5th Mukai College Classic Weber State

2017 — Ogden, UT/US

Michael Barlow Paradigm

4 rounds

**If for any reason you ever don't wanna debate and both teams agree, we can flip a coin to determine the winner. Losing side speaks will be 29.1 and 29. Winning side speaks will be 28.5 and 28.6 :)

New to the topic -- Be careful with acronyms and cool kid phrases.

Short and Sweet--I was a kritikal afropessimism debater that liked to also go for framework. Im willing to vote on a wide range of arguments, I have no predispositions. I'm very flow centric. I'll hear any argument just make sure its impacted well and INTERACTS with the other side's arguments. Lean toward competing interpretations, the aff doesn't necessarily need to defend the USFG (you can make the arg) but should at a minimum have some relationship to the Rez, condo is probably good, and advantage CPs are strategic. More specific rambles found below.


With that said, I believe my job as a judge is to facilitate the exchange of ideas. Whether those ideas are connected to a policy option or a dance performance is entirely up to the debaters. Personally my debate strategies have ranged from Wilderson to Consult CP/Politics to Zizek. I am more than willing to hear whatever it is you're confortable with. See the issue specific stuff below.

Topicality--I think it should be a bigger deal on most topics. Too many neg teams are afraid to invest in it. A good T strat will make the violation apparent, along with the standards, AND a topical version of the aff. Anything less is probably not gonna get my ballot. If you're aff winning reasonability is probably an uphill battle.

Framework--Pretty versed in the techniques and strategies. I'll flow it like a disad but truth claims do have weight. Be clear, concise, and explain warrants. Neg without a topical version of the aff probably loses.

Counterplans--Admittingly I'm probably willing to entertain the most abusive of CPs. This isn't to say that you can't win theory against a reccommend CP, but I won't just assume you're right. You'll have to win the theory debate. As far as competition goes, I tend to lean more in favor of the aff when the way in which the CP generates a Net-Benefit is sketchy. I don't think that Politics is as clear of a net-benefit to XO as people may think. But again this is a debate to be had.

Kritiks--You should make the framework in which I consider the plan versus the alternative clear. In combination with this, you should make the alternative's interaction with the advantages clear i.e. does the alt solve the case or does the case just not matter? I think the aff has the same burden. Usually big K debates resolve around the clash of viewpoints so make your viewpoint clear in comparison to theirs.


Case Turns--Fine

Theory--For most blippy theory arguments I probably will default to any articulation of "reject the arg." By blippy I mean perf con or severence reps, etc. This sin't to say I won't vote on theory. If your blippy arg is conceded, I'll painfully vote on it. Also, I'm more than happy to hear a good theory debate via condo, or pics, etc. I probably lean more toward condo being good.

Max Bugrov Paradigm

8 rounds

Send docs to: tuggdb (at) gmail (dot) com


East Los Angeles College 2009 - 2011

California State University, Fullerton 2011 - 2013


Assistant Debate Coach: Fresno 2013 - 2016

Assistant Debate Coach: Fullerton 2016 - Present

Assistant Director of Forensics @ CSU - Fullerton: 2019 - Present

// Fall 2020 // COVID EDITION

Call of Duty Warzone tbh.

Offense offense offense.

your debate. your choice.

audio quality matters. read the zoom room.

// Fall 2019 //

World of Warcraft (CLASSIC)

// Spring 2019//

Apex >

//Fall 2018//

like and subscribe

- team comp matters (2/2/2, 3/3)

- stay on the payload!

- definitely need a shield

- dps flex

//Fall 2017//



Timothy Byram Paradigm

6 rounds

Email: timallybyram@gmail.com

First off, do you. If my judging philosophy meant that you were put at a disadvantage for any particular style of debate, that would be indicative of a larger problem.

I am a Junior at Liberty University. I have done traditional policy, critical, and performative debate, though recent experience has drifted heavily toward the latter end of the spectrum. I am decently well-versed in most forms of critical literature. However, my level of familiarity with a topic should be largely irrelevant to the way you debate. I view debate generally as a format established for the clash of pedagogies. This clash can take place on the macro level or the micro, and applies to both policy and critical debate. The key is to explain which premises of your opponent’s arguments are in contestation and why. In other words, it can be as broad as a discussion on the merits or demerits of proximate state action, or as specific as the effectiveness of China deterrence to maintain US hegemony. This principle can be applied to virtually all arguments:

Ks: Isolate what the affirmative has done, explain how their particular methodology/epistemology perpetuates structural violence, and give me a clear explanation of how to avoid those harms. In debate-speak, spell out the link/s, draw a story between that link and a particular impact, and explain to me how your alternative avoids said link/impact story. The debaters who do this best are the ones who can relate the structural to the specific (ie, the aff’s use of x term/methodology/analysis leads to y structural impact writ large through z process). K affs function similarly: Tell me what systems of behavior or thought are perpetuated in the status quo, how this is done, why it is bad, and what you do about it.

FW: Framework can be run in many different ways, and should be contested in accordance to the specific argument run. For the team running it: Tell me the specific violation of the affirmative, and give me palpable reasons why the aff perpetuates a model that is harmful for debate/why your model is relatively better. Central to this argument is an explanation of why your version of debate is good, or at least better than that of the affirmative. Contestability is important, but it must ultimately be tied to the specific impacts of the model you are offering. For the team answering it: tell me in what ways you meet their interpretation, or in what ways that interpretation is bad. On both sides of the debate, blanket statements are insufficient. Tell me specific reasons why your opponents’ framing is bad. This involves an interplay of tech vs. truth that I will attempt to balance depending on the arguments made in the particular round.

DAs & CPs: My assessment of the risk of the DA happening as a result of the aff is dependent on the specific details offered as part of the negative strategy. Give me a clear line of reasoning between that link and the impact. Specificity is also important for Counter Plans, in that you must show me how the Counter Plan is competitive with the aff. Don’t assume I am familiar with the jargon.

T: I like T but I am not particularly well versed in the area. Be creative, slow down a bit, and give me well-reasoned applications to the aff.

Darrian Carroll Paradigm

5 rounds

Not Submitted

Travis Cram Paradigm

1 rounds

Travis Cram

Director of Debate, Western Washington University

Years Judging: several

Email chain/contact: traviscram@gmail.com

NDT 2020 Update.

I have zero rounds on the space topic. I suggest you use your supplemental strikes accordingly. Otherwise, read on:

1. Seriously, I have no rounds on this topic. De-acronym things if you can.

2. I recently suffered mild hearing loss in one ear. It hasn't affected my ability to process speed, but if you act like a couple of jackwagons in CX and just talk over each other, I won't be able to understand you. It turns into garbled noise. To be fair, it was garbled noise before the hearing loss. One at a time please...

3. I'm a better than average judge. I flow, pay (too much) attention to CX, I read relevant cards (but not the speech doc in real-time). I don't care about what arguments you make or what you go for. I am committed to working hard, giving every debater a fair shake, and communicating my decision to you so you can improve, grow, and win debates later.

4. I do not see judging a debate like studying a wiring diagram. I don't think debate is about making lists, checking them off, making new lists, checking them off, etc. Every debate is different; that is why we keep having them. Tell me what I need to know. Tell me why I should believe it. Tell me why it matters and what I should do with it. Tell me why and how your opponent is failing to do those things.

5. Policy debate is really struggling right now and we are all much better at plunging knives into each other in search of blame than we are accepting some common responsibility for improving things. Please take any opportunity in front of you to make the debate you are having a better one, and less of a toxic, frustrating, draining, sludge.

Here are my top unpopular opinions about debate, to really scare you away:

1. "Having offense" is not axiomatic, or even helpful.

2. Full-bore worldview conditionality has made debate worse by nearly every measure. And yet I expect it will continue.

3. I cannot understand for the life of me why the debate community agreed to dramatically revise what it means to be affirmative, and yet not touch the burden of rejoinder.

4. I don't think a single one of you understands what an opportunity cost is.

5. Debate is not about truth seeking. The best thing about debate is that it shows you how far from the truth you are at any moment.

Here is all my old stuff:

NDT 2015

One big substantive revision: I’m a terrible judge for the “floating pic.” My voting record for them is roughly 2-6. The phrase “which means it is logically possible to vote negative” could just as easily mean “which means it is logically possible I could make an actual argument, but I am not going to.” If you like this argument, “sink” a little in the block and explain why it solves advantages and is congruent with the links that you go for in the last rebuttal.

Two slight philosophical revisions: Despite the frustration I often have with debate, I’m still fundamentally a fan of the game. I encourage anyone down on debate to try teaching. And I don’t mean “be an educator.” Get in front of a classroom and work with a group of students and realize how lucky we are to have so many students who care at all to find their voice and make an argument. However, although my perspective or method of judging hasn’t changed, two things related to “debate about debate” have been on my mind.

First, every debate I’ve judged contains a set of assumptions about what the activity we are involved in IS and what that activity is capable of accomplishing. When those assumptions are the terms of the debate, I find many arguments made to be unpersuasive. So let me foreground my own assumptions to help make your arguments more compelling. This quote from Rowland (1987) has always resonated with me: “Academic debate is a poor means of making policy or testing science, but a very good means of teaching the argument skills necessary to perform in those fields.” Of course, that statement needs updating. Academic debate is also a poor means of academic research. Our various filters and constraints distort too much and leave too much out. Our “scholarship” is oftentimes a wordy literature review. It is also a very poor means of evaluating policy or understanding risk. Cases and disadvantages say little about the collective action dilemmas, institutional cultures, resource limits, or contextual constraints that inhere in decision-making. Despite the limitations, debate is an excellent means of cultivating the faculties necessary to excel in any of these endeavors. Rowland again: “Through dialectical interchange, debate teaches students to discover, build, test, and refute arguments.” What is the upshot of all of this? I think debate matters a lot. And I think the reason it matters is because it teaches students how to argue. Thus, I prioritize “debate frameworks” that seek to teach students how to argue well.

Second, I am troubled by debate’s recent “substantialist” turn wherein the threshold for argumentative engagement is to read specific evidence against an opponent’s argument while topicality or theory arguments are dismissed as “dodging” the debate. Placing procedural arguments beyond the pale makes little sense to me. Debate is a game of arguments. Arguments consist of a claim, grounds for believing it, and the reasoning that connects those two. A well-reasoned explanation about what debate practices should be, when supported with plausible examples, makes a helluva lot more sense than “substantive engagement” with evidence that bears zero relationship to competitive debate other than at the level of basic vocabulary. Moreover, if debate is a game best left to the students, it seems fairly obvious that that should also entail giving students the freedom to argue over the game’s procedure. The upshot? Topicality makes more sense to me than framework. Debate theory matters, and it can matter a lot if done well.

My previous philosophy follows:

Big picture things:

- There’s not a ‘right way’ to debate other than to communicate or argue well. That said, in terms of that whole K/policy divide thing (if it is a thing), I think there is a major educational benefit to finding a way to affirm a topic that doesn’t devolve into just impact-turning framework. Basically, the following two statements are equally unpersuasive: “It is unethical to affirm the topic.” “Policy-making is the only relevant consideration.”

- Debate is a lot of things to me, but I privilege its communication and argumentation aspects ahead of others. That has pretty big implications depending on your interpretation of ‘I said that’...

- Specificity is my god-term in debate. The more specific at every level, the more likely I am to be persuaded by it.

- Debaters make arguments using evidence; evidence does not make arguments. The claims or verbiage of a card are less important to me than the reasons provided by you or the author for believing it.

- I don’t have a formula or an algorithm; last rebuttals should articulate the world they are going for. Saying something is 'logically possible' is not the same as defending the status quo as a policy, or actually making a floating pic.

- The affirmative has the Burden of Proof to overcome presumption. The team advancing an individual argument has the burden of proof to advance a complete argument. If the significance of that distinction is unclear to you, ask and I can happily explain.

- High speaker points: demonstrating specific knowledge, identifying crux questions, dynamic warrant comparisons (even if, because), explanatory clarity (esp. in 2nr/2ar), humor and civility, clarity, and proficiency at line-by-line execution. I also have soft-spots for teams that are risk-takers, scrappy, or willing to impact turn some stuff.


- All interpretations must be reasonable. Negatives need to win a real impact to T, not just that debate could be better or simply go for ‘our violation is more precise’. Affirmatives need to have a real impact to excluding their plan that doesn’t rely on impact turning T as genocidal or calculative.

Theory & Counterplan competition:

- Theory arguments are best when the link and impact are both things the negative did, not necessarily what they justified. Elaboration and pen-time can make these arguments very viable.

- I am generally suspicious of any CP that either: logically allows for the entire aff’s mandate to occur in some world; doesn’t compete off of an explicit stance taken in the plan or 1ac; does not contain a solvency advocate that assumes every level of fiat/mandate the CP engages in.

- I am highly unlikely to reject any counterplan that has ALL of the following: a comprehensive solvency advocate; excludes part of the affimative’s explicit mandate; uses the same actor as the plan.

- Conditionality as it concerns counterplans that don’t do the plan in anyway is good. Conditionality as it concerns the negative doing any and everything under the sun is very questionable.


