UCO Joe C Jackson Tournament

2014 — OK/US

Teddy Albiniak Paradigm

4 rounds

Some tidbits to consider, no particular order:

I try to make decisions based on criteria established by debaters. If none are offered, I will rely on my knowledge of convention, style, and execution to guide me. What that means - I am equally likely to vote for a good thought experiment or critical intervention, as I am a traditional policy proposal. That being said, I have a higher threshold for what counts. Asserted risk calculus is as unappealing as unapplied critical jargon.

Mediocre debaters copy others. Good debaters advance arguments. Great debaters persuade.

Don’t assume I know what you are talking about

I prefer organization and development of arguments as the debate proceeds. That means: 
Details matter. Warrants matter. Cross-ex matters. History matters. 

Evidence matters when a claim is contested. "We have a card" is not a warrant for an argument. How one chooses to highlight evidence should be of relevance to you, but it is especially relevant to me.

Argument "type" is not extremely relevant to me - select the arguments that you are prepared for rather than those that you think I agree with. I obviously have preferences but am interested in seeing how you make sense of the activity, not with advancing my agenda.

I think the activity is at its best when rounds are serious and complex investigations of policy, philosophy, and politics based in literatures and discussions made relevant by and to the resolution. 

That means I am less likely to care about miniscule theory debates or certain kinds of performances until/unless their relevance is clearly explained and impacted. Then, it's awesome.

I like:

case debates

disadvantage impacts that focus on early internal link claims and less on terminal impacts

affirmatives that affirm things

consistent but tricky negative strategies

counter plans with solvency advocates and real net benefits


some relation to reality, even if contested


serious theoretical objections, including topicality

Everyone is always learning - including me and you.

Andrew Allsup Paradigm

3 rounds

I. Biographical Information:

I am in the second year of a doctoral program in Communication and Rhetoric at the University of Pittsburgh. I helped coach at Kansas State University for two years while earning an MA. I debated for 5 years at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.


II. The Big Picture


First, this is a competitive academic activity and I expect the evidence you introduce into the debate to meet a certain level of intellectual rigor. This does not mean that every piece of evidence needs to be from a peer-reviewed source (although it is often preferable) but it should contain a coherent argument (i.e. claim and warrant). Hint: one line cards rarely (read: never) meet this standard.

Second, quality always trumps quantity. The “strategic” decision to read a bunch of cards that either come from questionable sources or fail to make a coherent argument will never beat one well-warranted card. This shouldn’t be controversial yet somehow debate has conditioned otherwise intelligent people to think otherwise.

Third, question your opponent’s sources. This is a quick way to get favorable speaker points from me. Do your opponent a favor and tell them that their sources are unqualified. Do me a favor and explain why I should disregard certain pieces of evidence because they aren’t academically credible and unfit for this academic community. Bottom line: read unqualified/bad evidence at your own risk.

Paperless Information: Prep time stops when you pull the flash drive/send the email. If you are doing an email chain then you should include me in it (my email is aallsup[at]gmail.com).  

Good Speaker Points 101:

  1. Make an complete argument (claim, warrant, and impact).
  2. Clarity: If I cant hear/understand your argument I will not flow/evaluate it
  3. “Extinction” or “Nuclear War” is not a tag. Tags include claims AND warrants
  4. Author name extensions are insufficient. Don’t do it. Make an argument and use the evidence to support it
  5. Cross-X is a speech and it will factor heavily in speaker point distribution. I reward good questions and responses.
  6. Get to the point: focus on the core issues of the debate

III. Argument Specific:


First, I am not the judge for you to stake the round on arbitrary interpretations. You need to be able to defend that your interpretation presents a useful norm that should be universalized within debate. That being said, I default to competing interpretations but have a decently low thresholds for critiques of topicality/theory when interpretations are wholly arbitrary.

Second, if you want to win a critique of topicality/theory you must prove that the exclusion of the affirmative is worse than the negatives ability to expect a fair, limited, or predictable debate.  

Third, I tend to side with the idea that conditionality is a beneficial and educational tool in debate. The affirmative will have to win a decisive and tangible impact in order to get me to vote against conditionality. That being said, there is a point at which conditionality can be abused and that abuse trades off with good scholarship. I’m not the person to read nine conditional advocacies in front of. At a certain point there is an inverse relationship between number of advocacies and good arguments that demeans the purpose of engaging each other in this competitive academic forum.

Fourth, you can read your agent/actor counter plans and I will evaluate them fairly but I certainly will not be happy about it. My belief is that the negative should only be allowed to fiat the agent of the resolution. I don’t think competition based on the “certainty” of the plan is productive or interesting.

Fifth, my default is that most theory is a reason to reject the argument and not the team. If you think you can win a reason to reject the team then go for it. I guess we will find out what happens.

Counterplans: I’m not a fan of conditions/consultation counterplans. I think they should be both textually and functionally competitive. The negative should only be allowed to fiat the agent of the resolution. If you’re affirmative, don’t be afraid to go for theory. However, as mentioned before, I often find theory to be a reason to reject the argument not the team. As a former 2a I am not even in the ballpark when it comes to word pics/floating pics. Reading it as a critique solves your pedagogical net benefit. QED.

Disadvantages: Higher risk almost always beats a higher magnitude. You should always make disad turns the case arguments. You must provide some sort of impact calculation in order to have me interpret your strategy favorably.


First, the story has to match. Please don’t make me listen to a scenario that doesn’t have matching parts. If the uniqueness and link evidence don’t assume the same politician/group of politicians then you lose.

Second, explain the implication of core defensive arguments. If Obama has no political capital or if the negative is missing a crucial internal link then you need to explain how that affects everything else they are saying.

Third, surprisingly I find myself enjoying politics debates more and more. Don’t hesitate to go for it when I’m judging. Just be smart about it – put your logical-analytic skills to work and make the debate worth listening to.

Critical Affirmatives and Framework:

First, I don’t think framework is a voting issue. Framework is a means by which I determine how to evaluate the round.

Second, topicality is absolutely essential to winning a framework debate when you’re negative.

Third, you need to prove that your interpretation can offer the possibility for the same education as the affirmative has provided to emerge. The best way to do this is to offer a topical version of the 1ac. Another way to do this is provide other topical examples that produce the same pedagogical effect as the 1ac.

Fourth, you also need to prove some competitive reason why the negative has been disadvantaged by the affirmative. More importantly, you need to prove why this violation of competitive equity impacts or implicates their education impacts.


First, the worst thing you can do is read a critique that you have little-to-no knowledge about or practice debating. Critiques are hard to win. I loved debating them. They’re all I debated. However, my experience has led me to conclude that I should have a high standard for those who wish to read critical arguments. It’s better for you (because you learn more about an absolutely fascinating literature base) and it’s better for me (because I don’t have to listen to bad scholarship).

Second, framework against the negative critique is rarely a winning strategy. Reading a bunch of cards is rarely a good strategy. Find the 2 or 3 crucial issues you need to win and win them with good arguments. For example, instead of telling the negative they need to provide a policy option, why not just win that policymaking is the best way to solve the impact to the critique?





Kristiana Baez Paradigm

6 rounds

Debated: Norman High School (2005- 2009), University of Oklahoma (2009-2014)
Coached: University of Texas at San Antonio (2014-2015)
Caddo Magnet High School (2014-2015)
Baylor University (2015-2017)

University of Iowa (2017-present)

email: kristiana.baez@gmail.com

I am not too biased against any particular argument, it's your round so do what you do, but do it well.
I did however primarily read kritiks, but I have also done strictly policy debate in my career, so I have been exposed to a wide variety of arguments and I am not someone who will always vote for the k or for FW. I like to think that I am a favorable judge for either.

Kritiks: Although, I am familiar with some kritiks, I do not pretend to be an expert on all. There are still many kritiks that I have trouble understanding. That being said, I think that case specific links are the best. Generic links are not as compelling especially if you are flagging certain cards for me to call for at the end of the round. It seems that many times debaters don't take the time to really explain what the alternative is like, whether it solves part of the aff, is purely rejection, etc. If for some reason the alternative isn't extended or explained in the 2nr, I won't just apply it as a case turn for you. An impact level debate is also still important even if the K excludes the evaluation of specific impacts. It is really helpful to articulate how the K turns the case as well. On a framing level, do not just assume that I will believe that the truth claims of the affirmative are false, there needs to be in-depth analysis for why I should dismiss parts of the aff preferably with evidence to back it up.

Performance/Methodology debates- Since I debated for OU and I debated in the D3, I am not unfamiliar with these debates. I am in no way biased in one way or another. I think that arguments need to be competitive. The things you may talk about in your performance/methodology may be true, but there needs to be a clear link articulated to the argument that you are debating. Many times competing methodologies start to sound really similar to each other, so teams need to establish a clear difference between the arguments.

Clash of Civ. debates- I think that these debates can be really great because clash is kind of important. However, these debates tend to get really muddled, so you need to work extra hard to make things clear for me rather than just assuming I will lean one way or another. When it comes to K Affs v. FW, I think that you need to do a lot of work and don't just go for generic arguments like switch side without giving specific examples of things like in round abuse, etc. or interesting impact arguments. Ex: just saying roleplaying good/bad without a really good explanation is not going to be compelling.

CPs- I really like counterplans especially if they are specific to the aff, which shows that you have done your research. Although PIKs are annoying to deal with if you are aff, I enjoy a witty PIK. However, make it clear that it is a PIK and explain why it solves the aff. Generic cps with generic solvency cards aren't really going to do it for me. However, if the evidence is good then I am more likely to believe you when you claim aff solvency. There needs to be a good articulation for why the aff links to the net benefit and good answers to cp solvency deficits, assuming there are any. Permutation debate needs to be hashed out on both sides, with Da/net benefits to the permutations made clear.

DAs- I find it pretty easy to follow DAs. However, if you go for it I am most likely going to be reading ev after the round, so it better be good. If your link cards are generic and outdated and the aff is better in that department, then you need to have a good reason why your evidence is more qualified, etc. Make your scenario clear, DAs are great but some teams tend to go for a terminal impact without explanation of the scenario or the internal link args. Comparative analysis is important so I know how to evaluate the evidence that I am reading. Tell me why the link o/w the link turn etc. Impact analysis is very important, timeframe, probability, magnitude, etc., so I can know why the Da impacts are more important than the affs impacts. A good articulation of why the Da turns each advantage is extremely helpful because the 2ar will most likely be going for those impacts in the 2ar.

Theory- I generally err neg on theory unless there is a really good debate over it. Your generic blocks aren't going to be very compelling. If you articulate why condo causes a double turn, etc. specific to the round is a better way to go with it. I think that arguments such as vague alternatives especially when an alternative morphs during the round are good. However, minor theory concerns such as multiple perms bad aren't as legitimate in my opinion.

Topicality- Generic T shells are not something that hold my attention, however, a specific definition or a T in tandem with another position to get a link, is strategic. If you are going to go for T, then go for it starting in the block and make it a legitimate option and I will evaluate it.

Other notes: If you are unclear, I can't flow you and I don't get the evidence as you read it, so clarity over speed is always preferable.
Don't be rude, your points will suffer. There is a difference between being aggressive and being a jerk.
Impact calc please, don't make me call for everyones impacts and force me to evaluate it myself. I don't want to do the work for you.
The last two rebuttals should be writing my ballot, tell me how I vote and why. Don't get too bogged down to give a big picture evaluation.

Accomplish something in your cross-x time, keep me interested, have an agenda during your cx and use the answers you get in cx and incorporate them into your speeches. Cx is wasted if you pick apart the DA but don't talk about it in your speech.

Eric Beane Paradigm

6 rounds

Name: Eric Beane

Affiliation: Langham Creek High School

*Current for the 2020-21 Season*

Policy Debate Paradigm

I debated for the University of Houston from 2012-2016. I've coached at Katy-Taylor HS from 2011 - 2016 and now I am the Director of Debate at Langham Creek High School. I mostly went for the K. I judge a lot of clash of the civs & strange debates. Have fun

Specific Arguments

Critical Affirmatives – I think your aff should be related to the topic; we have one for a reason and I think there is value in doing research and debating on the terms that were set by the topic committee. Your aff doesn’t need to fiat the passage of a plan or have a text, but it must generally affirm the resolution. I think having a text that you will defend helps you out plenty. Framework is definitely a viable strategy in front of me.

Disadvantages – DA + CP or case in the 2NR is not what I went for or coached primarily in my years of competition. Specific turns case analysis that is contextualized to the affirmative (not blanket, heg solves for war, vote neg analysis) will always be rewarded with high speaker points. Comparative analysis between time frame, magnitude and probability makes my decisions all the easier. I love to judge a good debate regardless of the argument.

Counterplans – I think that PICs can be an interesting avenue for debate, especially if they have a nuanced or critical net benefit. PICs bad etc. are not reasons to reject the team but just to reject the argument. I also generally err neg on these questions, but it isn’t impossible to win that argument in front of me. Condo debates are fair game – you’ll need to invest a substantial portion of the 1AR and 2AR on this question though.

Kritiks - I enjoy a good K debate. When I competed in college I mostly debated critical disability studies and its intersections. I've also read variations of Nietzsche, Psychoanalysis and Marxism throughout my debate career.

"Method Debate" - Many debates are unnecessarily complicated because of this phrase. If you are reading an argument that necessitates a change in how a permutation works (or doesn't), then naturally you should set up and explain a new model of competition. Likewise, the affirmative ought to defend their model of competition.

Vagueness - Strangely enough, we begin the debate with two very different positions, but as the debate goes on the explanation of these positions change, and it all becomes oddly amorphous - whether it be the aff or neg. I feel like "Vagueness" arguments can be tactfully deployed and make a lot of sense in those debates (in the absence of it).

We all need to be able to understand what the alternative is, what it does in relation to the affirmative and how does it resolve the link+impact you have read. I have no shame in not voting for something that I can't explain back to you.

Case Debate – I think that even when reading a 1-off K strategy, case debate can and should be perused. I think this is probably the most undervalued aspect of debate. I can be persuaded to vote on 0% risk of the aff or specific advantages. Likewise, I can be convinced there is 0 risk of a DA being triggered.

Topicality - I'm down to listen to a good T debate. Having a topical version of the aff with an explanation behind it goes a long way in painting the broader picture of debate that you want to create with your interpretation. Likewise being able to produce a reasonable case list is also a great addition to your strategy that I value.

"Strange" Arguments / Backfile Checks - I love it when debate becomes fun. Sometimes we need a break from the monotony of nuclear armageddon. The so-called classics like wipeout, the pic, etc. I think are a viable strategy. I've read guerrilla communication arguments in the past and think it provides some intrigue in policy debate.

Other Information

Accessibility - My goal as an educator and judge is to provide the largest and most accessible space of deliberation possible. If there are any access issues that I can assist with, please let me know (privately or in public - whatever you are comfortable with). I struggle with anxiety and understand if you need to take a "time out" or breather before or after a big speech.

Evidence - When you mark cards I usually also write down where they are marked on my flow –also, before CX starts, you need to show your opponents where you marked the cards you read. If you are starting an email chain - prep ends as soon as you open your email to send the document. I would like to be on your email chain too - ericdebate@gmail.com

High Speaks? - The best way to get high speaks in front of me is in-depth comparative analysis. Whether this be on a theory debate or a disad/case debate, in depth comparative analysis between author qualification, warrants and impact comparison will always be rewarded with higher speaker points. The more you contextualize your arguments, the better. If you are negative, don't take prep for the 1NR unless you're cleaning up a 2NC disaster. I'm impressed with stand-up 1ARs, but don't rock the boat if you can't swim. If you have read this far in my ramblings on debate then good on you - If you say "wowzas" in the debate I will reward you with +.1 speaker points.

Any other questions, please ask in person or email – ericdebate@gmail.com

Tess Botkin Paradigm

6 rounds

Debated @ University of Central Oklahoma 3 years

I judged frequently in the 2015-2016 season, and at this tournament last year.  I haven't judged on this topic yet, but I do have a fair amount of knowledge on healthcare and have been working to catch up on the literature (My grandmother has worked in heathcare admitting and billing for 45 years and my mother for 20).  If you are a very fast paced team and you read your analyticals at the same speed as your cards you should probably slow down a tad on your analyticals anyway regardless of who is in the back of the room.

While I debated I was mostly a middle of the road K debater I read typically topical affs with kritikal advantages, and most of the time only went for one or two off on the negative with a case debate.  That being said I do have a background that means I am very familiar with DA/CP/T type strategies and would be happy to hear them, I just was not very good at executing them as a debater.  Also be forewarned I have not done research on this topic, and am not actively doing so now. That being said I do have some general thoughts:


Big picture


Do what you best, it is much better for me to see you doing what you are good at than what you think I will want to hear, just because I don’t like something doesn’t mean I won’t vote for it, other than obviously derogatory arguments/language.  Really your strategies should be well thought out, cohesive, and specific.  My only proclivity is that I am a believer that conditionality is good but that your arguments should not directly contradict, especially if one of your arguments is discourse based.  It makes no sense to me that I would vote for you on a certain type of discourse being bad when you yourself have engaged in that discourse.  Now obviously the other team does have to impact this argument, but it is something I feel as though you should know. *When the timer goes off I stop flowing, you don't get to make three additional arguments while the timer is going off*




These are fine, where I feel many DA’s are weakest are at the internal link level.  Obviously DA impacts are exaggerated but so are almost any impacts you will hear in a debate round.  These arguments are best when they are told to me like a story, I need to know why what the aff specifically does cause your scenario.  I also feel that often the link is not as specific as the negative leads us to believe, but if that isn’t pointed out or exploited in cross x then it becomes irrelevant.  Don’t just grant someone a link, actually contest it because if it doesn’t link it doesn’t matter.  Also kritiks of DA impacts are fine I utilized them often but just because you have a K of a DA doesn’t mean you can ignore the rest of the scenario, you do actually  have to contest the link/internal link of the DA as well.



