Golden Desert Debate Tournament at UNLV

2017 — NV/US

Tommy Zammir Abraham Paradigm

Not Submitted

Tim Alderete Paradigm

1 rounds

Judging Philosophy - Tim Alderete -The Meadows School -

Time before a round is Limited - you usually can't read the Whole Philosophy -the first part is the Short Version, the second part is if you have time to read it all.

First Part - Short / Pre Round Version

-"If nobody hates you, you are doing something wrong." - Dr. House

-I do want to be on the email chain -
-I have a minimum standard for coherence of arguments or evidence. This probably means you think I’m “Interventionist.”
-I am not the best judge for Bad Theory. This is the area where my “minimum standard” gets used the most.
-I don’t inflate speaker points. To offset my low speaker point range, I offer incentives for flowing and sharing documents.
-I have often voted for kritikal affirmative and negative arguments
-I "can handle" your "speed" and I will call "Clearer" if you are unclear.
-I will vote on Defensive arguments.
-Prep time ends when you hit Send on the Email or hand over the USB.
-(Never thought I would have to state this in my philosophy...) Misrepresenting the context of evidence is cheating and can result in (up to) the loss of the round and points.

Second Part - Longer Version

Initially - I don't think that many people describe accurately how they judge. This is how I think I judge, but it is always better to ask Other people how I judge - they may have more accurate information.

Speaker Points – My speaker point range: 26 (Bad), 27 (Decent), 27.5 (Pretty Good), 28.0 (Very Good), 28.5 (Outstanding). 29.0 and above are saved for the most exceptional speakers – I have only given 3 people over a natural 29.0 in the last five years. I recognize that this range is lower than many judges. My Reason for my range is based upon my 28 years judging well over 4000 rounds at the high school and college levels – I am probably harder to impress than most judges. I have thought about changing my range, but I have chosen not to inflate speaker points, for the same reason that I chose not to inflate grades – it gives me no way to rate truly exceptional debaters, and doesn’t let fair to middling debaters know that they need to improve.

However, I Have chosen to augment points with incentives. If you keep a good flow, and show it to me after the round, I will give you up to an additional speaker point if I agree that it is a good flow. I do this to encourage flowing and organization. If you do not steal Any prep time during the debate and practice good USB/Paperless norms, I will give you up to .5 more. Remember that once I have entered my E-Ballot online, I cannot change your points, so you must Ask before I turn the ballot in.

The Theory – Good theory arguments are essential to prevent abusive practices by teams. Good theory is one aspect of debate that makes our activity unique, because it gives students a sense of empowerment as they control the rules of the game. Theory arguments are sometimes your only option – your “Plan B” – and I respect debaters who recognize and utilize their most strategic options. Bad Theory arguments make it harder for me to take Good Theory arguments seriously, because if everything is a voting issue, then nothing is. I think that currently, Bad Theory is drowning out Good Theory. I admit that there is no precise line or list dividing the two, and I won’t “Automatically Intervene” against arguments that I think are Bad, and I Often vote against my “defaults” or “preferences” on Theory. I will Try to take your Theory arguments as seriously as you do, but at a fundamental level, It is Harder to Convince me of a Dumb argument than a Good argument.

For the most part, debaters do a bad job of justifying that arguments are a reason to vote against a debater, rather than to drop an argument. Debaters too often conflate “Bad Debate Practice” with “Abusive Practices.” Too often, debaters focus on comparing fairness and education as terminal impacts, rather than focusing on the Link Magnitude and Probability of your theory arguments. Too often people overcommit, or go all-in, on theory too early in the debate. I believe that good theory can/should drown out Bad theory. Because that is such an imprecise line, I will try to give you some examples, so that you can see what my proclivities are:

Bad Theory –
Affirmative Framework Choice – this, Literally, Argues that Argument is Bad
“No Solvency Advocate = You Lose” – this is a solvency press, not a theory argument.
“PICs must have one card which advocates the Action it takes and Advocates Not taking the Action it PICs out of” – like above, but Waaay more silly.
“I cannot turn your theory argument, so you lose.” – Fundamental misunderstanding of how arguments work.
“Topicality is a Reverse Voting Issue” – No, it isn’t.
“You lose because you put your Role of the Ballot on the Bottom, not the Top, of the AC.” – Stunning.

"You said no reverse voting issues. That's a reverse voting issue." I'm speechless...
“You lose because you ran both theoretical and substantive justifications for your framework” – Really?!
“You didn’t number your Spikes = You lose.” – Strike me. Seriously.

Good Theory –
Whole Resolution / Plans Bad
Truth Testing vs Competing Worlds
Role Playing Policymakers vs Discourse
PICs Good/Bad (only run against Counterplans, not against Plans or the Resolution… Just FYI)

Fiat issues (Multiple Actors, International Actors, Contingent Fiat, etc. NOT "No Neg Fiat")

Offense and Defense – Offensive arguments are good because they give you options and they pressure the other debater. Defensive arguments are good because they often are necessary complements to offensive arguments, and because they are often the strongest logical flaws against a position. The idea that Defensive arguments cannot take out a position alone is misguided. "Offense/Defense" is a useful teaching concept but it is often misapplied as a debate argument or comparison, most often on theory. It is not an excuse to avoid responding to Link answers or Violation Answers or Counter standards. I am easier to convince than most judges that there is No Case, No Violation or No Interpretation. I rarely default to "There is always some risk." I evaluate impact calculus After I decide whether you have won an argument, not before (or instead of) it. I do not see "Defensive" arguments as being weaker arguments. An Intelligent Defensive argument is better than a Poor Offensive argument. I am willing to vote on Defensive arguments that take out the entirety of a case or the entirety of a Theory argument. It may be a high Threshold, but there is a Threshold. Again, Examples:

“You did not extend your Impacts – therefore there are no impacts” – this is just a weak press.
“Alternative Causality – they cannot solve all racism in the world” – I don’t believe that was their claim to start with…
“Economic Decline doesn’t cause war” – this is Defensive, but just because it doesn’t cause war doesn’t mean that decline isn’t bad.
“There is no Offensive reason why they Don’t have to number their spikes.” – Defense will probably suffice here.
“Obama won’t lose political capital if Kenya decides to ban oil” vs “There is always a risk of a link” – this has crossed the threshold of No Risk.

Kritiks - Good Kritik debates are some of the best debates that I have judged. They are interesting, creative, demand challenging case specific research, and respond to core issues and assumptions raised by the Affirmative. Bad Kritik debates are some of the worst debates that I have judged. They avoid engaging the debate either through obscure jargon or shallow procedurals, or conflate kritiks with other arguments, or are hopelessly generic, or are about Baudrilliard. I think that kritiks often balance well the philosophical and the political in LD – as such, I think that LD has been “Doing Kritiks” for decades, without calling the arguments kritiks. I think that it is a mistake to conflate all discourse arguments with “Micropolitical Activism” – they are not always synonyms.

Prep Time – LD has not developed norms or practices for sharing paperless evidence. This causes a substantial waste of time, which extends or moots prep time limits. At a minimum, I have these expectations:

-Prep time should end when you hand the USB to the opponent.
-Debaters must provide a USB or Email copy of every card they read to their opponent prior to the speech. Paper copies can be handed to them as they are read.
-Reading over someone’s shoulder is NOT a sufficient substitute – it is a major distraction, interferes with flowing, and it means one person will not be able to use their computer
-The Cases, Disads, frontlines, evidence, etc. must All be in One word document, rather than spread out over multiple documents.
-You may time yourself, but only My time is official.
-Why wouldn't you use Microsoft Word?
-I won't read evidence that isn't shared via USB or email. I realize that some teams have a Policy against sharing evidence. Those teams either already strike me, or should in the future.

Policy – I have coached both Policy and LD – although I have focused on Policy for most years. While I have judged a substantial amount of LD, my judging will always, inevitably, be influenced by my Policy background. Because of that:

-I hold debaters responsible for high quality evidence.
-I am familiar with Counterplan, Kritik and Topicality positions and burdens.
-I “can handle” The Speed.
-I have a lower point range.
-I reward strategic choices, and believe that Diverse Options are good.
-I don’t like Disclosure games – Although Don’t take this to mean I want to hear Disclosure theory…
-I will disclose decisions after the debate. I am not used to disclosing points, but I am not opposed to it.

I am usually loud and long winded when explaining decisions - I am not trying to be mean, just loud. I do enjoy judging a lot, even if I appear intimidating. In general, I will flow pretty much any intelligible speed. I will consider pretty much any intelligent argument.

Kathy Bond Paradigm

6 rounds

Not Submitted

Janet Chamberlain Paradigm

2 rounds

Janet Chamberlain Paradigm


I did policy debate during high school and judged both policy and LD for several years during college.  I haven't judged for 20 years, however, so I will make a reasonable tabula rasa judge if I can understand your speed and jargon.  I hear LD has changed a lot while I've been away.  I will judge the way you argue clearly that I should. 

Abbey Chapman Paradigm

4 rounds

I coach @ Harker. Please start an email chain before the round -

here are some thoughts i have:

0) if the 2nr is split that is rarely a great sign for speaker points

1) i do not think debates where the affirmative does not clarify until the 1ar whether they operate under comparative worlds or truth testing are productive - i will assume a comparative worlds paradigm unless the 1ac justifies otherwise - the 1ar cannot shift to truth-testing without an indication of that interpretive claim in the 1ac.

2) toss me on the email chain:

3) i am not going to vote on an impeachment impact unless you tell me how we get from a 51-49 gop senate to 67 senators voting to remove trump from office - absent that warrant, i will not grant you "impeachment proceedings remove trump from office."

4) miscellaneous, but i do not understand why the aff doesnt get perms in a method debate - never seen a compelling warrant - default assumption on my part is that the aff does and its an uphill battle to convince me otherwise

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

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

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

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

9) i will not vote for a kritik i do not understand

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

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

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

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

just do you i guess, specifics for each event are down below


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

Practices Trigger Warnings

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

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

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

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


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


  • clarity is important for high speaks but more important than how you sound is making strategic decisions in the 2AR/NR;
  • don't go for 6 arguments if one is sufficient to win the round, don't waste time addressing all 4 levels of the debate if you're clearly winning the top 2, don't read unnecessary theory, etc.
  • give a strategic and efficient 1AR,
  • don't go top speed through the 2NR if you don't have to, a slow mastery of the line-by-line is just as if not more impressive than extending every argument on the flow.
  • If any of this is not clear enough for you, feel free to ask before rounds and I'll tell you how my speaks have been distributed at that specific tournament.


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



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

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


if you’re going to read a k make sure you can explain it, your explanation will always be the most important thing. K’s should have an explicit alternative, though what form that takes is up to the debater reading the criticism.
[The best form of kritik also has a topic-specific link, the more specific the better, please don’t read generic kritiks for the hell of it].
you should substantively engage kritiks when answering them, reading a lot of non-responsive arguments and hoping one of them gets dropped is a bad strategy
ask questions if anything is unclear
i really dont understand baudrillard in debate rounds i have tried and i just cant wrap my head around it feel free to try to be the one to change that but it is... an uphill battle


do w/e, i am here for it if you justify it

Skep/permissibility/all your tricky args

i'm not the judge for it


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


  • I default to theory as a question of competing interpretations though I can be persuaded otherwise as long as you clearly warrant/impact out your arguments (this probably means im down with the RVI on c.i. but im very skeptical of the rvi on reasonability (i.e. I assume counter-interps are offensive unless you justify why they're not) )
  • I'm more than happy to listen to 6 minutes of theory in the 2nr, just do it well
  • Make sure your counter-interps are competitive/that your interps actually exclude the position you're reading them against - low threshold for semantic i meet's on poorly worded interpretations
  • Not the judge for Nebel T
  • i will likely be easily compelled by a "debaters should not bracket evidence" argument - i have grown sympathetic to this argument as abuses become increasingly egregious
  • not sure how i feel about 2ar theory but wont rule it out on face

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

Any questions at all, ask before round, and above all, do what you’re most comfortable with, don’t just read something because you think I’ll enjoy it

Renjie Chen Paradigm

2 rounds

Judging Philosophy 

Debate is fun and educational, I strongly believe the learning is much more important than just simply winning a round.  I’m a high tech person in financial industry dealing a lot with sales and lawyers. Usually, I choose winner as the one has more potential to be a successful salesperson or attorney in future based on the following three elements:

  • Framework and Theory: I’m a lay LD judge so I prefer you emailing me the documents prior to the debate. I do give credits for those producing high quality works.
  • Arguments: I like arguments with clear and consistent evidence in CX and rebuttals. Don’t forget I’m a ‘dummy’ to your resolutions. So please tell me why your framework is better than your opponent’s or if your opponent drops something to your case argument.
  • Presentation Skills: respectful, professional, and fun.

 Speak Points: 27 – OK;  28- Good;  29 - Very Good


Stephanie Cozzens Paradigm

6 rounds

Policy: I'm happy judging whatever crazy, creative argument you think you can make me believe (which you will do by providing awesome evidence, links, etc.) BUT you better enunciate those crazy arguments clearly. My number one pet peeve in policy debate is debaters who try to spread but stutter and stumble through their speeches. I can flow as fast as you can speak, but if I can't understand what you're saying, I will say "clear" once or twice, and then simply not flow what I can't understand.

Signpost, give me clear voters, be polite. When a team starts showing contempt for their opponents, I start looking for reasons to vote against them.

And have fun.

Matt Delateur Paradigm

6 rounds

Matt DeLateur
Bellarmine College Prep '12
UC Berkeley '16
Conflicts: Bellarmine College Preparatory, Palo Alto High School, Bay Area Urban Debate League

I debated LD for 4 years in high school and currently coach LD for Bellarmine College Preparatory. I'm open to all argumentation; speed is not an issue. The ultimate guideline behind my decision-making is that I will minimize intervention on the flow as much as possible.

Style Preferences:

Delivery: Speed is not a problem. Clarity is underrated--pauses before and after author names and during theory or analytics are good.

Speaks: Technical skill, strategy, delivery, clarity, and creativity all contribute to speaker points. My speaker points are probably higher than average.

In my view, speaker points are my way to act as an educator without being coercive with the ballot. That means if you run a topic specific plan, counter-plan, cogent D/As, innovative arguments, debate stock arguments in a positional and interesting way (or even-uninterestingly), topic specific or non-topic specific Ks, etc., you need not worry about your argumentative choices influencing your speaker points. If you choose to run any of the following things: hidden a-prioris, generic potential abuse theory shells (this is an arbitrary bright-line--use your gut--if you're running the shell simply to be strategic rather than because there is abuse, you and I probably know it), new 1AR advocacies, or anything else which I feel comfortable saying would significantly diminish the educational potential of the debate round, I reserve the right to influence the shape of the debate community using speaks.

If this seems unfair/mean to you or if any of the things I listed above that I don't like compose crucial parts of your strategy, please strike me. Otherwise, I like to think that if we agree on the above discussion of what creates an educational activity, we'll get along just fine.

