Greenhill Fall Classic

2016 — Addison, TX/US

Varad Agarwala Paradigm

4 rounds

Greenhill School '16
Georgetown '20
Email Chain:

General Debate Predilections/Requests That You'll Inevitably Ignore

- Theory in LD is beginning to be a non-starter. I like debates about the topic. The stupider your interp the closer I get to completely ignoring it.
- Tech over truth. Notwithstanding, if your “technical concession” took two seconds it probably doesn’t matter.
- I really, really enjoy impact turn debates. They will be rewarded with higher speaks.
- I'm a sucker for the perm double bind
- Clash debates - weigh your impacts! These debates are hard to judge because no one does comparative analysis
- Extra speaks for negs that come up with creative case negs that demonstrate you've done research about the aff
- I hate, hate, hate long overviews. Just do it on the line by line.
- deleting things from the doc is prep time, it's not my fault you can't flow
- max 28 speaks if you don't disclose

Critical Affirmatives/Non-Traditional Affirmatives/Framework/Topicality

I don't care. Do what you want.

Theory (For LD folk)

- The worse the arg the more annoyed I'll be. RVI’s seem silly to me, but that’s also because most theory arguments seem silly to me. I believe that reasonability is underutilized in LD and can be used to beat most theory arguments.
- The 1AR: I don’t think that you have to read theory as a separate off – just read it on the sheet of paper that it applies i.e. condo bad on the counterplan flow.

Disclosure (This is for you, LD people)

Pre-Round Disclosure: The affirmative must tell the negative what the aff is before the debate, unless it is a new aff. This involves (a) disclosing the advocacy text, (b) the advantages. If it is a new aff, the affirmative does not have to tell the negative what the aff is/what the advantages are/what the advocacy text is/anything. All they need to say is "new aff." If it is a new plan but the same advantages, the aff must disclose the advantages being read, but does not have to disclose the plan. Same is true of new advantages.
NDCA Wiki Disclosure: Teams must disclose all broken positions on the NDCA Wiki. Failing to do so will make me sad. It will also result in a loss (likely) if the opposing team reads an argument about why you must disclose. I think most arguments against disclosure are pretty silly, and don't worry about whether or not the violation can be verified. I will check their wiki for you.
Two caveats to this. (a) Forgetting to disclose one or two positions does not constitute failing to disclose. (b) If you are debating someone with clearly far less experience, reading disclosure theory will just make me sad and make me ignore your argument and likely dock your speaks.
In-Round Evidence Sharing: Use an email chain. My email is at the top of the paradigm.

Evidence Ethics

If you are caught clipping, it will result in a Loss 0. That being said, if you accuse someone of an evidence ethics violation and you are proven to be wrong, the same punishment will be given to you.

Speaker Point Scale

29.6 - 30: You did everything I could have ever wanted and more; thank you for ending my unending cycle of terrible debates.
29 - 29.5: You'll be in deep elims, there were few techincal mistakes made and I think you'll beat most of the debaters in the pool based on your performance.
28-29: I think you'll probably break. You did very well as a whole, there were a couple moments of brilliance, but not brilliant throughout.
27-28: You probably won't break and there are larger debate techne issues that need to be resolved.
26-27: Major errors committed, effort questionable.
Below 26: You're bad and you should feel bad.

Clement Agho Otoghile Paradigm

3 rounds

Forensics is a speaking competition in which the art of rhetoric is utilized - speaking effectively to persuade or influence [the judge].

I take Socrates's remarks in Plato's Apology as the basis of my judging: "...when I do not know, neither do I think I know...I am likely to be wiser than he to this small extent, that I do not think I know when I do not know" (Ap. 21d-e).

My paradigm of any round is derived from: CLARITY!!!

All things said in the round need to be clear! Whatever it is you want me to comprehend, vote on, and so forth, needs to be clearly articulated, while one is speaking. This stipulation should not be interpreted as: I am ignorant about debate - I am simply placing the burden on the debater to debate; it is his or her responsibility to explain all the arguments presented. Furthermore, any argument has the same criteria; therefore, clash, at the substantive level, is a must!

First and foremost, I follow each debate league's constitution, per the tournament.

Secondly, general information, for all debate forms, is as follows:

1) Speed: As long as I can understand you well enough to flow the round, since I vote per the flow!, then you can speak as slow or fast as you deem necessary. I do not yell clear, for we are not in practice round, and that's judge interference. Also, unless there is "clear abuse," I do not call for cards, for then I am debating. One does not have to spread - especially in PF.

2) Case: I am a tab judge; I will vote the way in which you explain to me to do so; thus I do not have a preference, or any predispositions, to the arguments you run. It should be noted that in a PF round, non-traditional/abstract arguments should be expressed in terms of why they are being used, and how it relates to the round.

Set a metric in the round, then tell me why you/y'all have won your metric, while your opponent(s) has lost their metric and/or you/y'all have absorbed their metric.

The job of any debater is to persuade the judge, by way of logical reasoning, to vote in his or her favor, while maintaining one's position, and discrediting his or her opponent's position. So long as the round is such, I say good luck to all!

Ask any other clarification questions before the round!

Mark Ahlstrom Paradigm

3 rounds

I've been the LD coach at Saint Thomas Academy/Visitation since 2005. I debated LD a long time ago.

TLDR (my round is starting):

Be smart, interesting and topical.  Theory is drop the arg, reasonability. Otherwise open to anything

Decision Calculus

As for how I adjudicate the round, I try to let the you tell me what matters. I evaluate things under an offense/defense model. I'm a big picture judge much more than one that will dive indo some minutia of the line by line (unless I have to). To win the debate, you have to have more offense, or a higher risk of offense than your opponent. This offense should link to the framework being won. Framework is only useful for ruling offense as useful or not useful in the round. 

I highly appreciate it when you tell me how to layer my decision making. Do I start on role of the ballot or framework? Does an argument get evaluated pre or post fiat. If you give me an order of evaluation and your opponent does not, I'll usually follow that order of operations. If both of you give me a different order, I try to rectify that by following the better reasons for order, or failing warrants, smooshing them together in the way that makes sense to me. Layer your debate. I'm happier that way. If it's a traditional value/criterion debate, Im happy to follow the classic standard of using the winning value/cr to weigh offense. Give me a ballot story. I'll try to evaluate the round according to how you tell me to. If you just have a bunch of points on the line by line, I will have to go digging for something. Making me dig is a sure way to lose speaker points.

Argument Evaluation

I evaluate arguments by comparing the analysis you give in support of your claim. If I cannot make sense of your analysis, I do not give the claim much weight in the round (if any). If you are simply making an assertion, I give it little weight in the round. For me to care about the argument that you are making, it must be well warranted and it must be impacted within whatever framework you are working from. impact things for me. If you are going to run arguments that contradict each-other, provide me an explanation of why there is a contradiction (i.e., layer). Otherwise, I have trouble making sense of your position. Remember, Im big picture.


When extending, I have a few different thresholds depending on context. If an argument is dropped, you just have to point out that it is dropped, then give me the impact.  You have to tell me how this dropped point impacts the round at that point in the round, since it may be a bit different given the status of frameworks, etc.

If the argument is contested, you have to deal with the ink on the flow before making the extension. I wont flow your extension if you try to do it through an arg you haven't dealt with. This is to protect you. I don't want to think something was extended even though there was a response to it. This means that if someone put a poor response against the entire aff contention, I will ignore all of the aff extensions of cards from that contention unless they first deal with the response (even just "Response A misses the specifics of the contention" can be sufficient). You don't really have to re-extend warrants, unless those are key to dealing with your response to their args.

Stock (traditional) debate

Im perfectly capable of deciding a stock round. I debated a long time ago, so I know how that stuff works. If this is what you do and you do it well, Im fine with that. Happy to give you the win if you're. I'd prefer you put some twist in to keep it interesting, but debate what you're most comfortable with. Remember, smart, interesting, topical. I am much happier judging creative approaches to the resolution, or creative twists in how you make that argument.

If you are debating someone running some other form of debate though, I expect you to engage with it. CX is your friend. Don't throw up your hands in fear. I've judged some really good rounds where stock util just outweighed the K.


Im very open to critical arguments (I like 'em). They're entertaining. I've got a decent grasp of a fair bit of the lit, but I may not know the author de jure. Make sure you give me an alt or role of the ballot. Let me know if it operates pre or post fiat. I want to know how you see the K operating. Critical debate can get messy fast with layering, so layering is super important. I need some offense coming off the K. A reject alt probably needs as much explanation as some alternate methodology alt. If you want to do some crazy stuff, I'm your judge. I'll vote for anything but theory if done well. If you want to break out a critical position just to try it, I'm your judge.


Also down with plans/policy style, if run well. I much prefer a reasonable plan to something that just explodes to Bostrom. If you're well researched on some specific plan, I consider that to being a good debater. If it's hyper specific, I expect you to give at least a little leeway in granting your opponent links so that there can actually be some clash. Same with counterplans

PIC's are iffy. I want to have you do something with the PIC, not just take a cheap shot easy out that doesn't allow any clash. Again, I grant more leeway on this the more specific the plan is. If you're running a consult PIC (or something in that vein) though, Im not going to be happy

Phil positions

Also enjoy these when run well. Im decently versed in the analytic traditions, though as with anything, I may not know your author. Since Im much better versed in this than I am on the K side, Im more picky about what 'well run' means. If you really botch something, Im usually not happy. I know my analytic epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind and philosophy of language pretty well. This means you should likely avoid running things from those areas unless you really know it. Skep makes me sick, partially because none of y'all know enough epistemology to do it well.


Im not a fan of most theory, though if there is real abuse, it's a good tool. I want substantive debate related to the topic. My evaluation on theory is super idiosyncratic. First, I always go with reasonability. If the theory violation gets the 'oh come on' reaction from me, it's not going to win. Theory is only ever drop the arg, not drop the debater. Now, this can effectively mean drop the debater. If your theory violation is that all of their arguments are theoretically problematic, when those go away, you likely win. So, real world example. I pulled the trigger on a PIC bad shell, because that specific PIC was really abusive. So, when the PIC went away, even though the aff was mostly unextended, I vote there on risk of offense. 

T is a bit different. If the T is about actual definitions being in or out of bounds of the topic, I love a good T debate. If the T is whining that their case was unfair, I hate that T debate. It's about being related to the topic. I want debate on that. Im open to totally alternate readings of what the resolution is. Framers intent args usually dont cut it. Good definitional interps can be really fun though.

My theory approach is different enough that I want to give the justification: Theory is supposed to be a tool to prevent abusive practices in round. In that form, I actually think it's helpful. However, with the development of structure and technicality around how theory is addressed, it seems like it actually accelerates abusive practices. Someone can win rounds by baiting a theory debate and then just be better at theory, so that invites abuse. Plus, the usual thing on theory is that somehow it's going to change things eventually by setting norms. I've been doing this long enough that Im perfectly happy intervening at the 'rules of debate level' to try to set the norms that I think are good. You're calling your opponent a cheater. As the referee, that's my call to make. Also, by intervening with reasonability and drop the arg, this opens it up so that a debater who is not versed in the technicalities of theory still has a chance to beat back something abusive, even if their interp wasn't correctly worded, or that they dropped the b point on the second voter. Theory is a check on abuse, and I want to actually keep it a check on abuse and let the real debate happen, not devolve to theory being what debate is.

Style Preferences

I still like to see some style in presentation. Enunciate clearly. Speed is fine provided I can still understand you.  I will not tell you that you are  not clear. It's your job as a speaker to know what you can do. THere have only been a couple instances in 10+ years where I haven't been able to keep up on the flow even though the speaker was clear. I was still fine enough with those couple rounds to get 'big picture' flow together. However, if I cant understand the words coming out of your mouth, we have a problem. If I dont think an argument can matter in the round anymore, I may not bother to flow it. I don't consider an argument new if it a clear development of an argument that is on my flow. However, tell me what that link is. Don't float arguments out there without signposting them and hope I find the link. I'm fine with reading evidence and developing arguments in every speech. Claiming that something is new and launching into a long diatribe on why I should vote against this on face is not desirable. Im more impressed if you note that it was new, then beat it anyways.

I think in the realm of normative theory, both analytic and continental philosophy have a lot to say. Analytic approaches tend to be very good at well warranted framework building. The downside to this is that you cant read all of the warrants quickly enough to really do the same thing it took your author 500 pages to do. Continental philosophy tends to (I think) lack well developed warrants. It more than makes up for it though by being far more observational about the world. To me, the ideal positions marry an analytic framework with some critical impacts.

It goes without saying, but don't be racist, sexist, homophobic, etc.

Dont be mean

Im usually pretty relaxed, debate is supposed to be fun. You should relax a bit too.

Feel free to ask any questions before the round.

Jonathan Alston Paradigm

6 rounds

I am a head coach at Newark Science and have coached there for years. I teach LD during the summer at the University of North Texas and I previously taught at Stanford.

I like many types of arguments, but I like them to be smart.

I don't presume to any side. I listen to student arguments.

Be clear. Be very clear. If you are spreading politics or something that is easy to understand, then just be clear. I can understand very clear debaters at high speeds when what they are saying is easy to understand. Start off slower so I get used to your voice and I'll be fine.

Do not spread philosophy. If I have a hard time understanding it at conversational speeds I will not understand it at high speeds. (Don't spread Kant or Foucault.)

Slow down for analytics. If you are comparing or making analytical arguments that I need to understand, slow down for it.

I want to hear the warrants in the evidence. Be clear when reading evidence. I don't read cards after the round if I don't understand them during the round.

Make it make sense. I'll vote on it if it is reasonable. Please tell me how it functions and how I should evaluate it. The most important thing about theory for me is to make it make sense. I would like for the debates about the debate to be interesting.

Pre-Standard Arguments
Every argument has a standard, even if it is pre the agreed upon standard in the round. Explain to me why it is important or makes sense. I like smart, substantive arguments.

Don't take it out of context. I do ask for cites. Cites should be readily available. Don't cut evidence in an unclear or sloppy manner. Cut evidence ethically. Do not take evidence out of context by cutting qualifiers like "might" or "maybe".

Speaker Points
30 I learned something from the experience. I really enjoyed the thoughtful debate. I was moved. I give out 30's. It's not an impossible standard. I just consider it an extremely high, but achievable, standard of excellence.
29 Excellent
28 Solid
27 Okay


I really enjoy teaching, coaching, and judging.

Monica Amestoy Paradigm

3 rounds

Not Submitted

Byron Arthur Paradigm

6 rounds

Not Submitted

Aisha Bawany Paradigm

6 rounds

I debated in high school in LD for 4 years at the local, state, and national circuit, and 2 years in PF. I'm currently doing policy debate at UT Dallas.

I'm fine with speed just please be clear.


I believe you need some sort of framework/way for me to evaluate the round. Don't assume that because I do policy that I default to a consequentialist/magnitude impacts. If you want me to evaluate that, you need to have a value/criterion that says that I should evaluate arguments on the scale of consequentialism. I ran different philosophical frameworks when I did LD and enjoy listening to different ones and the way you justify your position through it. You may be able to convince me that disclosure is good in LD.


I'm going to be honest when I say I'm a predisposed to preferring topical aff positions in policy because I have mostly preferred/debated topical policy debates. That is not to say that I won't vote on them, just that I am not the best judge to evaluate K v. K debates, and K Affs v. Framework debates. However, I do have experience running/understanding those arguments because my partner and I ran a nontopical aff for half a semester, so don't stop running those arguments, just make it easier for me to understand the method by which I should evaluate the round. Oddly enough, I'm fine with evaluating Topical Aff v. K debates, and enjoy seeing good ones. I think you need to win a link (by link, I mean a link, not a risk of a link, I mean a LINK) in order for me to vote on any K/DA. Disclosure is good.


- Debate is a game, I believe that you shouldn't bring your identity or feelings into it.

- The point of debate is to be persuasive, so I think that as long as you persuade me on something, and have some cards (even if they're untrue) then I'll vote for you. I love people that can answer arguments using a few logical responses. Quality over quantity.

- I will vote on everything

- Debate warrants, not tags. Name the argument not the author. I don't know your case as well as you do to remember your authors name

- Policy: presumption flows neg because if you can't prove that the plan is a good thing from the status quo, then there is no reason to vote for you. LD: I can be convinced either way, but it's VERY unlikely for me to vote for presumption in LD on either aff or neg

- DAs need to have Uniqueness, a Link, Internal Link, and an impact. K's need to have a Link, Impact, and Alt (though it doesn't always need it, you need to tell me it functions as a linear DA). CPs need to have a counterplan text and a net benefit.

- Condo is basically Dispo because you still need to answer offensive arguments on off cases in order to kick them. You can still win condo in front of me though, I've gone for it a bit and won off it, so as long as there's clear abuse/lack of response, go for it.

- I don't really care about T/Theory unless there's a clear violation that was dropped with good extensions or a long ass shell in LD

- My RFDs are generally blunt, so don't get offended, I'm only trying to make you a better debater

- I'll give you extra points for being funny, but don't be rude

- If you have any questions: message me on Facebook, Instagram, or email me at

Erick Berdugo Paradigm

6 rounds

My judging philosophy is first built on the approach that debaters define the debate. This means I generally do not have any predisposition against anything within the context of the debate. Hence, I do NOT push an agenda. The arguments presented before me are to be engaged by both sides and analysis should be given whereby I should either reject or accept those arguments. This means arguments for or against should be well developed and structured logically. There needs to be a clear framework, but that is the only first level. Impacts and disadvantages need to fit within this framework. They need to be developed so that they are consistent.

If there is one thing I do not like, blip arguments. These are essentially glorified tag lines that have no analysis behind them, where then a debater claims a drop of this 'argument' becomes a voter for them. For me: no analysis = no argument thus is not a voter. However, if within the context of the debate both debaters do this they lose the right to complain about me intervening. So, take heed, do this and I will allow myself to insert how these blips should be pieced together and the analysis behind them.

There needs to be clash. Far too often debaters do not really analyze. Generally, people view good debates where the flow shows responses to everything. I view this as a fallacy. There should be analysis as to how the arguments interact with each other in regards to the line by line debate and hopefully build a bigger view of the entire debate. Again, it is the debater's job to fine tune how everything pieces together. Specifically, I prefer hearing voters that are in some way intertwined versus a bunch of independent voters. Yet, though, I prefer intertwined voters it does not mean independent voters could not subvert or outweigh a good story.

Things I have voted for AND against

K - I actually like a good K debate. However, I do warn debaters that often I see people run K's they have no reason running because they themselves do not really understand them. Further, as a theme, debaters assume I am as familiar with the authors as they are. Not true. Rather, I feel it imperative that the position of K be well articulated and explained. Many debaters, read a stock shell that lacks analysis and explanation.

counter plans - I have no problem with these in the world of LD.

Topicality - I generally stand within the guidelines of reasonability. Muddy the waters that’s what I will likely default to.

Role of the Ballot - At its heart I think the ROB is a paradigm argument or more simply a criterion argument so that even if one on face wins it does not guarantee a win because the opposite side can in the venue of the debate meat the criterion or ROB. However, the ROB I tend not to like are ones devolve the debate into pre fiat and post fiat debate. I end towards post fiat worlds in close debates.

RVI - Again this less so, an RVI for seems to be justified within the context of some blatant abuse. As an analogy I have to see the smoking gun in the offenders hand. If it not clear I will side with a standard model. To date I have not voted on an RVI 2-10-18

Understand, I honestly do approach all arguments as being justifiable within the confines of a debate. However, arguments I will on face reject are arguments whose sole objective (as a course or an objective for gain) is to oppress, murder, torture or destroy any class or classes of people. That is to say you know what you are doing and you are doing it on purpose.