I like a smart CP with a built in net benefit or even just a generic counterplan.  I think both have their uses.    The counterplan does actually have to have some sort of a net benefit whether that is a k or a DA doesn’t matter to me it just has to be there.  My only real problem comes with some word PIC’s if it is a generic word pic like “the” or “resolve” or “usfg” you do need to actually explain to me a reason why in this specific instance or on this specific topic it is bad.  I have a really hard time with the probability level on the impact for these types of arguments.  Not to say that all word pics are bad, i.e. those out of sexist, ableist, racist, or other derogatory language.  This can also be used for word pics out of a word that just doesn’t make sense in an area of U.S. code etc.




T is fine with me, just keep in mind I haven’t read the literature and won’t know the arguments there, so you may have to explain to me your interpretation and ground loss a little more than to some other people.  I do in general think teams should be topical, or at least related to the topic, but if you are not even talking about the topic I’m going to have a hard time with voting for you, it’s not to say it’s not possible but it’s an uphill battle.




Framework is fine I have ran a policy fw, and I’ve also kritiked them, so really I just think it is about who argues it the best.  I think that the negative should at least have ground, if you don’t want to defend usfg action fine, but you cannot just state a non-falsifiable truth, because that is not a debatable argument.  There has to be something the negative can say that is not a morally repugnant argument.




K’s are fine this is probably what I am most familiar with and debated the majority of the time.  You need to actually explain to me what your alternative does and why that matters/solves your impact.  I think a lot of the time the alternative is just given to K teams when it should be contested.  This is particularly true in the case of Reject alts.  Why does rejecting the aff magically stop extinction? I have no idea so you might want to explain that to me.  I am open to all k’s but I will say I do not have a background in high theory.  I am open to Baudrillard, D and G, etc but I do not get it when I try to read it so you will definitely have to explain it to me.  If I do not understand the argument I will probably have a harder time voting for it, so you must explain it to me.


Performance Arguments


I think these arguments are very valuable to debate and am open to watching them, keep in mind the rest of my philosophy as I am open to voting on FW or T so you may very well end up having this debate with me in the back of the room.  However I am not biased to vote either way on FW I just think it is a debate worth having.  I will flow even if you don’t read cards as I think that analyticals can be just as valuable as evidence when used correctly.  I do ask that for flowing purposes you roadmap clearly and isolate which responses are to which argument, because I do sometimes have difficulty finding where certain arguments are after the debate is over, and this will be helpful for both me and you when I am evaluating the debate and in the post round if you ask me about x argument that was made.



Eli Brennan Paradigm

6 rounds

elibrennan@gmail.com YES, I'd like to be on the email chain (or i guess we may just use Zoom to transfer speech docs).

Evidence: I am happy, very happy, to prefer the team with the better evidence on key questions, you just need to explain why your evidence is superior: be clear about which evidence you want me to read, why I will find it superior, and why that matters for the overall strategic situation of the debate.I haven't been reading much evidence at all after debates because the approach to extending the evidence lacks substantive warranting. In those situations, I prefer to just compare warrants provided by the debaters- to see who did the better _debating_. All that said, I really do like that policy debate can create stable strategic advantages for better research and better interpretation of that research.

Framework: I'm sympathetic to Framework arguments mostly in situations where the Aff. is apparently trying to avoid substantive clash. Many debaters who specialize in, or rely on, framework arguments fail to convince me that they could not have anticipated, or developed answers to, the Affirmative's arguments. Developing substantive responses to widely different kinds of arguments seems like something we should each be good at. I often sense that debaters are just not interested in literature they claim to have been unable to anticipate. All that said, if you have a solid set of answers to the questions our community brings to the topic, and your opponent makes it unreasonably difficult/impossible to engage in those debates, please by all means go for framework. Winning the quality of education component is usually the key to that ballot for me.

K Debate: I like policy debate and critical debate. Do what you do best, and I'll follow. Adapting your blocks to the specifics of the Aff is the easiest way to improve your chances. For the Aff to weigh their advantages against a K, defending the knowledge claims is more reliable than theory arguments (for my ballot). A lot of teams are letting alternatives off the hook, which creates a tough debate for the Aff. Putting both offensive and defensive pressure on the Alternative is a more robust strategy, in my view, than a framework argument giving theoretical reasons I should ignore evidence against the Aff perspective.

Theory: A lot of theory debates are messy because debaters overly rely on their blocks. It gets blippy and lacks the kind of comparisons that make ballots reliable. I do understand, and am sympathetic to, theory positions that are necessary to keep the rest of the debate under control for your side. You often end up needing to go "all in" if the substantive debate gets out of control. Just be sure to debate "access" to the terminal impact of education in a clear and comparative way. I'm probably more sympathetic to process counterplans and solvency advocate arguments than most of my colleagues, in that I like these debates to be resolved with the best research, rather than the best spin.

Global advice: Think actively during the whole debate, find a way to create and enjoy moments of excellence, and respect your opponents (or at least the people they could be). Make whatever arguments you feel/think best. Take the time to explain your argument most comprehensively at the places you are most vulnerable- always contextualizing one step further than your opponent (they say 'purple', you say 'sun-drenched lavender').

Most of my decisions result from setting the 2nr against the 2ar, controlling for new args (esp. new 2ar args), checking evidence, defaulting to meta-arguments (comparisons) from debaters, and then imposing (i hate it as much as you do) meta-arguments where necessary.

I'm happy to answer any questions you may have before, during, or after the debate.

*Sidequests: +.2 Speaker points on offer for the sickest burn on opposing authors.

Shae Bunas Paradigm

3 rounds

Shae Bunas
Debated @ Oklahoma for 4 years.

Currently an Assistant Coach @ UCO.

Big Picture

In general, I don't have much of a preference for what people read in front of me. Despite having debated critiques throughout college I enjoy CP/DA/T debates and hope teams will be willing to read those arguments if they are more prepared to do so. Whatever strategy you choose, the more specific the strategy the better.

Specific arguments

Topicality: Generic T arguments don't get very far in front of me unless they are based in the literature and the negative can prove that the loss of core (generic) ground outweighs the affs education claims (e.g., why is the politics da/other generic da more important than the aff's particular education). If the aff doesn't read any offense they will very likely lose the debate.

Framework: Absent a T component it's not a reason to reject the aff. I have yet to hear a good reason why policy education is the only predictable education.

Disads: 'DA turns the case' is pretty important. I could be persuaded of 'no risk of the da' but it's unlikely. 

CPs: Well-researched PICs are enjoyable and I encourage you to read them. I tend to lean negative on theory but aff on questions of competition. Textual/functional competition is up for debate.

Critiques: In my experience, alternatives are under-debated. The aff needs offense against the alt and the neg needs a specific explanation of how the alt solves the case. Impact framing is important: don't stop at 'utilitarianism is key' or 'ethics first'. Tell me why you should still win even if you lose the impact framing debate (e.g., 'even if the neg wins that ethics comes first you will still vote aff because....'). Absent specific link analysis the permutation is pretty compelling. When deciding between reading the K you always go for and are comfortable with versus reading the K's you know that I read you should default to the K's that you are comfortable with. Don't read a huge-ass overview in the block, put it on the line-by-line.

Theory: Reading blippy blocks is a non-starter as are cheap shots. Just like every other issue in debate it needs to be well-developed before I will consider it. Conditionality is probably ok as long as the neg isn't reading contradictory positions.

Evidence: I prefer a handful of quality cards that are debated well over a stack of shitty cards that are read as fast as possible. As such, I'm persuaded by smart analytical arguments that point out the contrived nature of the case advantage/da/cp/k/whatever. You won't convince me that a card cut from a blog should be rejected if it has a warrant in it. I evaluate arguments, not qualifications with T debates being the exception to the rule: literature-based definitions hold more water than the definition given by merriam-webster or some other dictionary.

Paperless: Clock stops when the jumping team pulls the flash drive out of their computer.

Ashley Denney Paradigm

3 rounds




Please include me on email chains - ashley.denney612@gmail.com

Be efficient about email chains. Get them set-up before the start time on the pairing. Multiple problems with email chains may lead to decreased speaker points.


Currently coaching at UTSA, previously at K-State.

Very minor note: I hate being called by my last name. "Ash" or "Ashley" is fine. You won't lose speaker points for it or anything, I'd just rather be referred to by my first name.


Big picture:

Frame the debate for me at the top of the 2nr/2ar. Tell me what to vote on and why that's more important than whatever the other team wants me to vote on.   *Tell me how to weigh impacts. If no one tells me what to prioritize and someone has an oppression/violence in debate impact, I will generally default to weighing that argument first.*

Talk in paragraphs not blips. Give me pen (okay typing) time instead of speeding your way through large blocks of analysis. Slow down on tags. Very little frustrates me more than not being able to tell when you've gone from one card to another.

Stay organized. Giving arguments names is nice. You don't have to be perfect on the line by line, but telling me when you're moving from the link to the alt debate or the ___ "disad" (or whatever) is nice.

Slow down. I'd rather hear you make applications and talk about argument interaction than rattle through another three cards that say the same thing. I get that sometimes you need extra evidence and if there are different warrrants, it makes sense, but think carefully about those decisions. To take advantage of your analysis, I need to be able to flow it so you can't rattle off at the same speed you would a card.


Some specifics:

Framework - I am becoming less and less persuaded by ground and fairness claims against critical affs. Framework is much more persuasive to me as a methodological/educational issue rather than a rules/theory issue.


Kritiks - this is what I'm most familiar with. Have clear links and impacts, tell me what the alt is and what I should be doing as a judge. I generally start with the link and impact debate and then work from there. I've noticed I care a little less about the alternative than other judges, by which I mean even if I'm not totally convinced about alt solvency, I might still think that the K outweighs the aff. I'm more familiar with identity-based literature than with "high theory" literature, not necessarily a big deal, but an fyi. It's not that I won't vote on high theory or that I haven't been exposed to it at all, it's just a general note to avoid relying on buzzwords (which really is a good idea in general).

Performance - Tell me how to evaluate your argument and why I should evaluate it that way.

Theory - slow down on your theory debates. This is hard to win in front of me, so you need to spend real time on theory to win it. Reject the argument not the team is often more persuasive.  General proclivities: severance perms are bad (although probably not a reason to lose), conditionality is good within reason (although critical conditionality arguments are a differnet question), word pics are cool, but might be cheating. You probably won't win that Ks are cheating in front of me.

 Case debates: love them. Sneaky case turns, impact defense, mini-Ks are all great.

Policy arguments - generally lean probability over magnitude. I don't have a lot of predilections here because I don't judge a lot of these debates, but I'm capable of following and willing to vote on policy arguments.



Philip DiPiazza Paradigm

6 rounds

Updated - Fall 2020

Number of years judging: 12

For the email chain: philipdipiazza@gmail.com

I want to be on the email chain, but I am not going to “read-along” during constructives. I may reference particular cards during cross-ex if they are being discussed, and I will probably read cards that are important or being contested in the final rebuttals. But it’s the job of the debaters to explain, contextualize, and impact the warrants in any piece of evidence. I will always try to frame my decision based on the explanations on the flow (or lack thereof).

Like every judge I look for smart, well-reasoned arguments. I’ll admit a certain proclivity for critical argumentation, but it isn’t an exclusive preference (I think there’s something valuable to be said about “policy as performance”). Most of what I have to say can be applied to whatever approach debaters choose to take in the round. Do what you’re good at, and I will do my best to render a careful, well thought-out decision.

I view every speech in the debate as a rhetorical artifact. Teams can generate clash over questions of an argument’s substance, its theoretical legitimacy, or its intrinsic philosophical or ideological commitments.

I think spin control is extremely important in debate rounds and compelling explanations will certainly be rewarded. And while quantity and quality are also not exclusive I would definitely prefer less cards and more story in any given debate as the round progresses. I also like seeing the major issues in the debate compartmentalized and key arguments flagged.

As for the standard array of arguments, there's nothing I can really say that you shouldn't already know. I like strong internal link stories and nuanced impact comparisons. I really don't care for "risk of link means you vote Aff/Neg" arguments on sketchy positions; if I don't get it I'm not voting for it. My standard for competition is that it’s the Negative’s job to prove why rejecting the Aff is necessary which means more than just presenting an alternative or methodology that solves better – I think this is the best way to preserve clash in these kinds of debates. Please be sure to explain your position and its relation to the other arguments in the round.

KRITIK LINKS ARE STILL IMPORTANT. Don’t assume you’ll always have one, and don’t over-rely on extending a “theory of power” at the top of the flow. Both of these are and should be mutually reinforcing. This is especially important for the way I evaluate permutations. Theories of power should also be explained deliberately and with an intent to persuade.

I think the topic is important and I appreciate teams that find new and creative approaches to the resolution, but that doesn’t mean you have to read a plan text or defend the USFG. Framework is debatable (my judging record on this question is probably 50/50). A lot of this depends on the skills of the debaters in the room. This should not come as a surprise, but the people who are better at debating tend to win my framework ballot. Take your arguments to the next level, and you'll be in a much stronger position.

Two other things that are worth noting: 1) I flow on paper…probably doesn’t mean anything, but it might mean something to you. 2) I think there is a difference between intensity and jackassery. Please be mindful of this.

Scott Elliott Paradigm

3 rounds

Scott Elliott, Ph.D. J.D.

Asst Director of Forensics, KCKCC

Years Judging: 30+

Judging Philosophy:

What you need to know 10 minutes before your round starts:

I will most definitely vote on topicality. Win the interpretation and violation, and I will vote negative. You are either topical or you are not. If you are not, you lose. See below for more detail.

That argument you always wanted to run, but were afraid to run it….this may be your day to throw the Hail Mary. I prefer impact turns and arguments that most judges dislike.

Affirmatives still have to win basic stock issues. I prefer counterplans and disads. But I also believe that the affirmative has a burden to defend the ontological, epistemological, pedagogical and ethical assumptions of the affirmative arguments they have chosen.

I have probably written, cut cards for and against, and coached teams about, the “cutting edge” argument you are thinking of running. I have also voted for it and against it depending upon how that argument is deployed in the round.

I am not intimidated nor persuaded by team reputation, verbal abuse, physical assaults or threats. If you won, I am willing to take the heat and I do not care about the community’s reaction. I have friends outside the debate community and I have my dogs. I don’t need to be your buddy and I certainly do not care about my social standing within this so-called “community.”

Engage in overly abusive discourse in the round, threats, intimidation, or actual assaults of an opponent, another judge, or audience members and you will not only lose the round, but you can pretty much write off my ballot for the rest of your career. These organizations won’t do much about it, but I will I do what I can to stop the downward spiral of this activity.

More Information:

Why such a hard ass about topicality?

Argumentation theory 101 says that in order to engage in argumentation, people need to be able first agree on the subject to be debated and to agree that they could be wrong. Academic debate is a voluntary activity in which a community of educators and students gather to engage in competitive argumentation. The community chooses the subject to be debated. There are various organizations and formats to choose from. If you don’t like what was chosen, find another organization, or go to a local bar and pick a fight with someone.

I feel like I have an obligation to this activity that transcends the students in the actual round. When CEDA first merged with NDT, there were over 300 programs in CEDA. Now I estimate there are less than 50 active programs. CEDA used to have as many as 300 teams debate at Nationals. Now we are lucky to get 100. The 2016 NDT could barely find 68 varsity teams that could meet the criteria for entry. Why? Unlike some people, I do not believe it has to do with the research burdens of debate. I think it comes down to the fact that we as judges have allowed policy debate to become a shitshow. It really has become worse than I have ever seen in 36 years. Audience members have been assaulted. Judges have been intimidated and physical confrontations have occurred. The organizations don’t do anything substantial to stop it. Frankly, such behavior would never be tolerated in other organizations. The atmosphere in CEDA/NDT has become so toxic that few people want to play the game anymore. If it continues, both organizations will cease to be viable. Worse, these bad practices are spilling over into the other organizations as refugees from CEDA become settler-colonialists in Parliamentary debate and NFA-LD debate. The excesses of CEDA are spreading like a cancer in high school debate, LD, and Parli. I find it shameful.

I really, honestly, believe that Topicality is one major check on these abusive practices for a lot of reasons. If you are negative, and the Affirmative is not topical, do not get sucked into the rabbit hole of their 2AC “impact turns to T” blocks. Your smartest move would be to ignore those arguments and stick me to my judging philosophy. Some smart teams are already doing it to the chagrin of 2ACs. If your AFF is not topical, do not place me on your pref sheets. Here are some of the big reasons that I believe trump your personal identity, ontology, epistemology, social warrior activism, and pedagogy:

1. Limits have to exist to prevent the affirmative from strategically choosing negative’s ground. The function of an affirmative “case” is to critique the status quo. Imagine a world in which we allow the first team to speak the unlimited and unchecked ability to choose not only their own ground, but also the negative’s ground. (Hint, it exists in D3 and it sucks.) The burden of rejoinder requires the negative to answer in some fashion the affirmative. When the affirmative gets to choose all the terms of debate, what they will and will not defend, only an idiot would choose to give their opponent fair ground to debate.