LD Argumentative Preferences:

Framework: Most LD rounds and every LD resolution breaks down to competing value frameworks. As such, the easiest way to access my ballot is to either a) be very interactive and clash directly with the internal warrants of your opponent's differing system for evaluating what is important in the round, then establish yourself as the sole person with offense to the standard or b) concede the framework but uphold your burden to be comparative through really good weighing. Weighing and offense are key. I will evaluate truth-testing if it is argued for, but I default comparative worlds.
Edit 11/5/13: Recent framework debates are narrowing towards two frameworks that are meant to preclude "all other standards" for a bunch of varying reasons. Those reasons may be completely sound and valid. However, a poor debater will simply extend the number 3 or number 4 reason the standard comes first. A skilled debater will rather extend the number 3 or number 4 reason the standard comes first, but also compare the competing claims to priority that the other debater has made for their preclusive standard. I find debaters making this analysis is very productive insofar as it minimizes my intervention. Choosing between two standards that claim to "come first" without any comparison proves relatively difficult for a judge to remain neutral.

A-prioris: I don't necessarily find these arguments inherently bad in themselves. For me to vote on them, you need to 1) Win Truth-testing, or impact the implication of the a-priori to a comparative world 2) Win the a-priori. However, for me not to tank your speaks, you need to 1) clearly impact any a-prioris in your constructive speech, meaning that argument must be labeled as an independent reason to vote for you 2) Be absolutely clear and cogent if questioned about the implication/function of these arguments in cross-examination. Failure to do either of the above conditions will not cause me to vote against you, but I will exercise my subjective control over speaks as I see fit. If you meet the above two, I have absolutely no problem voting on these arguments.

Kritiks: I'm well versed in critical literature and by the end of my time in high school I was primarily a critical debater. Feel free to run anything you want. Be sure to understand your case though--nothing is worse than someone completely bastardizing an argument because they a) didn't cut it b) didn't understand it

Theory: I find theory uninteresting. That being said, it isn't my role to tell you how you spend your weekends. I will listen to any theory argument. I default competing interpretations. My thinking on RVIs has changed a touch, I tend to think that if the debater who initiates theory chooses to make theory drop the debater, theory should be an RVI. If theory is drop the argument, theory is not an RVI. If you make this argument, I will be very receptive to it.

Being blatantly offensive (rape good, racism good, patriarchy good) will earn 0 speaker points and a loss. Debate should be an inclusive and safe environment.

Jonathan Diehl Paradigm

4 rounds

I debated for four years throughout high school. I have a background in LD, PF, and Policy, thus I can follow whatever you decide to throw at me.

What I look for:

  • Strong framework -at the least have definitions and a weighing mechanism for the round.
  • Clash - don't just ignore your opponents case.
  • Evidence to back up argumentation.
  • Articulate your point -you can go as fast as you want as long as I can understand you. 
  • Cross ex questions/answers will not factor into my decision unless they are brought up during speeches.
  • Be civil. 

What I dislike:

  • Attacking your opponent as a person or otherwise acting like a jerk. 

Of note:

  • I allow flux prep.
  • Low-point wins are possible.

Robert Evans Paradigm

4 rounds

Green Valley High School- Nevada

            2 Years Lincoln Douglas

            2 Years Public Forum


Lincoln Douglas


I did LD for two years of my high school career.


Speed: I do not mind speed but please be clear, If I cannot understand you; I will not flow you.


Framework: Highly important, state points clearly.


Cross-X: I do not flow cross-x, but I do pay attention to what happens. That is time for you to figure out and exploit weaknesses in your opponent’s case. If something important pops up during that time, tell me during your speeches.


Other things: One thing that I judge the most off of is the warrants offered during the round. Give me concrete and clear reasons why you either won an argument or the round (if you feel the need to say it).


I do allow flex prep, but do not abuse it.


Do not attack your opponent as a person, that’s just being a jerk. Clash with your opponent should be clear, civil, and well warranted.



Actually follow/adjust to a paradigm. That's why they are there.


Any other questions, feel free to ask me.



Have fun!

Donald Fagan Paradigm

6 rounds

I did 2 years of policy debate at UNLV. tldr: I'm straightforward as a judge and don't have any outlandish standards I will hold you to.

You are fine reading whatever you are the most comfortable with in front of me. I think that there can be value in most any type of debate and will do my best to properly adjudicate who won no matter what style the debaters may choose, whether that be through policy arguments or kritikal arguments. I don't think there are any teams that shouldn't pref me based off of the arguments they prefer to read.

If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email.

Email chain: donaldtfagan[at]gmail[dot]com

Other things:

I am likely to type the entirety of the debate in an Excel sheet.

I lean Tech > Truth

No new 2AR args. If I can't find the arg in the 1AR, I'm not voting on it.

If you're unclear, I will call clear a reasonable amount of times. If you're still unclear after that, I will stop flowing until you clear up. Slowing down a bit on analytics and making a distinction once you reach tags/authors also doesn't hurt.

I think dropped arguments are true arguments, but make sure your extensions still contain properly warranted analysis. If your argument is incomplete/undeveloped/low quality or very blippy, don't expect me to vote on it.

I like line by line line.

Generic engagement with the kritik is not preferred.

Framework/Topicality against the K:

Go for it. I need you to articulate why your fairness/predictability/limits/education/etc. matters and why your model of debate is better at producing these things. I think that fairness can be an impact, but I also think it is strategic to use fairness as an internal link to education. You still obviously must win a reason why fairness is good and why it is more important than what the aff is claiming is important.

K Affs:

Sure. Just make sure there's sufficient explanation of your arguments and that your articulations are clear - don't make rampant assertions without warrants or assume I know what you're talking about even if it seems apparent that I'm familiar with your literature.


Go for it. Make sure your links are contextualized to the affirmative. Also, same thing goes for explanation as described in the K aff portion above.


Make sure to use impact calc. I'd like for there to be comparative analysis between the impacts and a well developed, logical story. That means strong work on the link and internal link levels of your DA.


Make sure counterplans are competitive. I'd prefer to only hear cp theory args when there is an obvious or reasonable obfuscation of aff ground.


I will be about normal with speaks in most cases. Formalities aren't important to me, but if you do something egregious such as deciding to read blatantly racist/sexist/similar args or are excessively terrible in some other way I will give you low speaks and likely drop you as well. I probably won't be flowing cross-ex, but it will influence your speaks.

29.5+ - One of the best speakers I expect to see all year.

29.0-29.4 - Among the better debaters at this tourney, had an impressive debate with no glaring errors.

28.7-28.9 - You were proficient/pretty good.

28.0-28.6 - You still need some work to get to the next level.

Significantly below 28.0 - something went horribly wrong.

Bumps - make me laugh and I'll have a better subconscious perception of you and probably give you a slight bump in speaks. However, if you're not funny don't try to be because if I'm forced to cringe it's an uncomfortable situation for everybody.


Conditionality - I probably lean neg on the question of conditionality. However, if you legitimately feel that there has been a violation of your ability to properly compete with the negative then I may feel the same way and will treat your args like any other. If the neg is only reading one conditional argument or something of the sort, I am unlikely to consider that a significant violation of aff ground.

Sean Fahey Paradigm

6 rounds

idk what happened but tabroom deleted my paradigm so here is my old one from 2018 (most recent one i had saved) until i rewrite it *heavy sigh*

Benjamin Franklin ‘16, Tulane ‘20
Current Conflicts: The Brentwood School, Cypress Falls RK


I debated for 4 years at Benjamin Franklin High School in New Orleans, LA. I primarily debated LD on the Louisiana local circuit, but also regularly did extemp and congress with some success. I competed as a lone wolf on the LD national circuit my junior and senior year . I competed at the TOC twice and got to finals of the 2016 CFL National Tournament my senior year.

I mostly study English and Philosophy at Tulane University. I've coached the Brentwood School since 2016 and a handful of independent debaters.

Sean Opinions That U Should Consider the Observation & Emulation Of!
1. Edit 2/4/18 (Golden Desert): Idk why this needs to be said, but compiling your speech doc is part of your prep. Emailing it is not (I understand the notion of preset lags into email correspondence, but don’t steal prep)
2. Good evidence wins rounds, what I mean by this is not just having good cards and expecting I’ll read them; I mean having good cards and knowing how to point to those locust points in the evidence that make that evidence good.
3. Please use email chains and include me on them
4. If you open source all positions you read and show me after round, I will give you +1 speaker points. If it’s out-rounds and you show me, I might steal you a cookie or something from the judge’s lounge.
5. CX is binding, I flow it usually, use it well.
6. Being funny (if you are actually funny) gets speaks. Being corny gets bad speaks. Unless it’s like Jerry Seinfeld-level corny, I love Seinfeld.
7. Good analytics and creative retellings of your arguments tells me you're good.
8. Don’t be hateful. If you have violent beliefs that affect your language, actions, or opponent, I can’t change that, but I can take a stance on how I felt about watching it with my ballot.
9. Please please please try to not have computer issues that could have been solved prior to round (needing to charge computers, not knowing wifi information, etc etc etc); it’s annoying and makes the tournament run too long.

Disclosure Politics

I’m very pro-disclosure. What I mean by that is an interpretation that demands broken positions with tags, citations, first three/last three words of card text, with appropriate updates at the very minimum as a rule (i.e. disclosing modulated advantages to generic plans teams read over many rounds with different offense) – I support open source disclosure and I did it as an independent debater, so the whole resource disparity/prep-out negative countenance doesn’t hold much weight with me. I will vote on disclosure theory and will happily accept un-doctored out-of-round evidence to verify a violation. As other edits have suggested, I’m much more strict about this at TOC.

Extra Behavior That I'd Notably Rather Not Bear Witness To:
Positions that reasonably (reasonably would be contextualized by theory) could have a trigger warning, but do not and are challenged on this (Even if you don’t believe in trigger warnings, be considerate of different viewpoints on sensitive issues – humility is good)
Hateful, ‘substantive’ arguments for the sake of strategy. If you impact-turn oppression I will impact turn your record with my ballot
Don’t read a kritik concerned with ‘pessimism’ or some nihilist metaphysics with something like 50 States or Politics, that’s usually not condo that’s a perf con.
Please do not spread out debaters who clearly can not spread. You can still win this way if you're really that much of a tryhard, but I will decimate your speaks because you're an asshole. Be considerate and inclusive.
If I think you're stealing prep, I will tell you to hurry up and will dock you a speaker point. I do this more than I’d like. Idk how people can talk about philosophy at 100s of words per minute, but can’t send an email quickly ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Real TOC Edit 2018 (April 9, 2018): This will be very similar to my update from last year with a few exceptions. 1. At the TOC, I will still hack (vote for assuredly if properly extended on a semantic flowing basis) for a 'standard' (first three words, last three words, tag, citation w/author qualifications and source access, all previously broken positions being read in round I’m judging have been disclosed with an hour leeway) disclosure theory interpretation if you prove the interpretation true (regardless of substantive response) with time-stamped screenshots. Don't take this as an excuse to not justify your disclosure shell though because then I think you equally void a discussion about disclosure regardless of whether or not I'll hack (because you should disclose at the TOC for Christ's sake, if you disagree please /consider/ striking me) 2. PREFACE – on this matter, first and foremost, I will follow the TOC’s posted rules on evidence ethics; however, I would like to make clear how I would likely go about doing so, so as to not raise any confusion at a tournament that is prone to delays of this flavor. I will hack against you WITHOUT A GOD DAMN DOUBT IN MY MIND if your opponent or I catch you clipping cards and they/I are correct. I have. Many times this year. If your opponent notices and I do not, they need to bring it up formally (preferably in shell form for flowing purposes) in their next speech and I will stop the round immediately to verify and deliberate. If the accusation is correct, then the clipping party will lose and, if the accusation is not correct, the accuser will lose, or (if there is sufficient room for ambiguity) I will take it to tab. There is an even greater chance that I will notice it because I pay attention to it, mark the words that a card ends with, and ask for speech documents. Putting those things together is not very hard. PLEASE - just write a speech doc you know you can get through or properly call it out when you cut a card. 3. This topic is starting to bore me after a long time of judging it and not seeing a not of multiplicity in the arguments made, so if you brought something new and fun to the TOC (like most good debaters should) then please show it off for me! I’ll probably award you with great speaks in prelims and if the case was a good idea then you may be more likely to get the W!

2018 Jan/Feb Update (Jan. 5th, 2018): Did debate kill warranted extensions? Please bring it back. I miss them so much. I don't even believe people know what their advocacy says anymore. I don't know why anything solves. Please. Somebody. Help!

2017-2018 Season Update (Sept. 29th, 2017): My paradigm has changed a lot after a year of judging and shifts in personal philosophy. I am generally down for any argument as long as it is well made. I have familiarities, but they rarely influence my decisions except in high level, very contentious rounds. Watch my face, I'm still very expressive about how I feel about an arg. Disclosure is still strongly voted for when verifiably true. I like cheeky theory more now, but stupid interpretations are still stupid interpretations and will be treated as such. Reasonability is not a safe place to leave me, I will gut-check in odd ways based on my current mood, but I often think reasonability is very smart and efficient when faced with ridiculous interps - I do have a fair degree of common sense. I still value a display of substantive knowledge through clear outlining of argument warrants in the rebuttals over lightning fast extensions to win every flow. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate and can’t adjudicate high speed, intricate rounds (They happen! Often in the best rounds!), I just also happen to appreciate a degree on universal communicability.

Edit 1/26/17: I finally got around to updating this for Jan/Feb 2017. A lot of my views on debate have maybe matured a bit since I, in a reactionary movement, wrote my original paradigm after TOC in 2016. Also, after having judged multiple national circuit tournaments through late out-rounds, my views on argument “acceptability” have been severely loosened. I have voted for arguments from every ‘paradigm’ of circuit debate this year (tricks, plans, burden structures, nontopical k affs, ‘analytic’ framework NCs, and, yes, skep). I wrote an article about debate linked at the top that says a lot about the generally skeptical background of my debate views, socially and substantively; however, I’ll lose my nice job if I stage a protest against some white kid’s structural violence aff and I really just don’t care that much – but for the sake of paradigm, the article does show how willing I am to let the round create itself. I’m really more interested in seeing rounds where debaters are confident about their arguments and content because I’m disinterested in watching debates where debaters act like neutral units in the input-output machine of debate language and norms. Give me some personality and show me you researched, read, and have some level of reverence for your arguments as logical exchange and interplay with more value than ballots. My favorite debaters I’ve seen this year all read pretty different arguments, but I love judging them because they debate like it should be common fucking sense that they’re right because they know they are. Now apparently it’s up to me to decide whether you actually are right (idk whose idea it was to give me that type of power over meaning), but I’m more likely to take your arguments seriously if you do (and you’ll get higher speaks for refreshing authenticity!). As a general rule, I think a debate can have great value as long as it is taken seriously relative to its actual implications. There’s too little time to take high school debate too seriously.

If any of the above doesn’t jive with your style, feel free to try and change my mind with good debating (I think the debater/student is a veritable source of knowledge and concept creation in debate/educational relationships) or strike me.

My background:

I think most people knew me for being mad grumpy and reading post-structuralism a lot; this hasn’t changed much, but I’m an open-minded guy. Read anything, as long as you can own anything. I feel especially qualified to judge debates based around continental philosophy (I mostly read Baudrillard, Anthro, Critical Legal Studies, Deleuze & Guattari, and some identity politics positions) over anything else given I have the most intimate experience with that style and body of academic work.