- I love them. I love them even more when the cards are good and the link is strong. Still not signing up for the cult of uniqueness. The phrase ‘uniqueness determines the direction of the link’ is at best nonsense and at worse an excuse for having a crappy disadvantage.

- This is the area where evidence quality and specificity are often the most important. This is also the area where these questions are often the least debated.

- Most 'turns the case' arguments are not turns but are solvency take-outs or mitigators. If you have all of the components of a turn, by all means argue it like a turn. If you don't, I think you'd be better off arguing that it is a solvency take-out, which should prompt you to find some external offense or the aff will likely win a classic try or die frame to their advantage.


- I find sanctimonious indignation annoying, no matter who it comes from. Yes, they read a K. Get over it. Yes, they impact turned your K. Get over it.

- The following two statements are equally absurd: “the ethical/methodological underpinnings of the aff are irrelevant.” “the consequences/outcomes of enacting the aff are irrelevant.”

- I think that a specific critique of the affirmative is a negative response that has its place in debate. Topicality creates bigger barriers to whether philosophical approaches have their place on the aff side of the topic.

- ‘Method/ontology/ethics first’ type arguments only raise the level of play to encompass those considerations as relevant variables; it still invites another set of debating by both sides to either defend or indict specific methodologies as broken or valuable. Thus, ‘they concede method first’ doesn’t create a side constraint on my flow like it may for other judges.

- I find assertions about what the role of the ballot is or should be to be pretty silly and arbitrary, frankly. I think instead you should interpret what DEBATE is (what type of activity is it and what is its function) in an empirical sense as a way of framing arguments.

- Critical debate is where the likelihood that I will not vote on an argument simply because I don’t understand it is the highest.

Miscellaneous- here’s some random crap you may or may not find interesting:

- Negotiated impact turn debates are awesome. Try it sometime.

- Have a timer and don’t steal prep.

- Levity is a virtue. At the end of the day, debate is absurd and it makes little sense to let its pressures rule your emotions or behavior. Be willing and able to laugh at yourself above all else and keep a healthy dose of perspective even when the round gets heated. Let me underscore that. Don’t be a jerk. Being good at debate doesn’t excuse you from being a terrible human being.

Ben Crossan Paradigm

6 rounds

Explain it so a 12 y/o could understand and you should be fine. The 12 y/o is as intelligent as you are, maybe even smarter, probably less prone to the self-sabotage of needing to be the smartest person in the room that embarrasses most debaters away from asking the stupidest, most rigorous questions (of themselves and others). There's just a knowledge gap. Would the words you choose equip an audience to effectively explain the concepts you need understood to others? You're not being evaluated as a student—even though close study is indispensable. It doesn't matter that you get it. You're being evaluated as a teacher whose job it is to teach other teachers. Good luck!

Ashley Denney Paradigm

8 rounds




Please include me on email chains - ashley.denney612@gmail.com

Be efficient about email chains. Get them set-up before the start time on the pairing. Multiple problems with email chains may lead to decreased speaker points.


Currently coaching at UTSA, previously at K-State.

Very minor note: I hate being called by my last name. "Ash" or "Ashley" is fine. You won't lose speaker points for it or anything, I'd just rather be referred to by my first name.


Big picture:

Frame the debate for me at the top of the 2nr/2ar. Tell me what to vote on and why that's more important than whatever the other team wants me to vote on.   *Tell me how to weigh impacts. If no one tells me what to prioritize and someone has an oppression/violence in debate impact, I will generally default to weighing that argument first.*

Talk in paragraphs not blips. Give me pen (okay typing) time instead of speeding your way through large blocks of analysis. Slow down on tags. Very little frustrates me more than not being able to tell when you've gone from one card to another.

Stay organized. Giving arguments names is nice. You don't have to be perfect on the line by line, but telling me when you're moving from the link to the alt debate or the ___ "disad" (or whatever) is nice.

Slow down. I'd rather hear you make applications and talk about argument interaction than rattle through another three cards that say the same thing. I get that sometimes you need extra evidence and if there are different warrrants, it makes sense, but think carefully about those decisions. To take advantage of your analysis, I need to be able to flow it so you can't rattle off at the same speed you would a card.


Some specifics:

Framework - I am becoming less and less persuaded by ground and fairness claims against critical affs. Framework is much more persuasive to me as a methodological/educational issue rather than a rules/theory issue.


Kritiks - this is what I'm most familiar with. Have clear links and impacts, tell me what the alt is and what I should be doing as a judge. I generally start with the link and impact debate and then work from there. I've noticed I care a little less about the alternative than other judges, by which I mean even if I'm not totally convinced about alt solvency, I might still think that the K outweighs the aff. I'm more familiar with identity-based literature than with "high theory" literature, not necessarily a big deal, but an fyi. It's not that I won't vote on high theory or that I haven't been exposed to it at all, it's just a general note to avoid relying on buzzwords (which really is a good idea in general).

Performance - Tell me how to evaluate your argument and why I should evaluate it that way.

Theory - slow down on your theory debates. This is hard to win in front of me, so you need to spend real time on theory to win it. Reject the argument not the team is often more persuasive.  General proclivities: severance perms are bad (although probably not a reason to lose), conditionality is good within reason (although critical conditionality arguments are a differnet question), word pics are cool, but might be cheating. You probably won't win that Ks are cheating in front of me.

 Case debates: love them. Sneaky case turns, impact defense, mini-Ks are all great.

Policy arguments - generally lean probability over magnitude. I don't have a lot of predilections here because I don't judge a lot of these debates, but I'm capable of following and willing to vote on policy arguments.



Tiffany Dillard-Knox Paradigm

4 rounds

(1) I don't flow linearly, instead I evaluate the debate wholistically.

(2) I like big picture argumentation. Think about the implications that has for speed and argument extensions. You should be very clear in your extension of argument analysis. It is your responsibility to clearly communicate the arguments you need to win the debate. Don't assume that the tech advantages you get from the flow apply the same for me. This does not mean that I am not smart enough to follow debates but it does mean that I will not have a linearly constructed document at the end of the debate that will inform how I evaluate the debate.

Izak Dunn Paradigm

4 rounds

I feel that a new tabbing website calls for a new judge philosophy.  That, and my other one was about to start kindergarten, so...  

Some things have changed, some things have stayed the same.  Looking back on my old philosophy, I could tell that it was the scribbles of youth and over-exuberance.  There were many foundations that I would have liked to shake with that little document, but it is a rare occurance that anything written changes anything acted.  And such a poorly written little document at that! 

Some things you should know about me: I'm a philosophy guy.  I've done all of my formal academic training in philosophy and the history of philosophy, and debate plus a few classes on the side are all I have in communications studies training.  I tend to think that fact-value and fact-theory distinctions are bogus in practice but conceptually useful.  So, for example, against an "ontology comes first" argument, I would much rather hear a defense of your ontology rather than an argument about why ontological questioning should subside in the face of mass death.  Despite all this, I am a believer in the incommensurability of theories (paradigms?), so make your comparisons relevant--I'm a big sucker for elegance on this front.

I'm not big on offense-defense, especially on debate theory arguments.  Thus I'm not particularly happy when someone banks a debate on "any risk of a _____" impact calculi.  I'll vote on we-meets, too.  Even worse than this quirk in the way I evaluate the logos of your claims is the fact that I'll let the ethos and pathos of your speeches play into my decision.  I will let myself be "persuaded" by arguments, and though this sounds unfair, I think it is better that I am up-front about it rather than in denial.  As much as anyone tries to exclude them, these factors play a role in every decision.

I no longer default to flowing you in paragraphs in Word.  I used to do this because I thought that it would help me see through the way that the line-by-line obfuscates larger narratives and commitments in the debate round.  Not a lot of people do the line by line effectively anymore, and I feel that this obscures larger issues in a debate round in a more fundamental way (bad line by line outweighs dangers of line by line-centrism).  So now I'm out to help you figure out how to make the line by line work for you.

I will time your prep until the flash drive is out of your computer.

I will not disclose my decision until you update your wiki.

Without getting into too many specifics, I think that this pretty much covers what might make me different from the majority image of a policy debate critic.  I would much rather discuss concerns or questions you have about the way I'll evaluate debates with you in person, so please feel free to approach me or email me questions.



New Pet Peeve (10/14/2012)

2ac says various things about the alternative throughout their speech.  In the block, you say "Now onto the Alternative debate" and just say a bunch of stuff about the alternative.  "Embedding" clash is not an excuse to forego comparison between arguments, and not going to the line by line is not license to not talk about your opponent's arguments.  If this is your style of debate, you'd better make sure you are EXTENDING arguments (i.e., comparing them, arguing for them, deploying and employing them) as opposed to REPEATING the constructive that happened before you spoke.

If you do this in front of me, I'm going to set a very high bar for your speaker points.  If you do not actually embed clash, you will not receive more than 27 points from me.

Not all of you are ready to "do" embedded clash.  In fact, you've got to be pretty good at making discriminations about the line by line before you can decide on what does and does not count as a responsible or responive argument--in a way, it's a prerequisite to doing competent embedded clash.

Point Inflation Adjustment (11/8/2013)

After reading a lot about speaker points this year, I realize that I am way behind the times regarding point inflation.  When I was a debater, "competent and winning" was a fast way to get a 27.5, which wasn't bad (wasn't great, but wasn't bad either).  If I were "competent and losing", I usually got a 27 or a 27.5.  Speaker points describing incompetence lived around 27 and below.

My scale to date has pegged "competent and winning" at a 28.  This, of course, is just a baseline--I've definitely given points higher than a 28 to all four debaters in a round.  But, as long as you aren't vomiting on yourself during your speeches and are making good enough strategic decisions to win the debate, I'll give you a 28.  

It seems like I need to bump my points about half a point overall considering 5-3 teams are averaging about a 28.5.  I'm going to try and give "competent and winning" a 28.5 starting at Wake, if only to prevent teams from preffing me in all of my educational glory from being unfairly penalized by my miserly nature.

Point Inflation Update (11/12/2013)

Two edits: (1) For Wake, I'll use their speaker point scale.  It already seems pretty close to my inflation adjustment.  (2) After Wake, I'm going to try and give "competent and winning" a 28.3.  Seems to capture what teams that are winning just over half of their debates are averaging in 2013.  Also, I used to have to work hard for my 28.5's and am besieged on all sides by a burning and childish need to feel better than all of you.

Ben Hagwood Paradigm

2 rounds

Benjamin Hagwood, Assistant Coach, Liberty University


About me:

I debated for five years at Liberty University. This will be my third year judging. Since trading places (debater to judge) my view of debate has matured and my perspective has become more open to views that I currently did not have. To begin I will say that I understand that debate is a game, with that being said I realize that some people use it as a place to protest, advocate and discuss their political, social, religious and individual ideas. I used my time as a debater to stretch the rules and practices of an activity that I viewed as net –beneficial to the growth of academics and potentially policy-makers. As a critic I enter a round with my predispositions just like everyone else but I don’t want to limit the discussion that can take place in any round.


The stuff you need to read: (do you pref me or not)


1. I think everything in debate is debate-able. I tend to enter the debate believing that I will vote for the team that persuades me that their argument is the superior to their opponents. I will say that I am not amused by offensive language or jokes (you should call people out on what they do though). So if someone does something that I think is offensive and you don’t call them out on it they could potentially still win the round if you don’t say something they will just also have a 0.


2. Not reading a plan text doesn’t necessarily equal a loss in my book. I think great discussions can emerge from different ideas or strategies. This however does not mean that there is no way I would vote against you. If you are reading an argument that magically seems to shift out of every link in the debate that’s probably bad (again that is up for debate, also I think there is a large difference between not having a link and only having bad links).


3. I absolutely love DA and case debates. I tend to believe that people don’t have good defenses of their case anymore because they just believe that no one argues inherency or solvency anymore, just CP’s and K’s. I think a formidable strategy is to completely deconstruct a case and go with a simple DA.


4. I think critical theory is interesting. I have to admit graduate school stretched the theory that I would generally read but it has introduced me to new arguments and helped me grow. But my base knowledge is still critical race theory. This is generally my area of interest but I am definitely interested and reading other forms of critical theory. I will admit Baudrillard is still collecting dust on my “electronic” bookshelf. I intend to start reading more of if soon but so far I have only dabbled in his theories.


5. I think that a well-placed theory violation can change the entire direction of a debate. I think that you can do whatever you want but you probably should be able to justify doing it. Being negative is not enough to be able to run four conditional positions that contradict each other. Those worlds are not hermeneutically sealed…sorry. Actually I am not sorry just don’t run bad strategies.


6. Performance debate is growing and here to stay. That is not to say that you are not making important points, it’s just that generally (and most people won’t admit this) judging a team that executes a good performance is tough because you generally want to watch and enjoy and then remember that you also have to evaluate. Needless to say I am a fan of performance, but only if you do it well. Bad performances…please don’t do it in front of me.


7. Clash of civilization – I haven’t actually judged many of these. I don’t know if I will or not in the future. I will say that if done well I think that framework can be a great strategy against a lot of teams. My particular opinion is that there is probably a better option to run against most teams (that don’t defend tradition notions of debate) but if that’s what you want to roll with then that’s what you should roll with. 