2. Cherry picking. Twenty years ago, I drunkenly joked that if I were allowed to argue anything I wanted, I would run “Rape Bad” and “Slavery Bad” every round. Well it is not a joke anymore. The function of an agreed resolution is to provide negative teams with predictable, stable, and DEFENDABLE ground for a debate. Teams strategically choose to create arguments to win debates. No check literally allows the affirmative to pick the best argumentative ground and avoid any negative ground for debate. I find, ‘competing methodologies” and “the case list gives you notice” debates to be unpersuasive. Disclosure does not create ground. The impact is that people literally quit debate, never join debate, or programs flat out leave the organization that tolerates this bullshit and they join organizations that enforce topicality by rule.

3. The topic is not about you. And the topic should NOT be about you. A lot of the rhetorical violence, threats, hurt feelings, intimidation, and out and out physical violence stems from people arguing about their personal identity. Contrary to your blocks, it really isn’t all about you. And, frankly, if you are using debate as a method of affirming yourself, your culture, your identity, etc., you need to have an intervention. Debate is a horrible and pathological place for you to place your sense of self. Just say no. If people would debate the topic, they would probably not get so personally involved in an argument that they literally hurt other people. What the hell is wrong with you people? You really think threatening some undergrad, hitting some elderly person, assaulting a judge accomplishes anything positive? Maybe topicality should be a voting issue if it means that people not take this activity---and themselves--so seriously.

4. Not everybody is a privileged as you, or your program, or your coaching staff. Not everyone is as stupidly obsessed with winning a tournament, or justifying your own existence through debate as you are. More importantly, some people want to engage in academic policy debate and have another life. They want to go for a walk or run. They want to be able to go out on a date. They want to see their family. They want to pet their dogs. They want to make “A’s” in biochem so they can become doctors that actually save lives. A stable topic, as badly written as this horrible one is, gives these students an opportunity to balance debate with a healthy life. This outweighs all of your tears, your self-affirmation through my ballot (kinda sick that you require that type of external validation from some white dude pressing a button on a computer), or your ontology. I wish to god a debater would just say, “You are not topical; here is the violation; it’s a voter because I should not have to research this shit and to do so would mean I don’t get to spend time with my friends; vote for friendship.” I will gladly vote for your friendship impacts over social death, and every other impact I have ever seen used to justify why affirmatives get to cheat.

Other Stuff:

Aff. Win a topical plan, or defend the entire resolution. I will still vote negative on presumption. Prove your basic elements first. Inherency, (uniqueness for an advantage over the status quo) is still a voter. Solvency is still a voter. Win an advantage that outweighs the disadvantages by the end of the debate. Be prepared to defend your ontological, epistemological, ethical, and pedagogical assumptions. In other words, I will definitely vote for a “Kritik.” Impact framing is an issue for me. Feel free to use the critical portions to shift standard assumption about how I should weigh impacts. Example: if you win that individual species survival is more important than the lives of individuals within a specific species, I will have no problem voting for a team that saves the snail darter at the expense of a few billion humans starving to death or a regional nuclear war. It is up to the debaters to argue how impacts are evaluated…human util, deep ecology util, deonotological, etc. are open to debate. Regarding Kritik alternatives—most of them are horribly vague, do not solve for anything, and are virtually worthless. But, people never argue against them. Read disads to their alt. Permutations are good ideas to test competition. The idea that you cannot perm methodologies is a joke---you know and I know it. Test whether the arguments are really mutually exclusive---i.e. a real reason to reject the affirmative. Point out double turns and performative contradictions…then impact them out.

I prefer explanations how disads outweigh or turn case. If you can impact turn, that is fine with me. If you can internal link turn a position, that’s fine too.

My personal tastes in debate. I am open to a lot of arguments my colleagues have already written off. I prefer to test almost all assumptions. Please deny warming occurs. Fine with me. Run Ice Age. Please run Malthus (I actually believe a lot of these arguments in my personal life). Please read Rights Malthus (I really am an unapologetic eco-fascist in my personal life). Please read nihilism. Please read human extinction good, wipeout, etc. Read E-prime, I do not care. Read veganism, I do not care. Please impact out advantages, disads or Kritiks by explaining how it will impact my dogs. I really, truly do not care for the majority of people in this activity nor do I care for the vast majority of humanity. But I do care about my dogs.

Memorable examples of ways teams have unexpectedly picked up my ballot:
1) Voted for Baylor one time because Emory misspelled their plan text;
2) Voted for Emporia once because their plan wiped-out the universe, destroying all life (you had to be there);
3) Voted numerous times on anthro kritiks, De-Dev, Cap K's, anarchy, malthus, space, aliens A-Life, etc.;
4) voted for a counter-performance because it made me feel more emotional than the 1AC narrative;
5) voted for porn good turns;
6) voted for genocide reduces overpopulation turns;
7) did not vote, but the team won, because they took my ballot filled it out, gave themselves the win and double 30's;
8) voted once on a triple turn--link turned, impact turned, and turned back the impact turn (had to be there);
9) voted on inherency;
10) voted on foul language in a round--both ways--foul language bad and "yeah, we said F***, but that's good" turns;
11) voted for veganism K while eating a cheeseburger.

One last point: All of you need to flow the round. The speech document they flash over to you is not the debater's actual speech. Look. Listen. You may be surprised what the other team is actually saying.

Kurt Fifelski Paradigm

6 rounds

These are most of the predispositions I have about arguments that I can think of, these are not ironclad as my views on debate are constantly in flux. However, without being instructed otherwise, the below points will likely influence how I evaluate the debate.

Top Level:

-In my old age, I cut fewer cards than I used to. That said, I feel pretty comfortable with this topic just as I am generally pay attention to many of the issues of the topic. I've also done pretty advanced research on middle powers, particularly Canada, but I've read quite a bit about Korea.

-Please add me to the email chain, fifelski@umich.edu and please make the subject something that is easy to search like "NDT 4 - Michigan DM v UCO HS."

-I read along with speech docs and prefer clear, relatively slow, and organized debates. I am still trying to hone flowing in online debate.

-I cannot emphasize enough how important card quality and recency should be in debates, but it requires debaters to frame arguments about that importance.

-If you break a new aff and you don't want to share the docs, I will chalk it up to academic cowardice and presume that the aff is largely a pile of crap.

-Evidence can be inserted if the lines were read in CX, but otherwise this act is insufficient. I will only look at graphs and charts if they are analyzed in the debate.

-I generally think war good arguments are akin to genocide good. I also think dedev is absolute nonsense.

-Affs should be willing to answer cross-x questions about what they'll defend.

How to sway me:

-More narrativization is better than less

-Ev quality - I think higher quality and recent ev is a necessity. Make arguments about the qualifications of authors, how to evaluate evidence, and describe what events have happened to complicate the reading of their evidence from 2012.

-The 2nr/2ar should spend the first 15-20 seconds explaining how I should vote with judge instruction. If you laid a trap, now is the time to tell me, because I’m probably not going to vote on something that wasn’t flagged as an argument.

-I can flow with the best of them, but I enjoy slower debates so much more.

-More case debate. The 2ac is often too dismissive of case args and the neg often under-utilizes them.

-If reading cards after the debate is required for me to have comprehension of your argument, I’m probably not your judge. I tend to vote on warranted arguments that I have flowed and read cards to evaluate particular warrants that have been called into question. That said, I intend on reading along with speech docs this year.

-I think internal links are the most important parts of an argument; I am more likely to vote for “Asian instability means international coop on warming is impossible” than “nuclear war kills billions” OR “our patriarchy better explains x,y,z” instead of “capitalism causes war.”

-I like when particular arguments are labeled eg) “the youth-voter link” or “the epistemology DA.”

-If you're breaking a new aff/cp, it's probably in your best interest to slow down when making highly nuanced args.

Things I don’t like:

-Generally I think word PICs are bad. Some language obviously needs to be challenged, but if your 1nc strategy involves cntl-f [insert ableist term], I am not the judge for you.

-Overusing offensive language, yelling, being loud during the other team’s speech/prep, and getting into my personal space or the personal space of others will result in fewer speaker points.

-If you think a permutation requires the affirmative to do something they haven’t, you and I have different interpretations of competition theory.

-Old evidence/ blocks that have been circulating in camp files for a decade.


-This topic is poorly written and lets the aff get away with murder. Given that, I want to see debates that have coherent stories for violations and interpretations. I voted neg frequently on the NHI topic on limits, which charts many of my views on this topic.

Critical Affs:

-I am probably a better judge for the K than most would suspect. While the sample size is small, I think I vote for critical args around 50% of the time they're the center of the debate.

-A debate has to occur and happen within the speech order/times of the invite; the arguments are made are up to the debaters and I generally enjoy a broad range of arguments, particularly on a topic as dull as this one.

-Too often I think critical affs describe a problem, but don’t explain what voting aff means in the context of that impact.

-Is there a role of the ballot?

-Often I find the “topical version” of the aff argument to be semi-persuasive by the negative, so explain to me the unique benefit of your aff in the form that it is and why switching-sides does not solve that.

-Framework: Explain the topical version of the aff; use your framework impacts to turn/answer the impacts of the 1ac; if you win framework you win the debate because…


-Links should be contextualized to the aff; saying the aff is capitalist because they use the state is not enough. I'm beginning to think that K's, when read against policy affs, should link to the plan and not just the advantages, I'm not as sold on this as I am my belief on floating pic/ks (95 percent of the time I think floating PIC/Ks aren't arguments worthy of being made, let alone voted on)

-Alternative- what is the framework for evaluating the debate? What does voting for the alternative signify? What should I think of the aff’s truth statements?

-I’m not a fan of high theory Ks, but statistically vote for them a decent percentage of the time.

-When reading the K against K affs, the link should problematize the aff's methodology.

Answering the K:

-Make smart permutation arguments that have explained the net benefits and deal with the negatives disads to the perm.

-You should have a framework for the debate and find ways to dismiss the negative’s alternative.


-Overviews that explain the story of the disad are helpful.

-Focus on internal links.


-Your CP should have a solvency advocate that is as descriptive of your mechanism as the affirmative’s solvency advocate is.

-Consult and conditions counterplans are probably illegitimate on most topics, on this one [shrug emoticon].


-Conditionality is cheating a lot like the Roth test: at some point it’s cheating, otherwise neg flex is good.

-Affs should explain why the negative should lose because of theory, otherwise I’ll just reject the arg.

-I'll likely be unsympathetic to args related to ADA rules, sans things that should actually be rules like clipping.

-I’m generally okay with kicking the CP/Alt for the neg if I’m told to.

Juan Garcia-Lugo Paradigm

2 rounds

Juan Garcia-Lugo

UT-San Antonio



Yes, I want to be on the email chain. I don't follow along with speech documents, but I will usually read most of the cards (I'm curious!).

If an argument is complete, I will evaluate it. While my judging and coaching experience heavily leans towards the critical side of debate, I prefer you read something that you are passionate about and are prepared to debate. Tech and Truth both matter. A conceded argument is a true argument but the significance of that argument is still up for debate. There are many ways to do debate, and when two different styles are present, framing arguments are important for establishing argument priorities. I default to the framing arguments presented and won by the debaters. Otherwise, look below for some of the ways I think about arguments.


I understand most K theory through the use of examples, please provide and debate them. I find presumption strategies against K aff's unpersuasive if the affirmative can articulate and defend a form of action. I find them more persuasive against K aff's that are describing a theory of power. K's that don't defend an alternative are fine, but often necessitate strong framework arguments or decisively won offense against the affirmative.


I'm usually concerned with "what makes debate a valuable activity?". The idea of a fair game for its own sake is less persuasive to me than the idea of a fair game being necessary for producing valuable education. Quality evidence on framework goes a very long way for me. I don't like evidence that comes from debate textbooks and manuals, but will vote on them.


Have an interpretation and defend it. I prefer that interpretation not be arbitrary (we get 2 conditional arguments v 3 conditional arguments). When it comes to offense, less is more. Winning 2 big arguments for why process counterplans are good is better than your 8th argument about "best policy option". This is also the only part of debate I strongly stress slowing down on. The impact to most theory arguments is to reject the argument not the team (conditionality is exceptional).

Matt Gerber Paradigm

3 rounds

Dr. Matt Gerber 
Capp Chair of Forensics
Associate Professor of Communication 
Baylor University 

In General: There are many ways to make arguments. I guess that means I will listen to most anything you think is an argument, as long as you are making arguments. Another way to think about this: I was "born and raised" in D3 (Southeast Oklahoma, Baylor, Kansas, then back to Baylor). I have heard and seen it all, so you do you, do your thing, don't over-adapt to me. I strive to be a hard-working, objective critic. I really, truly don't care which team wins. I will vote for the team that does the better debating. 

Strategy: Have one. I reward debaters and debate teams who are opportunistic, and who exploit the mistakes made by the other team. The best debate teams are usually not the ones who overwhelm with speed or skillful persuasion, or a million cards; rather, the best debate teams are the ones who avoid making the big mistakes, and who have the ability to capitalize on the mistakes made by their opposition. I like debate teams that are decisive, and not afraid to go “all-in” if their opponents drop the ball. 

Theory: Be clear (in general), but especially in a theory debate. Slow down a little, because even the greatest flows in debate history can’t write down blippy theory jargon at 200mph. Even if it was flow-able, is that really good debate? I think not. That all being said, I tend to give the neg some leeway on the theory stuff as long as choices are made by the 2NR. 

A Few Specifics: Critical arguments and approaches to debate are fine, and appreciated. I prefer specifics over generics, as with most arguments. I also like crafty CP/DA strategies, and I like well-researched case debates. I think debating the case is a lost art. I reward debaters who make nuanced and sophisticated case arguments, and who actually go for them in the 2NR once in awhile. Topicality is an under-valued strategic choice. Framework can also be a valuable method to win a debate, but I think the implications/import of enforcing it are open to debate.

If you have questions just ask matt_gerber@baylor.edu

Tyler Gillette Paradigm

3 rounds

I debated for 3 years at KCKCC

I read a lot of different types of arguments when I debated and am willing to listen to almost anything. Just what you do best and even you are clear on why that means you win I will vote for it.


Theory- Just like any argument you need a clear link and impact in theory debates. With most theroy args I helieve it is usually a reason to reject the argument not the team. Condo: I am probably ok with conditionality, but, the more condtional arguments that are read the more sympathetic I am to the affirmative team. It will also be much easier to win if you can prove the conditional positions are contradictory to each other. CP theory: PICs are usually ok and the aff should have a defense on why wahtever the negative PICs out of is important to the aff. PIC theory is way more winable against ridiculous than it is against a PIC grounded in topic lit. .  


CPs- Are a very winable strategy in front of me. Make sure the net benefit is clear. The only 2 types of CPs I think may be iffy are consult and ridiculous word PICs out words such as "should" and "the". If you have literature grounded in the topic on reason consult is good you can probably win the argument, I just find that is rarely the case. Some word PICs are ok, if you have reason the world they said is offensive or bad for what they are trying to acheive you have a shot, but i should be subsantitive not just a PIC out of "should" "and" or "the". That does not mean I won vote on those types of arguments, I just think PICs out of minor words are harder to win and probably more thoeritically questionable.


Topicality/Framework- There needs to be a clear impact to these types of arguments, just saying it isn't fair or is bad for education is not an impact if you don't have reasons why those are true of the affirmative you are debating against. I am more than willing to vote on these arguments is they are well warranted and impacted it just may be harder to get me to vote here than it is other people. On topicality, I believe reasinibilty is the best way to evaluate it, I can be persuaded otherwise, but, that is my general starting point. On framework, it is hard for me to believe we should exclude certain styles of debate, I tend to find the impact turns to framework far more believable than the impacts to framework. The most important thing to win if you want me to vote on framework is probably topical version of the aff.


Disads-If you have them read them. I am totally ok with almost all disads, politics is one of my least favorite arguments in debate, the links and internal links on politics are usually questionable. Offense is always a prefferable strategy, but, I am willing to say a disad has 0 risk if the aff can prove it.


Case debate- I like to see good case debate and think the neg should in someway interact with the aff case. Just like disads offense is a better strat but if the neg can prove it I will vote on 0 risk of solvency.


Kritikal affs- I am open to any type of aff you want to read as long as you can justify why what you do means you win. If your method is clear and you impact your arguments you should have no problem. When negating these affs it is usually better to engage the argument instead of jsut reading framework, it wil be a hard sale to get me to believe we should exlcude any style of deabte.


Kritiks- I read a far amount of kritiks, but don't assume that means I know as much about the lit you are reading as you do. Kritiks are my favorite type of arguments and a usually a viable strategy, just be sure you are explainign how your argument interacts with the aff and means you win. 



