Cougar Classic New Year Swing at Houston

2016 — TX/US

Carley Anderson Paradigm

Debated for two years high school policy (junior and senior year), first time judging for the year, but have judged in the past

Karina Barbosa Paradigm

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Eli Barrish Paradigm

I debated for three years at the Liberal Arts and Science Academy (a high school in Austin) and currently debate as a junior for UT Austin. I undertook my debate education with policy-style arguments, so I can judge a disad/counterplan debate no problem. These days I'm more about the K; that's where my research energy is dedicated. Performance is fine, as long as you can answer the question "why vote aff?" (or neg). I don't have much topic-specific knowledge, so don't expect me to know the ins-and-outs of your big policy aff without some explanation. Also: I'm fine with cheater stuff like PIKs and process counterplans and 3 conditional worlds, but will gladly vote the other way if you mess up the theory debate. If you want to win reasonability, actually explain why it's preferable to competing interps; just saying the phrase "race to the bottom" does not do it.

Fair warning: recently I've been hacking for framework. I'm just so aggravated by teams that go for something like "unintelligibility good," but can't explain what unintelligibility means to them. Or say "rationality bad," but engage in rationality without making a clear distinction. Please define your terms. Don't exaggerate. Be circumspect about your claims. Precision is WAY more important than speed in these tricky critical theory debates.

Email me if you have any questions and/or complaints about this judge philosophy.

Aaron Birenbaum Paradigm

Bellaire High school 2011-2015

University of Texas at Austin 2015-2019


Overall, read what you think you're best at. My job is to be as unbiased as possible. I rather see a cp+disad debate than a kritik debate, but that does not mean you should shy away from your favorite positions. 


Some general thoughts-

  • Tech>truth for the most part. I will vote for something that is probably false or I don't believe in but you have to warrant it and do the work
  • Zero risk is possible. There is such thing as terminal defense. 
  • Framing issues often win close debates. Tell me why your impact controls their impact. 
  • Actually slow down for tags or text you want me to acknowledge. If I don't write it down, then I probably won't remember it. 


Not a huge fan of T debates (probably because I always read barely topical affs)

I default to competing interpretations unless you convince me otherwise

For 1nc, please don't blaze through the shell if you want me to flow your standards

If you want to go for it, make sure to contextualize the argument to the round (in round abuse is not necessary but always appreciated)

For aff, topical caselist is nice. For neg, topical version of the aff is nice. 



Aff, tell me why your case outweighs and/or turns the disad. Neg, vice versa. 

Politics was in my 2NR about 75% of the time senior year (just as a reference)

Often controlling spin is more important than having the right evidence. 



Neg, win the net benefit and answer the perm. 

Specific CPs are more interesting than generic. 

Shady CPs like consult, delay, condition are probably cheating and "perm do the cp" is probably not severance (but everything is debateable). Agent and international CPs are also not great (although I ran these most rounds). 95% of the time theoretical objections to questionable CPs are a reason to reject the argument, not the team.



They're fine. I didn't run many Ks outside capitalism and variations of psychosecurity so I'm not familiar with all of the literature. With that being said, they are obviously very strategic when run correctly. 

It is the job of the negative to explain to me the link-impact-alt story of the kritik (make sure the alt is explained well). 

For both sides, often the side that controls framework controls the round. Aff, make sure you weigh your aff against kritik. You read 8 minutes of offense in the 1ac. Neg, often tricks like "serial policy failure" wins rounds. I would advise reading those. Also contextualize to the aff. 

Even if fiat is illusory, you have to do substantial work to convince me that the aff can't weigh its advantages. 



If you want to go for theory, don't spread through the 1nc shell as quickly as you can. I probably won't be able to flow it. 

Conditionality- One conditional world is fine. After that, it's fair game. If neg runs a contradictory cp and kritik, tell me where they contradict, how that makes it impossible to debate, and why it's a voting issue. Make your standards clear and your interpretation is always important. (Of course, I am still unlikely to pull the trigger on 2 conditional worlds)


Performance/non-traditional affs- 

I don't have a lot of experience with performance debates, but your speech is up to you.

The more the aff deviates from the direction of the resolution, the more likely I am to vote on framework. Because of my policy background, I'm probably more likely to vote on framework than most judges. 



Jamie Bockmon Paradigm

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Yao Yao Chen Paradigm

I have been coaching debate at the Liberal Arts and Science Academy in Austin, TX since 2005, where my focus is almost exclusively on policy debate. I was a three-year policy debater at Plano Senior High School in Plano, TX, and debated policy for one year at the University of Texas at Austin. I judge an average of 70-80 debates per season.

If there’s an email chain, please add me: yaosquared at gmail dot com

If you’re using a flash drive, prep stops when you pull the flash drive out of your computer. If you’re using an email chain, I won’t count attaching and emailing as prep time. Please do not steal prep.

If you have little time before the debate, here’s all you need to know: do what you do best. I try to be as unbiased as possible and I will defer to your analysis. I would rather listen to a politics+CP debate than a kritik debate, but I would also rather listen to you debating your strongest argument than you adapting to my preferences. As long as you are clear, go as fast as you want.

Immigration Topic:

  • I worked at RKS for 4 days and have judged only a handful of practice debates during the summer, so my thoughts on topicality are still amorphous. However, I feel comfortable saying that many nonimmigrant visas (tourist visas, H-1B, etc.) are not topical. I am undecided and can still be persuaded that some nonimmigrant visas like T and U visas are topical because access to them reduces a restriction for eventual LPR.

Meta Issues:

  • I’m not a professional debate coach or even a teacher. I work as a finance analyst in the IT sector and I volunteer as a debate coach on evenings and weekends. I don’t teach at debate camp and my topic knowledge comes primarily from judging debates. My finance background means that, when left to my own devices, I err towards precision, logic, data, and concrete examples. However, I can be convinced otherwise in any particular debate, especially when it’s not challenged by the other team.
  • Tech over truth in most instances. I will stick to my flow and minimize intervention as much as possible. I firmly believe that debates should be left to the debaters. I rarely make facial expressions because I don’t want my personal reactions to affect how a debate plays out. I will maintain a flow, even if you ask me not to. However, tech over truth has its limits. An argument must have sufficient explanation for it to matter to me, even if it’s dropped. You need a warrant and impact, not just a claim.
  • Evidence comparison is under-utilized and is very important to me in close debates. I often call for evidence, but I’m much more likely to call for a card if it’s extended by author or cite.
  • I’m now over a decade removed from my own debate career and I don’t judge or coach at the college level, which means I’m usually a year or two behind the latest argument trends that are first broken in college and eventually trickle down to high school. If you’re reading something that’s close to the cutting edge of debate arguments, you’ll need to explain it clearly. This doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear new arguments. On the contrary, a big reason why I continue coaching debate is because I enjoy listening to and learning about new arguments that challenge my existing ways of thinking.
  • Please mark your own cards. No one is marking them for you.
  • If I feel that you are deliberately evading answering a question or have straight up lied, and the question is important to the outcome of the debate, I will stop the timer and ask you to answer the question. Example: if you read condo bad, the neg asks in CX whether you read condo bad, and you say no, I’ll ask if you want me to cross-out condo on my flow.


  • Don't over-adapt to me in these debates. If you are most comfortable going for procedural fairness, do that. If you like going for advocacy skills, you do you. Like any other debate, framework debates hinge on impact calculus and comparison.
  • If a topical version of the aff is presented, I default to viewing this as a counterplan to the aff’s interp. Please line up your offense and defense accordingly.
  • When I vote neg, it’s usually because the aff team missed the boat on topical version, has made insufficient inroads into the neg’s limits disad, and/or is winning some exclusion disad but is not doing comparative impact calculus against the neg’s offense. The neg win rate goes up if the 2NR can turn or access the aff's primary impact (e.g. clash and argument testing is vital to ethical subject formation).
  • When I vote aff, it’s usually because the 2NR is disorganized and goes for too many different impacts, there’s no topical version or other way to access the aff’s offense, and/or concedes an exclusion disad that is then impacted out by the 2AR. Without a credible counter-interpretation that the aff meets and that establishes some sufficient limits on the scope of debates, I lean negative.


  • Over the years, “tech over truth” has led me to vote neg on some untruthful T violations. If you’re neg and you’ve done a lot of research and are ready to throw down on a very technical and carded T debate, I’m a good judge for you.
  • I'm a stickler for the quality of a definition, especially if it's from a source that's contextual to the topic, has some intent to define, is exclusive and not just inclusive, etc.
  • Reasonability is a debate about the aff’s counter-interpretation, not their aff. The size of the link to the limits disad usually determines how sympathetic I am towards this argument, i.e. if the link is small, then I’m more likely to conclude the aff’s C/I is reasonable even without other aff offense.


  • The kritik teams I've judged that have earned the highest speaker points give highly organized and structured speeches, are disciplined in line-by-line debating, and emphasize key moments in their speeches.
  • Just like most judges, the more case-specific your link and the more comprehensive your alternative explanation, the more I’ll be persuaded by your kritik.
  • I greatly prefer the 2NC structure where you have a short (or no) overview and do as much of your explanation on the line-by-line as possible. If your overview is 6 minutes, you make blippy cross-applications on the line-by-line, and then you drop the last three 2AC cards, I’m going to give the 1AR a lot of leeway on extending those concessions, even if they were somewhat implicitly answered in your overview.
  • Framework debates on kritiks rarely factor into my decisions. Frequently, I conclude that there’s not a decisive win for either side here, or that it’s irrelevant because the neg is already allowing the aff to weigh their impacts. Usually, I find myself somewhere in the middle: the neg always has the right to read kritiks, but the aff should have the right to access their advantages. Kritiks that moot the entire 1AC are a tough sell.
  • I’m not a good judge for “role of the ballot” arguments, as I usually find these to be self-serving for the team making them. I’m also not a good judge for “competing methods means the aff doesn’t have a right to a perm”. I think the aff always has a right to a perm, but the question is whether the perm is legitimate and desirable, which is a substantive issue to be debated out, not a gatekeeping issue for me to enforce.
  • I’m an OK judge for K “tricks”. A conceded root cause explanation, value to life impact, or “alt solves the aff” claim is effective if it’s sufficiently explained. The floating PIK needs to be clearly made in the 2NC for me to evaluate it. If your K strategy hinges on hiding a floating PIK and suddenly busting it out in the 2NR, I’m not a good judge for you.


