Lexington Winter Invitational

2017 — MA/US

Jack Ave Paradigm

Contact info: avej@uni.edu

Affiliation: American Heritage Plantation, Poly Prep Country Day

Background: I competed for Okoboji (IA) and was at the TOC '13 in LD. I also debated policy in college the following year.

General: Debate rounds are about students so intervention should be minimized. I believe that my role in rounds is to be an educator, however, students should contextualize what that my obligation as a judge is. I default comparative worlds unless told otherwise. Slow down for interps and plan texts. I will say clear as many times as needed. Signpost and add me to your email chain, please.

Pref Shortcut

K: 1

High theory: 1

T/Theory: 2

LARP: 1/2

Tricks: 2/3

K: I really like K debate. I have trouble pulling the trigger on links of omission. Performative offensive should be linked to a method that you can defend. The alt is an advocacy and the neg should defend it as such. Knowing lit beyond tags = higher speaks. Please challenge my view of debate. I like learning in rounds.

Framework: 2013 LD was tricks, theory, and framework debate. I dislike blippy, unwarranted 'offense'. However, I really believe that good, deep phil debate is persuasive and underutilized on most topics. Most framework/phil heavy affs don't dig into literature deep enough to substantively respond to general K links and turns.

LARP: Big fan but don't assume I've read all hyper-specific topic knowledge.

Theory/T: Great, please warrant extensions and signpost. "Converse of their interp" is not a counter-interp.

Disclosure: Not really going to vote on disclosure theory unless you specifically warrant why their specific position should have been disclosed. If they are running a position relatively predictable, it is unlikely I will pull the trigger on disclosure theory.

Speaks: Make some jokes and be chill with your opponent. In-round strategy dictates range. I average 28.3-28.8.

Other thoughts: Plans/CPs should have solvency advocates. Talking over your opponent will harm speaks. Write down interps before extemping theory. When you extend offense, you need to weigh. Card clipping is an auto L25.

PF Paradigm: I am a flow judge. Offense should be extended in summary and the second rebuttal doesn't necessarily need to frontline what was said in first rebuttal (but in some cases, it definitely helps). Weighing in Summary and FF is key. I'll steal this line from my favorite judge, Thomas Mayes, "My ballot is like a piece of electricity, it takes the path of least resistance." I have a hard time voting on disclosure theory in PF. Have fun and be nice.

Shelley Avellino Paradigm

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Samuel Bagenstos Paradigm

I was a high school policy debater back when Ronald Reagan was president. Since 2013, in my "spare time," I have coached public forum. (My day job is working as a law professor.)

Speed doesn't bother me one way or another, but you do need to be clear. I want you to explain to me not just why you win an argument but why the argument wins the round. I'm open to basically any sort of argument, so long as it's not racist, sexist, etc. I try to listen hard to what your evidence actually says; smart analysis of evidence counts for a lot to me, and conclusory evidence doesn't count for much; paraphrased evidence typically counts for even less. Establishing the analytic links in your arguments also matters a lot to me. And weighing is super-important, as early as possible.

I prefer for the second rebuttal to spend some time responding to the first rebuttal and not merely responding to the opponent's case. In particular, if the first rebuttal reads any turns on your case, I will expect the speaker giving the second rebuttal to respond to those turns. If the second rebuttal speaker does not respond to turns, I will consider them dropped. And I don't need the summary speech to extend defense that has not been responded to. I will count defensive arguments for whatever they are worth if they are dropped.

Likes: Depth of analysis, engagement with the other side's strongest arguments.

Dislikes: Cases that are just strings of blippy half-cards, numbers thrown around without context. Don't hammer on particular numbers without telling me what precisely those numbers mean and how they specifically link to your or your opponents' advocacy. (Please don't read impact cards that say things like a two standard-deviation decrease in democracy leads to a three percent rise in infant mortality. What does that even mean?)

I've noticed that a couple of my preferences differ from those of many other judges I've encountered on the national circuit, and you should probably know that. First, and probably of greatest significance, I am far more skeptical of quantitative impacts than are many national-circuit judges. You should expect me to discount any large number that appears in an impact card unless you present evidence of each link that is logically necessary to the occurrence of that impact. That doesn't mean I won't vote on quantitative impacts -- I vote on them all the time -- but when weighing them I am unlikely to take large numbers in impact cards at face value. Correlatively, I am far more open to voting on qualitative arguments than are many national-circuit judges. But do actually make an argument; don't just give me some conclusory tag. Second, I am more open to theory arguments than are many national-circuit PF judges. But you have to actually make the argument. Don't just tell me your opponents are doing something unfair; explain why it violates something that should be a norm of debate and why the proper remedy is to drop them, disregard an argument they're making, or whatever.

Jordana Bales Paradigm

LD Debate Overview-- Judging for Bronx Science at the 2019 Columbia Invitational

I am newer to judging LD but have experience judging other forms of debate. Make every argument clear and tell me why it is important! Why should I vote for you?

No spreading. I do not have a problem with it on principle. I just will not be able to follow your argument. Please be clear in your articulation. Don’t use a ton of debate jargon/buzzwords- explain what you’re trying to say in your own words and make it clear. This goes for both policy and critical oriented debaters.

Argument-Specific (I prefer LD oriented traditional arguments)

Critical affs- very unfamiliar. Run them if you have NOTHING else, but be sure you explain yourself VERY clearly.

Neg arguments:
Disad- Explain the story/scenario of how the aff causes a specific impact and why that impact is the most important. I prefer you use traditional impact calculus in your framing.
Counterplan- Provide a competitive counterplan and explain the NET BENEFITS of why the counterplan is better than the aff
Topicality- Prove the aff is untopical and tell me why it’s important
Kritik- Unfamiliar- explain every argument clearly. I strongly advise you not to run one. If you chose to run a K, narrow the argument down to the impacts of the K.

David Baloche Paradigm

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Stefan Bauschard Paradigm



The first "fossil fuel" reduction topic I debated was in 1990. I've coached 5 or 6 high school and college policy topics since then. I've probably cut 20,000 cards on this topic and issues related to it in my lifetime.

I'm old. I was at the first tournament that consult NATO was read. I was also at the first tournament that a kritik was read. Roger Solt told me about the first time someone tried to read a politics DA in the 1970s. I read the Reagan DA when I debated.

I've judged many great debates between the best debaters in all formats at all levels. I judged a novice policy team that reread their 1AC in the 2AC. I've judged elementary school kids debating about the merits of school uniforms and Coke vs. Pepsi.

The rest is covered below, especially under the Policy part in the next section.


If you make your evidence hard for the other team to access when they request it, I'l assume it is crappy. If you have good evidence, you should be proud of it. If you debate in PF and you have your evidence readily available to show the other team and you aren't lying about what it says, I'll give you at least a 29.0. If you lie about your evidence, make it hard for the other team to look at it, and you are dishonest about your evidence you cannot get more than a 28.0.

1. I think you should present strong evidence to support your arguments. I think you should directly quote evidence and have it readily available upon demand. If I ask you to see your evidence after the debate and you hand me an entire article and say, "It basically says it in these 4 pages," I'll just hand it back.

2. You need to extend arguments in Summary and FF for me to vote on them.

3. I flow.

4. You can talk as fast as you want.

5. Debater math...c'mon.

6. Weigh, compare, etc.

7. I have two kids, but that doesn't mean you have to treat me like I'm an idiot.

8. I read an awful lot about the topics and I generally read a lot.

9. If I say I'm going to judge at a tournament I show up and judge at it. I've never ghosted any debaters.

10. If you start screaming at each other in crossfire then I'll just tune out.

Policy philosophy that is applicable where relevant.

1. I don’t have any real substantive argument preferences. I do my best to let those play out in the debate as they do. Unless topicality, a theory issue, or a kritik is involved, I attempt to determine the desirability of the plan relative to the status quo or a specific alternative. I think most arguments that are presented in debates are pretty interesting.

2. Debate topics and arguments tend to repeat throughout history, so I'm familiar with most topic arguments.

3. I think the affirmative should present an advocacy that is reasonably topical. I strongly believe that non-topical affirmative debate has really hurt at least the volume of debate participation, at least at the high school level. Since I think debate is good, I wish people would debate a reasonable interpretation of the topic. "Reasonability" of any interpretation is certainly up to debate, but not advocating for the resolution in some reasonable way is going to be hard, even with me trying to listen more. That said, I'll still do my best to be fair if the situation arises, so negative teams should engage the debate.

4. Link v. Uniqueness. I don’t think that uniqueness is ever absolute and that the direction of the link *usually* has a lot bigger role to play in the debate that most people give it credit for. Certainly proposals can make things worse or better, and that increment, be it large or small, always deserves some calculus in the assessment.

5. Offense v. Defense. Offense helps, and it is USUALLY impossible to reduce the risk of an argument to zero. However, unlike many others, I do not think it is impossible.

6. Back to topicality. I’m old. I thing things have gone way too far in terms of “competing interpretations.” I think that in order for “competing interpretations” to be relevant that both sides need to have a reasonable interpretation that is grounded in a definition/contextual card. Basically, I think most Affs are topical unless they are unreasonable.

7. Theory. I think theory blocks have somewhat ruined theory debates. People can’t win theory debates because the debates are dry, stale, old and not very interesting. If you want to win a specific theory debate explain why the particular argument practice at hand significantly undermines your ability to win the debate and then convince me that I should vote against the other team for having engaged in that practice. Both of those are possible, whereas reading your great “conditionality bad” file is not.

8. Voting issues. I think if you do a good job explaining why a theory argument other than topicality is a voting issue that you can win that it is. HOWEVER, I will IGNORE the random “independent voting issue” consequence.

9. Reading along. I usually read along the speech documents. While I realize this is controversial, I'm not sure why it is desirable to know less about what is going on in the debate than the debaters do during the debate. I also closely look at evidence that is being discussed in the CX. That said, I can more about how debaters use the evidence and won't independently evaluate its strengths unless I'm forced to choose between two arguments and offered little guidance.

10. I'm old and prefer, "flow, line by line" debate.

11. I think the 1NR is a rebuttal and should not be full of new arguments.

12. I prefer less aggressive communication styles and that debaters just focus on the arguments. I realize that these styles my persuade others, I'm just simply not persuaded by them.

Abe Benghiat Paradigm

Abe Benghiat:

School Affiliation: Lexington High School, Colgate University

Years Debated: 4 (policy)


It's your round.  Do what you want and be clear on what you want me to vote on.  To me, debate is a game so have fun.

Two main rules: try your best and be on time. Then you can't do terribly.

Any questions are fair game pre-round.

Gil Benghiat Paradigm

Here are a few things that each team should know about me:

I have never debated.

I am a typical parent judge.

Speak slowly enough so I can follow what you are saying and take notes.

Emphasize your main points.

Please do your own timing.

Pro sits on my left.

Cheryl Bezis Paradigm

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Ramola Bhandarkar Paradigm

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Lauren Blonde Paradigm

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Zeynep Bursal Paradigm

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Ping Chen Paradigm

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Li Chen Paradigm

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Lilly Chen Paradigm

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Joshua Cohen Paradigm

EMAIL: jcohen1964@gmail.com


I have been judging PF since 2011.

Please do not speak quickly - I will not be able to follow you.

I place a premium on well-supported, "real-world" links, which are to me a prerequisite to your impact, no matter how large.


I am a judge from Newton South HS, just outside of Boston, MA. I have been judging PF since 2010. I debated in high school in the early 80s. But don’t let that fool you.