I think that covers everything if you have any questions feel free to ask before round or email me tyler.gillette1@gmail.com
















Malcolm Gordon Paradigm

A quick guide to getting good speaker points:

-get to the point, and be clear about it
-"extinction" or "nuclear war" is not a tag
-a well explained, logical, argument trumps an unexplained argument merely extended by it's "card name"
-Ks must pass the make sense test
-cross x is a speech-i figure it in as a substantial factor in speaker points

Here is an explanation of how I evaluate debates at a meta-level:

While I think there is value in the offense/defense framework for evaluation, for me to vote on offense there has to be substantive risk. Second, quality trumps quantity. 30 bad uniqueness cards that barely make a claim can not overcome the power of 1 well warranted, logical argument that is consistently applied to the onslaught of evidence. In short:

Where X is a good, warranted argument and Y is an illogical argument, and X, A, and Y are all positive integers:

X > A(Y)

Also, "extinction" is not a tag line. I don't even like tag lines like "causes nuclear war." I need complete sentences, with claims and warrants.

Where does the evidence come from? there are not enough debaters talking about the quality of research their opponents are quoting.

Get to the point. On any given controversy in debate, there are relatively few arguments at play. Get to the core issues quickly. Point out the central logical/argumentative problems with a given position. I am much more compelled by a speaker’s ability to take the 2-3 core problems with their opponent’s position and use those fallacies to answer all of the other team’s advances. It shows you have a grip on the central issue and you understand how that issue is inescapable regardless of your opponent’s answer

Calling for cards: I will do this, but I don’t like to read every card in the debate. If you opponent is making well explained arguments you should be very wary of just saying “extend our smith evidence”.


Arbitrary interpretations are one of the worst trends in debate right now. If your interpretation of debate theory is wholly arbitrary and made up it doesn’t seem very useful for me to uphold it as some new norm and reject the other team.

Conditionality is good, it would take a very decisive aff victory with a very tangible impact (in policy debate). Whatever your arbitrary counterinterpretation is that limits the neg to X number of conditional positions…..sorry, I wasn’t born yesterday. If conditionality is good it’s good.

While I'm fine with conditionality, I am persuaded by other theoretical objections (multi actor fiat, uniform fiat without a solvency advocate, etc). I also think that a theory argument that combines objections (conditional multi actor CPs) could be a reason to reject the team.

My personal belief is that the negative can only fiat the agent of the resolution, and that competition based off the ‘certainty’ of the plan (consult/conditions) is not productive. This does NOT mean I have a low threshold in voting aff on agent/actor cps bad, but it does make my threshold lower than most. To win these theory debates on the aff, see above point about cutting to the core 2-3 issues.

On topicality-you need tangible impacts. You’re asking me to drop a team because they made debate too unfair for you. “limits good” is not an impact. “They unlimit the topic by justifying x types of affs that we cannot hope to prepare for” is an impact. There must be a very coherent connection between neg interpretation, violations, and standards in the 2nr.

Counterplans: I spoke above about my theoretical beliefs on counterplans. I think counterplans should be textually and functionally competitive. I am sometimes persuaded that purely functional competition (normal means/process counterplans) should probably not be evaluated. If you’re aff and theory-savvy, don’t be afraid to go for theoretical reasons the process cp goes away.

Floating Pics/Word PICs- I’m great for the aff on these. I believe that every position has theoretical reasons behind it related to education and competitive equity. The aff counterinterpretation of “you can run your K/word K as a K without the CP part” generally solves every pedagogical benefit of those positions-this means the aff just needs to win that competitively these positions are bad for the aff, and it outweighs any ‘educational benefit’ to word/floating pics. I'm persuaded by those arguments, making it an uphill battle for the neg if the aff can explain tangible impacts to the competitive disadvantage the PIC puts them in.


The story must matchup. I will vote on such non-offensive arguments like: your uq and link evidence don’t assume the same group of politicians, you have no internal link, passage of that bill is inevitable, Trump has no PC etc. Of course I don’t vote on these in isolation-once again, refer back to my meta-approach to debate-you need to explain why that core defensive argument trumps everything else the neg is saying.


I’m generally not compelled by framework against a Neg K-I think all Ks have a gateway/framing issue that is much easier and more logical for the aff to attack. For example, if the neg reads an epistemology K you are much more likely to win reading a card that says “consequences outweigh epistemology” or “epistemology focus bad” than you are to win that the other team is cheating because of their K. Focus on answering the gateway issue so that you can leverage your aff against the K and get the decision calculus of the debate back in your favor. Subsequently for the neg the issue of ‘framing’ is also very important.

In the 2ac, don’t make a bunch of perms you have no hope of winning unless they are conceded. Perm do the alt is not a perm. Make 1 or 2 permutations and EXPLAIN IN THE 2AC how the permutation overcomes neg links/risks of the impact.

Ks are a great example of the “there are only 2-3 arguments” theory I subscribe to. If you’re debating a 1 off team, it’s much better for me if you don’t read 40 cards in the 2ac with as many different caveats as possible. Instead, read a good number of argument but take the time to explain them. What part of the K do they refute? How do these arguments change the calculus of the round? When you do this I put much more pressure on the neg block to get in depth with their explanations, which I find usually helps the aff.

K affs:

T > Framework. Given that most impact turns to T come from pedagogical reasons, you need to prove that your interpretation provides space for the ‘good education’ the aff thinks is key to stop genocide/war/racism/turkeys. Topical version of your aff is compelling, as well as giving other examples of topical action that prove the aff could have accepted the parameters of the resolution and gained the same educational benefits. Then it’s just a matter of proving that competitively the K aff hurts the neg. Also, prove how your competitive equity impacts implicate their education impacts.

Case debate:

These are great. Impact defense is kinda meh unless it's real specific. Solvency and internal link answers are where it's at. Make alt causes great again!


It’s all about probability-magnitude is ok but only when you’re discussing it in terms of “our impact causes yours”. Extinction outweighs is trite because by the end of the debate all impacts are extinction or nuclear wars that easily result in another impact in the debate that has been claimed as extinction (nuke war hurts the environment, aff said that causes extinction). Probability is key. Establishing risk is where it’s at. A higher risk trumps a higher magnitude in most instances.

Cross Examination: it’s a speech, I grade it like a speech. Be funny if you can. Base the cross x on core issues in the debate, and base it on quality of evidence and establishing risk/threshold for various arguments.

LaToya Green Paradigm

1 rounds

If it matters to you, I used to make critical and performance based arguments. I have coached all types. I generally like all arguments, especially ones that come with claims, warrants, and are supported by evidence.

Do you (literally, WHATEVER you do). Be great. Say smart things. Give solid speeches and perform effectively in CX. Win and go as hard as it takes (but you dont have to be exessively rude or mean to do this part). Enjoy yourself. Give me examples and material applications to better understand your position. Hear me out when the decision is in. Dassit.

Add me to the email chain- lgreenymt@gmail.com

My "high" speaker points typically cap out around 28.7/28.8 (in open debate). If you earn that, you have delivered a solid and confident constructive, asked and answered questions persuasively, and effectively narrowed the debate to the most compelling reasons you are winning the debate in the rebuttals. If you get higher than that, you did all of those things AND THEN SOME. What many coaches would call, "the intangibles".

Thank you, in advance, for allowing me to observe and participate in your debate.


LaToya Green Paradigm

2 rounds

If it matters to you, I used to make critical and performance based arguments. I have coached all types. I generally like all arguments, especially ones that come with claims, warrants, and are supported by evidence.

Do you (literally, WHATEVER you do). Be great. Say smart things. Give solid speeches and perform effectively in CX. Win and go as hard as it takes (but you dont have to be exessively rude or mean to do this part). Enjoy yourself. Give me examples and material applications to better understand your position. Hear me out when the decision is in. Dassit.

Add me to the email chain- lgreenymt@gmail.com

My "high" speaker points typically cap out around 28.7/28.8 (in open debate). If you earn that, you have delivered a solid and confident constructive, asked and answered questions persuasively, and effectively narrowed the debate to the most compelling reasons you are winning the debate in the rebuttals. If you get higher than that, you did all of those things AND THEN SOME. What many coaches would call, "the intangibles".

Thank you, in advance, for allowing me to observe and participate in your debate.


Joe Koehle Paradigm

3 rounds

Was in debate for a disgustingly long time, dropped out, now here for whatever reason. I've seen and done it all.

Just do you. I'm confident that if you're smart and good we'll make a connection. If you're bad you'll get real advice.

Eric Lanning Paradigm

5 rounds

Eric Lanning

Public Forum: (Updated for the No First Use Topic - November 2020)

My background is in policy debate and I debated in college on the 2009-2010 Nuclear Weapons topic so I'm quite familiar with No First Use.

Short version - to answer the most common questions:

Yes: I'm fine with speed as long as you maintain clarity.

Yes: You can paraphrase evidence, but I strongly prefer that you to have a cut card for anything you cite.

Yes: I vote off the flow and do my best to resolve the debate based off the arguments as they are presented, not my prior beliefs and biases.

My (old) CX judging philosophy is below and reflects my understanding of argument, performance and debate, but I wanted to add a few specific thoughts on how I resolve public forum debates:

I strongly believe in open evidence practices including disclosure, sharing the full text of all evidence used in a speech and being quick and efficient about providing specific cards when asked. If you do any (but especially if you do all) of these things then I will give you higher speaker points. This is both because I find debaters that make their evidence open and available more persuasive and because I think judges should be more direct about incentivizing and rewarding best practices for evidence in Public Forum.

I also believe that public forum debate should be a place where all participants are welcomed and treated with respect, regardless of their identity. I take concerns about racism, sexism, ableism and homophobia in our community very seriously and make a conscious effort to be aware of and act against implicit bias in my role as a judge. I find gendered practices like interrupting, speaking over and speaking down to girls and women to be extremely common in public forum and incredibly off-putting for me as a judge. Both your speaker points and my body language will reflect this...

The most important thing to understand about how I judge debates is that my “threshold” for an argument is a claim, warrant and impact. If your argument, or my understanding of your argument is missing any of these pieces it is incomplete and it can’t be “dropped” by the other team. An easier way to say this might be “I don’t expect the other team to respond to arguments unless they are warranted and impacted”. This comes up a lot in PF debates that I judge in the following two scenarios:

Scenario One “they dropped our assertion”

Team A - *makes claim and says author*

Team B - *does not specifically respond*

Team A - “they dropped our argument”

Me - the judge “no they didn’t because you didn’t have a complete argument for them to refute.”

TLDR: I think there is a difference between dropping an assertion/statement (a claim without a clear warrant and impact) and a complete argument. This is based off *my* understanding of the argument as presented. If I can’t understand or explain the reason why an argument is true or important based off what you said in your speech- I’m not comfortable voting for you on that argument, even if it’s “dropped”.

Scenario Two “they dropped our argument”

Team A - *makes a short but complete argument*

Team B - *does not refute the warrant for and/or implication of the claim*

Team B - *re-explains the argument and adds more detail and/or context and/or weighing*

Team two - “Now that we understand their argument better we have new responses....”

Me - the judge “sorry, but you dropped this and don’t get to make new responses because I understood their argument as complete and therefore expected you to refute it in your next speech”.

TLDR: a dropped argument is a true argument and I have a default presumption against allowing new responses to an argument you’ve conceded in the previous speech. There are some exceptions to this and I try to defer to what debaters say in the round about how I should evaluate arguments, concessions and cross-applications.

Important caveat and clarifications:

“Weighing” or comparing arguments in your summary and final focus is not “new”, even if you dropped your opponent’s argument. You *can* and *should* say things like “even if they win X, we still win the round because of Y”. I am unlikely to decide these type of comparisons are “new” as long as they are based off arguments as I understood them earlier in the debate.

A dropped argument doesn’t need to be re-explained, but you do have to extend and weigh it to win the round.

Theory arguments and/or any in round objection to an argument based on rules or norms should be warranted and impacted *just* like any other argument.

College Policy Debate Judging Paradigm:

Affiliations: University of Texas, University of Houston, Michigan State University

Thesis: “There are many Lannings”

I am *not* a blank slate – I’ll try to identify the issues, arguments and controversies that I feel strongly about and update this list throughout the season to reflect how and why I voted.

Be Direct – I can’t really flow, I don’t really ‘call for’ evidence and if I can’t remember an argument after the debate without scouring my flow and your evidence – I’m very unlikely to vote on it or for you.

I think that ‘truth vs tech’ is a false dichotomy. You should generally make good arguments and specifically answer bad ones.

I’m very expressive – try to pay attention to me! If you’re nuerodivergent or just don’t feel comfortable interpreting my body language or facial expressions – just let me know. I’m more than willing to work with you and/or provide direct physical cues (thumbs up, thumbs down) or verbal cues (Yes Lady Gaga, Not a winner). Dallas Perkins was my ordinal one for most of my debate career, both because I love him and because I liked getting feedback before the RFD.

I think ‘judge adaptation’ should work in *both* directions. Help me help you. If you want me to evaluate the debate (differently) that you think I usually would, make it an argument in the debate. I’m more committed to the idea of accessible debate and accessible judging than any specific preference in my judge philosophy.

List of predispositions (last updated before UMKC 2015)

1) Framework (Clash Debates) I’m generally more persuaded by claims about the necessity of ‘engaging institutions’ and ‘incremental reforms’ than ‘you broke the rules/norms’. I don’t mind judging these debates and I’ve found my voting record is less ideological than my posts on Facebook. That said, I think innovation and engagement are important and tend to reward debaters who take risks with strategies other than framework.

2) Competing Methods (New Debate) I think these debates are about what you did, not what could have happened. That bias doesn’t translate into “no” or “yes” perms, but I think that question is really important for resolving these debates. What does competition mean? Why does my ballot matter? The more time you spend answering those questions the more likely you are to win my ballot. I think “x” outweighs “y” is a horrible way to frame and evaluate these debates – I’m much more persuaded by arguments about how your method resolves their offense and their method doesn’t resolve your offense.

3) ‘Try or Die’ and ‘Risk of a Link’ (Old Debate) I’m not very persuaded by either. I vote on presumption a lot more than other folks. If you don’t solve or don’t have a link – I’m unlikely to calculate the “risk” in your favor. I vote on zero solvency. I vote on zero link. I really like “case” debates. I think the best impact comparisons are not a list of *every* metric, but picking one or two and explaining why they matter more than others.

4) Theory – I default to ‘reject the argument not the team’, except for arguments about conditionality and contradictions. In the abstract, I think the negative strategy should be consistent and that multiple conditional advocacies lower the quality of debates. These debates are often frustrating to judge because people shout buzzwords back and forth faster than I can flow them – explanation >>> vocabulary.

5) Counterplans – if at any point during the debate you describe your counterplan as “resulting in the entire affirmative” – I’m very unlikely to think it’s legitimate or competitive. Note – the AFF should make these arguments!!! Functional + Textual competition is better than either alone. PICS, Agent CPs, Advantage CPs >>> Process CPs, Condition CPs, Consultation CPs.

6) Topicality – While I’m more in the “discussion of the topic” than “topical discussion” camp, I think more debaters should separate “framework” from “topicality”. I’m torn between a desire to preserve affirmative flexibility and predictable, sustainable and meaningful negative ground. I definitely think we should debate about legalization, but I’m skeptical of ideological interpretations that claim there is “only one way” to do that. Not sure how helpful this is, but it’s worth saying that I tend to vote affirmative more than negative in debates about the boundaries of the topic.

Chris Loghry Paradigm

6 rounds

Online judging note:

Make sure I am in the room and paying attention before you start. Ask me if I'm there otherwise I might not be.

Please slow down a bit, I already have a hard time hearing and the format exacerbates this.

Don't start prepping until everyone is in the virtual room. I will do my best to pause the debate for tech issues, but this lost time eats into decision time.

Clarity note:

I have tinnitus and hearing loss and both have gotten worse over the 2019-2020 season. What this means for you is that I have a hard time getting tags and transitions when everything is the same volume and tone, so please try to make those portions of the debate clear. I also have an extremely hard time hearing the speech when people talk over it, so please make an effort to speak quietly to your partner during the other team's speeches. If you're worried about this stuff, honestly, just slow down and you'll be fine.

"Straightforward" list part:

Here's the stuff I'm guessing you want to know about the most:

1. Please add both my emails to the chain: dontputmeontheemailchain@gmail.com & kurtfifelski@gmail.com

2. I do not generally follow along with speech docs, but have started doing it more to help me make faster decisions.

3. Yes, I will vote on framework. Yes, I will vote on impact turns to framework. Along these lines, Affs can have plans or not.

4. Nobody probably remembers this about me, but I love CP/DA debates. I'm generally open to most CPs too, except for conditions CPs. I really hate conditions CPs. I vote on them, but it's usually because no one knows what artificial competition is anymore. But, yes, please CPs. Veto cheato, con-con, national ref, consult, unilat, etc. But beware of...

5. Read more theory. Go for theory more. No one expects it. You win because of theory and sometimes you even win on theory.

6. Impact turns > Link turns

7. I think there's such thing as "no risk of a link."

8. I try really hard to vote on what happens in the debate, and not on what I know or think I know. I am generally very expressive, so you can often tell if I understand a thing or not. When in doubt, throw in an extra example.

Note about points: I'm trying to give more consistent points, I think speaker points are arbitrary and not actually a great way of determining breaks, so I have found myself at the upper end of points-givers in the past, however, I am currently trying to correct that. Unless I tell you in the post-round that you did something worth getting bad points for, my points aren't actually an attempt to punish you or send a message or anything like that.