8. CP’s do it.


9. Speaker Points: (ways to gain and lose them janks)

 a. A tasteful bowtie will definitely increase your overall speaker points. (Max .5 increase)

 b. A joke that is actually funny will also increase your speaker points. (Max .5 increase)

 c. Bad jokes (Max 1.0 decrease)

 d. Offensive language or actions (Max 30.0 decrease)

 I am rather easy to talk to if you have any questions. Have fun and be smart when you think of your strategy. Do what you do and I shall tell you if I love it or not.



Michael Hall Paradigm

2 rounds

Michael Hall

Liberty University

19 Years coaching

The comments below reflect preferences (some of which are strong), but they are fluid in the context of any given debate.

Theory: I am not tabula-rosa. Minimally, each argument should contain a claim, some support (evidentiary or otherwise), and an impact. That said, I do my best to minimize my substantive preferences and therefore find myself voting for positions I don’t particularly like. I attempt to use the decision calculus most persuasively advocated by the debaters.

Topicality: I tend to see topicality as a contest of competing interpretations. I probably vote on T more often than most judges and have no problem voting against "core affirmatives" when the negative has a superior interpretation of the topic. I strongly prefer that the negative team develop arguments based on a comparison of ground offered under each interpretation of the resolution. In-round abuse is not necessary or usually persuasive. I am usually more persuaded by arguments about the types and numbers of cases allowed by each interpretation than I am with the fact that you can’t win a link to your favorite disad. Topicality is by nature exclusionary. If your affirmative forces you to argue that topicality is bad, I'm not the judge for you.

Counterplans: I like creative counterplans tailored to specific affirmatives. The affirmative should be prepared to defend the entirety of the plan, and plan inclusive counterplans are one way of making them do so.

I’ve found myself voting against conditional counterplans a little more often lately, which I attribute to the quality of the negative’s defense of conditionality rather than a change in my CP leanings. If the negative justifies the conditional nature of the counterplan, other theory arguments are reasons to reject the counterplan not the team.

The text of the counterplan and all permutations should be written out. Trying to win a perm that doesn’t include all of the plan or that contains action not contained in the plan or counterplan is nearly impossible.

Kritiks: Given my preference for debates over competing policies, I find arguments that link to the action of the plan more compelling than arguments over the discourse of the 1AC. Like any other part of the negative strategy, the more you tailor your link arguments to the affirmative in question, the more likely I am to find your arguments persuasive. Likewise, an overview that details how the kritik turns the affirmative’s solvency, outweighs the case, etc. would be more helpful than several more impact cards.

Performance: While I am willing to evaluate your critical performance in a debate, I believe strongly that all affirmative arguments should be grounded in a plan text that represents topical action. If you want to use poetry, music, and dance to advocate a plan, go for it.

Style: This is probably the most important section of my philosophy. Things you should know in descending order of importance: (1) I am a better critic for those who collapse the debate in the block and 2NR than for those who go for most of their 1NC arguments into the 2NR. (2) I am a better critic for debaters who emphasize clarity over speed. I’ve found this to be especially true in paperless rounds where everyone in the debate except for the judge is reading along with the speech doc. I’ll give you verbal and nonverbal signals if I can’t understand you. (3) I have come to the conclusion that the more evidence I read, the less my decisions have reflected the arguments made by the debaters. As a result, I try to read fewer cards after a debate and am more easily persuaded to see a debate through the lens that allows me to do so. (4) If you think an argument is important, find a way to set it apart from the rest of the debate.

Prep time: Prep time stops when the speech doc is speech doc is emailed or the flash drive is removed from your computer.

Nadia Hussein Paradigm

About Me:

I have debated for three years at Georgia State and did a mixture of debate in high school. Now I’m a graduate coach at Wake Forest

I want to be on the email chain; use gsupanther84@gmail.com


Slow down when reading your tag and author, or I won't be able to catch it.

If GSU debate has taught me anything, it's to be extremely open minded to a variety of arguments. If you want to run death good, afropessimism, deterrence das, no period plan flaw, K affs, traditional affs, feminist killjoy etc, go for it. Just be sure to explain why you should win with this argument. ROB will be who debated the best unless I'm given another ROB with reason to perfer it. I'm against judge fill in but will vote down oppressive/offensive language/arguments especially if the other team points it out.


Do whatever you're best at, stay topical (or be ready to explain why topicality doesn't matter), be organized, and extend your case and why it outweighs throughout. I tend to err aff on framework if they have and defend a plan text, but you have to lock in if you decide to do that, otherwise I'll be persuaded to neg's abuse claims.


I love a good k with a clear link and impact. Your alts have to be clearly explained. I'll buy links of omission but the neg has to defend why the aff can't simply perm. Negs really have to take time in the block to explain why the aff can't perm and why it's net better to do the alt alone. Affs have to explain why they can perm and why the perm is net better than aff alone or why the alt can't solve the case. Don't drop theory args, or I will have to vote the other way.


I’m good with das but there has to be work done on how it links to the aff, or I will agree with the aff on no link args. If you have a solid Nonunique arg and extend it and I will vote on that. Solid impact calc will seal the deal for me, but if the aff successfully turns the DA or explains why the case outweighs the DA, I will vote on that as well. Long story short the more clash on the DA the better.


Love a creative CP, but it needs to solve/have a net benefit (DA or a K) along with stealing aff ground; otherwise I will agree with aff's perm and theory args. Aff needs to clearly explain why CP can't solve case, beat the net benefit, and articulate why the perm is best. Don't drop theory or you lose my ballot.


I will vote neg on a T arg if you convince me the violation is clear, the aff's counter interpretation is unreasonable, and the impact is big. I will vote aff if they convince me that their aff is reasonable, counter interpretation is better or equal to the negs, and a benefit to their definition, but aff can chuck topicality and still win if they articulate why being topical doesn't matter or is worse for debate. If the aff locks in and says they're T however, they cannot shift or it's an auto win for the neg.


I lean aff in most cases unless the neg provides me with a clear violation, story, and impact. 2acs have to clearly explain why the aff is fair and/or better. Tech is important when arguing FW but explanation is key when you arguing framework. Truth always better than tech.


cross ex is binding, answer the questions honestly, don't ask why the aff should win during 1ac cross ex or generic questions like that.

Willie Johnson Paradigm

2 rounds

I feel the need to fix this huge communication issue in the debate community it will start with my judging philosophy. If you are a debater who say any of the following "Obama is president solves for racism" or "we are moving towards less racism cause of Obama or LBS" and the opposing team reading a racism arg/advantage or colorblindness I will instantly vote you down with 25 points for the debater who said it.

Jumping: Novice please don't but if you must which you all will you have 20 seconds after you call for prep to be stop till I consider it stealing prep and instead of restarting prep I will just measure it by the ticker timer in my head (which you do not want). I suggest that you carry a debate jump drive, viewing computer or the cloud system. For Open debaters I get even more angry with the lack of competence you guys have with being responsible when it comes to jumping files and card. I have a soft warmness for debaters who are mostly paper and may involve me smiling like a boy with a crush don't be alarmed it is just me remembering my old days.

Speaking: I believe that clarity comes before all other ideals of what we often fantasize a good speaker to be, a debater has to be clear so that I spend more time analyzing and processing what is said then trying to comprehend what the hell is being said. This helps in the rebuttals when there is more cross applying of arguments instead of me sitting there trying to ponder what argument reference is being made. Speed is something I can adjust to not my general forte yet if you are clear I can primarily make easier adjustments (look I sound like a damn metronome). I tend to give hints towards the wrongs and rights in the round so I won’t be put off if you stare at me every now and then. Debates should be a game of wit and word that upholds morals of dignity and respect do not be rude and or abrasive please respect me, the other team, your partner and of course yourself

The Flow: My hand writing is atrocious just incredibly horrible for others at least I generally flow tags, authors and major warrants in the world of traditional debate. Outside of that with all the other formats poetry, performance, rap, theatricals and so forth I just try to grasp the majority of the speech incorporating the main idea

The K: yeah I so love the K being from a UDL background and having running the K for a majority of my debate career, yet don't let that be the reason you run the K I believe that a great K debate consist of a in-depth link explanation as well as control of the clash. There should be Impact calculus that does more then tell me what the impact is but a justification for how it functionally shapes the round which draws me to have a complete understanding of the Alt versus the plan and there must be some idea of a solvency mechanism so that the k is just simply not a linear disad forcing me to rethink or reform in the status quo (K= reshape the Squo)

The T debate: First I find it extremely hard to remember in my entire debate career where I cast a ballot for topicality alone yet it is possible to get a T ballot you must have a clear abuse story I will not evaluate T if there is not a clear abuse story. Voters are my best friend and will become a prior if well explained and impacted, yet I do believe education and fairness have extreme value just want to know why.

The D/A: Well I actually find myself voting more on the Disad then the K I just think that the disad debate offers more tools for the neg then the K yet it is the debater who optimize these tools that gain my ballot, link debates should contain at least a specific link as well as a an established Brink generic links are not good enough to win a D/A ballot and any good aff team will destroy a a generic link unless there is some support through a link wall. Impact debates must be more than just nuke war kills all you have to place comparative value to the status quo now and after plan passage. Yet a disad is an easier win with the advantages of solvency deficits and the option of competitive counter plans.

The Counter Plan: Competition is key if there is no proof that the end result is not uniquely different from the aff plan it is less likely to capture my ballot. So C/P solvency and competition is where my voter lies on the C/P flow this involves establishing and controlling the clash on the net benefit. PIC's usually rely on proving that the theoretical value of competition is worth my jurisdiction.

Theory: cross apply T only thing with a theory debate that is different is you must be able to show in where the violation actually happens yet I find theory to be easy outs to traditional clash.

Framework: this is where my jurisdiction truly falls and it is the teams’ job to not only introduce the functioning framework but to uphold and defend that their framework is worth singing my ballot towards. I have no set idea of a framework coming into the round your job is to sell me to one and by any means my job is not to look at what framework sounds good but which is presented in a manner that avoids judges intervention (really just the team that prevents me from doing the bulk of the work if any).

In general: I love a good old debate round with tons of clash and where there is an understanding and display of your own intellect I find it hard to judge a round where there is just a display of how well a team can read and make reference to evidence, usually I hope that ends or is done less coming out of the 1AR. I'm a man who finds pleasure in the arts and execution of organic intellect and can better give my decision and opinion based mainly on how one relates back to competitive debate, if debate for you is a card game then it forces me to have to make decision based off my comprehension of the evidence and trust me that is never a good thing, yet a round where the discussion is what guides my ballot I can vote on who upholds the best discursive actions.

Anthony Joseph Paradigm

8 rounds

I’m highly flow centric.

I don’t always adjudicate debates based on an offense defense paradigm because I try to take into account multiple complexities which often aren’t reducible you the former.

Im not a hack for any one argument

Slow down in the era of online debate

Evidence/Good Cards/Good Spin super important

A wise one once said Never give up on the play

I like lots of nuance in argument interaction. Shadow extending links/perms aren’t persuasive to me as full arguments.

Perms are not automatically advocacies. You have to turn the perm into one by explaining the solvency mech.

Defense is super important to me.

Framing is the key to out maneuver your opponent.

I give great speaks always 28.7- 30. A point fairy to say the least.

Amber Kelsie Paradigm

4 rounds

I am a graduate student of Communication at Pitt, currently coaching Towson, debated at Dartmouth

Paradigm writing is the worst.  It's also a farce. 


I see debate as a performance, and I vote for the better performance.  That performance can include any number of kinds of arguments.  A performance has stakes for an audience both immediate and abstracted elsewhere.  That performance should involve the endorsement (or no) of a certain politic.

I tend to evaluate debates based on comparative advantage, unless told to evaluate competing methodologies, or unless (in the context of performance debate usually) the debaters seem to think we all agreed that they are debating "competing methodologies."

Debate how you can, the best you can. 

Swag is good.  Complexity. Concretization.  Examples. Comparison. 

I don't tend to call for evidence, since it often overdetermines how I then piece together the debate.

I'm probably understanding your kritik, but it means I also probably have a higher threshold for what you must articulate.

For the time being, I will not be using my AA speaker point policy.

Joe Koehle Paradigm

8 rounds

Was in debate for a disgustingly long time, dropped out, now here for whatever reason. I've seen and done it all.

Just do you. I'm confident that if you're smart and good we'll make a connection. If you're bad you'll get real advice.

Christopher Kozak Paradigm

2 rounds

Experience: 4 years high school policy, 4 years college policy, 4 years coaching college and high school. Current director of debate at Rutgers-Newark. 

My judging philosophy/preference is simple. Make arguments. That includes a claim, a warrant and why in a world of competing claims does your claim matter. I don't have a judging "paradigm" and to say that I am a tablarasa is as naive as it is stupid. I am going to split the difference and just explain to you what kinds of arguments I am familiar with.

