these arguments. My general preference is for a debate that embraces the topic. This does not preclude criticisms, but suggests that I would prefer topic specific criticisms. My preference would be for a debate that interrogates the critical literature you are reading through a defense of or application to marginalized populations addressed in the resolution, rather than having to evaluate fact or value claims about individual’s identities in the room. I will need a thorough framework of how to evaluate these claims. As stated above, I will try to be a robot and vote explicitly on the flow. Also, all of my above statements about criticisms in general (see the need for a clear post alt world) also apply to these types of criticisms.

Perms (CPs/Ks) As may be obvious by some rounds I’ve debated in, I love a solid perm debate. Perm texts need to be clearly articulated – slow down a bit and perhaps read them twice especially if it’s more complicated than “do both.” Do both is fine for me as a perm text, but you should explain what that means or how that happens.

One last thing – IMPACT CALC. The last thing I want is to evaluate a round where I have no idea what should be prioritized over what, how disads interact with case advantages, and I just have a bunch of arguments randomly on the flow with no story or explanation. Rebuttals should serve to write my ballot, and if you’re lucky my RFD may be a quote from the LOR or PMR. I think impact calc is undervalued, particularly by negative teams. Probability, Magnitude, and Timeframe are all strategic tools that should explain why I’m voting for you at the end of the round. These also serve to clarify the offense in the round and provide a succinct explanation for your overall strategy.

My process during evaluations of CP/K debates: As a quantitative criminologist, formulas are easier ways of organizing my thoughts. Thus, I evaluate every CP/K debate the same way:

Does the CP/Alt solve the aff?

  1. Does the aff solve (link turn or otherwise) the offense of the CP/Alt?

  2. Is there a Net-Benefit to the CP/Alt?

  3. Is there a disad to the CP/Alt?

  4. Is there a permutation to the CP/Alt?

    1. Does it solve the offense to the CP/Alt?

    2. Does it solve the aff?

    3. Is there an external net benefit to the permutation?

  5. Impact weighing:

    1. If the answer to 5 is yes, does it outweigh the answer to 1 and 3?

    2. If the answer to 5 is no, does the answer to 2 and 4 outweigh the answer to 1 and 3?

Nicholas Lougee Paradigm

I am an old-school CEDA/NDT style policy debater, but I started in CEDA before it went policy. I coached at UO for 7 years after 4 years of competition, and was Associate Director when I left the program in 2002 to complete my doctoral research in sociology. I also debated Cross-X and LDP in high school in Oregon in the 80's. I prefer a policy perspective, where presumption shifts away from whomever proposes a policy change. I am not particularly interested in procedural debates, although I will listen. I lean pretty far to the left politically, but I try to evaluate all issues as objectively as possible.

Sean McKean Paradigm

Experience: 4 years policy debate at Tualatin High School, 4 years NPDA/NPTE experience at the University of Oregon. 3 years high school coaching experience at Thurston High School. Current NPDA/NPTE coach at Oregon.

Quick in prep version: In general I am down with just about anything, however I would much rather hear a good disad than some only tag lines and a bad alternative kritik. Theory was my jam when I was debating, so if you want to read it go ahead, however, I’m not going to vote for you just because you read it, while my threshold is probably lower than most judges I like to pretend I’m not a hack wink.

Longer (probably unnecessary) version

General Overveiw:

My ideal debate is a strategic topical aff v some CPs and a DA or a topic K. That being said, I tend to be down with anything you want to read in front of me, I believe that it is my job to adapt to you and the arguments you want to read not your job to adapt to me. I am not going to tell you what to or not to read in front of me or reject your arguments on face. I tend to prefer more technical debates where you explain to me how all of the relevant arguments interact at the end of the round over just extending them and making me try to figure it out myself at the end. I want to be able to write my RFD at the end of the round by sticking as much as possible to the flow without having to insert my own analysis, this means I want you to write my RFD for me, tell me why I should vote a particular way at the end of the round.

Impact framing is a lost art, it’s not helpful to just inform me that both teams do, in fact, have impacts. I want to hear how I should evaluate those impacts against each other, ie. Do I care more about fairness or education on the theory flow, is timeframe or magnitude more important, can I even evaluate arguments rooted in some kind of epistemology?