Rambling Part:

I view my role in the debate not as arbiter of truth, but critic of argument, as such I attempt to divorce myself from relative "truth" values of arguments. Counter-intuitive arguments can be persuasive, if an argument is bad it should be relatively easy to answer. You should have fun and do things that are fun to do.

If you fail to speak more clearly after I yell "clear" I will most likely not evaluate the evidence read unclearly. I like it when debaters do the arguing instead of simply invoking a citation and assuming it fills in for argument.

I like it in big K/Performance/Whatever debates when there is a clear metric for evaluating competing truth claims (or some other way of comparing methods/strategies/etc). You will probably be much happier with my decision if you put in the time to explain why your method/strategy/etc is good/better and their method/strategy/etc is bad/worse.

I find that I tend to first figure out how big the disad is and then determine how much of the aff needs to be left to outweigh it. For counterplans I tend to first figure out how much of the aff the cp solves and then determine how much of the net benefit needs to be left to outweigh any solvency deficit.

I think I generally default negative on most theory questions, but I will definitely vote aff on theory (or because of theory). I think in many instances affs let the neg get away with WAY too much and need to correct this with a hearty theory debate. I'm finally willing to admit that conditionality is (mostly) good, but there are (perhaps, many) instances in which it is bad.

I really like impact turn debates. I really like a nice cp/da debate too. I hear a lot of high theory K debates and I don’t always hate them, but Baudrillard is dead. Remember that. I like theory debates that are slower so I can flow them, most teams just read off their computer like they’re reading a card. I love it when teams capitalize on mess-ups by their opponents.

To reemphasize: analytics read off your computer at the same speed you read evidence are simply a waste of time. This is especially true if you’re just reading directly into your screen. So SLOW DOWN on these parts of the debate.

Some tips:


A lot of times your evidence isn’t nearly as good as you say/think it is.

Do not assume I can anticipate every possible application of your argument.

Assume your opponents might be winning some of their arguments and make responses contingent on this assumption.

And, most importantly, have fun.

Samuel Maurer Paradigm

4 rounds

Samuel Maurer
Director of Debate at WSU

Yes I want to be on the speech doc. samuel.maurer@gmail.com

I recently broke my flowing hand and its still a little stiff/sore so I'll probably be using the speech doc a lot more than I usually do and ample pen time is appreciated.

I’ll talk about some more specific proclivities that may be useful for your strike-sheet since, if you are reading this, you’re probably filling it out.

Speaker points/CX: I believe that debaters give 4 “speeches” in a debate: C, R, CX, and Being CXed. My speaker points are based on all 4. If you don’t answer/ask a CX question, your speaker points will suffer dramatically. If you’re an jerk or don’t answer simple questions or are simply obstructionist, speaker points suffer. Don’t neglect CX. I will diligently flow cross-examination but if you take prep to ask questions, I consider it to not be part of the debate. Don't be offended if I leave while you go into overtime.

Know when its better to slow down

-- if I’ve never judged you before, give me time at the beginning of a constructive to get used to your voice.

-- complex/tricky CP texts – please slow down during these. I’m not going to look at the speech doc and CX won’t always clear it up. Clearly emphasize the differences (supreme court, different language pic, etc.)

-- Judge instruction helps me -- big picture moments in rebuttals -- "if we win this, we win the debate", etc. Crucial moments of impacts/evidence comparison.

Evidence: Quality over Quantity – I know this is almost a cliché in judging philosophies but I don’t just mean lots of bad cards are worse than 1 good card. That is obvious. I also mean that you should consider focusing on fewer cards in front of me than you might otherwise.

-- Indexing – judging debates where last rebuttals (more often 2NR’s) mention every name of every card and say how it interacts with an argument concept (“McCoy means we turn the link”, “Smith is the impact to that”) is very frustrating for me. I thrive on the big picture. I don’t view your evidence as that or even an argument unto itself – I view your evidence as a tool. You have to explain how it works and why.

-- highlighting – I find myself increasingly choosing to ignore or assign very little weight to evidence because scant highlighting leaves a lot to the imagination. In front of me, it might be wise to select a few important cards in the debate that you would read a longer version of (crucial internal link card for elections, link to the PIC’s net benefits, alt cards, etc.).

-- I read evidence after debates to confirm its function in your speeches, not so that it can “make an argument” to me in some disembodied fashion 15 minutes after the round ends.

I prefer narrower, deeper debates: Not going to lie, when debates get horizontally big and stay that way through rebuttals, I’m less comfortable making a decision. I think this has to do with how I read evidence (above) in that often times debates that stay horizontally big require the judge to do a lot of inference into conclusions made in cards they read as opposed to speeches they evaluate. I’m okay with debates on several sheets of paper but just make sure you are identifying what you think are the strategic bottlenecks of the debate and how you are winning them. “they can’t win X if we win Y because the following impact comparison wasn’t answered…”

Links/UQ: I think debaters too often think of link direction in purely binary terms. In addition to winning links, debaters need to explicitly create mechanisms for evaluating link direction. don’t just put “this thing key” cards in my hands and expect me to ref an ev fight. Tell me why this internal controls the other or vice versa.

Framework: I’ve voted for either side of this debate plenty of times. If it’s a choice between an engaging strategy against a critical aff and T, the former is a preferable strategy in front of me. I will vote on impact turns to topicality even if the negative doesn’t go for it (provided, of course, the affirmative makes a valid argument for why I should). I find myself often frustrated in debates that lack concrete nouns and instead choose arguments/strategies where abstractions are posited in relationship to one another, concretizing through examples helps a lot. I think 'fairness' is an internal link that, when well-developed with method for debate that is academically engaging and balanced, can have a large impact on my decision. By itself, a fair game is just stable, could be good or bad. I think negs running framework are best when talking about dynamics of the debate, not just complaining about how much/many affs there are. I'm not one who believes in the "procedural fairness or education" dilemma, good framework execution involves both I think. TVA's and SSD's are defense/counterplan type arguments that I think both sides are wise to not just address but frame in my decision.

Theory: Seems dead. Seemingly fewer and fewer affirmatives even make a meaningful press on theoretical objections to the CP. I still appreciate theory on the aff and not just as an “independent voter” but rather a good way to strategically dictate the landscape of the debate. This by no means implies that I’m a hack for any affirmative theory argument. But it does mean aff’s that hear a 3 cp’s in the 1NC and don’t make more than a 10 second conditionality block and don’t mention that there were 3 counterplans are giving up on some production. I think it goes without saying that very blippy theory debates are terrible. Slowing down and being more thematic and explanatory is almost always a better approach the theory execution in front of me. In the end, I'm pretty old school and think theory needs to make a comeback (mostly so aff's can not give their cases away to disposable 15-plank hydras every debate) but it seems perfunctory in execution anymore.
Finally, please make sure to mark evidence as you read it.

Matthew Moore Paradigm

1 rounds

Matthew Moore

Judge Philosophy- Update Sept ‘16

 Important questions:

Will you vote on framework? Yes

Will you vote for an aff that is not topical against framework? Yes

I am about 50/50 in these debates because I leave it up to the debaters. The aff usually wins these debates when they have substantive impact turns to the framework impacts. The neg usually wins when a topical version can access most of the aff’s offense. For affs: T version of the aff does not solve is not very persuasive to me when the solvency argument is functionally it does not solve as well as the aff.

Neg goes for a K versus a policy aff:

At the ’16 Texas tournament, negs going for K’s versus policy affs were 3-0 in front of me. Why? The aff only said weigh the aff, it is true, and then had no substantive answer to the K beyond the aff impacts. You should have offense to the alt that is not just the aff.


      After hearing multiple rounds where the 2AR goes for conditionality bad and  not voting on it once, it is highly probable that affs will not win on condo bad in front of me. Not impossible, just highly improbable. This is especially true is the argument is less than five seconds in the 2AC, 30 seconds in the 1AR, and then six minutes in the 2AR. If you think the neg is cheating, tailor specific theory arguments to the situation (i.e. this conditional pic is uniquely bad). That will be more persuasive to me and garner you better points than "Condo is bad, strategy skew and time skew voter for fairness." I will not vote on perm theory. The aff shouldn’t lose for making a perm no matter how bad it is. The more a counterplan/alt cheats, the more lenient I am to theory arguments against it. Cheating is a relative term here, but affs that can demonstrate the cheating in concrete terms will win my sympathy. You should make the arguments.


·         The aff can win there is no link to the DA if they win their link turns. Uniqueness does not make the link magically only go in one direction. 

·         Paperless sharing of speech documents is not an excuse for being unclear. Presentation matters for points. 

·         For K Debaters- saying the aff results in violent interventions like NATO missions in Libya is not an impact. Last time I checked bombing Libya protected civilians from being massacred. At best you have an intervention internal link to something else, not a terminal impact. 

·         Point scale- I will try my best to follow the data Regnier posted in August ’16 for the purpose of points. 29 is the mark for teams that are performing at a level that should be represented in the outrounds (not barely clearing). I tend to adjust my scale at the tournament using the points I have given in previous rounds as a guide for future debates. I am going to try harder to distinguish points between debaters in the round, I feel I have been giving too many points at the .1 difference between all four debaters. Be professional and respectful to each other. Shut up during the other team’s speeches. I will be pretty honest with you after rounds about what I thought was rude/not professional and what was good. These things really do impact your points. 

Don’t read to much into subtle nonverbal cues from me. I have had multiple rounds where I ask a team why didn’t you go for X and they will respond with you looked like you did not like the argument. Judging can be a miserable and uncomfortable experience, usually that look of disgust on my face is the result of a weekend of bad food, lack of sleep, and being stuck in an uncomfortable chair for hours at a time hunched over. I will do my best to make any nonverbal communication that may matter obvious. If I am grimacing because I do not like your argument, that is up to the other team to call out.






Matt Munday Paradigm

6 rounds

Please add me to the email chain: mwmunday@gmail.com

I am not the kind of judge who will read every card at the end of the debate. Claims that are highly contested, evidence that is flagged, or other important considerations will of course get my attention. Debaters should do the debating. Quality evidence is also important. If the opposing team's cards are garbage, it is your responsibility to let that be known. Before reading my preferences about certain arguments, keep in mind that it is in your best interest to do what you do best. My thoughts on arguments are general predispositions and not necessarily absolute.

T – Topicality is important. The affirmative should have a relationship to the topic. How one goes about defending the topic is somewhat open to interpretation. However, my predisposition still leans towards the thought that engaging the topic is a good and productive end. I tend to think implementation of the plan must be defended, but there is a debate to be had. I am most persuaded by topicality debates that focus on questions of limits. Competing interpretations typically makes more sense to me than reasonability.

Disads/Case Debate – Among my favorite debates to judge. Clash is built in and evidence comparison occurs naturally. Offense is important, but it seems like defense is often undervalued. I am willing to assign 0% risk to something if a sufficient defensive argument is made.

Counterplans – I lean neg on conditionality and PICs. Functional competition seems more relevant than textual competition. If the affirmative is asked about the specific agent of their plan, they should answer the question. Actual solvency advocates are important.

Kritiks – While I am not very deep on the literature base, I do think these are strategic arguments. I expect the negative to explain the impact of their argument beyond nebulous claims. It seems like the aff generally outweighs. However, good K debates usually control the key framing questions that make those concerns irrelevant. I tend to think of the alternative like a uniqueness counterplan. It benefits the aff to have clever perms as well as offense against the alt.

Theory – A quality theory argument should have a developed warrant/impact. “Reject the argument, not the team” resolves most theory arguments except for conditionality. It benefits both teams to slow down slightly when engaging in the theory debate. Making sure I am able to sufficiently flow the substance of these debates is important.

Speaker Points

Scale - Adjective - Description

29.6-30 - The Best - Everything you could ask for as a judge and more.

29-29.5 - Very, Very good - Did everything you could expect as a judge very, very well.

28.6-28.9 - Very Good - Did very well as a whole, couple moments of brilliance, but not brilliant throughout.

28.3-28.5 - Good - Better than average. Did most things well. Couple moments of brilliance combined with errors.

28-28.2 - OK - Basic skills, abilities, and expectations met. But, some errors along the way. Very little to separate themselves from others. Clearly prepared, just not clearly ahead of others.

27.5-27.9 - OK, but major errors - Tried hard, but lack some basic skills or didn’t pay close enough attention

27-27.4 - Needs Improvement – major errors/lacked effort - Major errors committed, effort questionable

Below 27 - Bad, and I intend for you to take it that way - Disrespected one’s opponent, the judge, or otherwise

Gabe Murillo Paradigm

2 rounds

I have experience judging a wide range of arguments. I have found the following qualities more important than any of the particular content of arguments: 

- completeness of argument 

- meaningul engagment with opponents arguments and questions and responses in cross-examination 

- clarity 

- creativity 

- knowledge about the issues being debated 

- organization 

Those qualities provide the major criteria for my speaker points. I also find myself rewarding/considering: 

- degree of difficulty 

- general affect

I consider myself an active participant in the debates. I listen and flow intently and think thoroughly about whats happening in the debate. I take post rounds pretty seriously and view my role as a temporary coach, so please don't be hesitant with questions (whether you agree or disagree with the decision) I only ask that I am given time to fully explain my decision before interjecting. 



Steven Murray Paradigm

3 rounds

10 years in debate, currently coaching at UGA.

EDIT for 2018-2019 (and onward): There is a huge gap between "burn it down" as a concept-metaphor and literally advocating assassination. I am an employee of the state. Please do not tell me you want to, plan to, or otherwise advocate a plan to assassinate the President. I cannot hear your plan to kill politicians. Not only is that a laughably bad idea, you threaten my job security by simply being in the room with you as you discuss your plan.

Overview: I vote for framework as often as I vote against it. I think the best debates occur when the 1NC answers the 1AC and the worst debates happen when theoretical abstraction substitutes link arguments. Here theoretical abstraction can equally be read as "should means immediate" and/or "competing methods." I think the best theoretical abstraction occurs when it assists the examination of objects instead of denying an object's uniqueness.

I take scholarship seriously, I often make comments in the middle of a round, and I have been told I give high speaker points but I don't believe that.

The best rebuttals occur when both teams identify the nexus points of the debate and engage in the other teams arguments while advancing their own. I tend to reward framing arguments and meta claims. When extending arguments, I think debaters should start with a claim, then a warrant, then comparison to their opponent's counter-arguments. I strongly dislike the trend (greatly assisted by paperless debate) to jump right into the comparison. Numbering 1NC and 2AC arguments is an underappreciated artform.

Minor proclivities: "Reject the arg" is sufficient in most cases (T and conditionality excluded), the word "permutation" is not a complete argument (nor is "permutation do both"), "do the counterplan" is not a permutation it's a concession unless otherwise explained, and "squo or a competitive policy option" is the dumbest meme left in debate. "Plan focus", however, can often be compelling if adequately developed.

Obligatory: PICs good, neg fiat good, DAs good, case debate good, sometimes topicality IS the strategy.

Hanna Roberts Paradigm

5 rounds

**Ultimately, do whatever you want. 

I do my best to prevent any of my preconceived notions about debate from influencing my decision, however, that requires the debaters to frame the debate for me and give me warranted explanations as to which arguments I should evaluate above others. Without that framing, I tend to evaluate theory (including topicality) before any other arguments and default to a policy maker.

Framework: I default policy maker, but I’m definitely open to other interpretations/role of the ballot arguments. I think if there is a topical version of the AFF you should have a very good justification for not reading that version of the AFF. 

Topicality: I have a pretty high threshold for abuse on topicality. Because it’s rather easy for the negative to find a definition that excludes the affirmative, I’m inclined to believe AFF pleas about reasonability. That’s not to say I won’t vote on topicality, especially if the negative can prove some sort of abuse, even if it’s merely potential.

DAs: Obviously I require impact calculus in the rebuttals. I expect your evidence to be well warranted and updated; I don’t like generic impact cards. To win a well-contended DA I think the NEG needs to tell a clear story in the 2NR with decent to good/specific link evidence .I'm always very impressed by a well debated politics DA. 

CPs: I’m inclined to believe CPs should have a solvency advocate specific to the CP’s action. I find CP’s run in conjunction with contradicting critical arguments pretty unconvincing, but that's not to say I'm not open to multiple worlds. 

Ks: I expect explanations about how the alternative functions inside and outside of the debate round, or an explanation as to why only the debate round is relevant. I find generic link arguments unconvincing.

Other info:
-Don’t steal prep. I DO take time to flash over cards.

Eric Robinson Paradigm

4 rounds

10 Things I Believe About Debate

1. Debate is a game. There's no hidden meaning here. It's literally a thing we do to learn and possibly have fun. If you think it's more than that, fair enough. I don't.

2. Affs should be topical. Negs should be able to explain why affs should be topical.

3. Both policy and critical arguments have a place in debate. Whatever happened to being well rounded? Really, read whatever you want, but your argument directly should link to the other team's position. Links of omission are a joke and are a guaranteed way to get made fun of at the bar after rounds.

4. Persuasion still matters. Reading evidence in debates is good (essential?), but the evidence is where the debate begins not where it should end. Applying evidence and explaining arguments (and impacting arguments) matters much more to me than blurting out that extra terrible one line UQ card. Nothing is a voting issue "because," winning arguments have impacts that are compared to the opposing team's impacts.