  • Just like most judges, I prefer case-specific over generic counterplans, but we can’t always get what we want.
  • I lean neg on PICs. I lean aff on international fiat, 50 state fiat, condition, and consult. These preferences can change based on evidence or lack thereof. For example, if the neg has a state counterplan solvency advocate in the context of the aff, I’m less sympathetic to theory.
  • I will not judge kick the CP unless explicitly told to do so by the 2NR, and it would not take much for the 2AR to persuade me to ignore the 2NR’s instructions on that issue.
  • Presumption flips if the 2NR goes for a CP.


  • I’m a sucker for specific and comparative impact calculus. For example, most nuclear war impacts are probably not global nuclear war but some kind of regional scenario. I want to know why your specific regional scenario is faster and/or more probable. Reasonable impact calculus is much more persuasive to me than grandiose impact claims.
  • Uniqueness is important, but I will default to “link controls the direction of the disad” unless told otherwise and conceded by the other team.
  • Zero risk is possible but difficult to prove by the aff. However, a miniscule neg risk of the disad is probably background noise.


  • I actually enjoy listening to a good theory debate, but these seem to be exceedingly rare. I think I can be persuaded that many theoretical objections require punishing the team and not simply rejecting the argument, but substantial work needs to be done on why setting a precedent on that particular issue is important. You're unlikely to win that a single intrinsic permutation is a round-winning voter, even if the other team drops it, unless you are investing significant time in explaining why it should be an independent voting issue.
  • I think that I lean affirmative compared to the rest of the judging community on the legitimacy of counterplans. In my mind, a counterplan that is wholly plan-inclusive (consultation, condition, delay, etc.) is theoretically questionable. The legitimacy of agent counterplans, whether domestic or international, is also contestable. I think the negative has the right to read multiple planks to a counterplan, but reading each plank conditionally is theoretically suspect.

Amber Chen Paradigm

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John Clingman Paradigm

Local HS tournaments and TOCs UT & St. Marks

Shayan Dhuka Paradigm

I vote policymaker but am one to vote on K's if convinced. I need analysis on every argument and not just shallow extensions of the tagline. I'm fine with speed as long as you slow down on the tags and I can actually make out what you're saying.
I understand that policy debate is competitive so assertiveness is fine. Just don't overdo it.

This is very important. Debaters who compare evidence and impacts in round are more likely to get higher speaks. I like to see more than just debaters spewing card after card. Attacking the credibility of sources, finding contradictions in the opponents' evidence, and comparing the impacts in the round are all things that make it easier for me to vote.

I will vote on T; I believe its an A-priori issue and that the aff has the burden to be topical. I primarily vote on competing interps when it comes to T. I will not vote on reasonability because it causes me to determine what I personally think is reasonable; I like to use whatever happened in the round as the basis for my decision. However, I WILL NOT vote on an RVI. I believe the aff's job is to be topical; you're not getting anything extra out of it. But a note to neg teams: if you're running a T just as a time suck, don't. I won't down you but your speaker points may be lowered.

I'll buy theory; just prove to me there's in-round abuse. Theory arguments I'll buy: condo bad, agent CP's, and multiple worlds, just to name a few.

Although I prefer to vote as a policymaker, I will vote on the K given that it is well explained and I have been given reasons to vote for it. Explain the link and how the alt functions and how it solves. Also, the role of the ballot debate needs to be discussed in the round by both teams. I will vote on pretty much any K except those "dirty word" K's. Generic K's are sorta in the gray area, depending on how well its argued and explained. When it comes down to it, I need to have strong analysis and reasons as to why the alternative provides a better world than that of the aff.

When it comes to kritikal affirmatives, I prefer you don't run them. But if you only run K affs, then I will still consider them as long as you paint the picture for me and show me why the world painted by the aff outweighs the squo/world painted by the neg.

When it comes to DA's, impact calculus becomes very important because if you're going to go for the DA in the 2NR, I need to know why the squo is better than the world thats created when the aff triggers the link to the DA.

And to the affirmative team, DO NOT RUN INTRINSIC PERMS ON A PTX DA! I will not evaluate them.

I will vote on for the CP as long as its an untopical CP. I need there to be a clear difference between the plan and the CP and why the CP solves better.

I will vote on case as long as there's both offense and defense.
For the neg, don't run straight up impact defense and no solvency. Offense is key to winning the case flow. I will not vote strictly off of defense.
For both teams, LINE BY LINE debate is crucial. It makes so much more easier for me decide who wins the case flow.

I do not and will not extend or analyze any arguments for you in the round, so you should always provide complete and clear analysis as to why I should vote a certain way. I will evaluate the round solely off of what was said in the round and whats on my flow. Don't expect me to connect the dots; thats your job.

Eric Emerson Paradigm

Greetings, by way of introduction, my name is Eric Emerson.

I coach debate (policy, LD and public forum) at the Kinkaid school. I am chair of the Board of the Houston Urban Debate League and have also directed the UTNIF.

As a judge, I evaluate arguments (claim, warrant, data and impact). I prefer arguments grounded in literature rather than regressive debate theory (take note LD). My preferences are flexible and can be overcome by persuasive, smart debaters.

I take notes, sometimes quite quickly. If I think you unclear, I will let you know in my facial expressions and on the occasion, hopefully rare, when I yell 'clear'.

If I find you/your arguments, unpleasant then your speaker points will reflect that. I disagree with judges who give out high speaker points to everyone. You gotta earn my points.

I am easily distracted and I prefer debaters to be both engaging and entertaining. If I appear distracted, it may be your fault.

Debate is a powerful educational tool that should be accessible to everyone. I try to approach all of my interactions with empathy and concern for others. I find unpleasant debates to be just that, unpleasant. I would ask that you avoid being unpleasant to your opponents, spectators, and me. Unpleasantness that threatens debate, to me, should be avoided.

Ivan Garcia Paradigm

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Andrew Garcia Paradigm

Andrew Garcia

I am an assistant professor at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and the policy debate coach for W.B. Ray High School. I was a four-year NDT debater at Baylor University, though I have only recently returned to the activity after a law school hiatus.

GENERAL: I consider myself a strong Tabula Rasa judge. Ultimately, I do my best to minimize my role and preconceived notions about the world in the round. I will vote for virtually any argument (provided that it is sufficiently impacted). If the debaters fail to make comparative analysis regarding their versions of the debate or how the arguments interact, it forces me to uncomfortably connect the dots.  To prevent passing ships, debaters should pay particular attention to describing the role of the ballot and why their paradigm for the debate should be preferred in the 2NR/AR.

In college, I ran both traditional policy arguments and critical positions. Although not definitive, here are some preferences that I have:

CX: I consider it to be one of the most underutilized portions of debate. An incisive and strategic CX can be devastating and I value it highly. I pay attention to it closely and consider what is said to be binding.

Delivery: I don’t mind speed, but many debaters attempt to go faster than they should, losing both clarity and efficiency. Make clear distinctions between tags and cards. Provide proper pen time on analytical arguments, T, or theory. Realize that you have the speech doc flashed to you, but I don’t.

K debates: I feel comfortable with critical arguments, but I have high expectations for alternative work. Make sure you are clearly articulating the implications of the K and help me visualize the alt. Specific link work in the block will be rewarded. Performative contradictions are dangerous, so be careful.

Performance/Affect/Clash of Civs: Haven’t had a lot of experience judging these arguments, as I was out of the game during their rise to prominence. I am open minded, though, provided that you highlight the role of the ballot and judge.

DA/CP Strats: Sure. Impact analysis. Complement with case cards to short circuit the AFF impx. Be clear on the net benefit work. I will admit to be somewhat down on conditionality.

FINAL NOTE: Perhaps this is a consequence of getting older, but I highly prefer pleasant rounds. Although this wasn’t something I was really good at during my career, it has become increasingly important to me. I believe you can be passionate, ardently advocate your positions and criticize your opponent’s arguments without screaming at the other team for 90 minutes. It won’t affect my ballot, but it will affect speaker points (and my general demeanor). Vitriol is wack, so save it for the squad van.





Joshua Gonzalez Paradigm

Joshua Gonzalez

New for 2018-2019:

High School Debates:

0. I will, at my own discretion, treat evidence that is highlighted such that the remaining words still follow basic grammatical rules as necessarily superior to evidence that is not. If I have to read and/or search unhighlighted parts of the evidence to make sense of the parts that you *did* read, then *your* version of that evidence isn't very good, even if the full, un0highlighted card is quite good...

1. You have to debate the topic. If you can't find some way to allow more legal immigration (migration) to the United States on a topic on which it is pretty easy to win topicality while advocating for open borders, I am utterly bereft of sympathy. This is as close as I get to an absolute line in the sand. If you debate very well, you can probably still win some flexibility on the USFG parts, but even then, not a ton. If you really want to just talk about Baudrillard, I've got bad news: your show wasn't renewed for this season.