More specific stuff:

Theory/ T cool: I read a lot of theory when I was debating so I am pretty much able to follow what is going on in complex theory debates, although I would prefer that you slow down a bit when spreading theory since it is more condensed and harder to flow. I evaluate theory just like any other argument, which means I am probably more likley to vote on it than most judges if you go for it correctly. In order to win theory in front of me you are going to need to impact it out and explain what it means for the round. (IE just because they dropped your Consult CP's are illegit argument doesn't mean you insta-win if you don't give me some reason why that theory argument results in a ballot, not just me dropping the CP). I find myself voting a lot this year on teams forgetting to read a counter interp. If I am judging in a competing interps paradigm, which is usually how these things shake out, and there is not either an interp or a counter-interp that you meet I will vote against you regardless of the rest of the flow, as there is not an interp for me to stick your offense to. I think that this is a pretty common way of evaluating theory but I feel it is worth flagging explicitly in my philosophy given that I find myself voting on this a lot.

Framework money-mouth: Framework was my go-to when debating the K aff. That doesn’t mean that you necessarily shouldn’t or can’t read a K aff in front of me, just be aware than I’m not going to be one of those judges that just ignores the argument for some vague political reason.

K affs cry: I would prefer that if you are going to read an aff that isn’t topical that you have some good justification for doing so, I am not really interested in your “I read a cool book and here is my book report” project.

Ks undecided: I am down with the K, however there are some recent trends in the kritik that I feel need some addressing here. First, Marx was my bread and butter and I am fairly deep in that literature, but outside of that and maybe Heidegger you should not assume that I am incredibly well read in your lit base. That doesn’t mean that you can’t read your K in front of me, it just means that you are going to need to do some more explaining. Second, there has been a tendency of K’s becoming just a list of tag lines, that then get extended as arguments later in the debate. If your K sounds like this I am probably going to give the other team a lot more leeway in reading new arguments when your K finally becomes something in the block.

CP/ DA laughing: Ayyyyyyyyy

Margaret Rockey Paradigm

Background: Parli coach at WWU for one year. Competed in parli at Whitman for three years and one year independently (sco Sweets!). I have no idea if I am or if people perceive me as a K- or policy-oriented judge. I guess I read a lot of disads, topical K affs, disads, and always read, but never went for politics, but I strongly preferred being a double member because I gave no shits about what our strategy was and would defend whatever. So I have no strong preferences regarding argumentative content. 

I’ve tried writing a philosophy four or five times this year, and every attempt has ended with one sentence rejecting the proposition of writing in a philosophy in the first place. The short version, and what you probably want to know, is that you can read whatever you want, and should give me a reason why you win and a reason why the other team loses. In the event that the reason you win is also the reason they lose, you should explain how it is so. What follows is not a syncretic philosophy but a disorganized and unenclosed series of thoughts on debate, some arbitrary biases and thresholds, and judging tendencies I’ve noticed in myself. It may or may not be helpful.

Judging Generally

I find I feel much less certain about my decisions as a judge than I did about my predictions as a competitor and observer. Actually doing the work of making and justifying a decision almost always necessitates getting my hands dirty in some form or other. Most of my decisions require intervention to vote for any one team, either because certain core questions have not been resolved, or some resolved questions have not been contextualized to one another, or some combination of the two. Recognizing the frequent inevitability of dirty hands in decision-making, I try to stick to both a general principle and practice when judging. In principle, I try to have a justification for every decision I make. In practice, I find I try to limit my intervention to extrapolating from arguments made to resolve unanswered issues; if a certain team is winning a certain part of the flow; what does that mean for this part where no one is clearly ahead but where someone must be to decide the round? This is also means that an easy way to get ahead is doing that work for me--provide the summary and application of an argument in addition to making it. 


In general I think framework either tells me how to prioritize impacts or understand solvency, and in particular how to situate solvency in relation to debate as a practice. Most framework arguments I see in-round seem to be made out of a precautious fear of leaving the something crucial open on the line-by-line, but with little understanding of the argument’s application to interpreting the rest of the round. At least, that’s what I felt like when I extended framework arguments for awhile. I don’t understand the argument that fiat is illusory. The advocacy actually being implemented has never been a reason to vote aff, as far as I can tell. The purpose of fiat is to force a “should” and not “will” debate. Framework arguments that dictate and defend a certain standard for the negative’s burden to argue that the advocacy “should not” happen are ideal. I’m open to arguments proposing a different understanding of solvency than what a policymaking framework supplies.