However, I am willing to hear most of the bullshit debaters can cook up. I really like good util debates that flex good research; theory is increasingly interesting to me, blippy theory is hard to vote on (mostly because I have trouble flowing it to be wholly honest) and unconvincing. Of course, I vote on topicality because it's usually correct, which also speaks towards K debaters - I need a reason as to why you not defending the resolution is A) a good norm for the presentation of the arguments that you are displaying B) why the arguments you present are more important than the general norm of topicality and C) what the positive impact of disregarding topicality against the 1AC is (the C-point here is simply because I generally think topicality and nontopical affs are both good things at times, so I need a weighing mechanism for specific rounds); Despite my argument history, I enjoy analytic philosophy (I've studied a lot of it, so I'm pretty familiar) and clever tricks and am more than ready to vote for it when it's well done. I’ve opened up more to tricks as simply the logical conclusion of the weird style of debate we do, so you know. If I get it, I’ll vote on it. It’s debate, you can kinda say w/e you want and hopefully I fux with the vision.

That said, I find I have a higher than average threshold in general on the logic of theory. I find a lot of theory debates devolve to technical displays of mental scripting and I can't appreciate half-baked standards about fairness that are ironically dubious excuses for introducing new layers. I presume nothing - justify every part of the shell please. Edit 1/26: I’ve since judged a fair amount of high level theory rounds with less migraine than I foresaw (only headache) so do your thing, but I really mean it when I say blippy (you know the half-boiled warrants I’m talking about) theory args are just silly.

I give out speaks admittedly pretty arbitrarily like literally everyone else. Varad Agarwala says I give good, only slightly inflated speaks. He’s my lawyer and if you don’t like your speaks you should go talk to Varad and pref him highly for higher future speaks.

Local Circuit Paradigm:

1. Yeah, you need solvency (as per Jon's request Solvency = a term in debate used to refer to the evidential justification for the affirmative’s advocacy's ability to pragmatically/empirically achieve its impacts [solving something bad, making something good]. We need this to justify things even if they're conceptually good. You should spend a good amount of time on framework (philosophy args) and use that to exclude your opponent’s impacts (as incoherent or unimportant within your philosophical theory)– it is the easiest way to win lay debates.

2. Please attempt to do evidence comparison for my sake. Yeah, I like analytic arguments in framework debate given they are logically rigorous.

3. Yeah, CX is binding and you should try to use it strategically - clarification questions are fine, but shouldn’t dominate CX because they make it seem like you either weren’t listening to their speech or are underprepared.

4. I will disclose a decision if the tournament allows me. If it doesn’t, I will always be willing to give oral critiques either after round or if you see me around after round. I am willing to sit down with you, look at my flows, and tell you what to work on.

5. I will evaluate stranger arguments than most, but do not not NOT exclude your opponent with wacky shit. If you’re an asshat, I will dock your speaks.

6. Please make jokes if you’re funny.


Sean Fee Paradigm

6 rounds

Travis Fife Paradigm

6 rounds

I coach for Harvard Westlake in Los Angeles, judge very regularly, and have competed/coached a diversity of circuits in California and Texas. You should feel comfortable debating whatever style best suits you.

Hard and Fast Rules:

Flashing counts as prep if you are assembling the document. If everything is in one doc and you are just saving then that is not prep.

You must either flash or email your opponent your docs.

Evasiveness of any kind before round is highly frowned upon. My expectation is that debaters are honest with one another in all their dealings.

In general, I really enjoy judging debate. If you have a well thought out and interesting take on the topic/debate, I will be happy. If you use strategies that reflect a shallow understanding of the arguments you're running that avoid clash i will be less happy.

Toc 18:

Here are 8 things i'd like for you to know:

1.I keep a good flow. I will hold you to what you say. I do not mind justifying my decisions after the debate by reading back to you what i have on my flow.

2. I will read your evidence and compare it to your explanation in round. Putting powerful spin on your ev is good and highly encouraged. Falsely representing what your evidence says is not. Similarly, having good ev but explaining it poorly will also hurt you.

3. I like philosophical debates. I majored in philosophy. I read ethics, philosophy of mind, political theory in my free time. But i have found that i do not like "phil debaters" because debaters who identify as such seem much more inclined to try to obscure clash and rely on spikes/tricks. If you debate philosophy straight up and have read primary source material to enhance your explanations, I might be the best judge for you. If you intend to read a million analytics and use trickery, i would be a terrible judge for you.

4. On K's, I start from the perspective of "why are the aff and alt different?" This means i focus my decision on 1. links application to the aff and how they turn case or gut aff solvency. 2. does the alt solve the k or the case?

i tend to think the AFF gets to "weigh" the case in the sense that the plan is some what relevant. I think framework arguments best indict how i evaluate the plan and impact calc more broadly. I think the aff commonly drops a lot of 1NC f/w arguments, but negs rarely capitalize on these drops in persuasive ways.

5. I research the topic a lot. I like debates about the topic grounded in a robust academic/theoretical/philosophical/critical perspective.

6. I think debate is both a game and contains an important educational aspect. I do not lean either way of "must defend the topic" but i tend to believe the topic has a role to be played in the community and shouldn't be totally ignored. How that belief plays out in a given round is much more hard to say. I think my record is about 50/50 on non-T AFF's vs topicality.

7. I like CX. You can't use it as prep.

8. I don't think i've voted in an RVI in like over 2 years. I would consider myself a hard press.

Ryan Fink Paradigm

5 rounds

Jacob Ford Paradigm

4 rounds

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Eliza Haas Paradigm

6 rounds

The short version is that I am absolutely willing to consider and vote on any clear and convincing argument that happens in the round, I want you to weigh impacts and layer the round for me explicitly, and I like it when you're funny and interesting. See below for the long version, and if you have specific questions that I don't already cover below, feel free to ask them before the round. I love debate, and I’m happy to get to judge your round!

Yes, I want to be on the email chain: elizahaas7(at)gmail(dot)com


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


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

However, if you decide to let me default to my personal preferences, here they are. Feel free to ask me if there's something I don't cover or you're not sure how it would apply to a particular debate form, since they’re probably most targeted to circuit LD:

Have some balance between philosophy and policy (in LD) and between empirics and quality analytics (in every debate form). I like it when your arguments clash, not just your cards, so make sure to connect your cards to your theoretical arguments or the big picture in terms of the debate. I like to see debates about the actual topic (however you decide to interpret that topic in that round, and I do give a lot of leeway here) rather than generic theory debates that have only the most tenuous connections to the topic.

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

Framework debates: I usually find framework debates really interesting (whether they’re couched as role of the ballot arguments, standards, V/C debates, burdens, etc.), especially if they’re called for in that specific round. Obviously, if you spend a lot of time in a round on framework, be sure to tie it back to FW when you impact out important points in rebuttals. I dislike long strings of shaky link chains that end up in nuclear war, especially if those are your only impacts. If the only impact to your argument is extinction with some super sketchy links/impact cards, I have a hard time buying that link chain over a well-articulated and nicely put together link chain that ends in a smaller, but more believable and realistically significant impact.

Parli (and PF) specific framework note: unless teams argue for a different weighing mechanism, I will default to net bens/CBA as the weighing mechanism in Parli and PF, since that’s usually how debaters are weighing the round. Tie your impacts back to your framework.

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

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

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


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

Don’t spread another debater out of the round. Please. If your opponent is new to the circuit, please try to make a round they can engage in.

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

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

If I'm judging you in Parli and you refuse to take POIs, I'll probably suspect that it means you can't defend your case against questions. Everyone has "a lot to get through," so you should probably take some POIs.

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

Final Approach to RFD:

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

Weigh impacts.

Weigh impacts.

Additional note if I'm judging you in PF or Parli:

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

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

Marta Hubbard Paradigm

6 rounds


I have no preference between traditional and progressive LD; just run your strongest case. Nothing you run will go over my head.

I rarely vote on Disclosure Theory, feel free to run it, but know that you do so at your own risk.


I usually give around a 27, but it can vary. I have never given a 30, so try to be my first.

Good Trump Impression: +1 point

Bad Trump Impresstion:- 2 points

Shania Hunt Paradigm

6 rounds

Start an email chain or whatever online portal is currently in use to create a “room” dropbox. My email is Flashing/emailing should take less than 30 seconds for each side during the entire debate. After those 30 seconds, it comes out of your prep time. I will end that time period once you can confirm the email was sent.

Short Version:

Read arguments that are good for debate. Read logical arguments, have some personality, weigh between arguments, and have good explanations. Be sure to slow down a lot on tags/author names/anything you really want me to get on my flow.

Long Version:

I loved debating in high school and believe it is a great activity for kids to explore new areas of education that they otherwise would never have access to, gain speaking skills, and skills on how to advocate for themselves on both sides of an issue. Regardless of my paradigm, I encourage that you approach debate with a similar mindset. It’s a privilege to be debating at any tournament, so you should appreciate that and respect others who might have had a more difficult time to get to that same tournament.

Background: I debated for Northland Christian School in high school. I did some debate at UCLA. I coached Northland Christian and Harvard-Westlake in the past, and I am currently the head coach for the middle school speech and debate program at The Harker School.

**Disclaimer: don’t read arguments that are bad for debate.

If you plan on reading/doing any of the following…
- aprioris
- permissibility/presumption or anything that triggers permissibility/presumption
- completely unnecessary theory
- cases with majority paragraph theory
- offensive arguments like racism/sexism good holocaust good (even if your case is supposed to be ironic—don’t do it)

- spreading someone out that is clearly very new to debate
..then stop reading my paradigm and don’t pref me. If you must debate in front of me and this is your normal strategy, just don’t read these arguments. I don’t want to devalue debate as an activity where you get to choose what you run so if you read them and make me vote off of them, your speaks will probably never breach a 25. If you read them in general, good luck breaching a 27. Read these arguments in front of other judges.. not me.

I’m just going to write down some general beliefs/preferences below I have for LD rounds.

Stylistic Preferences: Read tags, plan texts/cp texts, theory/t interps, etc at a snail’s speed. I don’t care if you read the rest fast. I won’t check speech docs for an argument that I miss because you are reading at an incomprehensible speed, are unclear, etc.

Expected Behavior: Be cordial and respect each other in round. Some debates get very passionate, and that’s ok. Debate should be a fun, enjoyable learning experience for all. Please do your best to make it that way.

Policy Arguments: Love plans, CPs, Das, Ks, etc. Have well-researched positions. I love a unique DA or strategic counterplans that respond to specific plans. These argument types / util is probably the most comfortable arguments I can judge.

Performance and/or Non-topical Cases: I am here for it. However, if there is theory or T read against the aff, you still need to win that your argument should be allowed in debate.

Heavy Phil/Super Critical Args: To be honest, beyond the basic common philosophies and common Ks (like cap, for example), you are going to have to do some extra legwork in the debate to make sure I understand your position. I need clear explanations on how the aff links, what the impacts are, and what the alt is. It’s on you to make sure that any judge understands your arguments. You should not presume that I know everything about your framework or K.

Theory/T: Honestly, I am not the biggest fan of T and theory. This is because students read super-fast and the debate devolves down to a small argument that each side only made arguments about for 10 seconds of each speech. If you must read theory or T, I won’t be upset just debate T/theory a bit better.

Skep/Permissibility/etc: Hopefully these arguments have lost enough debates at this point to where students don’t find them strategic to read anymore. In case that’s not true, I will not vote for these arguments. I will not vote on skep triggers or permissibility claims; I will give you terrible speaks if you read these in front of me. I don’t like arguments that cheat out of content of the debate.

How to Get Better Speaker Points: they will be based on a combination of clarity, strategy, and arguments. I rarely go above a 29.5 or below a 26. I evaluate speaker points based off each round and do not compare you to the rest of the tournament or your past debates in front of me. Generally, this looks like the best debaters (who tend to be very clear, explain well, etc) get between a 29-30, debaters who are good but need to work on something 28-29, debaters who are learning and have a few things to work on, 27-28, etc. I will give you what you deserve, even if you think you are a fantastic debater. I will not tell you what your speaker points are after the round, mostly because I probably haven't determined them yet.

- explaining arguments. I never understood this well enough as a debater. The better your explanation of arguments, the better your speaker points.
- weigh between you and your opponent’s arguments. Trust me—you’d rather not have me weigh the arguments for you. So just tell me how I prioritize arguments and what arguments are better evidence wise.
- be clear – If I can’t understand you, I can’t get your arguments down, and that sucks for everyone because you don’t get to have arguments on the flow and your opponents miss out the opportunity on a good, educating debate round.
- have fun – if you are having fun, that will reflect on your in round persona and make the round more enjoyable and not a snooze fest for me. You also will get particularly good speaks if you are clever and interesting in CX.

Just because you read things I like doesn’t mean I’ll necessarily vote for you just as doing something I don’t like mean I necessarily vote against you.

And, while there are rare exceptions to the rules of paradigms, don’t hedge your bets on being the one exception.

If you have any other questions, ask them before the debate. If you have any general questions about why I feel so strongly on some arguments not being in the debate round, feel free to email me at

Best effort!

Braden James Paradigm

6 rounds

Speed is fine.

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

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

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

Jeff Joseph Paradigm

4 rounds

Contact info:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Speed: I can flow speed. However, I like to be included in the email chain or pocketbox. Also if your analytics are not on the document, I will try my best to keep up, but don't blame me if you spread through them and I miss something. It is up to you to make the argument explicitly enough that I flow it and extend it. I like to review the evidence, so if you speed, I will follow along as I flow. Make sure the tags and card tags are are slightly slower and are clear. My issue is most often with enunciation, not actual speed, so please make sure you are enunciating as clearly as possible. No speed at the cost of understanding.

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

30--You have a chance of winning this tournament and are one of the best debaters I have seen in a while.

29.0-29.5 - You are in the top 10% of the tournament and will definitely break.

28.5.-29.0 - You should break at this tournament.

28.0-28.5 - My default speaks. This is for a good and above average debater.

27.5-28.0 - You are average compared to other debaters in the tournament.

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

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

Kris Kaya Paradigm

6 rounds

Kris Kaya

Peninsula ’16

Stanford ’20

Conflicts: Peninsula, Lynbrook, Los Altos PD

*** Updated for Loyola 2019

I debated for 4 years at Peninsula HS (CA) and debated at the TOC my senior year. I coached Lynbrook from August 2016- February 2018 and have since not been involved in the activity. Given this, I probably don’t know anything about the topic and won’t be knowledgeable about common positions/arguments unless you explain them. I was never a fantastic flower and it's been a while since I've judged so I'd recommend going at around 80% speed to ensure I hear everything. I’ll vote on any argument that is warranted and impacted.


I almost exclusively read util/consequentialist frameworks as a debater, but I’ve taken some Phil classes and am more okay with philosophy now. I’m generally unpersuaded by questions of preclusion and find that a more comparative approach to framework debate to be better. I default to epistemic modesty, so winning framework just means I assign your impacts more credence, not that they are automatically more important than your opponents. I’ll use epistemic confidence if won.


I pretty much did this the entirety of my career, so it’s the debate I’ll be best at evaluating. Evidence quality is important here since I'll read cards after the debate. Zero risk isn't persuasive to me but it's possible to reduce the risk of a scenario such that I'd give it no credence.