5. You have to answer arguments. Flowing is fundamental.

6. You have to have an argument worth answering. Sometimes I just decide your words didn't rise to the level of an argument. Claim + Warrant = Argument. Claim + Increased Volume + Repetition = Me watching YouTube during your rebuttals. "Why?" is still the most powerful and important question in debate.

7. Stop acting offended when the other team answers your argument. You came to a competition, not a therapy session. Your feelings are important, and so are you, but they will never be a reason I vote for you. Also, your yelling does not impress me and will result in lower speaker points.

9. Cross X is a privilege, not a right. I can't wrap my head around why people allow themselves to be yelled at for three minutes. Ask questions and allow the other team to answer, otherwise, I'd rather not even listen to the Cross X. If your strategy is to yell at the other team for three minutes or talk to them like you have no home training, I'm not the one for you.

10. Impact turning is still a thing.

Jason Russell Paradigm

1 rounds


School: Wichita State University
Years Judging: 20
College Rounds 2017: 40, High School Rounds: 50

Have the email chain set up starting around 5 mins before the debate. The prep time doesn't end until you've sent the email, not when you start compiling documents or attaching them. Part of preparing for paperless debate is having a time efficient method for document dissemination. That should start at home, in practices.

New new new content:

I strongly support policy debate. Most K affs that are just policy debate bad do not appeal to me much. If you believe that there ought to be some changes to policy debate, they ought to be specific, strongly supported, and feature a well articulated alternative model of debate. Absent any of these, you'll struggle to win. If your aff does not support the implementation of the topic as a policy, you'll almost assuredly lose. If your K on the neg fails to articulate an alternative or defend the SQ, you'll almost assuredly lose. I will vote for K's, but your window is much narrower than it would be with a friendlier audience. I will not lower my expectations nor will I apologize for it. 

I still think most Aff framework args are bad. The cheatingest thing about Ks is the alt so win that they need one and theirs is unfair. I'm pretty much always going to weigh the Aff impact but that doesn't mean an ethics arg won't precede it necessarily if well articulated and won. Aff framework is probably a waste of your time & potentially a liability. 

Method doesn't make anything compete and just saying that is adequate for me. This arg is nonsense. If the alt can't be desirably combined with the Aff, then it competes. And only then.

I strongly prefer to hear debates about the policies involved in the topic, although the approach to implementing and rebutting those policies may vary widely. 

Generally, most kritiks are mumbo-jumbo. The links are stale and weak, the alt is contrived and probably contradictory to many of the links, in addition to being wholly ineffective, and the analytic lens is generally far less insightful than they purport to be. If the K aff doesn't do anything, I will vote on presumption without hesitation. A great number of K's make psychologically untenable claims that can be defeated easily with limited to no evidence. Often, the team debating a K would be well served to read fewer generic K cards and make some strong arguments from the perspective of logic that suggest that the thing they're suggesting folks should just do isn't as easily done as they make it out to be (embracing insecurity, fugitivity, abandoning hope, etc).

Indignant complaints about how it's rude to disagree with people will not be accepted as arguments. 

The room a debate occurs in is shared by the opposing teams and the judge. Do not monopolize the room by loudly playing music, taking up all of the space with your materials and coaches, or generally behaving in such a way that both teams can't adequately prepare for a debate in a reasonable manner. I will give you points that are akin to clipping or other cheating practices if you do so. 

New content 2015-2016


Between UMKC and UNLV I decided to raise my points a bit. Nothing radical, but probably a .2 increase on the top end. I'm still giving points below the mean as often as ever, but my high end points will more accurately reflect trends for the top 20 speakers at a major. I do this reluctantly as I don't like point inflation, but I also don't want to disadvantage quality speakers that would like me to judge them by holding them to a different expectation than the rest of the pack. I find it very troubling how often 29.6 and above points are handed out. People should stop that. 

Don't ever ask me for speaker points. Those are mine and mine alone. I mean, I guess you can ask, but I won't do what you're asking me. I will give you the points you deserve. 

Decision-making and diversification are figuring highly into my points. So, good argument choices throughout -- recognition of your strengths, their weaknesses, time allocation, block division, 1AR elaboration, etc -- will be rewarded and bad choices will be deducted. Diversification can be horizontal or vertical. In other words, you can still be a one-off K team and have excellent points provided that your block is interrogating the case, developing a variety of well-explained link arguments, engaging in good epistemological attacks on the aff ev, and explaining your impacts. Lazy polemic will not be as highly evaluated as in-depth attacks involving clash throughout. In other words, "state bad" is not my jam unless it's some very well-developed, context-specific state bad arg. I can imagine one, but haven't seen one. 


A great many things are not T. I'd encourage you to go for it. I like evidence-based T debates. What should be considered military presence is highly debatable and many affs do not meet a reasonable interpretation of military presence. Even fewer are significant reductions in said military presence. 


The "aff didnt do enough" K isn't doing much for me. If this is your best option, I'd recommend T instead. Perms solve it and it's not offense. 

K debaters that can't debate the case enough to prove that the aff doesn't simply reduce military presence but somehow reinforces it or some other bad process in trying to do so are having a really hard time winning with me. You need links. "You touched the gov't" isn't getting the job done. If this is your best strat, I am not the judge for you. 

Negative state action undermines a lot of "we shouldn't have to debate as the gov't" args, absent more detailed elaboration by the aff team reading a non-topical or non-plan aff. I can personally entertain some reasons why this arg might still be true, but teams have yet to advance args that are not facile extensions of the standard "gov't bad" arg in explaining this for me. "Decrease military" and "gov't bad" are in the same direction on face. You'll need to do more to prove that they are not. 


Thumpers are a thing, UQ CP's aside. I can't even begin to understand people who don't believe they are. I'm not saying they're a universal problem for every politics DA, but there are times where they are a problem for a lot of popular politics DA's. 

New content 2014-2015

 1) K-related info


 I am not sure if I’ve voted aff against framework this year (could be once or twice I’m forgetting about). A lot of things can explain this (lop-sided matches, conceptual mistakes, drops, I’m dumb), but teams with non-topical affs should probably know this.


 I think most people’s framework args are soft and easy to beat if the aff actually interrogates them, but few do except saying “it’s anti-black” or “it links to Baudrillard/other French guy”. Do the work of K’ing something; your K is not a yellow card: “Penalty: anti-black!”. Develop content.


If you haven’t thought about the existential question “If the laws you are against are anti-black/otherwise rude, what should be done about them?”, you will have a hard time winning w me. As far as I know, getting rid of laws requires state action. If you are doing something else to get rid of or otherwise address those laws, I’m gonna need to hear some details. Unflinching paradigmatic analysis is a buzzword requiring further elaboration.


The strongest part of anti-K framework args is their “topical version of the aff/do it on the neg” cooptation args. The weakest part is the overall impact. If they win the cooptation args, they don’t need to win much of an impact, though. Food for thought.

Most K’s need an alt. If they don’t, be prepared to put some time into explaining why not.

Neg K’s are worse at permutations than ever. The “it’s a method” arg school of thought doesn’t make much sense to me without further elaboration. Some methods compete; others do not. You still need a link that’s not solved by including your alt (or some part of it) with the aff.


Aff’s typically lose K’s by not questioning a sweeping claim at the center of the K that takes out their case. A perm won’t help you much against that. Don’t fool around and forget to answer the central contention of the K. These claims are almost always an overreach; they’re not as absolute as they’re purported to be.


A lot of performances seem to be disconnected from the subsequent content. That’s not bad esoterically I guess, but it’s unstrategic because then the time you spend performing isn’t helping you win the debate.


I’m pretty much over role of the ballot. It’s just an impact framing arg. You still have to win that it’s a comparably preferable impact to whatever you’re debating.


K’s that go after the entire aff – their evidence, their harms, their plan, their solvency, their worldview – have a strong chance of winning even with a weak alt. They simply need to find a way to prove that an un-interrogated adoption of the plan would be worse than doing nothing or very little. That’s harder than just wishing away the SQ through magic, but debate is hard and that’s why it’s awesome.


K affs should defend changing the laws they criticize, but K the remainder of what the neg says is required to be complete legalization. Or read some cards on T. Or both. If your aff is nothing about the topic, or is anti-topical, you’ll want to be prepared to have a more comprehensive impact turn strategy for framework. This is a much tougher road.


 2) CX-related info


Answer questions in CX. Seriously. Don’t repeat the question at them. Don’t ignore them and do something else. I’m going to start docking points for wasting people’s CX time. Mark my word. I will intervene once and after that I’m just going to start making notations to knock off some points.


Don’t extend the CX unless you absolutely have to. Usually you’re doing it for something useless and wasting your prep time. Also, feel free to deny your opponents a CX extension. Just say “no” if they ask to take prep to ask another question. It’s your prep time too.


 3) Presentation info


I hate your pre-written overviews. No one can flow those. Your overview would be far better if tailored to the particular circumstances of the debate and delivered as if you were trying to reply to your opponents.


Prep time runs until your flashdrive leaves your computer or the email is sent. Start the chain/prepare the jump prior to the debate and deliver it a couple of minutes prior to the start of the debate. Feel free to tell people not to open it until it’s time and I’m sure that they won’t. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE DEBATE STARTS TO BEGIN PUTTING THINGS ON YOUR DRIVE OR I WILL START YOUR PREP TIME WHEN THE ROUND IS SCHEDULED TO START. Also, don’t wait until the debate is scheduled to start to pee.


You should think about how the music you’re playing affects others’ ability to hear you. A lot of times, music playing during your speech if not accompanying some performative component is a distraction from or direct hindrance to understanding speech content.


Loud music before the debate is irritating. I’d be glad to lend you some headphones.


Don’t act offended because someone is debating you. That’s what they’re supposed to do. Disagreeing with you is not akin to disrespecting you. Quite the opposite, in fact.


 Consider how you’re tagging evidence. No one can flow your paragraph of mumbo-jumbo that precedes your French philosophy. Tags ought to communicate your interpretation of evidence to the judge, to demonstrate the way the evidence will be used. Tags are not story-time. If your tag is mega-long and uses a lot of high theory, plan to slow down so people can flow it.


 I will 100% discount evidence from weirdos. Astrologers talking about global warming or conspiracy theory websites will require deep defenses to stand up to someone merely asserting that they’re not qualified. Honestly, it’s probably not worth your time to defend them. A couple more pointed jokes will likely beat those too. The Internet has caused you all to cut some scandalously bad ev.


 4) DA-related info


 Politics UQ answers are so bad. Don’t expect me to interpret “Opposition exists” as “won’t pass” if the neg questions it. Everything in Washington has opposition. That doesn’t mean it won’t pass if they have evidence saying it will. You need to have some conclusive ev.


 I’m never voting on logical policymaker or a perm to a DA unless it’s dropped. Maybe not even then.


 Their new DA, whatever it is, probably has a terrible link.


 I would sacrifice a close family member to judge a good economic DA.


 5) CP-related info


 I still believe in limited counterplan competition. I believe counterplans should be textually and functionally competitive, not one or the other. I still rarely see this arg pursued against CP’s that clearly violate it.


 I’m defaulting to judge kick CP’s that are deemed non-competitive unless I’m told not to do so. That means if you’re aff, your answers to the net benefit cannot be all premised around the CP, but must also take into account the SQ.


 Nothing can flip presumption to the aff. Presumption is 100% neg. Change is scary.


 Don’t forget to review the basic plan vs. CP competition on a technical CP. This is probably your best perm answer (or perm arg if you’re aff). A lot of teams presume we know more about what the original plan was than we do.


 6) Case-related info


 Actually debating the case is good. Impact D is not actually debating the case. It’s a fair accompaniment to, but is not a substitute for, debating the harm and solvency. Solvency is where it’s at.


 Aff plans are too vague. Many would be circumvented as a result of the loopholes the wording of these plans allows. I love this stuff.


 7) Points


 My points are probably marginally higher than 2 years ago, but not substantially. I would guess I use a 28.5 as average now over a 28.3. 29’s are not common and you won’t get one unless you’re actually really good. I won’t give you one for being a senior, or for showing improvement or effort, or for being snarky and mean. I will give you one (or one plus some more) if you’re very good, technical, complete, display vision and clarity, handle the CX, perform the CX, and read and analyze evidence well. Excessive reading will not get the job done. Excessive slow rambling will not get the job done. Comprehensively replying to your opponents’ arguments is a must for a 29+. If you’re dropping key content, you’re a 28.9 at best. Organization is important. It doesn’t have to be line-by-line (although I have a slight preference for it, historically), but it had better have a logic that makes sense and flows well.


 I’m sure whatever is already in here is also fine and true. I dunno. I’m not re-reading it. END NEW CONTENT 2015


New addendums: I've adjusted my speaker point scale quite a bit in recent years. I think it's much higher than it used to be when people are good and maybe a little lower when people are bad. The additional variability allowed by the 1/10's system has given me more room to provide finer evaluations. 

I assert myself into the CX more than I used to. Blame Dallas. I always thought it was cool when he did that. I typically do this just to protect people from your rambling incoherent responses to questions. 

NEW, NEW Addendums:

Cheating of all kinds in debate is deserving of the deepest penalty we can level. I will vote against you and give you zero speaker points if you clip cards. I will not debate with you about clarity or unclarity. I will ask you directly what portions of a card were read and, if your response doesn't match the recorded evidence, I will level the punishment. I don't require the argument to be made in the debate. I will not necessarily be recording every debate, but I will record many. Any accusation of clipping will require recorded evidence to be prosecuted. 

I think most people already knew how I felt about this. I did want to clarify in case you're a cheater and want to stop preffing me bc you cheat. 

I like basically all styles of debate roughly equally. I think my points reveal a pretty well balanced rewarding of excellence on all sides of the ball. I think "topical version of the aff" and "knowledge is racially subjective" are just about equally difficult to beat. I think my points are often highest for "degree of difficulty" wins -- taking on tough issues eloquently and with style. A large component of my points are subjective -- I don't just give points to teams for "winning"; I also give points based on aesthetics. No rubric is going to alter that, at Wake or anywhere else. I think fast, technical debate can be pretty when combined with, say, humor, insight, intellect, and reason as much as I think performance style debate can be detail oriented when combined with penetrating analysis of the other teams arguments using the lens of their perspective on the world. These styles are, in my opinion, not fundamentally distinct, but different in emphasis. 

My points roughly lie in the norms of the Wake judging rubric (I may give slightly more 28.5's and slightly fewer 28.9's than they're suggesting, but, whatever). I wouldn't expect my points to either change much because of the rubric or vary much from it. I'm not going to pay real close attention to it as the numbers seem to indicate I'm basically on par at the moment. One thing to note: your best speech and THE best speech are two very different things. You might think you gave the best possible speech you could and I would still not rate that speech as a 29.9 or 30. It's not just possible, but entirely likely, that you are not capable of giving a perfect speech. That's ok. No one is perfect. 

Depth is almost always better than breadth, but I do expect people to answer arguments. I won't ever answer them for you. I don't care in what order you answer them or how clearly you signpost your answers or whatever (i.e. line-by-line as defined traditionally is not that crucial), but if you never answer an argument and expect me to intuit the answer for you, you're not likely to succeed. 

I judge a lot. I'm kinda grumpy, but it's not just you. I'll be expressive in debates, a lot of it will be negative; don't cry. I just don't like watching you be bad. Other parts where you're good I'll like a lot (hopefully).

Big picture issues: Debate is for the debaters. I won't tell you what to do and what not to do. I have voted for some terrible arguments. Almost every debate involves some argument I hate. I often vote for arguments I loathe. Don't spend your time trying to decide which arguments I like. You play to win the game. Where this contradicts with something I've said below, you do your thing.

Topicality: Is ok. You need an interp. It needs an impact. The aff needs a reason to prefer their interp, or to meet the negative's interp. I believe aff's deserve predictability as much as the negative does. More aff's should say that. T can be outweighed by substantive arguments against the interp, like that it causes biopower, the state, zphc, derrida, la-dee-da, etc. In the instance that the aff attempts to "outweigh T", the neg should further elaborate on the substantive impacts of their standards. They should also probably say T isn't like the holocaust.

Framework: Is ok. I believe any argument can be introduced and won in a debate, but I'm often convinced that the harm to doing so outweighs the benefits. These debates are often tied up in issues I've discussed in reference to T. See above. Aff's especially should IMPACT their framework arguments. If the K has a link, I'm probably not going to be persuaded that they're trying to play football with a baseball bat (wrong forum) and patently exclude their argument. I may however decide that the neg has lost their alt and that doing so means the margin of the link is outweighed by the affs advantages. However, it is also possible that the K just takes-out the aff solvency and harm claims and turns the case, in which case the neg would win. Many framework debates are, as a result, stupid.

Other theory: PICs, Dispo, Condi, ASPEC, CESPEC, alt text, multi actor, conditional CPs, international CPs, etc. are all ok. So are objections to them. They're like T to me: theoretical disads to the other team's conception of debate. Most of them, however, do not rise to the level of VI. Typically, I believe that they prove that the argument should not be considered, not that the team running the argument should lose. In most debates, these argument are asserted to be a VI and countered by an equally assertive response that they are not. In those instances, I agree, they aren't. Basically, explain the voter if you want to win on 'em. I won't punish your points for consulting because I'm not a douche.