2. Conversely, if you are neg and your topicality interp excludes affs that contemplate the 11 million or so undocumented migrants that are currently within the so-called borders of the United States, it will not take much work for the aff to convince me that your interpretation is a non-starter. That doesn't mean that there are no boundaries on the topic (the logical negative retort should be that the topical affirmative is one that creates a new immigrant visa for said migrants), just that a boundary that categorically excludes the *obvious* core immigration issue of the moment and forces us to debate EB visas for a whole year is, for lack of a better phrase, an epic travesty against common sense and decency.


Rando stuff that I've added:

1. I will not automatically judge-kick conditional CPs. 2NR must signal to me to do it, in which case (absent a compelling aff response) I'm happy to do it, but I don't remember to do it every single time unless signaled, and it isn't fair for me to do it inconsistently.

The majority of what I've written below is of a positive/empirical nature, rather than normative/ideal. I obviously have opinions about debate, arguments, etc., but who doesn't? Every time a debate happens, the activity changes a little bit, as do my thoughts and opinions about it. If anything, what is below describes how I have voted in the past more than I how I intend to vote in the future.

That being said, there are a number of practices that have developed various degrees of normative force over time in our activity. Arguers who seek to overturn norms (not universally, obvi) are necessarily dealing with a task of overcoming presumption. I don't think that this is a particularly high bar (certainly not high enough that it should discourage you from trying); I just think it's the best explanation for my past voting behavior.

Speaker Points: who even knows anymore. I'll assign some.

Newest Complaint: 2NC/1NR - please don't group disparate parts of a flow and call it "the link debate" or "the uniqueness debate." While there are def. parts of flows that deserve grouping, this is a technique that is over-used and isn't very smart. There's a good chance you'll drop something the other team said.

Paperless addendum: Mark your cards during your speech. Save the speech doc from which you spoke, with marks. Be prepared to send it out after the speech if the other team requests that you do so. Regardless, I will expect to receive a post-round doc of all relevant cards WITH MARKS CLEARLY NOTED. If I don't, I will not consider the cards as part of my decision. If this document includes evidence that was not read in full (all portions that are highlighted) but is not marked as such, I will definitely blow up your speaker points and will may just vote for the other team on the spot. If you discover, after sending the document to me, that it is missing a mark, don't hesitate to correct it. Honesty and transparency are what we're aiming for here.

Other stuff: you have a right to examine your opponent's evidence but do not have much of a claim to the examination of any other part of their speech. I would prefer it if there was a way to just jump cards and NOT jump any analytics. Try flowing, it will change your life.

Clipping: Auto-loss, auto zero points for the debater. This is obvious.

SWEAR LESS: I didn't care about this nearly as much when I was younger, but as I've become older, I've increasingly become of the belief that all of you kids need to stay off my lawn. Let's try and cut down on the swearing during actual debate speeches, it's just not particularly becoming and it gets us in trouble with the higher ups. I'm sure there's any number of things you can say about this, but honestly, I probably disagree and this is one of those spots where I assign the speaker points and you'll just have to adapt. If this is a non-negotiable item for you, I take no offense to you moving me down the pref sheet, as is your perogative.

T/Framework/Etc. - I have rarely made the decision that topicality was not a voter. In all but the most extreme instances, I have typically decided that the affirmative should have to try and read a topical plan. I phrase this as an empirical statement rather than a normantive one, but I think it would be unfair of me to not let you know that I've been more likely than not to side with the negative when they make an argument to that effect. Here's the big catch: what the words that are configured into this “plan” (and the resolution) mean are significantly open to debate (or how they are best understood/interpreted) but it's plainly obvious what the directions of most topics are and what one would do to have some fidelity to that. I am inclined to think that people who claim that it is actually impossible to make arguments about social justice in the context of most any recent debate are, well, incorrect and really aren't trying very hard.

Also, please stop calling debates that involve two teams espousing differing viewpoints on these questions "clash of civilizations" debates. That phrase was unwise in its original context (Huntington) and it is even more unwise in debate. For better or worse, we are all part of a community. We also happen to belong to the same civilization (whatever that word means), too, so let's just stick to "debating."

Theory – I don’t seem to vote on this much, but I’m probably just waiting to meet the right theory debater. I have an intuition that the multiplicity of worlds advanced in 1NCs these days are probably unfair, I just haven’t heard a team that has really made a good set of arguments as to why. Be careful with the words “logical policy maker”: logical policy makers might consider lots of different counterplans, but they probably think the politics disad is really, really stupid, too. I don’t have too much of a dog in the fight with regard to intrinsicness, etc. – I coach a lot of teams to go for politics, but I do also think that debate is probably worse off for it at the end of the day. I find most totalizing theories of CP competition pretty self-serving and stupid, particularly “textual competition.” I have not heard a compelling reason why it makes sense as a standard, rather than just something that conveniently excludes a number of undesirable counterplans. If those CPs are bad, there is likely plenty of good reasons to reject them on their own and we don’t need a counterintuitive competition standard to prevent them from being run.

ASPEC – this is my least favorite debate argument. New rule: 2ACs don’t have to spend any more time answering it than the 1NC spent reading it. If the block makes a big deal, I’m inclined to allow a TON of new 1AR argument—and you can still probably say “cross ex checks” and get out of Dodge. This is one of the only things I am actually willing to impose by judge fiat.

Consultation CPs – these are my second least favorite debate arguments. Any generic strategy that creates an incentive for the aff to read plans that would be vetoed by any relevant international actor is probably a bad argument. I still vote on them, just don’t expect great speaks, even if you think you gave the best speech of your life, which, by virtue of making it about a consultation CP, you have not.

Critiques – I used to be the guy that K teams struck. Now I seem to be a middle-of-the-road sort of fellow. Maybe even K-leaning. This is not because I think critiques are totally awesome and the past/present/future of debate. I actually think many, if not most of them are surprisingly shallow and silly, but most teams seem incapable of acquitting themselves as anything less than even more shallow and dumb. My research interests go vastly farther into the critical than do my debate interests, so there’s a good chance I know what you’re talking about. Don’t be afraid to make arguments that have some theoretical depth, but in so doing, do not fail to make them relevant to the question of the debate (theorizing biopower is totally fascinating, but you need to make it into a reason to not do the plan).

Decorum/Attitude/Behavior – ethos matters in a persuasive setting. Become comfortable with the fact that debate judges (this one in particular) are not logical robots. We are big, jiggly masses of flesh. This means that you should make some attempt at being likeable in debate rounds. I rarely find myself voting for teams that I do not like and yet I feel as if I make decisions on the basis of relatively objective criteria. This does not make much sense unless one understands that how judges feel about you effects (affect?) how they understand and evaluate every other facet of the debate. I have spent more than 20 years of my life in this activity and rarely regretted it (until recently). I still love almost every person I've met through debate, but I am having an increasingly hard time coming to grips with how many of us are behaving (myself included, from time to time). Make it the sort of place that other people want to be and not only will judges reward you, but you will likely reap an enormous number of other intangible benefits as well. Only one team wins the tournament – everybody else should have a pretty good reason that they came. Year after year, I find that the only good reason (and the best reason that I could imagine) is “everybody else.”

Hunter Harwood Paradigm

*Updated for TOC 2016* CONFLICTS: Marcus, Liberty Christian, St. Louis Lafayette

Experience - I debated LD for 4 years in high school, 3 on the national circuit. I'm now a Political Science major at the University of North Texas, where I debate policy. I coach at Liberty Christian School and Prosper High School.

Where I've Judged This Season: St. Mark's, UT, Isidore Newman, UH, Strake, The Strake Round Robin, Colleyville Heritage, The Hockaday Women's Round Robin, The Kandi King Round Robin, TFA State, and a lot of locals,

Sidenote beforehand: I would love to sit down with anyone who would like to know what to work on/is confused by the decision after the round. Always feel free to approach me at tournaments and ask me questions, it would make my day.

IF YOU"RE DOING TOC PREFS: I like to judge good K, performance, micropol, and theory/tricks debates. These are the positions that I ran and still run, and the ones that I tend to cut for debaters I coach, so I'm familiar with how they work.
I will vote for any type of argument, at any speed. With that said, here's how to win in front of me:

1. Do phenomenal topic prep: I don't care how you present your arguments to me. V/C frameworks, burden structures, role of the ballot, role of the judge, theoretically justified frameworks, etc., are all valid ways to frame an argument. With that said, however you choose to debate, PLEASE make topical, well fleshed out, well-researched arguments at the contention level. If you win a generic K or frivolous theory argument, you'll win the round, but I'll give you speaks such that you'll wish you had chosen a different, more substantive strategy.

2. Debate about things that matter: I strongly believe that debate is a space that changes the way which we view the world. It is a primarily educational activity, and it influences people to do things with their lives that actively create change. Rounds where debaters discuss actual, real-life issues, and present topic solutions to problems that the resolution presents are the best rounds to adjudicate, and the most fun rounds to participate in.

3. Be clear and concise: I'll say clear as many times as I have to. I don't think it's fair of me as a judge to stop trying to understand you just because I'm having to work a little harder at it. However, you're liable for anything I don't get the first time. If you're trying to extend an argument in the 1AR and I have no idea what you're talking about because the 1AC was 6 minutes of garbled tags and authors, that's on you. However, being clear and concise doesn't just apply to spreading. Word economy and time allocation are super important. One of the biggest pitfalls debaters fall into is reiterating the same argument 10 different times, at various points in time, during their rebuttal, simply to make sure that the judge understands how key of a voting issue it is. Please don't do this. You'll be amazed at how much time you have remaining in your rebuttal if you weigh and do argument interaction concisely, while telling a good ballot story. When you're reading a good novel, the climactic portion of the plot isn't reexplained in every chapter through the resolution.

