Barkley Forum for High Schools

2021 —, GA/US

Colin Downes Paradigm

6 rounds

Email is — please put me on the chain, but note I generally will not read evidence unless you tell me to or there is an in-round dispute about what it says.

*Things I have Opinions about*

Cross ex is a speech. I flow it. It should be closed.

Speed is fine. But I really do prefer listening to rounds conducted at something more in the neighborhood of a natural pace. Say conversational+. I wont check the speech docs to reconstruct whatever it is you said. ***This is particularly important in the age of zoom debate.***

Eye contact, gesture, and similarly elegant weapons from a more civilized age work on me (and not just for speaks). I flow carefully, but I freely admit I am not the most flow-centric judge around—I judge pretty holistically and care about being told a story.

The most important things in the round are your ability to remain organized, to leverage the internal warrants of your evidence, to clash with your opponents arguments, to convey to me your mastery and understanding of the subject matter of the round, and to speak in a manner that is persuasive, poised, and charismatic.


I was a continental philosophy nerd in college. Ks and K affs are fun, fine, and evaluated on the same basis as other kinds of arguments: good args good, bad args bad. I do The kids I coach run a mix of policy and k positions. I don't have doctrinaire views on the role of the rez in debate or the purposes of the activity and can be convinced of a lot in the space of a round.

I am a lawyer with an abiding interest in criminal justice issues so I'm pretty knowledgeable about the topic area this year.

Really don't like disclosure theory.

*Debate Bio*

I debated 4 years in HS ('06) in the stock issues wilderness of the Southeastern Massachusetts Debate League, then 3 years at UMASS ('10) (RIP) doing mostly Ks and K affs. Following a hiatus from the activity, I've coached James Madison High School in Virginia since 2018.

Brixz Gonzaba Paradigm

6 rounds

NEW: i just want to make it clear that I believe cops are a blight on this earth and are easily the biggest threat to existence on the planet... I don't back the blue, and if you do don't pref me... I will never vote on cops good ever... it doesn't take a badge to be a cop... don't be a cop... I live my life on the motto don't be a cop and take my role as an enemy of the police system seriously... don't try me... ACAB ALWAYS... I do active work in my community to fight the police at any opportunity I get, I dream of a world where PIGS are no longer in power, the feds have disappeared and America as we know it ceases to exist.

After Grapevine 2020 i've decided to change the way I do speaker points... My base will now be a 28 (previously 27.5) I realized i've been doing a disservice to people who are really good speakers.

Not gonna lie... kind of a wild card situation. I just don't really have a consistent way that I evaluate any given debate whatever happens just kind of happens.

One year I got to judge finals of CEDA, that was really cool! I sat though...

For some reason I found myself in a lot of 7 off type debates last year, I think it's an archaic model of debate, but none the less I am capable of making a sound decision.

I evaluate the debate based on the flow

I very seldom read evidence unless there is a dispute about the meaning of evidence in the round, or it is an absolute tie breaker situation


I evaluate Offense before Defense

I don't believe in topicality, i vote for it and my teams might run it on occasion, but I don't believe in the idea that we should limit knowledge production to a certain side of the library... that is colonialist and almost exclusively manifests itself in eurocentric ways.

A lot of yall don't know what it was like when kids were telling us to quit debate on an every round basis. Topicality has manifested itself as a seemingly benign way of telling people they don't belong in debate because of the way they choose to approach the topic. From a strategic standpoint I think that a lot of the impacts yall go for are super non unique and that staleness makes the debate really easy for me to vote aff. I think the best T debates are won on reasons why the aff is bad and SHOULD be excluded... going for T in front of me you have to win that the 8/9 minutes of the 1ac should have never happened. Topical version of the aff has to solve your standards and I want an explanation of how the topical version of the aff can't exist under the aff's interpretation.

Fairness is not an Impact

TVAs are just floating PICS and i find the permutation very persuasive

Heg is bad always

So is state action

I vote against my personal beliefs a lot

I think it's a shame

Truth > Tech

Sim Guerrero Paradigm

4 rounds

i competed in policy for three years and public forum my senior year. i’m currently studying biology and africana studies at johns hopkins university, where i also compete in college parli. my largest influences in debate are michael koo, joseph barquin, and rohan ajjarapu. especially michael, please read his paradigm if you have the time since it is more detailed and i am likely to judge with the same inclinations.

current affiliations: colleyville cz (policy), little rock rl (policy), elkins jl (policy), baltimore city college, beacon high school, korea international school

please add me to the email chain ( – i flow on paper and by ear, but i will check the doc to hold debaters accountable.


after having the privilege of judging more this season, i’ve taken some time to reflect more on the kind of judge i want to be and there have been many slow adjustments to the way i evaluate rounds.

tech determines what is true within the round, i.e conceded arguments (which are warranted claims, not simply assertions) are the truest. i believe this for anything presented to me with a caveat – please do not read arguments that are violent towards marginalized people. as in, no “x-ism good”, no “the usa should bomb insert-country-in-the-global-south-here”, none of that nonsense.

two hard rules – 1. stick to the speech times, 2. there must be a win and loss for the purposes of tab. anything else is up for debaters to establish if it is reasoned out.

debate is still a communication activity – clarity and coherence are priority. this is not about your style or speed, but i need to have a clear vision of your advocacy and how your method resolves your impacts. signposting and organization is extremely important. i would call myself a fast flower, but i need pen time to switch pages and it’s nice to have a clear delineation of when you’re done with a card or moving on to the next argument.


i find that pretty much every time i’m in the back, it is a k round… for good reason, i suppose. i love the k – good with any theory or style you want to go with. however, please do not assume i know your literature base and jargon. you need to have comprehensive explanations and tell me how to frame and filter this round – it’ll go a long way. regardless if it is a k, this applies to any position you read – i need a warrant and implication for every claim you make. rebuttals need to be comparative and explain why your impacts come first. judge instruction is a must!

the 1ac & case: affirmatives do not need to defend a hypothetical government policy, so YES k affs. i still believe the 1ac needs to engage with the resolution, even if it’s a kritik of debate or the state – analyze the resolution, it is relevant. neg teams often neglect the case page and it makes me ): -- i specifically love smart re-highlighting of the aff’s own ev! but even if it’s just impact defense, a satellite k, circumvention, anything… engage case. i'm also very happy to vote on presumption. i read some soft left affs – these are good too!

kritiks: links should be contextual to the resolution and arguments in the round, well-researched and specific indicts of the aff’s mechanisms and scenarios are impressive and persuasive. if you go for the alt, explain how it resolves impacts and what its world looks like – historical and real-life examples are always welcome. if you read an overview, it should explain your thesis to me, do impact calc, and tell me how to frame the round and filter arguments. overviews should not be too lengthy and certainly not at the cost of the line by line.