DA's and CP's: If the CP solves 100% of the case, I typically believe that there is a risk of a link to the net benefit. I have been, on occassion, convinced otherwise, but these instances are few and far between. I do not think presumption flips aff in any instance. I can't imagine how it could. I'd need to hear an amazing argument in favor of doing so. Link turns need UQ. If the disad sounds too good to be true, it probably is. "Their evidence is from liars" could count as a zero risk argument for me if articulated well. I tend to believe that the SQ is always an option for the neg unless it is explicitly foregone in the CX or a speech. Plan-plus counterplans are abusive and many CP's are plan-plus. Textual competition is good and many CP's are not textually competitive. Again, these are predilections, not hard and fast rules. I've been persuaded against my beliefs in virtually every debate I've ever judged.

K's: Alt, alt alt. The aff usually loses because the neg lies about their alt and the aff almost always wins if they beat the alt. Realism is real is unhelpful. I rarely know why this argument links. See comments on framework above. The aff typically gets to weigh their impacts regardless of the fabricated nature of fiat. The instance that the aff loses the case because of the K is typically associated with some indict of a. the evidence b. the impact claim itself or c. the solvency. In those instances, winning that you get to weigh the aff is not helpful; you still have to defend it. Good link and impact illustration is always helpful. Why does the K access the aff harm? Why does the alt solve the case? I often leave K debates wondering these things and it'd be helpful to have these questions answered and asked by the debaters.

Performance: Is ok. I don't love it; I can't lie. A good topical performance used as evidence to support a policy conclusion can successfully defeat a lot of the substantive arguments against a case, but performance for performances sake, the non-topical, obfuscatory variety, does nothing to impress me. I'll vote on it. I'll consider the merits of the argument. I may even find parts of it witty and funny. But if you think I'm a member of your project because I worked at OU, you're probably wrong. P.S. don't run your bad version of the Churchill K or nihilism because you think it will get me on your side. It won't. Run what you're good at and do it well.

CX: Is good. I love a grilling CX. You should have an agenda and follow it. Ask a lot of questions. Set things up. Don't badger the witness and don't bore me. CX has a lot to do with the points I give. I will probably be on the Internet and reading and stuff during CX, but, trust me, I'm listening. It matters greatly that you do well here.

Speed and flowing: I judge a lot of debates. I've judged people way faster than you and I get it down when it is clear. I often ask for clarity and the debaters go right back to being incomprehensible. I'm not asking anymore. You'll be clear or you'll get bad points. Seperate your cards, cites, and tags with good vocal inflection or I won't understand you and I won't try anymore. You don't need to be as fast as most of you try to read. Many of you would be more efficient at 75-80% speed. Theory debates are notoriously too brief and too quick. I'll just ignore you if you do this. If you want to win a theory arg, slow down so I can flow it.

Evidence: I don't read a lot of evidence after debates. I don't usually need to. Asking me to read some evidence doesn't mean I will. I think evidence is a tool, not a weapon, and blanket extension of cards without talking about their contents doesn't make an argument. Use evidence to support arguments, not to make them. That said, unevidenced, but well reasoned arguments are good. I'm for it! I don't think only cards can be evidence; a good story, poem, allegory, song, dance, whatever, could be evidence too. Of course, cards can beat non-traditional evidence also.

Overviews: Honestly, I'm pretty tired of them. Most of them are a waste of your time. Typically they are some long unnecessary diatribe about components of the disad ignored by the aff that I already understand. If you have an overview, it ought to be functional and make an argument rather than just "explain the thesis" of the argument or preview why you are so awesome and the other team so dumb. Worthless overviews are a negative speaker point in my mind. More line-by-line, more cards, more content.

Prep time: Don't steal prep. Once the timer stops, everyone must stop filing, writing, typing, etc. until the speech begins. Don't cheat. That said, don't be annoying and take hours to give the order. When you stop the prep time, you'd better know where you're going.

Clipping/Cross-reading/Mis-marking: I hear that this is coming back. To prosecute cheating, the accusing team needs hard evidence. A time trial is not hard evidence. A recording of the speech must be presented. I will stop the debate, listen to the recording, and compare it to the evidence read. If cheating occurred, the offending debater and their partner will receive zero speaker points and a loss. I'd also encourage them to quit. I consider this offense to be more serious than fabricating evidence. It is an honor system that strikes at the very core of what we do here.

Sexist/Racist behavior: Is not ok. Under any circumstances. Ever. The line is often unclear, but don't do anything that could hurt someone else in debate. Diversity is the heart of the activity, it is only just now getting better, and we don't want to turn back the clock to the good ole bad ole days. I'd prefer evidence not use sexist language in their evidence too, but that's not the type of behavior I'm talking about here. I'm talking about debater-directed verbal or behavioral evidence of prejudice. I've never actually seen a debate where it happened, but if it did I'd want to do more than give the team a loss and zero points. I have anger management issues.

Humor: Is good. But if you aren't funny, don't press it. Be yourself. If you're just some debate machine, do that and do it well. Good natured humor can get you good points though. Oh, and making fun of me, my colleagues, my debaters, and my friends are all welcome. If you've got a good burn, bring it. Jokes about the quality of the other team's arguments can be persuasive evidence.

Phil Samuels Paradigm

3 rounds

Overview: These are my defaults. Everything is up for debate.  

First, I consider myself an argument critic.  By this I mean that I might vote on an argument that I do not agree with or one that I think is untrue because in the context of the round one team persuades me.   This means that I tend to fall on the side of tech over truth. 

Second, I understand debate by argument.  There is a trend in debate to replace argument for author names. The community has begun to referencing evidence instead of the argument that the evidence is meant to strengthen.  This is a bad trend, in my mind, and should be limited to necessity.

Third, I will not now, nor will I ever, stop a debate if I think that someone is clipping or cross reading.  While I think this is cheating I think it is up to the debaters in the round to make an argument and then for me to judge that argument based on the available evidence and render a decision.  However, if you are caught clipping when I judge I will give your team a loss and zero speaker points.  . 

Fourth, Speaker-Points are dumb.  Preffing judges based on the speaker points they give is even dumber. It has long been the case that weak judges give high speaks in order to be preffed.  It is unfortunate that judges of color have had to resort to giving debaters higher points than they deserve to get into debates.  I will do my best to maintain the community norm.

Topicality: Yes, I vote on it.  It is always a voter.  Topicality debates are about competing interpretations and the benefits of those interpretations.  It is incumbent upon the debaters to do impact calculus of their advantages (these are the reasons to prefer aka standards) vs. the advantages of the counter-interpretation and the disadvantages to your interpretation.   In other words, to win topicality you need win that your interpretation is better for debate than your opponents.  This formula is true for ALL theory arguments if you plan to win them in front of me.  

Framework: Yes, I vote on it. Framework is, to me, a criticism of the affirmatives method.  What does this mean for you?  It means that I am less persuaded by arguments like debate is a game and fairness claims.  I tend to think of fairness, strategically, and my default is to say that fairness almost never outweighs education.  I have voted on fairness as a terminal impact before and will likely do so again but the threshold to beat a team going for fairness is often very low and this gets even lower when the affirmative rightly points out that fairness claims are rooted in protecting privilege.  If you are negative and you are going for framework my suggestion is that you make sure to have as many ways to negate the affirmatives offense as possible in the 2nr; this includes switch side debate solves your offense and topical version of your aff.  If you do that and then win an internal link into education you will likely win my ballot. 

I default to utilitarian ethics when making judgments about what action/vote is most beneficial.  If you would like me to use some other method of evaluation that needs to be explained and it needs to be upfront. 

Counterplans-You should read one.  Counterplans compete through net benefits. 

*Presumption never flips aff.  I know there is a redefinition of Presumption as “less change” but this is a misunderstanding of presumption.  Presumption, simply put, is that the existing state of affairs, policies, programs should continue unless adequate reasons are given for change. Now like everything in this philosophy this is a default. To say that presumption flips affirmative is just to say that the affirmative has achieved their prima facia burden to prove that the SQ needs change. 

*Counterplan theory: My default is that conditionality is the state that counterplans naturally exist. Because I believe counterplans are merely a test of the intrinsicness of the affirmatives advantages it means that I also default to judge kick.  This also means that there is little chance that I will vote outright on conditionality bad.  Instead, I will assess that the Negative is now “stuck” with a counter-advocacy that alters the debate in corresponding ways.


Criticisms:  Criticisms function much like counterplans and disads, insofar, as they should have an alternative and link and impact.  I can be persuaded that K’s do not need an alternative.  With that being said, if you are going for a K without an alternative then you are going to need to have a lot of defense against the affirmative.  Some of that defense can come in the form of the k itself (serial policy failure or impacts are inevitable arguments) but some of it SHOULD also be specific to the plan.   

Any questions just ask. Good Luck! 

Sarah Spring Paradigm

4 rounds

Edits - minor 11/13/14

Director of Speech & Debate - University of Houston

Previously coaching at (Iowa, Miami (Ohio), Wake Forest)


As of the 2014 Shirley - I have judged (according to Debateresults + tabroom):

475 - College Debates

I have voted AFF in 226 of those debates (47.5%)

I have voted NEG in 249 of those debates (52.4%)


First rule of judging - judging is subjective. 
Second rule of judging - get over it. 

Judge philosophies are in fact an attempt to compensate for this inevitably subjective activity. We try to minimize personal opinions, but in the end who you vote for is more than often related to how you feel and the style of the debaters as much as it is about any particular argument. You have to convince the judge (me) to vote for you. This is as subjective as really any other activity. 


T - A paradoxI am a bad judge for T. I love T debates. 

Competing interpretations doesn't make much sense to me because the aff can't win on T. Reasonability is largely good (I am not a good judge for trivial interpretations like "and/or means both") - see above re: subjectivity. Reasonability is also a good answer to most affirmative theory complaints.

Legal topics are ideal for T debates, given that the law is all about definition. I find these questions interesting, but in order to win on T with me as a judge, you typically need to have insightful argument and some decent evidence about the educational harm (and not just to negative ground) of the affirmative's interpretation. These arguments, of course, can take many forms, but be careful.

Avoid specification arguments. Please. While implementation might be 90% of whatever, ASPEC is still not a reason to reject the affirmative. 

I think T is an important check against non-topical affs, you have to read a plan and defend the federal government and your plan, reading the resolutions does not seem to be enough. Switch-side debate is a good thing. 

Framework/Non-plan Topicality arguments - 

Framework debates are not fun. I judge them a lot.I think that these debates have both gotten stale and also very detached from the actual arguments at hand. Both sides would do well to connect their arguments to the actual positions relevant to their debate. My previous statements about reasonability tend to apply in these questions as well. A small advantage to an very limiting interpretation is often not enough for me to justify a ballot. 

The best framework debates don't read the Shively card.

My suggestion is to try to have a good interpretation that takes the middle ground, this will make me much more sympathetic and open to listening to your arguments. A violation is often overlooked by both sides, but is often where the crux of the decision lies - don't neglect this (or the "we meet")

Theory – I think in general most aff theory arguments are reasons to reject the argument not the team. That means theory is rarely rarely a voting issue for me.

Conditionality - I think conditionality is a good and necessary thing. Dispositionality is not a thing. I am open to kicking CPs on my own (without the encouragement of the negative) - I do indeed possess that power.

PICS (or whatever) is not a reason to reject the team, only the position, in these cases if the CP goes away the aff would still win. 

International agent fiat, in some cases, may be a legitimate test of the necessity of USFG action.

50 State Fiat - eh?

Consultation/Condition - Not a fan.



Disads – Politics DAs are my favorite.

I won’t vote on 1% risk.

Magnitude and probability are far more important than timeframe.

"DA turns the case" by itself is not a full argument.

Also "DA turns the case" is often wrong, the DA impact must complicate the aff's ability to solve or access the internal link to the impact, not just be the same impact. The aff should point this out. 

Don't read a bunch of new impacts in the block unless you've got a real reason to do so. Most teams won't have a reason beyond, we didn't feel like answering their arguments.


Case debate. I think debate should be more in depth debating of the specifics of an aff, I will reward hard work and understanding on the topic, which is often demonstrated in good case debating. The more specific your strategy is, the better.

Reading impact defense to all of their impacts does not count as a case debate (maybe necessary, but certainly not sufficient).


There are rules for debating the case - http://goo.gl/FliJY The treaties topic was awesome because of case debates. 

CPs – Most are good. I really like a smart advantage CP. Consult CPs and Condition CPs are cheating. How much cheating? It depends. See above on theory. 


Ks - 

Critiques are often times strategic and I also think can be won very easily because the aff doesn’t attack the argument at its weaknesses. Weakness include, the alternative, the links to the aff (and not to the law, society, etc), other stuff. I often end up voting for Ks when the aff fails to contest these issues.

Framework arguments are usually underdeveloped on off-case Ks, this makes me not vote on these arguments.


Like any other argument, it has to be well explained. I also have an inherent distaste for generic backfile Ks (or consult CPs or Framework ....) that you have resurrected year after year because you were too lazy to do any work. I like debating new topics, don’t just cut one new Zizek book and consider your work done. 

As an academic, I think I know a bit about critical theory and so forth -as a rhetorician there are things I like by trade - critiques of rhetoric, language and discourse, well executed understandings of theory, that is to say criticism of actual instances of things that are objectionable. Things that I don't like (or understand very well) include vague psychoanalytic theory (ie Zizek) or rabbit-holes of very complicated post-structuralism - the event of the non-part or something. 



Other things – I don’t like reading a lot of cards after the debate, although I know I will at times, I change my mind on this every couple of months. Right now, I'll probably skim a lot of cards and read some carefully.

I will also probably be open to getting emailed your evidence during the debate, but won't really want to look at it until the end of the debate. Maybe during CX or prep to figure out something I missed. Maybe. I do think it is incumbent on the teams in the debate to communicate to the judge verbally, not via email.

If I have to reconstruct the debate I might not see it like you think it happened. The final speeches MUST do this for me. 


I've taken to answering some questions in CX, particularly informative questions, especially if I think an answer might be confusing. How many perms? I'll answer. If you are just wrong about something, I might say something. 


I'm very emotive during debates, you should look up and see if I'm scowling or nodding, this can be a clue (to what? I don't know, but to something).


Underviews are the worst thing ever. 

I also think the 1NR should not be used to make new arguments. It is a rebuttal not a constructive.


Terms that have lost meaning to me - "Role of the Ballot," "the debate space" (more later)

Speaker Points – I think I give fairly good points, simply because I think most debaters deserve a chance at clearing if they have the wins.

My scale goes something like this;

26.5 and below – bad debating,

26.6 - 27 - Needs a lot of work,

27 -27.5 – average, but has a way to go,

27.5-28 - better than average, some things to work on,

28-28.5 – Good varsity debating.

28.6 - 29 - Very good - should be in contention for a speaker award.

29-29.5 – Excellent debating 

29.6 - 29.9 - Almost Gabe.

30 – Gabe

I will punish your speaker points for lack of clarity, rudeness, or inappropriate language (these issues could also result in a loss). 

I think clipping is bad, though I'm not sure what the threshold is to warrant a ballot. These questions stop the debate. If you are making an accusation of cheating, I will decide the debate on that question. You need to be fairly certain to make this kind of claim, so be ready to explain.


Justin Stanley Paradigm

2 rounds

Justin Stanley - Johnson County Community College

I debated at Missouri State and have been coaching for about 10 years.  I would like you to debate using the arguments that you feel will win you the debate without putting too much stock in my own personal preferences.  I try to eliminate those preferences when judging and evaluate each argument outside of any feelings I have towards particular arguments.  With that being said,

I am a better counterplan/disad/Case judge than kritik judge because I have more experience debating, coaching, and researching these positions.  I certainly understand kritik literature more than I used to, but I am still probably not as well read on these issues as other judges. 

I have a strong preference that the affirmative have a topical plan and defend its passage.  However, I can be persuaded otherwise.  This is an issue in which I try to eliminate my preferences and judge the debate based on what I see in the round. I often find that your defense of why you have chosen to be anti-topical is not as persuasive to me as it is to you.  I haven't ever thought that topicality was genocidal.  If there is a topical version of your affirmative that solves all of your "impact" turns then you are likely in a bad position.  If there is not a topical version of your affirmative then that is likely more of a reason to vote against you then to vote for you.

I don't think conditionality is always the best approach for debate.  This is especially true in rounds in which multiple conditional options are used to try and "Spread out" the IIAC and not necessarily to test the merits of the affirmative.  I have not voted on conditionality bad very often, but I often find that has more to do with the debates then my own personal preferences. 

I think PICs are often very good strategies, but I am not the best judge for obscure word PICs that claim a minute net-beneft.

A few other things...

1) Clarity - go as fast as you would like, but don't underestimate the importance of clarity in my decision.  If I can't understand your argument then I am highly unlikely to vote for it.

2) Strong cross-examination will earn you additional speaker points.  Being humorous and kind will also help you with speaker points.  If you are a team that ranks based on speaker points then I am probably average to slightly below average in the speaker points that I give.  I rarely give a 29+.  Most debaters will fall in the 27 - 28.7 range for me.

3) Paperless debate is a great thing and I am relatively patient with tech problems.  However, at some point my patience runs out and I get frustrated.  Please do your best to eliminate delays between speeches. 

4) One person should not ask and answer all of the cross-examination questions. 

5)  If you want me to call for a card then you should extend author, claim and warrant for the piece of evidence.  Listing 20 authors in a row with no real explanation will likely result in not calling for any cards.

