Isidore Newman School Invitational

2017 — New Orleans, LA/US

Kyler Buckner Paradigm

cabot '18

george mason '22

put me on the email chain:

i don't care what you do, just have fun. i was a 2A/1N in hs and pretty much exclusively read K affs (except literally one round my sophomore year). on the neg we extended a DA once my entire senior year. now i'm a 2N/1A doing pretty much the same thing. that being said, i'm not ideologically disposed to one "side" of debate; it really comes down to individual execution. if you're wondering if you can read something in front me, the answer is probably yes with obvious caveats for any argument that is overtly problematic.

specificity, argumentative innovation, relevant examples, in-round presence, good cards, and quality cx's are all things that i appreciate and will be rewarded with speaker points.

don't be a dick and please don't call me judge!

Timothy Dahms Paradigm

email: - feel free to ask questions or whatever



I did 3 years of debate for Fayetteville High School in Arkansas. I have had a reasonable amount of exposure to the national circuit and I certainly preferred that style when I competed. I will try my best to stick to the flow as much as possible. However, it would be a disservice not to disclose my personal biases and preferences. Importantly, I have not seen a round of debate in at least two years, and teams should bear that in mind. This is not to say there are arguments you should stay away from, it just means that keeping the flow clean, having a coherent strategy, and being decisive about dropping/going for arguments (e.g., don't read an argument strictly as a time suck, don't weakly extend something you've already decided you won't go for) will go a long way. I will always prefer fewer cards that have multiple warrants to a deluge of cards that are all claims. I will always prefer fewer arguments with better clash and a more thorough line-by-line to reading a ton of arguments and just going for what's undercovered.

A specific pet peeve that is like my one hard and fast rule:

I really don't want to hear new arguments in the 2NC unless it responds to something unique to the 2AC. You can read new off-case if there's a link in the 2AC that wasn't in the 1AC. You can read case hits on new 2AC case evidence or add-ons. What I don't want is for you to read all off-case in the 1NC and save case hits on the 1AC for the 2NC. Feel free to ask me more specifically what I'll accept in-round.


I did spread debate in high school and I fully support it. However, like I said before, I haven't been around debate for a few years and I will probably be a little rusty both with listening and flowing. I'm definitely not saying you have to break out your lay judge 1AC but you should be ready to make strategic decisions if I need you to slow down. I will have you start at full speed but bear in mind that if you're really fast or unclear I will need you to slow down.

K's and K affs:

I ran them a lot when I debated and I have at least a passing familiarity with most of the literature bases. It is important that you demonstrate a strong grasp on the literature base behind the K and explain how it functions in the context of the round, the 1AC, debate as an activity, etc. Your alt shouldn't be an afterthought (there's nothing wrong with just reading a kritikal disad) and I should have a clear idea of how my ballot fulfills it. It is very important that K debaters construct a coherent narrative of the argument that serves as a frame for the line-by-line. Permutations are frequently thrown out there as generic answers. Give me a clear picture of what the world of the perm looks like specific to the particular alt.


In my experience as both a judge and debater, normative questions about the competing visions of debate tend to be considered prior to questions of fairness. This isn't a rule by any means, but it's hard to vote for you based on being denied ground the other team has provided compelling reasons you shouldn't have. You need to offer a strong defense of policy debate as an educational and political methodology. 


Never a reverse voting issue. Put in the time if you want to win on it.


Not much to say here. If you're reading ptx you gotta sell me on the political capital narrative. Slow down on CP text/perm text. Not a fan of process CPs. Agent CPs are fine. I don't want to hear condo theory if the neg only has one conditional world + the squo. 


Sell me on it. Don't just read theory blocks at me and move on. Again, I don't want to hear condo theory if the neg has only one conditional world + the squo.


Mackenzie Ellis Paradigm

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Micah Everson Paradigm

I didn't compete in Policy, but I've been coaching debate for 7 years with a fair amount of focus on Policy the last 5 years. The state I coach in is fairly limited in terms of competition, however.


I'm willing to listen to anything and willing to vote on anything, but I have very little experience with critical stuff or anything non-traditional, so I'll listen, I'll be interested, and I'll try to follow, but it may be harder to get my vote that way.


I don't like to be confused - give me clear voting issues. If I am confused, I'll probably default to impacts / policy-maker.


Speed is okay, but speed with ridiculous breathing is obnoxious. Speed without any change in delivery for tag lines is hard to follow and hard to flow.

Chris Flowers Paradigm

Paradigm update WaRu: 9/17/19


Chris Flowers

Little Rock Central High School

You can call me by my first or last name. I use he/him pronouns and am white as bread.

Email -


I flow, pay attention to cx and would like to be on the email chain to read your evidence if necessary.

I want you to keep up with your own prep (unless you’re new at this).

I evaluate dropped arguments like won arguments, but expect you to extend the warrants to the claim and impact the argument out as necessary.

Debaters ought to determine the procedural limits and educational value of each topic by defending their interpretations in the round (See preferences section for more on this).

Affirmative teams should advocate for some departure from the status quo in the context of the topic. The more connected to the topic you are, the less likely I am to evaluate fairness impacts on framework/t.

I am reading and cutting a lot of lit on the LD topic(s). Not very much on the CX topic (thus far). I find critical literature more interesting (especially in the LD format) , but really enjoy nuanced, specific pragmatic arguments as well.

If I have to read evidence for decision purposes I will evaluate the quality of said evidence even without explicit indicts of the evidence from your opponent. If you are way ahead on technical stuff or even spin, evidence quality matters less.

Debaters should not do any of the following:

Clip cards

Steal prep

Outright disregard basic, logistical and procedural things that keep the tournament running on time, i.e. showing up super late, speaking over the time allotted to their side etc.