FLOWING – I can flow SOMEWHAT faster than conversational speed. As you go faster, however, my comprehension drops. In addition to speed, I have trouble with the following: (1) Evidence tags: Because I am unable to catch most evidence tags, I probably won’t know what you are talking about when you remind me that “Smith in 17” told me something important in your partner’s last speech – unless Smith is a big deal in the round and you have talked a lot about that evidence. (2) Short argument tags, especially in the two-minute speeches, in which debaters often introduce their own argumentation structure. If you say something like, “On economic growth, remember…”, I will end up spending 5-10 seconds trying to figure out what “economic growth” argument you are referring to (and perhaps even what side of the resolution you are on). As a result, I may miss a few of your responses. It’s more helpful if you build a bit of the link chain into your tag. For example – “Our opponents say more H-1b visas boost jobs and hence economic growth, but remember…”

IMPACTS AND LINKS – I find that which side wins my ballot often depends more on link credibility than on impact magnitude. If I don’t find your link chain compelling, I will have a hard time voting for you, even if there’s something very big at the end of that chain. Argumentation that contributes to link chain credibility includes: (1) Inferences based on rigorous analysis of empirical data – i.e., a well-designed statistical analysis. If you can explain why the data in the analysis apply to (i.e., can be generalized to) the scenario being debated in the round, and why the statistical methods mitigate the risk of invalid inferences, I will find you to be compelling. (2) Consistency with history / the world we live in – For a lot of arguments, there are no rigorously conducted statistical analyses. For example, for few statistical studies look at how policies may influence public opinion, politicians, the policies of other countries, and so forth. But if you can identify pertinent historical precedents and argue that they inform the scenario being debated in the round, I will again find you to be compelling.

LESS COMPELLING ARGUMENTS – (1) Just because Professor Smith says something is true won’t necessarily convince me unless I understand *the basis* for Professor Smith’s beliefs. Yes, I’m looking for a warrant. But hopefully, you have more than your *own* explanation for Professor Smith’s conclusion. It’s best to show me that your evidence presents a coherent story with both warrants and resulting conclusions that support your argument. (2) Pasting together links from different sources often produces less compelling arguments. For example, Source A tells us that certain policies are politically divisive; Source B says that political division leads to federal gridlock; and Source C says that gridlock delays funding for the military and undermines national security, which, naturally, causes nuclear war. A problem with this sort of link chain in my mind is that the different sources use similar phrases to describe various types of events, but they aren’t really talking about the same things. For example, is the “divisiveness” described in Source A really equivalent to the “political division” described in Source B? And is the political division described in Source B emblematic of what has caused gridlock, as documented in Source C? If your opponent fleshes out these limitations, and if they have an alternative, more plausible description of how the real world works, that could be a problem for your position.

BOTTOM LINE – Fast argumentation challenges my ability to follow you. Stretched link chains challenge my tendency to believe you. You are best off presenting an intuitive narrative (i.e., a story that is consistent with how the “real world” works) and using that narrative as your foundation for establishing why your position is more credible than your opponent’s.

Varan Culanathan Paradigm

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Joshua Davis Paradigm

This is an updated paradigm.



A long time ago (in college at Swarthmore), I was a WUDC finalist, APDA National Champion (team and 1st speaker), and TOTY.  Then I taught high school and coached debate at St. Paul's School.  And then, while in law school at the University of Chicago, I coached the parliamentary team.  This is my fourth year of judging public forum debate.



At the end of the round, I decide which side has done the better debating.  To me, that's a combination of quality of argument, persuasive use of evidence, and presentation (including style and speed).  I approach the round as if I know nothing (so I am willing to vote on the basis of something that I don't believe / know to be untrue), but not as if I am not smart (I will not vote on the basis of repeated misstatements of evidence or dishonest efforts to turn/discount evidence).  I'll say a few words about each of my criteria.

Quality of Argument -- Good arguments are logical and develop across the course of a round.  They also have a certain coherence.  I am in favor of a thematic approach to a resolution and of both sides actually grappling with it.  Said differently, I take seriously any argument and welcome arguments that call out efforts to avoid or inappropriately shape the resolution.  I also am willing to consider abstract arguments.  And I will vote on these issues to the extent a team takes them seriously and explains why the are appropriate voting issues.  I look less favorably on the argument buried on the flow that suddenly becomes the whole round in Final Focus.  A high quality argument is easily understood and then extended through each speech.  

When I vote at the end of the round, I look at the flow through this lens -- how did the case evolve?  How did the themes of the case inform the response to the other side?  How clearly did each team explain why I should vote for them?  One more word here -- I do not think that the second rebuttal need to respond to the first rebuttal.  That is not to say that it cannot -- although if it does, it must be effective and it must not be done at the expense of responding to the other side's case.  Another -- the rebuttal should not extend or expand upon a case to which the other side has not responded.  This is literally a waste of time and there should not be time to waste.

Also, with regard to extensions, turns and cross-application -- all these are good, but shorthand is dangerous.  When you put a turn on the flow, make clear why it is a turn and not a response; when your cross-apply, explain the impact of the cross-application; when you extend in final focus, tell me why the argument you extend makes a difference.  With that in mind, I can see on my flow when an argument is dropped.  Be sure it is when you claim it is and if your opponents have dropped something inconsequential and you don't pull it in your final focus, I will not vote on it or revive it for them.  A dropped argument is a dead argument to the team that abandoned it.

One more word about arguments -- if they are good, I am fine with them.  I do not enter the round committed to democracy or believing that our system of government is somehow beyond question or reproach.  Although I will say that the debater who chooses to take on some settled piece of our geopolitical structure had better be well prepared to take it down.  If you take aim, you best not miss.

Persuasive use of evidence -- It goes without saying (but I will say it) that evidence needs to buttress the kind of argument I described in the last paragraph.  Even more so, evidence should help the judge understand more fully the reasons for or against a particular point.  In order for this to happen, the debaters need not only to read the evidence, but understand it.  Moreover, they need to believe (and be able to explain why they believe) that the evidence is worthy of credence.  Too often, I have heard debaters resort to "well that's what the quote says" rather than being able to explain why the evidence says what it says and why it is right.  Less often, but sometimes, I have heard debaters claim that evidence says something it does not say.  This is very bad.  I will call evidence if I doubt that it has been appropriately represented and I will not vote for a team that misrepresents evidence and asks me to rely on it as misrepresented.  Integrity is a critical component of debate, and nowhere is it more directly tested than in the use and abuse of evidence.

Presentation -- part of how you win an argument is to present it effectively.  This includes word choice, appropriate use of emotion / passion, and interaction with the other side.  Speed is a factor here too.   I can and will keep up with you no matter how fast you go, but I find excessive speed to be closely linked to poor presentation.  I will cut points for it and I do not approve of the use of speed to avoid actual clash by simply putting so many arguments on the flow that you claim that one is dropped and that you therefore win.  Effective presentation includes effectively responding to your opponent's contentions (reflecting both an understanding of them and an ability to put them in a context that makes clear that they should not be persuasive).

In the end, I balance these components in deciding on the substance of the round. 

A word on speaker points -- I view them as a the measure of all that I have set out above.  In my mind, 27s and 28s are good scores.  29s and 30s suggest I have seen something great.  And 26 is the fate of the debater who violates or ignores the various maxims with which I approach a round.

Brandon Defilippis Paradigm

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Sachin Dhamdhere Paradigm

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Kacy Dotoli Paradigm

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Sharon Fray-Witzer Paradigm

I'm an appellate criminal defense lawyer (once a prosecutor), and a part-time teacher, who has done some teaching within philosophy.  So, regardless of your debate event, I'll be impressed with a communicative, clear, and respectful style of debate, with attention to highlighting main points, and attention to the relative strength of all of your points, as well as how they fit together (i.e. which are subordinate).  I will not be impressed with the use of obscure, unexplained terms merely for the purpose of confounding your opponent, or merely suggesting to the judge that you have read a lot.  Debate should enlighten, not obscure, and there is nothing more ironic (or ineffective) than someone arguing against their opponent's position as unhealthy elitism while deliberately clothing their argument in language inaccessible to the average citizen.

I frankly don't think that the different debate events are all that different, in the final analysis.  All debates involve a claim that the resolution either should or should not be adopted, and reasons for doing so (or not).  A reason is simply an explanation of why someone should do something despite arguably countervailing interests/arguments.  A reason, therefore, must always appeal to someone's logic and common sense about how to acheive what is most important to them, necessarily making some argument, too, about what should be most important to them.  If you want to call that a "warrant" within a "framework" which consists of a "value" evaluated by a specific "criterion" -  to show me that I should "drop" your opponents argument even if I were to adopt the "value" proposed by the other side - so be it.  But, in sum, it's just all about convincing me that I should want to adopt (or not adopt) the resolution, despite what the other guy/gal is saying,  giving me good reasons for doing so.  Please keep that your focus, and avoid getting distracted (or distracting me) with debating terms which obfuscate more than they clarify.  For example, I'm afraid it is not helpful to argue about a "cap K," even though I know what that is. The theory, I guess, is that such shorthand lets you fit more argument in the round.  But I think it instead distorts, obscures, or mistakes the real arguments, which can be made just as succinctly in standard English if they are truly worth making at all.  *If* such terms help *you* understand your argument/strategy when you are prepping with fellow debaters, that's fine.  But please be prepared to tell *me* straightforwardly why you want me to vote for your position.  If you have to call something a "cap K," you haven't worked hard enough to explain what you're actually arguing, and why it is worth arguing.

Clear outlines/sign-posts which help lead me through your argument are very much appreciated; I may not be as smart as you are, but your smarts won't do you any good if you don't bring me along, at the end of the day.  You should be able to state your central position(s) in one clear sentence, then elaborate with attention to that (those) central theme(s).   Time-limitation does not require rushing, and rushing detracts from the persuasive value of your speech.  Time-limitation should instead lead to you to make your argument as tightly/efficiently as possible, without sacrificing needed empirical support.  And one or two persuasive arguments arguments beat 15 unconvincing arguments any day of the week, even if all 15 weak points are conceeded.

It would help me if you would try to understand the focus of your opponent's argument as well, helping me to understand what *you* understand it to be, and for you to respond to it at its core - that is, at its strongest - first and foremost.  

Please also use truly authoritative, and usefully-identified empirical support, wherever that's appropriate, making it clear what proposition you are trying to support, with attention truly to identifying the authority of the person/source you are quoting (a mere name, or the fact that something has been published without my knowing where, won't convince me that the source you're citing has any weight, unless its something like "President Lincoln").   Again, one or two truly authoritative sources beat 15 weak ones.   My understanding of my role is to vote for the argument most persuasive to the uninitiated, truly testing your ability to bring me all the way from the ground up to your view.  

So I like substance, not maneuvering and jargon and spreading -- as well as attention to the merits of the resolution which you have actually come to debate, with serious attention to how the world outside the room would receive what you have to say and how you are saying it.  That doesn't mean you cannot be creative with argument, making use of theory, but I would prefer you to think very carefully about how and whether your most creative arguments truly serve the ultimate goal of convincing me to vote for your position.  To be truly creative - that is, to truly explicate a reason which was not clear/considered before - an argument must be not only new, but also convincing.