4. Speaker Points: You'll start at a 28. I give speaks for strategy and how well you debate.

5. Theory Specific Stuff: I ran a lot of theory in high school. Although my views on the subject have changed significantly since then, I understand that theory is the crux of some debaters' strats, and I will vote for pretty much any theory arg, given that it's structured properly. There is one caveat: DO NOT READ WIFI BAD IN FRONT OF ME. This is the only arg I have ever gut checked.



Grant Heller Paradigm

Name: Grant Heller
Affiliation(s)/Strike(s): None

Shamelessly copied and modified from Eric Beane's judge philosophy because I owe him everything.

Intro: I debated CXDebate at Katy-Taylor for 4 years on the national circuit. I'm a primarily K debater but that does not mean I'm against traditional policy arguments. I don't default to any sort of framework and have no preconceptions about what debate should look like. All those rules are guidelines.

Affirmatives - I do not have a preference as to how you conduct your affirmative speech. That is to say, I do not have an opinion on plan texts (or the lack of one) in a 1AC. I am open to non-traditional affirmations of the topic as well as traditional ones.

DA/CP/Case – These arguments are all fine, PICs are cool - make sure they are competitive and have a clearly articulated net benefit. Disads, whether they be critical in nature or not, are fine– make sure (obviously) they Actually outweigh and/or turn case. Reading case specific links will never hurt. I hate timeframe counter plans - they are truly one of the most anti-educational arguments I've heard, but I'll evaluate them if I have too. I just won't be happy about it. When reading a PIC or CP that has a long/in depth text, either slow down when you read it, or give it to me after you're done reading it so I can write it down.

Topicality– I think that against a Kritikal team, your best bet is to run FW and not Topicality (Maybe an embedded Extra-T violation is a good argument against K teams although I'm going to go ahead and say no). You can spread through your T shell in the 1NC, but if you plan on going for T (or at least extending it throughout the block), I would really appreciate it if you would slow down during the block on the standards debate. I understand there is always a time crunch, but if you go your usual (fast) speed, I may not get down everything you say which may harm you in the end. If T is in the 2NR, I expect you to impact out each standard. I don't default to either competing-interpretations or reasonability or whatever other metastandard you cooked up in your trailer park debate room. I generally think education outweighs fairness, but neither Have to be a voter. I'm open to the concept of voting on a RVI, but you will have to invest a good amount of time in the 2AC/1AR on the issue. I prefer voting on In Round Abuse, so please show me how the aff is "Totally screwing us over juuuddgggee" ... all of you are bad liars... I vote for good ones.

Theory - Generally, I think you should have a interpretation, violation, standards and voters, but embedded theory on a flow is fine too - for the sake of organization, I prefer theory on multiple sheets of paper (If possible). I prefer voting on In Round Abuse, but I will evaluate potential abuse as a voter with a much higher threshold. I truly do not enjoy getting into the ultra specifics of "should I grant someone leverage of a condo arg without an in depth extension of the standards against severance perm theory?" - Please try not to run too much theory.

Deb(K)ate – If you are filling out judge prefs and you rank me highly, I Expect you to have some sort of critical position to use at your disposal. I think as a general rule that Kritiks should have alternatives, however, I am open to evaluating a K without an alternative as a case turn to the 1AC. I love hearing good K debates – this is why I debate. Literature I am most familiar with – Continental Philosophy, Feminist Philosophy, Disability Studies, Queer Studies, Critical Race Studies – you get the idea. But I should be fine with evaluating whatever Kritik you want to run. It’s your game, do with it what you will. I like hearing K debates the most out of any other kind of position. But this does not mean that I will vote on a K just because you read a K; I expect in-depth analysis and contextualization on the K flow, particularly, how it relates and interacts with the affirmative not only on the link level (which is a must), but also on the alternative and impact level as well.

I’m also sympathetic to the idea that education outweighs fairness.

TL;DR - Kritiks are great - Contextualize your evidence to the affirmative, win the framework debate, have fun.

Framework - I WILL VOTE ON FRAMEWORK IF YOU DO POORLY. I default to allowing non-traditional approaches to debate be inclusive, and it will be an uphill battle to win an exclusionary reason for why I shouldn't allow the affirmative/negative to speak, but if a team is very far behind on the framework question, I will reluctantly vote on it. You need an interpretation.

Weighing - The earlier the better - I expect clear weighing analysis in overviews of the arguments you want me to vote off of.

Performance- Don't run these arguments just to run them - make sure they have a clear, meaningful message. I generally think that these arguments have their place in debate, but can be persuaded otherwise. Give me a role of the ballot or some mechanism in which I can make a decision.

Speed – I should be fine with however fast you choose to go, if not I will just shout clear.

Role of the Ballot - This shapes how I view every other argument in the debate. It shapes how I view things like framework and topicality, and how I view substantive things like impact comparisons and impact framing questions.

Flowing - I will flow unless instructed otherwise. Like, "don't flow the other team judge." Ok mate, got it.

Speaker Points – The range from which I give speaker points is from 25-30. 25 is the lowest speaks that I will give, even so it probably won’t happen that often (I hope). How do you get better speaks? Organization during a speech

Quick and painless paperless debate (flashing ev)


Intuitive CX Strategies

Prioritizing framing issues at the top of a speech

Not being a Fascist.

John Hill Paradigm

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Ayala Huber Paradigm

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Shelby Jeffcoat Paradigm

Topicality/FW vs. Non-T Affs

- Affs probably should be topical, I’m just as willing to vote for impact turns against framework.
- I view most of these debates like a checklist. Affs probably need some answer to the following (and negs should be making these args): limits turns the aff, switch side solves, topical version of the aff. I have trouble voting aff if these are not answered. Similarly, I have trouble voting neg if these arguments are not made.
- The best affs generate their impact turns to framework from the aff itself. A bunch of random external criticisms of framework like just reading Antonio 95 or Delgado and calling it a day is not persuasive to me
- The debater that best defends their model of debate is the one that tends to win. Aff debaters who win their model of engagement/debate/education is better than the neg's will win more often than random impact turns to framework
- Should you read a non-topical aff in front of me? You can check my judging record, I think I have voted for and against these non-t affs about equal amounts.
- If you're going for FW: answer k tricks, don't drop thesis level criticisms of T, reading extensions for more than 3 min of the 2nr is an easy way to lose in front of me
- If you're answering FW: you need answers to the args I listed above, I think defense on the neg's args are just as important as development your offense against T, less is more when it comes to developing offense against T


- Defaults: Competing interpretations, drop the arguments, RVIs justifiable, not voting on risk of offense to theory
- Weighing standards is the most important to me
- I will miss something if you blaze through your theory dumps
- I’m probably a better judge for tricks than you might think. I’m just as willing to say “these theory arguments are silly” as I am to say “you conceded that skep takes out fairness.” If you go for tricks, go for tricks hard.
- I will vote on 1 condo bad in LD


- I think frameworks are usually artificially impact exclusive where they preclude all other arguments for virtually no reason. I'm inclined to believe in epistemic modesty but you can win confidence in front of me.
- I default comparative worlds, but it's not hard to convince me to become a truth-tester. What truth-testing means, you will have to explain it to me.


- I’m slightly more convinced by the state being good than bad, but don’t mind on voting on state bad
- I’m a little better read on identity type arguments as opposed to high theory arguments
- I’m not afraid to say I didn’t understand your K if you can’t explain it to me
- I don’t know why negs don’t have a prewritten perm block given that I vote on the perm a lot
- Specific link analysis is better than generics
- There has to be a lot of weighing done in the 2nr
- Case defense is underrated in these debates
- Case K overviews that aren't entirely pre-scripted are undervalued
- Performance is fine
- There should be more debate about the alternative
- The aff gets to weigh their aff, what that means is up for debate

Joshua Jennings Paradigm


Summary - Run anything you want, go for what you're good at, try new things if you want, Don't be rude.

About me - I debated at Crosby highschool and middle school for a collective 6 years and I debated policy at University of Houston for 3 years. I used to help as an assistant coach for The Kinkaid School for about 2 years.

I am fine with almost any argument, so if you want to run it I'll listen, unless it's things like racism or patriarchy good. You don’t need to over adapt to me, I am pretty chill.

Speed - Go for it. I will not say clear if you're unclear, unless its egregious and if you're unclear I probably can't flow you well.

Try not to be rude.

Cx: (LD is below this)

On topicality and theory, I default reasonability if there is no discussion of this in the debate because it's much less of a risk for the neg. Explain why your interpretation is better than the other and make sure to make the violation clear.

On kritiks, You HAVE TO explain the alternative, in debate people get away with not doing that too much, which is annoying as a judge. I like when the link is contextualized to the aff (give specific analysis about how the aff makes the system of oppression worse or prevents it from changing).

On Counterplans, I love good counterplans, as long as your story on the world of the cp is clear and you're winning a net benefit that you solve, you should be fine.

On Disads, have a logical story as to why the aff links and how that causes the impact.

Non-traditional Affs - I will evaluate any affirmative even if it's non-policy, just make sure if you're untopical, you have a reason to be untopical.

Framework – I am not afraid to vote on this, I think there are benefits to policy debate and disadvantages to kritik aff debates (the reverse is true as well for me).

For LD:

I’ve judged a lot of LD debates. I am a CX debater normally so do what you want with that info.

I will evaluate almost any argument, I tend to think of the debate round on the bigger picture focus (mainly because the 1ar I feel is rough and it allows better debates for LD), although I have no real predispotions for or against it.

Framework: I'm fine with policy, whole resolutional or k debates, I'm also willing to vote those are bad. Just debate it out.

Theory: I will evaluate most theory, but it has to make sense and I tend to have a higher threshold on what I think is abusive. I will not vote on RVIs.

CP: I think CPs make the most sense vs plans and I can be convinced they’re illegit if you’re a whole rez team (all up to debate).