I debated the K for most of college. I value K's that are nuanced, well explained, and clearly applied to a specific context. I like original thinking in debate and will try my best to adapt to any performance style that you wish present in the round. Just be aware to all teams when debating framework on these issues that I do not consider appeals to "objective rules" persuasive in the context of determining debate norms. Debate is a rare activity in which students are allowed to define the conditions of their own education. I take this aspect of debate very seriously. This does not mean I am hostel to "policy debate good" arguments, it just means that I am holding both teams to a high stander of explanation when evaluating framework arguments.

I was mostly a straight up debater in high school so I am also familiar with the other side of the fence. I love a good straight up policy round. I am a current events junkie and find that form of debate extremely valuable. I would just say that the only thing you need to worry about in front of me in a straight up round is that I have a hard time flowing quick blipy analysis (who doesn't?). Again, not really my style of debate, but honestly if you just make sure you pause for a breath or something between arguments I will get everything you need me to get on my flow.

It may sound like I have a lot of "biases" but I do honestly try to evaluate arguments exactly as debaters tell me to. These preferences mostly come into play only when debaters are not doing their jobs.

Avoid having to adapt to me at all and just tell me what you would like my preferences to be and we will be straight.

I welcome you to ask any specific questions you may have about my philosophy before the debate considering I don't have much of an idea about what to put in these things.

Daniel Lee Paradigm

8 rounds

Assistant coach @ Washington. Molecular engineering PhD student @ Univ of Wash.

Debate history: Bronx Science HS. Cornell Univ. Only debated freshman year of college; qual’d to NDT and made it to octos of CEDA in 2011. It’s good to be back.

Things I appreciate:
CP and case. I think PICs are awesome but also think you need CP solvo advocates.

Things I don't appreciate as much:
1. Cloud clash (when you say a bunch of things in your overview and expect me to pick out particular arguments to apply on the line by line for you). I borrowed the phrase from Armands Revelins.

2. Having to use the speech doc to understand what you're saying because you're incomprehensible.

3. You not flowing. If you intentionally load up your speech doc with bogus cards to bamboozle your opponent, you're a jerk but I also think it's absurd for opponents to ask you to edit the speech doc to remove unread cards... everyone should flow.

K debate:
Links to SQ or descriptions of how the world works can be good but you should also win that you resolve those links.

I'm pretty inexperienced with Ks and body politics. Subjectivity debates and clash of civilization debates are hard for me to resolve. I try very hard but you may have to do more work for me. I also try hard to fight my biases but my general predisposition is that pragmatism is good.

I am unconvinced about going strictly for fairness in T - FW debates against K AFFs. I think fairness is an internal link to education and I think education is the best thing about debate. But I don't really care what type of education. I do think topic specific education is what makes debate unique, but so is the ability to challenge norms.

I think fairness is an internal link to education.

My predisposition is that theory is better used as reasons to reject portions of args. For example, I am not strongly convinced by 50 state fiat is a reason to reject the team or even to reject the CP as a whole (but I can be). The way I tell my teams to read 50 state fiat is as a reason that we get our solvency deficits. We say 50 state uniformity fiat is abusive with a C/I must have solvo advocate, and the CP can be as uniform as the solvo advocate says (which I guarantee will be like 12 states at most). The AFF can go for theory as a reason they don't get uniformity and then read solvency deficits for lack of uniformity. Of course, this means that the AFF can spend less time on this than they would if it were a reason to reject the whole arg/team.

I think analytics are awesome. I also think the debaters tend to read cards instead of debating with the cards... “you read this card, but here are three cards” etc. It ends up being “our authors disagree but we are right” with no explanation. Would appreesh you telling me how to evaluate which cards are right.

I think cards are useful and sometimes it's fair and strategic to let your cards do the debating for you. I like to reward good research. But there is a limit. Also, I like to read your cards throughout the entire debate and hold them to a high standard.

Chris Leonardi Paradigm

6 rounds

Modern problems require modern solutions.

P.S. I have never and will never evaluate a judge kick argument as if it were valid. If you make a 2NR decision, you've made it. You can't unmake soup. I'm not going to intervene into the debate to fix your 2NR mistakes.

Nick Lepp Paradigm

6 rounds

I am currently a graduate assistant/assistant coach at the University of Georgia. This is my 12th year in policy debate.

I use he/him pronouns.

Last updated: 9/11/2020

Please put me on the email chain & make me an ev doc at the end of the debate. NJL1994@gmail.com.

Online Judging: Please slow down a little bit and emphasize clarity more than normal. In the practice debates I've judged, I've missed a few slight nuances because of weird feedback from your speakers and mine. I'll yell clear at you if I cannot understand you (which I am unlikely to do in-person) because I know this isn't really your fault. But please keep this in mind and try your best to speak more clearly than you normally do.

Top level things:

I think about debate in terms of risk (does the risk of the advantage being true outweigh the risk of the disad being true?). I am willing to vote on presumption, particularly when people say really ridiculous stuff.

I like nuance and for you to sound smart. If you sound like you've done research and you know what's going on, I'm likely to give you great points. Having nuances and explaining your distinctions is the easiest way to get my ballot.

I really feel like judge direction is a lost art. If you win the argument that you're advancing, why should it matter? What does this mean for the debate? What does it mean for your arguments or the other team's arguments? This is the number one easiest way to win my (and really anyone's) ballot in a debate. Direct your judges to think a certain way, because if you don't, your judges are likely to go rogue and decide things that make sense to them but not to you. So impact your arguments and tell me what to do with them. I think it's way more valuable to do that than include one more tiny argument.

How I decide debates:

First: who solves what?-- does the aff solve its impacts, and (assuming it's in the 2NR) does the negative's competitive advocacy solve its own impacts and/or the aff? In framework debates, this means the first questions I resolve are "does the aff solve itself?" and "does the TVA solve the aff sufficiently?"

Second: Who’s impact is bigger? This is the most important question in the debate. Do impact calculus.

Third: Whatever you have told me matters. Because I have started with solvency & impact calculus questions, everything else is always filtered along those lines (including framework/role of the ballot/role of the judge).

Other misc things:

1. A dropped argument is a true argument but it needs to be a complete argument to begin with or I will likely allow people new answers. For example, this epidemic with high schoolers reading aspec on the bottom of T flows to hide it: if it’s so quick I didn’t catch it in the 1NC, the 1AR gets all the new args they want.

2. I am very flowcentric. Do not ask me to not flow, because I won't listen. Please do line-by-line. If you don't, I'll be frustrated and less likely to buy new extrapolations of arguments. Your speaker points will definitely drop if you don't do line-by-line. I do not like overviews ("overviews are evil"-- one of my labbies). I am unlikely to yell clear at you if I cannot understand you.

3. Debate Decorum: I expect some civility and politeness between you and your opponent. This is an academic activity and a community where we clash of a variety of diverse ideas. If you forget this, it's likely to show in your speaker points. If things get particularly egregious (shouting racial slurs at your opponent, physically harming or intimidating your opponents, etc) I will intervene and you will lose. That being said, show me that you care. Show me that you know things, that you've done research on this topic, that you want to win, and that debate matters to you. I love this activity and if you also love it I want to know that.

"The existence of speech time limits, the assumption that you will not interrupt an opponent's speech intentionally, and the fact that I (and not you) will be signing a ballot that decides a winner and loser is non-negotiable." (taken verbatim from Shree Awsare).

I am incredibly uncomfortable adjudicating things that did not occur in the debate I am watching. Please do not ask me to judge based on something that didn’t happen in the round. I am likely to ignore you.

4. Judge kicking makes sense to me but I frequently forget about it, so if you want me to judge kick something you should tell me so in the block/2NR.

5. Teams should get to insert rehighlightings of the other team's cards, but obviously should have to read cards if they're new/haven't been introduced into the debate yet. Two offshoots of this-- 1. You should insert rehighlightings of other team's cards if they suck 2. You should read cards that don't suck.

6. Please highlight your ev so it reads as complete sentences. This does not mean that I need you to highlight complete sentences, but if you are brick highlighting, I want to be able to read highlighted portions of your ev as complete sentences—it flows better to me. IE don't skip the letter "a" or the words "in" or "the". Just a random pet peeve.

7. Card Reading: I tend to not do a lot of it after debates unless things are highly technical or I think the debaters aren’t explaining things well. That being said, I’ll likely read at least some cards. Please put together a card doc for me.

8. Debaters parroting their partners: I usually just flow what the partner said. That, obviously, only exists within reason (you don’t get to give a third speech in a debate, but you can interrupt your partner to say something and I will flow it).

9. New 2AR args are bad for debate. I consciously hold the line against them as much as I can. I as a 2N feel as if I got a few decisions where a judge voted aff on an arg that didn't exist until the 2AR and it's the most frustrating. You can expect me to try to trace lines between args in earlier & later speeches. However, if I think the argument they're making is the true argument or a logical extrapolation of something said in the 1AR, I'm more likely to buy it. 2As-- this means if you're gonna do some 2A magic and cheat, you should trick me into thinking that you're not cheating.

Some specifics:

Disads: I’m better for the smart DAs than the silly ones, but I understand the value of bad DAs and will vote for them. I will likely reward you with higher speaker points if I think I understand your story really well and/or you have some cool/unique spin on it. I am fine with logical take outs to DAs that don’t require cards (especially if there’s some logic missing internally in the DA). Don’t just read new cards in the block or 1AR, explain your args (although also read new cards obviously).

Theory, CPs, and K Alternatives: I put these pieces together because my thoughts on these three args blend together.

Competition is determined off the plantext, not off cross-x. PICs & PIKs are only competitive if they PIC/PIK out of something in the plantext. I do not believe that you get to PIC/PIK out of a justification or non-plantext based word. The only way I will ever be convinced otherwise is if the aff allows you to do so.

Condo: It’s good. I can be persuaded otherwise, but all things equal I’m very neg leaning here. “They should get one less CP” is an arbitrary interp and makes no sense. "Performative Contradictions" is a term of art that has been bastardized to no end by debate. You're either saying the neg has double turned themselves or you're saying conditionality is bad; in my mind, perf con is not even worthy of being written on my flow.

Particular Theory: I’m way better for this than most judges. States theory, international fiat, consult/condition, vague alts, utopian alts, etc—I have gone for all of these and actively coach my debaters to do the same. My predisposition is to reject the arg not the team, but I can be persuaded to reject the team on non-condo theory args (you should introduce the arg as reject the team in the 2AC if you want this to be an option).

Theory can be a reason you get to make a cheating perm.

Counterplans/alternatives that use aff evidence as solvency advocates are awesome.

If the CP/alt links less I think it makes sense that I prefer it, but make that arg yourself because I won’t make it for you.

Case: "Where have all my heroes gone?"-- Justin Green

I love love love case debate. You should make logical extrapolations that take out the internal link chains and make me question how the advantage makes sense. The block should read more cards but feel free to make logical case take outs without cards. I don't think you should have to go for impact defense to beat advantages-- uniqueness and internal link take outs are almost always the easier place to attack advantages. I tend to prefer a well-developed take out to the death by a thousand cuts strategy.

Affs-- 2NR that don't do well-developed case debate are generally overwhelmed by your "try or die"/"case outweighs"/"1% chance of solvency" args.

Topicality: This is only ever a question of the plantext in a vacuum. Topicality is only ever a voter, not a reverse voter. I’m not great for silly/arbitrary T interps.

Kritiks: I like Ks that care about people and things. I'm optimistic to a fault. I certainly believe that things are still terrible for billions of beings, but it's hard to convince me that everything in the world is so absolutely screwed.

Your long overview is actively bad for debate and you will not change my mind.

Make your K interact with the affirmative. I want your links to primarily be about the result of the aff as opposed to just the reading of the aff. Thus, for example, fiat bad links are pretty easily beaten in front of me, but reasons why x policy should not occur are much more persuasive.Don't just explain your theory of how power works, explain how the aff is bad according to your theory of power.

I have a masters degree in communication studies and am a PhD student. I primarily study queer theory (generally falling in the queer optimism/utopianism camp), theories of biopower, neoliberalism & capitalism (not the same thing), and humanism. Judith Butler, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Derrida are my favorite theorists. Grad school has taught me that theory is way more complex than I used to think it was. What this means for you: I have read some K literature, although I tend to read it academically rather than for debate nowadays. I am much better now for relatively complex theory arguments than I used to be but will get annoyed if I know that you’re deploying the theory wrong. I'm still not good for things like "death good," "meaning doesn't mean anything," or "language is meaningless" because I don't think those are questions even worth asking. I have not read a lot of literature about antiblackness academically, but I have read some of it from a debate standpoint. I am still unwilling to fill in those blanks for you if you are lacking them (ex-- just saying the words "yes antiblackness ontological, natal alienation proves" is almost not an argument in my mind).