The issues you are debating are truly important social issues usually having to do with fundamental rights on both sides, or at least the potential of a particular policy to create a better society, and even if you are not personally convinced of the merits of both sides, by doing the best job you can of articulating the position you do not like, you are insisting upon the development of the best arguments on the side you ultimately support.  Please remember that you have a very real opportunity truly to influence someone's perspective (mine), thereby shaping a little piece of the future, and though that may be done by speaking with conviction, it is rarely accomplished by merely shouting someone into submission, and often requires some concessions.  

Perhaps the most important thing you can do is to reassure me that deliberative debate is a worthwhile pursuit, designed to help reasonable people arrive at what's most reasonable.  By your thoughtful and respectful participation in this activity, you can spread the habit of thoughtful debate, demonstrating the worth (and joy) of deliberation as the essential glue holding together our fragile democracy.  Please do not waste the opportunity you have here.  Anything which might otherwise seem trivial, tangential, gimmicky, or distracting, should be very carefully and articulately tied to the merits of the resolution itself, so that it no longer seems tangential to me, or its tangential nature may cost you my vote.

Shane Gilbert Paradigm

TOC Update: Please read my paradigm in its entirety. While I strive to adapt to various styles, I am human in that I often resort to my own biases and vote off of what I prefer. The more you know about my predispositions, the better you will do with me as your judge. Please feel free to ask any questions before the round!

Big Picture

When a round is over, I first look at the impact level. In order to win your impact, you must have: a) extended the same link(s) in both summary and FF (even if you did so in 2nd rebuttal); b) extended that impact in both summary and FF; and c) frontlined all responses to the link(s) and impact(s) you extend. [That being said, if there is some muddled defense on your argument, I sometimes will resolve that if your weighing is much better/ the other team's argument is also muddled.]

After considering the impacts, I then look at weighing. I prefer that you do comparative weighing after you have extended your impact since it makes most sense for me to flow there. I have found that most teams I vote for are those who are generally doing much more work on the weighing debate, such as responding to the specific reasoning in their opponent's weighing and offering comparative weighing mechanisms that compel me to prefer their impact(s).

Specific Preferences

1. Do not go fast. Average circuit speed to maybe just a tad faster is my sweet spot. Although I can flow a faster rate, I am more likely to get confused and flustered, often because the debaters are muddling their own arguments instead of explaining the specific warranting. This disconnect makes it difficult for me to assess the round and make a confident decision. By speaking at an average pace, you will increase the chances that I comprehend and ultimately vote off of your argument.

2. Do not give me a roadmap. Just tell me where you're starting and then signpost from there.

3. In summary and FF, I prefer that you collapse on one of your arguments from case.

4. Give me the warranting behind your evidence, especially if you and your opponent have contradictory cards. I do not care if some author says X is true, but I do care quite a bit about why X is true. If you think your opponent's evidence is shady, tell me to call for it. If I think your evidence is shady or that I need to examine cards to make my decision, then I will call for them.

5. I see teams going for turns that they non-uniqued in rebuttal. I will never vote for an argument that you yourself tell me is non-unique, even if the non-unique response was never extended. Obviously you can read other non-uniques that do not interact with your turn, so do not misread this preference as saying that you should not use both forms of refutation in response to an argument. This preference is exclusive to teams that read responses that logically non-unique their own turns.

6. If you say something offensive, then I definitely will lower your speaks and might drop you.

7. Peculiar but maybe important (and hopefully not relevant for TOC, though some teams always manage to come up with wild arguments...): If you are making an argument about how the resolution affects domestic politics (e.g. political capital, elections, etc.), please have very good warranting as to why your argument is probable. I have a higher threshold for voting on these arguments because I think most debate resolutions are rather unlikely to impact U.S. politics to the extent that you can definitively say specific legislation or electoral results do or do not happen. If you do not think you can easily make a persuasive case as to why your politics argument is likely, then please do not read it or go for it.

Darby Ginsberg Paradigm

Some of you may know me as Zachary's Mom. Yes, I'm a "mom judge," but don't despair. I will do my level best to flow the round competently.

This will be my sixth year judging PF, so I'm am not a novice anymore. I do, however, like to keep it simple.

Please give me your case in a logical format and give me the reasons why I should vote for you. Please don't speak super fast, since that just makes my head spin and I won't be able to follow your brilliant arguments as easily.

If you don't extend in summary, I can't weigh it. (How's that for debate jargon?)

Lastly, please be professional and courteous to each other. No eye-rolling, tongues hanging out, general snottiness. I don't appreciate that. Win with grace and class.

Cayman Giordano Paradigm


Email Cayman1@gmail.com if you have questions. If the questions are about a specific flow, please mention the round/flight/tournament.

N-TOCvid-19 Update (Judging on Zoom)

Given the new evidence rules on evidence exchange this year, everyone needs to be on the Email chain. I'll still read evidence sparingly unless asked to, but it's important that everyone is on the chain to verify what evidence gets sent when (and that it was sent to all participants instead of accidentally choosing 'reply' vs 'reply all'.) Because these rules and norms are new to everyone, I'm inclined by default to drop the card and not the team if one side can't fully/correctly comply with an evidence request.

I probably won't be looking at Zoom very much during speeches. My ballot/comments, timer, flow, and any relevant evidence are already competing for screen space.

Since we'll be beta-testing the new coin flip functionality, if/when something goes wrong, I'm fine with holding the round as if everything is normal and straightening out the ballot with tab after the fact. Since flips are time-sensitive and inflexible, if you have any questions for me that may influence how you flip, I'll try to get into the Zoom room early with time to spare. If you're in Zoom and don't see me there, Email me. Normally, I try to avoid answering questions about specific hypotheticals where one team can hear me and the other can't, but I'll make an exception under this ruleset if one team needs to know before their coin flip timer expires and then I'll make an effort to fill the other team in as similarly as I can before the round starts. Also before the round starts, I'll verbally confirm who won the flip and which choice each side made, both because this is a new system and in case it becomes relevant to mid-round arguments.

However fast y'all think you can go without sacrificing clarity is modified by your microphone and your opponents' speakers. I'll let you know if you're unclear to me; if your opponents are unclear to you, either clarify in cross or err on the side of asking for more evidence from the last speech.

If you're waiting for a card to start prep, please don't mute yourselves until prep starts. Prep starts when the requested cards (if any) arrive in the Email chain (or when debaters are obviously prepping) and stops when someone from the prepping team un-mutes and says to stop prep. If your opponents gave you the wrong card, I'll reset prep to where it was when you started, but if you just want to ask for more cards, please do so all at once rather than constantly trying to pause and un-pause prep.

Should you feel compelled to run a full theory argument, please make sure that the interpretation and standards take the current online format into account.

If y'all want to ask your opponents clarifying questions during your own prep time, you're welcome to do so, but it's up to them whether to answer.

Grand cross can get especially messy when feedback and dueling microphones are involved. Please be mindful of the technical issues that talking over each other can cause and interrupt sparingly.


  • Policy and LD since 1998
  • Parli and PF since 2002
  • WSDC and WUDC since 2009
  • Big Questions since it became a non-meme event*
  • Coach for Howard County, MD teams (Atholton, Centennial, Marriotts Ridge, Mt Hebron, Oakland Mills, River Hill, etc.) 2007-present
  • Capitol Debate camps & travel team from 2008-2013
  • James Logan Forensics Institute from 2012-2013
  • SNFI Public Forum 2010-2019

J-V, NCFLs, NJFL, Round Robins, etc.:

  • If I'm judging you in a format where you don't get prefs or strikes and judge assignments are random, it's more my job to adapt to you than your job to adapt to me. Issues with stylistic choices or execution are more likely to find their way into the ballot comments than into the speaker points.
  • Do what you do best; don't second-guess yourselves and do what you think I want to hear if it's not what you're good at.
  • Don't take your norms for granted. If you and your opponent have different ideas of what debate should be or how it should be evaluated, tell me why the way that you do it is superior, the same way you would with any other argument.
  • If you have a panel, do what you have to do to win the panel. If the easiest way to win is to pick up the two lay parent-judges sitting on either side of me and doodling on their ballots while trying to look attentive, so be it. I won't hold panel adaptation against teams. Making me feel engaged and useful is not why you're here.
  • Some leagues ban disclosure. Some leagues ban verbal feedback. Those rules are bad for education and bad for debate. If you have questions about your round, find me after the round and we'll talk about what happened.


  • I don't like calling for cards. If I do, it's either because of a factual/ethical dispute between teams about what the author actually says, because the round had a total absence of weighing outside of the quoted impact cards, or for educational reasons that aren't going to affect my RFD. How teams spin the cards matters, as does how well teams seem to know their cards.
  • I assume ignorance over malfeasance. If you think the other team is being unethical, be able to prove it. Otherwise, correct/educate them by going after the evidence or citation instead of the people.
  • Smart analytics beat un-smart cards every time.
  • If you haven't read the article or chapter or study that your evidence is quoting, you probably shouldn't be using that evidence yet. When I'm evaluating impacts, it does you no favors to add a second sub-level of probability where I have to wonder "But do they know that the evidence actually says that? If so, did they make X argument on purpose?"
  • Saying the word "Extend" is not extending evidence. You're extending arguments, not authors, which means there should be some explanation and some development. Repetition is not argumentation.
  • If you're using digital evidence, it's your responsibility to be able to show the other team. It is not your opponents' responsibility to own laptops or to bring you a flash drive. I'm fine with teams using Email to share evidence - with the notable caveat that if I catch you using internet access to do anything outside tournament rules, your coach and the tab room are both going to hear about it. "Can I Email this so I don't risk getting viruses on my USB?" is a reasonable question most of the time. "Can I get on Messenger so my assistant coaches can type up theory extensions for me?" is NOT an acceptable interpretation of that question.
  • Prep stops when you stop working with the evidence: either when the flash drive leaves the computer or when you send the Email and stop typing or when you stand up with the evidence in hand.


  • I care more about clarity than speed. If I can't understand you, I'll let you know.
  • If you can't understand your opponents, let them know in CX/CF/Prep. Deliberately maintaining an incomprehensible speed to stop your opponents from refuting arguments they can't comprehend is probably not a winning strategy especially in Parli and PF, where speech documents and wikis don't check.
  • Quality > quantity. "Spreading" isn't some arbitrary brightline of WPM; it's when you're talking faster than you can think. Doesn't matter which event. Don't get discouraged just because your opponents are faster than you.