framework: just debate the aff. being honest, i do not vote for t-usfg a lot (tactics framework and the sort are fine). this is still a viable 2nr in front of me, i don’t hack against it, but a topical version of the aff is absolutely necessary and i need an explanation of how this resolves (at least some of) the 1ac’s impacts and claims. framework loses in front of me when it doesn’t interact with case. fairness can be an internal link or an impact, not highly persuaded by procedural fairness but i’ll still vote on it.

disad/counterplans: i start with 100% risk and aff needs to knock it down. zero risk is hard to establish, but it exists. it’s your job to model counterplans (t or not, textual vs functional competition, etc.) and i’m willing to vote on conceded severance or intrinsic perms.

topicality/theory: i default to competing interpretations. for t proper, you need to tell me why your definition is more apt and reliable – i do not know why you should win otherwise. this isn’t my forte, so i wouldn’t be liberal with theory cheap shots.


for ld: i am a good judge for k and policy positions, i am a bad and inexperienced judge for phil and tricks. i do not like excluding arguments or intervening, but know that if you decide to read these positions in front of me anyway, you need to be extremely clear and explain like i’m new to debate. these debates also get jargony – i do not know what a paradox or permissibility is. please do not hide arguments in blocks of text, if offense is not clear to me but you suddenly go for it, you will not like my rfd. you do not win the round just because you win framework – you need to extend your case throughout all speeches and weigh.

for pf: i’m on the more technical end of judges and will vote on “progressive arguments” (but not aimlessly – debate these well), but i would also vote on reasons why they shouldn’t be in pf. nothing is “sticky” – if it isn’t addressed in the prior speech, it has been dropped. no new substance arguments in second summary. evidence should be CUT CARDS that includes the contextual paragraph and has a citation with a link. if i ask for evidence and you send me a link with a place to “control f”, i will dock your speaks. if you are asked for evidence and it’s inefficient because your opponent has to ask you for the full article/card or more information, i will dock your speaks again.


*** i have been a bit of a points fairy in the era of zoom debate and if we happen to be in a round with immense tech difficulties i will boost dwdw ;-;

<26.5: likely did something offensive and/or made this debate inaccessible (not honoring content warning requests, not changing highlight color when asked, etc.)

26.6-27.5: clean dropped arguments and made big strategic mistakes ): lots of work left to be done, but i believe in you!

27.6-28: didn’t make strategic choices, dropped arguments here and there, and likely tagline extended. it’s okay, put the work in and you’ll get there :D

28.1-28.5: average

28.6-28.9: hmm, i see you in the bubble round. good work, but some skills to sharpen.

29-29.6: you should clear and get a speaker award! nice job!

29.7-30: i have little to no words for how incredible u are, one of the best i’ve seen!

John Hollihan Paradigm

6 rounds

Email chain please!


Pittsburgh Central Catholic '20

University of Pittsburgh '24 (not debating)

I debated for four years in high school, most of that time being a 1A/2N, and on these topics: China Relations, Education, Immigration, and Arms Sales.

I coach debate for PCC.

My 2NRs ranged from DA, to CP + DA, to K, to case turns.

My last high school 2NR was 5 minutes of new affs bad (we won too lol)

Paradigm last updated: 17 October 2020

Top Level:

TL;DR: You do you and I'll judge accordingly. Run the arguments you are most comfortable with.

Haven't judged a lot on the CJR topic - please explain the acronyms that you use

I try really hard not to look at the speech doc. I'll say this later on but please be clear when you are speaking because if I miss it, it's not going on my flow. Also, I tend to flow on paper so interpret that as you may.

I think that almost all arguments are conducive to learning in debate. I think that adjusting to a judge's argument preference is bad because not only does it force someone to read an argument that they aren't comfortable going for but it also predetermines the round simply by my being there.

That being said, there are arguments that do not belong in debate and if run, will result in a loss and as few speaks as possible (i.e. racism/sexism/homophobia/transphobia/ableism good).

If you are facing a team who is clearly new at debate, don't be rude. I will be more inclined to vote against you and/or try to find a reason to vote against you. If I can't (which is usually the case), my disdain will show in your speaks.

Zoom Miscellaneous:

I would prefer if your camera is on while you are giving a speech or conducting cross-ex. If tech problems prevent this or your are uncomfortable doing so, that is fine.

I trust y'all enough to not be stealing prep time so do not take advantage of that trust. There have been some instances on Zoom where I get suspicious of how much prep is actually left.

Policy specific:

As a judge, I believe that my job is to evaluate the arguments presented by both sides and decide who did the better debating. I can be persuaded to do so otherwise. I default to the idea that debate is a game (because both of y'all are trying to get my ballot) that primarily has educational and communicative implications but can also have political ones (again, I can be persuaded otherwise).

Almost every judge says this (and I will too): one of my least favorite debate norms is spreading. Now, I spreaded in debate and you can too, but do not sacrifice clarity for speed, ESPECIALLY WHEN DEBATING VIRTUALLY. I don't want y'all to be going too fast to have your mic cut out for like 10 seconds and I miss something that could've won you a round. If you think that you are going too fast, you are. I especially hate it when spreading becomes a whispering mumble.

Not all arguments need a card to be defeated. Smart analytics are underutilized and I think that there is a stigma in debate in that if it doesn't have evidence to back it up, the argument can't be true. That is silly. Truth matters in debate and should be intertwined into most of your argument.

There is a line between being arrogant and assertive in cross-ex. I don't usually flow during cross-ex because I kinda see it as a time for you to make your arguments less abstract through explanation. I feel like many debaters get caught up in the act of simply blowing off someone's response even if it answers the question. People like to mimic what the big kids are doing and sound like they are in total control of cross-ex 100% of the time.

PLEASE do impact comparison, whether that be warrants, author qualifications, date, etc. I find myself often being forced to evaluate arguments that are simply not True or are neither exposed to be simply false nor answered properly.

Framing pages, in my experience, are honestly a hit or miss. Most of the time, they disappear after the 1AC, resulting in the debaters wasting 2-3 minutes of the 1AC or not using the page to its full capacity. Debaters often mention or "use" ethical frameworks that are described in a vacuum. Utilitarianism ≠ extinction impacts (inherently). Misusing these words or frameworks annoys me more than it probably should. I don't care if you have a framing page in your 1AC, but please utilize it to its full capability, correctly.

Good luck and have fun!

Lauren Ivey Paradigm

1 rounds

aka Lauren Donnenfeld.


2013- Present Co-Director of Debate at Alpharetta High School.

2012-2013-I was one of Vanderbilt's debate graduate assistants.

2007-2011-I debated for Emory University for four years. I started as a novice in college.

Approximate number of rounds judged per year: 50

Please add me to the email chain:

Most of the below notes are just some general predispositions/ thoughts. I firmly believe that debaters should control the debate space and will do my best to evaluate the round in front of me, regardless of if you adapt to these preferences or not.