Read whatever you want. It’s a good strategy when you know your opponent is bad at it. However, it’s also a double edged sword since the worse the shell, the easier it is for your opponent to beat. I default competing interps, drop the argument, and no RVIs. I think fairness and education are voters and it will probably be an uphill battle to convince me otherwise.


They’re not my favorite arguments absent specificity, but I'll evaluate them. I don’t think K’s are automatically preclusive unless justified. The K needs to weigh their impacts against the aff and specifically indict the affirmative. I find sweeping root cause claims and generic links (i.e. not to the plan) to be unpersuasive.


I’d prefer if the aff was topical and am most likely not the judge for non-T affs. I lean heavily neg on Framework/T debates but sometimes find myself voting aff for non-T affs because the neg gets slammed on the education debate. Generally, I think procedural fairness impacts are much more compelling.


They're cool in the form of actual arguments. I probably won't vote on a blip in the 1ac that gets blown up in the 1ar. Skep and presumption are also probably no-go's for me since I think there's always a risk of offense.


The more enjoyable a round is for me the better your speaks will be. Here are some things I like and dislike


Impact turns

Cool counterplans and disads

Being a chiller

Collapsing and good strategic decisions

Taking as little prep time as possible

Making jokes about my former teammates (especially Jonas)

Good impact calc

Good disclosure/paperless practices


Most K before theory arguments

Kritiks without a link to the plan-text

Long prewritten overviews that don't apply

Not being a chiller

Not disclosing

Steve Knell Paradigm

6 rounds

Not Submitted

Herby Kojima Paradigm

6 rounds

I coach at Eagle High School in Idaho.  Our team participates in CX, LD and PF.  I hold no preferences regarding the style of LD ran in the round.  However, I do possess certain preferences about debate in general as well as what I expect for specific styles of LD.

In all rounds, clarity is crucial.  I do not oppose introducing lots of arguments, but I need to comprehend what a debater is advocating.  Articulation—especially on tags—is essential.  Regardless of the number of arguments introduced in the round, I expect debaters to sign post and respond line-by-line on the flow.  The only exception to this falls in rebuttals when I expect clear voters for why I should prefer one position over another; I still want debaters to address significant points from the line-by-line as they summarize the flow.  I strongly dislike interventionists who make arguments on the ballot for the debaters to make their RFD; even more disconcerting are rounds in which the debaters force me to become an interventionist because they do not provide impact calculus.  If I spend a lot of time filling out the ballot after the round, I probably am deciding how I should weigh the impacts while attempting to intervene as little as possible.

With traditional LD, I do not like cases which give the appearance of a value/criterion approach but actually provide a plan (criterion) and solvency (value).  If debaters prefer policy style cases they should run them rather than masking them in a traditional case.  I expect the criterion to provide a weighing mechanism to analyze which of two values/actions/positions proves superior.  Thus, debaters should weigh all arguments introduced in the round and provide me with impact calculus so that I know which of the two positions I should prefer.  If topicality becomes an issue, I expect the negative to follow a CX approach (counter interpretation, violation, standards and voters).

I do not hold preconceived notions on the structure to which a progressive case should adhere, but I do expect debaters to demonstrate a strong understanding of them (especially during cross-examination).  Any critical cases or kritiks need a clear link to the resolution and a clear story so I can actually follow your position.  (I realize that a plethora of pressing issues prove worthy of discussion, but I come to the round expecting to actually learn about the topic.)  I tend to vote more on post fiat implications and impacts—because it permits me to weigh both debaters’ arguments—but understand that some circumstances call for pre-fiat or theory implications.  I will vote on such kritiks or theory arguments, but I will hold them to a very high standard if it means that by accepting them I must exclude weighing both debaters’ impacts to reach my decision.

I welcome questions before the round for clarification.


Lucy Korsakov Paradigm

6 rounds

Debated for WDM Valley (graduated 2013) and worked at NSD, VBI, and CDI (2013,2014).

The last time I judged regularly was the 2014-15 school year, and I’ve judged at a few tournaments since then. I’m not sure what the argument trends are now so my views might be outdated, but I was typically comfortable evaluating framework and theory. I am least comfortable evaluating critical arguments and policy debates.

For theory- I don’t evaluate violations I can’t verify (such as something happening out of round), new 2AR theory, theory on arguments you force your opponent to defend, and have a very low threshold for responses to ridiculous theory (something like NSDA rules for WiFi or flashing)

Let me know if you have any questions!

Nathan Leal Paradigm

4 rounds

Competition Experience:

Competed in Public Forum for 4 years at James Logan High School. I also competed in Lincoln Douglas in college for 1 year.

Coaching Experience:

I have been coaching for about 6 years now at varying institutions in both Public Forum and Lincoln Douglas. I predominately focus on Lincoln Douglas.


Public Forum

I am strongly against bringing spreading into the realm of public forum. I am fine with moderate speed. I will misflow tag-lines and citations if they are rushed, and I prefer a more understandable debate. If you want my ballot, you will be better served talking clearly; too much speed will hurt your speaker points.

I do not take notes during crossfire and only pay attention selectively. Bring up important cross points in the next speech.

First summary needs to extend defense.Please be sure to extend whatever voters here if you plan on extending them in final focus. Any unextended voters in summery are not guaranteed to be evaluated in final focus. Also, I am not going to do work for you. Please make sure that if you are dropping any arguments or making extensions that you tell here where and when its going to happen.

I usually won't keep track of your speech and prep time. It is your job to keep your opponents accountable.

Truth > Tech. I want quantifiable, weighable, terminal, impacts. Please make my life easier and don't read cards without warrants and don't ready hypothetical impact scenarios with no concrete warranting behind the impacts.

Theory and K's have also been rumored to be circling higher end competitions. As a LD coach I understand the merit of such arguments. I believe that PF is the wrong forum to discuss such issues and bring up such arguments; however, I may vote on kritiks, as long as I understand them and especially their solvency mechanism and mutual exclusivity. I am not comfortable judging on the basis of your identity or anyone else’s.

Robert Lebeda Paradigm

4 rounds


Hello y'all!


It's everyone's favorite time, to read the philosophy of the judge so they can bs their way to winning rounds.



My background is pretty baller. I did speech for 4 years of high school and was ranked in the state. I did debate for 2 years, mid lay level LD and parli. After I graduated, I started coaching at Chaminade College Prep. To my dismay, they were mostly a policy school. I cried for weeks about this.

I've been the assist head coach there for 2 and half years and now the head coach for the past year. Surprisingly, no one has died. I've now judged rounds of all debate events in California, at almost all levels, except Varsity Policy, because I'm not too masochistic.


Here are some general things, then you can look at event specific things below:

I try my best to not put my beliefs onto the flow. I don't mind any critical arguments, just realize most of you run them wrong/weak links. Don't do that. Be clear and articulate, explain to me how it impacts the round. Don't just say "Dumb judge, I win because of (fancy jargon word)" Explain why you win. If you're going to cross apply, explain how it cross applies. "Cross apply this to all of my contentions because in reality, I have no answers, but want to seem like I didn't drop everything on the flow"


Don't run K's with no clear link. If I feel you've run this K against every aff you've hit, not matter the topic, I won't be happy. Make the link very clear. This comes off as lazy to me.


Speed: I'm alright with speed. Usually by the rebuttal level, I'm fine. I'd say in policy try to go 70% your fastest. LD you can go 80% your fastest. I have yet to have an issue with speed in PF and parli, so don't worry. You'll want to go slower with me, mostly because I tend not to give any indication if I can't understand what you're saying because I'm trying so hard to understand what you're saying.

Also, when spreading, there is this thing called enunciating. Do that. I like that.

And in spreading, I know that tends to turn into yelling, try not to do that. As a speech a coach, I feel horrible for your vocal cords that your abusing and misusing. Also, no one likes to be yelled at for an hour.



There's no reason to be rude. I will tank your speaks if you're a jerk. Be passionate by all means, but making your opponent cry, or just being a "meanie face" will not make me like you. I will still give you the win in the round, if you won the round, but you can say bye bye speaker award, because your speaks are destroyed. Moral of this story: Win, but let your arguments win, being a jerk doesn't gain you ground on your arguments and it hurts your speaks for me. Being a meanie poo (I'm avoiding curse words, for if some reason my school I work at finds this) isn't educational and won't help you in the real world.


I generally enjoy rounds where the topic and cases are engaged. I'm more of a straight policy/LD person. However, trust me when I say, I'm totally fine with any arguments you want to run, just please make it follow a clear train of logic.

I'm cool with flex prep, if everyone agrees. In the prepared debate events, especially LD and policy, if your opponent is misrepresenting evidence, and you call that out, I love that.



Yo, LD, I like that event.Since it's LD, I'm a big fan of the values debate. Otherwise just go into policy.



If I'm judging a policy round, I'm already crying inside. Don't make those tears turn into a full out sob. Meaning, clearly explain everything, go slow on your tag lines. I won't time "flash" time towards prep, but don't go super slow.



I love parli. As a judge, I realize that you've only had 20 minutes of prep. For this reason, unless you cite where you are getting your information, I'll probably assume you're lying.


I'm definitely fine with any critical arguments you want to run. However, I'm not a huge fan of parli in which the topic is ignored entirely. If it's a poorly written topic, call that out, but don't refuse to debate it because you think it's poorly written. If we're getting a resolution on if we need to send aid to the Sahel region, I don't want the aff to come in an talk about how we need to stop oppression in America or an entirely different case for a resolution (unless there is a very clear link to the resolution) Again, if you feel the topic is horribly skewed, explain that in round, but I don't like when the aff comes in with a new topic, It just comes off as lazy and not willing to engage the debate and topic.


Public Forum:

I've never had any issues with speed or anything in Public Forum. Basically, if you're in Public Forum, do you boo. PF you understand me and I love you for that public forum.


Also, because I'm fat, I'm receptive to receiving donuts, cheesecake and fettuccine Alfredo. It won't give you the win, but I'll give me something to cry into during the policy rounds.

Erik Legried Paradigm

6 rounds

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loose ends:

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

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

- I default to a comparative world paradigm.

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

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

Feel free to contact me at

Matthew Luevano Paradigm

6 rounds

Hey, I debated at Damien for four years went to the TOC a couple times and now go to USC

Some thoughts:
Affirmatives should defend the hypothetical enactment of a topical plan. Middle of the road or big stick, doesn't matter to me. 

Read what you want as long as it engages the affirmative in a meaningful manner. This necessarily excludes decontextualized criticisms 
My default is competing interpretations, but interpretations should be reasonable.

Reject the argument not the team, except for conditionality.

DA's other than politics are awesome, but I went for politics a fair amount in high school.

I prefer cp's to compete functionally/textually, but it is possible for a team to persuade me otherwise 
PIC's are awesome.
Advantage CP's are awesome.
International fiat tows a fine line. Could be persuaded it's good or bad.

Process Cp's and consult cp's tow the line even more

I am not biased against these per se but they are by far the hardest argument to execute, absent dropped silver bullets i.e. root cause, ontology first, or floating pik's.
Framework should be impacted.
Links should be responsive to the content of the 1AC.
Impacts should be based off of such links, not the overall knowledge/material/methodological structure you are criticizing. K's should not be an excuse to sidestep conventional impact comparison.
Alternatives should either be explained to solve such links or explained within a framework that makes alternative solvency irrelevant.

Explanation over evidence. If you ask me to read a card after the round which has warrants not explained in the debate, those warrants are irrelevant.
Tech and truth. Technical concessions matter, but there can be larger truths which belittle the weight of such concessions. Control framing to control the debate.
Rebuttals. Make choices. Go for what you are ahead on, and explain why what you are ahead on is more important than what you are behind on using even if statements.
Prep time ends after you are done writing the speech.

Debate's a game have fun! 

Greg Malis Paradigm

6 rounds

I teach math and serve as chair of the math dept at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans. I retired from coaching at the end of the 2017-2018 school year. I coached Policy and LD (as well as most every speech event) for over 25 years on the local and national circuit.

In the fall semester of 2018-19, I have not judged any rounds on any topic. You will need to explain topic specific abbreviations, acronyms, etc. a little more than you would normally. You will also need to go slower than normal, especially for the first 30 sec of each speech so I can adjust to you.

Email chain:

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

Section 1: Policy and LD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holden Martinson Paradigm

6 rounds

If you have any specific questions, please ask in round.

I don't disclose. I don't ask for evidence. I don't accept post-rounding. The round should be controlled by debaters, and anything that you feel is important to earning my ballot needs to be addressed in the round. Once completed, the round is out of sight and mind. Any critiques I have will go on the ballot. No one's opinion is worth an additional ten minutes of hearing themselves talk.

While I am flexible in terms of argumentation style, for PF and LD, I prefer traditional arguments. It's super easy to rest on jargon and to vomit a case. Brevity is becoming a lost skill in debate, and I like seeing it. If you think you can win on progressive arguments regardless, please present them.

In Policy and PF, I judge almost entirely on impact and framework. In LD, VC gets a little more weight, naturally. Voters are super helpful. Anything you drop is weighed against you.

Topicality is annoying, so please avoid running it. If you think you can swing Theory, do your darnedest. Kritiks are cool, too.

If you want to do speed, that's fine, but anything I can't understand can't go on my flow, and I'm not gonna correct you. You're in charge of your own performance.

FLASHING COMES OUT OF PREP, unless done before the 1AC. Also, if your preflow takes more than five minutes, I will dock speaks for each additional minute.

Clashing and some aggressiveness is fine, but if you're scoffing or snickering at any opponent, I'm going to be especially motivated to find reasons to drop you, obviously. Even if I like your argument or pick you up, I'm probably going to give you really low speaks. Respect the fact that your opponents also work hard to be in the same room as you.

When I call "time," nothing you say gets added to the flow. Simply stop speaking, because it's not going to be counted. No exceptions.

Most of all, if you have me as your judge, relax. It is debate. You're not defusing a bomb. You're not performing neurosurgery. You'll make it out of the round alive, and you'll probably go on to debate many other rounds. You want to do well, and a lot goes into that. You will be okay, regardless of how I vote.

Miscellaneous items that won't decide around, but could garner higher speaks

-Uses of the words, and various thereof, "flummoxed," "cantankerous," "trill," "inconceivable, "verisimilitude," and "betwixt"

-Quotes from television series Community, Steven Universe, Friday Night Lights, Arrested Development, and 30 Rock

-Knowing the difference between "asocial" and "antisocial"


Rhineer Melanie Paradigm

4 rounds

Not Submitted

Jeff Merrill Paradigm

4 rounds

Fairness is not a voting issue, and predictability is my least favorite thing to hear about in a debate round. I am okay with Topicality debates about semantics and have an extremely high threshold for a prioris. Other than that, you can run whatever you want: topic-specific positions, K's, narratives, performances, stacked cases, temporary autonomous zones, ritual incantations, and interpretive dance are all welcome as long as you debate with style and swagger.

I take miscut evidence very seriously. Please have proper citations on hand.


Zane Miller Paradigm

3 rounds

I debated for 4 years at Centennial High School in Idaho. I qualified to the NSDA tournament 3 times and been in multiple bid rounds (six my senior year). Won the Whitman tournament my senior year. I debated policy locally my senior year and am now doing policy at UNLV.