Disregard reasonable personal request of their opponents. If you don’t wish to comply with opponent requests, you ought to have a good reason why.

Misgender folks

Say or do racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic or ableist things.

To heteronormative white males ONLY:

Don’t be flippant, overly dismissive or belligerent to your opponents.

Don’t read k arguments written from the perspective of bodies that are not yours.

Defaults when you forget to make warrants to your arguments

Education > Fairness

Shapes Subjectivities > Just a game

Breadth = Depth ---> both are important please make warrants here

Neg getting the status quo plus conditional advocacies is fair and incentivizes good aff research.

K’s don’t need to win an alt to win.

Perf Con is a reason to vote AFF, RVI’s are probably not.

Voting for theory when there’s substantial or egregious abuse > voting for theory because it was undercovered

reasonable disclosure practices = should be followed.

Analytic > Low quality evidence

Heg = bad.

Cap = bad.

Grumpy old man things

We don’t need to shake hands.

Calling framework T doesn’t make it not framework. What are you trying to hide!?

Case debate is underutilized.

Analytics are underutilized .

1AC’s should have embedded pre-empts, not underviews.

My tolerance for rudeness, sassiness etc. goes up the better you are at debate.

Your speaks go up when you are nice to opponents you are way better than.

Y’all are kids. I’m 35. You can call me by my first or last name, but I’m not here for unnecessary dramatics.

Your coaches and judges give up a lot to be here on the weekends. It’s because deep down they care about you and the activity. It has made a marked difference in their lives and they want you to get the same thing out of it that they did. Make this experience enjoyable and educational for yourself and others. If it’s not fun, maybe consider quiz bowl or model UN.

I'd pref these teams at 1:




PV VG (ride or die)



NoBro MR

Lane Tech CG

Asian Debate League BB

Determining Speaks

I try and give speaks like I would assign a grade to a paper. In my line of work, I don’t grade a lot of papers, but if I did….

30 = 100%

I think the 30 is too exalted. But, I do want to be blown away before I hand one out. Do the following for your best chances:

Execute a clear and cohesive argument strategy.

Delivery is dynamic, clear and organized.

Performance between speeches is exemplary (cross-x questions and answers, non-verbal during opponents speeches and a generally likable ethos).

Rebuttal speeches are rich with a combination of argumentation and persuasion (warrants are extended, comparisons are made, round vision is demonstrated through clear strategy but also responsive analytics).

and 29.9 = 99% and so on down the line.

The best way to get a 29 and up from me is focus on the following:

Be yourself, don’t be flippant.

Pre-written speeches should be clear, dynamic and within time.

Rebuttals are a smooth combination of argument extensions, comparisons and in-round analytics.

Strategy is cohesive and cool.

You signpost well and organized. The fewer times I have to move my arguments from the flow the better.

Novices should expect there speaks to be relatively lower. Since speaks are largely arbitrary the most fair way for me to assign speaks is to stick to the criteria above.

Argumentative Preferences

*If I haven't mentioned it here, I don't have any strong thoughts on the matter and am most likely to be a pretty blank slate. Especially on theory. *

t/framework vs. k aff

Planless aff’s are a thing and neg teams are best to attempt to engage case as earnestly as possible. This is especially true if the aff has been around for awhile and/or is steeped in literature that is readily accessible through camp files or previous years topics (read: basically everything).

Affs should be related to the topic. The less contextualized to the affirmative your aff is the more likely I am to vote on fairness/procedural issues. On face, I think education is way more important than fairness. But I will begrudgingly vote for you if you’ve out warranted the other team on this issue.

T vs affs w a plan text that uses the usfg

I default to reasonability because I think it incentivizes innovative research by the aff that expands the limits of the topic in a good way. (all about that education). I also don’t think it creates much more judge intervention that is already inevitable and comparable to evaluating competing interps. But, I will vote for competing interps if you’ve got good stuff to say that will establish a clear brightline as to what makes a definition better.


Neg definitely gets to be conditional. Limited conditionality is the most comfortable theory interp for me, but unlimited conditionality is fine too, unless you cross over the line into perf con.

Perf Con.

I am 1/1 voting on perf con that was in the 2ar.

The threshold for me on perf con is two fold. Either one of these violations happening is enough for me to vote for PC 2AR

a. Arguments made on one flow could be extended to other parts of the flow once the original argument is dropped.

b. Positons are grossly ideologically contradictory. IE, the econ da plus cap.

Counter Plans

If you have a solvency advocate, its legit.

Most PIC’s I’ve heard seem theoretically legit because demonstrable abuse hasn’t been proven. But if you have a clear, thesis story on CP abuse I will vote there. It’s happened before. But violations have to be clear.


I think most politics arguments are false and most econ arguments are false. However, I can detach myself from those beliefs and vote for your disad, even if it's terrible. Please be reading updated uniqueness arguments and be paying attention to what’s happening in the squo. Make your turns case analysis efficient and terminal.


Neg walks in with presumption. If both teams show up and neither team speaks I’d vote neg on a low point win. Neg teams should still make presumption analysis and not just rely on my assumption to vote their. Explain to me the inefficiencies of the aff to resolve the harms in the status quo.

Debate Philosophy

Debate is transformative. It is foremost an educational activity. As a classroom teacher, as well as an active coach and judge I approach nearly everything I do with that element of education in mind. I do think there should be some parameters to the game, but I also believe that part of the beauty of the game is that those parameters are generally underlimiting. I think this isn’t always the best for creativity, but that it definitely encourages students to do in-depth research on a broad range of topics.