I'd say that the realm of debate is for students to engage and craft. As I am no longer a competitor my bias, if it exist, should only intercede when debaters stop looking at human beings as genuine but rather as some abstract rhetoric.

Feel free to ask me some questions. but understand I'm not here to define what will win me. Good well structured argumentation that actually engages the other side are the types of debates I find most interesting. It's your world you push the paradigm you want. My voting for it or against it should not be interpreted as my support of the position beyond the confines of the debate.

Personal Narratives - I am not a fan of these arguments. The main reason, is that there is no way real way to test the validity of the personal narrative as evidence. Thus, if you introduce a personal narrative, I think it completely legit that the personal narrative validity be questioned like any other piece of evidence. If you would be offended or bothered about questions about its truth, don't run them.

Communication - I believe in civility of debate. I am seeing an increasingly bad trend of students cursing in debates. I fundamentally, think that High School debate is about learning to argue in an open forum with intellectual honesty and civility. The debate format is not that of exclusive conversations academics would have. I reject any belief that the competitive nature of the debate is like a professional sport. Cursing is lazy language and is a cheap attempt to be provocative or to fain emphasis. Thus, do not curse in front of me as your judge I will automatically drop you a point. Also, most people don’t know how to curse. It has its place just not in HS debate.

So what about cards that use curse words? Choose wisely, is the purpose because it is being descriptive of reporting actual words thrown at persons such as racial slurs. I will not necessarily be bothered by this, however, if it is the words of the actual author, I advise you to choose a different author as it is likely using it to be provocative versus pursing any intellectual honesty.

i do not have a have a problem for a spread. However, I do not prompt debaters for clarity as it is the debaters responsibility to communicate. Further, I think promoting is a form of coaching and gives an advantage that would not exist otherwise.

I do do not put myself as part of the email chain as I think by reading along it lowers the standard of the verbal communicative aspect of the debate.

I will automatically down a debater that runs an intentionally oppressive position. IE kill people because the world sucks and it’s bad to give people hope. However, if a person runs a position that MIGHT link to the death of thousands is not something I consider intentional.


Abdul Beretay Paradigm

6 rounds

   I was a successful national circuit debater for Bergenfield High School(NJ) who qualed and competed in elimination rounds at the TOC and Nationals. I have nearly two decades of experience as a debate coach and fortunate to have coached students  to various levels of success in LD.

I consider myself to be a pretty open minded judge, as I won't strike you down for running any particular position. A couple of  things to consider:

1) I'm ok with speed but not at all impressed by it, especially when it's at the expense of clarity. Please make sure that you slow down at the tags, authors' names, and dense/complicated philosophy cards. 

2) I don't vote for blips or anything I don't understand which means it's your responsibility to do the better explaining.


3) when in doubt, know that what I consider most important to my vote is a) a logical impact story b) weighing impacts.


I'd be happy to answer any specific questions you have before the round.

Mike Bietz Paradigm

2 rounds

Head Coach: Harvard-Westlake School, Los Angeles CA |

Use for sharing speech documents. No more email or flashdrive problems. The affirmative should have this ready to go before the round starts

Jonah Feldman, coach at UC Berkeley, summed up a lot of what I have to say about how I evaluate arguments


I do not believe that a dropped argument is necessarily a true argument

I am primarily interested in voting on high quality arguments that are well explained, persuasively advanced, and supported with qualified evidence and insightful examples. I am not interested in voting on low quality arguments that are insufficiently explained, poorly evidenced, and don't make sense. Whether or not the argument was dropped is a secondary concern...

How should this effect the way I debate?

1) Choose more, especially in rebuttals. Instead of extending a lot of different answers to an advantage or offcase argument, pick your spots and lock in.

2) If the other team has dropped an argument, don't take it for granted that it's a done deal. Make sure it's a complete argument and that you've fully explained important components and implications of winning that argument.

His full paradigm:


More stuff:

The affirmative probably should be topical.

I think that I'm one of the few circuit LD judges who votes affirmative more than I vote negative. I prefer an affirmative that provides a problem and then a solution/alternative to the problem. Negatives must engage. Being independently right isn't enough.

I would probably consider myself a policy-maker with an extremely left bent. Answering oppression with extinction usually doesn't add up for me. I'll take immediate, known harms over long term, speculative, multi-link impacts 90 out of 100 times. This isn't paradigmatic so much as it is negatives failing to engage the affirmative.

Given my propensity to vote affirmative and give the affirmative a lot of leeway in defining the scope of the problem/solution, and requiring the negative to engage, I'd suggest you take out the 3 minutes of theory pre-empts and add more substance.

Topicality is probably not an RVI, ever. Same with Ks. Today I saw someone contend that if he puts defense on a Kritik to make debate a safe space, the judge should vote for him because he'll feel attacked.

Cut your presumption spikes. It's bad for debate to instruct judges not to look for winning arguments. It also encourages debaters to make rounds unclear or irreconcilable if they are behind on actual issues.

Where an argument can be made "substantively" or without theory, just make it without theory. For example, you opponent not having solvency isn't a theory violation. it just means they can't solve. Running theory flips the coin again. So it's both annoying and bad strategy. Other examples might include: Plan flaws, no solvency advocate, and so on. Theory IS the great equalizer in that it gives someone who is otherwise losing an argument a chance to win.

Cross-x cannot be transferred to prep time.


Some annoyances:

- Not letting your opponents answer a question. More specifically, male debaters who have been socialized to think its ok to interrupt females who have been socialized not to put up a fight. If you ask the question, give them a chance to answer.

- Ignoring or belittling the oppression or marginalization of people in favor of smug libertarian arguments will definitely not end up well for you.

- People who don't disclose or they password protect or require their opponents to delete speech documents. I'm not sure why what you read is private or a secret if you've read it out loud. The whole system of "connected" kids and coaches who know each other using backchannel methods to obtain intelligence is one of the most exclusionary aspects of debate. This *is* what happens when people don't disclose. I'll assume if you don't disclose you prefer the exclusionary system. 

Some considerations for you:

- if you’re reading such old white male cards that you have to edit for gendered language, maybe consider finding someone who doesn’t use gendered language... and if you notice that ONLY white men are defending it, maybe consider changing your argument.

- if you find yourself having to pre-empt race or gender arguments in your case, maybe you shouldn't run the arguments.

Jane Boyd Paradigm

3 rounds

Jane Boyd

School: Grapevine HS

Number of years coaching CX: 31 LD: 27

Number of years coaching speech and debate: 31


What many think is progressive debate was done originally in 98-99 by Grapevine Debaters. We just did it better. Good debate is good debate. Keep in mind that trying to be cutting edge does NOT make for good debate by itself. While I appreciate innovation - I hate tricks for the sake of tricks. Keep that in mind.



Standards, criteria, framework and/or burdens serve as the same thing - these are mechanisms on how to determine who wins the debate. If a value is used it needs to be defended throughout the case and not simply an after thought. The framework of the debate should not be longer than the rest of the case. Unless it is absolutely necessary to make the framework clear, cut to the chase and tell me what is acceptable and not acceptable, but don't spend 2 1/2 minutes on something that should take just a few sentences to make clear. I want to hear substantive debate on the topic not excessive framework or theory. Note the word excessive. I am not stupid and usually get it much quicker than you think. In the debate resolve the issue of standard and link it to the substantative issues of the round then move on.

Evidence and Basic Argumentation:

Evidence adds credibility to the arguments of the case however I don't want to just hear you cite sources without argumentation and analysis of how it applies to the clash in the debate. I don't like arguments that are meant to confuse and say absolutely nothing of substantive value. I am fine with philosophy but expect that you are able to explain and understand the philosophies that you are applying to your case or arguments. A Kritik is nothing new in LD. Traditional LD by nature is prefiat, but I recognize the change that has occurred. I accept plans, DAs, counterplans and theory (when there is a violation - not as the standard strategy.) Theory, plans, and counterplans must be run correctly - so make sure you know how to do it before you run it in front of me.

Flow and Voters:

I think that the AR has a very difficult job and can often save time by grouping and cross-applying arguments, please make sure you are clearly showing me on the flow where you are applying your arguments. I won't cross apply an argument to the flow if you don't tell me to. I try not to intervene in the debate and only judge based upon what you are telling me and where you are telling me to apply it. Please give voters; however don't give 5 or 6. You should be able to narrow the debate down to the critical areas. If an argument is dropped, then make sure to explain the importance or relevance of that argument don't just give me the "it was dropped so I win argument." I may not buy that it is an important argument; you have to tell me why it is important in this debate.


I can flow very well. Speed isn't a problem, it is usually clarity that is the problem. Unless words are clear I won't flow the debate. If I am not writing then you probably need to adapt. Speed for the sake of speed is not a good idea.


I have been around long enough to have seen the genesis of Kritik arguments. I have seen them go from bad to worse, to good in policy. I think that K arguments are in the worse state in LD now. Kritiking is absolutely acceptable IF it applies to the resolution and specifically the case being run in the round. I have the same expectation here as in policy the "K" MUST have a specific link. "K" arguments MUST link directly to what is happening in THIS round with THIS resolution. I am NOT a fan of a generic Kritik that questions if we exist or not and has nothing to do with the resolution or debate at hand. Kritiks must give an alternative other than "think about it." Most LD is asking me to take an action with a plan or an objective - a K needs to do the same thing. That being said, I will listen to the arguments but I have a very high threshold for the bearer to meet before I will vote on a "K" in LD.


I have a very high threshold of acceptance of theory in LD. There must be a clear abuse story. Also, coming from a policy background - it is essential to run the argument correctly. For example having a violation, interpretation, standards, and voting issues on a Topicality violation is important. Also knowing the difference in topicality and extra-topical. or knowing what non-unique really means is important. Theory for the sake of a time suck is silly and won't lead me voting on it at the end. I want to hear substantive debate on the topic not just generic framework or theory. RVI's: Not a fan. Congratulations you are topical or met a minimum of your burden I guess? It's not a reason for me to vote though unless you have a compelling reason why.

Bekah Boyer Paradigm

3 rounds

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Rick Brundage Paradigm

3 rounds

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Chris Castillo Paradigm

6 rounds

I am the LD coach at Strake Jesuit in Houston, Tx. I've been involved in debate since the year 2000. I judge a lot. Mostly on the national/toc circuit but also locally. Feel free to ask questions before the round.

I don't have a preference for how you debate or which arguments you choose to read. Be clear, both in delivery and argument function/interaction, weigh and develop a ballot story.

Theory: I default to competing interps, no rvi's and drop the debater on shells read against advocacies/entire positions and drop the argument against all other types. I'm ok with using theory as a strategic tool but the sillier the shell the lower the threshold I have for responsiveness. Please weigh and slow down for interps and short analytic arguments. D

Non-T affs: These are fine just have a clear ballot story.

Delivery: You can go as fast as you want but be clear and slow down for advocacy texts, interps, taglines and author names. Don't blitz through 1 sentence analytics and expect me to get everything down. I will say "clear" and "slow".

Speaks: Speaks are a reflection of your strategy, argument quality, efficiency, how well you use cx, and clarity.

Prep: 1. I prefer that you don't use cx as prep time. 2. It is ok to ask questions during cx. 3. Compiling a document counts as prep time. 4. Please write down how much time you have left.

Things not to do: 1. Don't make arguments that are racist/sexist/homophobic (this is a good general life rule too). 2. I won't vote on arguments I don't understand or arguments that are blatantly false. 3. Don't be mean to less experienced debaters. 4. Don't steal prep. 5. Don't manipulate evidence or clip.

Courtney Coffman Paradigm

6 rounds

David Davieson Paradigm

4 rounds

Background: Debated LD at Lamar Consolidated High School for 3 years. Currently debating for the University of North Texas in CX Debate. #UNT20 :)

Things to Note:
-I flow on my laptop so please signpost between authors or I will not flow coherently.
-I can't evaluate arguments I didn't flow so it's in your best interest so sign post.
-I won't default to anything unless there is a sufficient reason to and it's made into a voting issue. 
-I focus on dropped arguments when making a decision so make sure you don't drop anything important

Speed: I’m fine with speed. I will say clear only 2 times, after that I stop flowing. Just signpost between authors and constructive transitions. (i.e Framework to Impacts to Alternative.)

Framework: Framework is cool and I like good framework but there are many other things I could vote on even if you’re losing it. Framework doesn’t supersede everything else in a constructive, at least to me.

Theory/Topicality: I love theory. Theory comes first because it's essentailly changed the role of the ballot in the context of the round but I can be persuaded otherwise. Violations need to be clear and your Interp must be justifiable. Topicality can be a voting issue but again, there has to be a clear violation. I do love creative topicality arguments. 

Kritiks: Kritiks are fine as long as there is a clear link to the Aff. I don't find resolutional kritiks particularly compelling. 

Policy Args: CP's and DA's are cool I just hope you have good evidence. I don't find generic DA's that can be recycled on every topic very compelling. Plans are cool too. 

Speaker Points: Just be clear. If I’m not looking at my laptop while flowing you, you’re probably losing the round. You won’t lose speaker points if you’re aggressive during rounds. I tend to like that style of debate more, but please don’t be blatantly rude and insult your opponents during rounds. I will dock points, even if it doesn’t really matter. And I will leave a little comment on the ballot for your coach.

Misc: I really like creative arguments and good clash. I was a heavy progressive debater in high school so I kind of like to judge rounds that follow the same styles of debate, but I am fine with traditional styles as long as you clash well and give me clear reasons as to why you’re still winning. If a round is really close I will choose defaults and theory considerations over anything else if I deem it necessary to reach a justifiable decision.  

Carole Day Paradigm

3 rounds 

Dino De La O Paradigm

6 rounds

Eric Emerson Paradigm

1 rounds

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Adegoke Fakorede Paradigm

6 rounds

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Sean Fee Paradigm

6 rounds

Kyle Fennessy Paradigm

6 rounds

Akhil Gandra Paradigm

6 rounds

I'll listen to anything but am generally not a great judge. Especially bad with philosophy and kritiks. 

Good luck and don't be late for rounds. 

Sanjay Gera Paradigm

3 rounds

LD Parent judge.  Have been judging for almost a year, can fairly judge most framework/topical debates.  You can speak at a good pace but no spreading please.  Providing clear voters will always get you extra points.

More progressive debate structures (Ks, conterplans ....) - Do it at your own risk!


Sarika Gupta Paradigm

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Eliza Haas Paradigm

6 rounds

The short version is that I am absolutely willing to consider and vote on any clear and convincing argument that happens in the round, and I like it when you're funny and interesting. See below for the long version, and if you have specific questions that I don't already cover below, feel free to ask them before the round.



I vote on flow. I believe strongly that judges should be non-interventionist in their RFDs, so I will only flow arguments that you actually make in your debates; I won't intervene to draw connections or links for you or fill in an argument that I know from outside the round but that you don't cover or apply adequately. That’s for you to do as the debater--and on that note, if you want me to extend or turn something, tell me why I should, etc. This can be very brief, but it needs to be clear. I prefer depth over breadth. Super blippy arguments won't weigh heavily, as I want to see you develop, extend, and impact your arguments rather than just throw a bunch of crap at your opponent and hope something sticks. Know your case and the topic lit well. If you have the most amazing constructive in the world but then are unable to defend, explicate, and/or break it down well in CX and rebuttals, that will hurt you if your opponent capitalizes on your lack of knowledge/understanding even a little bit.



I’m pretty standard when it comes to types of argumentation. I've voted for just about every type of case; it's about what happens in round and I don’t think it’s my right as a judge to tell you how to debate. Any of the below defaults are easy to overcome if you run what you want to run, but run it well.


However, if you decide to let me default to my personal preferences, here they are (written mostly for circuit LD; feel free to ask me if there's something I don't cover or you're not sure how it would apply to a different debate form):


Have some balance between philosophy and policy and between empirics and quality analytics. Some preference for arguments that are more theoretical than purely policy-based. I like it when your arguments clash, not just your cards, so make sure to connect your cards to your theoretical arguments or the big picture in terms of the debate. I like to see debates about the actual topic (however you decide to interpret that topic in that round, and I do give a lot of leeway here) rather than generic theory debates.


For theory or T debates, they should be clear, warranted, and hopefully interesting, otherwise I'm not a huge fan, although I get their strategic value. In my perfect world, theory and T debates would happen only when there is real abuse and/or when you can make interesting/unique arguments about them; otherwise, I'd prefer T, theory, or definition debates to be cleared up earlier in the round if possible. Not at all a fan of bad, frivolous theory. No set position on RVIs; it depends on the round, but I do think they can be a good check on bad theory. All that being said, I have voted for theory a lot, so don't be scared if it's your thing. It's just not usually my favorite thing.


Framework debates: I love (love, love) hearing well-formulated morality arguments, especially if I haven’t heard them twenty times or if they aren’t purely nebulous without any real impacts. Because of that, I usually find framework debates really interesting (whether they’re couched as role of the ballot arguments, standards, V/C debates, burdens, etc.), especially if they’re called for in that specific round. Obviously, if you spend a lot of time in a round on framework, be sure to tie it back to FW when you impact out important points in rebuttals. I dislike long strings of shaky link chains that end up in nuclear war, especially if those are your only impacts. If the only impact to your argument is extinction with some super sketchy impact cards as evidence, I have a hard time buying that link chain over a well-articulated and nicely put together link chain that ends in a smaller, but more believable and realistically significant impact.


Ks can be awesome or terrible depending on how they're run. I'm very open to critical affs and ks on neg, as a general rule, but there is a gulf between good and bad critical positions. I tend to absolutely love (love, love) ones that are well-explained and not super broad--if there isn't a clear link to the resolution and/or a specific position your opponent takes, I’ll have a harder time buying it. Run your Ks if you know them well and if they really apply to the round (interact with your opponent's case/the res), not just if you think they'll confuse your opponent. Please don't run your uber-generic Cap Ks with crappy or generic link cards just because you can't think of something else to run. That makes me sad because it's a wasted opportunity. Alts should be clear; they matter. Of course for me, alts can be theoretical/discourse-based rather than policy-based or whatnot; they just need to be clear and compelling. When Ks are good, they're probably my favorite type of argument; when their links and/or alts are sketchy or nonexistant, I don't love them. Same basic comments apply for critical affs. 


For funkier performance Ks/affs, narratives and the like, go for them if that's what you want to run. Just make sure 1) to tell me how they should work and be weighed in the round and 2) that your opponent has some way(s) to access your ROB. Ideally the 2nd part should be clear in the constructive, but you at least need to make it clear when they CX you about it. If not, I think that's a pretty obvious opportunity for your opponent to run theory on you.


I'm also totally good with judging a traditional round if that's what you're good at--I do a lot of that at my local tournaments. If so, I'll look at internal consistency of argumentation more than I would in a progressive debate (esp. on the Neg side).



I'm fine with speed; it's poor enunciation or very quiet spreading that is tough. I'll ask you to clear if I need to. If I say "clear," "loud," or “slow” more than twice, it won't affect my decision, but it will affect your speaks. Just be really, really clear; I've never actually had to say "slow," but "clear" and "loud" have reared their ugly heads more than once. If you’re going very quickly on something that’s easy for me to understand, just make sure you have strong articulation. If you can, slow down on tags, card tags, tricky philosophy, and important analytics--at the very least, hammer them hard with vocal emphasis. My perfect speed would probably be an 8 or 9 out of 10 if you’re very clear. That being said, it can only help you to slow down for something you really need me to understand--please slow or repeat plan/CP text, role of the ballot, theory interp, or anything else that is just crazy important to make sure I get your exact wording, especially if I don't have your case in front of me.


I love humor, fire, and a pretty high level of sassiness in a debate, but don’t go out of your way to be an absolutely ridiculous ass. If you make me chuckle, you'll get at least an extra half speaker point.