1. General thoughts- I have tremendous appreciation for the value of debate and I am constantly thinking about debate. I'm likely to dock your speaker points for being a jerk or reading something offensive like wipeout or spark. I really don't want to judge death drive. I'm unlikely to vote on anything that happened outside the round , disclose your prefs type arguments etc. Be nice both to your opponents and your partner, even if your partner has substantially less experience than you. Don't be homophobic, sexist, racist, etc. Do not hurt yourself in a debate round, or encourage others to do so. Do not interrupt your opponent's speech time or clip cards. Don't organize your speech doc in a way that is deliberating confusing to the other team. I'll increase your speaker points +.1 if you make me laugh in the round.

2. Flowing- Make sure that you are flowing. I've noticed an increase in the amount of rounds I judge which include teams answering an argument (or sometimes an entire off-case position) that wasn't read or extended in the debate. Do not just flow off the speech doc. I am a very flow-centric judge and it makes me sad when debaters answer argument that aren't in the debate.

3. CPs- I generally think conditionality is good, and is more justified against new affirmatives. PICs, Process CPs, Uniqueness CPs, Multiplank CPs, Advantage CPs etc. are all fine. Delay CPs- no, I tend to think they're pretty abusive. Consult CPs- meh, tend to lean aff but have voted on them before. All CPs are better with a solvency advocate. If the negative reads a CP, presumption shifts affirmative, and the negative needs to be winning a decent risk of the net benefit for me to vote negative.

4. Disads- The more specific, the better. Yes, you can read your generic DAs but I love when teams have specific politix scenarios or other specific DAs that show careful research and tournament prep. I'm super unlikely to vote on politix theory, I think the politix DA is an important and educational part of policy debate.

5. Topicality- Meh. I find T debates sometimes difficult to evaluate because they sometimes seem to require a substantial amount of judge intervention. A tool that I think is really under utilized in T debates is the caselist/ discussion of what affs are/ are not allowed under your interpretation. Try hard to close the loop for me at the end of the 2nr/ 2ar about why your vision of the topic is preferable. Be sure to really discuss the impacts of your standards in a T debate.

6. Framework- I tend to lean neg in most debates when the 2nr goes for framework. However, I'll vote for whoever wins the debate, whether you read a topical plan text or not, and frequently vote for teams that don't read a plan text. I tend to think affs should at least be related to the topic, and if I vote aff in a FW debate it's often based on an education impact. If I vote neg, it's usually because the neg has persuaded me that fairness outweighs education.

7. Kritiks- I am more familiar with more common Ks such as security or cap than I am with high theory arguments like Baudrillard. You can still read less common or high theory Ks in front of me, but you should probably explain them more. I tend to think the alternative is one of the weakest parts of the Kritik and that most negative teams do not do enough work explaining how the Kritik functions.

8. If both teams agree that topicality will not be read in the debate, and that is communicated to me prior to the start of the round, any mutually agreed previous year's topic is on the table.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at the email address above. Good luck!

Kevin McCaffrey Paradigm

6 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.

Chris Paredes Paradigm

3 rounds


(Updated for CJR topic; see bottom of paradigm for LD)

E-Mail Chain: Add me ( I do not distribute docs to third party requests unless a team has failed to update their wiki.

Experience: Damien 05, Amherst College 09, Emory Law 13L. I consider myself fluent in debate, but my debate philosophy is reflective of the fact that I debated in the 00s and may not align with current "meta" trends of the community. Fifth year as the Assistant Director at Damien.

Debate: Debate is a game. Rules of the game (the length of speeches, the order of the speeches, which side the teams are on, clipping, etc.) are set by the tournament and left to me (and other judges) to enforce. Comparatively, standards of the game are determined in round by the debaters. I am open to voting for almost any argument or style so long as I have an idea of how it functions within the round and it is appropriately impacted. Persuading me to favor your view/interpretation of debate is accomplished by convincing me that it is the method that promotes better debate (either more fair or more pedagogically valuable) compared to your opponent's.

Evidence and Argumentative Weight: Tech over truth, but it is always easier to debate well by using true arguments and good cards. In-speech analysis goes a long way with me; I am much more likely to side with a team that develops and compares warrants vs. a team that extends by tagline/author only. I will read cards as necessary, including explicit prompting, however when I start reading evidence I do so critically and will evaluate warrants for myself. Arguments are only as good as their warrants -- if a card does not have the necessary warrants underlined/highlighted then I give them no greater weight than analytics. You are much better off with a few good well-highlighted cards than multiple bad and/or under-highlighted cards. Well explained logical analytics, especially if developed in CX, can beat bad/under-highlighted cards.

Topic Familiarity: Did not teach at a camp, avoid arguments that depend on familiarity with camp meta or over-use of acronyms. My professional background outside of debate is in civil rights law and public policy, so I have very high technical proficiency for process counterplans and plan flaws in this topic.

Argument Selection: Run whatever you are most familiar and comfortable with. I believe it is better for debate that judges reward good debating over ideological preferences, and I try my best to hold myself to this standard. I am aware of my biases and strive to correct them and remain neutral. Almost all of my personal preferences can be overcome if you debate better than your opponents; I frequently vote for arguments that I would rather not exist in debate. Regardless of the style of debate you choose, your goal should be to debate in a way where you do the work for me. Your goal in your final rebuttal is 1) establish what criterion the debate should be evaluated under and 2) demonstrate to me why you win under those criterion.

Argument by argument breakdown below.


Debating T well is a question of engaging in responsive impact debate. You win my ballot if you are the team that best contextualizes how you provide the best internal links (ground, predictability, research burden, etc.) to terminal impacts (fairness and education). I appreciate a good T debate and I will reward teams with the ballot and with good speaker points for well thought-out interpretations (or counter-interps) with nuanced defenses.

I default to competing interpretations, but reasonability can be compelling to me if properly contextualized. I am generally receptive to arguments like "The aff interp only imposes a reasonable additional research burden of two more cases." I am generally not receptive to arguments like "They have case specific literature, proves we are reasonably predictable."

I believe that many resolutions are sufficiently aff-biased or poorly worded that preserving topicality as a viable negative strategy is important, even against affs that are topical in a truth sense.

Fx/Xtra Topicality: Independently impact them or connect them as internal links to your original violation and standards.

Framework / T-USFG

My ideological predispositions lean negative. As an educator, I do not believe there is pedagogical value to a model of debate where the aff gets to avoid debating the resolution. I also believe that most planless affs avoid the resolution for competitive advantages (there is nothing wrong with this given that debate is a game, but competitive advantage is not a reason to prefer the aff's model of debate). However, I strive for neutrality and I try my hardest to vote for whoever defended their model of debate better.

For an aff to beat framework arguments in front of me, they need to articulate and defend specific and compelling reasons why they cannot and do not embed their advocacy into a topical policy as well as reasons why resolutional debate is a bad model for the activity. "The USFG/system sucks" is generally not a convincing reason for that -- I default to believing that you need to do more/better research vs. concluding that systems are bad (i.e. a TVA is lethal). Given that debate is a competition, I default to treating procedural fairness as an impact; an aff team must make a positive case for why education should outweigh or why I should prefer substantive fairness.