Debate is challenging. I like arguments that are hard to beat, but not impossible. As a coach debate allows me to set personal challenges, some that I have accomplished others I may never achieve. There’s beauty in the struggle. As a coach, I want to be down in the trenches as much as possible, cutting cards, maximizing pre-round prep. and doing anything I can to win, even if it means being the waterboy before rounds. As a judge, I hope the debaters I judge will feel the same way. I don’t care how much experience you have, how good or bad at debate you are, I want you to be in it to win it. I also want you to not be afraid to fail.

Debate is exhausting. On my squad, I share responsibilities with two other phenomenal coaches. We all drive to and from tournaments, work tirelessly on hearing redos, facilitating practices, cutting evidence and overall trying to put all of our debaters in the best possible position to win debates. All of this can be excruciating and exhausting. If debaters on my team or at tournaments don’t’ share in this sense of sacrifice or the recognition that we are all a part of something a little bigger, there’s no payoff for me. Don’t be those kids. Being away from home and family so frequently during the school year CAN be a worthy sacrifice, if the students I coach and judge demonstrate excellence or a desire for excellence in competitive and interpersonal ways. Your coaches, myself included, do this for a reason. Most of us really want nothing but the best for you. Winning is important, but not everything. Have a good attitude and embrace the game.

Gus Fowler Paradigm

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Julian Gagnon Paradigm please add me to email chains

from planet debate-

this is difficult for me b/c i'm not sure i have A judging philosophy but I do have many different ideas about and for debate...some inconsistent. that being said i don't want what i think about debate to totally dictate what debaters decide to do in rounds.

topicality- generally don't like it. I find no abuse args to be really persuasive. Since I like critical arguments so much I think you can usually find ground in any debate. i don't like the competing interpretations framework very much. i find the "that limits out any aff" arg to be persuasive. but i will vote on that framework and topicality if left unchallenged. in a good topicality debate on competeing interp vs an ok no abuse arg i'll USUALLY vote aff.

cp- like em. with a critical nb even better. i think i'm a fair judge for these debates. aff theory args generally not persuasive unless unchallenged. very similar to topicality in this regards.

das- great. a lot of people are now struggling with the we control the uniqueness = a risk vs. we got d/risk of turn. i don't think the aff has to have offense to win a da but i do find in a lot of debates that with only defense it hurts the aff a bunch. especially when the neg has a cp. but i tend to weight the da first in terms of probability and then magnitude.

critical args- love em. these are the debates i find the most interesting. i'm willing to listen to virtually any way the neg wants to present them. method. alternative. text no text. don't care. case turn. obviously it's the neg's burden to provide some way to evaluate their "framework" but in terms of theory i think they are all pretty much legit. args are args and it's the other teams responsibility to answer them.

others- i like to see people be nice to each other in debate rounds. some people may say i intervene sometimes. it's true but let me provide context. if you go for you mis-spelled (jk) a word in your plan and you should lose and your winning the arg but the other team says this is stupid...we'll i'm persuaded. you just wasted a bunch of peoples time. another thing. DON'T RUN MALTHUS IN FRONT OF ME- DOESN'T MATTER IF IT RIGHTS OR NOT. i won't flow it. i think that while debate is a game we still have a responsibility to "speak truth to power". discourse is very important. definately co-constitutes with reality. this may be why i'm starting/have been hating the politics debate for the last year and a half. but hey, like i said before, i'm full of inconsistancies b/c sometimes you just don't have another arg in the box to go for. i'm sympathetic to this. especially in high school debate. i still research it for the hs topic and coach my kids to go for it.

from debateresults...

Debate is a game- i have a lot of ideas about how the game should be played but in the absence of teams making those arguments i won't default to them. i think debate should make the rules of the game and provide a framework for how i should evaulte the debate. i'm not a big fan of some malthus in particular...but also theory arguments in general. these debates generally happen faster then my mind and pen can handle. ive judged a lot although i haven't much this year on the china topic. some people may think i have a bias towards critical arguments, and while this is true to some degree (i generally find them more intersting than other debates), it also means i have higher standards when it comes to these debates. yeah imagine that, me with high standards.

James Garner Paradigm

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Anthony Joseph Paradigm

email me at / for questions

- put me on the chain

- be ready to give the 1ac if im late, no excuses

- im starting to want to count prep till you are ready to speak, too many people stealing prep.

Kayvan Khoobehi Paradigm

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Darin Maier Paradigm

Caveat: All this is how I think I judge debates. People who have had me in the back of the room may disagree with elements of this.

The SparkNotes Version:

1) The AFF's advocacy should endorse the resolution -- if you do that, I'll give you some room on method.

2) I default policymaker but will consider other approaches if well-articulated and explained in terms of why that approach is appropriate for this round.

3) I want in on any file sharing, but I'm only going to flow what you intelligibly articulate in the round. If it's not on my flow, you didn't say it, and I won't go to the speech doc to bail you out.

4) I lean truth over tech, reasonability over competing interpretations, substance over procedure, and usually find reciprocity to be a good starting point for evaluating theory, but I think these are all defaults and can be overcome.

5) I have no moral qualms with saying "I didn't vote for you because I didn't understand your argument." Making a cohesive argument out of your mass of cards is your job, not mine.

6) Don't be rude, don't falsify evidence, don't clip cards, and don't do other shady things. If you're doing "ins and outs", you'd be well-advised to notify everyone before the round begins (I have voted against a team who didn't because 2NR ran a theory objection). If it's shady enough, I may sign the ballot against you without the other team telling me to.

The “Actual Text” Version – but still trying to be somewhat succinct.