NOTE: The long version of the paradigm is mostly a digression about my feelings about debate. It is probably helpful to read if you have the time, but if all you’re interested in is what not to do, read the short versions. It’s what they’re there for.

If you’re passing evidence via email chain (best method, tbh) include me . If you’re flashing, don’t; it’s slow as hell.


Pre-round Rush Version

Strategic Things

I went for basically anything when I was in high school, so do whatever you like. Primarily read tricks (polls), K affs and kritiks my senior year.


DAs/Case: Yay. Go for it, they're fun and easy. Link stories and specific links are great, but not required.

Counterplans: I give more leeway for counterplans than most people. I like fun counterplans. 

Neg Kritiks: Favorite argument in high school. Most of my experience was in Marxism, neoliberalism, anarchism, fem IR and biopolitical stuff, but don't be afraid to read other arguments, as long as you can give the 15-second Wikipedia version confidently. If you can't, I would advise against the position for strategic reasons more than anything else.

Aff Kritiks: Like these too. Be very careful about execution, internal link stories tend to be a problem with these. I hold non-topical versions of K Affs to a very high standard.

Framework-y Positions: Go for it. I read tricks in high school and thought they were interesting, so I'm more receptive to those styles than the majority of judges. Straight-up framework is fine too. Please take the time to slow down on shotgun analytics.

Theory: Probably my least favorite position, though I'm perfectly fine with evaluating it. Please slow down or do a ridiculously good job crystalizing. I'm fine voting on justified, warranted RVIs. The one exception to this is I will not vote on the negative must defend the converse of the resolution, under any circumstances besides a straight up concession.


I like sass, humor and confidence. I also like civility and politeness. Try to favor the latter if you can't decide which to go with. I give speaks based mostly off of presentation: technical skill, control of CX, ability to execute a strategy confidently. Subjective considerations like the above happen after that. An exception is if you do incredibly gutsy things like going all in on a straight turn in the NR or a linguistic a priori in the 1AR, those tend to push speaks pretty high. I say clear.

Things that will tank your speaks: being an asshole, advocating any bigoted position (this means being blatantly heteronormative, sexist, racist, etc.), being so unclear I have to back-flow most of the debate. Nothing else will result in less than a 26.5.

Long Version


The thing about defaults is I only use them when literally nothing on the topic has been said in the round. As long as there is some undead resemblance of a warrant for the argument, I'll go either way on it. 

Competing interps before reasonability. Condo good. Truth-testing before comparative worlds/offense-defense/policymaking. Magnitude before anything else. Util before anything else (I only use this if no one read a framework. There literally needs to be a complete void of anything resembling a normative or evaluative theory in the AC and NC for me to default here). Presume aff (though without an explicit trigger I don't think there's a scenario in which I would do so). No RVI. Theory and epistemological/ontological Ks are on the same level, then practical Ks/framework, then post-fiat substance. Terminal defense/0% risk is a thing. 

Framework Debate

Please number/letter/symbolize/sub-point/somehow designate the different sections of your framework. It's a pet peeve of mine that people just have a mess of philosophy without any way to organize it.

Consequentialism: I'm a policy debater now, so I suppose technically I should be "predisposed" or something towards consequentialism. Probably not the case. I like these debates though, so if ya'll want to have a throw-down with 3 DAs, 2 counterplans, and case, I'll love it. 

Deontology: Go for it. It’s interesting

Technical Framework: I am perfectly happy with evaluating triggers, NIBs, skepticism, presumption, conditional statements, linguistic justifications, a priori arguments, etc. I like tricks. I think they sponsor critical thinking, force a close reading of positions, allow the affirmative to balance out time disparities, and are legitimately interesting and under-discussed arguments. All of that said you can still definitely lose those theory debates, so don't assume my interest means you get to undercover it.

"Util" Debate

DAs in LD are under-loved. A strong DA is often better than reading an NC, don't be afraid to go all on them. That said, you better be damn sure, otherwise you're not going to be in a fun place. 

Counterplan debate in LD is odd because you're more often going to get into a theory debate than a counterplan debate. Ergo, read cheatier counterplans. You're going to have to put up with it anyway. Might as well get the offense out of it they say you're already trying to get. That said, real counterplans debates are a lot of fun, with good discussions of solvency and net benefits, so don’t be afraid to have those either.

I think util cases in LD need to be more obvious about leveraging the academic primacy lent to them. The vast majority of academia presumes some version of your framework is in place. There is a reason that is the case, you should probably determine what that is. Furthermore, literally any policy framework file offers reams of evidence about why simulating policymakers is good, that’s probably real offense in the framework debate I think people are bad about leveraging.

Deontological Debate

Ya’ll framework debaters need to do a better job explaining why the judge cares about being ‘right’, since there isn’t much persuasive reason to listen to a deontological theory otherwise. I recommend truth testing. It’s a great way to justify the education you’re presenting at a meta level, and it leaves util debaters trying to impact justify their framework in a sticky situation. I think role of the ballot level framework arguments are underused in LD, and thus reading them will probably bump your speaks.

On a more substantive level, I am completely comfortable flowing and evaluating an intricate and intensive framework debate. I will probably be slow making my decision, however, because debates about normative ethics rely a lot more on base principles and what has been determined to be capital-T True. That means I’m a lot more careful about evaluating individual arguments over large-scale crystallization than I am in a util debate where one evaluates relative risks. So, don’t worry! Unless I have my head in my hands and seem actively distressed, I’m taking a while so I don’t f**k up, not necessarily because you’ve done a horrible job.

In a similar vein, please be very explicit about what each card you read does and how it interacts in the debate. This is true always, but especially true in framework debates because they rely so much on intricate link chains that determine what is True. Number your cards. Subpoint them. Organize them in such a way that I can understand exactly what is going on with your framework and your opponent’s. This can change a hard decision into an easy one and shorten a 20 minute decision into 5 minutes.

Kritik Debate

To clarify: kritikical, or critical, debate focuses on philosophies or normative standards that either A. address directly the epistemological, ontological, or social position of a debater, debate or a position or B. impact-justify their frameworks in such a way that relies upon the above type of critique. This normally relies on the category of philosophy referred to as continental philosophy, with such authors as Zizek, Foucault, Nietzsche, Marx and Wilderson.

I like critiques. I think they allow you to discuss the social position of yourself and debate in a way that simply isn’t possible otherwise. I think critical debate offers unique strategic advantages aren’t available to other strategies. That said, there are definitely a lot of pseudo-arguments made in the context of ‘K’ debates. As such, I feel like some things need to be qualified.

I think Ks that link to the topic instead of the advocacy of the affirmative have a serious uniqueness problem to overcome. Admittedly, in LD there are often instances where the affirmative and the topic are functionally inseparable; but there is a difference between indicting the language of the topic and indicting the rhetoric of the affirmative. Similarly, the weakest part of the K, if it isn’t the links, is the alternative; yet in LD the strategy more often seems to be to reach for theory backfiles instead of answering the K substantively. Don’t do that if you can help it. We’ve been substantively answering critiques for decades. I promise it’s a better method of answering the position, especially when your opponent has probably had way too much practice responding to theory.

Also in this vein is affirmative critiques and performative debate. I think affirmative critiques in LD are much less unusual than they are in policy. They probably don’t even need a unique mention, because they’re functionally what any framework does; present an exclusive evaluative framework and try to win under it. That they go into the meta-level of addressing social position isn’t a reason they’re special to me. Performative debate, on the other hand, deserves a special discussion.

Performative debate causes a number of changes to the way I interpret the round. First of all, method framing becomes very important; I am honestly not an artist, so I don’t have a single clue how to evaluate your rap/dance/narrative/poetry, and if you don’t tell me otherwise I’ll just evaluate the content of the performance (the actual words being said). I’ve done method debate, so I’m aware that isn’t the greatest, so don’t let me do it! Speaker points during a mutual performance debate will be primarily determined by my personal opinion of your performance. I think that the format of debate has evolved in such a way that speaker points can be allocated in a non-arbitrary way, and if you’re going to try to change that method, it becomes your responsibility to present in an appealing way (or convince me why being appealing/aesthetically pleasing is bad).

Technical Debate

To begin with a definition: I use the term technical debate to refer to the type of case that many people in LD refer to as ‘tricks’. This can be individual arguments in a wider strategy that could be grouped under another category, such as including a skepticism trigger in a deontological affirmative, or a case devoted to these technical ‘gimmicks’, such as the oft-loathed polls affirmative.

Frankly, I liked these debates. I differ strongly from the dominant opinion of them in that way. I think technical debates advance education and information about things that are rarely, if ever, otherwise discussed in debate, such as linguistics, truth testing theory, conditional logic, intensive definition debates, epistemological and normative skepticism, determinism, and others. I think they sponsor critical thinking and awareness in ways that no other variety of position can do. I think they are perfectly real world in the policymaking sense, in which political goals are frequently achieved by playing with and working around the tunnels and loopholes of the law (look up ‘riders’ in the context of legislation for a perfect example of what a mean, and it’s also a good idea to cut those articles as theory evidence for why this type of education if real-world relevant. Other real-world things in a similar vein are legal loopholes, conditional logic in programming, and filibusters). I am very open to these arguments, and if there was any argument I prefer over others, it is technical debate, perhaps displaced by very specific and well-written critical affirmatives. I think it is arbitrary and exclusive for a judge to decide that these types of arguments are illegitimate because they are ‘cheap’ and ‘gimmicky’, but still be willing to vote on small concessions and debate intricacies such as 0% risk or theory or a NIB, especially when technical positions, when written well, are founded in legitimate and academic literature.

Furthermore, there is a reason I call this type of debate technical debate. It is very precise and, despite the dominant view, difficult to execute properly. It requires an intimate understanding of your evaluative meta-framework for the round – and I don’t mean Kantian maxims or utilitarianism, I mean truth-testing, conditional logic or policymaking. You have to understand why presenting definitions that make the resolution tautologically true warrants a ballot, or why the particular parts of the resolution are the antecedent or the consequent, and why proving the antecedent false is sufficient reason for you to win even though it seems like you haven’t proven anything of substance. It also requires a very skilled debater in order to have all the correct pre-empts in the AC, the wording of which can mean the difference between being able to straight drop the inevitable theory shells coming in the NC and being spread out by them. Tricks do not offer free wins. Tricks are an intricate strategy, formed out of many small arguments. Don’t misinterpret the seeming ease of extension for ease of execution.

…this ultimately leads me to the theory debate surrounding ‘tricks’. I do not err one way or the other on theory debates surrounding arguments such as a prioris, cross-ex checks, AFC, etc. Go ahead and read them, though I do personally think it’s lazy to do so; there are definitely instances when it is the most strategic option. I think there is a lot of unexplored offense to be found in these theory debates for the affirmative, and I also think there’s a lot of neutralizing to be done making reciprocity arguments (the neg is perfectly capable of reading these too, don’t blame me for bad NC strategy). There are also strong uniqueness debates to be had, about how the ‘preemptive’ and ‘undebatable’ nature of technical debate happens just as often in framework, theory and K debates (especially theory debates – there’s even a lot of carded evidence on this question. Think Rebecca Kuang’s The Desolation of Theory, if you’ve seen it. It has since been taken down). I personally think the best way to beat a technical debater is to not read theory at all. They spent way too much time preparing for it, and most of their practice is answering it; why give them that advantage?

Theory Debate

This probably doesn't deserve its own section, from a philosophical standpoint, but practically it needs one. I'll borrow my standpoint on this from Christian Tarsney: "It self-evidently should not be the case that 70 percent of high-level debate rounds are decided by debates about the rules of debate." That said, I disagree about the reason that that is the case; I believe that debate is ultimately a game of who cheats better, so I think that it is the case not because it's silly, but because people should be better at leveraging their own cheating. 

It's probably good to describe what I mean by cheating here; 'cheating' in this context means changing the rules or standards of the round in such a way that you come out ahead. This includes but is not limited to twisting impact calculus, 'spinning' evidence, taking strategic time trade-offs, etc. I think you are playing a game, and a game to which you get to write the rules, and as such you should try to push them in a direction that is advantageous to you. What that translates to is that I have a high threshold on voting for theory, but a fairly normal threshold for dropping the argument. I also tend to give fairly significant weight to arguments like “hard debate is good debate” and “critical thinking outweighs fairness” which a lot of people would consider silly (DO NOT think that justifies making these arguments without warrant; warrant your theory arguments).

Meta-theory I think is a little silly. All theory (and most critical, for that matter) positions in some way indict the method in which a debater has presented themselves or their arguments; you should be able to weigh substantive skews against any theoretical skews. For reference, meta-theory refers to theoretical arguments that refer to other theoretical arguments, i.e. multiple theory shells bad, negatively worded interpretations bad, etc. I have no a priori issue with these arguments, even if I think they are often used in ways that are rather asinine, just don’t think that just because it’s about theory you get to ignore their shell(s). Theory isn’t a gateway issue because it indicts the legitimacy of X argument(s), theory is a gateway issue because it appeals to higher levels of a judge’s obligation than a substantive argument.

Also, something a lot of people do is assume that theory is a trump card for everything. This is not the case. Theory appeals to principles that define how we would like an ideal debate forum to look like. You know what else does that? Any kritik that functions at a level above substantive policy action (hint: most, if not all of them). Your critique of gendered language? Probably speaks to the education being given in the round. Your race K? Probably has something to say about the way that fairness in debate is structured. So, leverage your impacts at the level they operate on; just because they said that ‘theory is a gateway issue’ does not make them right. In the current state of LD debate, I believe that a strong K debater should be able to beat an arguably better theory debater at the voter level.

In a similar vein, one thing that happens a lot in policy but almost never in LD is the framing of what theory is trying to achieve; that is, defining the voters beyond buzzwords. What the f**k does fairness mean? What about education? Can we be educated about the mythology of Adventure Time? Is that equivalent to learning about tensions in the South China Sea or the ethical position of passive bystanders? Probably not. It probably makes sense to give more leeway in fairness to affirmatives from the core of the topic literature. It also probably makes sense to allow slightly more contradictory negative positions when those positions come from deep in the opposition. But we as LDers don’t ever flesh out these issues, so we lose on arguments like the neg must defend the converse of the resolution. Make better arguments, beat theory more often.



Strategic Things

I went for basically anything when I was in high school, so do whatever you like. Primarily a K debater my senior year.


DAs/Case: Yay. Go for it, they're fun and easy. Link stories and specific links are great, but not required.

Counterplans: I give more leeway for counterplans than most people. I like fun counterplans. I'm also perfectly content with generic counterplans; though I'm sure by halfway through a tournament I'll be less excited about it.

Neg Kritiks: Favorite argument in high school. Most of my experience was in Marxism, neoliberalism, anarchism, fem IR and biopolitical stuff (Foucault, Agamben), but don't be afraid to read other arguments, as long as you can give the 15-second Wikipedia version confidently. If you can't, I would advise against the position for strategic reasons more than anything else.

Aff Kritiks: Like these too. Be very careful about execution, internal link stories tend to be a problem with these. I hold non-topical versions of K Affs to a very high standard. Performance is fine, though providing a way to evaluate it is wonderful (as an advocacy, solvency mechanism, etc).

Theory/T: Go for it. I err neg on condo, aff on topicality. I think people don't go for these positions enough, but most people are not fabulous at going for it, so if you think you fall into that camp, don't go for it.