For the neg, you have the burden of proving either that fairness outweighs the aff's education or that resolutional debate has better access to education (or a better type of education). I believe the negative is on the truth side of both of those arguments, but contextualization and specificity is important in this debate. On the issue of fairness, you should not only articulate specific ground loss but impact that the ground loss. For example, rather than just saying that the use of non-USFG actors makes it impossible to research, argue that research is the internal link to both clash and a case debate which means fairness is key to both in-round and topic education. As someone who works in civil rights law, I generally believe in the potential for reform through laws and systems and that they ameliorate a great deal of harm for the must vulnerable. Therefore I will give great weight to well-developed arguments for why plan-based debate is a better internal link to positive real world change: debate provides valuable portable skills, debate is training for advocacy outside of debate, etc.


I value nuance a lot more than many other judges. I think that debate's largest educational impact is training students in real world advocacy and the best iteration of debate is debate that teaches participants (including myself) something about the topic. That includes minutiae. Consequently, I have much less aversion to voting on procedurals and theory than most judges. Learning process is important. The aff has a burden as advocates to defend a specific and coherent implementation strategy of their case that the negative is entitled to test. I will absolutely pull the trigger on vagueness, plan flaws, or spec arguments as long as there is a coherent story about why the aff is bad for debate and a good answer to why cross doesn't check. Conversely, I will hold negatives to defending why their counterplans make sense and are competitive.

That being said, I have rarely see theory deployed convincingly. You must put in time and work to make it a viable choice in your last speech, otherwise it probably isn't going to persuade me unless it was flat conceded. If you want to go for theory, be sure to slow down.

My defaults which can be overcome by better debating:

- Condo is good, but should probably have limitations (especially regarding perf cons and skew).

- PICs, Actor, and Process CPs are all legitimate, but must prove competition.

- Consult CPs and Floating PIKs are bad.

- A specific solvency advocate generally proves competitiveness and non-abuse while the lack of specific solvency evidence indicates either the likelihood of a solvency deficit or a lack of competition.

- The aff is not entitled to all theoretical implementations of the plan (i.e. perm do the CP) just because they do not specify.

- ASPEC is checked by cross and the neg should ask. If the aff does not answer, the neg can subsequently win the round by proving moving target or link spikes.

My defaults that are unlikely to be changed:

- CX is binding.

- Debate is primarily a research and strategic activity, therefore lit justifies almost everything.

- OSPEC is not a thing (exception to a team fiating something contradictory to their ev).

- The level of cheating/utopianism of a CP/alt justifies equivalent levels of cheating with perms.

- Reject the arg not the team can be overcome by instances of real abuse.

- Disclosure is good (see research); breaking new shouldn't require disclosure.

- While I am willing to vote based on real world impacts attached to the ballot (i.e. setting precedents/norms), I generally avoid policing anything that has happened outside the room/round (partially because there is a good chance I might just not know about the incidents in question).

- The negative's entitlement to multiple worlds doesn't automatically include severance of the discourse/rhetoric related to conditional offcase. It's one thing to test the aff from multiple perspectives, it's another to run hege impacts when you have a K with a reps links and the alt is to reject bad scholarship.


TL;DR: If you actually are legitimately interested in critical academic scholarship, have studied the literature seriously, and have a good contextualized argument for why that lens of that scholarship is relevant to the aff, then I am probably a good judge for you. If you want to be lazy and avoid doing specific case research so you can brute force ballots with links to the use of the state/fiat, then I am probably a bad judge for you.

I enjoy critical literature, however I tend to dislike critical rounds because the vast majority of teams are very bad at making critical arguments (or establishing why they are relevant to debate). The kritik is an academic argument, therefore having good familiarity with the literature is essential to debating the K well. It's poor form for you to argue the other team should be rejected when you yourself do not truly understand the internal logic of argument and the necessary warrants because someone else cut the file for you. I find that the K evidence (on both sides) are the most likely to be power-tagged and under-highlighted (which is saying something given the ever descending bar for politics).

All that aside, I would much rather hear a good K than a bad politics disad. I have a high level of academic familiarity with basic critical lit, but only debate-level familiarity with higher level theory (Deleuze, Baudrilliard, etc.) However, even if I understand the lit, the kritik must be presented in an comprehensible fashion in round. I avoid intervention and I will not make a K coherent for myself. Additionally, the quality of your literature does not matter if the kritik is functionally deficient as a call for the ballot. My undergrad thesis was on ethics so you are well served by a developed defense of your decision-making process and why it is good.

The neg should clash with the affirmative head-on. A link is insufficient to win the K in front of me; a good contextualized link only proves relevance to the round, it is not a reason to reject the aff. You must offer me a reason to prefer the alt under your model of debate. I do not have any biases or predispositions about what my ballot does or should do, but if you do not explain your alt and/or how my ballot interacts with the alt (or lack thereof) you will find that I have an extremely low threshold for treating the K as a non-unique disad. If the alt is some actual action which solves back for the implications of the kritik, in the fiat world or the real world, the solvency process of the alt must be explained. Alts like "Reject the aff" and "Vote neg" are fine as long as you actually give me a reason to do that besides just saying the aff links.

Links of omission are generally bad. Floating PIKs can be answered by just saying that floating PIKs are bad.

Affs should not be afraid of going for straight impact turns behind a robust framework press. I'm more willing than most judges to consider the merit in challenging kritik ideology head on rather than labeling your discourse as a link. I am also particularly receptive to arguments about pragmatism on the perm if you have empirical examples of progress through state reform.


I value defense more than most judges and am willing to assign minimal ("zero") risk based on defense, especially when quality difference in evidence is high (i.e. the elections disad). I can be convinced by good analysis that there is always a risk of a DA in spite of strong defense, but I do not really care about how strong your impact is and how the risk is infinite because extinction is infinite when you straight up lost the link.


I think that research is a core part of debate as an activity, and good counterplan strategy goes hand-in-hand with that. The risk of the net benefit the neg must win is inversely proportional to how good the counterplan is. Generic PICs are more vulnerable to perms and solvency deficits so they carry a much higher threshhold burden on the net benefit. PICs with specific solvency advocates or highly specific net benefits are devastating and one of the ways that debate rewards research and how debate equalizes aff side bias. Agent and process counterplans are similarly better when the neg can present a nuanced argument for why one agent/process is better than the aff's for a specific plan.

Because I do not think a 1AC plan text that fails to specify gives the aff default access to all theoretical implementations of the plan, I am generally super unfriendly to Perm Do the CP. I think it is a bad sign if the aff refuses to debate the details of their own case. Meanwhile the neg has an equally high burden to defend the coherence of a counter-advocacy (or the model of debate implied by their negative strategy). I will reject a counterplan for a structural defect or because the aff has effectively convinced me that the neg is debating in a way that is not just strategic but also fundamentally unfair.