· The resolution – Full Disclosure: I serve on the NFHS Policy Topic Wording Committee and have attended the Topic Selection Meeting since 2011. Advocate for or against the resolution, and I’ll give you some leeway on exactly how you’re doing that (e.g. using your personal narrative as a DREAMer for immigration reform is a valid strategy, saying I should vote for you because you didn’t get Cocoa Puffs as a kid is not, and if you insist on doing the latter, you’d probably prefer striking me over taking that L).

· If you’re running electronic file sharing, I want to be in on the fun, but my flow will only reflect what you say in the round. Speed is generally okay but be clear – the third time I have to yell “clear”, I stop flowing. If it’s not on my flow, you didn’t say it and if it’s because you were unclear, I’m not going to the speech doc to bail you out. I’m about the content of what you say, but you have to say it in a way that is intelligible.

· Substance > procedure is the default, but if your opponent is being particularly egregious or shady and you explain why I have to use the ballot to take a stand, I’ll consider it, and I have voted on both theory and topicality.

· Your job is to make me understand the argument and why it matters in this debate so that if I vote against the other team, I can explain to them why they lost. Complicated arguments require thorough explanations. “Read our evidence, it’s on fire” is lazy debate, not a thorough explanation. While I am literate enough to understand kritiks like capitalism, feminism, intersectionality, anti-blackness and the like, if your kritik is based on some French dude whose name ends in four consecutive vowels who says a failure to adopt their method kills all value to life, you’d better have a good story.

· I try to decide the debate in the least interventionist way possible, unless some bad behavior is taking place. I’ll read cards if I must, but only those I need. If you ask me to read evidence, you’re giving me a tacit invitation to intervene.

· Whether it’s performance versus counter-performance, a policy AFF that claims the right to weigh itself against a K, a well-structured and developed T debate, or an old school AFF versus case arguments and a DA, good debate is good debate. If you’re giving me defensible reasons why the resolution should be endorsed or rejected, I’m pretty likely to be down with that.

· Because I judge on a few different circuits, I don't list a point scale, but try to adapt to whatever the particular tournament I am at is using.

· Things that will cost you speaker points or the round:

a. Rudeness – it will definitely hurt your speaks, enough rudeness makes me either actively look for a way to give you the L or just decide that you’re getting the L because I like to make rude people mad at me.

b. Gratuitous profanity – if a “damn” or “hell” slips out during a frantic 1AR or you’re including a curse word that is essential to the context of evidence you’re reading, that’s okay. Six f-bombs in a 40 second span is something else.

c. Racist/homophobic/sexist language or behavior

d. Falsifying evidence – if I’m pretty sure it’s been done, I will act on this one unilaterally

e. Clipping cards – if I’m pretty sure it’s being done intentionally, I will act on this one unilaterally.

Calen Martin Paradigm

Debated for 4 years in highschool for Caddo - Am now debating at the University of Kentucky 


Argument preference - I am open to hear whatever strategy/arguments you think can best be executed to win the debate.  I think that flex is important and dont particularly prefer hearing one sort of strategy over the other.  That being said, I primarily went for critques in highschool but am now tranistioning to a heavier policy focus.  Feel free to read either in front of me.  Ill vote for Heg good just as quickly as ill vote for the death K.  Win the flow and the substance of the debate and ill give you my ballot.  


Conditionality - two is pretty safe, anymore and im more sympathetic.  This doesnt mean that you cant read more than two in front of me, but if you do and the AFF extends condo be ready to have that debate.  


CPs/DAs - I like them, especially when they are case specific and deal with the AFFs mechanism.  Im more sympathetic to AFF theory vs Word pics, consults, and mores generic process cps.  If your go-to counterplan is more generic, thats fine, just be ready to answer theoretical objections.  


Ks - your links need to be specific to the AFF.  Even generic link cards can be bolstered by some quick analytic application to what the plan actually does.  If you dont explain to me why the plan links, its hard to win a turns case argument.  Additionally,  I need reasons as to why the alt would be able to resolve at least some of the link arguments.  


T - I judged a few debates at camp over the summer so I have a rough idea of constitutes the topic.  T requires concise explanation.  I think that limits (for policy affs) is likely to be the largest impact.  


I wont call for cards that you have not properly explained in the debate.  You need to be clear.  Debate is about effective communication and persuasion.  Delivery is important.  If you want high speaks in front of me, CX is the place to earn them.  

Elise Matton Paradigm

Elise Matton, Assistant Debate Coach (CX, LD, and PF) at Albuquerque Academy since 2016

Email chain:



· Policy debater for Albuquerque Academy (2005-2010), mostly local circuit

· IPDA and NPDA parli debater for Tulane University (2011-2014), local and national circuit


· Isidore Newman (2012-2016), local and national circuit

· Tulane University (2014-2016), local and national circuit

· Crescent City Debate League (a New Orleans-based middle school debate league, 2011-2016)

Basically, I'm a big debate nerd. This means I have experience in a wide range of debate events, styles and circuits and feel fairly comfortable adjusting to whatever style you might compete in- national/local circuit styles are both fine, LARP/policymaking, K debate, traditional/stock LD, or PF are all fine. Read on, ask in round, or email me if there is anything in particular you would like clarification on. I consider them all useful events and styles, though because they emphasize different skill sets, I may approach judging them differently.


· Spread or don’t spread, I really don’t care either way. Speed is fine but I’ll probably like you a lot more if you spread in a way that doesn’t make you monotonal and boring to listen to. I do think there is a way to spread and still demonstrate strong speaking ability (varying volume, pacing, tone etc) and will probably reward you for it if you're doing both well. Go slower/clearer/or otherwise give vocal emphasis to key issues such as plan text or aff advocacy, CP texts, alts, ROB/ROJ, counter-interps, etc etc.

· I’m down for K positions, aff or neg, but you’ll probably want to read more about my background and preferences in the K section (see below) to figure out how best to access my ballot.