I love CX, so it bugs me when debaters use long-winded questions or answers as a tactic to waste time during CX or when they completely refuse to engage with questions or let their opponent answer any questions. On that note, I'm good with flex prep; keep CXing to your heart's desire--I'll start your prep time once the official CX period is over if you choose to keep it going. CX is binding, but you have to actually extend arguments or capitalize on errors/concessions from CX in later speeches for them to matter much.


Weird quirk: I usually flow card tags rather than author names the first time I hear them, so try to give me the tag instead of or in addition to the cite (especially the first few times the card comes up in CX/rebuttal speeches or when it's early in the resolution and I might not have heard that author much). It's just a quirk with the way I listen in rounds--I tend to only write the author's name after a few times hearing it but flow the card tag the first time since the argument often matters more in my flow as a judge than the name itself does. (So it's easiest for me to follow if, when you bring it up in later speeches or CX, you say "the Blahblah 16 card about yadda yadda yadda" rather than just "the Blahblah 16 card.") I'll still be able to follow you, but I find it on my flow quicker if I get the basic card tag/contents.


Final Approach to RFD:

I try to judge the round as the debaters want me to judge it. In terms of layering, unless you tell me to layer the debate in another way, I'll go with standard defaults: theory and T come first (no set preference on which, so tell me how I should layer them), then Ks, then other offs, then case--but case does matter! Like anything else for me, layering defaults can be easily overcome if you argue for another order in-round. Weigh impacts and the round for me, ideally explicitly tied to the winning or agreed-upon framework--don't leave it up to me or your opponent to weigh it for you. I never, ever want to intervene, so make sure to weigh so that I don't have to. Give me some voters if you have time, but don’t give me twelve of them. See above for details or ask questions before the round if you have something specific that I haven't covered. Have fun and go hard!


If I'm judging you in PF or Parli:


- If neither team gives me a framework, I'll assume it's CBA.


- If you're not sure how parts of my policy/LD paradigm apply to things you want to run, just ask.


- PF: Please don't spend half of crossfire asking "Do you have a card for x?" Uggh. This is a super bad trend/habit I've noticed. That question won't gain you any offense; try a more targeted form of questioning specific warrants. I vote on flow, so try to do the work to cover both sides of the flow, even though the PF times make that rough.


- Parli: Whether its Oregon- or California-style, you still need warrants for your claims; they'll just look a little different than they would in a prepared debate form. I'm not 100% tabula rasa in the sense that I won't weigh obviously untrue claims/warrants that you've pulled out of your butts if the other team responds to them at all. I think most judges are like that and not truly tab, but I think it's worth saying anyways. I'll try to remember to knock for protected time, but you're ultimately in charge of timing that if it's open level. Bonus points if you run a good K that's not a cap K. 

Chase Hamilton Paradigm

5 rounds,+Chase

Hunter Harwood Paradigm

6 rounds

*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.



Chetan Hertzig Paradigm

6 rounds

EXPERIENCE: I'm the head coach at Harrison High School in New York, and have previously been a coach at Sacred Heart and Lexington (both in Massachusetts), as well as at Scarsdale High School in New York. I debated for Lexington from 1994 to 1998. I'm not presently affiliated with these programs or their students.

If you're in high school, please address me by my last name (no "Mr." is required).


- Starting speeches slowly and building speed as you go (rather than starting at top speed)
- Speaking slower than average circuit speed
- Providing an explicit decision-calculus/voting issues
- Explicitly linking to a standard or ROB in speeches, especially rebuttals
- Telling a clear and coherent ballot story
- Weighing between your extensions and your opponent's (not just giving me two non-clashing sets of extensions)
- Reading a whole res aff that defends the topic as a principle
- Having a layered NC and responsive/specific turns off the aff
- Making topical critical arguments/reading Ks that are grounded in the topic lit
- Comparing evidence and weighing
- Giving structured speeches
- Using good word economy


- Using profanity in the round. I don't care what your purpose is; it's not necessary.
- Using ad homs of any kind against your opponent (e.g., commenting on their race, clothing, or practices as a debater). Find a non-personal way of making the argument.
- Reacting non-verbally when your opponent is speaking (e.g., violently shaking your head, making faces, waving your arms). It's rude, unpersuasive, and unnecessary.
- Indicting or insulting an opponent's team or coach in round (e.g., "It's no surprise [team name] is going for T this round")
- Referring to yourself in the plural (e.g., "we" and "our")
- Referring to your opponent as "you" - talk to me, not them (you can refer to your opponent as "they"/"them" or whatever their preferred gender pronoun is)
- Sitting during CX and/or speeches unless you're physically unable to stand

GENERAL: For the most part, I want to see a substantive round about the topic. My conception of what counts as topical argumentation is based on what's in the topic literature.

*PLEASE READ: If, after the round, I don't feel that I can articulate what you wanted me to vote for, I'm probably not going to vote for it. There might be ink on the flow that you're extending, but if you don't do the work of telling me what it means/how it interacts with what your opponent's going for, I'm not going to know what to do with it.

Speed: Slow down, articulate/enunciate, and inflect - no monotone spreading, bizarre breathing patterns, or foot-stomping. I find it interesting that people often ask if I'll say "slow" or "clear," and then proceed to not change their delivery after I do. Here's the deal: I will say "slow" and/or "clear," but if I have to call out those words more than twice in a speech, your speaks are going to suffer.

*PLEASE READ: I would like debaters to allow their opponents to slow or clear them if necessary. I think this is an important check on ableism in rounds.

Theory: I don't view theory the way I view other arguments on the flow. I will intervene against theory that's clearly unnecessary/frivolous, even if you're winning the line-by-line on theory. I will vote on theory that is actually justified (as in, you couldn't have answered the position without it, or there was something about the opponent's strategy that made it impossible for you to win without theory). Is that subjective? You bet. Is there a brightline? Probably not. Don't like this view? Don't pref me.

Framework: If you and your opponent agree on a FW, great. If not, make the FW debate relatively short (i.e., not 4 minutes of a 7 minute speech). Also, please explain the philosophical concepts you're using instead of assuming that I know them. I probably don't.

Policy Arguments: I dislike generic politics DAs and extinction impacts on topics that clearly don't link to them. If you want to run those impacts on a topic about nuclear weapons, go for it. If the topic's about compulsory voting, it's going to take a lot to get me to believe your story. I won't vote for extinction based on a "risk of offense" if your opponent has made excellent defensive answers that demonstrate that your impacts won't happen. I think that lets debaters running terrible arguments get away with not actually debating.

Bostrom: Nope. I will only vote on/for Bostrom if I see absolutely no other way out. Sorry.

Ks and Micropolitical Arguments: I generally prefer TOPICAL critical arguments. I encourage you to talk about issues of race, gender, class, representation, etc., but do so within the confines of the resolution, not in some external method I don't have jurisdiction to evaluate. I prefer Ks with tangible alts (although I'm more okay with reps Ks now than I used to be).

Disclosure Theory: Ugh, spare me. I think plans and specific affs should be disclosed, but I don't really like disclosure theory rounds. I'll vote for this if I think it's won on the flow, but I'm not a huge fan of rounds that come down to this.

Tricks: Shut the front door! Who are you?! (In other words, "no.")

ExtensionsI need to hear the claim, warrant, and impact in an extension. Don't just extend names and claims.

"Flex Prep": Different people use these words to mean different things. I am fine with you asking clarification questions of your opponent during prep time. I am not okay with you ending CX early and taking the rest of the time as prep time.

Other Stuff: Link to a standard, burden, or clear role of the ballot. Signpost. Give me voting issues.WEIGH. Be nice. And stand up.

To research more stuff about life career coaching then visit Life coach.

Shania Hunt Paradigm

1 rounds

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Sierra Inglet Paradigm

6 rounds

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Braden James Paradigm

6 rounds

Speed is fine.

Run what you want. You're better off running policy arguments if you want me to fully grasp everything. I will listen to and vote for pretty much anything (nothing blatantly offensive). Just win the argument.

Good speaks will come if you're respectful and you link everything back to some standard or ROB that I can use to evaluate the round.

Good luck and feel free to ask any questions if this isn't clear enough.

William Johnson Paradigm

6 rounds

I am an old-school debater (circa 2009) and 3rd year law student.  I appreciate legal and economic arguments that are reasonable and accurate -and greek philosophy.  I don't know when LD became policy, but I was trained in "traditional" LD.  It pains me to call it "traditional" because the value debate is the essence of LD, which has been thoroughly obscured and adulterated by the vast majority of students I have watched this year thus far.  Abraham Lincoln would be rolling in his grave.  That being said, I do understand a good portion of the policy lingo.  However, I do NOT tolderate policy paced speed.  LD fast is okay.  If your mother would have to ask, "What on earth did you just say? Should I call the priest?" then it is too fast.  If you go policy fast, you do so at your own risk - I may not hear the entirety of your argument.  I will entertain critical arguments if you EXPLAIN them and they have strong LINKS.  On a critical aff, links must be so strong that I don't mind ignoring the resolution because I am utterly entranced by your links.  Further, they must have IMPACTS.  Also, don't ask me to "look inside myself" or "change my perspective" in your K.  I do not buy T if the Aff is topical using a reasonable person standard.  I will buy T if Aff runs a K.


-Mr. W. Hayes Johnson

Jeff Joseph Paradigm

6 rounds

I coach debate so I am comfortable with most debate styles. I coach LD and am more familiar with LD, but also did policy in college and assist in coaching it now. I am qualified to judge both events.

Debate is fun. I value wit and humor. Debate is educational. I value scissor-sharp logic. Debate is a chance for high school students to make radical arguments for change. Don't be afraid to be yourself and express your opinion in any method you choose.

I like well-developed, persuasive and interesting cases with strong internal links and warrants and interesting and novel approaches to the resolution.

I believe that debate is, at its core, a thought experience. As a debater, you get to approach each debate round as your debate round. You get to set the rules. You get to debate what you find educational and valuable. To me that is the greatest thing about debate. To that extent, I like creative arguments and the arguments do not have to be conventional. However, you have to persuade me that there is a reason to vote for you, and you have to be prepared to justify that what you are debating is fair and educational to your opponent. To that extent, your opponent also gets to set the rules and play the game the way he or she wants to as well. That means that I am open to theory/topicality arguments on either side in order to set the ground rules for the debate.

I value cross-examination. It shows how a debater thinks on his or her feet, how well he or she understands the resolution and case and how well he or she uses rhetoric and logic. Use it effectively. I want you to answer your opponent's questions and not blow off cross ex. I flow cross-ex and consider statements made in CX as binding.

I will vote on textual arguments, Ks, policy arguments, theory, narratives and performative debate as long as you present an overall persuasive case.

In terms of layering, theory/Topicality is evaluated as the first layer in debate. I have to first determine that the game is being played fairly before I consider the substance of the arguments. To that extent, I am open to theory arguments. If you are going to make theory arguments, please set forth an interpretation, standards and voters. Don't just claim your opponent is being unfair. If you are are arguing against the theory argument, please provide a counterinterpretation or show me that no counterinterpretation is necessary because you meet the interpretation and do not violate. I am open to RVI arguments and will evaluate those arguments, but only if you prove the theory is frivolous, time suck or strat suck. So RVIs will be considered but you have to show me that the theory argument, itself, was abusive. I will not consider an RVI just because you blip it out. Neg does not get reciprocity on RVIs.

After theory, I next evaluate ROTB, ROTJ and framework arguments. ROTB and ROTJ tells me that there is a role that I play that transcends the debate round. As such, I evaluate ROTB and ROTJ equally with other more traditional framework arguments. If you tell me what my role is, I will accept that as my role. That means the opponent has to come up with a counter ROTB, or show how he or she accesses your ROTB or how your ROTB is somehow bad or that your framework is superior. Same with arguments that you tell me are a priori, prior questions or decision rules. If you tell me there are, justify it, provide rationale. It is then up to your opponent to counter that. Your counter ROTB can be as simple as you should vote for the better debater, but don't just drop it because you assume that framework comes first.

After framework, I will evaluate the contention level. Ks, narratives and performative arguments will be evaluated equally with other arguments but you have to provide the layering for me and tell me how to evaluate those arguments in the round.

Great weighing of arguments is your best route to high speaks. Don't just extend args. Please make sure it is clear to me how your arguments function in the round and how those arguments interact with the other side. I will evaluate all arguments that are not blatantly offensive. But it is up to you to tell my why those arguments are voters. The worst rounds are rounds where there is no weighing, or limited argument interaction. Please make the round clear to me. If an argument is dropped, don't just tell me it is dropped. Tell me why it matters. The more work you do telling me how arguments function in the round, the easier it will be to evaluate the round. I like extensions to be clearer than just a card name; you have to extend an argument, but I also value extensions that are highly efficient. Therefore, summarize your warrants and impacts in a clear and efficient way. Most importantly, please make sure you are very clear on how the argument functions in the round. And, don't go for everything. The best debaters are the ones who are able to succinctly crystalize the key issues in the round and collapse down to those key issues and tell me why they win the debate.

Kritiks: I love them and I love how they are progressing in debate. This includes narratives/performance arguments. Some of the best debates I have seen are good perfomative Kritiks. I will evaluate Ks equally with other positions. However, I have a few ground rules for Ks. First, if you are going to do a K, clearly explain your alt, ROTB and methodology and do not stray from it. It is a pet peeve when someone runs a K and then cannot justify it in CX or is snarky about answering questions about it in CX. If you are critcizing something, you have to be able to explain it under pressure. Second pet peeve: Your method/performance must go in the same direction as the K. If you are running Bifo (semiocapitalism) and then spread without giving your entire speech document to your opponent, I find that to be a performative contradiction. This will not end well for you. On a K explain whether you claim pre-fiat or post-fiat solvency and clearly how your discourse preempts other arguments in the round and weigh your discourse against your opponents framework. If you are doing a narrative or performative argument, you should be able to clearly articulate your methodology for your performance in the round. I know that I bring my own biases in the round, but I try my best to leave them at the door of the debate room and approach narratives and performative arguments with a blank slate. I appreciate hearing your voice in the round. If you are running fem rage or queer rage I want to hear it in the round. I want to hear your voice. That, to me, is the point of using the debate space for performance and narrative. So, I expect you to be able to clearly articulate your methodology and narrative and answer questions about how your opponent interacts with the methodology in the round. If you run a narrative but fumble over how that narrative and methodology works in the debate space, I find it less credible.

Policy arguments (Plans, CPs, DAs) are all evaluated. If you're running a DA, make sure the link debate and impacts are clear. Make sure you are doing good impact calculus on timeframe, magnitude, probability, reversability, etc. I will consider all impact scenarios. It is up to your opponent to tell me why those impact scenarios are outweighed.

Spikes, tricks and Other "Abusive" Arguments: I am not a fan of "tricks," spikes and blippy arguments and struggle to evaluate these strategies, so if your strategy is to go for underview blips and extensions of spikes and blips in your case that are barely on my flow to begin with, whether those arguments are philosophical or theoretical, I am going to have a lower threshold for responses. That means if your opponent has a halfway coherent response to them I am likely to drop the argument. I know that tricks are a new and sexy thing in debate. I just hate them.

Speed: I can flow speed. However, I like to be included in the email chain or pocketbox. I like to review the evidence, so if you speed, I will follow along as I flow. Make sure the tags and card tags are are slightly slower and are clear. My issue is most often with enunciation, not actual speed, so please make sure you are enunciating as clearly as possible. No speed at the cost of understanding.

Points--(Note that these points have changed as of the ASU 2018 tournament)

30--You have a chance of winning this tournament.

29.5-29.9 - You are in the top 10% of the tournament and will definitely break.

29.0-29.5 - You should break at this tournament.

28.5-28.9 - My default speaks. This is for a good and above average debater.

27.5-28.5 - You are average compared to other debaters in the tournament.

27.0-27.5 You are learning and have significant areas of improvement.

<27 This is the lowest I will go. You have done something unfair, offensive or unethical in the round.

Aimun Khan Paradigm

6 rounds

Nick Klemp Paradigm

3 rounds

Not Submitted

Erik Legried Paradigm

1 rounds

*Updated on 4/21/18 while migrating to Tabroom. I'm revising this because my former paradigm was dated, not because of any significant changes to my judging philosophy.*

Background: I coach LD for the Brentwood School in Los Angeles. I competed in LD for Robbinsdale Cooper HS and Blake HS, both in Minnesota, from 2006-10. I studied philosophy, economics, and entrepreneurship at Northwestern University, graduating in 2014. I have judged several hundred circuit LD rounds, and plenty traditional rounds too.

Overall: I am a 'least-intervention' judge, and try my best to vote on the arguments in the round. Barring certain complicated extremes (i.e. offensive language, physical coercion), I vote for the best reason articulated to me during the debate. This involves establishing a framework (or whatever you want to call it - a mechanism for evaluation) for my decision, and winning offense to it.

Some implications/nuance to 'least-intervention' - a) I won't evaluate/vote on what I perceive to be new arguments in the 2NR or 2AR, b) I won't vote on arguments that I don't understand when they're introduced, c) I won't vote on arguments that I don't hear, and d) I won't vote on arguments you don't make (i.e. if your evidence answers something and you don't point it out)

Spreading: I think speed is overall bad for debate, but I will not penalize you for my belief. You should debate at whatever speed you want, granted I can understand it. If it's just me judging you, I will say clear / slow up to three times per speech. After three I will stop trying. The first two 'clears' are free, but after the third one I will reduce your speaker points by 2 for a maximum of 28. On a panel I will say 'clear' once, maybe twice, depending how the other judges seem to be keeping up.

Speaker points: holistic measure of good debating. I'm looking for good arguments, strategy, and speaking. I average around a 28.5. A 29.3+ suggests I imagine you in elimination rounds of whichever tournament we're at. I'm averaging a 30 once every four years at my current rate.

Loose ends:

- As of the 4/21/18 update, I do not need extensions to be 'full', i.e. claim / warrant / impact, especially in the 1AR, but I do expect you to articulate what arguments you are advancing in the debate. For conceded arguments, a concise extension of the implications is sufficient.

- If I think there is literally no offense for either side, I presume aff.

- I default to a comparative world paradigm.

- I default to drop the argument, competing interpretations, no RVI, fairness/education are voters.

- I will call evidence situationally - on the one hand it is crucial to resolving some debates, on the other hand I think it can advantage unclear debaters who get the benefit of judges carefully reviewing their evidence. I will do my best to balance these interests.

Feel free to contact me at

Terrence Lonam Paradigm

6 rounds

Not Submitted

Greg Malis Paradigm

6 rounds

I coach and teach at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans. I have been coaching LD and policy (as well as most every speech event) for over 20 years. I have judged many debates on the local, regional, and national circuits.

My philosophy is in three sections. Section 1 applies to both policy and LD. Section 2 is policy-specific. Section 3 is LD-specific.

Section 1: Policy and LD

Speed. Go fast or slow. I don't really care. However, keep in mind that I think debaters have a tendency to go faster than they are physically capable of going. I won't read cards after the round to compensate for your lack of clarity, nor will I say "clearer" during your speech. In fact, I will only read cards after the round if there is actual debate on what a specific card may mean. Then, I may read THAT card to assess which debater is correct. Bottom line...I judge a lot of debates on the national circuit, so speed will not be an issue.

Theory. Theory should not be run for the sake of theory. I overhead another coach at a tournament tell his debaters to "always run theory." This viewpoint sickens me. If there is abuse, argue it. Be prepared to explain WHY your ground is being violated. What reasonable arguments can't be run because of what your opponent did? For example, an aff position that denies you disad or CP ground is only abusive if you are entitled to disad or CP ground. It becomes your burden to explain why you are so entitled. Theory should never be Plan A to win a round unless your opponent's interpretation, framework, or contention-level arguments really do leave you no alternative. I think reasonable people can determine whether the theory position has real merit or is just BS. If I think it's BS, I will give the alleged offender a lot of leeway.