Superior solvency for aff impacts can be a sufficient net benefit for me to vote on the CP (either because of a conceded aff-only case take-out or turn, or because the CP solves better) so long as there's a reason to reject the perm.

I do not judge kick by default, but 2NRs can easily convince me to do it if condo has been established.

I'm a sucker for sufficiency framing and DA as a tie-breaker against structural violence impacts; the aff absolutely needs a solvency deficit or needs to field well-developed arguments about why an appeal to sufficiency framing itself means that the neg cannot capture the ethic of the affirmative's framing (and why that is important in the round).


Speaker Points: I feel speaker points are arbitrary and the only way to fix this is standardization. Consequently I will try to follow any provided tournament scale very closely. In the event that there is no tournament scale, I distribute speaks as if I was grading performances on a bell curve with 30 being the 99th percentile, 27.5 being as the median 50th percentile, and 25 being the 1st percentile. I'm aggressive at BOTH addition and subtraction from this baseline since bell curves are distributed around an average. Theoretically teams looking to break should be scoring above average by definition. This scale is also standardized across tournaments, which means the majority of debaters at a national circuit tournament should be above average by default when compared to debaters who debate strictly lay-style.

Bonus Speaker Points: Points are rewarded for entertaining, organized, strategic, and clever speeches. I listen closely to CX and include CX performance in my assessment. Well contextualized humor is the quickest way to get higher speaks in front of me, e.g. Thanos jokes on a Malthus flow. Good analysis is rewarded, including but not limited to: correctly extending warrants of your cards, indicting warrants of your opponents' cards, arguments about comparative weight of evidence, or deployment of impact framing. Good strategy and mastery of details is also rewarded. On the neg that means that your neg strategy demonstrates that you researched the plan thoroughly and have an understanding of why the aff is a bad idea or why it does not belong in policy debate (i.e. hyper-specific counterplans/disads or nuanced procedural objections to the plan text). On the aff that means demonstrating mastery of the details of your aff as an implemented policy (hyper-specific no links or link turns to politics or core topic generics based on specific evidence or the implementation per your solvency advocates).

Delivery: Your speed should be limited by clarity. You should be clear enough that I can flow without needing your speech doc. Additionally, even if I can hear and understand you, I am not going to flow your twenty point theory block perfectly if you spit it out in ten seconds. Sign-post the line-by-line -- your arguments won't mean much if I don't know where to flow them or if I lose them trying to find where I'm supposed to flow. Keep in mind that you will, by default, be less clear in Zoom.

Organization: I believe good line-by-line is a fundamental of good debate that is becoming increasingly rare and is the number one way most debaters can improve. Proper sign-posted line by line is the bare minimum to get over a 28.5. I also dislike long overviews that just get cross applied everywhere.

Cross-X, Prep, and Tech: Tag-team CX is fine but it's part of your speaker point rating to give and answer most of your own cross. I think that finishing the answer to a final question during prep is fine but prep is not an eight minute time bank of cross-ex. Simple clarification and non-substantive questions during prep is fine. I don't charge prep for tech time, but tech is limited to just the emailing or flashing of docs. When you end prep, you should be ready to distribute.

Accommodations: Feel free to ask for accommodations before or during round or email me ahead of time.


As I understand it, the LD meta is approaching the era of policy that I actually debated in. Combined with the fact that the meta generally drifts down from policy, I am probably competent enough to listen to most anything you want to run. Given my policy background I have some preferences that will probably be harder for you to overcome with me in the back than with an actual LD judge. Notably, RVIs are a non-starter with me and I probably will not vote on arguments centered on plan-based debate is bad (LD drifted to policy plans for a reason).

Coming from policy I have a few thoughts about how time works in the LD format that might be atypical. I think time constraints in LD mean that I have to give the aff a lot more leeway than I would give in policy. I am also a lot more receptive to arguments about why condo is bad in LD than I would be in policy. On a more substantive level I think that the "outspread then kick" neg strategy is fundamentally weaker in LD than it is in policy. While the strategic goal of attaining a time trade-off is the same, the limitation on the number of speeches means that the neg must frontload more depth to the offcase earlier in order to develop the basic level of argumentative coherence necessary for something to be a reason to reject the aff. Therefore you're probably better off limiting the number of offcase regardless of condo theory.

Donny Peters Paradigm

3 rounds

Donny Peters

Director of Debate

Damien High School

18 years coaching. Before Damien I have coached at; Cal State Fullerton, Santa Margarita High School, Fairmont High School, Illinois State University, Ball State University, Wayne State University and West Virginia University.

I have been judging/coaching for 18 years, mostly college. After reading over paradigms for my entire adult life, I am not sure how helpful they really are. They seem to be mostly a chance to rant, a coping mechanism, a way to get debaters not to pref them and some who generally try but usually fail to explain how they judge debates. Regardless, my preferences are below, but feel free to ask me before the round if you have any questions.

For CJR: New Trier is my first official tournament judging this season, but I have done a ton of work on the topic, judged practice debates etc.

Evidence: This is an evidence based activity. I put great effort to listening, reading and understanding your evidence. If you have poor evidence, under highlight or misrepresent your evidence (intentional or unintentional) it makes it difficult for me to evaluate your arguments. Those who have solid evidence, are able to explain their evidence in a persuasive matter tend to get higher speaker points, win more rounds etc.

Overall: Debate how you like (with some constraints below). I will work hard to make the best decision I am capable of. Make debates clear for me, put significant effort in the final 2 rebuttals on the arguments you want me to evaluate and give me an approach to how I should evaluate the round.

Nontraditional Affs : I tend to enjoy reading the literature base for most nontraditional affirmatives. I'm not completely sold on the pedagogical value of these arguments at the high school level. I do believe that aff should have a stable stasis point in the direction of the resolution. The more persuasive affs tend to have a personal relationship with the arguments in the round and have an ability to apply their method and theory to personal experience.

Framework: I do appreciate the necessity of this argument. I am more persuaded by topical version arguments than the aff has no place in the debate. If there is no TVA then the aff need to win a strong justification for why their aff is necessary for the debate community. The affirmative cannot simply say that the TVA doesn't solve. Rather there can be no debate to be had with the TVA. Fairness in the abstract is an impact but not a persuasive one. The neg need to win specific reasons how the aff is unfair and and how that impacts the competitiveness and pedagogical value of debate. Agonism, decision making and education may be persuasive impacts if correctly done.

Counter plans: I attempt to be as impartial as I can concerning counterplan theory. I don’t exclude any CP’s on face. I do understand the necessity for affirmatives to go for theory on abusive counterplans or strategically when they do not have any other offense. Don’t hesitate to go for consult cp’s bad, process cps bad, condo, etc. For theory, in particular conditionality, the aff should provide an interpretation that protects the aff without over limiting the neg.

DA's : who doesn't love a good DA? I do not automatically give the neg a risk of the DA. Not really sure there is much else to say.