K: You HAVE TO explain the alternative, in debate people get away with not doing that, too much, which is annoying as a judge. Also it doesn't produce good advocacy skills. I like when the link is contextualized to the aff (give specific analysis about how the aff makes the system of oppression worse or prevents it from changing).

Clark Johnson Paradigm


A couple of thoughts before I address specific arguments

Immigration topic - Have not judged many rounds on this topic yet - as of UT

update 1/6/17 - not a good idea to read disclosure theory in front of me unless some real shenanigans happened before the round that you can prove, I will vote on it, but it will not be an enjoyable round for me.

I tend to find myself defaulting to a policymaker more often than not, but mostly due to a lack of framing of the round, start weighing impacts and explaining to me how I should be looking at the round as early as you can.

I would like to be on the email chain, I usually only bring my iPad with me so flashing will just mean I'll be calling for evidence which just slows down the decision

T debates (and theory debates) are already very blippy, and don't give much pen time, if you want me to evaluate it to the best of my ability slow down to 80% or so.

I like it when teams use T strategically in other areas of the debate.

DA: good spin > sepcific ev > generic ev. If the 2nr is da/case, spending a significant amount of time on the aff is probably necessary

CP: These are fine, I will only engage judge kick if you explicitly tell me to

K’s: Not as familiar with the more abstract K lit (i.e. dng etc). 2nr (and 2nc to some extent) explanation of what the alt world would look like, how the alt solves the links to the aff, and how the alt solves the impacts are important to me, I find myself to be much more persuaded by neg teams that can do this well.

K affs v fw: I think your aff should in some way be related to the topic, my threshold for framework/T arguments will go down if you can't defend how you are directionally related, that's not to say though that you have to be, just that it will make it easier for you to win those debates.

K affs v k's: this is by far the debate that I have the least experience with, something that's really important to me in these debates is clarity of how the alt/aff functions and how it interacts with the links to your opponents argument, I tend to find myself being persuaded by detailed alt analysis

if you’ve noticed a common theme here, it’s that I think the alt debate is important

Theory: Default neg and reject the argument, you should give me reasons to do otherwise, don't expect me to be willing to vote on it if you don't slow down and explain your objection, most debaters spread blippy blocks that make it difficult to flow and evaluate, if the 2nr or 2ar want to go for theory in some form or fashion you're going to have to do a modicum of work, saying they concede severance perms bad for 10 seconds at the top of your 2nr even if true is not enough to get me to vote on it. make sure to explain it in its proper form.

Counterplans bad is probably not a reason to vote aff


I don’t judge this event as often so I may lack a more nuanced understanding of how things function in LD compared to policy, but with that being said I’m open to however you want to do it, be it traditional or progressive. Most of my thoughts about args in cx will color my analysis of the arguments you make in LD. The only thing I’ve come to realize about progressive LD so far that I don’t like, or maybe just lack sufficient understanding of, are skep and nibs.


idk what a pf paradigm even is

Vijay Kasschau Paradigm

Fall 2014 Update:

As I am entering my second year of law school and have joined a law journal that focuses on critical race theory, I have discovered a rich tradition of legal scholarship that focuses on utilizing critical race theory as a tool to evaluate U.S. policies. Translating this to debate, I think this means that "clash of civs" debates are actually very important and can be quite interesting if done well. I am willing to hear any type of argument, just win that your form of engagement is more productive (or explain to me why that doesn't matter).

A second result of law school has been my shift away from radical disengagement. I spend my time now (what little free time law school affords me) trying to create scholarship that can bring critical attitudes to the establishment and produce social change. Again, translating this to debate, I think this means I have a preference for criticisms that are paired with actions rather than total disengagement.



Note: I think this section is actually the most important, so read this first before going on to read what I think about specific arguments. Thanks!

-In-round spin > “read this after the round”

-I’ll vote on terminal defense in some cases. I can be persuaded there’s such a thing as proving the aff has 0% chance of solvency or there’s a 0% risk of the disad. 

-Write my ballot for me in the 2NR/2AR.

-Do what you’re best at! I think I’m in the room to adapt to you.

-No ink next to an argument doesn’t mean it’s “dropped” – if the other team conceptually answers an argument elsewhere in the debate, the argument was still answered.  

-paperless and jumping times: I generally don't count jumping time as part of prep time, but everyone should try to be efficient with jumping. If you start taking too long to jump things, I'll only stop prep once the jump drive is in the other team's hands. 


Case: Mitigating the case’s impact can’t harm the negative, so why not do it? 

Topicality: I used to default to competing interpretations absent any arguments to the contrary by either team but now that I'm in law school, I've found that reasonableness probably makes more sense, though I can be persuaded otherwise. I don't particularly enjoy these debates, but I'll certainly vote if you win it. 

Theory: I’m probably fairly willing to pull the trigger on theory, assuming you have a clear interpretation, a clear violation of that interpretation by the other team, and reasons why you should win the debate because of that violation. Don’t let the explanations come from your blocks. 

DA: I reward specificity in these debates. When I can repeat your link analysis after the round to tell the aff specifically why they lost, you’re doing a good job.

CP: On questions of competition, I find myself leaning aff in situations where the CP could result in the entirety of the aff being put into action. Consult counterplans are probably cheating.

K: I’ll do my best to follow your theory, but I’m not extremely well-read in every single branch of philosophy. The brief summary of my history with the K is as follows: Zizek, (mostly Lacanian) psychoanalysis, Taoism, Anthropocentrism, Buddhism, Nietzschean pessimism, Baudrillard, Agamben. Make of that what you will. 

K affs: If you’re not going to defend implementation of the resolution, tell me why you're doing what you do and why that means you get the ballot.

Kanian Khan Paradigm

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Eric Lanning Paradigm

Eric Lanning

University of Houston

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.



Albert Li Paradigm

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Dan Lingel Paradigm

Dan Lingel Jesuit College Prep—Dallas for email chain purposes

Updated for 2018-2019 topic
25 years of high school coaching
I will easily judge at 20+ tournaments this year

****read here first*****
I still really love to judge and I enjoy judging quick clear confident comparative passionate advocates that use qualified and structured argument and evidence to prove their arguments. I expect you to respect the game and the people that are playing it in every moment we are interacting.

***I believe that framing/labeling arguments and paper flowing is crucial to success in debate and maybe life so I will start your speaker points absurdly high and work my way up if you acknowledge and represent these elements: label your arguments (even use numbers and structure) and can demonstrate that you flowed the entire debate and that you used your flow to give your speeches and in particular demonstrate that you used your flow to actually clash with the other teams arguments directly.

Some things that influence my decision making process

1. Debate is first and foremost a persuasive activity that asks both teams to advocate something. Defend an advocacy/method and defend it with evidence and compare your advocacy/method to the advocacy of the other team. I understand that there are many ways to advocate and support your advocacy so be sure that you can defend your choices. I think that this years topic is very good and very real and personal to many of us so I do prefer that the topic is an access point for your advocacy.

2. The negative should always have the option of defending the status quo (in other words, I assume the existence of some conditionality) unless argued otherwise.

3. The net benefits to a counterplan must be a reason to reject the affirmative advocacy (plan, both the plan and counterplan together, and/or the perm) not just be an advantage to the counterplan.

4. I enjoy a good link narrative since it is a critical component of all arguments in the arsenal—everything starts with the link. Call me old fashion but I think the negative should mention the specifics of the affirmative plan in their link narratives. A good link narrative is a combination of evidence, analytical arguments, and narrative.

5. Be sure to assess the uniqueness of offensive arguments using the arguments in the debate and the status quo. This is an area that is often left for judge intervention and I will.

6. I am not the biggest fan of topicality debates unless the interpretation is grounded by clear evidence and provides a version of the topic that will produce the best debates—those interpretations definitely exist this year. Generally speaking, I can be persuaded by potential for abuse arguments on topicality as they relate to other standards because I think in round abuse can be manufactured by a strategic negative team.

7. I believe that the links to the plan, the impact narratives, the interaction between the alternative and the affirmative harm, and/or the role of the ballot should be discussed more in most kritik debates. The more case and topic specific your kritik the more I enjoy the debate.

8. There has been a proliferation of theory arguments and decision rules, which has diluted the value of each. The impact to theory is rarely debating beyond trite phrases and catch words. My default is to reject the argument not the team on theory issues unless it is argued otherwise.

9. I know that some of you may not prefer me because I still use a realistic speaker point scale. I think that is a poor choice especially because it is easy to get me to give very high points. Here is the method to my madness on this so do not be deterred just adapt. I award speaker points based on the following: strategic and argumentative decision-making, the challenge presented by the context of the debate, technical proficiency, persuasive personal and argumentative style, your use of the cross examination periods, and the overall enjoyment level of your speeches and the debate. If you devalue the nature of the game or its players or choose not to engage in either asking or answering questions, your speaker points will be impacted. If you turn me into a mere information processor then your points will be impacted. If you choose artificially created efficiency claims instead of making complete and persuasive arguments that relate to an actual victory path then your points will be impacted.

10. I believe in the value of debate as the greatest pedagogical tool on the planet. Reaching the highest levels of debate requires mastery of arguments from many disciplines including communication, argumentation, politics, philosophy, economics, and sociology to name a just a few. The organizational, research, persuasion and critical thinking skills are sought by every would-be admission counselor and employer. Throw in the competitive part and you have one wicked game. I have spent over twenty five years playing it at every level and from every angle and I try to make myself a better player everyday and through every interaction I have. I think that you can learn from everyone in the activity how to play the debate game better. The world needs debate and advocates/policymakers more now than at any other point in history. I believe that the debates that we have now can and will influence real people and institutions now and in the future—empirically it has happened. I believe that this passion influences how I coach and judge debates.