I consistently find myself entirely ignoring the framework debate when judging a plan-based aff versus a K. I fundamentally believe I should weigh the aff & the neg should get access to a K. I will reinterpret your args as just “weigh the aff against the K.” For example-- if you say something like "the aff has to prove that their presentation of the 1AC is ethical", I think the way they do that is by me weighing the implications of the 1AC versus the implications of your criticism. Thus, when evaluating the debate through this framework, I will evaluate the merits of the 1AC versus the K (in other words, if you prove that the implementation of the 1AC is unethical then I vote for you, if you don't prove that it's unethical than I vote aff). I also start from the question "what does the action of the aff solve versus what does the action of the neg solve?" regardless of any framework arguments, so I don't even evaluate framework args first (which should also tell you how unpersuasive this style of argument is for me). Teams should spend less time on framework in front of me and more time winning the substance of their arguments. This also means that hardline “you don’t get a K” and “don’t weigh the aff against the K” style interps are completely unpersuasive to me. This also means that the role of the ballot/judge is only ever to vote for whoever did the better debating. I will not deviate from this, so, again, don't waste your time even saying the words "the role of the ballot/judge is x" in front of me.

“Perms are a negative argument” and “method v method debate means no perms” are both not arguments. I will not write these words on my flow.

Ultimately, I evaluate K debates just like I evaluate policy debates—explain your args well and put the debate together and I’m happy to vote on it. Technical line by line still matters and dropped args are still true args. If you want to win the debate on some metaframing issue, flag it as such and apply it on the line by line. Just be a good debater and I’m on board.

2NRs on the K that include case debate (with some level of internal link/impact defense; not just your security K cards on case) are substantially more persuasive to me.

Framework debates: you should also read my section on Ks (right above this one) as well.

Framework is a strategy and it makes a lot of sense as a strategy. Just like every other strategy, you should try to tailor it to be as specific to the aff as you possibly can. For example, how does this particular aff make it impossible for you to debate? What does it mean for how debate looks writ-large? What's the valuable topic education we could have had from a topical discussion of this aff in particular? Same basic idea goes for when you’re answering generic aff args—the generic “state always bad” arg is pretty easily beaten by nuanced neg responses in front of me. The more specific you are, the more likely I am to vote for you on framework and the more likely I am to give you good speaks.

Stop reading big-ass overviews. They’re bad for debate. Your points will suffer. Do line by line. Be a good debater and stop being lazy. The amount of times I have written something like "do line by line" in this paradigm should really tell you something about how I think about debate.

I do not find truth testing/"ignore the aff's args because they're not T" very persuasive. I think it's circular & requires judge intervention.

I do, however, think that fairness/limits/ground is an impact and that it is, oftentimes, the most important standard in a T debate.

T and/or framework is not genocide, nor is it ever rape, nor is it real literal violence against you or anyone else. I am unlikely to be persuaded by 2AR grandstanding ("omg I can't believe they'd ever say T against us") against 2NRs who go for T/framework. Just make arguments instead.

I’m a sucker for a good TVA. Teams seem to want to just laundry list potential TVAs and then say "idk, maybe these things let them discuss their theory". I believe that strategy is very easily beaten by a K team having some nuanced response. It makes way more sense to me if the TVA is set up almost like a CP-- it should solve a majority or all of the aff. If you set it up like that and then add the sufficiency framing/"flaws are neg ground" style args I'm WAY more likely to buy what you have to say (this goes along with the whole "I like nuance and specificity and you to sound like you're debating the merits of the aff" motif that I've had throughout my paradigm-- it applies to all debaters).

I oftentimes wonder how non-topical affs solve themselves. The negative should exploit this because I do feel comfortable voting neg on presumption. However, I won’t ever intervene to vote on presumption. That’s an argument that the debaters need to make.

Non-topical affs should have nuance & do line by line as well. Answer the neg’s args, frame the debate, and tell me why your aff in particular could not have been topical. The same basic idea applies here as it does everywhere else: the more generic you are, the more likely I am to vote against you.

Cross-ex: I am becoming increasingly bored and frustrated with watching how this tends to go down. Unless I am judging a novice debate, questions like "did you read X card" or "where did you mark Y card" are officially counting as parts of cross-x. I tend to start the timer for cross-ex pretty quickly after speeches end (obviously take a sec to get water if you need to) so pay attention to that. I'm really not much of a stickler about many things in debate, but given that people have started to take 2+ minutes to ask where cards were marked/which cards were read, I feel more justified counting that as cross-x time.

I pay attention & listen to CX but I do not flow it. Have a presence in CX & make an impact. I am listening.

Speaker points-- I do my best to moderate these based on the tournament I'm at and what division I'm in. That being said, I won’t lie—I am not a point fairy (seriously why do teams need a 28.9 to clear these days?).

29.7-- Top speaker
29-29.5-- You really impressed me and I expect you to be deep in the tournament
28.9-- I think you deserve to clear
28.3-- Not terrible but not super impressive
27.5-- Yikes
I will award the lowest possible points for people who violate the basic human dignities that people should be afforded while debating (IE non-black people don't say the N word).

I've also been known to give 20s to people who don't make arguments.

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask me before the debate begins, or send me an email. I also do seriously invite conversation about the debate after it occurs-- post-rounds are oftentimes the most valuable instantiation of feedback, the best way to get better at debate, and important for improving intellectually. I know that post-rounds sometimes get heated, and I think we all get defensive sometimes when we're being pressed on things we've said (or think we've said) so I will likely consciously try to take deep breaths and relax if I feel myself getting heated during these times. This also means that I may take a second to respond to your questions because I am thinking. I also might take slightly awkward pauses between words-- that's not because I don't think your question is important, I'm just trying to choose my words carefully so I can correctly convey my thoughts. I only post this here because I don't want anyone to feel like they're being attacked or anything for asking questions, and I apologize in advance if anything I say sounds like that.

Adam Lipton Paradigm

4 rounds

2020 Virtual Debate Update:

Anyone whose known me for a while in this community can tell you that I resisted the move to paperless debate years ago harder than anyone. However I have resolved to not fall behind on the move to virtual debate. Now with that being said this was the first summer I did not work at a camp and therefore have judged far less virtual debates than I feel I should have going into the season. Until I think I am fully acclimated to the audio differences of virtual debate I would prefer students to go at 85% of top speed. I know people hate hearing they gotta slow down but I think this will help me give the best RFD possible and will reduce me saying "not sure I got that down."


Put me on the chain: debate.emails@gmail.com, typically do not look at the documents other than some cursory glances during prep time. I still may ask for a card doc at the end of the debate to maximize decision time, I appreciate it in advance.

I believe that debate is a communication activity with an emphasis on persuasion. If you are not clear or have not extended all components of an argument (claim/warrant/implication) it will not factor into my decision.

I flow on paper, which means I would appreciate yall slowing down and giving me pen time on counterplan texts and theory arguments. If there is a specific way you would like me to flow give me that instruction and I will do my best to follow it.

The most important thing in debates for me is to establish a framework for how (and why) I should evaluate impacts. I am often left with two distinct impacts/scenarios at the end of the debate without any instruction on how to assess their validity vis-à-vis one another or which one to prioritize. The team that sets this up early in the debate and filtering the rebuttals through it often gets my ballot. I believe that this is not just true of “clash” debates but is (if not even more) an important component of debates where terminal impacts are the same but their scenarios are not.

While I think that debate is best when the affirmative is interacting with the resolution in some way I have no sentiment about how this interaction need to happen nor a dogmatic stance that 1ac’s have a relation to the resolution. I have voted for procedural fairness and have also voted for the impact turns. Despite finding myself voting more and more for procedural fairness I am much more persuaded by fairness as an internal link rather than terminal impact. Affirmative’s often beat around the bush and have trouble deciding if they want to go for the impact turn or the middle ground, I think picking a strategy and going for it will serve you best. A lot of 2NRs squander very good block arguments by not spending enough time (or any) at the terminal impact level please don’t be those people.

Prep time ends when the email has been sent (if you still use flash drives then when the drive leaves the computer). In the past few years so much time is being spent saving documents, gathering flows, setting up a stand etc. that it has become egregious and ultimately feel limits both my decision time and my ability to deliver criticism after the round. Limited prep is a huge part of what makes the activity both enjoyable and competitive. I said in my old philosophy that policing this is difficult and I would not go out of my way to do it, however I will now take the extra time beyond roadmaps/speech time into account when I determine speaker points.

Feel free to email or ask any questions before or after the debate. Above all else enjoy the game you get to play and have fun.



Competitor-- Winston Churchill (2008-2012)

Assistant Coaching-- Jenks (2012-2015) Reagan (2015-2017) University of Texas (2017-2020) Churchill (2019-Present)

Sarah Lundeen Paradigm

4 rounds

Fall 2015 TLDR version

Debate is great. At its best it teaches amazing critical thinking, research skills, teaches us to engage and clash with others ideas. I'm pretty flexible on what counts as debate arguments, but pretty persuaded that prepared opponents produce better debates. I think affs are best off defending a debatable proposition that responds to resolutional prompt and negs need to answer the aff.

Aside from technical drops in a round, I am have not yet been persuaded to abandon competiion so negs going for counterplans, alts, etc  typically need to demonstrate forced choice or net benefits.

Role of the Ballot and Theory counterinterps are frequently arbitrary, self serving and not super hepful. Please develop these arguments.

The flow matters to me, even though I am worse at it now due to hand/wrist problems, probably still better than folks who rely too much on the speech doc. I expect you to answer major lines of argument from the other team at the first opportunity. I will take the speech docs but do not follow along during your speech and will not vote on arguments I can't understand/flow during your speech. 

Debates have decision time limits and coutesy to your opponents and judge necessitate not wasting time. Aside from legitimate need for a break, there sin;t really down time in debate. It's basically speech, cx or prep time, this includes clarifying what card or part of card someone read. It also includes getting your speech doc ready, prep time ends when you are ready to give it to the other team. 

I don't appreciate micro or maxcro aggressions in debates and will attempt to call them out, use speaker point deductions and open to arguments about the ballot as remedy. 


Previous Versions - 

Important NDT Note: I have had to limit my judging commitments recently due tosevere wrist problems. For years I have taken a transcription style flow, that is no longer possible. I will still be flowing, but may not be able to keep up at the fastest pace, I will also not be writing down as much and doing more active listening. This may mean you want to change where you pref me, it certainly means you want to factor that in to how you debate in front of me - top speed blippy theory is unlikely to work out well for you. 


This is basically just a copy paste from debateresults with this important addition - As the community transition to paperless continues I am finding it more and more important to reward good communication practices while discouraging poor ones. While I think paperless is obviously a fantastic tool to store your evidence, I believe debate at its best is a synthesis of your reasearch with your public speaking skills - the speech document is not the speech, As a result, I will not be following along on a doc during your speech, it is your responsibility to effectively communicate your evidence & arguments. While I have always felt this way, I believe it is becoming more important for judges to hold a line on flowability & speaking - I will reward those who accomplish it. I will not vote on or reconstruct after the debate evidence I cannot hear & flow in the speech. 

Email questions to lundeensb@gmail.com

Sarah (Holbrook) Lundeen – ***Fall 2011 Update**** 

Assistant Coach at West Georgia 
I’m pretty much willing to listen to whatever debate you prefer to have (K, policy, Other). You’re better off doing what you’re good at than trying to adjust to what you think I want to hear. I understand a lot of people say that, but I really do think the debate is for the debaters involved and I do not approach the debate with any curriculum I am trying to impose on the community or round. The flip side to being open to the debate you want to have is holding you accountable for doing the debating – when I read cards it is largely to fact check claims made about the card in the debate, etc. I am not a judge who reconstructs the debate afterwards and instead, I reward in round debating, analysis, etc. 

Timing the Debate & Paperless - Your prep time runs until you are finished prepping your speech - i.e. it is ready to email, saved to the jumpdrive, viewing computer, in the dropbox, whatever your method is. please figure before the debate starts how to use your computer, jumpdrive, etc. With tournaments putting strict limits on judge decision times it is in the interest of fairness to all parties that I enforce efficient time within rounds. 

CP – I love a good CP strategy. I lean a bit negative on theory debates, but that doesn¹t mean the aff can¹t go for theory (it just means they should develop the arguments) and certainly doesn¹t relieve the neg of defending their theoretical world. I lean less for the neg when the cp involves multiple, independently conditional planks or there are 14 counterplans in the debate – this should be an easier situation for the aff to describe why that strategy has made the debate worse. Permutations are a test of competition – this means they do not need net benefits, they merely need to demonstrate the cp/k is not competitive and aff, this means that if you have some idea you wish to advocate the perm in the 2ar even after they kick the cp/k you will need to have well developed warrants for that, preferably in the debate before the 2ar. 

K – I have sympathy for objections to unexplained alternatives, but these args seem to seldom be developed by the Aff, you¹re probably better off using the alternative to win your permutation. K affs need to be able to explain their framework/warrant to vote aff in a way which provides negative ground and debatability. 

Topicality – I lean a little aff here on question of reasonability and “most limited” vs. “best/reasonable limit”, but as with any argument, the burden to do the debating is on you, don’t assume you can blow it off and wait for me to conclude in your favor on reasonability. The claim that the aff makes it impossible for the neg debate is very rarely true & sets way too high a bar for the neg and is typically a shorthand that stands in for making real impact arguments. 