Role of the Ballot. My ballot usually means nothing more than who won the game we were playing while all sitting in the same room. I don't believe I am sending a message to the debate community when I vote, nor do I believe that you are sending a message to the debate community when you speak, when you win, or when you lose. I don't believe that my ballot is a teaching tool even if there's an audience outside of the two debaters. I don't believe my ballot is endorsing a particular philosophy or possible action by some agent implied or explicitly stated in the resolution. Perhaps my ballot is endorsing your strategy if you win my ballot, so I am sending a message to you and your coach by voting for you, but that is about it. If you can persuade me otherwise, you are invited to try. However, if your language or conduct is found to be offensive, I will gladly use my ballot to send a message to you, your coach, and your teammates with a loss and/or fewer speaker points than desired.

Section 2: Policy only (although there are probably things in the LD section below that may interest you)

In general, I require that Affs read a plan and be topical. Performance-based strategies by either side are extremely difficult for me to evaluate largely because I don't know how to "weigh" one's performance over another's (although I have judged enough speech/interp, but I won't use those standards to pick a winner in a debate round). My approach to what constitutes an argument is traditional and conservative because that is how I was trained and that is how I have approached debate for the last 30 years.

I think K's need a solid link and a clear, viable, and competitive alt.

I best understand a negative strategy if consisting of counterplans, disads, case args.

Section 3: LD only (if you are an LDer who likes "policy" arguments in LD, you should read the above section}

Kritiks. In the end, whatever position you take still needs to resolve a conflict inherent (or explicitly stated) within the resolution. Aff's MUST affirm the resolution. Neg's MUST negate it. If your advocacy (personal or fiated action by some agent) does not actually advocate one side of the resolution over the other (as written by the framers), then you'll probably lose. I think debaters use phrases like "pre-fiat implications" all too often without explaining what it means or why it should be on such a level. Labeling a critical position as pre-fiat does not make it pre-fiat.

Topicality. I really do love a good T debate. I just don't hear many of them in LD. A debater will only win a T debate if (1) you read a definition and/or articulate an interpretation of specific words/phrases in the resolution being violated and (2) explain why your interp is better than your opponent's in terms of providing a fair limit - not too broad nor too narrow. I have a strong policy background (former policy debater and long-time policy debate coach). My view of T debates is the same for both.

Presumption. I don't presume aff or neg inherently. I presume the status quo. In some resolutions, it's clear as to who is advocating for change. In that case, I default to holding whoever advocates change in the status quo as having some burden of proof. If neither (or both) is advocating change, then presumption becomes debatable. However, I will work very hard to vote on something other than presumption since it seems like a copout. No debate is truly tied at the end of the game.

Plans vs Whole Res. I leave this up to the debaters to defend or challenge. I am more persuaded by your perspective if it has a resolutional basis. For example, the Sept/Oct 2016 topic has a plural agent, "countries" (which is rare for LD topics). Thus, identifying a single country to do the plan may be more of a topicality argument than a "theory" argument. In resolutions when the agent is more nebulous (e.g., "a just society"), then we're back to a question as what provides for a better debate.

Drew Marshall Paradigm

6 rounds

I debated NPTE/NDPA style parliamentary debate for the University of Utah and a two year college called Ranger College. I competed at the NPDA and NPTE, and at NFA LD nationals. I have a year of a widely ranged judging experience: from AAA UIL CX districts (Texas) to TOC qualifying finals rounds.


Tell me how you want me to evaluate the round. Tell me why you win the round if I choose to evaluate the round that way. In the case that you do not specify how I should view the round, I have a few paradigms to which I default.

-I will evaluate the round based on a criteria of net benefits; being time frame, probability, and magnitude of impacts.
-I will evaluate T and Theory debate based on competing interpretations; meaning that if you win your theory argument on the flow, you're coming out on top of that particular debate
-I will not prioritize traditional theory shells above framework claims, or vise versa, unless told to do so.
-I will consider permutations tests of competition.

I'm ready to drop all of these defaults the moment that you engage in a debate as to why I should. Overall, what enjoy the most is good argumentation. Whatever style of debate you feel like you are best at, go for it. Yes, even stock issues. Just be ready to defend reasons as to why that debate should be evaluated that way


  • I prefer to see in round abuse on T, but I can be persuaded to pull the trigger on potential abuse if the neg is far ahead on that issue. I'll usually only vote on RVI's if they are dropped by the neg and extended by the aff. I enjoy 2AC answers to T that give unique reasons as to why the aff's counter interpretation should be preferred.


  • To win my ballot with a K, you are best off winning at least one of each of the following: link, impact, competition of the alt, and solvency of the alt. However, even if you are winning all of those things and your solvency requires a framework that is different from net benefits, you should be winning the framework debate to pick up my ballot.

K Aff's

  • Yeah, I'm down. x-apply the above.

Speaker Point Preferences.

  • Cut down in the neg block. This makes it easier to evaluate the round, and is generally just better debate.
  • Pop your tags. Speed is fine, but its very helpful for me if you pop your tags and separate each card with 'and' or 'next' or something of the sort.
  • Keep my flow clean. Most of the time this means sign posting more than you probably feel is necessary.
  • Be respectful.

If you receive a written RFD from me, there will likely be spelling errors.

Prep time stops when your flash drive leaves your computer (Policy).

Mitali Mathur Paradigm

1 rounds

I debated for Greenhill School for 4 years
I also was a member of USA Debate for a year
I currently attend Georgetown University and coach Greenhill School 

General Comments

    • I view rounds through a comparative worlds paradigm.
    • Don’t be racist/sexist/homophobic/unnecessarily rude in round or ever.
    • Give your opponent a copy of your case if they ask – printed, flashed, e-mailed, or via a viewing laptop - this could affect speaks if your opponent asks and you say no
    • when you talk about the topic
    • when you make your advocacy clear and aren't shifty
    • when you talk about real world issues
    • overviews that explain how I should evaluate the round/prioritize issues
    • weighing with explanation, not just the jargon of magnitude, probability etc.
    • Extensions– I think 1ARs can have a bit more leeway, but make sure warrants and impacts are clear – author names alone don’t cut it
    • A good CX. CX is binding and I’ll pay attention.
    • racist/sexist/homophobic/classist/offensive arguments and comments
    • arguments that say any action is permissible
    • too many spikes or really long underviews that aren’t related to the topic. If you are aff and concerned about a side bias, write an aff that uses the entire 6 minutes with substantive arguments
    • misrepresenting evidence and reading strawperson cards. If there is an evidence ethics challenge, I will read the article and the piece of evidence in question. If you make the challenge, you are staking the round on it.
  • SPEED:
    • Go as fast as you want but don’t sacrifice clarity
    • Please slow down for interpretations and advocacy texts
    • Slow down for spikes/underview type stuff

I never was a framework debater myself. But, if you are a framework debater, don’t shy away from your strengths in front of me, just be extra clear and do a lot of interaction and weighing if it's a more complex framework and it should be fine.

Case Debate
Totally fine. A framework is just a way to evaluate what impacts matter. Tell me what impacts matter and what piece of offense applies under that. 

Policy Args
Love them

    • I love a well thought out CP
    • I'm fine with PICs as well
    • When you debate CPs, make at least one cleverly worded perm and explain how the perm functions (solves all offense, mitigates the link to the disad etc.)
    • make sure there is real uniqueness!!!!
    • specific links based on specific affs will make me like you more
  • Ks
    • I prefer specific links over general links that can be re-used
    • Make sure you can defend the alternative and can EXPLAIN what it means
    • I’m fine if you have a role of the ballot/role of the judge – but if there is a counter ROB/ROJ, do some weighing


  • For me, fairness is not a terminal impact, but it is an internal link to other impacts that are important
  • There is no “spirit of the interpretation,” there is just the interpretation
  • Don’t read stupid theory arguments over the smallest technicalities. I’ll be expressive so you can tell what I consider to be reasonable. I’ll evaluate it, but your opponent won’t have a high threshold answering it.


  • T is determined through the plan text.
  • A good T argument should have a specific interpretation and carded evidence
  • I’ll be impressed if you answer T with specific, carded evidence and do some weighing

Jennifer Melin Paradigm

6 rounds

Jenn (Jennifer) Miller-Melin, Jenn Miller, Jennifer Miller, Jennifer Melin, or some variation thereof. :)

If you walk into a round and ask me some vague question like, "Do you have any paradigms?", I will be annoyed. If you have a question about something contained in this document that is unclear to you, please do not hesitate to ask that question.

-Formerly assistant coach for Lincoln-Douglas debate at Hockaday, Marcus, Colleyville, and Grapevine. Currently assisting at Grapevine High School.

I was a four year debater who split time between Grapevine and Colleyville Heritage High Schools. During my career, I was active on the national circuit and qualified for both TOC and NFL Nationals. Since graduating in 2004, I have taught at the Capitol Debate Institute, UNT Mean Green Debate Workshops, TDC, and the University of Texas Debate Institute, the National Symposium for Debate, and Victory Briefs Institute. I have served as Curriculum Director at both UTNIF and VBI.

In terms of debate, I need some sort standard to evaluate the round. I have no preference as to what kind of standard you use (traditional value/criterion, an independent standard, burdens, etc.). The most important thing is that your standard explains why it is the mechanism I use to decide if the resolution is true or false. As a side note on the traditional structure, I don't think that the value is of any great importance and will continue to think this unless you have some well warranted reason as to why I should be particularly concerned with it. My reason is that the value doesn't do the above stated, and thus, generally is of no aid to my decision making process.

That said, debates often happen on multiple levels. It is not uncommon for debaters to introduce a standard and a burden or set of burdens. This is fine with me as long as there is a decision calculus; by which I mean, you should tell me to resolve this issue first (maybe the burden) and that issue next (maybe the standard). Every level of analysis should include a reason as to why I look to it in the order that you ask me to and why this is or is not a sufficient place for me to sign my ballot. Be very specific. There is nothing about calling something a "burden" that suddenly makes it more important than the framework your opponent is proposing. This is especially true in rounds where it is never explained why this is the burden that the resolution or a certain case position prescribes.

Another issue relevant to the standard is the idea of theory and/or off-case/ "pre-standard" arguments. All of the above are fine but the same things still apply. Tell me why these arguments ought to come first in my decision calculus. The theory debate is a place where this is usually done very poorly. Things like "education" or "fairness" are standards and I expect debaters to spend effort developing the framework that transforms into such.

l try to listen to any argument, but making the space unsafe for other bodies is unacceptable. I reserve the right to dock speaks or, if the situation warrants it, refuse to vote on arguments that commit violence against other bodies in the space.

I hold all arguments to the same standard of development regardless of if they are "traditional" or "progressive". An argument has a structure (claim, warrant, and impact) and that should not be forgotten when debaterI ws choose to run something "critical". Warrants should always be well explained. Certain cards, especially philosophical cards, need a context or further information to make sense. You should be very specific in trying to facilitate my understanding. This is true for things you think I have read/should have read (ie. "traditional" LD philosophy like Locke, Nozick, and Rawls) as well as things that I may/may not have read (ie. things like Nietzsche, Foucault, and Zizek). A lot of the arguments that are currently en vogue use extremely specialized rhetoric. Debaters who run these authors should give context to the card which helps to explain what the rhetoric means.

One final note, I can flow speed and have absolutely no problem with it. You should do your best to slow down on author names and tags. Also, making a delineation between when a card is finished and your own analysis begins is appreciated. I will not yell "clear" so you should make sure you know how to speak clearly and quickly before attempting it in round.

I will always disclose unless instructed not to do so by a tournament official. I encourage debaters to ask questions about the round to further their understanding and education. I will not be happy if I feel the debater is being hostile towards me and any debater who does such should expect their speaker points to reflect their behavior.

I am a truth tester at heart but am very open to evaluating the resolution under a different paradigm if it is justified and well explained. That said, I do not understand the offense/defense paradigm and am increasingly annoyed with a standard of "net benefits", "consequentialism", etc. Did we take a step back about 20 years?!? These seem to beg the question of what a standard is supposed to do (clarify what counts as a benefit). About the only part of this paradigm that makes sense to me is weighing based on "risk of offense". It is true that arguments with some risk of offense ought to be preferred over arguments where there is no risk but, lets face it, this is about the worst type of weighing you could be doing. How is that compelling? "I might be winning something". This seems to only be useful in a round that is already giving everyone involved a headache. So, while the offense/defense has effectively opened us up to a different kind of weighing, it should be used with caution given its inherently defensive nature.

Theory seems to be here to stay. I seem to have a reputation as not liking theory, but that is really the sound bite version of my view. I think that theory has a place in debate when it is used to combat abuse. I am annoyed when theory is used as a tactic because a debater feels she is better at theory than her opponent. I really like to talk about the topic more than I like to wax ecstatic about what debate would look like in the world of flowers, rainbows, and neat flows. That said, I will vote on theory even when I am annoyed by it. I tend to look at theory more as an issue of reasonabilty than competing interpretations. As with the paradigm discussion above, I am willing to listen to and adjust my view in round if competing interpretations is justified as how I should look at theory. Over the last few years I have become a lot more willing to pull the trigger on theory than I used to be. That said, with the emergence of theory as a tactic utilized almost every round I have also become more sympathetic to the RVI (especially on the aff). I think the Aff is unlikely to be able to beat back a theory violation, a disad, and a CP and then extend from the AC in 4 minutes. This seems to be even more true in a world where the aff must read a counter-interp and debate on the original interp. All of this makes me MUCH more likely to buy an RVI than I used to be. Also, I will vote on theory violations that justify practices that I generally disagree with if you do not explain why those practices are not good things. It has happened a lot in the last couple of years that a debater has berated me after losing because X theory shell would justify Y practice, and don't I think Y practice would be really bad for debate? I probably do, but if that isn't in the round I don't know how I would be expected to evaluate it.

Finally, I can't stress how much I appreciate a well developed standards debate. Its fine if you choose to disregard that piece of advice, but I hope that you are making up for the loss of a strategic opportunity on the standards debate with some really good decisions elsewhere. You can win without this, but you don't look very impressive if I can't identify the strategy behind not developing and debating the standard.

I cannot stress enough how tired I am of people running away from debates. This is probably the biggest tip I can give you for getting better speaker points in front of me, please engage each other. There is a disturbing trend (especially on Sept/Oct 2015) to forget about the 1AC after it is read. This makes me feel like I wasted 6 minutes of my life, and I happen to value my time. If your strategy is to continuously up-layer the debate in an attempt to avoid engaging your opponent, I am probably not going to enjoy the round. This is not to say that I don't appreciate layering. I just don't appreciate strategies, especially negative ones, that seek to render the 1AC irrelevant to the discussion and/or that do not ever actually respond to the AC.

Debate has major representation issues (gender, race, etc.). I have spent years committed to these issues so you should be aware that I am perhaps hypersensitive to them. We should all be mindful of how we can increase inclusion in the debate space. If you do things that are specifically exclusive to certain voices, that is a voting issue.

Being nice matters. I enjoy humor, but I don't enjoy meanness. At a certain point, the attitude with which you engage in debate is a reason why I should choose to promote you to the next outround, etc.

You should not spread analytics and/or in depth analysis of argument interaction/implications at your top speed. These are probably things that you want me to catch word for word. Help me do that.

Theory is an issue of reasonability. Let's face it, we are in a disgusting place with the theory debate as a community. We have forgotten its proper place as a check on abuse. "Reasonability invites a race to the bottom?" Please, we are already there. I have long felt that theory was an issue of reasonability, but I have said that I would listen to you make arguments for competing interps. I am no longer listening. I am pretty sure that the paradigm of competing interps is largely to blame with for the abysmal state of the theory debate, and the only thing that I have power to do is to take back my power as a judge and stop voting on interps that have only a marginal net advantage. The notion that reasonability invites judge intervention is one of the great debate lies. You've trusted me to make decisions elsewhere, I don't know why I can't be trusted to decide how bad abuse is. Listen, if there is only a marginal impact coming off the DA I am probably going to weigh that against the impact coming off the aff. If there is only a marginal advantage to your interp, I am probably going to weigh that against other things that have happened in the round.

Grammar probably matters to interpretations of topicality. If one reading of the sentence makes sense grammatically, and the other doesn't that is a constraint on "debatability". To say the opposite is to misunderstand language in some pretty fundamental ways.

Truth testing is still true, but it's chill that most of you don't understand what that means anymore. It doesn't mean that I am insane, and won't listen to the kind of debate you were expecting to have. Sorry, that interp is just wrong.

Framework is still totally a thing. Impact justifying it is still silly. That doesn't change just because you call something a "Role of the Ballot" instead of a criterion.

Util allows you to be lazy on the framework level, but it requires that you are very good at weighing. If you are lazy on both levels, you will not make me happy.

Flashing is out of control. You need to decide prior to the round what the expectations for flashing/emailing are. What will/won't be done during prep time, what is expected to be flashed, etc. The amount of time it takes to flash is extending rounds by an unacceptable amount. If you aren't efficient at flashing, that is fine. Paper is still totally a thing. Email also works.

Eric Melin Paradigm

6 rounds

*Greenhill 2016.

I accept truth-testing arguments.

Give me a way to evaluate the debate.

I try to follow all of your arguments. I will yell "clear" or "slower", but if you just fall right back into the same unintelligible speech pattern two sentences later (after saying clear a couple of times) then I guess I won't get some of your arguments on my flow. If you are going to read a string of analytics quietly and/ or at top-speed then expect me to miss a lot of your arguments. If it is not on my flow then I will not vote for it. I think more judges should stick to that standard and not clear things up by calling for arguments/cards after the round. You choose how many arguments to include in your speeches.This goes for every argument in the round including theory, blocks, underviews and anywhere else you expect me to flow every sentence because its not gonna happen.

Please be respectful of everyone in the round. Rudeness and snarkiness are unwelcome.

Email chains are good.
Flashing is less good but fine.
Please reciprocally disclose.

Ian Mooers Paradigm

3 rounds

As a debater, I qualified for nats twice and I got to some late out rounds/a few bid rounds my senior year.  I debate primarily in Oklahoma, but I was always trying to travel, so don't let my home state fool you too much.  I experimented with a lot of different styles, and I prefer no one style over other styles.


As a judge, I believe that the most interesting rounds are the rounds that debaters engage in strategies that they think they're best at - but like all judges, I have some ideological biases.  In general, I think debate rounds should be agonistic (i.e. the best arguments come to the surface by virtue of arguing).



yes.  I will yell clear three times and then start docking your speaks.  Slow down for tags, authors and important arguments.


- I default to CI if I'm not told otherwise

- Unless you're exceptionally good at it, I get bored with very theory-heavy rounds, especially ones with few structural abuse claims.  

- Weigh, weigh, weigh.

- If I can't flow your spikes, it’s not an argument.

Policy args

yes. a good LARP round is fun


I went for T in a large percentage of my neg rounds during my senior year. I presume that affs should be topical, but this isn't necessarily a preference.

That being said, I also have read affs that the strategy was to bait T/impact turn T.  I tend to agree with affs on topicality when they straight up go for impact turns/do not pretend to be topical MORE THAN I agree with affs that straddle the line (for example, an aff that says 'you can vote for me for a topical voter AND a performative voter' usually was less convincing than an aff that said 'screw the topic, vote for the performance voter').  That is not to say that I have a preference for K over T - your old Giroux cards are boring (I talked to the dude on Facebook, he told me T is a voter).