6)  If I catch you clipping cards then you will automatically lose with zero peaker points.  This is true even if the other team did not make a complaint about it.



Daniel Stout Paradigm

2 rounds

Debate at Kansas State from Treaties (2001) – Courts (2006), Coached at Kansas State on Middle East (2007) & Agriculture (2008), Coached at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh for Weapons (2009) & Immigration (2010). I am now at Johnson County Community College.

I'd like to be on the e-mail chain- debatelearningdotcom@gmail.com (just copy and past that exact e-mail)

If I leave the room, please send the e-mail. It will signal I need to come back to the room. People should just not open the doc until I get back.

My litmus test for what I can vote for is solely based upon the ability to take what you said while debating and regurgitate it back to the other team as a reason why they lost.

I believe the most important part of debate is impacts. If left with no argumentation about impacts or how to evaluate them I will generally default to look for the biggest impact presented. I appreciate debate that engages in what the biggest impact means, and/or if probability and timeframe are more important. This does not simply mean “policy impacts”, it means any argument that has a link and impact. You could easily win that the language used in the round has an impact, and matters more than the impacts of plan passage. All framing questions concerning what comes first have impacts to them, and therefore need to be justified. The point is, whether you are running a Kritik, or are more policy based, there are impacts to the assumptions held, and the way you engage in politics (plan passage governmental politics, or personal politics). Those impacts need to be evaluated

I also prefer that teams explain their arguments so that a macro level of the argument is explained (Meaning a cohesive story about the uniqueness, link, or link and alternative are also necessary). This means piecing together arguments across flows and explaining how they interact with one another. My threshold for the possibility for me to vote on your argument is determined by whether or not I can explain why the other team lost.

Policy arguments are fine by me.

Quirks with Counterplans- I think consultation and conditions are more cheating, than not cheating, but up for debate. I think conditionality can get out of hand. When conditionality does get out of hand it should be capitalized by the affirmative as justification to do equally shady/cheating things and/or be a justification to vote against a team, again up for debate.

Kritiks- I enjoy Kritiks. Be aware of my threshold for being able to explain to the other team why they lost. This means it is always safer to assume I’ve never read your literature base and have no idea what you are talking about. The best way to ensure that I’m understanding your argument is to explain them with a situations that will exemplify your theory AND to apply those situations and theories to the affirmative.

Framework- I will evaluate framework in an offense defense paradigm. Solely impacting or impact turning framework will rarely win you the debate. You will need offense & defense to win framework debates in front of me. Its an issue that I believe should be debated out and the impact calculus on the framework debate should determine who I vote for. When aff I believe that framework is a non starter. Defending the assumptions of the affirmative is a much more persuasive argument. For the negative, a lot of the discussion will revovle around the topical version of the aff and/or why doing it on the neg is best and solves all the affirmatives offense. I don't generally feel as though framework should be THE option against critical teams.

Framework on the negative for me is also can have and act like a counter advocacy that the problems isolated by the affirmative can be helped by engaging the state. Topical version help prove how engaging the state can create better and meaningful changes in the world. There should also be historical and/or carded explanations as to why engaging the state can help with the problems of the 1ac.

One other caveat about framework. I do not believe that affirmatives must provide a counter interpretation. The affirmative has not forwarded a way to debate in the 1ac, therefore it is the burden of the negative to explain their version of debate and why it's good. This allows affs to just impact turn framework as presumption has flipped in this instance.

With that said, framework is the last pure debate. I very rarely see the better team not win. It's been too hashed out for many if any gotcha moments

Micheal Stroud Paradigm

5 rounds

debates take a long time, already. 92 minutes, optimistically. please, please dont make them last any longer than they absolutely must. if you, for any reason, must take a break or stop the clock, that's totally okay. but for the sake of us all getting off campus at a reasonable hour, and for our hosts who put together a schedule for a reason, lets all try to keep our debates to, like, 105 minutes.


"i don't want magic word invocation to stand in for final rebuttal work weighing and comparing potential outcomes. 'extinction' and 'nvtl' are not arguments.

James Taylor Paradigm

3 rounds

Taylor, W. James “JT” Kansas State University, ADOD
# of years coaching/judging: 20+

Most succinctly, I begin the round as a critic of argument. Depending on how the debaters posit my decision calculus, I go from there...But I think the topic should be debated directly--HOW that happens is up to you.

Biggest tips:


-ONLINE DEBATE: Please slow down just a bit--not much but some. Technology issues are YOUR issues, not mine.

-ENGAGE THE 1AC: I think teams should always engage the 1AC. Even if you are a one-off K team or you mostly take a more performative approach, there is no reason you can’t address the issues, logic, and general claims of the 1AC (denying their logic is not "playing their game"). Even if you don’t have evidence, you should still make smart arguments. Some of this could be approaches like contextualizing your one-off K to the specific claims made. Be smart and make logical arguments against the Aff. I think being educated on the issues of the topic is the true "education" we get out of "topic education". In the end, there should probably be a detailed engagement in the link debate.

-SPEECH DOCS: Ignoring the speeches and just flowing from the speech docs is disrespectful. I love teams who realize this is going on and throw in arguments when that team is not paying attention.

-DEBATE THE EVIDENCE: What are the base assumptions? Studies? Qualifications? These questions are often not engaged by debaters and badly hi-lited 12 page cards just get accepted.

-STOP BEING PETTY: You might think your arguments are the center of the universe, but c'mon. Too many debaters overstate the importance of their claims, fake being deeply offended for purposes of hyping up a link argument, think their type of education is the only acceptable form, deny/ignore the validity of debates about scholarship, or assume that debate is separate from the "real world".

-FRAMEWORK: Although I think most framework arguments are a little silly—I vote on them often due to execution problems by the other team. I think the Aff. Should get to “weigh” the case as offense, unless it begs the question(s) of epistemology/methodology. In that case, the epistemology/methodology should be directly applied to the case debate. Also, don't use framework as an excuse not to engage the Aff. I think there can be real value in policy debate, but not necessarily through its imposition. What rarely gets discussed are the "portable skills" that are fostered through non-policy debates...In the ideal analysis, we would consider all facets of analysis into the discussion or decision-making process (policy, narratives, history, philosophical assumptions, etc.).

-Role of the Ballot – The vast majority of these claims are self-referential and add nothing to debate: “Whoever best does what we said.” Just like policy framework claims, these function with the same intent to exclude. However, some truly act not as a veiled framework but as truly instructional in terms of judging and the meaning of the ballot and the function of my decision. I do not think the ballot inherently means anything beyond a recording of data. Humans infuse meaning to things like the ballot.

-Perm Sloppiness - I think a lot of block debates get sloppy/lazy on the perm. I think the Aff. should have to explain how the perm resolves the links. I also think the Neg. should have to explain why the perm does not resolve those links (don't just say so).

-Method Debates: You need to actually do your method, not just prove it WOULD/COULD be a good idea. Historical Materialism comes to mind...Very few teams actually advance that alternate version of history. Instead, teams usually just read links to how the Aff doesn't fit in their paradigm or somehow masks or trades-off with HM. The same dynamic happens in many other debates.

-Multiple conditional plan or CP planks: I think it is an unrealistic burden for Affs to generate offense against each plank without liability. Aff should get to generate offense and solvency deficits against parts of the CP (or in extremely rare circumstances all parts), but smart Negatives can utilize one plank to compensate for solvency deficits of others or outweigh the internal link to the offense against others.

Ben Voth Paradigm

3 rounds

I come from a traditional policymaking background.


I understand and vote for critical and performative arguments.


I value debate as an educational activity.


I do think flashing should count as prep time.


I do not tend to call for cards after the round unless the two teams disagree explicitly about what the evidence says and I am unclear myself.

Mike "Shooter" Weitz Paradigm

3 rounds

Mike “Shooter” Weitz

***************************Updated 2014-15********************

A guy walks into the Buddha’s bar. Plopping on the stool, his dejected look was plain for all to see. “How can I help with what’s ailing you?” the Buddha asked, sliding the man a drink.

The man said, “I did everything I was supposed to, and nothing happened. I spend hours meditating under a tree every day, and I still haven’t reached enlightenment. I do my mantras, mandalas and sutras without forgetting a word. What am I doing wrong? I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I walk perfectly along the path.”

Giggling at the seriousness of the upset man, the Buddha exclaimed, “Well, there’s your problem right there! If your path is the trampled dirt of others’ footsteps, you’ve already lost your way.”

“But without that path, how will I know where I’m going?” the man asked earnestly.

“Exactly,” the Buddha smiled.

Not satisfied with the response, the man demanded, “If I don’t know where I am going, how will I know when I get there?”

“Exactly,” the Buddha quipped.

The man’s temper got the better of him, “That tells me nothing. Why don’t you just tell me what I need to know?”

“Exactly,” the Buddha chimed with glee.


“The Silent Flute”

I wish neither to posses,

Nor to be possessed.

I no longer covet paradise,

More important, I no longer fear hell.


The medicine for my suffering,

I had within me from the very beginning,

But I did not take it.

My ailment came from within myself,

But I did not observe it

Until this moment.


Now I see that I will never find the light

Unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel,

Consuming myself.

-Bruce Lee


“Once More I Hold You In My Arms”

Once more I hold you in my arms;

And once more I lost myself in

A paradise of my own.


Right now you and I are in

A golden boat drifting freely on a sunny sea

Far, far away from the human world.

I am happy as the waves dancing around us.


Too much analysis kills spontaneity,

As too much light dazzles my eyes.

Too much truct astonishes me.

Despite all obstacles,

Love still exists between us.


It is useless to try and stir the dirt

Out of the muddy water,

As it will become murkier.

But leave it alone,

And if it should be cleared

It will become clear by itself.

-Bruce Lee


“Sharing a Mountain Hut with a Cloud”

A lonely hut on the mountain-peak towering above a thousand others;

One half is occupied by an old monk and the other by a cloud:

Last night it was stormy and the cloud was blown away;

After all a cloud could not equal the old man's quiet way.

-Kuei-tsung Chih-chih,


“Being as Is”

Food and clothes sustain

Body and life;

I advise you to learn

Being as is.

When it's time,

I move my hermitage and go,

And there's nothing

To be left behind.

-P'ang Yün


Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water.

The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken.

Although its light is wide and great,

The moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide.

The whole moon and the entire sky

Are reflected in one dewdrop on the grass.




Look for Buddha outside your own mind,

and Buddha becomes the devil.




The wind traverses the vast sky,

clouds emerge from the mountains;

Feelings of enlightenment and things of the world

are of no concern at all.

-Keizan Jõkin


Where beauty is, then there is ugliness;

where right is, also there is wrong.

Knowledge and ignorance are interdependent;

delusion and enlightenment condition each other.

Since olden times it has been so.

How could it be otherwise now?

Wanting to get rid of one and grab the other

is merely realizing a scene of stupidity.

Even if you speak of the wonder of it all,

how do you deal with each thing changing?



“In science we have finally come back to the pre-Socratic philosopher Hercalitus, who said that everything is flow, flux, process. We in the West think of nothingness as a void, an emptiness, a nonexistence. In Eastern philosophy and modern physical science, nothingness—no-thingness—is a form of process, ever moving. In science we try to find the ultimate matter, but the more we split up matter, the more we find other matter. We find movement, and movement equals energy: movement, impact, energy, but no things.”

–Bruce Lee




To be honest, I am not sure what it means to have a ‘philosophy of judging.’ I can tell you what I do: I evaluate arguments in relation to other arguments. I like good argument more than I like bad arguments. I like good cards more than I like bad cards. But, other than that, I’m not sure what I am supposed to tell you. Am I, through some unknown process of self-evaluation, to disclose how I decide which arguments that I’m yet to hear, and how they will win out versus other arguments? Should I provide you a list of the arguments I like and dislike, the things I have pre-determined to be true, as avenues of persuasion to receive my ballot? Such a list doesn’t exist. However, i can tell you some things:

If it is about my personal philosophy, then I’m not sure how telling you that I am a Buddhist and like to study Eastern Philosophy explains my approach to judging debate rounds, except to say that i evaluate arguments as i understand them at their moment of utterance, i evaluate them by the interdependent relationship to other arguments in the round, and i do my best to remain present and attentive during the course of the round. I think that truth tends to be a little grey (and technically ungraspable by language and set, intellectual patterns of thinking). I very much believe in paradoxes, which means that sometimes even 'incompatable' truth claims can both be true and untrue. This can be frustrating for debaters sometimes, because it puts a higher argumentative standard on you to make sure that you not only make arguments, but make sure that your arguments answer your oppenents arguments. Finally, it's not a requirement, but i do tend to prefer the nice and humble debater, even while debating with a passion. I will also do my best to judge with humility; we are all human and all make mistakes. I definately will.

I like arguments to be clear. I don't like to have to do a bunch of extra work to read your cards after the round because I should be able to hear them when you read them if you're clear. I only like to call for cards if their meaning is contested, and arguments are made against them. This is usually a sign of a good debate, but i don't want to have to call for cards because i don't know what they say because you weren't clear the first time.

An argument is a claim and a warrant. Missing one makes an incomplete argument, especially in the warrant department. And just because you made a claim and a warrant, does not necessarily make them persuasive, which is why the more warrants the better, usually. Always answer the "why" question. Why is what you say true?

The same standard applies to evidence, if your evidence does not contain warrants, then it is a bunch of warrantless assertions, and, hence, a waste of your time. You don't have to read seven-page-long cards, but the more warrants the better. Highlight your cards down to one sentence at your own risk and peril.

You would be surprised how often teams will win portion of an argument, and lose because of their failure to properly 'impact' it in the debate round. This is a critical part of the debate that should not be skimped on just because it happens in the latter speeches. Again, answer the "why" question.

Finally, while I'm not quite ready to go "full Dallas," I do attempt to generally communicate my thoughts, feelings, how I'm receiving stuff, and might even pipe in a "that don't make sense." My point is that I'm a source for information that you should use.

As always, have fun!


Michael Yost Paradigm

6 rounds

Michael Yost


Affiliations: Berkeley Prepatory School

Conflicts: Jenks High School

Experience: I debated in high school at Jenks, and in college at both the University of Oklahoma and the University of Central Oklahoma (NDT/CEDA). Before grad school, I was an assistant debate coach at UCO. I am now a PhD student in economics at Florida State University.

Overview: I like good debates, whatever form those may take. Do what you do best, and I will work hard to set aside my prior assumptions. I will evaluate the debate I am given—whatever its content—to the best of my ability. 

Ultimately, my strongest predisposition is towards an open and accessible debate for all. I take exclusionary language and behavior quite seriously. Please work to ensure that your behavior does not alienate or exclude anyone in the round.

Evidence: My bias is towards reading less, rather than more, evidence after debates. Unless there is significant disagreement regarding the content of particular cards, I will defer to the interpretation advanced in your speeches. Debate is foremost a communicative activity, and so I think it is important to prioritize that. That does not mean you should read bad cards, just that, ceteris paribus, I default to tech over truth. However, I often read evidence after I have made my decision so I can offer feedback for advancing one’s arguments more effectively.

Theory: I have a high threshold for voting for “obviously cheating” CPs, which includes, but is not limited to, word PICs, condition(s), delay, and consult CPs, and the like. I tend to believe that CPs should demonstrate an explicit opportunity cost to doing the plan, and these sorts of CPs often fail to do that, for various different reasons. In these cases, merely extending theory consistently and persuasively is sufficient reason to reject the CP for me.

I also have a soft spot for the argument that CPs need a solvency advocate specific to the aff.

Conditionality: is good. Flatly contradictory arguments, however, are probably not. I find it hard to justify voting for a K that links to the neg. So, if you are reading the security K, for example, you probably should not be reading war impacts on a different flow.

Framework: In these debates, teams should offer a model of debate and defend it. I find the teams—on either side—that succeed in these debates are the ones that best describe what debate is and can do. “What purpose does debate have?” is a question that both teams debating framework should answer. Is debate an activity to hone our analyses of policy? Is it a space to experiment and try new ideas? Or is it just a game? And what benefits can any of these visions for debate offer for those who disagree with your vision? Framework serves to negotiate these considerations, and to that extent, is necessary.

In general, the more specific and limited the framework argument, the better you will fare. The more general and insular your framework argument, the less likely I am to be persuaded. I do not enter the debate with the assumption that the only worthwhile discussion to be had is one that centers on government policy. However, I understand the desire to impose some sort of limit on debate, particularly in cases where the affirmative explicitly rejects topical discussion. Strategically, picking the framework interpretation that includes as many of the aff’s benefits as possible while not jettisoning the benefits of research and preparation is the option which will serve you best in front of me. 

“The K”: yes, I am fine with it. I usually hold K teams to a slightly higher standard in terms of explanation than policy teams, though. If you know your literature base, and make specific, offensive links tied to the 1AC, you are in good shape.

“Performance”: all of debate is a performance, even the parts where you are not giving a speech. As long as the form of your argument is accessible to all participants, I find little reason to reject it. If reading poetry or playing music is how you want to make arguments, I will raise little fuss. This cuts both ways, however—I am unpersuaded that speaking quickly or reading evidence is on-face exclusionary.

Prep time: I usually do not take prep time for saving and transmitting evidence, whether by USB drive or email chain, but this predisposition is subject to change during any given debate.