My only other observation about framework debates is that every interpretation seems to get slotted into some “critical non fiat –ology” slot or “policy fiat roleplaying” slot. This is a false binary but its frequent assumption means many non-competitive framework (and advocacies!) are set against each other as if they’re competitive. Policymaking and roleplaying are not the same thing; epistemology and ontology being distinct doesn’t mean they’re inherently competitive, for a couple examples.

 This is also the major flaw of most non-topical K v. K debates I see—the advocacies are not competitive. They feel like I.E. speeches forced into the debate format when the content and structure of that content just don’t clash—I mean, it’s like the aff showing up and saying dogs are cool and the neg firing back that cats are cool. It’s just not quite debate as we’re used to, and demands reconceptualizing competition. This is also why I don’t think “no perms in a method debate” makes any sense but I agree with the object of that argument. The topic creates sides—you’re either for or against it. In rounds where each team is just going to propose distinct ways of apprehending the world, whatever that looks like, I see no reason to award noncompetitiveness to either team. (Oh, this should not be used as a justification for negative counterperms. How counterperms being leveraged against perms represents anything less than the death of debate is a mystery to me) I’m not saying don’t have nontopical KvK rounds, please do, just please also read offense against each other’s arguments (cats are cool and dogs are bad). In those rounds, your reason to win is not the same reason the other team loses, which is the case for advocacies which are opportunity costs to each other. For the record, I think critical literature is arguably the most important education debate offers. I just think debate is structured for competition oriented around policy advocacies and the ways that kritikal arguments tend to engage each other challenge that structure in ways we have yet to explore in parli (at least, writ large).


Don’t have anything in particular to say about this other than that I have a high threshold for evaluating anything other than plan text in a vacuum in determining interp violations. Everything else seems a solvency question to me, but make the arguments you want to and can defend.

Independent Voters

I’ve noticed that I have a pretty high threshold on independent voters. I voted for an independent voter once when the block went for it. Arguments about discursive issues serve an important purpose. But for arguments read flippantly or as a gotcha or, more often, that lack any substantive impact, I always feel a little guilty voting there and jettisoning the rest of the debate, like feeling bad for picking one spoon over another when you’re a kid. I think a lot of judges want the simple way to vote but I don’t, as far as I can tell. They don’t necessarily have to be complicated, but I like thorough ways to vote, which do often involve a lot of nuance or at least word dancing (I believe debate is fundamentally competitive bullshitting, which I do not mean derisively in the slightest).

Gabe Scott Paradigm

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Joe Skoog Paradigm


I debated at Brophy College Prep and then debated at Gonzaga University.

I now coach at Gonzaga and for Ferris High School, both of which are in Spokane, WA.

Everything under this are my defaults but obviously any argument that is contrary to any of these override my presuppositions. I'll try not to intervene to the best of my ability.

The Highlights:
Tech over truth
I'll call for ev, but only if it is a key part of the debate or I have been told to look at it. I put a lot of stock into the quality of evidence when deciding debates.
I default to reject the arg for everything except conditionality unless told otherwise.
Awesome strategic moves will be rewarded.
For the love of Przemek Karnowski, please don't cheat.
I'm not particularly expressive, but it doesn't mean I hate your argument, I'm just thinking to myself.
Keep your shoes on in the round.


Read warrants please. I will reward fantastic ev. Quality outweighs quantity. Use spin and compare your evidence to theirs.

Case/Impact Defense:
I do tend to default to less change and think that there is such thing as zero risk of the aff. Using very smart case defense arguments is awesome. Internal link defense and solvency arguments are, in my opinion, underused. That makes me sad. So please use them.

I'm a huge theory nerd so I'm down with being convinced something is competitive. HOWEVER, I do think that a lot of counterplans that are commonly run are not competitive. Granted, I ran Reg Neg and Consult Russia a lot, and I understand why they are necessary sometimes, but I will reward case specific counterplans with net benefits that justify the status quo. To be clear: Artificial net benefits be dumb, yo. Counterplans should have solvency advocates--preferably normative one--which will go a long way in defending the theoretical legitimacy of the advocacy.