I think a lot of the people I prepped with concerned me a 'K debater' because usually my job was to cut strats against kritiks.  I think I've read a good section of the literature, but what I like about K debates the most is the big-picture explanations of contrasting theories.  Please explain your cards, explain your jargon, or else you're boring.

Anything else

I expect you to flash cards to your opponent.  I rarely (if ever) took prep to flash as a debater, so I would appreciate it if you do the same.

Cross-flex is completely up to the debaters.  I won't dock your speaks or find you less persuasive if you refuse to answer questions in prep time (given that you didn't ask your opponent questions in prep time).  Sometimes, it might be strategic, so do it.

Getting good speaks from me is all about being strategic.  I view debate as a game of chess (with words).  Of course, strategy may include being a more persuasive speaker, or arguing that I (as a judge) have a specific duty to fulfill.  

For Oklahoma

The worst debates in Oklahoma happen when people try and present 'progressive'-ly structured arguments in a 'traditional format'.  If you're going to parametrize, read a plan text.  If you're going to read a reps K, read arguments that talk about the role of the debate space, not a value and criterion.  Otherwise, your arguments are incomplete, and I don't know how to evaluate them.




Megan Nubel Paradigm

3 rounds


Michael O'Krent Paradigm

6 rounds

Affiliations/Judging conflicts: Harvard-Westlake, Marlborough
I debated for four years at Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles, qualifying to TOC thrice. I now coach for Marlborough.
If you have questions, email me at

Short version:
I like hearing well-developed, supported, smart arguments. This can include philosophy, t or theory, Ks, plans, CPs, DAs, etc. Form doesn't matter a huge amount to me. Just steer clear of my landmines and make good arguments: your speaks and win record will show it.

Flashing/emailing is on prep time.

Traditional Policy stuff: yes
Theory: yes if there’s real abuse.
Philosophy (almost all sorts): yes
K: yes
Shenanigans: no
Performance: yes

Do I say clear? Yes.
How many times? Until you get clear or it becomes clear that you're ignoring me.

Mandatory scary stuff:

Landmines: The following things are not ok in debate. I WILL INSTANTLY DROP YOU FOR:
-Religious/theistic arguments *I don't think very many (if any) other judges hold this prohibition, so I want to emphasize that I do hold it, and I will hold you to it.*
-moral skepticism (unless the topic specifically mandates it, like the Nov-Dec 2011. I'll specifically note it at the top of my paradigm if one of these comes up.)
-presumption (if you tell me I should ignore substance to vote on presumption. I might presume if there is legitimately no offense but I will do everything in my power not to.)
-any argument that is “triggered” in a later speech. If you defend it, you must say so in your first speech
-biting the bullet on something atrocious like genocide, rape, mass murder, etc. (That is, openly acknowledging that your framework would not condemn something like this. Simply arguing that your opponent’s framework can’t condemn genocide will not be a reason to drop them.)
-an a priori (these are arguments that say that the resolution is true or false for linguistic/semantic reasons and don't link to a framework. Despite debaters' best efforts to hide them, a prioris are pretty easily visible.)
-blatantly lying in cx
In general, be honest. I won’t instantly drop you for anything not on this list, but if you pull tricks or are generally sketchy I will be pissed. My stance on this is pretty similar to Chris Theis’.

The following arguments I will not listen to, but will not drop you for the sole reason that you ran one of them (you can still win elsewhere on the flow). I will not vote on:
-any argument that is not normative, like ought implies can or ought means logical consequence.
-theory arguments against an interp in the AC are counterinterpretations/defense only

Things I dislike but will vote on if you win them by a wide margin (either they're conceded or you crush):
-Competing interps requires a counterinterpretation.
-Affirmative “ethics” choice (When the aff gets to pick the standard/value criterion – distinct from AFC as run in policy, which I am ok with)
-Meta-theory comes before “regular” theory. OK to run a “meta-theory” shell and weigh impacts, but I don’t believe that meta-theory exists differently than theory. One sentence in a theory voter will not convince me otherwise.
-Anything that would have me take an actual action other than judging. (It takes a really good reason to make me not be lazy. I might vote for the position and ignore the action anyway.)

And a bunch of theory shells fall into this category too. If you run one of these shells, I will be skeptical and probably find the most stock responses persuasive. I'll vote on it, but you'll have to do lots of work and win it by a lot:
-Must run/not run framework
-Must run/not run plan/counterplan (inc. plans bad)
-Must run/not run kritik (noticing a theme?)
-Must run/not run DAs, etc.
-Can't have both pre- and post-fiat impacts
-Can't make link/impact turns (yes, people actually run this shell)
-Negatively worded interps bad ("Must have positively worded interp" for the formalists)
-Neg must defend the converse

Rodrigo Paramo Paradigm

6 rounds

I debated ld and policy in high school, coach ld at westwood/privately now

(past: woodlands, dulles, edgemont)

here are some thoughts i have:

TOC 2018: my first two rounds of this morning have really underscored how badly i need you all to slow down on topicality/theory debates - i have not been at a tournament in weeks/months - this will help us all have better rounds

the phrase "evidence ethics" means something - if someone says it and their opponent clarifies "is this an evidence ethics challenge," i understand this to mean that the debate ends - whoever has made the accusation wins if i believe the evidence ethics violation is correct, they lose if i believe the accused did not commit an evidence ethics violation - i will not independently end the round if the accused does not ask for this - if they do, i am happy to - words matter

slow down on theory - will say slow twice, after that it is on you if i cannot flow it - i will miss your arguments and feel very comfortable disregarding them regardless of whats in the doc.

please dont read false politics disads in front of me i will be angry i keep up with politics i will know if you are lying

i do not think i have ever been convinced by the claim that judges have a jurisdictional constraint - i do not foresee that changing

i am not particularly compelled by the insistence that the negative or affirmative answer t/k first in cx or theory arguments deriving from it

i will not vote for a kritik i do not understand

i have a good ear for when clipping is occurring - if i suspect it is, i will follow along in the speech doc - if i determine i am correct, the person clipping will lose. to be very clear, this does not necessitate the opponent making a clipping accusation - i feel very comfortable making this adjudication on my own.

one notable contradiction in my thinking - i am very receptive to semantics bad claims on t (not into nebel t) but also pretty receptive to text of the interp/text of the rotb/plan flaw args - i generally think that when issues arise in those 3 things, they are a result of students not giving much thought to them which is a shame bc all 3 are pretty important in my view - well crafted interps, as well as cxes that isolate plan flaws/interp issues will be rewarded (this doesnt mean i like /bad/ plan flaw args.............)

if you suspect that i may need to look at interps/counter interps you read, those should be flashed before the speech [likely applies to perms as well]- i will not look at interps that are written down at the end of the round and will just evaluate the t debate based on what i have written on my flow.

given how clear it is to me that no one could flow theory as it is delivered, i am cool w debaters tossing out a "slow" at their opponents if they can't flow at top speed

just do you i guess, specifics for each event are down below
im down with almost everything - read ahead for specifics
if you are short on time before the round, i suggest you read the FLASHING section - from there the "debate practices" are all probably important as well
the theory vs rotb section is also fairly extensive if that is a clash you are concerned about
I will be frustrated if you walk into round and ask a question that is already answered here, (applies mostly if you are the second flight)

if i have said clear/slow more than 3 times and you have reverted to your lack of clarity you will not get higher than a 27.5 and i will likely miss a lot of your arguments - ask yourself if the lack of clarity is worth the risk of a loss - 27.5

tab judges dont exist

(perfectly "tab" judges are great in theory but its impossible for anyone to be completely tab.

i won't purposely intervene but i dont think its desirable to make myself a blank slate for the purposes of the activity)


this used to be an extensive set of rules please just flash well i have no patience for inefficient flashing
its not prep but if it takes more than 30 seconds it will make me angry

LD: Pref Shortcut (Roughly Speaking)

Larpers: 1
K debaters: 1
Theory debaters: 1-3 (depending on your strats against the K/ the frivolity of your interps)
Tricks: 3-strike
Framework debaters: 3-4 (lack of familiarity with much of the literature means i'm always a step behind - high threshold for explanation)
Generic circuit: 1-2

Practices Trigger Warnings

Debaters reading positions about suicide, depression/specific mental health, sexual violence, or any similarly traumatic issue, the onus is on them to ask those in the room permission to read the position. Spectators may leave, but judges and opponents do not have that option, meaning there is an expectation that if one of them objects to the triggering subject, that the debater will not read that position. If a debater does not adjust their strategy after being asked to, they will start the round with a 25. If you do not ask before round, but someone is triggered, speaks will similarly be docked. If there is no trigger warning but no one is triggered, the round can continue as normal.

The question for what necessitates a trigger warning is difficult to objectively delineate - if you have a reasonable suspicion someone could be negatively impacted by your position, ask before you read it - explicit narratives are probably a good starting point here. Trigger warnings are contentious in debate but I've seen students negatively impacted in rounds because they were not present and have engaged in conversations with other coaches that lead me to conclude something along these lines is necessary. At the very least, debate is (or should be) a 'safe space', and I believe this is a necessary first step towards achieving that goal. Feel free to discuss this before the round if you are worried it will become an issue in round.

This (admittedly strangely) probably means I'm not the judge for "must read a trigger warning" shells - they often make debate rounds uncomfortable and i have seen them leveraged in ways that make debate spaces unsafe - if no one was triggered, don't spend your time on that shell.

This article is very good at articulating my views on the importance of trigger warnings
It is not up for debate that if someone was triggered on account of your failure to adequately make use of trigger warnings, you'll be punished through speaks and/or the ballot


  • Clarity is important, and I’ll prompt you if need be. Slow down for tags and emphasize authors.
  • debaters blazing through a doc of analytics without pausing can only hurt them, so you should slow down on theory dumps - it's on you if i miss one of your theory blips and i'm not going to call for theory analytics except for the exact text of interps - will shout slow on theory and you should heed that advice
  • Additionally, nothing is more impressive than a slow, efficient debater winning the line-by-line against a fast opponent.
  • slow down at the very least on the tags, especially when reading dense philosophical positions
  • I'll say clear twice - speaks will be deducted after this
  • pay attention to non-verbal cues from me


  • clarity is important for high speaks but more important than how you sound is making strategic decisions in the 2AR/NR;
  • don't go for 6 arguments if one is sufficient to win the round, don't waste time addressing all 4 levels of the debate if you're clearly winning the top 2, don't read unnecessary theory, etc.
  • give a strategic and efficient 1AR,
  • don't go top speed through the 2NR if you don't have to, a slow mastery of the line-by-line is just as if not more impressive than extending every argument on the flow.
  • If any of this is not clear enough for you, feel free to ask before rounds and I'll tell you how my speaks have been distributed at that specific tournament.
  • here are my average speaks for past seasons, do with this what you will
    • grapevine: 28
    • greenhill: 28.3
    • marks: 28.4
    • gbx: 28.08
    • strake/rr: 28.21
    • churchill: 27.98
    • debate la: 28.63
    • ahwl: 28.48
    • emory: 28.22
    • berkeley: 28.58
    • tfa state: 28.25


  • a weird paradigmatic issue that shift from judge to judge - i think i'm a bit more lenient on extensions for the affirmative but there's little leniency on the 2nr - you should be clearly impacting every extension you make when you make it especially if you want me to vote on it
  • i don't think you have to extend the plan text explicitly if there is an implicit discussion of the advocacy during things like the extension of solvency, but it certainly will not hurt you
  • on the question of theory - similar to how you're expected to extend standards and voters, i do think its important to extend interpretations here, especially in a competing interps debates - i dont know that itll necessarily lose you the round if you dont, but ill be willing to listen to a 2ar story about how your standards arent explicitly impacted back to an interp - keep that in mind
  • dont re-read your ac or nc taglines for extensions - bad practice and rarely does this include an explanation of the warrants.

Arguments: Plans/CP/DA

go for it, do it well
have a framework
perms are good, you should have explicit perm texts and you have them written down before the speech starts

will not grant you the perm if i am uncertain about the perm text bc the articulation between 1ar and 2ar was different
(perm texts should be more than "perm do both")


I will not reward a poorly-executed k over other arguments on the flow simply by nature of it being a k. if you’re going to read a k make sure you can explain it, your explanation will always be the most important thing. K’s should have an explicit alternative, though what form that takes is up to the debater reading the criticism.
[The best form of kritik also has a topic-specific link, the more specific the better, please don’t read generic kritiks for the hell of it].
you should substantively engage kritiks when answering them, reading a lot of non-responsive arguments and hoping one of them gets dropped is a bad strategy
ask questions if anything is unclear
im most familiar with literature surrounding identity debates though i also see a fair share of deleuze rounds - again, do with this what you will


do w/e, last year one of my students gave a silent 1ac i am here for it if you justify it

Skep/permissibility/all your tricky args

i'm not the judge for it (unfamiliar with the arguments and skeptical of them before they're read)


i will presume negative if they defend the status quo - if they read a cp or a kritik, then presumption shifts to the affirmative
speech times do not change this


  • I default to theory as a question of competing interpretations though I can be persuaded otherwise as long as you clearly warrant/impact out your arguments (this probably means im down with the RVI on c.i. but im very skeptical of the rvi on reasonability (i.e. I assume counter-interps are offensive unless you justify why they're not) )
  • I'm more than happy to listen to 6 minutes of theory in the 2nr, just do it well
  • Make sure your counter-interps are competitive/that your interps actually exclude the position you're reading them against - low threshold for semantic i meet's on poorly worded interpretations
  • time skew?? come on
  • Fairness isn’t a voter, it is an internal link - this does not mean i would /never/ vote for fairness claims but i have a very low threshold for reasons education would come first Education /is/ a voter, and it is /always/ a voter - im very skeptical you can win my ballot with "education bad" or "education is not a voter" - your role of the ballot /role of the judge arguments are certainly valuable but its unlikely they change my role as an educator in the debate space.
    • you should not just say 'its in your paradigm that fairness isnt a voter', you should explain the reasons that that would be true
  • Not the judge for Nebel T
  • i will likely be easily compelled by a "debaters should not bracket evidence" argument - i have grown sympathetic to this argument as abuses become increasingly egregious
  • not sure how i feel about 2ar theory but wont rule it out on face

"Theory vs. RotB" (long, but read this if you're worried about these debates in front of me - also read for generic rotb vs rotb questions)

I often hear debates that center around the question of “theory vs. the kritik”
I think this question largely misses the point on how these positions interact with one another
Debaters regularly say things like “theory is a gateway issue, it controls whether my opponent gets access to their post-fiat offense,” an argument that I think is at best silly.
There are two reasons: 1) it assumes a static conception of what arguments are post vs. pre “fiat,” and 2) it assumes an objective layering to the debate round – in truth, any argument could be the highest layer of the debate, given that they all impact back to a role of the ballot in some manner

I understand RotBs as shaping the debate space in exactly the same way as theory interps (or potentially, theory voters, depending on how they are articulated) do – they frame what debaters must do to win the round (standards/value criterions probably function very similarly but that’s a much more controversial claim)
All of this means that the debater who has initiated the theory debate (at least with me in the back) must either

  1. impact their standards and voters back to the “new” role of the ballot (especially especially especially when the role of the ballot reconceptualizes what forms of education are valuable in debate), or
  2. they must read (and justify) their own competitive role of the ballot.

This is not limited to the kritik debate – any role of the ballot will implicitly interact with any theory shell, and all debaters would do well to understand this and use this to their strategic advantage (or preclude their opponent from doing this)

The role of the ballot is nothing new – it’s a weighing mechanism under a new name, yet it somehow poses a unique threat to traditional models of debate.

I don’t think there is an implicit role of the ballot in the debate space, which means all debaters must be ready to justify whatever they assume the RotB is, as well as why they presume that certain arguments (theory for example) should always be evaluated as the top layer of the debate.

Any questions at all, ask before round, and above all, do what you’re most comfortable with, don’t just read something because you think I’ll enjoy it, I’ll enjoy seeing you be good at your specialty infinitely more (unless its like skep then yeah dont read it i'd rather see a bad k or policy debate than a skep round).

Ashan Peiris Paradigm

6 rounds

(Updated 10/14/15)
Asst LD Coach @ Loyola High School
Coached Loyola the past 10 years.
Judged numerous TOC level outrounds including the TOC and TOC outrounds as well.

I will give an extra minute of prep for flashing/emailing but it is included in prep.

It's important to know that I flow by hand. The arguments show up on my flow in proportion to the amount of understanding I have of them, which is directly proportional to the amount of time you spend making the argument.

At the end of the day my decision is almost entirely technical. I formulate my RFDs in almost an entirely technical manner. I vote for the side with more offense to the relevant framework.

Argument Evaluation
If there's more than one framework, layer the frameworks. If you're not the only one with offense to that framework THEN WEIGH THE OFFENSE. I absolutely abhor injecting my own beliefs into the debate round. Ideally, my RFD will just be me saying back to you only things that have been said in the round. I generally do as little embedded clash as possible because it involves what I believe to be intervention. Thus, you should take it upon yourself to do as much argument comparison as possible.

I highly recommends that you start with framework debate at the beginning of your rebuttals. It will make my decision easier. Also have solid overviews that evaluate the issues of the round. The overview should predict the answers to the questions I will have at the end of the round. For example, does Fairness come before the K? Does their turn link to your Deont framework? etc. Generally, the rebuttals should collapse. I'm not particularly fond of new offs in the rebuttals. The best 2ARs I've seen so far collapse to the positions the neg collapsed to and spend the 2AR weighing offense.

My least favorite part of judging debate rounds is T/Theory. There are two reasons. First, if you're spreading analytics its almost impossible to flow by hand. Please power tag your analytics (at least the important ones) with one or two words that I can write down. Second, no one evaluates or weighs standards level offense. Please tell me what to do with offense under each standard, for both sides. Please tell me which standard comes first and why. Then please tell me which voter comes first.

Please tell me how the ROB relates to all other frameworks. Is it pre-fiat and weighs against T? Or is it post fiat and precludes ethical frameworks. Lastly, tell me what offense links and doesn't link and how it weighs out. (Am I sounding like a broken record yet?).

Persuasive styles, strategy, solid and compelling overviews, dominant cross-ex's, ease of decision and less prep time use.

Scott Phillips Paradigm

1 rounds

Scott Phillips- for email chains please use iblamebricker@gmail
Policy Debate Coach- The Meadows School, The University of Michigan 
Rounds Judged on the topic- a lot
My Ideal affirmative- 2 well constructed advantages
My Ideal 1NC- 5 off and case

Cliffs Notes-Top 10 Things you should know 

1. I vote on arguments commonly considered "bad" frequently because a team mishandles them, it is my belief belief that most bad arguments can be defeated by making a thumbs down motion, so if you fail to meet that minimum threshold I will be qualmless voting against you. The overarching principle of my judging is "least intervention"-Much like Harrison Ford in Ender's Game under no circumstances will I help you with bad arguments, I believe in self help. 

2. I vote on kritiks a lot because the team answering them reads a lot of bad generic answers instead of making analytic arguments based on the specific arguments they have made in that debate. To clarify this sentence - what I mean is an analytic based on your 1AC- ie "tradable permits empirically don't cause commodification and extinction since we already have them for SO2". In general I think most debaters have no idea what they are saying when reading a K and that affirmatives SHOULD win about 80-90% of the debates in which the negative goes for one. 

3. No plan affs- 100% of the time when I vote against you on framework its because the other team won theory was a trump card over issues like education/K impacts and you didn't advance theory offense for your interpretation. I end up voting for no plan args frequently because the neg collapses/has no idea what to do. 

4. Theory needs to come back with a vengeance

A. Entirely plan inclusive counterplans- I have never heard a theory argument to defend them that passes the minimum threshold explained above. That being said, winning a solvency deficit against them is basically impossible.