Kritiks- Although I enjoy a good K debate, good K debates at the high school level are hard to come by. Make sure you know your argument and have specific applications to the affirmative. My academic interests involve studying Foucault Lacan, Derrida, Deleuze, , etc. So I am rather familiar with the literature. Just because I know the literature does not mean I am going to interpret your argument for you.

Overall, The key to get my ballot is to make sure its clear in the 2NR/2AR the arguments you want me to vote for and impact them out. That may seem simple, but many teams leave it up to the judge to determine how to prioritize and evaluate arguments.

Tyler Thur Paradigm

3 rounds

*Updated September 2020*




I debated for four years at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Go Packers/Brewers/Bucks! In college, I debated for four years at Michigan State University, earning three first round bids and a semifinals appearance at the NDT.

Currently, I work on the non-debate side of Michigan State, doing education data analysis, program evaluation, and professional development. On the side, I help out OPRF, and this summer, I taught at the Wyoming Forensics Institute. That said, debate is no longer my day-to-day job. Given that, I'm not a content expert on this topic like some of your other judges might be.

More generally, any given debate can get in-depth quickly, so you should be careful with acronyms/intricacies if you think that your strategy is really innovative or requires a deep understanding of your specific mechanism. Teams sometimes get so deep in the weeds researching their business that they forget to provide basic explanation for the argument's context/history/background. Instead, they jump into the most advanced part of the topic. If something is creative, that's an issue because it's likely the judge's first time hearing it.

Everyone says it and almost no one means it, but I think that you should debate what you care about/what interests you/what you're good at doing. In other words, put me in the "big-tent" camp. All of the stuff below is too long and shouldn't impact your debating (maybe besides the meta issues section). It really is just my thoughts (vs a standard), and is only included to offer insight into how I see debate.


1. Assuming equal debating, I'm *really* bad for the K on the neg/as planless aff. I find my self constantly struggling with questions in decision-time like: Does the neg ACTUALLY have a link to the plan's MECHANISM or even their SPECIFIC representations? What is the alternative? How does that advocacy change the extremely sweeping and entrenched problems identified in the 1NC/2NC impact evidence? If it's so effective, why doesn't it overcome the links to the plan? If the alt is just about scholarship/ethics/some -ology, how does that compare to material suffering outlined by the 1AC? In the end, when I vote negative on it/for planless affs, it's generally because the losing team dropped a techy ballot like ethics first, serial policy failure or we're a PIK. I normally don't like footnoting philosophies, but I love what Cody Crunkilton has to say when he comments that "I won't hold it against you if you like Ks, and am not going to feel like my time was wasted or you are destroying debate or anything - I am just genuinely very confused about how kritiks answer the aff" and that "it is possible to convince me otherwise, but the amount of work you will have to do will be so high that nineteen out of twenty times you would be better off doing something else."

2. College debate made me more oriented to tech than truth. In my experience as a debater and judge, ignorance of tech resulted in a callous dismissal of arguments as “bad” and increased judge intervention to determine what is “correct” instead of what was debated in-round and executed more effectively. That said, truth is a huge bonus, and being on the right side makes your task of being technically proficient easier because you can let logic/evidence speak a little for you.

3. Despite my inclinations to tech, I still care a lot about evidence quality (namely because it demonstrates hard work and provides some insight into the relative truth of arguments). This idea has a couple of implications: a strong analytical argument can defeat bad evidence, one good card is better than 5 meh ones, and part of my role in judging is comparing evidence *when it's contested/debated*

4. Every round could use more calculus and comparisons. The most obvious example of this thesis is with impact calc, but I think there are a laundry list of other examples like considering relative risk, quality of evidence, and author qualifications. As a format, any of these comparisons should have a reason why your argument is preferable, a reason why that frame is important, and a reason why your opponents’ argument is poor/viewed in a poor lens. In the context of impact calc, this framework means saying that your impact outweighs on timeframe, that timeframe is important, and that while your opponent’s impact might have a large magnitude, I should ignore that frame of decision-making. Engaging your opponents’ arguments on a deeper level and resolving debates is the easiest way to get good points. Beyond that, making a decision is functionally comparing each teams’ stance/evidence quality/technical ability on a few nexus questions, so if you’re doing this work for me you will probably like my decision a lot more than if I’m left to sort through a pile of cards.

5. I hold debaters to a high standard for making an argument. Any claim should be supported with a warrant, evidence and impact on my decision. Use early speeches to get ahead on important questions. For instance, I won’t dismiss something like “Perm do Both,” but I think the argument would be bolstered by a reason why the perm is preferable in the 2AC (i.e. how it interacts with the net-benefits) instead of saving those arguments for the 1AR/2AR. By the way, you should consider this point my way out in post-rounds where you're like "but I said X...It was right here!" For me, if something is important enough to win/lose a debate, you should spend a significant amount of time there, connect and make sure your claim is *completely* and *thoughtfully* warranted.

6. All debates have technical mistakes, but not all technical mistakes are equal or irreversible. Given those assumptions, the best rebuttals recognize flaws and make “even if” statements/explain why losing an argument does not mean they lose the debate. I think debaters fold too often on mistakes. Just because you dropped a theory argument doesn’t mean you cannot cross-apply an argument from another theory argument, politics or T to win.

7. I think offense-defense is a poor way to view debates as it can be an overly rigid while most issues are relative. Consequently I’m a decent judge for “terminal” defense and reasonability. Likewise, I’m not the best judge for arguments like CP Yes/No links to politics.

8. Favorite Critics (Not 100% match in ideology, ask if interested): Leah Moczulski, Eric Morris, Will Mosley-Jensen, David Cram Helwich, Jonathan Paul, and David Heidt. They all work hard judging debates, care about their role as educators, and offer detailed feedback every round. That's what I will try to do in the round.

9. Things people don't do enough:

a) Start with the title for their 1NC offcase positions (i.e. first off TPP)

b) Give links labels (i.e our "docket crowdout link" or "our bipart link"

c) Explain what their plan actually does - For instance (in college), how does the plan restrict executive authority? Who does it? What is the mechanism? What, specifically, is covered? I've decided that if the aff is vague to an egregious extent, I'll be super easy on the negative with DA links, CP competition, and T. Aff vagueness is also a link to circumvention and explains why fiat doesn't solve definitional non-compliance.

d) Call out new arguments - I don't have sympathy if you *wish* you said no impact in the 2AC. There are times that I wish it existed, but there isn't and can't be a 3AC. I will say that for mostly pragmatic reasons, I'm not to the point of reviewing every new 1AR argument. I'll protect the 2NR for the 2AR, but you have to do the work before that.