Event-specific stuff:

  • CX:
    • Check the judge philosophies Wiki.
    • If your strategy relies on preffing only judges like me and then telling other teams they can't read their arguments in front of the judges that you've preffed, then please rethink your strategy.
    • I've coached and run a wide variety of arguments. One of the easiest ways to lose my ballot is to be dogmatic and assume that because I've coached it, I like it, or that I think it's intrinsically true. If you have guessed an argument that I actually enjoy running and/or believe in, that still doesn't mean you'll be held to a lower standard on it.
    • With the (hopefully obvious) exception of status theory, I'd prefer to be able to reject the argument instead of the team. You probably want to hedge your bets by telling me how the round changes if the argument is(n't) rejected.
    • Kick your own arguments; don't leave it up to me to decide what should or shouldn't be kicked unless you're actually ok with either option.
  • L-D:
    • The majority of L-D I've judged in recent years has been fairly traditional/local; it's probably the event I judge least at bid tournaments on the national circuit, so it's probably best to treat me as a recovering policy judge.
    • I try not to intervene on theory. If you're winning it, I'll vote for it, even if doing so makes me feel dirty, as long as it's warranted/impacted/developed like any other winnable argument. That said, my theory norms have been largely calibrated by the arguments' CX analogues., so if you think there's something L-D specific I should be aware of (no 2NC's role in disclosure, the absence of a second CX when determining whether answers are binding/whether clarifications are sufficient, the difference between neg block and NR in creating side bias, etc.) be explicit about it.
    • In-round discourse probably comes before theory, T/FW probably come before other theory.
    • I'm not convinced there's such a thing as a "pre-standard" argument. An argument might operate on a higher level of standards than anything else currently in the round, or on a mutually conceded standard, but it still needs to be fully developed.
  • PF:
    • I strongly prefer for the second-speaking team to adapt their definitions/burdens in their OS and their time allocation in 2RB to create clash. I won't auto-drop you for using the 2RB the same as you would have the 1RB, but you're not doing your partner's SM any favors.
    • Deliberate concessions early in the round can get you a long way. Just know and explain where and why they're strategic.
    • Cite authors when possible. The university your author went to / was published by / taught at / is not your author. The way to get around a dearth of source diversity is to find more sources, not to find as many different ways as possible to cite the same source.
    • Teams that start weighing in RB typically have an easier time getting my ballot than teams that just spit out a bunch of constructive arguments and wait for reductive speeches to weigh anything.
    • CF should be focused on asking actual questions, not repeating speeches or fitting in arguments you didn't have time for. "Do you agree", "Isn't it true that", "How would you respond to", and "Are you aware" are rarely ingredients of genuine questions. Good CFs will clarify and focus the round by finding where common ground exists and where clash matters.
    • SM cannot go line-by-line. There's literally not enough time. There are more and less technical ways of looking at the big picture, but you do need to look at the big picture.
    • GCF is a hard place to win the round but an easy place to lose the round. Make sure that you and your partner are presenting a unified front; make sure that you're investing time in places that deserve it, make sure that if you're trying to introduce something new-ish here that you tie it into what's already happened this round.
    • FF shouldn't be a notable departure from SM. Offense matters, especially if you're speaking first.
  • Parliamentary:
    • Naming arguments is not the same as making arguments. I can't easily vote on something that you haven't demonstrated intellectual ownership of.
    • My threshold for beating arguments is inversely proportional to the silliness of the argument.
    • "but [authority figure] says X" is not an argument. Especially in an event where you can't directly quote said person. I don't want to know whether Paul Krugman says the economy is recovering. I don't want to know whether Nietzsche says suffering is valuable. I want to know why they are right. Your warrants are your own responsibility.
    • Intelligently asking and taking POIs is a big factor in speaker points.
    • Most rounds come down to how well the PMR answers the Opp block. If the Opp block was much better done than the MG, there might be no PMR that could answer well enough, but that's rare. Parli seems to have much more potential for teams that are behind to come back than most other events.
    • I'm generally tech > truth. In Parli, however, depending on how common knowledge the topic is and whether internet prep is allowed, a little more truth can beat a lot more tech. Don't be afraid to stake the round on a question of fact if you're sure it's actually a question of fact.
      • I should not have to say this, but given the current state of HS Parli, if I am confident a team is lying and I already intend to drop them for it, I may double-check the relevant fact online just to make 100% sure. This is not me "accessing the internet on behalf of" the team I'm voting for; this is me going the extra mile for the team that I was already intending to vote against anyway. Suggesting that the losing team should be given a win because I gave them a second chance before I signed my ballot is asinine.
    • If you have a collection of 2 or 3 Ks that you read against every opponent, I don't think that aligns with the intention of the format, but I can certainly be convinced that fidelity to that intent is overrated. That said, you should make an extra effort to engage with your opponents and show how your criticism creates clash rather than sidesteps clash.
  • Limited-Prep
    • Extemp - Source diversity matters. I will look ev up online if it sounds sketchy. I do care that you give a direct answer to the actual question you drew, but not every question is written in a way that deserves a definite yes or no answer: if you don't, your speech should still contain elements of nuance and advocacy beyond "...well, yes and no" and should show me why all the simple answers would have been wrong.
    • Impromptu - I don't have a strong preference for one structure over another, but some prompts lend themselves more to certain structures. Not everything needs to be forced into a 3x1 or a 2x2 if it doesn't fit the procrustean bill. Recycled anecdotes and tropes are somewhat inevitable, but canned speeches defeat the purpose of the event.
  • Interp/Platforms/Congress
    • How did you end up with me as a judge? I'm so sorry. You're probably sorry too. Someone probably desperately needed a judge to stop the tournament from running grossly overtime, and all the other potential volunteers either ran faster or hid better than I did. We'll both make it through this somehow. It'll be a learning experience.

Gershon Goren Paradigm

* Give a clear warrant but don't get into the weeds. 
* It's not about the words/sec - it's making the substance clear
* Show respect to your opponent 

John Goulandris Paradigm

I am a current APDA debater and former national circuit PFer. I evaluate off the flow, but will not credit arguments if critical links are missing. I am more sympathetic to analytical claims than most judges. You do not have to extend defense past rebuttal, but if you want me to vote on an offensive claim, please extend it into final focus.

Jarrod Groves Paradigm

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Kevin Gu Paradigm

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Lydia Horan Paradigm

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Steve Horswill-Johnston Paradigm

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William Irving Paradigm

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Nancy Jordan Paradigm

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Lax Kabra Paradigm

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Karen Kautz Paradigm

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Saiyaz Kazi Paradigm

If the round's not lit... I'm not there.

Max Kelly Paradigm

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Ethan Krantz Paradigm

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Anna Lamb Paradigm

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Ling Li Paradigm

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Amisha Mehta Paradigm

I am a lawyer, Co-Director of the Westfield Debate Team and Co-Chair of the NYCUDL Board.

I have judged PF for the last 2 years, over 75 rounds.

I will judge based on a combination of the flow, general logic and common sense.

Speed-don't do it. If I can't understand you, I can't give you credit for it.

If you want me to vote on an issue please include it in both summary and final focus.

Write my RFD for me in final focus.

Only call for evidence if there is a real need (context, integrity).

In general, be nice. I believe in debate access for all so I will cut your speaks if you create an environment where other people don't want to participate in the activity.

Good luck and have fun!

Monika Mitra Paradigm

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Kristen Mollerus Paradigm

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Andrew Monagle Paradigm

Update: Jan. 18, 2020

I’m a teacher from Toms River, NJ who teaches US1 and US2 Honors. I’ve been coached PF/LD Debate and extemp at Ridge HS for the last 9 years, but it's been probably two years since I've found myself in an LD pool. Please read this paradigm before the round for the best picture of what I’m like as a judge. This is far more detailed than the readers-digest version that I’ll give orally before the round if requested.


It's been a while since I've been in an LD judging pool. Needless to say, I'm out of practice.

Speed: Start out at a reasonable pace. I need to hear your voice and your cadence for a few seconds before the spreading starts. I'll call clear two or three times before I give up flowing. If you're reading a plan text/interp/role of the ballot, don't spread it. I want to hear all of it. If you're reading theory in front of me, good luck. I'll need you to go slow and hold my hand through it.

Argumentation: I'm most familiar with policy args and kritiks. That said, I'm open to whatever you want to put in front of me.

Theory should only be read in the case of actual in-round abuse. Theory for the sake of theory isn't fun for me to listen to. If you're going to run theory, you should read it at a slightly faster than conversational pace. I'm not familiar with the arguments, and often a lot of it goes over my head. I need the abuse story to be clear and concise to the point where I can explain it start-to-finish in an RFD. The more accessible a theory argument is, the easier a time I'll have evaluating it.

I have a super low threshold on responses on spikes at the end of a constructive. I tend to ignore arguments like time skew, if I'm being honest.

Don't feel like you have to go for every argument in the round. Be strategic in the issues you select. You're constructing a ballot story for me and if all I have are blippy arguments to vote on, I (and probably you) will not be particularly happy with the decision rendered. I prefer seeing thoughtful debate with depth on one or two issues in the round rather blippy, surface level arguments about everything.

Warrants are important, logical and otherwise. "That isn't true" isn't an argument...you need to tell me why something isn't true.

Ad Hominem attacks against a debater are unacceptable. I'm not going to vote for a debater who calls their opponent racist, sexist, ableist, etc without any justification.

Racist, sexist, abelist, etc. arguments are a no-go for me. Run at your own risk.

Speaker Points: I'll follow whatever standard the tournament sets. You'll probably notice that I'm a bit stingier with speaker points than other judges. That's not to say that I've never given a 30 before, but it's not a particularly frequent occasion.

Evidence: The evidence standard in LD (in my experience) is remarkably higher than it has been in PF rounds that I've judged...that said, I still feel the need to say it...Academic integrity is extremely important. Please be honest. Don't alter a card's meaning, don't intentionally misrepresent evidence. It’s not difficult to tell if you misinterpreted the evidence because you didn’t understand it. There is a big difference between an honest misinterpretation and malicious intent.



Speed/Speaking: I enjoy fast/circuit style debate. However, I will not flow if you spread. Spreading has no place in PF. I consistently reward good speakers who sound like they care about what they are talking about. When I evaluate a speaker I take into account a number of things: strategic decisions, coverage, efficiency, speaking style, persuasiveness, etc.

Points: 0-25 (or whatever the lowest base the tournament allows to give) are reserved for those who are offensive (more on that later). 25.5-26 is a debater who has a lot to work on, has serious flaws in arguments, couldn’t fill speech times, and most likely will not make it to elims. 26.5-27.5 is an average debater. May make it to elims, but still has noticible flaws in arg construction, lines of logic, and is not a great speaker. 28-29 will most likely break. Lines of logic are mostly solid and I was probably impressed by the case. Args may have flaws but they are minor. 30 is the ideal debater. Flawless argumentation, a stellar and strategic speaker.

Things that will lose you speaks: The thing I most frequently award 25 speaks for is for not citing evidence correctly. A few examples of this are additions or omissions of words (even the omission of a word like “might”), straw man arguments, literally making things up. It’s not difficult to tell if you misinterpreted the evidence because you didn’t understand it. There is a big difference between an honest misinterpretation and malicious intent. Debate is an academic activity. As such, academic integrity is important to me. If you feel that you cannot debate in front of me without unethically interpreting evidence, please strike me.

While it may not earn you a 25 outright, talking during your opponents speeches is extremely rude. Your opponents speeches are not prep time for you. If you need to communicate with your partner, write or type a note. Every time a debater decides to speak during their opponents speech, I’ll subtract a half point from them.

During CX, please treat your opponent with respect. I understand CX gets heated sometimes but yelling over your opponent, being condescending, etc won’t win you points with me.

Framework: Please have one at the top of the constructive. It’s difficult to debate literally every aspect of a resolution without some reasonable restrictions to ground or without telling me how I should evaluate the round. I’m not sure why this has become a trend, but debaters have started framing debates/running observations in their rebuttals (not overviews, full blown frameworks). If a framework turns up anywhere but the beginning of the constructive, I won’t flow it. I don’t think framing the debate in the rebuttal (the second rebuttal especially) is particularly fair.

Weighing: Please weigh especially if you’re working with two different metrics (money and lives for example). If you don’t weigh, I have to do the weighing myself and I prefer not to.

Rebuttals: I understand the value of the line by line. What I dislike are massive card dumps with 8 responses against each subpoint. I reward debaters who can make sound logical arguments (with a source or two where appropriate) to dismantle a contention. Please warrant all responses. Warrants can be logical or source based. I don’t want to hear “my opponent is wrong.” Or “this contention doesn’t make sense”...tell me WHY your argument is true. (This should be self explanatory, but I’ve written too many ballots that say the words “no warrant/please warrant your response).