Note about paperless debating--I prefer an email chain with me included whenever possible. I feel that each team should have accurate and equal access to the evidence that is read in the debate. I have noticed several things that worry me in paperless debates. People have stopped flowing and paying attention to the flow and line-by-line which is really impacting my decision making; people are exchanging more evidence than is actually being read without concern for the other team, people are underhighlighting their evidence and "making cards" out of large amounts of text, and the amount of preptime taken exchanging the information is becoming excessive. For me, prep time is running until the flash drive is given to the other team and then it stops and becomes judge time. I reserve the right to request a copy of all things exchanged as verification. If three cards or less are being read in the speech then I prefer that the exchange in evidence occur after the speech. I don't understand why people exchange paperless speeches that do not contain evidence.

Adam Lipton Paradigm

do what you do. Debate has one rule, two teams debate and one wins, after that it is your job to explain to me what I'm voting for. Absent any discussion of what my ballot is for I guess I default to my interpretation of the best debating. Good internal link level analysis matters as much as impact comparison for me (read warrants). I'm often left with two impacts and no way to resolve it if the debaters have not created a framework for me to evaluate/weigh impacts so I default to most logical impact (I think) maybe not necessarily the ‘largest’ one.

I believe that prep time ends when the email has been sent. I do not and cannot strictly enforce it but let’s all try our best, limited prep is part of what makes the activity both competitive and enjoyable. Throw me on the chain (debate.emails@gmail) I don’t follow along and typically wait to read anything till after the debate.

slow down on theory (including topicality) and Counterplan texts. I tell myself im a good flow but we can all be better, I flow on paper if that matters. Sometimes I am listening the pen isn't going, I promise I'm paying attention. I’ve been told I’m an expressive person and as such I will try and keep my facial expressions to a minimum when judging but really if I make a weird face don’t always assume it’s something you said it’s probably just my brain doing it’s own thing.

Above all else have fun and enjoy each game you get to play. Trill recognize trill.

Brandon Mack Paradigm

I am a traditional stock issues judge. I am not a fan of counterplans or kritiks. I will vote on them if they are applicable to the round. I will also consider theoretical arguments as well.  I believe that Debate is first and foremost a communication event. Therefore, speed is ok but if you notice that I am not taking notes/flowing that means the argument doesn't exist for me. 

Rory McKenzie Paradigm

Current coach/DOF at Lindale High School.

For email chains: mckenziera @

CX - This is where I have spent the majority of my time judging. While I am comfortable judging any type of round, my preference is a more traditional round. Debate rounds that are more progressive (kritikal affs, performance, etc...) are totally fine, but you'll do best to slow down and go for depth over breadth here. I think that judges are best when they adapt to the round in front of them. Writing the ballot for me in the last few speeches can be helpful.

LD - Despite judging policy debate most, I was raised in a traditional value and criterion centric area. Still, I think that policy debates in LD are valuable. See my notes above about progressive argumentation. They're fine, but you'll probably need to do a few things to make it more digestible for me. Again, though, you do you. Writing the ballot for me in the last few speeches can be helpful.

PF - I judge only a few PF rounds a year. I'm not up-to-date on the trends that may be occurring. I naturally struggle with the time restraints in PF. I generally feel like teams often go for breadth instead of depth, which I think makes debate blippy and requires more judge intervention. I'd rather not hear 20 "cards" in a four minute speech. Framework is the most reliable way to construct a ballot. Writing the ballot for me in the last few speeches can be helpful.

Congress - Speeches should have structure, refutation, research, and style. Jerky Parliamentary Procedure devalues your position in the round.

Speech - Structure and content are valued equally. I appreciate, next, things that make you stand out in a positive way.

Interp - Should have a purpose/function. There's a social implication behind a lot of what we perform. I value great introductions and real characters.

Ben Mitchell Paradigm

Ben Mitchell
Kinkaid 09-13
University of Texas 13-17
Currently coaching Austin SFA

While debating for Kinkaid I spoke all four speaker positions. On the negative, I both extended and went for a variety of arguments, from topicality to politics to conditions to psychoanalysis. On the affirmative I have read both hard right affs and more critical affs while still defending a plan text.

1. While debating, my coaches would always tell us "have fun, be smart, and debate well," and if forced to choose, I would chose the first. As a debater, I found the being smart and debating well were frequently positively correlated with how much fun I was having. And as a judge, if you're having fun, I find the debate more engaging and am likely to reward that with higher speaker points. A corollary of this is be nice. Very few things hurt your ethos more than when you're unnecessarily mean to your opponents and/or your partner. You don't all have to be best friends, but it also shouldn't feel like a war zone.
2. For the Oceans topic - I've judged the grapevine tournament, the greenhill round robin, and the greenhill tournament proper. I was not involved, however, in summer camp on the oceans topic, so outside of the aff's I've seen I know fairly little about the topic. If you're reading some hyper specific strategy on the neg or a small squirrely aff assume a fairly low level of background knowledge on my part. Try to be extra crisp on explanation, if you do so I will be happier and more likely to vote for you.
3. While I have done all speaker positions, I've found that when reading evidence and evaluating rounds I can sometimes think like a 2N. This is something I try to avoid as much as possible, however it still lingers. What does this mean for you as a debater though? I find that my 2N tendencies come about most in rounds where the final rebuttals include very little evidence comparison or impact analysis, and I'm left to decide with very little weighing mechanisms provided by both teams. If either the 2nr or the 2ar are able to provide me with a lens to view the debate (try or die, timeframe, which impacts control the escalation of others, filtering the entire link debate through the permutation, necessary vs sufficient, etc.) then I will be much more sympathetic to their position, less likely to intervene, and more likely to vote for them.
4. Evidence is not necessary or sufficient to make arguments. Many positions can be mitigated substantially by pointing out logical inconsistencies or reading ununderlined portions of the cards, and cross-x is probably the best time to set this up. Similarly, if all you do in the 2ar is tell me that X piece of evidence is super hot and I should call for it after the round without explaining its warrants or impacting it, you have not made an argument, and would have been better off substituting that for analytics.

I find myself judging clash of civilization debates fairly often. It's safe to assume that I would always prefer to hear a negative strategy that attempts to engage the affirmative in these debates, however I am sympathetic to the framework position and am willing to pull the trigger if I think the negative has done a better job in that debate.

Speaker Points

Basic rundown of how I view speaker points
29 and up = I think you should be top few speakers
28.7-28.9 = Impressive debating, high speaker award, definitely should clear
28.4-28.6 = Few technical problems, in the running for clearing
28-28.3 = A number of technical problems, still excecuted a coherent strategy

You should have a viewing computer available if the other team needs one
If your computer crashes, we can stop the debate, however I highly encourage you flash your speeches to your partner and will be marginally impressed if you can do a smooth transition in the event of your computer shutting down

You don't need to take prep to flash, please don't abuse that privilege though
Pleaseeee keep track of your own prep, I'm lazy and usually won't write it down

Daniel Molina Paradigm

I debated At UH in CX for three years and debated HS CX for three years as well.

Tanweer Rajwani Paradigm

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Yesha Shah Paradigm


1. I’m fine with speed, just be clear.

2. Kritiks and kritikal affs are fine (not my favorite) but make sure to explain everything because I don’t read K literature in my free time nor did I debate the K in high school.

3. I love Disads (especially politics) and CPs (except for abusive ones)

4. I like good Topicality debates but please don’t just reread your 1NC/2AC standards in rebuttals. I’ll default competing interpretations but if you debate it right, I can do reasonability. I give the aff a lot of leeway in terms of T.

5. I love theory debates so feel free to go for conditionality, international fiat, 50 state fiat, anything really where the negative is abusive.

6. Other things: I’ll look at tech over truth.

There’s always at least a 1% risk of the DA

If the neg goes for CP+DA and I think the DA outweighs the case, I’ll kick the CP for the neg

Sarah Spring Paradigm

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 - 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.


John Stearns Paradigm

I like to say that I am tab and I do my best to judge the round via the flow, but I realize we all have biases of one degree or another. Therefore I will try to explain how I think to help you evaluate if you would like me to be the judge in the back of the room.

Some background. I attended Miller High School in Corpus Christi, TX. For those of you unfamiliar with Corpus Christi. In my day it was known as the "ghetto" school where the "hood" and "bario" intersect. I debated LD for 4 years in high school from 1987-1991. In 1991, I was the top speaker and quarterfinalist at TFA state.

Currently, I own a wealth management firm in Corpus Christi and have a radio show called "Fit to Retire". I have two sons that have participated in debate for the last 7 years mainly in policy. This is who I have voted for President; 1992 Bill Clinton, 1996 Bill Clinton, 2000 Al Gore, 2004 John Kerry, 2008 John McCain, 2012 Mitt Romney, 20016 Donald Trump. I tend to vote Republican, but consider my real political ideology to be libertarian.

LD philosophy

I like traditional value, criterion, contention level debate.

I like critical arguments. With this said, please know that I am strong believer in capitalism and freedom. However I have found that I often vote up critical arguments because the debaters running them have typically debated better.

I am not a fan of theory unless true abuse is occurring. I really do not like debates about debate. I think the appropriate place for changing norms in the space is the rules committee not the debate round. With that said I will vote for theory, but it has a higher burden. If a debater runs theory and has a claim, warrant and impact on the flow and blows it up in the rebuttal, I will probably vote on it.

I am fine with LARP, but I could be persuaded by theory that policy does not have a place in the world of LD.

I am fine with CP's, PIC's, and PIK's, but I want to know what the net benefit is.

Arguments = claim + warrant + impact

Cards do not equal warrants. Warrants justify the claim. Impacts tell me why and how the claim is important to the resolution and our world.

The easiest way to when a round in front of me is comparative worlds. Tell me what the world of the AFF and the world of the NEG look like. Tell me why I would prefer to live in the world that you are advocating for over the world of your opponent’s advocacy.