B. More than 2 conditional counterplans is just you being a chazzer

C. K frameworks/roles of the ballot that stack the deck absurdly are worse than entirely plan inclusive counterplans

D. Reject argument not team produces terrible debates with very bad strategies. Voting on theory doesn't fix this, but it improves it substantially.

5. I believe you have a choice
A. Clearly articulate your ground/say as much in CX
B. Because your position is vague you are susceptible to a reduced credibility modifier that taints many of your arguments. Plan vagueness affects plan solvency, alternative vagueness affects.... etc.

6. IMO there are, in fact, risks of things. Debaters should be aware of this and make arguments about how I should resolve risk. The plan may be popular with 5 people and unpopular with 6, should I place more emphasis on the number of people or maybe are those 5 more important? Very few link cards establish such a clear threshold that you can say with certainty (when contested) yes definite link. (this point is largely irrelevant now as the tides of history have turned and no risk people have been successfully marginalized)

7. I will always defer to debater argument resolution if one side does it and the other doesn't-no matter how bad or illogical I think the argument is. This is to me, the most important part of debate. 

8. I try really hard to flow well. Teams who willfully ignore line by line/structure - I will not do work for you to figure things out if the other team does line by line barring some argument why I should.

9. I often call for lots of evidence after a debate, most of the time this is just out of curiosity. When making my decision evidence is only a factor when it is a point of contest or someone has made an argument for why it should be a part of the decision. I am not a judge who reads every card from both sides and makes a decision based on the evidence.

10. Evidence quality in debate is in terminal decline. If you have good evidence and you make an issue of it in the debate (talk about quals, or recency for uniqueness) you will most likely crush. 

Making a decision:
Everything is debatable but speech times: The role of the ballot, whether evidence or analytic arguments are more important, is it acceptable for the other team to read off their computers, who gets presumption and why etc. If neither team makes an argument on the issue, the following are my defaults:

1. Evidence and analytic arguments are treated equally- I will look at the total sum of explanation offered for an argument, from any form. So if a well explained analytical will beat a poorly written piece of evidence. If one teams reads qualifications and the other doesn't, the team who read quals will receive a slight bump in the level of quality I assess to their explanation (assuming all other factors are equal). Treating them as equal until told otherwise is my way of encouraging debate. 

2. Presumption, in the case of a tie or too close to call resolution of an argument, goes to the team advocating the least change. I would use presumption in the instance where each team had an advocacy and an offensive argument, and each team dropped a terminal defense argument to their own offense such that the net risk in either direction of presented offense was exactly zero. In that instance the "hidden disad" of change makes sense as a decision making tool. In no other circumstance I can think of would I use presumption unless explicitly instructed by the debaters.

3. If an argument is unresolveable (or tough to resolve) I will use a "needs" test- the burden of explanation will be assessed to the team who NEEDS the argument to win. So for example
-on a CP permutation, if the neg would win the debate without the permutation, then the aff needs it to win- so the burden of explanation is on them
-for CP solvency, if the neg would lose if the CP did not solve the case, then the neg needs to win solvency- so the burden of explanation is on them

4. Concession= truth. If you drop epistemology comes first/is a side constraint, then it is. You can drop that framing issue and still win as long as you beat the link (that your epistemology is flawed), but you will not be allowed new answers to the impact. I use a reasonable person standard- if I was unaware that the 1NC presented a epistemology first argument (based on what was said in the 1NC, not my prior knowledge of the negative team), then if the aff says "they didn't say this, therefore our answers aren't new" I would allow it. But remember, everything is debatable. If the 2NR comes back and asserts it was clearly stated when they said XYZ, the aff has to disprove that.

5. The threshold for how good a response to an argument has to be is directly related to the quality of the initial argument. Saying "RANT" is sufficient to beat a lot of voting issues. If the other team answers RANT in their 2NC sever perms are a VI block, and thats all you say, you will be in trouble. Similarly, many counterplans (consult, recommendation, delay, lopez) are easily defeated by theory arguments but almost impossible to beat on substance. A well rounded debater should avoid trying to ice skate uphill.

6. I spend a lot of time on debate. Other than eating and playing video games, basically all of my time is spent cutting cards, coaching, writing and reading about debate. A lot of judges say "I'm not a very good flow". I'm a very good flow, I may even go as far as to say probably one of the best. All that being said, it is very possible that you could say a string of words, or utter a quote from an article I have written that fully conveys your argument to me, but would leave a less experienced/judge with a life with no idea what you were saying/what your argument was. I try to temper this fact by using a "reasonable person" standard for what makes a complete argument. I feel this is essential because otherwise any student who was in my lab, had emailed me a question, or had just read a lot of the 3NR would have an absurdly unfair advantage vs a similarly skilled student. So if I made a joke in lab about saying "purple monkey dishwasher" and that meaning "we do the whole plan minus the reps", so you say that in a debate and expect me to vote on it, I won't. Unless you are debating someone else from the lab who had equal access to that information. Similarly, even if I flowed an argument/got the jist of what you were saying, but feel that the other team is being reasonable when they say your argument was poorly explained/did not constitute an argument I will be open to that and you need to respond.

Speaker points:

1. I like fast debate. That being said, some people give fast debate a bad name. You can be fast only after you are clear and efficient. I should be able to understand every word you say, not just the tags. If you are stammering (or displaying other verbal missteps) excessively you are going faster than you are capable of going imo.

2. Points are determined by how well you perform your function, which depends on what speeches you give. A 1AC should be perfectly smooth because you can practice it as much as you want. A 2NC assembled on the fly vs a new case can be excused a few missteps on the other hand. I think auto giving the 1N low points because they could be replaced by a robot in most debates is a bit unfair- a blazing fast 1NC and devastating 1NR can be game changing. That being said, rarely do people perform up to that level.

3. Points are assessed relative to the field in which you are competing. The same speech can be a 29 at a local, but a 27.5 at St Marks. 


What is your threshold for T?
The threshold is established by the other teams answers- if they make good defensive arguments and argue reasonability well than my threshold will be high. If they don't it will be very low. 

What are you favorite kinds of debate?
Ones in which there are clash, since that is not really a thing anymore its usually impact turn debates- heg bad, de-dev, CO2 ag and warming good- loved to go for these when I debated and love to see them debated now. CO2 ag is the upper limit of stupid I think is acceptable. 

Did you run kritiks when you debated?
Not as much as Bricker would want you to believe. My senior year in HS and my senior year in college I went for K's about 30% of the time, in the other years of my debate less than 5%. 

Did you ever read a critical aff?
By today's standards no- I always had a plan, though sometimes the advantages were not nuke war. 

You bash the politics disad a lot, will you still vote for it?
Yes, almost always because the affirmative never does anything of the things that highlight the problem with politics. 

Are you OK with speed?
Yes, if anything I dislike slow debate. However this is a double edged sword- if you do fast debate terribly I will punish you for it. 

Is Fem IR beatable?

What race do you play in SC2?
Usually random, but if I pick -zerg.

If you were in Game of Thrones, which house would you belong to?

Random Gripes

A note on jumping:

I want to see good debates. I'm not interested in charging you 10 seconds of prep to jump your speeches. If, however, you show total technical incompetence at jumping/severely delay the round your speaks will suffer. A good jump is like a good road map- its not hard, so get it over with quickly.

Standards for sharing should be reciprocal, and as such are established by the team willing to do the least. If Team A doesnt jump speeches as a policy that is fine by me, but then Team B is under no obligation to let Team A see any of their evidence. If Team A doesn't jump analytics, Team B doesn't have to etc. 

A note on quality:

I generally believe that there are certain "norms" in debate- don't steal prep time, don't clip cards etc. These norms are not rules, and as such as a judge I don't think its my job to enforce them. In fact, I think it SHOULD be the burden of a good team to be on top of is the other team stealing prep, are they clipping cards etc. Encouraging students to take responsibility for this is the best model imo. However, there are debates where there is a huge mismatch in terms of the quality of the teams involved. I no longer think it reasonable to expect novices entered in their first varsity tournament to check to see if the Baker Award winning team they are debating is stealing prep. I also don't really care to argue with you about whether or not you are stealing prep. So my solution is that for all things that could be considered a violation of good sportsmanship I will severely jack your points if it is a debate where I subjectively decide the other team should not be responsible for checking you.SO

-If I think you are clipping cards/stealing prep/misquoting evidence/lying in cx in the finals of the TOC vs another excellent team I would expect the other team to catch you
-If I think you are clipping cards/stealing prep/misquoting evidence/lying in cx during a preset vs a vastly inferior team I will severely dock your speaker points

Demarcus Powell Paradigm

6 rounds

Feel free to email me with any questions about my paradigm.

Only send speech docs to

ASK FOR POLICY PARADIGM - The paradigm below is designed mostly for LD. Some things change for me when evaluating the different events/styles of debate. Also when you ask please have specific questions. Saying "What's your paradigm?", will most likely result in me laughing at you and/or saying ask me a question.

About Me: I graduated from Crowley High School in 2013, where I debated LD for three years mostly on the TFA/TOC circuit. I ran everything from super stock traditional cases to plans/counterplans to skepticism, so you probably can't go wrong with whatever you want to run.I debated at The University of Texas at Dallas, in college policy debate for 3 years .Running any sort of Morally repugnant argument can hurt you, if you're not sure if your argument will qualify ask me before we begin and I'll let you know.

Speed: I can flow moderately fast speeds (7-8 on a scale of 10), but obviously I'll catch more and understand more if you're clear while spreading. I'll say "clear"/"slow" twice before I stop attempting to flow. If I stop typing and look up, or I'm looking confused, please slow down!! Also just because I can flow speed does not mean I like hearing plan texts and interpretations at full speed, these things should be at conversational speed.

Cross Examination: While in front of me cx is binding anything you say pertaining to intricacies in your case do matter. I don't care about flex prep but I will say that the same rules of regular cx do apply and if you do so your opponent will have the chance to do so. Also be civil to one another, I don't want to hear about your high school drama during cx if this happens you will lose speaker points.

Prep Time: I would prefer that we don't waste prep time or steal it. If you're using technology (i.e. a laptop, tablet, or anything else) I will expect you to use it almost perfectly. These things are not indicative of my decision on the round rather they are pet peeves of mine that I hate to see happen in the round. I hate to see rounds delayed because debaters don't know how to use the tools they have correctly.

Theory: I don't mind theory debates - I think theory can be used as part of a strategy rather than just as a mechanism for checking abuse. However, this leniency comes with a caveat; I have a very low threshold for RVI's (i.e. they're easier to justify) and I-meet arguments, so starting theory and then throwing it away will be harder provided your opponent makes the RVI/I-meet arguments (if they don't, no problem). While reading your shell, please slow down for the interpretation and use numbering/lettering to distinguish between parts of the shell!

Also theory debates tend to get very messy very quickly, so I prefer that each interpretation be on a different flow. This is how I will flow them unless told to the otherwise. I am not in the business of doing work for the debaters so if you want to cross apply something say it. I wont just assume that because you answered in one place that the answer will cross applied in all necessary places, THAT IS YOUR JOB.

  • Meta-Theory: I think meta-thoery can be very effective in checking back abuses caused by the theory debate. With that being said though the role of the ballot should be very clear and well explained, what that means is just that I will try my hardest not to interject my thoughts into the round so long as you tell me exactly how your arguments function. Although I try not to intervene I will still use my brain in round and think about arguments especially ones like Meta-Theory. I believe there are different styles of theory debates that I may not be aware of or have previously used in the past, this does not mean I will reject them I would just like you to explain to me how these arguments function.

Speaks: I start at a 27 and go up (usually) or down depending on your strategy, clarity, selection of issues, signposting, etc. I very rarely will give a 30 in a round, however receiving a 30 from me is possible but only if 1) your reading, signposting, and roadmaps are perfect 2) if the arguments coming out of your case are fully developed and explained clearly 3) if your rebuttals are perfectly organized and use all of your time wisely 4) you do not run arguments that I believe take away from any of these 3 factors. I normally don't have a problem with "morally questionable" arguments such as extinction good or oppression good, because I think there's a difference between the advocacies debaters have or justify in-round and the ones they actually support. However, this will change if one debater wins that such positions should be rejected (micropol, etc). Lastly, I do not care if you sit or stand while you speak, if your speech is affected by your choice I will not be lenient if you struggle to stand and debate at the same time.

General Preferences: I need a framework for evaluating the round but it doesn't have to be a traditional value-criterion setup. You're not required to read an opposing framework (as the neg) as long as your offense links somewhere. I have no problem with severing out of cases (I think it should be done in the 1AR though). NIBs/pre standards are both fine, but both should be clearly labeled or I might not catch it. If you're going to run a laundry list of spikes please number them. My tolerance of just about any argument (e.g. extinction, NIBS, AFC) can be changed through theory.

Kritiks and Micropol: Although I do not run these arguments very often, I do know what good K debate looks like. That being said I often see Kritiks butchered in LD so run them with caution. Both should have an explicit role of the ballot argument (or link to the resolution). For K's that are using postmodern authors or confusing cards, go more slowly than you normally would if you want me to understand it and vote on it.

Extensions and Signposting: Extensions should be clear, and should include the warrant of the card (you don't have to reread that part of the card, just refresh it). I not a fan of "shadow extending," or extending arguments by just talking about them in round - please say "extend"!! Signposting is vital - I'll probably just stare at you with a weird look if I'm lost.

Some of the information above may relate to paper flowing, I've now gone paperless, but many of the same things still apply. If I stop typing for long stretches then I am probably a bit lost as to where you are on the flow.

John Scoggin Paradigm

6 rounds

I am the coach of Loyola High School in Los Angeles. I also own and operate Premier Debate along with Bob Overing. I prefer a nuanced util debate to anything else. I generally find paradigms to not be that helpful, I would highly suggest that you use the "view judging record" function on tabroom to help make your decision on whether or not you'd like me as a judge.


In general I am not a fan of frivolous theory or non-topical Ks.

High speaker points are awarded for exceptional creativity and margin of victory.

I am fine with speed as long as it is comprehensible.


If you are not comfortable disclosing to your opponent at the flip or after pairings are released it is likely in your best interest to strike me. If the tournament has a rule about when that should occur I will defer to that, if not 10 minutes after the pairing is released seems reasonable to me.

Compiling is prep. Prep ends when the email is sent or the flash drive is removed from your computer.

TOC Coaching Relationships:



Klein Oak AG

Jharick Shields Paradigm

6 rounds

John Sims Paradigm

3 rounds

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Breann Smith Paradigm

6 rounds 

Nick Smith Paradigm

3 rounds

Email for speech docs:

My debate background: I did local and nat circuit LD from 2005-2008. I was the director of debate at Hopkins for 4 years, coached at St. Thomas Academy & Visitation for 2 years, and now I’m the head coach at Apple Valley. Since 2012 I’ve been at every VBI session in pretty much every capacity (instructional and administrative) at some point in time.

TLDR: Good debate involves well developed arguments and genuine interaction with the other debater’s arguments. Quality >>>>>> quantity of arguments. Speed is ok. Yay Ks, yay policy, yay stock, eh phil, and theory/T as needed. Trying to avoid engagement makes it more difficult for you to show that you’re the better debater. Parity in document access is important.

General: I care deeply about inclusion and accessibility within debate. I’m more than happy to vote against debaters who engage in practices that promote exclusion or inaccessibility, even if they’re winning on the flow. I also think that super tricky strategies designed solely to avoid substantive engagement don’t count as good debate and I subsequently wont vote for them even if they’re ahead on the flow. I’ll try be a tab judge until I can’t anymore.

I’m fine with speed and will yell clear or slow once or twice; after that it is up to you to pick up on non-verbal cues. I expect you to make serious alterations to your delivery if I yell at you. I won’t vote on an argument, even if it is in the speech doc, if I didn’t flow it or understand when it was initially read in the round. I place a very high premium on quality argument development. I think that I’m a pretty trashcan judge to have in the back of the room when the rebuttals are filled with hundreds of 1-2 sentence arguments (especially for T/Theory debates) without real clash, impact analysis, and clear framing.

I don’t vote on presumption/permissibility/skep as I think there’s always a risk offense. I evaluate rounds under comparative worlds and will need serious convincing to consider adopting a truth-testing paradigm for a particular round.

I enjoy novel and outside-of-the-box thinking, arguments, & strategies. One thing that makes me sad about nat circuit LD is how the same literature and positions get recycled from topic to topic and year to year with little to no modification or refinement. One of my favorite parts of coaching is to work with student to take stale arguments/conventions and turn them on their head. Be creative.

Critical style debate: I’m probably most familiar with critical debate. I enjoy critical debate, but I think that bad critical rounds are some of the worst rounds that I’ve ever judged and I think that critical debate has become a refuge for tricks. I dislike overly simplistic root cause debates that ignore the intricacies of how oppression actually operates. Nuance is key. I I’ll listen to non-topical and “in the direction of the topic” affs (let’s be honest, the model of debate that most of these affs operate under is no more limiting than non-topical ACs), but I’ll also listen to framework against them. A well-executed “there’s a topical version of the aff and this is what it looks like” is pretty persuasive to me. If your aff is super amorphous, designed to avoid substantive engagement, or a truism then you shouldn’t pref me super high.

Policy style debate: I love a good policy round, ‘nuff said. I’m inclined to think that core-to-the-topic-lit plan affs that parameterize the resolution are probably good, but I can be convinced otherwise.

Philosophy style debate: I enjoy philosophy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m a good judge to have in the back of the room for a phil round. Phil debate often ends up being fairly blippy, so I’m going to need to hear and understand the warrant for an argument to consider it in my evaluation. Also, I’m pretty persuaded by modesty to believe that people dying/suffering should have some relevance under frameworks.

Theory/Topicality debate: I think that theory & T are way too commonplace in nat circuit LD, but I also understand that they’re necessary tools given the state of debate. If I think the theory interp or abuse story are BS then I’m going to gut check theory. If there’s an actual theory debate to be had then I’ll be as tab as possible. I default competing interpretations, don’t have a default for RVIs (the more abusive/bad/unnecessary the initial shell is the more receptive I am to RVI good arguments), and will err very heavily in favor of the debater that has weighing and/or has done interaction to determine who is winning the various arguments on the theory/T flow.

Speaker Points: My average is a bit lower than most judges. My normal range is 25-30, with 20-24 being reserved for abnormally bad or problematic debates. My speaker points are relative to the strength of the pool.

25 – The debating in round would put you in the lower end of the pool. Weak content, strategy, and/or execution

26 – If you were to perform as you did in this round throughout the tournament then it is unlikely that you’d have a bubble round.

27 – I aim to assign a 27.5 for the most average performance relative to the pool. If you were to perform as you did in this round throughout the tournament then you’d likely end up going 3-3.

28 – If you were to perform as you did in this round throughout the tournament then you’re likely to have a bubble round and/or break.

29 – Very solid debating, no significant issues with content, strategy, and/or execution

30 – If you were to perform as well as you did in this round throughout the tournament then you’re a serious contender to win it all.

Janine Stern Paradigm

3 rounds

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Matthew Stewart Paradigm

3 rounds

HS Competitor at James Bowie High School in Arlington (LD, Congress - Both UIL focused), 2005-2007
Degree in Communication Studies from UNT, 2013 (Did college policy at a tournament, shame really, but gotta pay the bills ya know?)

Coaching History:
Royse City High School (2013-Present)
-Coached TFA qualifiers in PF and LD and UIL State Qualifiers in CX

(If you're gonna size me up on my qualifications before we start, we're not gonna have a good time. Why would you want to try and infer to me that I'm not qualified before we get started? That's silly.)