· Underviews/overviews are sadly under-utilized, and giving a super stellar one is a sure way to impress me and/or increase your likelihood of winning my ballot.

· Put me on the email chain ( but know I don't like reading documents while you're speaking (or ideally at all). I believe that your delivery and performance are important aspects of this activity and you have the burden of clearly articulating your points well enough that I shouldn't need to look at the docs at all.

· The most impressive debaters to me are ones who can handle intense high level technical debates, but who can make it accessible to a wide variety of audiences.

· Just because an argument is dropped doesn't necessarily mean I'll give you 100% weight on it if the warrants aren't there. Feel free to spend less time on it for obvious reasons if it was dropped, but don't feel bad when a bad hidden theory spike doesn't win you the round if you don't warrant it.

· The stoneface thing never really works for me and you’ll probably notice me either nodding occasionally or looking quizzically from time to time- if something sounds confusing or I’m not following you’ll be able to tell and can and should probably spend a few more seconds re-explaining that argument in another way. Note the nodding doesn't mean I necessarily agree with a point, just following it and think you're explaining it well. If you find this distracting please say so pre-round and I’ll make an effort not to do so.

· Post-rounding, aka arguing with the judge over an RFD at tournaments that allow disclosure, is unacceptable and disrespects the many generous adults and judges who make this activity possible. Although you are certainly more than welcome to ask a clarification question or for specific feedback about a speech or strategy, thinly-veiled questions that actually challenge or attempt to undermine the judge are clearly getting at VERY different things. Know the difference, and never engage in the latter. If you do, I will drop your speaks. I absolutely understand the frustration of losing a round you felt certain you wouldn't but ultimately 1) it's ONE round out of the many, many rounds you will engage in your debate career, keep this perspective in mind and 2) the best debaters I have ever met use those losses to fuel their drive to improve. If some response or extension was too muddled or poorly explained to make it into my decision calculus, I urge you to do a rebuttal re-do to make it clearer next time, and grow as a competitor in the process.

Role as a Judge

I see myself mostly as tab ras, though I of course have implicit bias like everyone else. What I mean by this is that I evaluate the arguments and debate as they are given to me, I don’t think you should have to cater completely to my preferences, and I attempt to do as little intervention as possible. I believe all types of judges are valid judges and that good debaters should be able to adapt to multiple audiences. Does this mean completely altering everything you do to adapt to a certain judge (K judge, anti-spreading judge, lay judge, etc etc)? No, but it does mean thinking concretely about how you can filter your strategy/argument/approach through a specific lens for that person.

HOW I MAKE MY RFD: At the end of the 2NR I usually mark the key areas I could see myself voting and then weigh that against what happens in the 2AR to make my decision. My favorite 2NR/2AR’s are ones that directly lay out and tell me the possible places in the round I could vote for them and how/why. 2NR/2AR’s that are essentially a list of possible RFDs for me are my favorite because not only do they make my work easier, but it clearly shows me how well you understood and interpreted the round.


I loved the T debate in high school, mostly because it has such a natural structure to it that provided great line-by-line debates when I was first learning how to do clean refutations. I see T and Theory as a needing to exist in debate as protective measures, but I also have a fairly high threshold. I don’t mind having it in a debate, but rounds where my RFD is predicated on it aren’t my favorite. Reasonability tends to ring true to me for the Aff on T, but don’t be afraid to force them to prove or meet that interpretation, especially if it is a stretch. For theory, I don’t have a problem with conditional arguments but do when a neg strat is almost entirely dependent on running an absurd amount of offcase arguments as a time skew that prevents any substantive discussion of arguments. This kind of strat also assumes I’ll vote on something simply because it was “flowed through”, when really I still have to examine the weight of that argument, which in almost all of these cases is insubstantial. At the end of the day, don’t be afraid to use theory- it’s there for a reason for when you need it, but the key word in that is the “need” part. If you’re going to run it, please spend time in the standards and voters debate so I can weigh it effectively.


I love a really good DA, especially with extensive impact comparisons. The cost/benefit aspect of the case/DA debate is particularly appealing to me. I don’t think generic DA’s are necessarily bad but good links and/or analytics are key. Be sure your impact scenario is fully developed with terminal impacts. Multiple impact scenarios are good. I'm not anti nuke war scenarios (it is 2018 after all), but there are tons more systemic level impacts too many debaters neglect.


I used to hate PICs but have seen a few really smart ones in the past few years that are making me challenge that notion. That being said I am not a fan of process CPs, but go for it if it’s key to your strat.


Love them, with some caveats. Overviews/underviews, or really clearly worded taglines are key here. If your tagline is more confusing than your lit, we’re both going to have a bad time. I did some K’s in high school (mostly very traditional cap/biopower) but was pretty abysmal with them. They weren’t as common in my circuit so I didn’t have a ton of exposure to them. However they’ve really grown on me and I’ve learned a lot while judging them- they’re probably my favorite kind of debate to watch these days. (hint: I truly believe in education as a voter, but this can work in aff’s favor when terrible K debates happen that take away from topic education as well). Being willing to adapt your K to those unfamiliar with it, whether opponents or judge, not only helps you in terms of potential to win the ballot, but also vastly increases likelihood for real world solvency (that is if your K is one that posits real world solvency- I'm down for more discussion-based rounds as theoretical educational exercises as well). I say this because the direction I’ve decided to take my graduate school coursework in is directly because of good K debaters who have been willing to go the extra step in truly explaining these positions, regardless of the fact I wasn’t a “K judge”. I think that concept is bogus and demonstrates some of the elitism still sadly present in our activity. If you love the K, run it- however you will need to remember that I myself wasn’t a K debater and am probably not as well versed in the topic/background/author. As neg you will need to spend specific time really explaining to me the alt/role of the ballot/answers to any commodification type arguments. I’m open to lots of aff answers here as well including framework arguments focused on policymaking good, state inevitable, perms, etc.