The Summary: There isn’t no enough time to cover a line by line in a summary. Give me logical responses (sources if you have to) to arguments and crystallize the debate. Set up the voting issues.

Final Focus: Don’t run new arguments in the Final Focus.

Id be happy to answer any other questions you have before the start of the round.

Gideon Moore Paradigm

Public Forum

Overview- I'm really open to just about anything. In terms of background I did two years of Policy before switching to Public Forum for two years in high school. This year, I'm a freshman at Bowdoin College studying economics and math, if that gives you an idea of how I think. I'm in college, so I'll admit I'm not going to have an in-depth knowledge of the topic, so I'm going to need you to break any fancy acronyms or jargon down for me, but I'm more than willing to vote on any techy arguments you might make. 

On importance of evidence- Key point: "Do you have anything to support that besides, y'know, logic" is not an argument, it's a concession. My absolute favorite rounds to watch are the ones where both teams engage with the arguments and use their opponents' evidence and warrants against them, even if they don't have any additional evidence of their own. 

Numbers debates- Small thing: If you start comparing numbers, and the numbers are within a factor of 10 of each other, I'm probably going to zone out. Numbers debates are the least interesting and least constructive form of debate, because they are almost always a wash- and this is coming from a mathematics major. 



Overview- I'll be very honest with you- as you can probably guess by the structure of my paradigm, I'm mostly a Public Forum judge. I did a couple years of Policy in high school, and attended the Georgetown Debate Seminar one summer (Go Hoyas!) but I'll admit I'm no expert. Due to my relative inactivity in policy recently, I'm not particularly aware of the meta- even core of the topic arguments are going to be new to me, so take nothing for granted. 

Policy vs. Kritik- I do try to be open to anything, but to be perfectly honest, arguing the K in front of me is likely going to be an uphill battle simply due to my background. The majority of my debate experience was in the heavily utilitarian world of Public Forum, so that's the kind of argument I'm most experienced with. If you do a very good job on a K, that's great, and you'll get the win; but know it's going to be more like explaining the argument to your parent or non-debate friends than to your coach.

Speed- As mentioned above, I do most of my work in PF. Because of this, my ears aren't as sharp as they may have been in my policy years. I'm not going to say don't spread, because this is policy and I play by the rules of the game, but to be perfectly frank I likely won't catch everything you're saying if you're going 100% all the time, so it would likely be best for both of us if we met in the middle at a solid 70%. 


Lincoln Douglas

See policy, but add the fact that I have near-zero experience in the format. 

Michael Norton Paradigm

I am the head coach at Coral Springs High School. I have extensive experience with Public Forum, but I also judge LD from time to time as well. I've been involved with speech and debate since 2009, and I've been coaching/judging since 2012.

Here are a few things to consider when debating in front of me.

Speed: I can flow speed pretty well. That being said, I prefer rounds that can be flowed on paper rather than rounds where the speed is so excessive that I am reading off of a word document or email chain.

Off-time roadmaps: Please do not do them - if you need to organize your speech, do so on the clock.

Evidence ethics: Ethics can be a voting issue for me. If you believe your opponent is misconstruing a card, tell me to ask for it after the round. I will not arbitrarily call for cards that I personally find fishy, you need to tell me what evidence should be reviewed. If your evidence is being challenged, please retrieve it in a timely fashion. Speaks will be docked if you take an excessive amount of time retrieving evidence.

Decorum: Please be nice in debate rounds - while I ultimately make my decision based upon the arguments on my flow, I have no problem tanking somebody's speaker points if they are rude, offensive, judgmental, or otherwise unkind in a debate.

Amanda Parker Paradigm

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Michael Poe Paradigm

Mr. Poe is a high school Spanish teacher who has judged at basically every local Massachusetts tournament ever.

  • Does he flow (most crucial question): sometimes
  • Sitting versus standing in cross: he wanted me to include that he “has no preference”

  • Extending defense in first summary: not needed in either summary (as long as it’s been said before he says it’s “fair game”) (he also doesn’t know what this term means)

  • Going new in the two: just because he might not catch it doesn’t mean you should do it

  • Kicking out of turns: he probably finds it unpersuasive

  • Frontlining in second rebuttal y/n: he doesn’t care (asked about it, and he also doesn’t know what the word “frontline” means)

  • Weighing: the sooner the better (you can start in rebuttal)

  • Speed: he says “medium speed” but I think that means lay judge level

  • Extensions: you need to extend card context not just the author and implicate it in the context of the round

  • Types of argument: tech > truth

  • Progressive args: obviously not

  • Speaker points: historical precedent - he will drop you with 25s regardless of your argumentation if you are a) rude and/or b) yelling

    • Autodrop for running racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise bigoted arguments

  • Humor: good (direct quote: “so long as it adds something to the round”)

  • Disclosure after the round: no guaruntees

Agnes Quisumbing Paradigm

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Adam Rabinowitz Paradigm

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Srividya Ram Paradigm

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Rafael Reyes Paradigm

Updated for 2018 TOC

Public Forum Paradigm for 2018 TOC

First thing to know about me, I am a lay public forum judge. I have judged around the circuit, but I emphasize to you, I am a lay PF judge. I am judging for Bronx Science.

I like delivery that is slow, tasteful, and artful. I prefer big picture analysis over a highly technical line-by-line approach. The role of the final focus should be to tell me who is winning the round clearly and concisely--narrative speeches are preferred. Extension is very important to me, and I will not take well to teams that extend through ink.

With that being said, ink will be limited. During speeches, I like to sit back and listen. Persuasion is very important to me, and for that reason, I value understanding your arguments over following them on the flow, and will take limited notes. I am not aware of arguments regarding topicality or kritiks, and plans are illegal in Public Forum, so I will not vote for them.

I tend to value style and argument equally, as both are very important. I will always vote for the team with the clearest arguments and delivery at the end of the round. I do not care much for how you structure your speeches, but all arguments that you expect to win on have to be in both summary and final focus--not grand crossfire. A second speaking team is not expected to cover their own case in rebuttal.

Lincoln-Douglas Debate:

To preface my paradigm, I have very limited LD judging experience. That said, you may want to strike me. If you are a brave soul and have decided not to strike me, or are considering preffing me more highly in the pool, here are what I expect to be my judging preferences as a new LD judge:

  • NO SPREADING. I don’t have problems with it on principle. I just won’t understand you. If you are going too fast (spreading or not), I will simply stop flowing.
  • If you are debating in front of me, I might not understand the nuances of the more complex frameworks. If you decide you don’t care and read a complicated framework in front of me, you should be using cross-x and your later speeches to make it as clear as possible for me. If I can’t understand it, I won’t vote on it.
  • As someone who has more public forum and congressional debate judging experience, I appreciate good public speaking skills and a strong sense of ethos in round. I will reward these qualities with higher speaker points.
  • Please be respectful. There is a big difference between being funny in round, and being rude/hostile. Debate is an educational activity, which requires a level of respect between competitors.
  • Finally, to reiterate- I AM AN INEXPERIENCED LD JUDGE. Do not run your Ks, Plans, Counterplans, Disads, T-interps, or run theory arguments in front of me. I will not know how to evaluate these types of arguments. I will probably just be confused.

I guess in general I’ll say the following: You can think of me as an extremely ‘lay” judge. If I cannot understand an argument, I will not vote on it.

Bruce Ripley Paradigm

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Amit Roy Paradigm

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P.J. Schwalm Paradigm

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Bill Shen Paradigm

Updated for Jan 2017

I'm old now, so I don't care about nearly as much as I used to.


My name is Bill. I study Finance at NYU. I did PF in high school. I am a flay judge.


I am lay because:

1. I reserve the right to "not buy" generic responses, like: 1. This Contention Has No Evidence, 2. This Contention Has No Warrant, and 3. This Contention Has No Impact. Obviously, if I agree with you, or you can convince me that you're right, I'll "buy" your argument, but that generally requires a specificity that speeches using these arguments tend to lack. 

2. I reserve the right to "not buy" new arguments or reframings brought up in Focus or Second Summary. This is an extreme interpretation of the no new information rule; I also apply it to new impact links which seem forced. I assure you that there always exists some way of presenting your point where you can trick me enough that it will not seem forced. As for why it also applies to Second Summary, it's because first speaking teams can get easily buried by a slimy second speaking team. If you want to force a connection or give an argument a strange spin, do it early enough in the round that your opponents can respond.

3. I will cross-apply things for you even if don't explicitly tell me the connection. This includes obvious enough tie-backs to the resolution (I understand why losing money might be bad for American interests). That said, you shouldn't automatically assume I see things as you do: if I don't see the connection, I will not cross-apply it. Sorry I'm so stupid.


I am flow because:

1. Summaries need structure. Your Summary should start off giving me X independent reasons why you win the round. These reasons can be (and usually are) impacts, but making your reasons weighing metrics or points of framework also work (and tend to be more interesting). Feel free to go a little bit off-flow for the purpose of crystallization (but note that you shouldn't be going off-flow until Summary save for a very good reason that you discuss in-depth at the beginning of your Rebuttal).

2. Focuses need sync. You should go for the same things your partner did. Some debaters will tell you that the Focus should repeat the Summary. While I don't think that's necessarily correct, you're doing well if the two of you discuss the same in-round topics. But you should give me a way to weigh the round. This might be weighing metrics, but it can just be a simple tie-back to American interests (for this topic) and an explanation of why your impact is important. 

3. I am fine with drops, I am not fine with extending through ink (resurrecting a dropped point). I will not extend through ink.

4. I will "buy" any initial contention brought out in the Constructive or any response brought out in the Rebutttal no matter how much it seems like a lie. If those arguments do not get pressed and they do get extended, I will ultimately weigh them in the round.

Sandra Smales Paradigm

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Henry SooHoo Paradigm

Lives don't matter. If you want me to weigh lives, you must first tell me why lives matter. Otherwise, talk about literally anything else.

TL;DR: Always sign post in summary and final focus, extend, and provide warrants for impacts and responses. Do the weighing for me.

Signpost: Please signpost your voting issues at the top of your summary and final focus. Then as you speak, reiterate them at the top of each voter. If you don't signpost, I have no idea what you are talking about. It just sounds like you are extending your whole case or doing another rebuttal. Either way, I have no idea what to vote off of. IF YOU DON'T PLAN ON SIGNPOSTING, YOU DON'T NEED TO SPEAK.

Don’t extend through ink: If you get a concession out of your opponent, extend it in your speeches. I am flowing only the speeches so if you don't bring it up in your speeches, it didn't happen. Also, do not say "extend my 5 impacts" or "extend my 5 responses." Actually say these impacts or responses.

Collapse: Collapse all your arguments down into 1-3. If there is clash between teams, you can make that one voting issue. As long as the things are relatively related, I have no problem.

Consistency: Voting issues should be consistent between speeches. If you have two voting issues in summary, then you should have the two same voting issues in final focus.

Timeframe: All impacts should have a timeline. It is hard to weigh impacts if I have no idea how long it takes for them to realize.

No audible alarms: Please try not to use audible alarms. They are annoying and only serve to cut yourself off. While it will not affect speaker points if teams insist on using them, I will drop my pen when it rings regardless of where you are in your sentence.