My kids have told me that I need to disclose how I flow. I typically do not flow tags. I flow warrants. I often find that the tag vs. how the card is cut is different. Therefore I am flowing the warrant coming out of the card instead of the tag that is being used.

I am not a fan of prewritten overviews. I would really prefer to see the time spent analyzing and impacting the arguments that are on the flow. I love contextualization in the round.

I do listen to CX. I love when CX is brought into the round. When you extend and argument, please do not just say extend the Butler 12 evidence against my opponents 3rd contention, But tell me what the 3rd contention is and why the Butler evidence refutes or turns your opponent's argument.

Humza Tariq Paradigm

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Keegan Tomik Paradigm

The judge is dead, and the debaters have killed them. 

Framework is a thing. 
Go slower. 

Alex Tran Paradigm

Top-level: 4 years of high school policy in Houston, occasional judge on local Houston circuit. Topic knowledge will rarely be in-depth and nuanced, but I am comfortable with general policy tech. My biggest priority is the flow, and how arguments interact on the flow. Thus, I am a huge fan of direct, efficient line-by-line. Overall, debate what you're comfortable with; while I would prefer a more policy-oriented round, kritiks/performance/whatever is fine and I would urge you not to compromise your strengths.

T - Fine. I feel like this is dependent on the topic, and since I have little topic-specific knowledge, I most likely would default aff unless it was especially egregious of a violation. 

DA's/CP's - The more case-specific, the better. Probably my favorite option (DA/case or CP/DA) if done well, but I will heavily rely on the flow to make decisions. 

K's- Great! I think more and more debaters have become proficient at kritik debating on both sides, and I find these debates much more interesting and thought-provoking as an intellectual. I don't have the most expertise in kritik debating, so I would appreciate elaboration and explanation at all points of the round as necessary, something that should be a priority anyways.

Theory - I'm fine with theory, but not fine with the speed at which theory is usually vomited out. I would rather you slow down especially on theory if you're going to make substantial and real theoretical objections.

At the very core, I am a flow judge - regardless of the topic, I can always rely on the flow to tell me who won/didn't lose. By extension, you need to tell me who won or lost so that it can get to the flow. Whether this means impact comparison or role of the ballot arguments, tell me explicitly.

Misc. - Speed is fine, prep ends when flash exits, open/closed CX at discretion of debaters. 

Ashwin Varma Paradigm

I debated for 4 years for Clear Lake H.S., reaching 5 TOC Bid Rounds in total and graduating in 2015. I debated frequently on the Texas Circuit and National Circuit, and am pretty well-versed in the nuances of debate. That is, I will be able to make sense of most of what you say. However, that being said, I am now not actively debating or coaching, which means I will probably be unnfamiiliar with the particualr vocabulary surrounding this year's topic and please take that into account by explaining these terms to me. Secondarily, as new judges will tell you, please enunciate tags; listening to spreading as a judge takes a bit of getting used to.


As for particular parardigmatic choices, my philosophy mostly aligns with that of Alex Miles, Layne Kirshon, or other debaters from Northwestern University, so if you need specifics, please read those paradigms. But in general, I believe that tech > truth in every case. I vote on what is presented to me in a debate round, and try to discount ideology from the decision as much as possible. All I require is that I can understand the argument.  I tried to embody this during my debate career, going for arguments as wide as Coloniality, Psychoanalysis, as well as Framework and the Politics DA on the negative, and reading Natural Gas Exports and Drug Cartel Money Laundering affirmatives, as well as an affirmative about exploring intersectionality in the Indian Ocean historic spaces. I'm also much, much more likely to vote on Ks than anyone from Northwestern would be, given I actively used and debated against them in my career. 

Also, with the myriad of awful DAs that I have seen, I would like to say that zero-risk of a DA is hard to reach, but certainly not impossible and terrible DAs can usually be taken out with simple analytical observations. 

I hate the "1% Risk Means You Vote X" line of impact comparison, but if the opposing team doesn't point out the flaws in the argument, I will have no choice but to evaluate it. 

I'm absolutely fine with "non-traditional" affirmatives that don't defend the federal government, but be prepared to defend T/FW. It's a real debate and competitive equity can be an impact if implicated by the other team. 

If you have specific questions feel free to ask me in round. 


Explain your arguments and have fun!



Caleb White Paradigm

Policy debater. Been judging about 15 years: anywhere from 30-50 CX rounds and maybe 15 LD rounds a year.  I would consider myself mostly tab with a policy-making influence. Must weigh methods/framework in an offense defense type paradigm. Timely external impacts will be most persuasive. Make sure to list warrants and compare versus opponents.


Topicality is fine.  Both sides probably need a list of cases their interp allows/excludes.

Disads are great.  Weigh impacts.  Give me a uniqueness story.  I really like hearing how timely current events interact with the AFF.

Counterplans are also great.  I do not mind the theory debate here but make sure it is very specifically tailored to what the NEG is trying to do.  Slow down just a tad so I can keep up.

Kritiks are fine.  Please do your best to make the kritik seem timely and specific to the AFF advocacy.  I don't find links of omission very persuasive, and I could possibly consider a generic kritik of methods as a link of omission.  I am sympathetic to theory arguments regarding alternatives also.

I prefer Affirmatives to have a plan but I have voted for a wide array of different advocacies and performances; I tend to loathe a generic framework debate.  Again, I will be most compelled by a timely, real-world narration against something that comes off generic and dated.


I feel a little ambivalent regarding the evolution of LD over the last few years.  On one hand, LD and CX increasingly seem indistinct so, in theory, I should be able to more competently judge it but I don't mind the value-criterion style.

Again, timely, well-explained and specifically applied scenarios and arguments will go much further than dated, one-dimensional arguments.

Walter Willis Paradigm

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Winni Zhang Paradigm

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nicholas jennings Paradigm

Overall: This sounds simple but it can be difficult, at the end of the round my ballot should sound like the begining of the 2AR or the 2NR. I would like you to explicitly implicate your arguments and form for me the basic idea of why I should vote for you. The best debaters tend to do this at the begining of every 2NR and 2AR.

Disadvantages: I don't like DA's with uniqueness counter-plans, other than that almost any disadvantage is acceptable.

Counter-plans: the legitimacy of counter-plans should always be called into question. why would you just let a team steal most your offense? I normally don't buy X type of counter-plan is a voter, however, I am more likely to vote for it as a reason to disallow the counter-plan. The burden of proof in those situations is much different, to win it is a voter you have to argue that debate is fundamentally impossible to do when X type of counter-plan is introduced. (an example might be Consult Counter-plans don't test the means or necessity of plan action makes it impossible to garner offense without conceding a DA, makes any choice the aff makes a bad choice.) However with rejecting the argument as the standard, I'd be willing to ask the question "Does this Counter-plan make the debate more or less educational, more or less fair. If it makes debate less educational and less fair then that is a sufficient reason to reject the counter-plan.

Kritiks: Theory wise sees counter-plans. Floating PIKS theory needs a Link. Clear and precise (Link-Impact-AltSolves-Perm doesn't) analysis is the quickest way for me to the pull the trigger on the kritik. If you can explain that full chain and I buy your analysis you're in a good place on the kritik (assuming you're not losing framework/theory/impact weighing. )

Framework: I think it's generally accepted that Affs should read frameworks that let them weigh their impacts against any kritik, also I generally think the aff is right they should be able to defend the fiat of the 1AC i.e. their impact claims shouldn't be wished away. Note to aff teams just because you win framework does not mean that you have answered the various impact framing arguments in the round, I've heard several times "but on framework they conceded we get to weigh our impacts." my response is then "Sure, but you don't win that we have any Value to Life in that world/that these threats are constructed and not real/that/etc. I don't think this is controversial at all.

Role of the Ballot: so unlike some people I don't think you have to explicitly state "our Role of the ballot is" while helpful sometimes one could also say "this debate round should be about x" or the "Role of the Judge is X" all of these are competing claims on how I should approach my ballot how I should vote, what my ballot means etc.

Kritik AFFs: I prefer affs that defend a topical plan for a kritikal reason i.e. we shouldn't surveil African Americans, followed by claims about how surveillance of black bodies is bad. versus just standing up and saying "Black bodies are surveilled that's terrible you have some kind of ethical decision making to vote aff, here's Memimi." This is a prefrence and doesn't mean i stop listening when an alternative debate style is defended its just what i find is the best solution to winning in front of me on a kritikal affirmative.

Framework (NEG): Framework can be a viable option for teams debating affs without plan text etc, as long as you answer and deal with the larger education/Fairness claims the aff is inevitably going to lob your way. You could win debate would be awesome with just policy affs but if you concede that this is a form of white settlerism that dominates and erases Native Americans from existence you tend to lose rounds on framework.

Components: need a clear and precise interp that allows you to skirt the offense of the aff, need a clear and precise "topical version of the aff", need to win switch-side debating is in fact good, need to win it's possible for X or Y type of people to enter into the political, do political actions, embrace politics or some other variant of "X type of people can do policy debate", finally need to win an impact. Do those have a solid shot of winning my ballot.

claire mckinney Paradigm

*** I have judged ZERO rounds since Fall 2016. Beware.

Brief Debate History:

Debated for Texas 2001-2005; Coached New York Coalition 2005-2006; been in HS debate coaching Kinkaid 2003-2014; worked for NYUDL 2005-2007; worked for a CDC school 2007-2010; occasional coaching for Texas 2014-2016

Personal stuff: I am an assistant professor of government and gender, sexuality, and women's studies at the College of William & Mary. I specialize in feminist, disability, and democratic theory and reproductive politics.