Against big stick affs, don't read stupid PICs like "the" or "should" because then I will cry. And I am an ugly crier.

I won't kick a conditional CP in the 2NR unless I'm explicitly told to in the debate.

For politics, gotta have the goods evidence-wise.
Political capital key cards should say that political capital is key.
I think that an aff shooting apart the internal link chain of a stupid scenario is sufficient.
I would really like it if your DA was an actual opportunity cost to the plan.
Link controls direction of uniqueness.

I exclusively went for the K my senior year, so I know a lot of the literature. I've read a lot of Foucault and Baudrillard but I won't pretend I know all K authors equally. Please explain it in relation to the aff, not just in high theory terms.
I don't think I'm the federal government. I am a sleepy college student judging a debate. However, I can be persuaded differently by args made in the debate.
Getting to weigh the aff is distinct from a "role of the ballot" argument because Role of the ballot determines how/what I am voting on or evaluating.
I love highly technical K debate ie. LINE BY LINE and clash.
Well researched and case specific Ks will make me smile.

I really do enjoy theory debates if it is delivered at a rate consistent with the arguments. For example, if you are saying conditionality is bad in the 1AR don't speed through it because it is difficult to flow in its entirety. I will vote on unconditionality good, or 5 conditional CPs good. Debate is debate. If a theory violation is well impacted and explained, I will vote on it.

I default to competing interpretations unless told to evaluate it differently. I love when people read a lot of cards on tea, or have a hyper specific topicality argument. I evaluate it like a DA, so impacting things such as limits and ground is important.

Framework vs K affs:
I'm down to listen to really anything, and I was usually on the side of the team answering framework for most of my career. That being said, I really really enjoy framework debates. I think that "no Ks" isn't very convincing, but there should probably some agreed upon stasis point. This doesn't mean you need to defend the hypothetical implementation of plan in front of me, but if the other team wins that fiat is a good model of education, I will vote on it.

Kinny Torre Paradigm

Hopefully this blurb only convinces you to read the arguments that you want to read...

This is my second-year coaching parli at WWU and my tenth year in the activity so I've probably seen a flavor of the arguments that you want to deploy. That being stated, I try to evaluate the round through the lens that you provide. If that means I adopt a normative utilitarian calculus then cool. Want me to not evaluate strictly from the flow? Awesome--just make sure that you provide an alternative weighing mechanism.

When I was debating I was a huge proponent of the classic TKO strategy but that shouldn’t deter you from running CPs, projects, or anything in front of me. While I do have theoretical dispositions against delay, object-fiat, and study CPs, that doesn’t mean that I will automatically drop a team for running those args. Though it is fair to say that I hold arguments that purposefully try to skew the other team out of the round to a higher level of skepticism. In other words, it’s not a good strategy to read 5 off that is littered with PoMo nonsense against a novice team when I’m sitting in the back. So be cool, have fun, and do what you think is best.

Some other random tidbits:

·        Speaker points range from 25-30 with 25 needing major improvement, 27.5 being average, and 30 being perfect

·        If you’re being excessively mean or violent then I won’t hesitate to vote you down: you are privileged enough to operate within this space but that doesn’t allow you to be an asshole.

·        I’ll rule on a POO but often times they’re unnecessary; there is never a need to do it more than 3 times (I promise I’ll notice any new arguments) and they are often a non-sequitur to the heart of the debate.

·        K v. K debates are BORING unless you can delineate between the competing methods

o   You are allowed to perm in a methods debate unless there is a compelling argument for why you shouldn’t

o   The Kritik should have a clear solvency mechanism and framework arguments should specifically lay out how the other team can engage with your arguments.

·        Don’t run theory as a time suck

·        For the love of all things sacred if you’re going for a procedural then only go for the procedural

o   Demonstrated abuse is helpful but not required for my ballot on T

·        If you’re clearly winning the debate then finish your speech and sit down—there’s no reason to beat a dead horse

·        Clash of civilization debates are the way to my heart

·        Obvi don’t expect me to fill in or favor your arguments just because they stem from an ideology that I also occupy