Cross-applying: I will cross apply arguments and impacts that each team extends into summary and final focus even if teams don't do it themselves. In addition, if I card you and the evidence is critically relevant to either side, I will cross apply that also. This does not mean that I will create and vote off of new arguments I find in the evidence. This just means that if your card provides two impacts and you neglect to mention the other impact could negate the first one, I will take that into account and apply it for you. I am not an activist judge; I just want to make sure that evidence is being used properly and is not misconstrued. If I feel something is purposely misconstrued or left out, I will drop that card and any resulting impacts.

Weigh: Explain why the impact of one issue is more important even if the metrics are different. Hint, prioritizing lives is a losing battle, refer to top of paradigm.

Speaker Points: If you signpost, speak coherently, cover the flow, and are engaging, you can expect a 30. Prioritize coherency over speed because 1) Stumbling knocks off speaks and 2)Anything I can't flow I can't weigh. Not covering everything on the opponent's flow is OK if you cover all the important impacts and warrants. Missing a thing here or there won't affect speaks. Engagement just means you don't speak in a way that would lull me to sleep. Tournaments are long; I get tired. If you are funny, sassy, or at least make eye contact, I will be more than happy. Please don't look at your flow the entire time. Always SIGNPOST in summary and final focus. This is my biggest pet peeve. If you don't signpost, that's 2.5 points gone. Just tell me "first voter is x" and "second voter is y." Very easy to get these points and makes my RFD easier since I know what the big issues are.

Assume that I have a general understanding of the topic but definitely explain any esoteric ideas or little know events/facts.

Also, please don't be rude or condescending; it's a competition but everyone should enjoy their time in debate, not feel harassed.

Bryan Supran Paradigm

Lay judge who votes on quality and weighing of arguments.

Don't go tech, but I can deal with complex arguments if explained well.

Be polite to you opponents. Snide or disparaging remarks are not appreciated. Debating is more than arguing.

I will call cards myself if something sounds wrong. If you deliberately misuse evidence, it will undermine your credibility overall with me in the round.

Sullivan Sweet Paradigm

Put the argument in summary if you want me to vote on it in FF.

Speed is fine, but if you're planning on going really fast be sure to annunciate tags/cites.


If evidence issues are brought up in round I'll call for the appropriate cards afterwards. I take debate ethics very seriously


Debated 4 years in high school (3 in PF), now judging for Stuyvesant


Layla Tabakovic Paradigm

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Humza Tahir Paradigm

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Perraju Tolety Paradigm

Hey everyone, this is Sriram from Algonquin TZ, and you are about to be judged by my dad, so please show him a quality round.

Understand that at his core, he is a parent judge.

How He Will Evaluate Rounds

Although he has no debate experience like us competitors, he has an extremely rich trove of knowledge, and he will make sure to listen to the warrants and would appreciate really clear analysis. To borrow from Ben Konstan's paradigm: "Will he listen to weighing? Absolutely. Will he like if you read off a gazillion cards? Almost certainly not." Collapse the round into a few easy to understand, logical argument, explain why your winning, weigh, and you've got a great shot at winning the round. If you start yelling "REMEMBER ALGONQUIN 18 ITS A CLEAN TURN ON THEIR ENTIRE CASE," you clearly have not read this paradigm, and you will probably lose.


He has a PhD. in CS,so he will definitely know a lot about technology arguments. He also has a lot of historical knowledge as well as general knowledge, so he knows more about H1B Visas than most people (especially true considering he is an immigrant from India). And While we are here, lets talk about respect.


My dad will always expect the best of you: show up on time, do not speak over each other or the judge, and always be silent when the other team is speaking. Do not let crossfire devolve into a shouting match - sort through the chaos and be responsible, and you will be rewarded. Please do not start bashing India or for that matter any country, race, religion, gender, or culture, as that is an instant L you do not want.


He can understand a moderate speed; don't start spearing fast, and don't dare go near spreading levels and you will be fine.


He can understand the basic things, but make sure you don't sacrifice clarity and tempo for shouting out debate terminology


Stop. Don't go near these, don't mention them, don't use them. Instant L.


Anywhere from 25-29. If he is blown away by your poise, presentation, and general brilliance you could get a 30. Won't drop below a 26/27 unless you're completely incoherent, offensive, or other special circumstances.


No formal judging experience, though he as judged a lot of rounds at this point(~3 years). He also has heard me talking about rounds for the past few years, so keep that in mind.


Big picture, slow down. He really wants a strong narrative first and foremost, supported by good logic and strong evidence.

Susan Wang Paradigm

Lexington High School '13

David Wang Paradigm

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Min Wang Paradigm

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Minghua Wang Paradigm

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Samuel Ward-Packard Paradigm

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Judi Weinstein Paradigm

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Devon Weis Paradigm

I’m a tabula rasa judge with a heavy commitment to nonintervention. (This means I'm not gonna call for cards unless they're contested in the round and I believe they're relevant to the RFD)

Don’t extend every single thing you read in case.

Frontlining in second rebuttal is smart but not required. It’s probably a good idea if they read turns.

I need parallelism (summary+FF) for any offense you want me to vote for.

Cards are cool but don't overload your extensions w/ card tags b/c I often miss them when I'm flowing and I'll have no clue what you're talking about.

I like analytical arguments, not everything needs to be carded to be of value in a round. (Warrants money-mouth)

I don’t require defense in either summary, although it usually makes sense to extend in 2nd summ. With that being said, if your opponents frontline case in 2nd rebuttal, you need to answer back their frontlines in 1st summary if you still wanna go for that defense. Once you know what your opponents are going for in 1st summary, it's probably also a pretty good idea to extend defense to that argument in 2nd summ. Defense is most important for me in Final Focus though, so if you want me to delink/NU the offense they're going for, say it in FF.

Signpost pls. Roadmaps are a waste of time if I don’t know when you’ve moved from one arg to another.

I have a pretty high threshold for extensions, saying the phrase "extend our 1st contention/our impacts" will get you lower speaks and a scowl. You need to re-explain your argument from fiat to impact in order to properly "extend" something in my eyes.

I love me some good framework.

I may look like I’m timing stuff, but I just like to watch the clock run. Track each other’s prep.

Theory is fine, but make it PF. Sometimes works okay in rounds, but please don't read a shell in front of me. Won’t intervene, but pls don’t try to meme w/ theory, it's meant to check back legitimate abuse claims in debate rounds.

I will vote for kritikal args if you win/extend role of the ballot :-)

Shoutouts to my boo thang, Shamshad Ali #thepartnership

Eric Wells Paradigm

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Wexler Wexler Paradigm

Debate Paradigm

Paul Wexler Coach since 1993, Judge since 1987 Debated CEDA,College Parli, HS LD and Policy, College and HS Speech
Current Affiliation: Needham High School Coach (speech and debate) I coach a little with Arlington HS (Massachusetts)
Previous Affiliations: Manchester-Essex Regional, Boston Latin School, San Antonio-LEE, College of Wooster (Ohio) (competitor) , University of Wisconsin (Madison)(coach): Debate and Speech for Irvine-University HS (CA) (competitor)

Congress Paradigm is listed first for NSDAs. I attended NSDAs (then NFL) in the Senate twice, and have been Congress Chair for Massachusetts for quite a bit of time.


To Access better ranks

1) Engage with your opponent's ideas. Clash with them directly, prove them wrong, further develop ideas offered previously by speakers on the same side of legislation as yourself, demonstrate opposing ideas are actually reasons to vote for you, etc

2)Speech organization should reflect when during a topic debate they are given. Earlier pro speeches (especially authorships or sponsorships) should explain what problem exists and how the legislation solves for it. Later speeches should develop arguments for or against the legislation. The last speeches on legislation should summarize and recap, reflecting the ideas offered during the debate

3)Exhibit the ability to listen. This is evaluated through argument development and clash

4)Evidence usage. Using evidence that may be used be 'real' legislators is the gold standard. (government reports or scholarly think tanks or other policy works. Academic-ish sources (JSTOR, NYRbooks, etc) are next. Professional news sources are in the middle. News sources which rely on 'free' freelancers are below that. Ideological websites without scholarly fare are at the bottom. For example, Brookings or Manhattan Institute, yes! Outside the box can be fine. If a topic on the military is on the docket, 'warontherocks.com ', yes. (though site the author and credentials. in such cases)

4b) Souce usage corresponds to the type of argument being backed. 'Expert' evidence is more important with 'detailed' legislation than with more birds-eye changes to the law.

5)exhibit the ability to use CX effectively - This DOES NOT mean 'stumping the chump' it DOES mean setting up arguments for you or a colleague to expand upon a speech later. Asking a question where the speaker's answer is irrelevant to you- - or your colleagues'- ability to do so later is the gold standard.

6)PO's should be transparent, expeditious, accurate and fair in their handling of the chamber.

6b)At local tournaments, 'new PO's will not be penalized (or rewarded) for still developing the ability to be expeditious. That skill shall be evaluated as radio silence (neither for, nor against you)- Give it a try!

To Access worse ranks

1) Act like a rude, arrogant, condescending, ignoramus. (or just one of these)

In other words, making offensive arguments, 'ist' arguments or behaving like a jerk - If you have to ask, chances are you shouldn't. "if it looks like a duck, and sounds like a duck, chances are it IS a duck." (Being racist or sexist or homophobic means one loses regardless, but behaving like a jerk in a non-'ist' way still means y I'll look for a reason to rank you at the very bottom of the chamber, behind the person who spent the entire session practicing their origami while engaged in silent self-hypnosis.

2)If among any speaker other than the author and first opposition, rehashing arguments that have already been made with no further development (no matter how well internally argued or supported with evidence your speech happens to be backed with)

3)Avoiding engaging with the ideas of others in the chamber- either in terms of clashing with them directly or expanding upon ideas already made

4)Evidence usage. Using evidence that may not be used be 'real' legislators is the gilded standard. Examples include blatantly ideological sources, websites that don't pay their contributors, etc. This is especially true if a technical subject is the focus of the debate.

4b)In general, using out of date evidence. The more immediate a problem the more recent evidence should be. Quoting Millard Fillmore on immigration reform should not more be done than quoting evidence from the Bush or even the Obama Administration. (That said if arguing on the level of ideas, by all means, synthesize important thinkers into your arguments)

5) Avoiding activity such as cross-examination

5b)'Stalling' when being CXed by asking clarification for simple questions

6)Act like someone uninterested in knowledge or intellectual hard work and is proud of that lack of interest

7)POs who show favoritism or repeatedly make errors.

What (may) make a rank or two of positive difference

Be kind/professional towards those less experienced or skilled. i.e. , make their arguments sound better than they probably are, make your own arguments accessible to them, organize the disorganized ideas of others, etc. while avoiding being condescending. Be inclusive during rules, etc. of those from new congress schools or are lone wolves.

If clearly outclassed, stay engaged, and professional. Try to avoid being visibly frustrated. We have all been there! You will absolutely get this eventually. (Plus, you never know- you may make the 'golden ticket argument ' to ranking high without knowing it...)

If I think you have done either of these, it will often positively influence your rank.

LD Paradigm is here first, followed by Policy and then PF at the bottom (though much of LD applies to PF and nowadays even policy where appropriate)- Worlds is at VERY end.

For outrounds and flip rounds, please especially note section marked 'outrounds' at end

LD Debate

Shorter Version (in progress) (if you want to run some of these, see the labeled sections for most of them, following)

-Defaults to voting criterion.

-Theory-will not vote on fairness or disclosure. See below for note regarding Arlington HS specifically.