Flash time/emailing the doc out isn’t prep time (don’t take advantage of this though). Debaters should keep track of their own time, but I also tend to time as well in case of the rare timer failure. If we are evidence sharing, know that I still think you have the burden as debaters to clearly explain your arguments, (aka don’t assume that I'll constantly use the doc or default to it- what counts is still ultimately what comes out of you mouth).

I will yell “clear” if the spread is too incoherent for me to flow, or if I need you to slow down slightly but not if otherwise (aka don’t expect me to yell it to help speaker points). If I have to say it more than twice you should probably slow down significantly. My preference while spreading is to go significantly slower/louder/clearer on the tagline and author. Don’t spread out teams that are clearly much slower than you- you don’t have to go incredibly slowly, but you should adapt slightly to make the round educational for everyone. I think spreading is a debate skill you should employ at your discretion, bearing in mind what that means for your opponents and the judge in that round. Be smart about it, but also be inclusive for whoever else is in that round with you.

Please feel free to ask any further questions or clarifications before/after the round- my email is if you have any specific questions or need to run something by me. Last updated November, 2018.

Kasi McCartney Paradigm

Debated for Caddo Magnet HS 1999-2004

Director of Debate Bossier Schools 2009 -2017

Current Debate Coach at Caddo Magnet HS

LHSSL Executive Secretary


**update for Grapevine** - these are my first rounds on the topic please spend extra time fleshing out your topic specific scenarios

Personal Philosophy

Overall, I am essentially a policy maker. I feel that the goal of the debate is to find the best policy option. I do not consider myself an activist or that my role is to balance forces within the debate community. I will vote for non-policy strategies if they can present a clean structure for their impacts. I know its out of style, but I prefer the affirmative to have a plantext.

Identity Politics - You should probably not pref me. You MUST have a link to the aff or specific in round actions for me to vote on this. I understand and sympathize with the issues in round, but this is not my preferred argument at all. It will take a lot of convincing to get me to vote on a strategy that is outside the resolutional bounds. I ultimately believe that traditional forms of debate have value.

Theory – I think theory is definitely a voting issue, but there needs to be some form of in round abuse for me to truly buy that it is a reason alone to reject one team or the other. I do not think that simply kicking a CP in block is a time skew that is truly worth voting against a neg team unless there are other circumstances. I do love tricky CP's (consult CP's, clever agent CP's, process CP's etc.) and it would be hard for me to believe that on this topic they're really that unpredictable.

Case - I must say I have a hard time being persuaded that the negative has enough weight on their side to win with only case defense and a DA. What can I say, I'm a product of the late 90's. I much prefer to have a CP/K in there to give the flexibility, especially with a topic that allows for affirmatives to have heavy military impacts. Please be careful and make sure that if you takea case only route that you attack each advantage with offense and have a very very weighty DA on your side.

Kritiks- Not my bread and butter, although I do understand their strategic benefit, having come from an underfunded public school. It is my preference that K’s have a clear order and structure. I will vote on the K if you win that your impacts outweigh the impacts of the plan and that there is a true need for action, but I would not be the judge to introduce an extremely loose and unstructured argument to. I understand and buy into threat construction and realism claims, but in the end, I much prefer a well executed CP and politics debate to a poorly executed critical strategy. You will need to a have link specific to the plan. Links based off of the SQ will not be enough for me.

Framework - I default to the framework that the aff can weight the impacts of their plan versus the impacts of the neg.

Impacts – I believe that impact analysis is at the heart of a judging decision. You are an advocate for your arguments and as such you should provide insight and analysis as to why your specific impacts are the greatest in the round, how they should be evaluated by the judge and how they change the evaluation of the impacts to the other team’s case. Without this assessment I feel like you leave too much wiggle room for the judge to pick their personal preference of impact.

Speaker points- Speed can be an advantage in the round and should be encouraged, but always with the intent of being clear first. My ability to clear understand your arguments is crucial to getting them evaluated at the end of the round. The ability to provide analytics and analysis in the round will get you much further with me. As far as CX is concerned, I simply ask that the person who is supposed to be asking/answering the questions, gets the first shot at speaking. If they ask for help that’s perfectly fine, but don’t overwhelm your partner’s ability to conduct their own cx. Baseline speaks for e is 28.5 and you move up or down from there. I hardly ever give above a 29.5

Ed Moise Paradigm

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Neill Normand Paradigm

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David Ramachandran Paradigm

NOTE: This paradigm is meant for policy debate. If I am judging you in any other form of debate then what I have below does still apply but I am not all that familiar with the format or norms of argumentation for other forms of debate. If there is a specific way in which your form of debate should be framed and evaluated, it is your responsibility for making that known and then forwarding an argument about why it should be evaluated in that way.

About Me:

  • I competed in policy debate at Ruston High School for all four years of high school.
  • I am currently studying economics and political science at Tulane University
  • I prefer a good policy debate with an intensive case debate and relevant disadvantages over a critical debate. See the Kritik section if you are thinking about running one.