I like sass, humor and confidence. I also like civility and politeness. Try to favor the latter if you can't decide which to go with. I give speaks based mostly off of presentation: technical skill, control of CX, ability to execute a strategy confidently. Subjective considerations like the above happen after that. I say clear.


Things that will tank your speaks: being an asshole, advocating any bigoted position (this means being blatantly heteronormative, sexist, racist, etc.), being so unclear I have to back-flow most of the debate. Nothing else will result in less than a 26.5 (or a 27 if the tournament doesn't like fractions). An exception is if you do incredibly gutsy things like kick the 1AC or go all in on a DA in the block, which will push your speaks pretty high.

Rosemary Muldoon Paradigm

2 rounds

Rosemary Muldoon

Lincoln/Douglas Debate Paradigm

Salpointe Catholic High School


My name is Rosemary Muldoon and I am a judge for Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson, Arizona.  My daughter has competed on Lincoln/Douglas Debate for the past two years, and I have judged for the 2015 - 2016 School Year.  For my professional career I am a Realtor and Associate Broker.  While this isn’t debate it has given me the experiences of understanding argument and the art of negotiation.


What you should know about me as a judge

While this year is the first year I have judged, I have been involved in many pre-elim rounds and outrounds on the Arizona Circuit.  I have judged at four tournaments, judging an average of six debates at each tournament.  I understand the process of Lincoln/Douglas Debate and how it’s done.


Progressive Debate vs. Traditional Debate

I prefer traditional debate but am open to progressive argumentation when it’s really well explained.  If you are choosing to run cases that include theory, counterplans, kritiks, Disadvantages, etc, understand you have the burden of making them super clear to me if you want me to evaluate them.  The safest route is to have a Lincoln/Douglas Debate that debates framework and contentions.  That the type of debate that I prefer to hear.  Regardless of what kind of debate you choose to have I highly encourage all debaters to have voter issues in their last speech.  Explain to me where you believe you are winning on the debate.  If I agree that you are ahead there, you’ll likely get my vote.



You can read at a moderate speed.  I am not interested in hearing a debater ‘spread’ their argument.  Read quickly, but not more than a little quicker than conversational speed.



I flow the debate but only take down taglines and authors.  After that I’m listening to the card and writing down anything from it I hear that I feel is significant.  The best way to help my flow is signpost before the speech and during the speech.  Tell me exactly where I should be putting things.  The more work you do for me, the easier it is to get my vote.


My Ballot

My ballot comes from the flow and the impacts that come behind it.  Again, the best way to help with this is to make a big deal out of voter issues.  The best debaters take the debate out of my hands and make it clear as day what happened in round.  Where debaters get frustrated is when they don’t extrapolate what happened in the debate, leaving their judge to do the thinking for them.


Scott Nielson Paradigm

6 rounds

I am the assistant debate coach for Layton High School. My background has primarily involved policy debate in high school and college. However, our students have moved into LD and PF so I find myself judging and supporting those events more. I usually judge more than a hundred rounds of debate each year spread out between the various debate events. I have switched to OneNote for flowing. If you provide your contact information (specifically email addresses) I will send you my flows after I have concluded the ballot. You are then welcome to discuss my flows and decision at anytime.

Jump/Email Chain
I expect to be included in all jumps and email chains. You can email me As a rule of thumb, I usually do not review evidence until the end of the round and I use my flow as a filter to what I think you introduced into the debate. As of 1/2017 my preference is to use pocket box or something similar that just allows everyone to download the file after upload.

I expect you to keep track of your time so that I do not have to call out time remaining during a speech. I will do it if asked by a student and I will not hold it against you, but I do find it distracting from the speech. With that said, I track all time in the debate. Consider it the "official" time for the round. I work from my official time... that means when my time shows your speech is done, I stop flowing regardless if you keep talking for another 10 seconds. I usually allow students to answer CX questions put to them during the actual time of cross examination, even if this means the answer takes another 10 seconds or so in the round for a proper answer.

I used to not care much and would routinely just award everyone 30's. However, I learned the folly of my ways after repeated conversations with tabrooms. Nowadays, everyone starts at 28 and can go up or down from there depending upon their performance. I think of a speaker's capabilities in the following categories: organization, clash, delivery (speed, clarity, tone - i.e. not yelling), argument development, technical skill, strategy and creativity. If you need a lengthy explanation of these categories there is probably something missing in your experience to the event. I am happy to briefly explain this to any competitor if they believe it will help their performance during the round I evaluate.

Prep Time
Traditionally, I have been very lax and generous with prep time. However, I find myself getting more annoyed with prep time abuse. With paper it used to be simple, stand up when you are ready to speak and the prep time ends. Now it seems that participants do things they do not consider prep (saving the file to a jump drive, emailing the file, organizing their flows, changing the order of the speech document, etc.). I am sympathetic to the technical challenges of paperless debate, but I have also experienced efficient rounds where everything moved incredibly smooth (especially when something like pocket box was used). I'd like more of that and less of the rounds that take an extra 15-20 minutes for "technical challenges" related to jump drives or slow emails. For the last few tournaments, I have maintained a more relaxed approach to prep time, I just nuke speaks if it appears to me like you are abusing prep time.

Nuisance Items
Actually not sure what to label this section, so think of this as things I do not like.

  1. I do not like poorly developed arguments. For example, "Perm do both" is absolutely meaningless without some warranting and articulation as to how that would actually work. I consider these types of blips as non-arguments. I am pretty up front and vocal about this and still debaters just go into default mode and make tons of these arguments... they are then surprised when I give them no weight. From my perspective, "Perm do both" is removed from consideration when the neg responds with "No don't do both". Both statements provide exactly the same amount of articulation and null out to a non-argument on my flows. This is by way of example, there are tons of these found on your speech documents. You will know it when you make a pointed argument that ends when you finish the tagline. Do the work to explain your argument or don't waste the flow.
  2. Evidence Mumbling or Abuse. Like many judges I prefer that you breathe between tags/authors/evidence so I can hear the natural break of your speech. I also listen to evidence and flow what I consider to be important points made by your evidence. If you mumble your evidence, power tag it, take it out of context, etc. I consider it invalid and it may cost you my ballot.
  3. Speech Document Abuse. This is a recent trend I have seen on the circuit and I will definitely get punitive to stop this. Here the debater loads a speech document with 40-50 pages of cards. They then proceed to skip all over the speech document expecting everyone to know/understand where they are. obviously this applies to my category of organization (see above). Further, I have seen this approach used to win debates where evidence is considered by the judge after the round EVEN THOUGH it was not read in the round. I should be able to open your speech document and follow along with your speech if I am so inclined. Finally, having a few extra cards in the speech document is NOT abuse. I expect you to have a little extra evidence if you have the time to further your arguments. There really is no fine line here as I have heard some complain, you will definitely know the difference of what I am referring to when you open a speech document that is double or triple the size of a normal speech document.

Background / Experience
I debated (CX/Policy) 4 years at West Jordan High School. After High School, I debated NDT at Weber State. As I mention to all teams that ask my paradigm, I am old school tabula rasa and open to just about anything (except truly offensive/abusive behavior/material). I have yet to encounter a person I could not flow in terms of speed. Clarity obviously matters and if I cannot understand you I will say something like "Clear". You can basically go as fast as you can speak, so long as you are clear. Also, reading analyticals (or non-evidence tags) at supersonic speeds are pretty hard to catch, I would suggest that you explain those types of tags/arguments.

During high school I competed in LD when I was not doing policy debate. For me, the best way to win my ballot is to make sure you frame any criteria and value into context with the main arguments you feel like you are winning. I also caution competitors that ignoring value and criteria is risky on my flow because it looks as if you concede that and I will interpret arguments based upon the conceded value/criteria of your opponent. That presents a serious uphill obstacle to winning your argument. As my experience is primarily policy based, I can flow anything that LD debates present.

  • Theory - I like well developed theory arguments
  • Kritiks - I believe I have a pretty good understanding of most critical arguments. However, that does not mean that I will fill in the blanks for you if you do not fully develop your advocacy.
  • Critical Aff - I am ok with as long as it is well developed and provides a mechanism for your opponent to participate.
  • Framework - I understand FW args from both Policy and LD style debates. What I have encountered the most is participants who do not understand the blocks they are reading.
  • Topicality - I have a great understanding of "T" and all of its standards/voters/impacts. I'd suggest not reading T if the Aff has not read a plan.
  • Disclosure - I could care less if there arguments are in the wiki or not. With that said, disclosure does take a bite out of fairness impacts (I am not saying I will not consider fairness, but if something has been in the wiki for 2 months, it's going to weigh against claims of fairness).
  • Flex Time - As long as everyone agrees to it I am fine with it.
  • 1AR Flexibility - I like many judges understand the time constraints on a 1AR. I am willing to give them lots of leeway on covering all arguments made by the NC. However, I still expect enough argumentation to be made that allows the negative rebuttal to understand the "gist" of the aff argument. In effect, it puts the neg "on notice" as to what the aff is arguing. This is not an excuse for blip arguments though. Remember grouping and combining arguments is your friend during this speech.

Order of importance / Round Evaluation
So this is a somewhat problematic area to write about. The first thing to say is that each round is unique and evaluation is therefore unique. I may have a process I usually follow to determine the "winner" of the round but that does not mean I am grounded in any specific approach. That means everything is debatable and subject to the participants within any given round. Outside of this, I (like nearly every judge I have worked with) look for the easiest place to write a ballot. So, if you drop some kind of voter on the flow I may use that as an excuse to write the ballot and get out of doing a lot of evaluation to determine which arguments win over others. With that said things usually look like this

Level 1: Framework -> Theory -> Value/Criteria
Level 2: Kritik -> AC/NC -> Counterplans -> DAs

Another way to think about my approach is to consider the theoretical aspects of how I should evaluate the substantive aspects of the advocacies made during the round. Also, the levels are more important then where the categories are listed above, but I usually find that FW leads me to understand theory and Val/Crit arguments. Usually a K precedes the aff case, etc.

I am very relaxed and flexible with regards to Cross-Ex, prep time (stopping when the jump drive is out), speakers keeping their own time, etc. I really like the debate to be controlled by the debaters with me as an observer rendering a final decision. With that said, if it seems like you are abusing prep time or other round mechanics I may voice my concern and your speaks will reflect my questions about your behavior.

With the philosophy of letting the debaters decide how the round rolls, I am open to any judging paradigm, all theory and weighted arguments. In my hay-day my partner and I were theory hounds. Kritik's did not exist, but if they did we have would have run them. We loved counter plans, T, counter-warrants, Justification and just about anything else you can imagine. If those arguments are done well, the debate is a real pleasure to observe. I constantly hear varsity debaters make claims regarding dropped arguments. If you do not direct the flow yourself, do not tell me that the other team dropped/conceded an argument. Without directing the flow, you really have no idea where I put arguments. Frankly, I am surprised by the number of varsity competitors I observe that fail to actually direct the flow. In yonder years, this was really the only way you could make a claim that an opponent dropped an argument and why a judge should consider it on the ballot.

For 2AR/2NR, spend 20-30 seconds summarizing the key positions and voters and explain why you win. It's weird to me how many final rebuttals miss this very important aspect of debate. Always tell the judge in the last few seconds why you are winning the debate. If you leave it up to the judge entirely, you may not get the result you hope for. Keep in mind, I vote off my flow and will not do work for either team in terms of advancing/understanding arguments. I figure that if you don't want to take the time to explain your argument, why should I take the time to build it up on the ballot or my flow.

One more thing... during my heyday, particularly in college, we actually flowed evidence warrants as well as taglines. I am funny that way, I still do that. You would be amazed how much I get on my flows in high school rounds. To that end, DO NOT mumble your evidence to me otherwise I do not consider it introduced in the debate and therefore will not consider it when rendering my decision. If I do not have your warrant, I do not consider it. Also, if I catch you power-tagging, clipping or any other patently abusive behavior you can expect a loss and very low speaks.

If you have any other questions, just ask before the round. Also, you are welcome to approach me after rounds and I will give you as much feedback as I can recall.

Michael O'Krent Paradigm

6 rounds

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

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

Flashing/emailing is on prep time.

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

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

Mandatory scary stuff:

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

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

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

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

John Overing Paradigm

6 rounds

I debate for UC Berkeley. I debated two years for Loyola High School, where I earned six bids to the TOC and attended NSDA Nationals my senior year. I've judged over 250 rounds.


Quick Prefs:

Stock anything - 1

Utils/LARP - 1

Stock Ks - 1

T/theory - 1

Lots of theory - 2

Funky Ks - 1/2

Philosophy - 3

Bad/Messy Tricks - 4

Pre-Round Paradigm-Viewing:

Win the case, win the debate. Do impact calculus.

Here's how you win in front of me:

1. Identify the issue that will win you the round

2. Collapse to that issue and win it

3. Explain why it outweighs or should be evaluated first

Mostly tab, not scared to vote on abnormal stuff

General Comment:

Comments above give a brief overview of my judging style. Comments below show how that applies to specific elements of debate.


I like kritiks. I read kritiks throughout high school and into college. They can be very strategic, and I have a strong baseline knowledge of most positions. If you read Ks, I'll be a good judge for you.


I read theory shells throughout high school. I think 1AR theory can be very strategic, though try not to use it as a crutch for a bad aff. My high school background is very theory-oriented; if you weigh between standards / abuse stories in your last speech, you'll be fine. Make a mess (Read: don't collapse), and I'll be sad :(

- I think defaults are silly, so just tell me if it's drop the debater/arg/etc, and so on


I've read, answered, and judged so many of these rounds that I've lost count. I'll vote for hard right strategies against the K, and I'm happy to watch policy rounds.

Phil / LD Framework

I've taken a lot of philosophy courses at UC Berkeley and have a decent grasp and appreciation of most positions. I think phil is quite strategic, though perhaps there aren't that many judges around these days to evaluate it. Here's a list of positions I'm decently familiar with:

- Consequentialism (Util etc.), Deontology & Intent-based (Kantian etc.), virtue ethics (Aristotelian etc.), Social Contract (Hobbes, Rousseau, Locke)

- Nietzsche, Rawls, constitutivism, skepticism and determinism

- Prankster Ethics ;)

Those not named you should ask me about, as I have less knowledge in those content areas, but as long as your syllogism is coherent, I think I'll be able to follow.


I am willing to vote on disclosure theory. Should you read it? Sure, UNLESS your opponent is new to debate. I'm very opposed to disclosure theory against students new to the activity. It makes me sad when this happens :(

Procedurals - Speech Times, Evidence Ethics, Resolution?

I regard the following as procedurals: equal speech times, equal prep time, who gets to speak when, only one debater per side, no mid-round coaching or help, evidence has not been falsified or made up, the resolution, probably some more.

Two sub-points. A) "Procedural" doesn't mean it's set in stone. If you argue that I should reject certain procedurals, I'm receptive and will adjudicate it. B) If you violate certain procedurals, you should defend why.


For completely conceded positions, you only need to extend the base description of the position and its syllogism, and then jump into impact calculus and its implications. You don't need to name cards in extensions (though if you want me to look at a piece of evidence, bring it up in the last speech). If a card will become relevant, even if it was conceded, still give an explanation of the warrant.