-Education theory OK but if frivolous RVIs encouraged.I will almost always vote on reasonability.

--Will not vote on generic skepticism. May vote on resolution-specific skepticism

-Blips in constructive speeches blown up large in 1NR or 2AR are weighed as blips in my decision calculus

-It is highly unlikely I shall vote on tricks or award higher speaker points for tricks-oriented debaters

-No 'kicking' out of arguments unless the opponent agrees with said kicking. "You broke the argument, you own it."

-Critical arguments are fine and held to same analytical standard as normative arguments

-Policy approaches (plans/CPs/DAs) are fine. They are held to same prima facie burdens as in actual CX rounds- That also means if you want me to be a policy-maker, your evidence better be recent. If you don't know what I mean by 'prima facie burdens as in actual CX rounds' you should opt for a different strategy.

-Narratives are fine and should provide a rhetorical model for me to use to evaluate approach.

As I believe debate is an ORAL communication activity (albeit one often with highly specialized vocabulary and speed) I (with courtesy) I do not wish to be added to any 'speech document ' for debates taking place in the flesh or virtually. I will be pleased to read speech documents for any written debate contests I may happen to judge.

Role of ballot - See labeled section below- Too nuanced to have a short version

To Access higher speaker points...

Be kind/professional towards those less experienced or skilled. i.e. , make their arguments sound better than they probably are, make your own arguments accessible to them, organize the disorganized ideas of opponents, etc. while avoiding being condescending.

If clearly outclassed, stay engaged and professional. Try to avoid being visibly frustrated. We have all been there! You will absolutely get this eventually. (Plus, you never know- you may make the 'golden ticket argument ' to winning the round without knowing it...)

If I think you have done either of these, it will always result in bonus speaker points.


-Engage with your opponent's ideas. Clash with them directly, prove them wrong, demonstrate they are actually reasons to vote for you, etc., or at least of lesser importance,

exhibit the ability to listen.(see below for how I evaluate this)

exhibit the ability to use CX effectively (CX during prep time does not do so)

To Access lower speaker points

1) Act like a rude, arrogant, condescending, ignoramus. (or just one of these)

In other words, making offensive arguments, 'ist' arguments or behaving like a jerk - If you have to ask, chances are you shouldn't. "if it looks like a duck, and sounds like a duck, chances are it IS a duck." (Being racist or sexist or homophobic means one loses regardless, but behaving like a jerk in a non-'ist' way still means you lose speaker points and if offensive enough I'll look for a reason to vote against you.

2)have your coach fight your battles for you- When your coach browbeats your opponents to disclose or flip- or keeps you from arriving to your round in a timely fashion, it subliminally promotes your role as one in which you let your coach do your advocacy and thinking for you.

3)Avoid engaging with your opponent's ideas. Avoiding engaging through reliance on definitions, tricks, etc., or other methods may win you my ballots, but will earn lower speaker points.

4)Act like someone uninterested in knowledge or intellectual hard work and is proud of that lack of interest. Running theory as a default strategy is a most excellent way of doing so, and in public at that.-- (But there are other ways).

Longer Version

1)The voting standard is the most important judging tool to me in the round. Whatever else you do or say, weighing how the different arguments impact COMPARATIVELY to the voting standard is paramount.

I strongly prefer debaters to focus on the resolution proper, as defined by the topic literature. I tend to be really, REALLY bored by debaters who spend the bulk of their time on framework issues and/or theory as opposed to topical debating.

By contrast, I am very much interested in how philosophical and ethical arguments are applied to contemporary challenges, as framed by the resolution.

You can certainly be creative, which shall be rewarded when on-topic. Indeed, having a good command of the topic literature is a good way to be both.

My speaker points to an extent reflect my level of interest.

2) I evaluate a debater's ENTIRE skill set when assigning speaker points, including the ability to listen. See below for how I assess that ability.

3)One can use alternative approaches to traditional ones in LD in front of me. I am receptive to narratives, plans, kritiks, the role of the ballot to fight structural oppression, etc. But these should be grounded in the specific topic literature- This includes describing why the specific resolution being debated undermines the fight against oppressive norms.

4) I am NOT receptive to generic 'debate is bad' arguments. Wrong forum.

5) Specifics of my view of policy, critical, performance, etc. cases are at the bottom if you wish to skip to that.


I will not vote on...

a)Fairness arguments, period. They will be treated as radio silence. - See famed debate judge Marvin the Paranoid Android's (which I find optimistic) paradigm on this in 'The Debate Judges Guide to the Galaxy.' by Douglas Adams.

"The first ten million (fairness arguments) were the worst. And the second ten million: they were the worst, too. The third ten million I didn’t enjoy at all. After that, their quality went into a bit of a decline.”

Fairness debating sounds like this to me.(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFvujknrBuE)

And complaints about having to affirm makes the arguer look and sound like this from 'Puddles Pity Party'

Instead, tell me why the perceived violation is a poor way to evaluate the truth of the resolution, not that it puts you in a poor position to win.

b) I will not vote on disclosure theory, it shall be treated as radio silence. I have assisted a little with Arlington High. Arlington High by team consensus does not permit its' members to disclose except at tournaments where it is specified as required to participate by tournament invitation. I find the idea that disclosure is needed to avoid 'surprises' or have. a quality debate to be unlikely.

c) I will vote on education theory. However, I am actively favorable to RVIs when run in response to 'cheap' , 'throw-away' , generic, or 'canned' education theory. Topic only focused, please.

d)Shells are not always necessary (or even usually). if an opponent's position is truly bollocks ten seconds explaining why is a better approach in front of me than a two or three minute theory shell

e) I am highly unlikely to vote on arguments that center on an extreme or very narrow framing of the resolution no matter how much framework you do- and 100% unlikely based on a half or full sentence blurb.-

'Extreme' in this context means marginally related to the literature (or a really small subset of it)


I believe that debaters indicate through analysis and time management what their key arguments are. Therefore, a one-sentence idea in case, if used as a major voting issue in rebuttals, will receive 'one sentence worth' of weight in my RFD. even if the idea was dropped cold. That's not no weight at all. But it ain't uranium either.

Simply extending drops and cards is insufficient, be sure to connect to the voting standard and explain the argument sufficiently. I do cut the Aff a little more leeway in this regard than the neg due to time limitations, but be careful.


1) On sharing cases and evidence,

Please note: The below does not apply to the reading of evidence cards, nor does it apply to people with applicable IEPs, 504s or are second language learners.

1) I believe that listening is an essential debate skill. In those cases where speed and jargon are used, they are still being used within a particular oral communication framework, even if it is one unique to debate. It makes no sense to me to speak our cases to one another (and the judge), while our opponent reads the text afterwards (even more so as the case is read) and then orally respond to what was written down (or for the judge to vote on what was written down). If that is the norm, we could just stay home and email each other our cases.

In the round, this functions as my awarding higher speaker points to good listeners. Asking for the text of entire cases demonstrates you are still developing the ability to listen and/or the ability to process what you heard. That's OK, this is an educational activity, but a still developing listener wouldn't earn higher speaker points for the same reason someone with developing refutation skills wouldn't earn higher speaking points. My advice is to work on the ability to process what you have heard rather than ask for cases or briefs.

As I believe that act of orally speaking should not be limited to being an anthropological vestige of some ancient debate ritual, I will courteously turn down offers to be added to any speech documents, except at contests designed for such a purpose.

Asking for individual cards by name to examine their rhetoric, context etc, is acceptable, as I don't expect most debaters to be able to write down cards verbatim. I expect those cards to be made available immediately. Any time spent 'jumping' the cards to an opponent beyond minimal is taken off the prep time of the debater that just read the case.

I will most likely only ask for cards at the round's end in the case of ethical challenges, etc, or if I failed to make note of a card's substance through some reason beyond a debater's control (My own sneezing fit for example, or the host school's band playing '76 Trombones on the Hit Parade' in the classroom next door during the 1AC)-

On Non Debater authored Cases

I believe two of the most valuable skills in debate, along with the ability to listen, are the ability to write and research (and do both efficiently).

I further believe the tendency of some in the debate community to encourage students to become a ventriloquist's dummy, reading cases authored by individuals post-HS, is antithetical to developing these skills. Most likely it is also against most schools' academic code of conduct. I reject the idea that students are 'too busy to write their own cases and do their own research'


I will drop debaters -with minimal speaker points- who run cases written by any individual not enrolled in high school.

In novice or JV rounds I will drop debaters who run cases written by a varsity teammate.

Further, if I suspect, given that debater's level of competence, that they are running a position they did not write ( I suspect they have little to no comprehension of what they are reading) I reserve the right to question them after the round about that position. If said person confirms my suspicion about their level of comprehension, they will be dropped by me with minimal speaker points.

THAT SAID my speaker points will reward debaters who are trying out new ideas which they don't completely understand yet- I think people should take risks, just don't let yourself be shortchanged of all that debate can be by letting some non-high school student - or more experienced teammate- write your ideas for you. Don't be Charlie McCarthy (or Mortimer Snerd for that matter)

Finally, I am not opposed to student-written team cases/briefs per sae. However, given the increasing number of cases written by non-students, and the difficulty I have in distinguishing those from student-written positions, I may eventually apply this stance to any case I hear for the second time (or more) at a tournament. That day has not yet arrived however.


I am open to persons who wish to argue policy positions as opposed to voting standard If that framework is won.

Do keep in mind that I believe the time structure of LD makes running such strategies a challenge. I find many policy link stories in LD debate, even in late outrounds at TOC-qual tournaments, to be JVish at best. Opponents, don't be afraid to say so.

Disadvantages should have clear linkage to the terminal impact, the shorter the better. When responding, it is highly advantageous to respond to the links. I tend to find the "if there is a .01% chance of extinction happening you have to vote for me" to be silly at best if there is any sort of probability weighing placed against it.

Policy-style debaters assume all burdens that actual policy debaters have, That means if solvency -(or at least some sort of comparative advantage, inherency, etc. is not prima facie shown for the resolution proper, that debater loses even if the opponent does not actually give a response while drooling on their own cardigan. (or yours, for that matter).

That means if you want me to be a policy-maker, your evidence should be super-recent. Otherwise, I may decide you don't meet your prima facie burdens, even for 'inherency' which virtually nobody votes on ever. Why? The same reason one shouldn't read a politics DA from October 2018 or October 2016 evidence.

Side note: If your OPPONENT does so, please be sure to all call them out on it in order to demonstrate CX or refutation skills. (I once heard someone ignore the fact a politics DA was being run the Saturday AFTER the election, having taken place the Tuesday prior. I was sad.

I do have some sympathy for the hypothesis-testing paradigm where up-to-date evidence is not always as necessary- if you sell me on it. Running older evidence under such a framework may or may not be strategic, but it WOULD meet prima facie burdens.

If you don't know what I mean by 'prima facie burdens', or 'hypothesis-testing' you should opt for a different strategy. - Do learn what these terms mean if interested in LARPing, or answering LARPers.

I am also actively disinclined to allow the negative to 'kick out' out of counterplans, etc., in face of an Aff challenge, during the 1NR. Think 'Pottery Barn'- to paraphrase Colin Powell- "You broke the argument, you own it."


In addition to the 'story', be sure to include a rhetorical model I can use to evaluate the narrative in the course of the round. if you do so effectively, speaker points will be high. If not, low.