Email chains are okay if you feel that way. My email for that would be

PF Philosophy [Included for 2k18 TOC]


I'm okay with whatever speed you're comfortable with in round. As with my philosophy with other debate formats, I would like for you to give me pen time for taglines/cites, and standards if you're doing a Theory/Topicality shell of any sort. I'd also prefer you give me an "AND" or "NEXT" between cards to give me some help separating on the flow.

I will NOT shout clear at you, but I'm pretty nonverbal so if I'm not with you, you'll see it.

Summary Speech

I feel like the summary speech is still something that needs a traditional line-by-line approach, but it's the beginning of your team's strategic choice to collapse down to a couple of arguments you really want to dunk on in the final focus. I won't be annoyed if you do a straight down the flow response, but I think you'll better serve yourself by focusing on your offense and answering back critical arguments

Final Focus

Should be a collapse down here to just a couple of arguments and why you've won them and why that gives you the ballot. You'll need to do the warrant analysis and justification to close off those arguments as clear wins at this point and then impact it out to getting my ballot

Extensions in speeches

You can do those pretty much the whole time, that would be great. Just like any other debate format, if you're going to continue to use an argument, you should extend the warrant. Don't just tell me to extend something on the flow, give me implications, hold my hand, ya know? If you're trying to pull a card back that you forgot about three speeches ago, that's a bit dicey, but if it generally wasn't responded to, I'll allow it.

Policy arguments in PF

Wild. If you can make it work, go for it. I'm not inherently against those things and assuming they're fully-formed arguments with warranted implications, I can definitely vote on it.

Prompting-ish Stuff

I'm not super against some things that could be construed as prompting, but definitely don't get to the point where I can't tell who is giving what speech because you're overdoing it. If you're looking at me to explain an argument for your partner, I'm definitely not going to flow that. Acknowledge who is supposed to be giving the speech.

Rebuttal Speech

Second speaking team should definitely answer their opponent's case and if time allows, go down the flow and respond to arguments against their own case the first speaking team has made in their rebuttal speech. I don't think it is required, but it's advantageous in terms of giving the first team more to cover in the summary.

Crossfire Stuff

I'd prefer you sit for grand cross, four people standing and staring at me and getting yelly at each other just kinda makes me uncomfortable. You can sit or stand if you want during the individual crossfires though. Arguments in crossfire aren't going to be flowed by me unless they are brought up as arguments in the later speeches. You can use those answers to set up your arguments though and that's definitely binding

Other Stuff

Just be chill. Debate the way that is most comfortable for you...hopefully that isn't a really yelly and rude style because I'd prefer you not. Respect each other, do your thing, and we'll all have a good time!

LD Philosophy:

The round really comes down to what you make of it. I prefer you debating at your best rather than trying to do something you think I will like best, but of course I'll specify some of my perspectives

There needs to be some genuine abuse in round for me to buy into a topicality argument. Frivolous T for the sake of having some time skew is not good. I'm gonna err truth over tech in that regard. In response to T counter interps are a good idea always, and I'm not going to consider Topicality as an RVI ever.

Same as topicality. I think there can be some valid theory arguments in terms of things like PICs, multiple worlds, policy oriented, etc. but you need to make me understand why that has ruined the debate round. Debate should be educational, fair, and actually fun. People who ruin that by trying to game argument structure should probably need to answer why their approach doesn't ruin debate. I'm more inclined to accept an RVI on theory, but it's gotta be compelling. Not a big fan of "you're not on the wiki" theory arguments. Some people aren't sometimes because they just don't know, and even if they aren't, full disclosure isn't a huge deal. I encourage my debaters to disclose because they shouldn't be afraid of letting people know what they're running, but I'm not gonna really be interested in you telling me how you really needed to know in order to be successful. Same goes for pretty much any "out of round" theory arguments.

If you don't have a framework, that's fine, but if your opponent provides framework, that's gonna become my standard for weighing impacts. Framework can be underappreciated a lot of the time. If you want to hit me with some dense framing, that's okay, but make sure you effectively use it to garner your offense. That's kinda the point.

Policy-styled arguments:
Go for it for sure. I genuinely enjoy those from a structured perspective and there's no reason why they can't be used in LD. Kritiks are good too! LD is supposed to focus on that kind of literature anyways. As with most Kritiks, be good with your analysis. It all gets pretty heady when you go all in on it and you'll want to be sure you're keeping me with you every step of the way. I'm not too inclined to enjoy "Reject aff, interrogate [blank]" alts because those are literally the bare minimum for an alt and I think those are easily perm-able. If we gotta burn the government down and start over, then I mean, that's what we gotta do.

Whatever you AND your opponent are okay with! Speed shouldn't be a barrier to debate. If you can win spreading, you should be able to win without it as well. That being said, I am completely open with whatever your preferred speed is, of course slow up for Taglines/Cites, give me a filler word ("and," "next," etc.) to let me know when you're moving to the next piece on the flow and be sure to give me some pen time on Theory/Topicality shells. I will not shout "clear" at you, you'll probably see it on my face anyways.

Performance Arguments:
All for it. Be sure you have some solid framing for why your performance is important and be ready to handle any Topicality/Theory that your opponent will run in response.

Round Conduct:
Don't be a butt. Debate should be an educational and enjoyable activity. CX is not an exercise in how rude you can be, don't be afraid to answer questions, you should have faith in your case and be willing to handle anything coming your way. Don't try too hard to dodge questions, I don't need you constantly asking for things rephrased or finding ways to feign confusion. Don't try to impact turn things like racism/sexism/nuke war, etc. That's just silly to try and explain to me how these terrible things are in fact good for us, bad strategy. Don't be afraid to be you in a round, debate is much more enjoyable to judge when you get your personality into it, you don't have to be a card spewing robot to win. If you don't agree with my decision after a round, you're entitled to that, but trying to argue with me about it will not get the ballot changed in your favor and depending on your post-round conduct it will further impact your speaker points. Don't be sketch about your evidence, don't abuse flash time, just be a decent human and enjoy yourself.

Flash Time:
Your prep ends when you tell me to cease prep. That means you need to have your files ready to send over when you end prep. If you "forget" or you just can't get it together, I'm starting prep again. Rounds take too long often because people are really slow about flashing. That's not okay.

Flex Prep:
Fine with me, but that should be established before we start so your opponent has equal opportunity to use it.

Speaker Points:
Gonna start at 27. I'm not gonna worry too much about what you're doing through the 1AC or 1NC unless you're cutting cards mid speech already. There's zero reason for that to be happening, so that won't fair too well. Most of my speaker point allocation is going to be based on your strategic decisions in the round and how well you engage with your opponent. There will be some adjustments based on your round conduct, and for sure if you've developed distracting physical ticks while spreading (stamping your feet, clapping, really really distracting hand movements) that will impact you as well because I'm gonna be super distracted by how silly you look. I'm only human.

Role of The Ballot:
Totally up to your interpretation. I'm gonna default to using my ballot as a means to "gatekeep." If I vote up certain arguments or strategies, that will inherently encourage you to keep using them, that's just a natural part of the process and I acknowledge it. In addition, my role as an educator will always take priority over that of a judge, so doing and saying awful things will probably cause you to lose my ballot. I try to consider myself a tab judge, but without any kind of explanation of how I'm voting, I'm gonna default to Policy Maker.

Miscellaneous Stuff
You can sit or stand when you're speaking. It doesn't bother me. Standing is probably better for your clarity and breathing tho.
Evidence comparison is awesome and doesn't happen enough. You wrote a case, use it to defend arguments against you
I tend to be super facial expressive in round while I'm processing what you're saying. So if you say something that confused me, I'll probably look at you weird. If you're really killing an argument or you said what I really wanted you to say, I'm probably gonna nod my head and be excited for you. Non-verbal communication is just as important in reading your judge as is making sure they understand your speech. Maybe people don't like the non-verbal aspect, but I mean, if I'm down with what you're saying, you'll see it, so pay attention to your judge.
If by some chance, you're debating a novice, and you know it, I know it, and the novice knows it, be gentle. There's no need to spread a first timer out of the room and scare them away from the activity forever. Know when you're winning. If you fold a kid in round for no reason other than to massage your debate ego, I'm gonna dock some speaker points (see "Don't be a butt" in the round conduct section)
Don't assume I've read all the same topic literature as you, it's never good to assume that.
Offense is great, Defense doesn't really give me a reason to vote for you.
Oh! I almost forgot. Good lord, road maps. They are not a secret bonus speech you get before you start. Just tell me the order to put my paper in and go.
A drop doesn't automatically mean you've won the argument. Do some extension and analysis of why that drop matters and smash your opponent with it, otherwise they're still in the game
The phrase "Cold Conceded" makes me want to puke
I'll ask for cards if I have a genuine question about what the card means and if I find it important to the round. If you're doing legit evidence comparison, this might happen. That being said, don't worry about asking me if I want to see them.
I'm not flowing CX, but I will be listening. It is binding. If you goof in CX because you don't know your case or advocacy, you need to be accountable for that.
Remember to advocate your story in the round. You're selling me on what's happening. Don't forget that!

Policy Philosophy:
I think most of my LD philosophy can be applied here since the difference between the two events is growing ever smaller. But do ask questions if you have them!

At the end of the day, I want the round to be what you're making of it. I don't intend to interfere and I want to see you doing the work for me, not the other way around.

Also, have fun! Make connections! Enjoy the fact that you're participating in an activity that almost literally no one understands outside of the community. It's pretty rad.

[Entry current as of the 2017-2018 Season]

Hank Stolte Paradigm

3 rounds

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Arjun Tambe Paradigm

3 rounds

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Felix Tan Paradigm

4 rounds

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Carlos Taylor Paradigm

6 rounds

About me: I debated policy and LD in high school and college. I am a Racial realist, voted for Trump, and thrive in capitalism given my finance major.

Pumpkin Spice Latte or Cinnamon almond milk macchiato (Hot of course) is the quickest way to ascertain a 30 or 29.9
Reading a K or Aff you dont understand is the quickest way to get read for filth by way of my RFD


I judge debates like Anna Wintour judges DONT BORE me!
Read whatever you want and do whatever you want
Say "and" , "next" or some type of audible indication when ending card and starting a tag
Yes T and Heg DA vs a Non T aff is a viable and winnable strat in front of me. Definitely a lot better than trying to butcher a responsive K you aren't comfortable with
Yes I will understand your craziest pomo aff/K so shoot your shot
Make the debate interesting
Default Tech>truth but open to args that justify the opposite
I mostly judge clash of Civ or K v K debates
Unless you are faster than Markoff or Pappas you wont be too fast
Some have called me a point fairy
Winning that the aff is bad is probably a good idea
If your pride is fragile or competency low dont pref me.
Policy-Revised for Harvard

Tech > truth for the most part

Top level:

The arguments I read when I debated do not dictate my view on debate and instead provides experience and knowledge.

In the past I've read most kinds of arguments and books so I'll probably know what you're saying and can follow along as fast as you want.


I know them and will be annoyed if you read them wrong. If you go for them, you should probably have a clear explanation of the alt by the 2nr (if you have one) and clear link explanation. Usually if you lose framework you lose the debate...PLEASE don't read me Wake's camp backfiles or the 1nc's you stole form BoSu, Mich KM, and other college wiki's that you don't understand


read them, go for them. Have a specific link or good spin


should be competitive. You determine what that means.


A good T debate can be fun...keyword GOOD. If you're gonna read FW just be techy and good enough to out debate the aff. And if you're reading a non-topical Aff you should probably have framework answers memorized so I'm expecting a good debate.


I'm typically a point fairy so if you get low speaks you must have really fucked up!

If you go for aspec you will get a 30!

Troll your way to a 30

Emory 2018 Update: Trump indicts are more dissuasive than persuasive. Debate should center around arguments not whining!

Debate views:
Everything is debatable including whether or not oppression can bare positive results and or is good or bad.
No defaults on theory
Do what ever you want

I'll understand your K better than you
You should probably have a metric/FW to evaluate impacts and guide the hierarchy of arguments
Probably not the best judge for heavy phil framework rounds.

LITERALLY FLASHING ANALYTICS IS NOT A THING LEARN TO FLOW If you ask someone to flash you their overview I will laugh and assume flowing incompetence.

EDIT:Moreover, I am baffled by proposed inability to delete things from a received speech doc that wasn't read. If you were flowing you would know what was read and what wasn't. Requesting a new speech doc after every speech when there wasn't an unreasonable amount of cards skipped. The following quote was awarded with rather high speaks and shall serve as a reasonable response to such request...

"I told you what I didn't read, if you want it deleted do it during your prep"-Danielle Dosch

I wear my feelings and opinions on my face and sleeve as well as verbally sometimes.
There's only so much I can and am willing to type. So I would advise you to just ask me whatever questions you have.

Read and go as fast as you want I only ask that you give me a verbal gesture when transitioning to the next card/argument LITERALLY JUST SAY "AND" OR "NEXT". It makes my flow neater and prevents any mix ups about arguments.

ONLY adapt within your skill level. if you are a Trad debater(please strike me) dont go try reading 30 AC spikes and 1ar will fail and probably get your ass kicked. KNOW that I can follow you where ever you decide to take the round. I say this because time and time again kids try to become over night tricks and K debaters and end up loosing bubbles and Elims because they aren't debating in their comfort zone.

Heg High!

Chris Theis Paradigm

3 rounds

Affiliation: Apple Valley High School (MN)

Relevant Arguments

I default to viewing the resolution as a normative question, not a question of truth. However, that does not mean that what truth is necessarily irrelevant to normative decision making. With a well-developed justification, I will vote on most truth testing arguments. I prefer that debaters have a clear and specific advocacy. Each side needs to defend a world in order to be able to generate uniqueness for offensive arguments. Thus, both debaters need to be able to articulate a world they are defending in a more coherent way than "not x."

I am also generally opposed to voting on defense. In most rounds, I find that the concept of defense being decisive just doesn't make a whole lot of sense. That means that I will be very reluctant to vote on presumption or permissibility arguments that rely on defense to function. It is probably a waste of your time to read presumption arguments in front of me at all. While I can come up with extreme hypothetical situations in which I might vote on presumption, it has never happened.


I am not opposed to theory debates, I used to enjoy them, but I think the sheer volume of awful theory debates I have judged over the past view years has made my threshold for taking them seriously much higher than it used to be. I will still be happy to vote for a good and well-developed argument.

The following are some of my default assumptions on theory:

I default to evaluating theory as an issue of "competing interpretations".

I default to "dropping the arguments" not "dropping the debater."

I default to not viewing theory as an RVI.

I default to evaluating Topicality before other theory arguments.

I default to thinking that the status of a counterplan or K alt is dispositional unless specified otherwise. That does not mean I presume that conditionality is illegitimate, just that if neither debater makes arguments about the status I will assume it is dispositional because I believe that best models the way most other arguments are treated, you must defend arguments that are turned.

I default to thinking that fairness and education are important and that whether debate is "good" or not matters. This is a bias that you will almost certainly not be able to overcome.

All of these assumptions can be changed by debaters (except probably the last one) who make good arguments against them in round. I prefer that any arguments about my default assumptions be explained in context of the specific arguments that are at issue in the theory debate and not just be about those assumptions generally. For example, do not argue "you need to drop the debater to discourage bad debate practices." Do argue, " "you need to drop the debater because X argument has Y effect which makes dropping them the best solution."

I think that theory debates are messy because debaters are even worse at weighing theory arguments than they are at weighing most other arguments. The reason for that is that while there is a framework debate that determines the relevance of post-fiat arguments, debaters put no effort into developing what it means to be fair or educational in a way that allows for effective weighing later in the round. If you want me to buy your theory argument spend time developing a concrete conception of what it means to be fair or educational in the context of debate and use it to filter and weigh impacts.

I dislike the strategy that involves including an argument that demands debaters run interps by their opponent. It is just an excuse to change your advocacy after the fact because you are not ready to defend it. As long as debaters establish clear links in CX that is enough for me.


I will use the framework that is justified by the debaters in the round. I do not view the value/criterion as necessary. In fact, I think in many cases the value/criterion model actually makes the debate more convoluted and can create irrational decisions. As a result, I am very open to alternative frameworks. As a general rule I do not enjoy rounds in which the majority of the time is spent on framework. Battling Util/Deont dumps are frustrating and boring to judge. I want to hear a debate ABOUT THE TOPIC. Framework should explain why topical arguments are important they should not become the entire debate unless you are looking for terrible speaks.


I think that credible arguments must be supported by evidence. In general, I will prefer arguments supported by evidence to analytic arguments. That is because in most cases I feel that experts writing on the topic are probably more qualified that a 17-year-old high school student. This is especially true of empirical arguments.


I assign speaks based on a combination of stagey and how much I enjoyed or was annoyed by the round. Debates that I enjoy involve debate about the topic, debaters who I can understand, debaters who are smart and engaging, debaters who are pleasant to each other.

30: Amazing. I think you are debating your positions better than anyone else at the tournament could. You could not only win this tournament but would have a chance to win any tournament in which you debated at the level you did in this round.
29: Fantastic. Very few people could do a better job at debating your position. You have a good shot at making it to late outrounds.
28: Good. You did what you had to do and did not have very many large mistakes. You should clear.
27: All right. You did an adequate job. You will be close to clearing but it could go either way.
26: Below Average. You should not clear.
25: Bad: You need major improvements in pretty much every aspect of debate. Your record should be below .500.
<25: Offensive or offensively bad.

Arguments that I will not vote for

An argument that has no normative implications, except in situations where the debater develops and wins an argument that changes my default assumptions.

A strategy that attempts to wash the debate on purpose in order to trigger permissibility/presumption.

A contingent framework/advocacy that is "triggered" in a later speech.

Arguments/Practices I will immediately drop you for

Any argument that concludes that every action is permissible

Any argument that creates a hostile environment for either myself, the other debater, or anyone who is watching the debate.

Any argument that explicitly argues that something that we all agree is awful (genocide, rape, etc) is actually a good thing. This could either be an advocacy or a framework THAT THE DEBATER AGREES says horrible things are ok. If the other debater wins an argument that your framework justifies something horrible, but it is contested, then it may count as a reason to not accept your framework, but I will not drop you for it.

Kathy Thomas Paradigm

6 rounds

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Alberto Tohme Paradigm

6 rounds

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Adam Torson Paradigm

3 rounds

UPDATED: 3/14/2017


1998-2003: Competed at Fargo South HS (ND)

2003-2004: Assistant Debate Coach, Hopkins High School (MN)

2004-2010: Director of Debate, Hopkins High School (MN)

2010-2012: Assistant Debate Coach, Harvard-Westlake Upper School (CA)

Present: Debate Program Head, Marlborough School (CA)




General Preferences and Decision Calculus

I like substantive and interesting debate. I like to see good strategic choices as long as they do not undermine the substantive component of the debate. I strongly dislike the intentional use of bad arguments to secure a strategic advantage; for example making an incomplete argument just to get it on the flow. I tend to be most impressed by debaters who adopt strategies that are positional, advancing a coherent advocacy rather than a scatter-shot of disconnected arguments, and those debaters are rewarded with higher speaker points.


I view debate resolutions as normative. I default to the assumption that the Affirmative has a burden to advocate a topical change in the status quo, and that the Negative has a burden to defend either the status quo or a competitive counter-plan or kritik alternative. I will vote for the debater with the greatest net risk of offense. Offense is a reason to adopt your advocacy; defense is a reason to doubt your opponent's argument. I virtually never vote on presumption or permissibility, because there is virtually always a risk of offense.


Moral Skepticism is not normative (it does not recommend a course of action), and so I will not vote for an entirely skeptical position. Morally skeptical arguments may be relevant in determining the relative weight or significance of an offensive argument compared to other offense in the debate.