10. Random (likely to change) college topic thoughts:

a) ESR (when written with extra planks to create aff-specific internal restraints, spur public perception, and fiat out of practice-bad advantages) is an absolute monster. It would be really tough to get me on ESR theory in an equally-debated round, I think most affirmative evidence says that the aff's mechanism is good (not that it is necessary or that executive-action would not be sufficient), and I think most aff perception arguments about Trump tweeting/flip-flopping/lacking credibility take out the affirmative. I'm hoping that teams skip ahead to the part of the War Powers topic where affs had a practice AND authority advantage (even if it's imperfect against the squo) instead of just a bunch of arguments why tariffs/treaty exit/surveillance/etc are bad.

b) The negative state action part of this topic will likely make it very difficult to win K links (sans legalism/Rana-type stuff). As always, negative specificity matters. In the end, you have to explain why the affirmative's particular action/scholarship/reps are problematic

c) The "Trumper" is both overrated and underrated. In terms of it applied to solvency/open non-compliance, expect that the aff will get leeway with durable fiat/implementation is robust. Given that approach, it's a non-starter. In terms of it applied to advantages, I would be worried. If you read climate/free trade/relations, you just need some specific twist OR great evidence that Trump will backdown.

d) Be careful your UQ CP doesn't overwhelm the link to your DA. Sometimes the neg goes a bit too far.

e) There doesn't seem to be a very good topic DA. Trump's bad, spillover links lose to thumpers (or just no spillover), and Yoo and friends are still war criminals. Given that, I imagine I'll be better for signal/politics/midterms-based DAs than prez powers, etc.


Planless affirmatives – The affirmative would ideally have a plan that defends action by the United States federal government (Least important). The affirmative should have a direct tie to the topic. In the context of the college resolution, this means you would have a defense of restricting executive authority on one of the topic areas (Pretty important). The affirmative MUST defend the implementation of said "plan" - whatever it is (MOST important). While I will NOT immediately vote negative on T or “Framework” as a procedural issue, if you don’t defend instrumental implementation of a topical plan *rooted in the resolutional question*, you will be in a tough spot. I’m especially good for T/Framework if the affirmative dodges case turns and debates over the question if presidential restrictions are good or bad. In particular, I am persuaded by arguments about why these affirmatives are unpredictable, under-limit the topic, and create a bad heuristic for problem solving (though procedural > political offense especially given Trump). Short version is that you can do you and there is always a chance I’ll vote for you, but I’m probably not an ordinal one for teams that don’t want to engage the resolutional question.

I do want to say that at tournaments with relaxed prefs, I will do my absolute best to keep an open mind about these assumptions. That shouldn't be read as "Thur says he's open to our planless aff - let's move him up to push down 'policy' people." It should be read as if I come up at one of these tournaments, you might as well do what you're most comfortable with/what you've practiced the most instead of over-adapting.

Critiques—Honestly, just read the first point in the "meta issues" section. I understand neolib/deterrence/security pretty well because they were a big part of my major. If you want to push against my confusion on the K (as a concept), you need to have specific links to the plan’s actions, authors, or representations. Again, trying to be honest, if you're itching to say Baudrillard, Bataille, Deleuze, death good, etc., I'm not your guy. On framework, the affirmative will almost surely be able to weigh their 1AC (unless they totally airball), and I'm pretty hesitant to place reps/scholarship/epistemology before material reality. One other thing - substitute out buzzwords and tags for explanation. Merely saying "libidinal economy" or "structural antagonism" without some evidence and explanation isn't a win condition.

In terms of being affirmative against these arguments, I think that too often teams lose sight of the easy ballots and/or tricks. The 1AR and 2AR need to “un-checklist” those arguments. In terms of disproving the critique, I think I’m pretty good for alternative fails/case outweighs or the permutation with a defense of pragmatism or reformism. Of those 2 - I'm best for your alt does nothing...we have an aff...

Case- I’m a huge fan. With that, I think that it’s very helpful for the neg (obviously?). I believe that no matter what argument you plan to go for, (excluding T/theory) case should be in some part of the 2nr. In the context of the critique, you can use case arguments to prove that the threats of the 1AC are flawed or constructed, that there are alternative causes to the affirmative that only the alternative solves, or that the impacts of the affirmative are miniscule and the K outweighs. For CPs, even if you lose a solvency deficit, you can still win because the net benefit outweighs the defended affirmative. Going for case defense to the advantage that you think the CP solves the least forces me to drop you twice as I have to decide the CP doesn’t solve AND that the case impact outweighs your net-benefit. That seems like a pretty good spot to be in.

CP- My favorite ones are specific to the 1AC with case turns as net benefits. Aside from that, I think that I am more inclined than most to vote aff on the perm when there is a trivial/mitigated net benefit vs. a smallish solvency deficit, but in the end I would hope you would tell me what to value first. I had a big section written up on theory, and I decided it's too round-dependent to list out. I still think that more than 2 conditional positions is SUPER risky, functional > textual competition, competition is dictated by mandates and not outcomes (i.e. CPs that are designed to spur follow-on are very strategic), judge kick is good, consult/condition/delay/threaten generally suck, and interpretations matter A LOT.

Topicality- I default to reasonability, but I can be convinced that Competing Interpretations is a decent model. The negative does not need actual abuse, but they do need to win why their potential abuse is likely as opposed to just theoretical. That is, I'll be less persuaded by a 25-item case list than a really good explanation of a few devastating new affirmatives they allow. If I were to pick only one standard to go for, it would be predictable limits. They shape all pre-round research that guides in-round clash and ensure that debates are dialogues instead of monologues. Finally, as a framing point, I generally think bigger topics = better.


They're totally broken. I'll try to follow the below scale based on where points were at GSU.

29.3 to 29.6 – Speaker Award - 1 to 10

29.1 to 29.2 – Speaker Award - 11 to 25

28.8 to 29 – Should break/Have a chance

28.5 to 28.7 – Outside change at breaking to .500

28.1 to 28.4 – Not breaking, sub-.500

27 to 28 – Keep working

Below 26 – Something said/done warranting a post-round conversation with coaches

Christopher Vincent Paradigm

6 rounds

Christopher Vincent
Director of Speech & Debate
Isidore Newman School, New Orleans

Add me to the email chain:

Northwestern Update:

I haven't judged a college round since 2016, so Northwestern will be the first time in quite some time. I will be perfectly honest, I'm not as fast as I once was, and being online I ask that you go a bit slower than what you would otherwise normally do. I have also not done a lot of work on the topic and so I am prone to be less familiar with acronyms or short-hand descriptions. In other words, please explain/contextualize topic specific terms. What I do promise is that I will listen to, flow, and evaluate the debate that is in front of me.

Grapevine/Online Update:
Please slow down! It is much harder for me to hear online. Go at about 75% rather than 100% of your normal pace!!!

Relevant for Both Policy & LD:

This is my 17th year in debate. I debated in high school, and then went on to debate at the University of Louisville. In addition, I was the Director of Debate at both Fern Creek & Brown School in KY, a former graduate assistant for the University of Louisville, and the Director of Speech & Debate at LSU. I am also a doctoral candidate in Communication & Rhetorical studies, with a Graduate Certificate in Womens, Gender, and Sexuality studies.