- Debate well, do something new or interesting, or give me an easy decision in a polite way.

- Open-source disclosure will make me much more generous with speaks, let me know if you do this.

- Props if you work puns into your speeches?

- Show me your flow after the round and I'll add 0.1 to 0.3 speaks. If requested, I will give feedback on your flow.

- *Please* do not attack your opponent. There's a fine line between "You are racist" and "Your position is racist," and they have wildly different meanings.

My judging style is similar to these judges:

As a baseline, see Bob Overing and Tim Alderete. Admittedly, my judging record has proven I have a some-what lower threshold for arguments than either of these two.

For my opinions on in-round attitude and debate environment, see Ben Koh and Chris Kymn. Poor behavior will affect your speaks, though (barring extreme cases) I'll keep such issues out of my decision.


I don't enforce prep time for flashing. Be reasonable.

Flex prep is assumed. I flow cross-ex and prep. I rarely if ever flow off of speech docs.

Water and restroom breaks during the round: counts as prep time unless your opponent is okay with it being off the clock. (I do this not because I care, but because I don't want to risk debaters interacting with coaches or others mid-round.)

Things I like (in no particular order):

- Topicality

- Non-topical ACs

- Politics DAs

- Stock Kritiks

- Oddball Kritiks that show up out of left field (or are atypical or high theory)

- Legit Theory

- a solid Phil NC syllogism

- well-explained atypical Phil NCs

- Solid layering

- Solid collapsing

- Skep in a sketch v sketch round

- Disclosure

- Humor

- Prankster Ethics ;)

- lots of other things

Camp Suggestions?

Premier Debate!

Ashan Peiris Paradigm

6 rounds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kevin Platts Paradigm

6 rounds

The most important thing is clarity and communication skills. I look for strong evidence with a strong link to your contentions. I like analytical analysis to go with your evidence. I do not like critical arguments or any jargon. Please be respectful and enjoy your round. 

Victor Rivas Umana Paradigm

2 rounds

OK here's the deal. I did policy debate for 4 years in high school and two semesters in college (once in 2007 and recently in 2016 in Policy Debate)

. Judged Tournaments up until probably 2008 and have not been judging since. I also judged Lincoln Douglas Debate a few times at some of the national tournaments throughout california but it was not a debate I did in high school. For me my philosophy is simple, just explain what you are talking about clearly. That means if youre going to spread, be clear. If you are going to spread in front of me right now, do not go too fast as I have not judged in awhile so I may have hard time catching certain ideas so please slow down on your tags and cites.

Public Forum: please make sure Summary and final focus are consistent in messaging and voters. dropped voters in summary that are extended in final focus will probably not be evaluated. I can understand a bit of speed since I did policy but given this is public forum, I would rather you not spread. talking a bit fast is fine but not full on spreading.
Policy wise:
I am not fond of the K but I will vote for it if explained properly. If I feel it was not, do not expect me to vote for it I will default to a different voting paradigm, most likely policy maker.
-IF you expect me to vote on Theory or topicality please do a good job of explaining everything clearly and slowly. a lot of times theory and topicality debates get muddled and I just wont look at it in the end. EDIT as of 1/28: I am not too fond of Theory and Topicality debates as they happen now. Many of you go too fast and are unclear which means I don't get your analysis or blippy warrants under standards or voting issues. Please slow the eff down for theory and T if you want me to vote on it.

I will vote for whatever paradigm you tell me to vote for if you clearly explain the implications, your standards and framework.
-I know you guys spread now like Policy debaters but please slow down as I will have a hard time following everything since its been awhile.

I guess LD has become more like policy and the more like policy it sounds, the easier it is for me to follow. Except for the K and Theory, I am open for all other policy arguments. Theory and K debaters, look above ^^^^

UPDATE FOR LD at Golden Desert and Tournaments moving forward. I don't think many of you really want me as a judge for the current topic or any topic moving forward. My experience in LD as a coach is limited which means my topic knowledge is vague. That means if you are going to pref me as 1 or 2 or 3, I would recommend that you are able to break down your argumentation into the most basic vocabulary or understanding of the topic. If not, you will leave it up to me to interpret the information that you presented as I see fit (if you are warranting and contextualizing your points especially with Ks, we should be fine, if not, I won't call for the cards and I will go with what I understood). I try to go off of what you said and what is on your speech docs but ultimately if something is unclear, I will go with what makes the most sense to me. If you run policy arguments we should be fine (In the order of preference, policy making args including CPs, DAs, case turns and solvency take outs, Ks, Topicality/Theory <--these I don't like in LD or in Policy in general). Given this information please use this information to pref me. I would say DA/CP debaters should pref me 1 and 2. anyone else should pref me lower unless you have debated in front of me before and you feel I can handle your arguments. Again if its not CP/DA and case take outs you are preffing me higher at your own risk. Given many of you only have three more tournaments to get Bids (if that is your goal for GD, Stanford, Berkeley) then I would recommend you don't have me as your judge as I would not feel as qualified to judge LD as I would judging most policy rounds and Public forum rounds. Is this lame? kinda. But hey I am trying to be honest and not have someone hate me for a decision I made. if you have more questions before GD, please email me at

For all debaters:
clarity: anunciate and make sure you are not going too fast I cannot understand
explain your evidence: I HATE pulling cards at the end of a round. If I have to, do not expect high speaker points. I will go off what was said in the debate so if you do not explain your evidence well, I will not consider it in the debate.

Something I have thought about since it seems that in Public Forum and even in other debates power tagging evidence has become an issue, I am inclined to give lower speaker points for someone who gives me evidence they claimed says one thing and it doesn't. If it is in out rounds, I may be inclined to vote against you as well. This is especially true in PF where the art of power tagging has taken on a life of its own and its pretty bad. I think something needs to get done about this and thus I want to make it very clear if you are in clear violation of this and you present me with evidence that does not say what it does, I am going to sit there and think hard about how I want to evaluate it. I may give you the win but on low points. Or I may drop you if it is in outrounds. I have thought long and hard about this and I am still unsure how I want to approach this but given how bad the situation is beginning to get with students just dumping cards and banking on people not asking questions, I think something needs to be done.

anything else feel free to ask me during the round. thanks.

Christopher Rogers Paradigm

4 rounds


General Info

LD Paradigm

PF Paradigm

World Schools Paradigm

General Dislikes/Notes

Theory Issues

General Info

Started Judging: 2008

Started Coaching: 2010

Events Coached: LD, PF, Policy, Extemp, World Schools (WS go to bottom of paradigm for WS standards)

Delivery: I don't want emails, flash drives, or printed copies. This is a speaking event and I plan to judge your argument based on your delivery of your case and rebuttals. I can handle fast talking, but no longer try to keep up with spreading. There is no educational merit, and many downsides, to encouraging students to speak at vastly accelerated paces.

Cross (excluding World Schools): I expect debaters to be polite during cross, but do not consider interruptions to be impolite. I understand cross time is limited and if you have the information you want and wish to move on to another question I understand.

LD Paradigm

Overview: LD is a moral debate that is meant to look at the underlying value of an issue. I favor a broad based approach that looks at the totality of the resolution vs. cases that over-focus on single examples or instances.

Values: I expect both debaters to have a value/standard/etc that clarifies the moral principle they are pushing for. Broadly speaking, I recognize values as automatic principles that don't need additional defense. If you tell me the most important moral issue is ensuring liberty/equality/artistic expression/self-actualization, I'll accept it as good. Having a sentence or two to explain the value/why you think it is important can be very helpful, but I don't need a long defense of the concept.

It is very hard, though not impossible, to disprove a value during a debate. Generally I expect to see the debate be about whether each side actually accomplishes the value they have outlined, not whether the value is morally good (the latter question becomes very hard for any person to judge without bringing their personal feelings into the debate).

Burden: Each side in LD has an equal burden. There is no Aff presumption that they get to set the terms, nor is there any Aff burden that they have to prove more than the Neg.

Flow: While I expect debaters to argue on the flow structure, it should not be as strict as policy or pf because you do not have as many opportunities to get to speak. I'm more looking to the upholding of the central principle (value) then whether debaters covered every contention.

Plans: I don't want to hear a plan and they usually don't make sense within the context of LD. That said, there are two very different types of plans that come up.

Broad explanations: Presume the motion: 'The US should end fossil fuel subsidies.' If the plan was that that US would end all payments to fossil fuel companies over the next five years, that would be fine. That's a common sense interpretation of what the motion is asking. I consider that more of an observation on the burdens of the resolution.

Narrow Plans: Taking the above motion, if the plan was 'the US will end payments to coal companies', to me that would be a bad plan. The Aff in this instance is trying to unfairly narrow the debate. The resolution's burden was end fossil fuel subsidies, not to end one type of fossil fuel subsidies. In such an example if the Neg said the Aff hadn't upheld the resolution, I'd almost certainly agree.

Both sides in a debate have an obligation to argue the entirety of the motion. Single, narrow examples on either side that don't relate to a broader principle are not enough to prove your side is correct.

PF Paradigm

PF is meant to be delivered to a general audience, not to people experienced with debate. Thus I will try to judge it as who I believe did better communicating to a general audience. Please try to keep debate jargon to a minimum.

Final Focus is meant to narrow down the debate and explain the most important issues. It should be between 1 and 3 points. A final focus should not try to explain every single contention.

World Schools Paradigm

Scoring - My ultimate decision will be based on the final score. Even if I feel like a certain team won, if the points say otherwise, I decide on the points. Unless I hear differently at judge instructions my scoring standard is -

68 - 70: A fine speech. This was either a performance that was neither particularly good nor bad, or had some really good moments mixed with some really bad moments.

64 - 67: A speech below standard. This range doesn't say that a speaker gave a bad speech, just that the speech was either underwhelming or had some problems.

71 - 75: A great speech. The speaker hit some good points, spoke well, used their time well, etc.

Above a 75 is reserved for truly amazing speeches that really impressed.

Below 64 is reserved for a speech with serious mistakes. The most likely is a speech that is off topic/framework and thus suffers on the content and strategy score.

What I'm looking for in each area:

Content - Logic, analysis, explanation, and evidence. Good content should be backed up by logic and explanation, but also thoroughly explained for how it helps your side. Just reading an opinion, even of an expert, on an issue isn't enough; it needs to be explained and tied to the overall argument.

Style - This is scored just like an oratory. I look for things like eye contact, understandable speed, clarity, emphasis through tone/volume changes or pauses to call emphasis to key points, and emotion and interest. Humor and/or emotional intensity may gain points if appropriate for the motion.

Strategy - Was the speech well put together? Did the speaker bring the audience in with a hook? Was time well spent on the key issue, or where minor portions of the debate given too much attention? Did the speaker belabor arguments he/she had already won?

POIs - I expect a speaker to take between two and three POIs during his/her speech. These should be spread throughout the speech. If the first two are taken, and all others ignored, I will not count that as taking a good number of POIs.

If only one POI is taken I will give a slight penalty. If zero POIs are taken that will get a major penalty.

Taken excessive POIs will hurt the strategy score. The only exception to this is if the speaker is winning (improving their side) when taking POIs - in that case continuing to take POIs is acceptable.

POI Exceptions to the Above

If a team is not trying to ask their opponent POIs, or asking very infrequently, then obviously the requirement to take two to three disappears.

POIs should be no longer than 15 seconds. That is the absolute max amount of time I think you have a right to take from an opponent. The speaker has the right to cut the POI off at any point and answer/continue.

Barraging - I think it is reasonable to stand 12 to 15 times during an opponent's speech (this is for the entire opposing team). Even going up to 20 could be acceptable. More than that though and you are taking away from the opponent's right to give a speech.

POI method - If the speaker can see the opponents I would like POIs to be offered by standing (presuming everyone on the team is able to do so) until either called on or told to sit down (verbally or by hand motion, either is okay). If the speaker cannot see, or does not see, the person standing, a brief interjection, such as 'POI' is acceptable. I do not like POIs that begin to talk immediately as they stand and will likely penalize it.

I will take away/give up to 2 points per speaker based on quality of POIs. A bad POI is one that the opponent is able to use to strengthen their own case or just a waste of time. A good POI strengthens the case of the deliverer or points to a weakness in the opponent's argument.

Framework/Terms of Debate - The prop has the right to set the framework for the debate. I define framework as an explanation of what the motion means, what, if any, specific burdens exist, what, if any, things are trying to be achieved, and what, if any, mechanism is being used (if any of those are not being done, because they don't need to be, you don't need to tell me, I'll understand). This framework should be fair and reasonable.

Fair - Does it give both teams an equal chance to win. If you try to define the debate in a way that substantially benefits your team, even if all your definitions are correct/unchallenged, you will lose.

Reasonable - Was this framework something that a person would consider the motion to mean upon hearing it? This framework should be based more on a common understanding of the words, not strict dictionary definitions.

Example - If the motion was 'THBT the death penalty is a just punishment for heinous crimes' and the prop tried to argue that they only had to show a single example, that would be a bad framework. It's not fair to the opposition and no person who was asked that motion would think they were being asked about a single hypothetical instance. If the proposition defined it as 'only in cases of premeditated murder' or 'for war crimes or crimes against humanity', either of those would most likely be fair.

Challenging Framework - If you believe the framework is unfair/abusive/unreasonable, you may challenge it. If you want to make a slight adjustment/clarification/addition you may also do that, but here I am focusing on a challenge to the entire framework proposed.

Alternative - You must offer an alternative framework. This must conform to the above standards of fair and reasonable.

First Thing - The challenge to the framework must be the first thing in the speech. If the prop disagrees with the opposition framework, it must be the first thing in their speech (and so on until there is an agreement on framework or we're out of debate).

Debate under that Framework - You must debate under the framework proposed at the beginning of the speech. You may not debate under both frameworks. If you believe you can debate under the proposition framework then that is what you should have been doing.

I don''t like framework debate. If the proposition framework is fair and reasonable and the opposition challenges it, the opposition will probably lose. Likewise if the proposition proposes an unfair framework, they will likely lose.

RFD - If the tournament allows it, I will be happy to give my decision and discuss as long as competitors want/tournament time allows. If the tournament doesn't allow it, I will not disclose. If you try to get me to disclose at a tournament that doesn't allow disclosure I will take points away from you.

Other Issues:

When a speaker finishes, the next speaker should promptly proceed to wherever speeches are being given. There is no prep time. You may organize your materials, but you should not be having a conversation with your teammates. Once you get to the speaking position please confirm that I am ready for you to begin.

Evidence: Teams have a right to check evidence during the debate, but the debate may not stop (you may also check after, but in such a case it is out of my hands and under NSDA rules). You are on a team of three, members not speaking can pass/receive the requested evidence. If you are going to present someone else's words/work you need to be accurate about what they are saying in the entire piece (unless you note in your speech why you are only referring to a portion of it).

If a team falsifies their evidence I will always vote them down. I do not care about the level of impact it had on the debate or whether the mistake was done via maliciousness or negligence. I see falsification as creating a piece of evidence, changing the wording of the evidence to alter meaning, or cutting the evidence in a way to leave out arguments that might hurt your case.

I will also punish misinterpretations of the evidence, though the degree of penalty is determined by the level of misinterpretation. I see this as situations where the speaker makes substantial errors about the quality of the source or who paraphrases the evidence in a manner that is not accurate.