Theory/Framework – For the most part I judge Varsity college debate. As a result I am skeptical of most claims that the other team has made it impossible for you to debate – seriously, you have likely been at this for 5 – 9 years, if it is impossible for you to debate what they said I feel kinda sorry for you. Now, if you have some good arguments about why they make debater better/worse in that it makes us better informes/more ignorant, better or worse people, etc I am all ears. Your impact args to things like predictability & fairness need to rise above “but we wanted it to be easier for us to win”. This may be more applicable to large sweeping framework claims than modular perm/cp theory arguments. However, conditionality is complicated in that I think it can be used to make debate better or worse. Conditional strategies that allow the neg to focus the strategy as the debate advances, etc. are fine (it is hard to be neg), but conditional strategies that defend opposite or incompatible positions do not generally make for better debates. 

In General –I would rather vote on how y'all debated, meaning that I will not spend an hour reconstructing the entire debate based on a stack of unexplained evidence. Making fewer, smarter args will get you farther than speeding through some unexplained "more evidence". Impact assessment and evaluation of the debate in the last rebuttals are important. 

I don¹t enjoy listening to debates in which gendered/racist/ableist/exclusionary language is used. At the very least your speaker points will effected. 

Hunter McFarland Paradigm

7 rounds

2019-2020 Update

Email Chain:hunterm@staff.harker.org


--Assistant Debate Coach at The Harker School (2018-current) & previously UC Berkeley (2018-2019)

--Sixth-year coaching/judging high school policy debate

--M.A. in Communication, University of Wyoming (thesis was on the rhetoric of settler colonialism and urban homonationalism)

--Policy debater for the University of Wyoming (B.A. in American Indian Studies & Political Science) and Twin Falls High School in Southern Idaho

ACCESS REQUIREMENTS: Do not relentlessly post-round me. If you want to disagree with my decision and argue with me about it then send me an email and we can have a constructive dialogue that way. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to make the space accessible for you before the round begins.

To Note:

--Flowing: I am not opposed to arguments that challenge how I flow, but here are my default mechanics: I use my laptop and I can type pretty fast, but you should still slow down on tags, analytics and most importantly, theory. I flow CX. I attempt to line up every argument so I expect you to debate line-by-line. Tell me if you have an overview on each page. I will only flow the speaker who is supposed to be giving the speech unless instructed otherwise for performative reasons.

--Paperless Debate: I will not count emailing as prep time unless you are being unreasonable. Your doc needs to be saved and ready to be uploaded by the time you end prep. I am not afraid to arbitrarily deduct time from your prep clock if you are stealing prep (trust me, we all know it is happening). You are likely to get higher speaker points if you are ready to give your order and speech the second your prep clock ends.

--Clarity: I tend to value clarity more than most judges. I need to be able to hear each word you read. I will yell "clear" three times and if you do not correct your clarity I will stop flowing (same with "louder" or "slower").

--Clipping: Zero-tolerance policy so MARK YOUR CARDS as your speaking (I flow the marks). If I think you clopped with malicious intent I will stop the round and award the individual who clipped zero speaker points and the team with the L. If you know it occurred and I don't, it needs to be on film for verification.

--Evidence Standards: I prefer that every argument made in policy debates have evidence attached to them unless the observation is obvious. I am less strict in kritical debates, but evidence on questions of ontology, theory, and your alternative would help your arguments greatly. I tend to read in-between highlighting to ensure the description of your evidence is accurate (this is why my decisions take a while sometimes). If you want to point out that your opponents read evidence out of context you should read a re-highlighting of it not just insert it into the debate.

Argument Preferences:

Tech > Truth

I am agnostic on content, but not on form. Your arguments need to be well-warranted (i.e. you should not merely present a conclusion, but you should present logical reasons for why I should accept that conclusion as true or I will presume it false because you have not presented a complete argument).

Kritical/Planless Affirmatives--- Affs should be debatable and, at the very least, your 1AC should have a solvency mechanism attached to a stable advocacy statement. I am willing to vote neg on presumption if you don't solve your impacts unless your interpretation of presumption is better than the negs.

Topicality (Kritical affs)---

Affirmative advice: You have to have a compelling competing model of debate to win my ballot (i.e. a counter-interpretation that sets limits on the topic). I agree that the best debates are ones that generate the most clash so if you can prove you were debatable you will be in a good spot for my ballot. I can be persuaded that breaking some rules of the game are good. However, I'm increasingly frustrated by arguments about debaters as people rather than theory. I will never be persuaded that reading framework in and of itself is violent, and I am not compelled by pre-requisite arguments or impact turns that are based on metaphors or syllogisms (claiming that "plan debate is genocide" is trivializing). Instead, you should critique the neg's substantive model of debate. Framework alone can outweigh the affirmative even without a TVA or solvency answers, but either of those greatly diminishes affirmative offense. I don't think TVAs need to solve perfectly, just access a similar discussion so I will rarely vote for aff teams that do not have an offensive reason to reject the TVA.
Negative advice: Make sure you are accurately describing policy debate, not an abstract deliberative process. I am likely to conclude that the educational content both policy debate and kritical debate give you are equally valuable so it is better to ground your offense in the form of iterative argument refinement and rigorous contestation around a predictable stasis point to demonstrate why your model of debate is preferred (this means you have to win a predictability internal link and prove the aff is un-debatable). Fairness is an impact but you should still tell me why it outweighs the aff's offense. Case defense helps minimize the risk of the aff's impact turns. TVAs better be topical, but they don't have to solve the aff just access the 1AC's educational value.

Topicality (Policy affs)--- I don't think teams go for T enough. Quality and context of evidence matter. You should provide a detailed picture of what the topic should look like. Reasonability framing only makes sense if you are winning that your interpretation of the topic is reasonable (i.e. extend a counter interp). I am highly unlikely to vote aff if you only have an education impact.

Case Debating--- I want more of it unless you are going for a CP that clearly solves the aff. I love impact turns (no matter how absurd; thanks TCram).

Kritiks--- I'm down with any K you want to read, but I am less familiar with continental philosophy so you need to clearly explain your theory. I am not willing to reward you for my prior knowledge so define complex terms. Don't just assert the impact and assume I know what it is, you need to explain it and tell me why it outweighs. The neg should present an opportunity cost to doing the affirmative, even if the alternative is a superior method or I will likely vote on a permutation. Roll of the ballots/judges are only important if you impact them out or I will always just vote for the team who I think did the best debating. I tend to agree that affs should justify their epistemology before getting to weigh their impacts (but you need to prove their impacts false first so go for case defense).

Disadvantages--- I prefer topic DAs, but also enjoy a tricky election or agenda DA. The quality of evidence matters, but spin is also critical. I will vote on zero risk, but it is unlikely. Good impact calc can easily switch my ballot in a close debate.

Counterplans--- Consult, conditions, and process CPs are not very compelling, but I enjoy predictable PICs. I tend to agree that solvency advocates matter for each plank. My default is to kick the CP if it doesn't solve but the DA still outweighs the aff (unless the aff proves the CP links to the net benefit).

Theory--- People cheat. Don't let them. Your block should be fully developed and read slowly. Theory arguments are only reasons to reject the team when you have proven the other team has changed your ability to engage in the substance of the debate (even if the argument was conceded).

Conditionality--- Conditionality is good (contradictory truth claims are not, but for substantive reasons rather than theoretical).



All of my policy preferences above apply. I recommend making way fewer arguments so you can develop them more. I have a little more sympathy for the aff's theory arguments due to the format of the activity, but it'll be hard to convince me to vote on an RVI.

Devane Murphy Paradigm

7 rounds

FOR COLLEGE TOURNAMENTS: rundebate@gmail.com

email: devane.murphy@gmail.com

My name is Devane (Da-Von) Murphy and I'm a former debater for Rutgers-Newark. My conflicts are Newark Science, Pace Academy, University High School and Rutgers-Newark. I debated 4 years of policy in high school and for a some time in college, however, I've coached Lincoln-Douglas as well as Public Forum debaters so I should be good on all fronts. I ran all types of arguments in my career from Politics to Deleuze and back and my largest piece of advice to you with me in the back of the room is to run what you are comfortable with. Now to get to the specific kinds of debate arguments. Also, i stole this from Elijah's philosophy and agree with

"If you are a policy team, please take into account that most of the "K" judges started by learning the rules of policy debate and competing traditionally. I respect your right to decide what debate means to you, but debate also means something to me and every other judge. Thinking about the form of your argument as something I may not be receptive to is much different from me saying that I don't appreciate the hard work you have done to produce the content"

Also, don't assume because of my appearance that I'm going to like or dislike certain arguments. I jumped for joy SO HARD when someone ran midterms in front of me this season and have cried because of terrible structuralism debates.

***2/9/2020 Edit***

I'm good on flowing now. thanks for being patient with me :)

****11/22/19 Edit*****

for all those doing prefs for the Shirley.

Due to a recurring hand injury I won't be able to flow debates as a I normally have in the past. I'll be using a different style of note-taking throughout the weekend and will provide feedback from there. Good luck to you all!

****10/27/18 Edit*****

So something has been up with my writing hand over the past few months going back to the summer and it has honestly affected how quickly I can flow. So if you're preffing me at least for the near future, please make sure that you aren't going blazing fast because i just won't be able to keep up sadly.

***2018 edit***

The current trend in debate of coaches and judges just flat out not listening/evaluating the ideas of competitors because it doesn't align with you ideologically is disheartening to say the least. So, I'm gonna be upfront about which arguments I don't want to hear and then everything else is on the table:

- Weird frivolous theory (i.e. can't read with two different highlights, spikes, etc)

- skep

- metatheory

- constitutivism/truth testing (for the LD folks)

***Emory LD Edit***

I'm a policy debater in training but I'm not completely oblivious to the different terms and strategies used in LD. That being said, I hate some of the things that are supposed to be "acceptable" in the activity. First, I HATE Theory debates, particularly "metatheory" debates (whatever that means). I will vote for it if I absolutely have to but I have VERY HIGH threshold. Second, if your thing is to do whatever a "skeptrigger" is or something along that vein, please STRIKE me. It'd be a waste of your time as I have nothing to offer you educationally. Please compare impacts and tell me why I should vote for you. Other than that, everything else here is applicable. Have fun and if you make me laugh, I'll probably boost your speaks.

DA's: I like these kinds of debates even though alot of folks don't utilize them anymore. My largest criticism is that if you are going to read a DA in front of me please give some form of impact calculus that helps me to evaluate which argument should be prioritized with my ballot. And i'm not just saying calculus to mean timeframe, probability and magnitude rather to ask for a comparison between the impacts offered in the round. (just a precursor but this is necessary for all arguments not just DA's)

CP's: I like CP's however for the abusive ones (and yes I'm referring to Consult, Condition, Multi-Plank, Sunset, etc.) I'm hella persuaded by theoretical objections. I'm not saying don't run these in front of me however if someone runs theory please don't just gloss over it because it will be a reason to reject the argument and if its in the 2NR the team.

K's: I like the K too however that does not mean that I am completely familiar with the lit that you are reading as arguments. The easiest way to persuade me is to have contextualized links to the aff as well as not blazing through the intricate details of your shit. Not to say I can't flow speed (college debate is kinda fast) I would rather not flow a bunch of high theory which would mean that I won't know what you're talking about. You really don't want me to not know what you're talking about. SERIOUSLY. I will lower your speaker points without hesitation

FW vs. K-Affs: Even though I'm usually debating on the K side of this, I will vote on either side. I go with the flow and if the negative is winning and impacting their decision-making impact over the impacts of the aff then I would vote negative. On the flip side, if the aff wins that the interpretation is a targeted method of skewing certain conversations and win offense to the conversation I would vote aff. This being said, I go by my flow. Also, i'm honestly not too persuaded by fairness as an impact, but the decisionmaking parts of the argument intrigue me.

K-Affs/Performance: I'm 100% with these. However, they have to be done the right way. I don't wanna hear poetry spread at me at high speeds nor do I want to hear convoluted high theory without much explanation. That being said, I love to watch these kinds of debates and have been a part of a bunch of them.

Theory: I'll vote on it if you're impacting your standards. If you're spreading blocks, probably won't vote for it.

Andrew Myers Paradigm

2 rounds

Andrew Myers a.k.a. "Big" or "Big Mead"

Current Assistant Director of Debate for Gonzaga University and Former Assistant Head Coach at Mead HS.

BA- Phil/Poli-Sci GU '12, MA- Phil SUNY Buffalo '14

4 Years Debating for Mead HS, 3 Years for Gonzaga. 5 Years Assistant Coach Mead HS, 5 Years ADOD at GU.

Email: andrewrossmyers@gmail.com

Final NDT Update – Minnesota NDT 19 (3-19-19)

To paraphrase Ryan Wash, this shit here is like a novel – it’s long and a lot to read. Fair, so I stole the “philosophy for the Twitter generation” idea from Adam Symonds for those that don't want to read it all:

TLDR: I have voted for and against Framework, Antiblackness, ESR + Flex, Nuclear Deterrence, Storytelling, and the State. Boo untopical policy Affs and abusive ESR CPs. Hater's Guide: Strict about highlighting, thinks Logic is real, votes for caring about people, Education > Fairness, thinks Debate isn’t just a game, hates agenda politics disads, votes for identity arguments.