I am skeptical of impact exclusion. Debaters have a high bar to prove that I should categorically disregard an impact which an ordinary decision-maker would regard as relevant. I think that normative ethics are more helpfully and authentically deployed as a mode of argument comparison rather than argument exclusion. I will default to the assumption of a wide framework and epistemic modesty. I do not require a debater to provide or prove a comprehensive moral theory to regard impacts as relevant, though such theories may be a powerful form of impact comparison.


Arguments that deny the wrongness of atrocities like rape, genocide, and slavery, or that deny the badness of suffering or oppression more generally, are a steeply uphill climb in front of me. If a moral theory says that something we all agree is bad is not bad, that is evidence against the plausibility of the theory, not evidence that the bad thing is in fact good.



I default to evaluating theory as a matter of competing interpretations.


I am skeptical of RVIs in general and on topicality in particular.


I will apply a higher threshold to random theory interpretations that do not reflect existing community norms and am particularly unlikely to drop the debater on them. Because your opponent could always have been marginally more fair and because debating irrelevant theory questions is not a good model of debate, I am likely to intervene against theoretical arguments which I deem to be frivolous.


Tricks and Triggers

Your goal should be to win by advancing substantive arguments that would decisively persuade a reasonable decision-maker, rather than on surprises or contrived manipulations of debate conventions. I am unlikely to vote on tricks, triggers, or other hidden arguments, and will apply a low threshold for answering them. You will score more highly and earn more sympathy the more your arguments resemble genuine academic work product.


Counterplan Status, Judge Kick, and Floating PIKs

The affirmative has the obligation to ask about the status of a counterplan or kritik alternative in cross-examination. If they do not, the advocacy may be conditional in the NR.


The Negative has to pick an advocacy to go for in the NR. If you do not explicitly kick a conditional counterplan or kritik alternative, then that is your advocacy. If you lose a permutation read against that advocacy, you lose the debate. I will not kick the advocacy for you and default to the status quo.


I default to the presumption that floating PIKs must be articulated as such in the NC. If it is not apparent that the kritik alternative allows you to also enact the affirmative advocacy, then I will regard this argument as a change of advocacy in the NR and disregard it as a new argument.



To the extent possible I will resolve the debate as though I were a reasonable decision-maker considering only the arguments advanced by the debaters in making my decision. On any issues not adequately resolved in this way, I will make reasonable assumptions about the relative persuasiveness of the arguments presented.



The speed at which you choose to speak will not affect my evaluation of your arguments, save for if that speed impairs your clarity and I cannot understand the argument. I prefer debate at a faster than conversational pace, provided that it is used to develop arguments well and not as a tactic to prevent your opponent from engaging your arguments. There is some speed at which I have a hard time following arguments, but I don't know how to describe it, so I will say "clear," though I prefer not to because the threshold for adequate clarity is very difficult to identify in the middle of a speech and it is hard to apply a standard consistently. For reasons surpassing understanding, most debaters don't respond when I say clear, but I strongly recommend that you do so. Also, when I say clear it means that I didn't understand the last thing you said, so if you want that argument to be evaluated I suggest repeating it. A good benchmark is to feel like you are going at 90% of your top speed; I am likely a significantly better judge at that pace.



My threshold for sufficient extensions will vary based on the circumstances, e.g. if an argument has been conceded a somewhat shorter extension is generally appropriate.



It is primarily the responsibility of debaters to engage in meaningful evidence comparison and analysis and to red flag evidence ethics issues. However, I will review speech documents and evaluate detailed disputes about evidence raised in the debate. I prefer to be included on an email chain or pocket box that includes the speech documents. If I have a substantial suspicion of an ethics violation (i.e. you have badly misrepresented the author, edited the card so as to blatantly change it's meaning, etc.), I will evaluate the full text of the card (not just the portion that was read in the round) to determine whether it was cut in context, etc.


Speaker Points

I use speaker points to evaluate your performance in relation to the rest of the field in a given round. At tournaments which have a more difficult pool of debaters, the same performance which may be above average on most weekends may well be average at that tournament. I am strongly disinclined to give debaters a score that they specifically ask for in the debate round, because I utilize points to evaluate debaters in relation to the rest of the field who do not have a voice in the round. I elect not to disclose speaker points, save where cases is doing so is necessary to explain the RFD. My range is approximately as follows:


30: Your performance in the round is likely to beat any debater in the field.

29: Your performance is substantially better than average - likely to beat most debaters in the field and competitive with students in the top tier.

28: Your performance is above average - likely to beat the majority of debaters in the field but unlikely to beat debaters in the top tier.

27.5: Your performance is approximately average - you are likely to have an equal number of wins and losses at the end of the tournament.

26: Your performance is below average - you are likely to beat the bottom 25% of competitors but unlikely to beat the average debater.

25: Your performance is substantially below average - you are competitive among the bottom 25% but likely to lose to other competitors

Below 25: I tend to reserve scores below 25 for penalizing debaters as explained below.


Rude or Unethical Actions

I will severely penalize debaters who are rude, offensive, or otherwise disrespectful during a round. I will severely penalize debaters who distort, miscut, misrepresent, or otherwise utilize evidence unethically.


Card Clipping

A debater has clipped a card when she does not read portions of evidence that are highlighted or bolded in the speech document so as to indicate that they were read, and does not verbally mark the card during the speech. Clipping is an unethical practice because you have misrepresented which arguments you made to both your opponent and to me. If I determine that a debater has clipped cards, then that debater will lose.


To determine that clipping has occurred, the accusation needs to be verified by my own sensory observations to a high degree of certainty, a recording that verifies the clipping, or the debaters admission that s/he has clipped. If you believe that your opponent has clipped, you should raise your concern immediately after the speech in which it was read, and I will proceed to investigate. False accusations of clipping is a serious ethical violation as well. *If you accuse your opponent of clipping and that accusation is disconfirmed by the evidence, you will lose the debate.* You should only make this accusation if you are willing to stake the round on it.



I am happy to answer any questions on preferences or paradigm before the round. After the round I am happy to answer respectfully posed questions to clarify my reason for decision or offer advice on how to improve (subject to the time constraints of the tournament). Within the limits of reason, you may press points you don't understand or with which you disagree (though I will of course not change the ballot after a decision has been made). I am sympathetic to the fact that debaters are emotionally invested in the outcomes of debate rounds, but this does not justify haranguing judges or otherwise being rude. For that reason, failure to maintain the same level of respectfulness after the round that is generally expected during the round will result in severe penalization of speaker points.

Christopher Vincent Paradigm

6 rounds


Assistant Director of Forensics & Debate Louisiana State University
Additional Conflicts: Holy Cross School, Dulles (TX), Brown School (KY), Success Academy (NY)

This is my 14th year in debate.  I competed for 4 years in high school, 5 years at the University of Louisville, and was the graduate assistant for the University of Louisville debate team.  I have been actively coaching high school LD and Policy for the past 7 years and was previously the Director at Brown and Fern Creek, prior to becoming the Assistant Director at LSU.

TOC 2015 UPDATE: All ethics challenges will be decided through the infamous RuPaul Paradigm: "The Time Has Come for you to Lip Sync for your life."

I view my role as a judge as an educator. While I believe that debaters should shape this activity, I do not believe that judges are or even can be neutral in this process. I will always try to embrace the teachable moment in debate. I debated for 5 years in what the community deemed "performance debate." If you put me in the back of the room you either know me, read this, or a combo of the two. Long story short: Do what you do, be who you are, and defend your actions in the debate.

I evaluate debates holistically, which means I prefer the debate to tell me a story and it requires more than just winning your argument is true. You MUST WIN WHY THAT ARGUMENT MATTERS. I will attempt to evaluate the debate as objectively as possible. I say "as possible" because I do not believe that judges can truly be objective. We are all humans, and we all think and formulate opinions and thoughts. Failure to do comparative analysis in debate will result in messiness, and inevitably some level of judge interventions (which you don't want).

Here are a few of my predispositions coming into the round:

I WILL NOT VOTE FOR ARGUMENTS THAT ARE RACIST, HOMOPHOBIC, SEXIST, OR ABLEIST IN NATURE!!! Depending on the nature of the offense, this may result in an automatic loss!!!

1) Speed- Slow down on the tag lines and the authors.  I will yell clear ONE TIME. After that, I will put my pen down and stop flowing. So, please don't be mad at the end of the debate if I missed some arguments because you were unclear. I make lots of facial expressions, so you can use that as a guide for if I understand you.

2) Dropped Arguments- Dropped arguments are not enough for me to vote someone down. Don't expect me to automatically pull the trigger on a dropped argument without you doing the work necessary and giving me an in depth analysis of why that argument shuts down the entire debate. I evaluate debates holistically. =

3) Theory- Theory is not a substantive response to critical positions and arguments. This is not to say that I won't vote for theory, but you must prove ACTUAL IN-ROUND ABUSE. One of the unique aspects of debate, is that it gives us a chance to explore different positions, and to be critically self-reflexive.  Thus, my interpretation of the topic may not be the same as yours, and that is okay. Theory seems to limit the liberating and unique educational opportunity this activity provides us.

-I do not believe in neutral education, neutral conceptions of fairness, or even ground, or limits. If you run theory, be ready to defend it. Actual abuse is not because you don't understand the literature, know how to deal with the argument, or that you didn't have time to read it. You should probably read their literature and engage it. I will still stand by this position. If you are not reading the literature then you probably link to their criticism in the first place. Don't be scared, just engage.

4) Critical Arguments- Don't run them just because I am in the back of the room. While I am familiar with a wide range of literature, and while I have coached students with a wide range of literature, I will not be impressed just because you do it too. There are implications to the things we talk about in debate, and I believe that our social location inevitably shape the beliefs and ideologies we hold. If you do not believe that there is a place for performative/critical arguments in debate, and if you believe that social location and subsequent discussions have no place in this space, I am probably not the judge for you.

5) PAPERLESS DEBATE: Prep time ends when the flash drive leaves your computer.

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




I debated for 5 years at the University of Louisville and engaged exclusively in what the community deemed “performance debate.”  I believe that debate is what you make it and you only get out of it what you want and what you put into it.  I expect that if you put me in the back of the room you either know me, read this, or it’s a combination of the two.  Be who you are and defend your actions in the round.  The most important thing you should know about me is that I love debate and I believe that debate is a place where we should exchange ideas, beliefs, and differences.  I view my role as a judge as an educator and while I believe that debaters shape the activity through the rounds, I don’t believe judges are neutral in this process.  That means I will always attempt to embrace the teachable moment in the debate round when given the opportunity.

I promise I will flow the round but will probably not use the flow the same way you do.  I believe that the debate should tell me a story and so I want to know how the arguments interact with one another and how they function.  I will not examine arguments as isolated parts of a speech, but instead holistically. 

I don’t believe affirmatives have to be topical.  They can be, but they don’t have to be.  You should just defend your actions.


Speed: I don’t really like it and I tend to believe that debate is a communicative activity.  I am not a robot.  I breath, will speak to you if you speak to me, etc.  That means that I am a person and I would like for you to engage me as such.  In return I will do the same.  If you so choose to spew down in front of me, be comfortable with your decision but also be comfortable with my flow being half empty, and my pen that will suddenly stop writing.

PAPERLESS: Prep time ends when the jump drive leaves your computer and is in your opponent's hand.

Finally, make smart arguments, clash with your opponent, and defend what you say.  I will do my best to evaluate the debate I am given.  While I ideologically believe that identity shapes how we approach debate, and while I debated exclusively in one style, I was trained in traditional and nontraditional debate and so I will attempt to evaluate the debate I am given.  That means if I have two right teams in the back of the room, by all means have your plan focus debate, just know where I am coming from.

If you have any other questions just ask!!!




Walter Willis Paradigm

4 rounds

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Jared Woods Paradigm

6 rounds

Not Submitted

Lawrence Zhou Paradigm

6 rounds

With Wikispaces closing down, my paradigm is now on tabroom.

University of Oklahoma '19
Bartlesville, OK '14
Affiliations: The Harker School
Conflicts: Apple Valley, Katy Taylor AW, TAMS MX, Stuyvesant PY, Norman

Last updated: 6/10/2018 for Middle School Nationals

Email for the chain: (Yes, I want to be on the chain, if you don't put me on the chain, I just assume you haven't read the paradigm)

Any questions, just ask.

MS Nats Update

- I will reward debaters that demonstrate substantial content knowledge over the preparation they are reading in round. Debaters that show they have made a serious effort to understand the relevant issues in the debate will receive higher speaker points.

- I like both the philosophy and the policy-style debates over the targeted killing. I have done a decent amount of research on this topic and will enjoy serious debates over substantive disagreements in the relevant literature.

- The thing that wins middle school debates is WEIGHING. The more of it you do, the higher the likelihood you will win the debate.

- Please don't shake my hand.


I've found that many people ask these questions when doing prefs so hopefully this should help.

1. Is this person qualified/experienced enough to judge me?

I debated LD mostly in Oklahoma in high school, won NSDA Nationals in LD in 2014, and debate(d) policy in college at OU where I’ve have cleared at CEDA twice. I currently coach various individuals and The Harker School, and am a current curriculum director at Victory Briefs. I judge quite frequently and am fairly well preferred. I’ve judged over 400 circuit LD rounds, including outrounds. A full copy of my judging record can be found here. I keep relatively up to date with current debate trends and arguments.

2. Is this person a good judge for the style of arguments that I read in debate?

I've accepted I'm a total nihilist about debate when judging rounds. Outside of rounds, I have strong preferences and beliefs about debate; inside of rounds, I could not care. I'll vote for literally anything as long as it is warranted. I’m more of a policy hack in real life, where I prefer to judge rounds about disads and where I come down very squarely on the side of framework. However, I’m probably a decent judge for whatever argument you want to read provided you explain it to me. I’ve voted for and against framework, for and against Ks, for and against tricks, etc. I try my best to adjudicate rounds from a neutral perspective. I have experience reading and answering framework, reading and answering policy affs, and reading and answering Ks. I don't even care if your argument actually aligns with reality at all, as long as you execute what you do well, I will probably vote for it. I'd like to think that I can be a good judge for anyone.

3. Does this person render decisions that I personally agree with?

This is hard to say without personal experience. Some people think I make good decisions, some people think I don’t make good decisions. I would say most debaters are relatively satisfied with the decisions that I give. I try to give decisions based entirely on the round and try not to interject personal bias into decisions although sometimes the threshold for overcoming a paradigmatic preference is high. I’ve found myself to make competent decisions about 90% of the time. Of the remaining 10%, half of that is generally the debaters’ fault, the other half mine. My ability to make competent decisions decreases when I’m tired and/or hungry and if I’ve judged a lot of rounds. If I seem tired and/or hungry, you should make the debate as clear as possible. The rest of the time, though, I’ve found that I can make decent decisions. Do with this information as you will. Very rarely do decisions align with what each debater believes because some degree of intervention is inevitable in some rounds but I will do my best to construct decisions that both debaters will find satisfactory.

4. How does this person evaluate debate rounds?

I evaluate rounds by attempting to construct two separate RFDs, one for the aff, one for the neg. The RFD that I feel is the most logical, requires the least intervention, and most consistent with the arguments made in the round is the one I go with. It becomes significantly easier to vote for one side if there was an obvious strategic error made by the other. This most frequently manifests itself with debaters who don't collapse in rebuttals. If I can't construct a satisfactory RFD within approximately seven minutes, I will either go with my gut or flip a coin. In rounds where arguments are entirely conceded and irresolvable, I will tend to go the route of least intervention and when that is not possible, I will intervene on the side of what I perceive to be the truth (which is subjective, I know, so don’t make me do this), and if that fails, I will flip a coin. Feel free to ask questions after debate rounds, it will probably help you more that way. If you're into post-rounding, the primary issue I've encountered is that people presume a level of explanation and particular assumptions that are generally not warranted based on in round performance relative to the explanation provided by the opponent so make sure questions reflect what actually occurred.

5. Are there any things I should know about this judge that I should be aware of?

- I get angry when progressive techniques are deployed against novices or traditional debaters. I expect you to read a more accessible position or face a severe deduction of speaker points.

- I start speaks at around a 28, I will not disclose speaks at the end of the round, and probably will not give you a 30. I give high speaker points to debaters who demonstrate a substantial amount of content knowledge and execute their strategy well.

- I will not punish you for not disclosing, but I am willing to vote for disclosure theory if it is read. I will try and check your wiki before I submit a decision. I will not necessarily punish poor disclosure practices, but I will boost speaks for good disclosure practices including open source. Fully open-sourcing documents will result in up to a .5 speaks boost. (Yes this means I could in fact reward many low-point wins)

- Something must be a complete argument for me to vote on it. If it is extended without a warrant or impact in a later speech, then I will not vote on it. "They dropped it" is not enough if it was never a complete argument to begin with. This means that disads that are straight up missing a giant internal link, frameworks that are missing obvious warrants, or Ks missing real links in the 1nc don't count as full arguments.

- I've found that, relative to a lot of judges, I tend to not assign as much weight to defense and am relatively persuaded by "any risk" logic in most policy style debates. I can be persuaded to adopt a more probability first impact calculus, but you should be very clear about that.

- Weigh. Weigh often, weigh early, sandbagging is bad. The more that you write the ballot for me, the more likely you will be to win.

- I am not the best at flowing, so make it easy. If I didn't catch it the first time, I don't evaluate it.

- Yes I'll follow along to your speech doc but that's not a substitute for clear speaking. Debate is, at it turns out, not dueling docs, but an oral persuasion activity.

- If for whatever reason you're still interested, you can check out some of my thoughts about debate here.

The rest of this paradigm should answer whatever other questions you have and give you an idea of how I think about debate.

Answers to Common Questions

Q: What's your paradigm?
A: ... the way I evaluate rounds? More specifically?

Q: Are you okay with speed?
A: If I wasn't, do you think anyone would hire me?

Q: Should I pref this guy?
A: Good question.

Q: What experience do you have as a judge?
A: Too much.

Q: Do you care if we stand/sit?
A: Nope, but it's better for you if you can stand

Q: Preference of seating?
A: Nope.

Q: Will you yell clear/speed?
A: Yes, 2 times.

Q: Are you okay with theory?
A: I suppose.

Q: What do you default on theory?
A: Competing interps, drop the arg, RVIs fine, but need to be justified.

Q: How about policy arguments?
A: I suppose.

Q: What about kritiks?
A: I suppose.

Q: What about performance?
A: I suppose (see below)

Q: What if I read a blatantly non-topical aff?
A: I suppose (see below)

Q: Are there any arguments you don't want me to make?
A: Yes, bad arguments. Again, I'll vote on them, but I'd rather not.

Q: Do you disclose speaks?
A: Not anymore

Q: What does it take to get the 30?
A: You probably won't get one, but knock my socks off and you'll get close.

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. 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


- Plans are encouraged if backed by a solvency advocate

- Most LD advantages are severely underwarranted

- Does UQ control the direction of the link or vice versa? This is up for debate

- Please make turns the case arguments when going for DAs

- Link evidence needs to be specific to the plan

- CPs should be textually and functionally competitive

- Conditionality is iffy in LD given time constraints, argue at your own risk, but I’m likely to vote on condo

- Having a solvency advocate mitigates many theory objections

- Lean aff on most cheating counterplans, including delay, floating PICs, word PICs, consult

- Feel free to make theory objections against counterplans on the counterplan itself instead of making it a separate off case, I just assume these are drop the arg tho

- Specific counterplans make me want to vote for you

Muteramyi nintunze Paradigm

6 rounds


I was a policy debater for 4 years at westwood high school. I have no ideological preferences, i'll judge as objectively as possible and i'll evaluate every argument. tech>truth.  

Look @ Akhil Gandra's judging paradigm if you have any questions.