One can access the power of narrative arguments without being appropriative of other cultures. This is one such approach (granted from a documentary on Diane Nash)


I hold them to the same analytical standard as more normative or traditional arguments. That means quoting some opaque piece of writing is unlikely to score much emphasis with me, absent a complete drop by the opponent. And even if there is a complete drop, during the weighing stage I could easily be persuaded that the critical argument is of little worth in adjudicating the round. When debating critical theory, Don't be afraid to point out that "the emperor has no clothes."

In the round, this functions as debaters coherently planning what both they and their sources are being critical of, and doing so throughout the round.

Identifying if the 'problem' is due to a deliberate attempt to oppress or ignorant/incompetent policies/structures resulting in oppression likely add nuance to your argument, both in terms of introducing and responding to critical arguments. This is especially true if making a generic critical argument rather than one that is resolution-specific.

Critical arguments all take place in a context, with the authors reacting to some structure- be it one created and run by 'dead white men' or whomever. The authors most certainly were familiar with whom or what they were attacking. To earn the highest speaker points, you should demonstrate some level of that knowledge too. HOW you do so may vary, your speaker points will reflect how well you perform under the strategy you choose and carry out in the round

In any case be sure to SLOW DOWN when reading critical arguments.


I believe that debate, and the type of people it attracts, are uniquely superior opportunities to develop the skills required to fight oppression. I also believe that how I vote in some prelim at a tournament is unlikely to make much of a difference- or less so than if the debaters and judge spent their Saturday volunteering for a group fighting out-of-the-round oppression Or even singing, as they do in arguably the best scene from the best American movie ever.

I tend to take the arguments more seriously when made in out rounds with audiences. In fairness, people may see prelims as the place to learn how to make these arguments, which is to be commended. But it is not guaranteed that I take an experienced debater making such arguments in prelims as seriously, without a well-articulated reason to do so.

Also bear in mind that my perspective is that of a social studies teacher with a MA in Middle Eastern history and a liberal arts education who is at least tolerably familiar with the literature often referenced in these rounds. (If sometimes only in a 'book review' kind of way.) But I also default in my personal politics to feeling that a bird in hand is better than exposing the oppression of the bush.

if simply invited or encouraged to think about the implications of your position, or to take individual action to do so, that is a wild card that may lead to a vote in your favor- or may not. I feel obligated to use my personal knowledge in such rounds. YOU are encouraged to discuss the efficacy of rhetorical movements and strategies in such cases.


Honestly, I am more than a little uncomfortable with debaters from privileged backgrounds running race-based nihilist or pessimist arguments of which they have no historical part. Granted, this is partly because I believe that it is in the economic self-interest of entrenched powers to propagate nihilist views. If you choose to do so, you can win my ballot, but you will have to prove it won't result in some tangible benefit to people of privilege.


Offensive debaters, such as those who actively call for genocide will be dropped with minimal speaker points. The same is true for those who are blatantly racist, sexist, homophobic, etc.

I default to skepticism being in the same category when used as a response to 'X is morally bad' types of arguments.

By minimal speaker points, I mean 'one point' (.1 if the tournament allows tenths of a point) and my going to the physical tabroom to insist they manually override any minimum in place in the settings.

If an argument not intended to be racist or sexist or pro-murder could be misused to justify the same, that would be debatable in the round- though be reasonable. "if it looks like a duck, and sounds like a duck, chances are it IS a duck." Arguing over if general U.S. immigration is irredeemably racist is debatable in the round, arguing that an entire group of people should be excluded based on religion is racist on face, and arguing that it is morally acceptable (or even amoral) to tear gas children is a moral travesty in and of itself.

Outrounds/Flip Rounds Only

I believe debate offers a unique platform for debaters to work towards becoming self-sufficient learners, independent decision-makers, and autonomous advocates. I believe that side determination with a lead time for the purposes of receiving side specific coaching particular to a given round is detrimental to debaters developing said skills. Further, it competitively disadvantages both debaters who do choose to emphasize such skills or do not have access to such coaching to start with.

Barring specific tournament rules to the contrary, in elimination rounds this functions as

a) flip upon arrival to the round.

b)avoid leaving the room after the coin flip (i.e., please go to the restroom, etc. before arriving at the room and before the flip)

c) arrive in sufficient time to the round to flip and do all desired preparation WITHOUT LEAVING THE ROOM so that the round can start on time.

d)All restrictions on electronic communication commence when the coin is in the air

Doing all of this establishes perceptual dominance in my mind. All judges, even those who claim to be blank slates, subliminally take perceptual dominance into account on some level. -Hence their 'preferences'. For me, all other matters being equal, I am more likely to 'believe' the round story given by a debater who exhibits these skills.

Most importantly

Have fun! Learn! "If you have fun and are learning, the winning will take care of itself"

POLICY Paradigm-

In absence of a reason not to do so, I default to policy-maker (though I do have some sympathy for hypothesis-testing).

The above largely holds for my policy judging, though I am not as draconically anti-theory in policy as I am in LD because the time structure allows for bad theory to be exposed in a way not feasible in LD.


I've judged it and coached it since the creation.

I default to voting on the whole resolution. I vote for whichever side shows it is preponderantly more desirable That may include scope, impact, probability, etc.

Most of what I say under Lincoln-Douglas applies here, regarding substance as well as theory/and Ks. The differences OR key points are as follows.

1) I judge PF as an educated layperson- i.e. one who reads the paper but doesn't know the technicalities of debate lingo.

As such your 'extend this" and "pull that" confuse me for the purposes of the round - I will ignore debate lingo unless you explain the argument itself.

1b) This is true for LD, but is worth noting again. I shall ignore 'theory' arguments completely (in PF, I will also ignore 'education' theory arguments, as well as 'fairness'-- Frame those arguments in terms of substance if you opt to make them). Theory arguments such shall be treated as radio silence on my flow. I will default to thinking you are uninterested in doing the work necessary to understand the topic, and that you are publicly announcing you are proud of being ignorant. If someone's opponent is prima facie unfair or uneducational, say so without running a 'shell'.

I will evaluate K's solely when based on the topic literature.

Your rate of delivery should be appropriate to the types of arguments you are making.

2)Stand during the cross-fire times. This adds to your perceptual dominance.

3) Offer and justify some sort of standard I can use to weigh competing arguments.

4) On Evidence...

--a)Evidence should be fully explained with analysis. Evidence without analysis isn't persuasive to me. (the best evidence will have analysis as well, which is the gold standard- but you should add your own linking to the round itself and the resolution proper).

4b) In order to earn higher speaker points, I expect evidence use to adhere to the full context being used and accessible. This doesn't mean you can't paraphrase when appropriate, it does mean reciting a single sentence or two and/or taking excessive time when asked to produce the source means you are still developing your evidence usage ability. Of course, using evidence in context (be it a full card or proper paraphrasing-) is expected Note #6 below.

You will also want to make note of the 'earn higher speaker points' in the LD section above, it also applies in PF.

--Quantitative claims always require evidence, the more recent the better.

--Qualitative claims DO NOT always require evidence, that depends on the specific claim.

-5)-Be comparative when addressing competing claims. The best analytical evidence compares claims directly within itself.

-6)Produce requested evidence in an expeditious fashion- Failure to do so comes of YOUR prep time, and eventually next speech time. Since such failure demonstrates that organizational skills are still being developed, it also means lower speaker points are likely to be earned.

'Expeditious' means within ten seconds or so, unless the tournament invitation mandates a different period of time

-7)-Blips in constructive speeches blown up large in summary or final focus are weighed as blips in my decision calculus

8)No 'kicking' out of arguments unless the opponent agrees with said kicking. "You broke the argument, you own it."

9) I will most likely only ask for cards at the round's end in the case of ethical challenges, etc, or if I failed to make note of a card's substance through some reason beyond a debater's control (My own sneezing fit for example, or the host school's band playing '76 Trombones on the Hit Parade' in the classroom next door during a speech.

10) What I have to say elsewhere in this document about how to access higher speaker points and how to earn super low points by being offensive also applies to PF.

Most Importantly- as with any event " Have fun! "If you are learning and having fun, the winning shall take care of itself."

Worlds 2019

First, Congrats on being here. Well earned. One piece of advice- Before starting your speaking in your rounds here in Dallas, take a moment while in front of the room to fix the memory in your mind. It is a memory well-worth keeping.

I have judged at the NSDA Worlds Invitational since 2015 with the exception of one year. I judged at the Harvard Worlds tournament one year and competed in Parli in college

While I am well-experienced in other forms of debate (and I bloviate about that quite a bit below) for this tournament I shall reward teams which

-Center case around a core thesis with supporting substantial arguments and examples. (The thesis may- and often will- evolve during the course of the round)

-Refutation -(especially in later speeches) integrates all arguments make by one's own side and by the opposition into a said thesis

--Weighs key voters. Definitions and other methods should be explicit

Effectively shared rhetorical 'vehicles' between speakers adds to your ethos and ideally logos.

---Blips in constructive speeches blown up large in later speeches are weighed as blips in my decision calculus

--Even succinct POIs can advance argumentation

-Avoid using counterintuitive arguments.(often popular in LD/PF/CX) If you think an argument could be perceived as counterintuitive when it is not, just walk me through that argumentation.

Debate lingo such as 'extend this" and "pull that" confuse me for the purposes of the round - I will ignore debate lingo unless you explain the argument itself.

--Use breadth as well as depth when it comes to case construction (that usually means international examples as well as US-centric, and may also mean examples from throughout the liberal arts- science, literature, history, etc.- When appropriate and unforced.

If a model is offered, I believe 'fiat' of the legislative (or whatever) action is a given so time spent debating otherwise shall be treated as radio silence. However, mindsets or utopia cannot be 'fiat-ed'.

To earn higher speaker points and make me WANT to vote for you-

-Engage with your opponent's ideas for higher speaker points. Avoiding engaging through reliance on definitions or other methods may win you my ballots, but will earn lower speaker points. (This DOES NOT mean going deep into a line by line, it does mean engaging with the claim and the warrant)

Be kind/professional towards those less experienced or skilled. i.e. , make their arguments sound better than they probably are, make your own arguments accessible to them, organize the disorganized ideas of opponents, etc. while avoiding being condescending.

If clearly outclassed, stay engaged and professional. Try to avoid being visibly frustrated. We have all been there! You will absolutely get this eventually. (plus, you never know- you may make the 'golden ticket argument ' to winning the round without knowing it...)

If I think you have done these, it will always result in bonus speaker points.

and needless to say, I'm sure Offensive debaters, such as those who actively call for genocide will be dropped with minimal speaker points. The same is true for those who are blatantly racist, sexist, homophobic, etc.

If an argument not intended to be racist or sexist or pro-murder could be misused to justify the same, that would be debatable in the round- though be reasonable. "if it looks like a duck, and sounds like a duck, chances are it IS a duck." Arguing over if general U.S. immigration is irredeemably racist is debatable in the round, arguing that an entire group of people should be excluded based on religion is racist on face, and arguing that it is morally acceptable (or even amoral) to tear gas children is a moral travesty in and of itself.

Again, congratulations on being here in Dallas! You have earned this, learn, have fun, make positive memories...

Ellis Wong Paradigm

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Joshua Wurzman Paradigm

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Julia Xie Paradigm

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Andrew Yang Paradigm

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Ming Ying Paradigm

Did you know?


When hippos are upset, their sweat turns red.



Now you know! Have a great round and go team!

Qin Yu Paradigm

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maria cue Paradigm

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mitchell mullen Paradigm

i do deb8

carol rose Paradigm

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