Some notes:

I try to maintain close fidelity to the debate I see. If evidence doesn't support or add to the claim and warrant being forwarded, it isn't very useful for me.

Debate is engaged in narrative construction and then deconstruction, which means if you have developed an insufficient narrative or deconstructed it in a way that is not helpful to you and only helpful to your opponents, your performance will suffer (as in, you might lose).

I am very tied to reasoning through an argument; if what has been presented doesn't make sense to me, I won't vote on it. What makes sense to me, as in the case of any sense-making, is probably not entirely transparent, but I will try my best to follow the argumentative threads presented to me. I am raised in debate which means I am familiar with the logical leaps that are commonly accepted; if those are questioned and not defended, then that's a problem. But I also won't vote of something just because it's tricky/unexpected/sophistic. Logic without application is just as bad as illogical application.

The HS paradigm has nitty gritty about arguments, but as with most philosophies, is more about teaching what I think debate is and less about how I judge. I still don't read a ton of evidence; the flow matters unless you explain to me why it doesn't; I don't have ego investment in debate so it's ok with me if you don't like me. I'll still try my best in every debate and I consider my role to be primarily that of an educator, so my post-round comments will be about the round itself and advice I would give to improve one's performance.

Old high school wikispaces philosophy:

A caveat- I think I'm kind of bad at writing these things because what becomes important in a debate matters so much on what happens in the debate in question. I'll try to be helpful though. Philosophies require a degree of introspection and consistency that I'm not sure I quite possess.

First, do not make fun of your opponents and don't steal prep. Beyond those things, I love debate and I want everyone to enjoy their experience.

Preparation time ends when you have pushed "save." This is aspirational, because sometimes I forget.

Also, if you would like me to disclose points and my reasons for giving them, just remind me and I will. My points are solely a reflection of my evaluation of the performance I just watched. Also, if you or your coach would appreciate a written RFD, let me know, and I will prepare and email one.

I think defense alone can win a debate; that is, it is possible to win no risk of a disadvantage or no risk of solvency. I vote on presumption and my belief is that if the 2NR contains a counterplan or a kritik alternative (even if they were conditional), presumption shifts affirmative unless the debaters contest this point with a warranted argument.

Evidence Evaluation: I will not read every card you reference in the 2NR and 2AR as a general rule. I only read evidence if a) there is no other way to resolve the debate, b) substantive parts of the debate rested on good evidence comparison, c) I am curious what the evidence actually says and/or d) I think reading the evidence is necessary for making my oral critique better. I am averse to the style of debate where the 2NR and 2AR substitute evidence citations for warrants, but when both teams do this, I default to my subjective interpretation of the quality of evidence. I prefer instead 2NRs and 2ARs that go for less but do more explanation and comparison of warrants. I reward those debates with higher speaker points, but I won't refuse to evaluate the debate just because it is in a style I dislike.

Below are my predispositions. I can be persuaded in the debate to think otherwise. I write the below in order to let you know when I will need to be persuaded.

Theory beliefs: Except for a couple of exceptions, I evaluate theory debates based on a disad-esque paradigm. That is, what is the link, internal, and impact? Is the impact unique? Do the turns outweigh the impact to the theory objection? I also need meta-issues to be debated, such as offense-defense versus reasonability, whether I am evaluating abuse claims or questions concerning what debate ought to look like. When these don't happen, I think I tend to be on the reasonability side of things and I am evaluating what debate ought to look like.

The exception to this is permutation theory, which I will be hard pressed to ever consider anything but a reason to reject the argument, even if the theory is dropped. I realize this is judge intervention because my standard for this debate is so much higher than for other theory debates, but given how perm theory proliferates in a debate and how poorly debated it usually is, I think this is more a rational response to a debate that rarely rises to the level of argumentation.

Impact comparison: Impact comparison in the last two rebuttals is indispensable, but it must also start before then for me to consider things like "magnitude outweighs probability" or refutations to the other team's impact calculus that began in speeches before the final rebuttals. Comparative risk analysis has to take into consideration how much counterplan solvency can be expected or how much solvency of the aff has been mitigated. Not taking this into account usually leads to me inflating the value of defense more than you probably want.

I am open to however you want to make use of the time you have to speak in debate. If you want me to evaluate a debate in a way that integrates a direct evaluation of performativity, methodology, ethics, or knowledge production (or anything else), you must communicate that to me. You also have to demonstrate why you win in either a new framework or a more traditional framework.

My theoretical biases in terms of counterplans are most pronounced against process counterplans, including consultation counterplans.

I like discussions of the case, though I'm often stymied in my decisionmaking by the lack of clash or meta-level questions, such as uniqueness or inevitability, for many case arguments.

Counterplan perms: If the aff wins the permutation, I default to thinking that this has proved that the counterplan was not competitive and thus goes away. While contemporary debate considers this "judge kicking," absent another explanation of what happens when the aff wins the perm, allowing "perm shields the link" to mean that the disadvantage goes away as well strikes me as allowing the aff to advocate the perm. I'm not really wedded to this interpretation because I feel like there is a logical inconsistency in how we think about perms/tests of competition/shifts in advocacy. If the aff, in going for the perm, argues that the counterplan doesn't go away, and that winning the perm means that the existence of both options shields the link to the net benefit, without a counter-argument from the neg, I'll vote aff. When no discussion happens, though, the neg gets to lose counterplan competition and still win on a disad that was a net benefit.

Politics DA: I think I have an idiosyncratic interpretation of what it takes to win the politics disad as the negative. I think arguments that deal with either the larger political climate or the meta-theoretical notion of how politics functions are more important than compartmentalized claims of the direction of uniqueness, link, etc. This means that if the affirmative wins these meta issues with no contextualization of how I ought to evaluate things like the direction of uniqueness by the negative, I will find that the politics DA is incoherent. As the negative, you may win some arguments that X will pass, but if your claim is that in order for these things to pass, XY or Z must happen, and the aff proves those impossible, I'm not going to vote for the politics DA. This may be the result of my training as a political science or my desire for logical coherence in arguments. Regardless, understanding my bias in terms of these arguments will help you do what is necessary to win politics on the neg. How to win Politics as the neg: understand the meta-theoretical basis of your argument/wider political climate; explain that to me so that I understand your vision of the political process, and answer any counter-theoretical understandings of political functioning. OR explain to me why these things are irrelevant to issue specific uniqueness or the other first order claims you make.

Kritiks: I think kritiks are a valuable part of debate, and so I think it is a legitimate expectation for teams to respond to the kritik offered. I do not exclude kritikal affs (I don't presume a team has to fiat the plan). But I do think kritikal affs ought to have some relation to the topic and am hard pressed to understand why the aff gets to reject the resolution in most debates.

I do not value framework (vs. neg Ks) debates very highly. Their value, in my eyes, is to get the entire K excluded (which is functionally like going for "no neg fiat" in my mind), get certain links or alternatives excluded (which seems less fruitful than just debating the merits of the alternative or link), being allowed to weigh your impacts (which is a misnomer in most good kritik debates) or protecting yourself against an increasingly abusive shift in the evaluative criteria of the debate (the most strategic use in my mind). Usually, people invest either too much time for their limited goals, or too little time for their grandiose goals.That being said, you usually do need to engage in a framework debate; otherwise, you leave yourself open to a debate that shifts in rules decidedly against the one who is answering the kritik.

I am relatively well-versed in many critical literatures. I say this not to encourage you to go for a kritik, but to signal to teams less familiar with the kritik that some of what you may consider incomprehensible jargon makes sense to me. For the team going for the kritik, do not make jargon your crutch because usually you aren't saying anything or are talking in circles. You still need to be making arguments.

I really dislike the kritik being debated like a disadvantage, or the kritik turning into a vehicle for a variety of tricks that avoid debate (eg, Kappeler-style no fiat claims, multi-verse/reincarnation debates make impacts irrelevant, Floating PICs with no rationale, etc). If you are running a kritik and want good speaker points, win the substance of your link and impact claims, contextualize the politics or ethics of your alternative, and win why they prove the aff is counter-productive.

Framework versus non-plan/non-USFG implementation affs: These debates discourage clash more than any other debates I see. If your impacts to why excluding a particular type of affirmative advocacy are not contextualized vis a vis the aff's claims for inclusion, you will lose these debates. Affs, the less responsive you are to the negative's claims or the more nebulous your cross-ex responses, the more likely I am to vote neg on framework.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Beyond that, I believe a judge is meant to facilitate the debate you want to have, so all this is open to criticism and revision based on what actually happens in your debate. Have fun and I'm glad you're participating in this activity!

Point Scale:
Below 26.5 - you have done something offensive in the round
26.5-26.9- The debater either made it structurally impossible for the team to win the debate or had such limited participation that it is difficult to evaluate their contribution.
27-27.4- The debater demonstrated some capacity of argumentation but fails to demonstrate an ability to win the debate through their own strategic initiative
27.5-27.8- Demonstrates some capacity of strategy but little understanding of execution
27.9-28.1- Average
28.2-28.5- Demonstrate strategic vision and execution
28.6-28.9- Excellent execution and displays of intelligent strategic vision.
29-29.4- Excellent execution and displays strategic vision well beyond prepared strategies
29.5-29.7 (I don't think I've ever given above a 29.7)- Near flawless execution, displays of intelligence and excellent strategic vision.

Lincoln-Douglas Paradigm:

All the above still applies in LD. As is common, because of my policy training, I think I have a higher threshold both for what constitutes an argument and for evaluating theory. I think the shift of Lincoln-Douglas to adopting many of the conventions of policy debate is unfortunate; I genuinely enjoy seeing LD debates that offer me something other than utilitarianism. That being said, when a debate is in the vein of utilitarianism, I will use policy-debate conventions of risk analysis to evaluate your impacts.

nicholas tripp Paradigm

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