I view my role as an educator and believe that it is my job to evaluate the debate in the best way I can and in the most educational way possible. Over the past several years have found myself moving more and more to the middle. So, my paradigm is pretty simple. I like smart arguments and believe that debates should tell a clear and succinct story of the ballot. Simply put: be concise, efficient, and intentional.

Here are a few things you should know coming into the round:

1. I will flow the debate. But PLEASE slow down on the tag lines and the authors. I don’t write as fast as I used to. I will yell clear ONE TIME. After that, I will put my pen down and stop flowing. So, don't be mad at the end of the debate if I missed some arguments because you were unclear. I make lots of facial expressions, so you can use that as a guide for if I understand you

2. I value effective storytelling. I want debates to tell me a clear story about how arguments interact with one another, and as such see debates holistically. Accordingly, dropped arguments are not enough for me to vote against a team. You should both impact your arguments out and tell me why it matters.

3. I will not vote for arguments that are racist, homophobic, transphobic, sexist, or ableist in nature.

4. Do what you do best. While I do not believe that affirmatives have to be topical, I also find myself more invested in finding new and innovative ways to engage with the topic. Do with that what you will. I am both well versed and have coached students in a wide range of literature. I believe that there are implications to the things we talk about in debate, and believe that our social locations inevitably shape the beliefs that we hold.

5. If you do not believe that performative/critical arguments have a place, or that certain argument choices are “cheating,” I’m probably not the judge for you.

6. Know what you’re talking about. The quickest way to lose a debate in front of me is to read something because it sounds and looks “shiny.” I enjoy debates where students are well read/versed on the things they are reading, care about them, and can actually explain them. Jargon is not appealing to me. If it doesn’t make sense or if I don’t understand it at the end of the debate I will have a hard time evaluating it.

7. I will listen to Theory, FW, and T debates, but I do not believe that it is necessarily a substantive response to certain arguments. Prove actual in-round abuse, actual ground loss, actual education lost (that must necessarily trade off with other forms of education). I do not believe in neutral education, neutral conceptions of fairness, or even ground, or limits. If you run theory, be ready to defend it. Actual abuse is not because you don't understand the literature, know how to deal with the argument, or that you didn't have time to read it.

8. Be respectful of one another and to me. I am a teacher and educator first. I don’t particularly care for foul language, or behavior that would be inappropriate in the classroom.

9. Finally, make smart arguments and have fun. I promise I will do my best to evaluate the debate you give me.

If you have any other questions, just ask.

Jon Voss Paradigm

3 rounds

Jon Voss

Head Coach - Oak Park and River Forest High School - Present

Director of Debate - Glenbrook South High School - 2010-2018

Debate Coach - Whitney Young - 2009-2010

Debate Coach/2-3 bracket mainstay - Sheboygan North HS - 2002-2010

I coached high school policy debate for 12 years, National Service through Legal Immigration. I've been around debate, first as a debater and then as a coach, since 02. I sat out Legal Immigration and Arms Sales, but I am back for the Criminal Justice Reform topic. Debate is not my full-time job – I work in higher education as a program/product manager – but I expect to actively judge and participate in topic research during the season.

Yes email chain: jvoss1223 AT gmail DOT com. I don't read along during the debate, I just like it so that I can ensure nobody's clipping cards and also so that I can begin my decision-making process immediately after the debate ends. This is important for how you debate -- using the speech doc instead of your flow as a guide is to your detriment.

-- I hear that the quantity of 1NC positions is up and the quantity is down. This seems to be to the negative's detriment. Burden of proof is a precondition of the requirement that the affirmative answer the argument, and less ev/fewer highlighted words in the name of more offcase positions seems to make it less likely that the neg will fulfill the aforementioned burden of proof.

-- I am generally bad for broad-strokes “framing” arguments that ask the judge to presume that the risk of <<neg thing>> is especially low. Indicts of mini-max risk assessment make sense in the abstract, but it is the affirmative’s responsibility to apply these broad theories to whatever objections the negative has advanced. “The aff said each link exponentially reduces the probability of the DA, and the DA has links, so you lose” is a weak ballot and one that I am unexcited to write.

-- You should speak more slowly. You will debate better. I will understand your argument better. Judges who understand your argument with more clarity than your opponent's argument are likely to side with you. If I can't understand your argument -- either due to your lack of clarity or your argument's lack of coherence -- I will not vote for it. This is especially true in an era of online debating.

-- I am generally better for a narrow solution that tackles an instance of oppression than an undefined/murky solution that aims to move the needle further than the pragmatic alternative. I suspect this may be relevant this year in debates where both sides are working to solve similar things because those debates usually boil down to the viability of the plan vs the alt.

-- I am often way less interested in "impact defense" than "link defense." This is equally true of my thoughts toward negative disadvantages and affirmative advantages. For example, if the aff wins with certainty that they stop a US-China war, I'm highly unlikely to vote neg and place my faith in our ability to the big red telephone at the White House to dampen the conflict. Similarly, if the neg wins that your plan absolutely crashes the economy by disrupting the market or causing some agenda item to fail, I will mostly be unconcerned that there are some other historical explanations for great power wars than "resource scarcity." The higher up the link "chain" you can indict your opponent's argument, the better.

-- Don't clip cards. If you're accusing a team of it, you need to be able to present me with a quality recording to review. Burden of proof lies with the accusing team, "beyond a reasonable doubt" is my standard for conviction.

-- Yes judge kick unless one team explicitly makes an argument that convinces me to conceive differently of presumption. Speaking of, presumption is "least amount of change" no matter what. This could mean that presumption *still* lies with the neg even if the aff wins the status quo is no longer something the judge can endorse (but only if the CP is less change than the plan).

-- Fairly liberal with the appropriate scope of negative fiat as it relates to counterplans. Fairly aff-leaning regarding counterplan competition, at least in theory -- but evidence matters more than general pleas to protect affirmative competitive equity. I could be convinced otherwise, but my default has always been that the neg advocate must be as good as whatever the aff is working with. This could mean that an “advocate-less” counterplan that presses an internal link is fair game if the aff is unable to prove that they…uh…have an internal link.

-- T-USFG: Debate is no longer my full-time job, so I think I have a little less skin in the game on this issue. I also suspect the Trump presidency and the associated exposure of explicit racism within the United States may have made me a better judge for affirmatives that do not instrumentally defend the topic/federal government action. I'm not sure how much better, though, and I'm probably at best a risky bet for affirmatives hoping to beat a solid 2NR on T-USFG. If you do have me in this type of debate:

**Won't vote on any sort of argument that amounts to, "debate is bad, so we will concede their argument that we destroy debate/make people quit/exclude X population of student, that's good."

**Affirmatives would be well served to prioritize the link between defending a particular state action and broader observations about the flaws of the state.

**Procedural fairness is most important. The ballot can rectify fairness violations much more effectively than it can change anything else, and I am interested in endorsing a vision of debate that is procedurally fair. This is both the single strongest internal link to every other thing debate can do for a studeny and a standalone impact. I am worse for the “portable skills” impacts about information processing, decision-making, etc.