Things I commonly see that I dislike: "My opponent did not attack X contention, therefore they must agree." This isn't true. If an opponent hasn't gotten to an argument in the time allowed for them to make their initial arguments, they can not offer any new evidence, but that doesn't mean they agree. The fact that they have their own case means they have principles that disagree with you and they can always argue why their side is more important. Also, many times people will claim their opponent hasn't attacked a certain contention when I have on my flow that they have.

"If I can prove just a 1% chance of this impact, I should win this debate." This is a profoundly silly line of argument.

"My evidence says I'm right" "Well, my evidence says I'm right", "What my opponent is forgetting is that my evidence says I'm right". I commonly see debates that just become a circle of the debaters going back to the evidence they read that backed their side and inherently presuming their evidence is superior to their opponents. During evidence clashes someone has to explain why their evidence is superior: more topical, better source, more logical, etc.

If you have an important piece of evidence, please explain the validity of the source if the name doesn't explain it. If I just hear 'According to Williams in 2017', I have no idea who Williams is. I'll evaluate whatever you say as if you'd delivered it without a source, because otherwise I'm just getting a random name.

"My evidence is more recent so you must prefer it." In certain cases recency is important, but it has to be explained why.

John Scoggin Paradigm

6 rounds

I would like to be on the email chain, my email is jpscoggin at

I am the coach of Loyola High School in Los Angeles. I also own and operate Premier Debate along with Bob Overing. I coach Nevin Gera. I prefer a nuanced util debate to anything else.


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

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

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


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

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

Sarah Sherry Paradigm

2 rounds

Coach since 1996 - started team at Clover Park High School (3 years) (Coach at Puyallup High School since 2000) 
Competed in high school and college - Policy, LD,  platforms, and interp.
Charter Board member of The Women's Debate Institute 

General - (scale of 1-10) 1=low, 10 high 
Speed - 6ish -7 ish, if you are ridiculously clear
Topicality - 3 - I have little regard for T, if you are going for it, it better be your only card on the table and the violation should be crystal clear and beyond egregious.
Kritical Arguments - depends - I'm very interested in language kritiques, but generally speaking I have little tolerance for po-mo philosophy - I think the vast majority of these authors are read by debaters only in the context of debate, without knowledge or consideration for their overall work. This makes for lopsided and, frankly, ridiculous debates with debaters arguing so far outside of the rational context or the philisopher, as to make it clear as mud and a laughable interpretation of the original work. It's not that I am a super expert in philosophy, but rather a lit teacher and feel like there's something that goes against my teaching practice to buy into a shallow or faulty interpretation (all of those dreary hours of teacher torture working on close reading practices - sigh). Outside of that, I'm interested on a 7ish level. 
Framework - 9 - I'm all in favor of depth v. breadth and to evaluate the framework of a round or the arguments, I believe, can create a really interesting level of comparison.   What drives me crazy is, what appears to be, the assumption that framework is a done-deal.  That there is only one way to view frammework, is faulty and counter-intuitive.  It is the job of both teams to advocate, not just their framework, but the logic behind their framework.
Theory - 8ish. While I'm generally fascinated, I can, very quickly be frustrated. I frequently feel that theory arguments are just "words on the page to debaters" - something that was bought on-line, a coach created for you, or one of the top teams at your school put together at camp. It quickly falls into the same category as po-mo K's for me.

Just a me thing - not sure what else to label this, but I think that I should mention this. I struggle a lot with the multiple world's advocacy. I think that the negative team has the obligation to put together a cohesive strategy. I've had this explained to me, multiple times, it's not that I don't get it - I just disagree with it. So, if at some point this becomes part of your advocacy, know that you have a little extra work to do with me. It's easiest for my teams to explain my general philosophy, by simply saying that I am a teacher and I am involved with this activity bc of its educational value, not simply as a game. So go ahead and lump perf con in with the whole multiple worlds advocacy

Ok, so my general paradigm is 1.) play nice. I hate when: debater are rude to their own partner, me, the other team. Yes, it is a competition - but there's nothing less compelling than someone whose bravado has pushed passed their ability (or pushed over their partner). Swagger is one thing, obnoxiousness is another. Be aware of your language (sexist, racist, or homophobic language will not be tolerated.  In my mind, this is not just as issue that will affect speaker points but potentially the round.) 2.) Debate is a flexible game; the rules are ever changing. The way that I debated is dramatically, different then the way that is debated today, versus the way that people will debate 20 years from now. I believe this requires me to be flexible in my paradigm/philosophy. However, I, also, believe that it is your game. I hate it when teams tell me over and over again what they believe that they are winning, but without any reference to their opponent’s positions or analysis as to why. Debate is more of a Venn diagram in my mind, than a "T-chart". 

I don't actually believe that anyone is "tabula rasa". I believe that when a judge says that, they are indicating that they will try to listen to any argument and judge it solely on the merits of the round. However, I believe that we all come to rounds with pre-conceived notions in our heads - thus we are never "tabula rasa". I will try my best to be a blank slate, but I believe that the above philosophy should shed light on my pre-conceived notions. It is your job as debaters, and not mine, to weigh out the round and leave me with a comparison and a framework for evaluation.

Sarah Sherwood Paradigm

6 rounds

UPDATED 11/1/19

I have been judging high school debate for the past 11 years now, and I did Parli in High School, and Parli and LD in College. I have judged all forms of High School Debate. Feel free to ask me more in depth questions in round if you don't understand a part of my philosophy.

I want on the email chain please:

Policy Debate

I tend to vote more for truth over tech. I have recently found myself being interventionist against cards with problematic authors or cards cut to exclude marginalized groups from the debate space. That being said, nothing makes me happier than being able to vote on T. I love hearing a good K. Spread fast if you want but at a certain point I will miss something if you are going top speed because I flow on paper, I do know how to flow I'm just not as fast as those on a laptop. Feel free to ask me any questions before round.

LD Debate

Fair warning it has been a few years since I have judged high level LD.

Things to consider:

  • I see my self as a truth over tech K judge. High theory, love for dead white male philosophers, and time wasting theory spikes are really not my thing and not what I am interested in having to evaluate. I will. But I'm probably not the judge for you if you think your two line theory spikes are something I should take seriously.
  • Your K's should link and I need an alt that is more than 'Drop Aff Vote Neg'. At least care about what your K is talking about instead of making it just a means to my ballot.
  • Despite seeing myself as a K judge I was mainly reading DAs and counter plans in college so I am pretty good at evaluating those if that's the type of debater you are i got you.
  • I will vote on RVI's if they apply. A well warranted theory argument or T that is part of the main Neg strat that is not dropped does not deserve an RVI nor will I vote on that RVI.
  • Education is a voter to me, but that's because as an educator I feel like Debaters should be able to get something out of this activity.
  • I will look at your docs during your speech, and I do so for two reasons. One: I want to spell the author's names right. My quality of life when judging has drastically increased since speech docs. Don't take this away from me. Two: I'm checking against you clipping cards.
  • I probably need real articulated abuse in round to vote for your theory or RVI or whatever. Your arbitrary "Neg can only run this many of this argument" probably doesn't have the abuse story I am looking for.
  • On the note of super complex philosophical arguments, I try really hard to understand what you are talking about and there has only been one round this past season that I felt totally lost in the lit. But if I don't get it I probably will not vote on it.
  • K probably comes before T.
  • Lay or Traditional LDers make sure you are framing your arguments via your framework. Do the work for me.

You do not win rounds if you win framework. You win that I judge the round via your framework. When it comes to framework I'm a bit odd and a bit old school. I function under the idea that Aff has the right to define the round. And if Neg wants to me to evaluate the round via their framework then they need to prove some sort of abuse.

I'm good with theory but that doesn't mean I buy yours. And that doesn't mean I live for it. LD theory is always changing and adapting and I don't buy that a lot of it is good or correct or needed. If you want to win your theory spend time on it and put a voter on it. Reading 80 theory spikes in the AC wastes all of our time. But just doing work on theory isn't enough to win it. I do not like frivolous theory. I don't want to promise I will or will not vote for it it really depends on how the rounds go but if you are running what I see as frivolous theory then I probably won't vote for you.

I define frivolous theory to be:

  • Theory spikes read in the AC at the bottom that will never be used for anything. Just read another card for your contentions.
  • Theory that tries to get debaters to debate under a super restrictive requirement.
  • Theory that could easily go away with a "we meet".

My brightline for "we meet" on theory will vary depending on what it is. But most often if I can reasonably agree there is some type of "we meet" and no articulated actual abuse then I will probably buy there is no reason to vote on the theory.

Speaks will be disclosed if they are asked for. Range varies.

Public Forum

  • I know how to flow and will flow.
    • This meas I require a road map. This does not need to be timed.
    • I need you to sign post and tell me which contention you are on. Use author/source names.
  • I will disclose. I will give feedback. If you ask I will disclose speaks.
  • I will vote on Ks.
  • I will vote on theory.
  • If you run it and I don't vote for you I will give you a full explanation as to why I did not and let you ask me as many questions as you want as to why I didn't and try to give you ideas on how to run it better in the future.
  • Be strategic and make good life choices.
  • Impact calc is the best way to my ballot.

Calen Smith Paradigm

6 rounds

Background: Competed on national and local circuit in high school. I qualified to the TOC and did fine at national tournaments. I coached national circuit debate for 3-ish years, out rounds and bids included. I haven't judged more than handful of rounds in the past few years.

Email for chain:

Warning: I haven't judged in a hot sec so it is on you to make sure I am understanding the debate content wise and speed wise.

Speaking: I used to do and coach national circuit debate so I am fine with speed however my tolerance is diminished so I will probably be better at judging medium paced rounds. I will tell you to slow down. If I tell you to slow down I have probably already missed arguments you are making.

Substance: Ill judge any round (K, Theory, Substance, etc) I am probably more adapt at judging framework debates, policy making debates, and 'reasonable' Kritiks. I can judge a theory debate but it won't be my favorite thing to judge.

Bhaskar Suri Paradigm

6 rounds

Chaminade CP, Class of 2016

USC, Class of 2020


I did LD and policy for 4 years in high school, and I’m a first year out.  I’m generally more comfortable with the progressive LD style (policy style) to the more traditional LD style, so if you’re one of those debaters who really likes analytic philosophy, you should probably strike me.






They’re good.  You really can’t go wrong here.




The CP has to be mutually exclusive with the Aff in order for the Neg to get fiat.  In other words, no fiat for advantage counterplans.  




I default to reasonability with no RVIs, but you can convince me otherwise.  If you win competing interps, I’ll automatically allow RVIs.  



I ran a lot of Ks in high school, so I’m pretty comfortable with them.  However, don’t use this as an excuse to avoid analysis of the literature. If you just read a block of cards without analysis, I’ll likely drop you and it won’t reflect well on your speaks. ROB on a Kritik will almost always come before theory and pretty much any other argument in the debate.  The K needs to explain how the epistemology of the aff is destructive, and the alternative needs to clearly solve for that.  If the solvency of the alt is not clearly articulated in round, I won’t vote on the K.  Because I hold Ks to a higher standard, I also have higher expectations for them, so if you’re one of those people who’s new to K debate is running a K for the first time, I’m probably not the judge for you.  




Like I mentioned above, I’m not super into analytic philosophy, but if you want to run it, I’ll do my best to evaluate it.  When I debated, a lot of people in LD would run ROB arguments for cases that clearly weren’t Ks or K affs.  A ROB means that as the judge, I have an obligation to vote for your argument because it challenges a destructive epistemic or discursive norm being produced in debate.  Having an impact that is in some way social justice related does not merit a ROB.  You can certainly make arguments as to why your impact would come first, but that would be evaluated the same as any other framework.  In other words, you need to explain how there is some sort of negative or oppressive education being produced in debate right now, and that me voting for your case is necessary to solve it.  For example:


If you propose a plan that encourages reparations and argue for a ROB to combat racism, that is an incorrect use of the ROB because you haven’t explained how debate is racist or how the me signing the ballot for you will help reduce racism.


If you run a K in which you say the aff’s mindset is racist and destructive because their policy assumes certain things about x racial group, and argue for a ROB  to combat racism, that is a correct use.  


If you use a ROB for a framework where it doesn’t belong, I will likely disregard your framework--and don’t expect higher than a 25 as far as speaks are concerned.


A good rule of thumb, if your case is advocating for some sort of policy, a ROB likely does not apply.  


If you have any questions about this, I’ll be happy to answer it before the round.


Identity politics\non-topical affs


Go for it.  


Tricks, triggers etc. are all fine.  




I’ll average around a 28.5.  Clearly reading your tags will help your speaks.  




You can use it for flex prep if you want.  CX is binding.



Pretty much all the same stuff applies except you get fiat for any CP you want.  Also I will always go for reasonability on T.

Josh Symmonds Paradigm

6 rounds

Competed in, judged, and coached LD for 20 years.  As far as I'm concerned, "progressive" LD doesn't exist.  Analysis beats a card every time, the primary focus of the round should be on value, and policy shenanigans like Ks and CPs should be left in policy where they belong.  I'll happily flow words spoken at a normal pace, but if you're spreading, I can't follow it, it doesn't go on the flow, and I judge on the flow.  To win on the value, you must prove that your V/C uphold the resolution best, and all frameworks should bear that in mind.

Carlos Taylor Paradigm

2 rounds


Have the email chain setup. There is no reason you should be fumbling with an email chain 10 minutes past start time. It makes me seem late(big image guy) and leads to tab (understandably) sending runners to annoy me...and that annoys me. Put differently: Even if Im late, have the email chain set up and ready to send upon my arrival or speaks will decline by no LESS than 2 whole points...try me! {npiredebate at G mail}

TOC additions:

Paradigmatic additions: FWK/T and Ks are arguments that have been in debate for a while now...get over it and win the debate. If you expect a judge to stop the round after a debater reads a Shapiro or Patterson card...I'm not the judge for you and will probably laugh at you.


I go in to rounds as a blank slate, you should tell me how you want arguments treated/used("filter the debate through permutation etc.) This makes framing HUGE

I love a good T vs policy aff debate

I'm capitalist but think the Cap K is one of the most underrated and strategic positions.]

About me: Existentialist and Capitalist majoring in Finance, Intl Business and Arabic.

Don't be lay. Don't be boring. Don't be anti-semitic. Facts>Feelings. Tech>Truth (default).

"The infants in the graveyard smile widely without teeth, Carefully sewn in columns and rows, rotting little seeds...Raking tears from upturned eyes"

Adam Torson Paradigm

4 rounds

UPDATED: 9/12/2018

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

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

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

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

2012-Present: Debate Program Head, Marlborough School (CA)


General Preferences and Decision Calculus

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

Tricks and Triggers

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

Counterplan Status, Judge Kick, and Floating PIKs

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

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

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


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


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


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


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

Speaker Points

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rude or Unethical Actions

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

Card Clipping

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

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


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

Ajay Vishwanath Paradigm

2 rounds

Not Submitted

Arie Walker Paradigm

6 rounds

As a coms judge I am looking for a classic/traditional debate where you are supporting or negating the resolution with your value criterion. I appreciate respectful clash and will attempt to flow. I am okay with moderate speed. I understand that LD is morals based but I am looking for empirical impacts weighed under your value and criterion.