Big Picture:

  • Sportsmanship: Debate is a platform by which competitors mutually enter into an academic environment to pursue education. If you do not respect your competitors, your speaker points will reflect it. With that being said, I am open to debates about what the platform should look like.
  • Communication: It is the job of the debater to effectively convey their point. It is the debater's responsibility for making sure that the judge clearly understands their points. I do not enjoy yelling "Clear," but I will do it 3 times before I stop flowing entirely. Likewise, your speaker points will suffer for each time I have to intervene. Because debate is contingent upon good communication, I do not want to be added to the email chain or to be given evidence to follow along with as this defeats the purpose for actually speaking.
  • Prep: Flash time does count as prep time. Clearly say when you are starting and ending prep. I will penalize teams that appear to be doing prep after they have ended prep.
  • Speaker Points: Speaker points are contingent upon a variety of factors including: clarity, road-mapping, disrespectfulness, theft of prep time, effective participation in CX, a constructive speech, and a rebuttal, merits of your strategy, and presentation.
  • Flowing: I evaluate the debate entirely off of my flow. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are clear enough for me to flow you. If it is not on my flow, do not expect me to "fill in the blanks." If there is evidence in contention, I will call for it after the round to see what it actually says. It is in your best interests to accurately represent the author's argument.
  • Evidence: I reward teams who use quality evidence over a hot jumble of buzzwords. If a card is in question, I will call for it after the round. I give credit to an author's credentials and I think you should too. I should not have to read un-highlighted parts of your evidence to understand it. I have no tolerance for clipping, or jumping around parts of a card unannounced. If you mark a card, you better have it clearly marked on your document.
  • Decision Making: The way I judge the debate is entirely up to you. I will default to whatever I am told to do. Therefore, it is important to win framing arguments if you expect to win the round.


  • Topicality:
    • I prefer the Aff actually have a plan or advocacy statement.
    • T is always a potential voter, but the negative must show an actual violation of the definition and prove in-round abuse for me to actually want to vote for it. With that being said, if the other team drops it entirely, of course I will vote on T.
    • The more specific the better.
  • Kritiks:
    • Must have an alternative
    • Alt must solve
    • Must win Framework debate if you expect to win the K
    • Must prove why thinking and acting are opportunity costs
    • Although I ran and debated against Kritiks a lot in high school, I am honestly not that big of a fan of them. Run them at your own risk: I hold Kritiks to a high threshold both on the link debate and the alt solvency debate. I am fair though, if your opponents do not prove why such a high threshold should be imposed and you are winning these debates along with the framework debate, you will win the K.
  • Performance:
    • Must have a purpose
    • Must prove why conventional policy debate doesn't work to represent your point and why I should value your point
    • If you break from the conventional platform of debate only to be funny, expect to lose. With that being said, I think performances can serve a vital role in advocacy if it is sincere
  • Counter Plans:
    • I love a good theory debate.
    • I also love coherent Neg strats meaning that DAs that link to the CP will hurt you.
    • Read CP text slowly and clearly enough for me to actually flow it
    • I seriously doubt your one terrible card below your generic CP text makes it all that much better than the 8 minute 1AC.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Please have current Uniqueness cards
    • Not every impact has to be nuclear war or extinction, but I will evaluate them as they are presented.
    • I love impact calc debates

Collin Smith Paradigm

Collin Smith --

Cabot High School ‘18

Baylor ‘22

I mostly did K things in high school and continue to do so in college. My research interests, however, are very broad, and I do not really care what form your arguments take. As a judge, I value specificity, evidence comparison, and in-depth explanation. I generally decide debates by identifying key points of offense and sifting through the evaluative mechanisms set up by either team to discern whose impact matters more, and how I should conceive of solvency.

Affs – do what you want, read a plan or not, talk about the topic or not – I don’t care. Aff’s with plans – don’t assume I know your acronyms (I judged at a camp, but I have not done a lot of topic research), and I do not think your impact or k framing contention helps. Affs without plans – be sure to explain your method early in the debate and use impact/solvency examples.

Framework – I will vote for it, I will vote against it. I tend to think procedural fairness in the impact that makes sense against most k affs, but I see the utility in switch-side or topic education arguments in some contexts. I generally think when neg teams win these debates when they disprove aff solvency and explain how their interp solves the aff (through tvoa, ssd, etc.). Neg’s also need to win a framework comes first/case doesn’t matter argument. I think the aff is set to win these debates when they win an impact they can solve, an impact turn to the neg’s interp, and apply that disad to the 2nr’s arguments. I do not think a counter-interpretation is necessary, though often it is quite useful.

Kritiks – here for it, do it well.

DA/CP – I think uniqueness is more likely to overwhelm the link than for the link to determine the direction of the uniqueness.

Tech v Truth – If an argument is conceded, it is probably true but needs to be explained again in your next speech. I think the best 2NRs and 2ARs tell the judge what the most important aspect of the debate is and why, then win that issue. These framing questions tend to implicate how I evaluate technical concessions, or at lease to what extent I should care about them with regards to broader framing questions.

Khristyan Trejo Paradigm


I debated in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Debate League in high school, competed in Parliamentary (NPDA) for Tulane Univ and made it to quarters. I'm also the assistant debate coach for Isidore Newman School. I've been active in debate for 8 years.
You can't argue racism / homophobia / sexism / transphobia good arguments in front of me. Ever.



Debates can be as educational as you make it. Whether you're discussing an internal link scenario on a disadvantage or reading an affirmation of your identity as opposed to the resolution, you're deciding what you want to talk about in the debate space. I don't have any preferences regarding a certain argument you're reading, but I would like to clarify the way I frame debate rounds.

I love procedural arguments, but the debate needs to come down to why things like T or Theory outweigh the other framing issues going on in the debate. When it comes down to it, both teams need to explain what my role in the debate is, and how I should evaluate the arguments you're presenting.
I like disads, and creative counterplans are cool. As long as you're explaining the story of your scenarios, and the functionality of those scenarios in comparison with the other team, you should be good to go.