My Decision Making Process:

My Vote means I think Team A wins and Team B loses. The final rebuttals most likely to win my ballot are clear on why my vote should declare their Team the winner, but the final rebuttal isn’t the only thing I will consider.

The Process of deciding which Team wins

1. General Impression – What is my first intuition about which team won the debate and why?

2. Check the Record – Did I miss something? Did I undervalue an Argument? Is there a critical concession?

3. Casting a Vote –

A. What are the “voting” issues?

B. Which, if any, arguments were decisively won or lost?

C. How do those arguments relate to the voting issues raised?

4. Determination and Decision – How will I explain the decision? Why Do I accept one of Team A’s or Team B’s voting issues over the other, i.e. Why not vote the opposite way?

This, quite simply, is how I make a decision. For why I make my decision, the rest of my judging philosophy is committed to continued debates where the voting issues are familiar. Debate is more exciting when the ground is unfamiliar, but that doesn’t mean classic debates are not interesting. Note that what constitutes a “classic” debate has more to do with intensity than ideology.

I cannot express anymore so clearly than this: Debate should not be a violent exercise, but it should be competitive, performative, and reasoned activity.

Arguments I will not likely ever vote for


A. Make debate a violent activity


B. Refuse Competition, Performance, or Reasoning.

(See below: Ethos, Pathos, Logos)

Examples of Arguments I will likely not like voting for:

1. No K’s ever judge, philosophy is too hard! If making sure when we act we do the right thing is hard for you, I have no sympathy.

2. Debate is Bad because it’s competitive! If your argument is right that winning is bad, why should you win? Clearly debate can take the competitive spirit too far and into the realm of toxicity (see: Either, A.). That violence forgets that part of playing a game is that you play with others.

3. The Circular Logic of Intrinsicness – There is a difference between what I think is intrinsic to the activity, a.k.a. what is to be done while judging, and the assertion of something being intrinsically good. The remnants of theory debates recirculating invoke too fondly paramount truths that are evidently not so self-evident.

4. The Argument as You experienced it/know it – My role here is to consider how we experience you making that argument in relation to others.

Finally, Debating about a Topic is language gaming. There are various language games we play, but we do so competitively at the intersection of thought and performance.

The 2018-2019 CEDA-NDT Topic headache:

I’ll evaluate the debate in front of me. I don’t think this resolution makes sense, and worse, is the bad kind of language game. I miss resolutions that were a statement, not a matrix.

If y’all are intent on having an ESR/Flex debate, that’s fine. Aff’s should be able to answer those core generics, some CPs are more abusive than others. I just don’t find that debate interesting.

I don’t get why Framework teams read not-topical Affs and not-topical TVAs, but especially on this topic (where the floodgates are clearly open). Aim Higher! K teams should not be afraid to read T in front of me against policy Affs. Policy Negs should be ready to defend the topic if your Framework argument is that the topic is good.

No Exec Authority to First Use Nuclear Strike =/= No First Use

Affs should specify the restriction(s)

I don’t think the Act of students debating simultaneously does anything about Trump in the moment. I do think I have seen debating by students on this topic that could effectuate change out of the round. I don’t know if this means anything in regards to presidential power.

I’m really not cool with War Criminals or Fascists.

NDT 16 Judge Philosophy Update 3-25-16

This will by my second year judging and coaching at the NDT for Gonzaga, and I feel compelled to comment on my continually developing disposition(s) as a judge.

I’ve had 52 rounds on this topic, varying in all styles.

I implore you to read what I’ve written here. I take this part of my job seriously and want to demonstrate how my thinking (philosophy) changes and stays the same.

If you don’t read it, ask Michigan KM how that went.

I prefer my role as a judge to be a primarily nonverbal communicative partner – including me in the round, making eye contact (when appropriate), reacting to how I am understanding you, is not merely a narcissistic request: it’s a recognition of a preference for active learning and teaching, for all of us.

I have previously written here that I prefer to be an educator, but frankly that won’t be the case for certain content or experiences. I can, however, offer some academic advice on the structure of your arguments, rhetoric and speaking style. Thus, being an educator is a preference based on comfort, but my comfort isn’t my preference with exception to the following uncomfortable (enough to vote you down) scenarios:

  • Making jokes about rape, or responding to issues of sexual violence with jokes. It’s not funny to me. You know who you are.
  • Sex, Gender, Orientation, Race or Ability discrimination
  • Being willfully ignorant about Race. Racial naiveté isn’t always a reason to lose a round, but being unwilling to admit fault, mistake or responsibility for certain behaviors is not, at the very least, a persuasive way to get my ballot.

As a quick aside on education, the question of what a university should be for often causes me consternation. After all, for someone who valued education as an excuse not to go home, my growing pessimism in the academy (whether from the expected bitterness of graduate school or from the contemporary conversations of the occupy and black lives matter generation) makes me receptive to some cynical positions. I’ve seen some pretty indefensible things condoned in the University. That said…I still believe this activity can be good for students and as such my responsibility is primarily to them. The second I don’t believe that, I won’t be here. Without students we coaches don’t have a job. See Below: Commitment to Educational Debate.

And so I return to my reason for posting: I felt compelled because of my position to comment on some topics pervading the debate community right now:

- If I’m on a panel and someone wants to replace me, I won’t be offended as long as I can cover the rounds I am obliged to so my students can debate.

- If there is a recording, I don’t really want to be on it… So I understand the concern with being recorded against your will. I know states differ on their local laws and the NDT Committee has put forth polices on it. If both teams have to be on video, then I will also have to be on video for the space to be fair(er). I think there are interesting privacy arguments in support of extending protections against being recorded in debates, but I also think accountability is important. In the end I just want to judge the debate.

- I think speech times have to be rigid. I am fine with flex prep, and am honestly lax about prep in general, but at some point fairness and timeliness is a concern.

- I once judged a debate where a Bifo team hit a Buddhist team and they deconstructed the round, reconstructed it, and gave final speeches after dialogue. It was different but not uncomfortable, on time, mutually agreed upon, and productive.

- The only things I will say about civility concerns: a) Before the debate starts I don’t expect much other than if I’m asked I’ll answer questions. b) When the timer starts for the 1AC it’s all performance – that’s a necessary space to express some seriously challenging thoughts c)When the timer stops I prefer some quiet to make a decision, but I often will go smoke or put my headphones in anyway d) At no point should you physically harass anyone. Consent for me applies equally well to unwanted intentional physical touching e) Other issues are probably not my fight and I don’t poke around in them unless beckoned to – either by the ballot or as a community member and academic employee.

As a child Hip Hop made me read books,

And Hip Hop made me wanna be a crook

And Hip Hop gave me the way and something to say

And all I took in return is a second look

- Slug, Party for the Fight to Write

An Admission of Hubris –

“I probably have read the primary sources your authors are talking about.”

Turns out I don’t know much about many contemporary primary source debate authors, even if many of them I do (Given my previous disclosures of my education, expected authors would include stuff like Foucault and Fanon, but exclude stuff like Berlant and Bifo). Either way, you could plausibly predict what I’ve read merely given the MA and BAs in Political Science and Philosophy from a Jesuit Liberal Arts School. Ah how the tables have turned!

To Finish, another nod to Z-Lowe..

Ten Things I Like and Dislike

1. Terrible highlighting -

Honestly a lot of the “evidence” students are reading into the round has become unrecognizable by academic standards of clarity and integrity. Examples of things that irk me: sentence fragments, highlighting parts of a word as a word (i.e., deforestation becomes “defo,” proliferation becomes “prolif,” nuclear weapons becomes "nucs" ). A good way to understand my expectation: highlight your evidence as if you were quoting your sources in an academic paper. Anything else is the privileging debate norms over educational standards of scholarship.

2. Reading a Pile ‘O’ Cards -

In almost every entry here I bring this up. I still will read a bunch of evidence after the round given certain circumstances, but it’s my least favorite thing to do. Given the complexity of debate and the relative short times to make decisions, I don’t want to spend my time adjucating reading evidence I should have heard as part of your “speech.” Making a decision after re-reading read evidence in a debate distances judges from the performance of the speech and increases the likelihood of interpretive hubris. I don’t think either of those things are desirable characteristics of a decision. My novel idea for debate would be for judges to hear evidence read, the first time its read. I also think this is possibly a reason why I often find affective modes of communication persuasive – what they lack in depth they make up in clarity. I don’t think debate is a research competition.

A minor quip on the subject of speech documents: sending a speech doc for your opponents and judges that is 100 pages is both annoying and unrealistic. It makes it hard for everyone and borders on obfuscation. For my philosophy on obfuscation, See: Baudrillard.

3. Affs That Do Things –

I was more often a 2A than a 2N throughout my career. I loved the challenge of changing the status quo. Debate is one of the few spaces you can advocate things we would otherwise be shutdown for: ideas being politically unlikely, socially difficult or subject to academic inertia. If you aff decides to do nothing, I am very likely to buy presumption/pessimism arguments in response. If your aff does something, I am more likely to filter the debate through that proposed change. On a somewhat related note, my proclivity for opacity arguments is almost always as a neg strategy. I do think there are instances in which an opacity Aff makes sense, but given my biases here, it may be best to explain opacity as somehow a strategy to change the SQ, instead of merely retreat from it.

4. Violence, Nebulas… not Stirred

Too many debates I’ve seen have debaters using violence as an ultimate impact, without explaining intricacies or giving frameworks for understanding what violence means. How am I supposed to adjudicate different claims of violence against each other? Or what about violence against some tangible traditional impact (War, Environment, Disease)? Ethics can’t function if everything is axiologically leveled to “violence,” and thus questions of what I should vote for is very likely to be arbitrary in the minds of participants, even if inevitable given the level of analysis in the debate.

5. Demarcating Points of Contestation

Similar to my respect for taking on the challenge of the SQ, I reward debaters who clearly demarcate points of contestation in the round and focus on those matters of debate. Too often debaters run away from arguments rather than engage them. In the college policy debate community this can be discouraging, because we are supposedly a model for deliberation and dialogue. Those latter realities only exist if you’re willing to admit where the debate is, admit that you may not necessarily be right, but debate out the issues.

6. Lost Art of the Case Debate

I am by no means a stock issues judge, but I do think that every argument, every aff should be responsible for these questions. A lot of the time case debate devolves into alt causes and impact defense. While those are good arguments to have, especially in the 2nr, not debating the case is almost always an important forgone opportunity. This is particularly true for K affs – put up a fit and you will be in a much better position than simply ignoring the case. Because of my expectations of an affirmative, I can be persuaded to not vote for an aff based on solvency alone.

7. Joshua Greene on Deontology and Util –

I feel it’s important to disclose this bias, and I have to a few teams. Here’s the thing, when you spend a year on a masters thesis and one of the opponents of your thesis becomes a large focus of effort, time and intellectual investment…it’s nearly impossible to remove that bias. Joshua Greene’s arguments in favor of a moral realist/essentialist account of utilitarianism and deontology invariably raises my blood pressure and leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Read a different defense of utilitarianism in front of me – I’m not persuaded FMRI’s prove how people think morally.

8. Flex Time –

I think there is enough to be gained in cross-examination, the most lively and engaging part of debate, that using prep time to ask and answer questions has almost no downside for me. That said, I think the other team has the right to not consent to questions of content (instead of clarification questions: theory, technical or flow) after the normal 3-minute cx period has expired.

9. Conflating Topicality and Framework –

The more persuasive arguments for me center on the content/object of the resolution (military presence) rather than on implementation/actor questions. For one, I think a resolution without “federal government” makes traditional Topicality arguments that turn into framework arguments very duplicitous. Framework should be the debate about what that Aff and Neg should have to do to meet a good interpretation of debate. If an aff makes an ethical statement that US Military Presence is bad, you have the grounds to say its good. You don’t need USFG action to do that. An Aff that doesn’t engage in the question of military presence, or some interpretation of that, isn’t being topical and I can find it a reason to vote Neg. I have voted on different conflations of Framework and T, but I increasingly find it important to delineate the two.

10. Being Big

I am still working on my pronoun usage and am myself unclear about my thoughts on many issues of identity, but I do think my persona in debate, while always authentic, is somewhat reserved. I am not particularly motivated to be extroverted in an activity that often reminds me how stuck up academics can be, and how they think that just because of my appearance they can crack jokes I find distasteful. As a result, I want to be known by who I am when I’m in the debate community. Calling me Andrew is a sign you haven’t given me the courtesy of reading this. Big is always the best way to refer to me.

2015-16 (Military Presence) Preseason Update:

I still endorse my philosophy as written below. Just a few quick updates as we begin this year:

- I am probably not the best judge for Baudrillard debates. Sue me. (Or Forget Baudrillard)

- I still like watching CPs and DAs, much to the dismay and/or shock of my fellow judges and coaches.

- I have a fairly low threshold for what is reasonably topical, but I prefer a reasonability argument on T to make an interpretation of the topic and give me a claim as to why the Aff (and other Affs) could engage the topic under that interpretation.