Please don't assume I know the topic, or the aff that you're reading just because you read it at more than two tournaments. Just make sure the arguments you're reading aren't read under the assumption I know which privileged and old philosopher your K is based on.

** OTHER **

Tag-team cross-ex is fine. #nostealingprep You can refuse to answer substantive questions during prep time.

If you have any specific questions, feel free to email me or ask in person before the round.

Rosie Valdez Paradigm

-Director of Debate at Little Rock Central High School
Yes, email chain and sure, questions:


Do what you do and do it well. I will vote for who wins. Over-adaptation is probably not a great idea with me in the back (I can smell your soft-left add-ons a mile away). Be clear, be concise, be economical. I coach primarily K teams, so it is immaterial to me whether or not you read a plan.


I care about quality of evidence. I would much rather hear you read a few well-warranted cards than a wave of under-highlighted evidence. Same goes for redundant evidence; if you need six cards that “prove” your claim with the same words interchanged in the tag, your claim is probably pretty weak. Evidence does not (alone) a (winning) argument make. I like to be on email chains.


Neg teams lose when they don’t demonstrate how their arguments interact with the 1AC. Winning that the affirmative is “flawed” or “problematic” does not guarantee a neg ballot. In my mind, there are two ways to win the k versus a policy aff: either win that the effects of the plan make the world significantly worse OR win framework and go for epistemology/ontology links. Know when framework is important and when it’s not. Give analysis as to how your links implicate the world of the aff. This is where case mitigation and offense on why voting affirmative is undesirable is helpful. These debates are significantly lacking in impact calculus. Also - the alt needs to solve the links, not the aff - but if it does, great! If you win framework, this burden is lessened. Don’t spread through link explanations. I am seeing more debates where teams kick the alt and go for the links as disads to the aff. This is fine, but be wary of this strategy when the alt is what provides uniqueness to the link debate.

Conversely, affs typically lose these debates when there is little press on what the alternative does and little analysis of perm functions. However, some teams focus on the alt too much and leave much to be desired on the link debate (especially important for soft-left affs). Not sure why teams reading HSI are making perms on the cap k. Defend your reps. Your framework shell should also include a robust defense of policymaking, not just procedural fairness. The 1AR should actually answer the block’s framework answers. More impact turning rather than defensive, no-link arguments.

Also, running to the middle will not save you. Some Ks are going to get a link no matter what, and tacking on a structural impact to your otherwise straight policy aff will likely only supercharge the link. So. Read the aff you'd read in front of anybody in front of me. You're probably better at that version anyway.

K Affs vs. FW

For affs: I’m good for these although I do think that oftentimes the method is very poorly explained. Neg teams should really press on this and even consider going for presumption. Side note: I absolutely do not think that critical affs should have to win that the ballot is key for their method. Against framework, I most frequently vote aff when the aff wins impact turns that outweigh the neg’s impacts and have a counter-interp that resolves the majority of their offense. I can still vote for you if you don’t have a counter-interp in the 2AR but only if the impact work is exceptional. I prefer affs that argue that the skills and methods produced under their model inculcate more ethical subjectivities than the negative’s. The best aff teams I’ve seen are good at contextualizing their arguments, framing, and justifying why their model and not their aff is uniquely good. I am most frequently preffed for K v K debates. Judge instruction is extremely important here as these debates can become muddled extremely quickly. I would rather evaluate those rounds based on whose method is most relevant to the debate rather than k tricks.

For neg teams: I like to see framework deployed as debate methodologies that are normatively good versus debate methodologies that are undesirable and should be rejected. Framework debates should center on the impact of certain methodologies on the debate space. “Your argument doesn’t belong in debate” is not the same thing as “your argument is hindered by forum” or “your argument makes it functionally impossible to be negative.” (fun fact: I read a lot of judges' paradigms/preferences..."debate is a game" does not = debate is a good game, and participation in that "game" does not = can't say the game is bad). I prefer more deliberation & skills-based framework arguments rather than procedural fairness, but I will vote on either as long as you have warrants and comparative impact analysis. If going for skills & research impacts, the internal link debate is most important. TVAs are great as defense against the aff’s impact turns. They do not have to solve the aff but should address its central controversy.

I feel similarly about theory debates in that they should focus on good/undesirable pedagogical practices. Arguments that explain the role of the ballot should not be self-serving and completely inaccessible by a particular team.


Topicality is a voting issue and never a reverse voting issue. T debates are won and lost on the standards level. If the affirmative wins that their interpretation solves the impact of topicality, then I see no reason to vote negative. Thorough T debates are about more than fairness. The idea that you have no game on an aff in this era is just not as persuasive as the idea that the aff’s interpretation negatively impacts future debates. For the immigration topic: I agree with the general consensus that topical affs must provide legal permanent residence.


No real issues here. Specific links to case obviously preferred to generic arguments. Give me good impact analysis. As a debater, counterplans weren’t really my jam. As a judge, I can’t say that I get to vote on CPs often because they are typically kicked or are not competitive enough to survive an affirmative team well-versed in permutations. A CP should be something to which I can give thoughtful consideration. Don’t blow through a really complicated (or long) CP text. Likewise, if the permutation(s) is intricate, slow down. Pretty sure you want me to get these arguments down as you read them, not as I reconstruct them in cross. I vote for theory as much as I don’t vote for theory. No real theoretical dispositions.

Arkansas Circuit

1. I’m not going to bump your speaks for thanking me and taking forever to start the round because you’re asking “opponent ready? judge ready? partner ready? observers ready?” for the first 20 minutes.
2. If you do not take notes during my RFD, I will leave.
3. Don’t clip. Why do debaters in Arkansas clip so much? Answer: Because I don’t judge very much in Arkansas.
4. Keep your own time.

James Xiang Paradigm

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