- Teams that escape jargonism, fashionable witticisms, and oversimplified argument explanation will do well in front of me. I like creative and unique debaters (which can be accomplished in any style - it's usually a matter of dedication, effort and presentation).

- Please explain Acronyms early in the year. Not everyone is going to get what your particular subdivision affirmative is on first hearing it.

- If you didn't read my judging philosophy before round, expect no pity for ignoring my preferences and/or committing offenses I find particularly blameworthy.

- If you can't debate technically, debate thuroughly. I am just flowing in excel columns anyway.

- Random but non-negligble pet peeve: students who start lists and never finish them (e.g., Debater says "There are Three Impacts to the K" then explains only two impacts).

- I value Cross-Examination like a speech. You can win and lose a round in one of those 3 min segments.

- Finally, I proscribe to this ridiculous notion that Debate is a Communicative Activity where Debaters try and Persuade me to Vote for them. See below for what persuades me and what doesn't.

2015 NDT Update:

I decided to post an update to my judging philosophy for the upcoming NDT (2015). Hopefully this is with enough time (a couple of weeks) for everyone to review it.

By far the most important thing: While I've judged 40-45 rounds on this topic, I have done so primary here out west. I don't think that disqualifies any of the debates I've watched - there were some terrific debates I had the privilege to judge this year. Still, full disclosure: I am more familiar with some teams than others, in the sense I've judged them debate before. Then again, with mutual pref judging, this seems like an inevitable outcome - you will always have seen certain parts of the debate community, hardly ever the whole field.

I decided to update what I've written so far for my judging philosophy primarily because I know the preceding to be compelling case for further disclosure of how I adjudicate debates. I stand by much of what I've already written. To expand, I decided to give a "Top Ten Things I Like and Don't like" (primarily an influence of reading Zach Lowe/Simmons Inc... also playing liberally with "Like" and "Don't Like," substitute "find persuasive" and "don't find persuasive" if you wish) in debate rounds.

Top Ten Things I Don't Like (In no particular Order):

1. Clipping

My First round back in debate came down to a clipping call out. Where I come from this is a "no-brainer" ethics question, but I do feel strongly that some rules in debate are necessary. One of those is you must read what you submit as evidence in speeches, particularly when in the form of cards. You will lose if you clip in front of me, but I need video/audio evidence and speech docs to determine this. Please, for everyone involved, do a better job of digitally "marking" your cards - don't leave things to chance.

Because I view clipping this way, it's important to note that while I'm not willing to vote for a team that clipped evidence, not all infractions are alike. I will not always simultaneously reduce speaker points to zero, or some other tanking number, and vote a team down. I believe mistakes can be made, but I also believe people can be malevolent.

Just don't do it, slow down and you'll probably sound better anyway.

2. Automization

I mean this somewhat sarcastically, but nothing about you reading into a computer screen is persuasive to me. I will always believe in the value of files, evidence and research, but those are neither absolute ideals nor the only means to win a debate round. Arguments, for instance, are not something I'm willing to vote on because it was written somewhere - explanation of evidence is key. I feel the prevalence of paperless debating is a evil necessity, primarily because debaters lose something of their ability to speak otherwise. Look up at me occasionally?

3. Avoidance

Call this my inverse justification for Clash being a thing I like. Debaters who avoid issues in debate/debate rounds are usually being: (1)selfish, (2)cowardly, (3)strategic or (4) unknowing/naive/unwilling. Only two of those states become problematic for a debate round, for two produce clash and argumentation, and the other two make the debate messy and needlessly complicated. Don't avoid a point of contestation with me, but also don't feel like I have a preferred set of points from which all arguments should begin.

4. Reading Evidence After the Round

I still dislike this practice, and I wrote about it previously below. However, I should make something clear: I really, really dislike debates where reading a pile of cards is the way to come to a decision. This, I understand, can be the natural outcomes of both good and bad debates. However, I want to stand by my statement:

"I will check evidence for accuracy/truth in representation if another team claims it doesn't support its intended use (i.e. your card that says the sky is purple actually claims the sky is blue). If an argument wasn't clear to me, and you were supposed to win a round on it, you probably should have made it clearer than a mumbled 15 seconds."

I have read multiple pieces of evidence in the post-round this year. I will admit that evil necessity paperless debate has this charm, and having the evidence in an email chain seems like not only good academics, but also a modicum of professionalism. I can't say I haven't been more compelled to read because I can get entire speech docs. This is a particularly helpful part of adjudicating that I won't ignore. However, if I can't get what you want me to get out of evidence in the post round (particularly if it's under-highlighted, which happens too frequently and is frankly discouraging) you will likely have dissuaded me more than had I not, and that matters for close NDT Debates.

The easy way to avoid all of this is to read evidence clearly, and draw the necessary warrants out of it. I think it's lazy to collapse an evidenced argument into a Authors last name (excluding titling a flow). Yes, technically there could be a "line" there, but is a bad practice of rhetoric and I find it unpersuasive. I also am always willing to check on factuality rather than persuasion. If you provide reasons why the other team's evidence is misread/doesn't support their argument, I value that style of argumentation equally as much as I dislike having to interpret evidence for/against speeches. I do not have a problem reading evidence, especially at the NDT, on the basis of these arguments. Ultimately, I am not going to read every piece of evidence submitted for review like that was all you did in the debate round - submitting evidence for review. I have other portions of the debate to think about.

5. Victim Blaming

I have no desire to vote for any argument that implies this ethos. This is both an ethos and a logos question. For example, Psychoanalysis K's can run dangerously close to blaming rape victims. I am not cool with that frame of mind and will flush your expensive euro-trash with a L.

6. Rude Partners

This is the sneaky dark-horse for my ideal in debate: the best debate occurs when partners work together, not individually.

Crazy right? Those who chose 2 person CX debate at some point chose to work with others. I reward debaters who embrace that aspect more than the sound of their own voice. A smart team is almost always two individuals working hard for each other, rather than two smart debaters working for themselves.

Don't be destructive to each other. Agonistic partnerships can be very successful, but they can also hurt your chances at winning. By far the best indictment of your argument, in any round, comes from your partner. Don't belittle, unnecessarily interrupt, or look upset/uninterested during your partner's speech. I ultimately give my ballot to a team, not an individual.

There is also a way to be kind/authentic in criticizing the arguments of your opponents (if you need a primer, see Dennett's "How to compose a successful critical commentary" in Intuition Pumps. I am by no means a fan of Dennett, but that process is one every debater should think about). Make sure, as much as one can, to do this as a team.

7. Tagless Taglines

A bit of 4 and 2 in this one, but I am also old school in how evidence is tagged. I am fine with short tags for evidence that requires no explanation. "Extinction," however, is neither a claim nor statement of fact. In fact, many cards read and tagged in such a manner frequently have little to make me believe the argument is even that strong. On the opposite end of the spectrum are K teams who read 3-4 paragraphs and don't introduce the evidence, or make it clear what part of their argument is supported by some fragment of analysis. Taglines in K debates I have a higher threshold on, but those issues irk me as much as badly tagged evidence that is then read unclearly anyway. Make claims, support them with evidence (or as I told many of my students in the past: evidence is a tool, not an argument).

8. Speaker Point Inflation

Mostly because I couldn't avoid it and my judging philosophy no longer represents my scale well. For the NDT:

26 and Below - You were punishably rude.

26.5. Incomplete, your speech ended with large gaps, whole flows dropped, no persuasiveness

27. Poor, you made a crucial error, were completely disorganized or had gaps in your speeches

27.5 Below Average, you provided no momentum for the ballot

28 - Average, you proved you should be here

28.5 - Above Average, you have the power to win some more ballots here

29.0 - Excellent, you should break at the NDT.

29.5 - Elite, you will be debating on Monday.

30 - Asymptotic, per my experience, these are so infrequent you can't predict them happening.

9. Debaters who don't Check Themselves

It's important to know when you're crossing a line from competitive to exclusionary, confident to obtuse. It's also important to act in a manner that produces a meaningful debate experience (whatever that may be). If that becomes impossible because you're not willing to discuss things like privilege, it seems you've failed at a basic test of self-skepticism that makes arguing possible. When debaters know they can lose on things like "Your evidence doesn't say Econ declines" and don't agree with decisions made through that framing, that to me is on par with refusing to answer the claim that "Your experience should be recognized as privileged in this analysis" and losing because they weren't open to how experience can be interepreted. We can't have debates if we don't purport to have some level of skepticism, arguing would cease to function educationally. That said, these are questions that implicate arguments, and almost completely arguments, rather than individual debaters.

10. Coaches that Degrade, not Support, their Students

I can deal with coaches making fun of each other, but how you treat the students in debate tells me more about you than how you treat the your fellow coaches. I am very intolerant of this in all forms - the students are paying to do this, not us. Treating any student in a defamatory or rude manner, that's a major turn off and I would prefer we don't speak.

Top Ten Things I Like (In no particular Order):

1. Analytic Arguments

I don't know if this a function of my experience with speech and debate growing up, but debaters who can't make arguments without evidence almost certainly are at a disadvantage in front of me. I will not simply dismiss a logical argument because you have a piece of evidence that argues, rather than proves/demonstrates, the opposite. Analytic arguments quality check the cohesiveness of the debate, bring issues to light in the block often foregone, and demonstrate a level of understanding and willingness to argue. Analytic arguments in debate almost always function on an a-posteriori basis and rarely a-prior unless that "K-Word" comes back into play. You should be able to argue, for instance, about connections between evidence, without needing another piece of evidence. This demonstrates a higher level of skill in debate that I reward. I do this not only selfishly as a lover of argumentative analysis, but also as someone who knows this skill can be, and often is, rewarded by graduate school, job opportunities and other sectors of life.

2. Proof by Example(s)

Though I like analytic arguments, and find a-priori claims persuasive, most often the fruitful discussions in debate occur when teams give concrete examples to explain, (sometimes seemingly) abstract concepts, connections or arguments. This process of concretion demonstrates to me a level of sophistication and understanding, and also a tangible hook to hang my hat on during post-round decisions. Obviously metaphors, poems, scripted-performances, etc. could all be examples of proof by example, not just history. Consider my preference here to be a testing question:

Basic Argument Necessities:

1. Do you have a Claim?

2. How is that Claim supported?

3. Proof by example: how does your argument operrationalize in different parts of the debate? How might it explain other questions in the debate?

4. Impact in/for the Round

3. Confidence/Willingness to Make Mistakes

I believe the qualities we associate with great debaters usually include fearlessness, confidence, complete attention, etc. These can manifest in different ways, and those ways in different people. The confidence that impresses me is the willingness to try, and be willing to fail to win a debate round. I think sometimes debaters are too worried about losing to focus on winning. As long as that focus doesn't result in other harmful mannerisms, attitudes and actions, I reward debaters for trying to win the round with with a cool confidence.

4. Round Awareness

Somewhat piggybacking of of 3, Debaters who are aware of details during a debate round can always make more strategic persuasive connections. There is a difference, for instance, in debating in the out rounds of the NDT and the Prelims. The way you construct your speech should be wary of that. The composition(s) of the people in the round is not ignorable, the audience included. There is also an awareness of how arguments function, when to stop belaboring, and when to reword and reclarify those arguments. These skills develop with time, but they should be easier to excersise with me because I am a fairly expressive judge. I am no Dallas, alas, but I do nod my head, smile, frown, laugh...you know, those things that make most of us feel human. I find this to be the most honest practice. Mostly, however, I am just very bad at Poker...so I will not try to be a stone-faced judge.

Debaters should also be aware of time. I don't reward teams with more than completing a sentence when the timer ends. I don't reward desperate shadow extensions in the last few seconds. I do reward speeches that end on or before time, or speeches that properly allocate time. I do reward good use of prep and CX time. Speaking time is the most valuable aspect of debate you can somewhat control, and everyone has the same access to the same time. Utilizing time well is a very good indicator of in round awareness.

5. Commitment to Educational Debate

This is an academic community (it includes mostly people employed and/or enrolled in the academy) that should primarily be focused on the Students. As such, students who understand where the pedagogical value of their arguments lie have a greater chance of winning in front of me. This is partly a question of logos (what have you learned, how did you learn it, what are we to learn?) and commitment your fellow students. Granted: not all students are alike, nor do they have the same experience. These two facts should be treated as advantageous: because you all are not alike and share different experiences, a commitment to learning together is probably the best possible praxis for debate. How does the debate round, per your framework or role of the ballot, promote learning? If learning is not all that important to you, that's fine. But understand I value this part of debate more than fairness or love of the game. I refuse to believe that debate doesn't help students - if that's your explicit goal I will likely be dissuaded. If you don't think debate is important, don't be in debate.

6. Humor

Judging very stressful debates can build up a lot of pressure. Humor is a great release valve. That being said, it's not in everyone's repertoire. Do what makes you comfortable, self-depreciation is almost always humbling but also potentially lighthearted.

7. Clash

Debate can be frustrating when neither team argues about the other teams arguments. The worst debates to judge, for me, have been ones where the Aff only talks about aff evidence, the Neg about the neg evidence. I think this is primarily a function of three practices:

A. Horizontal proliferation of arguments. I am persuaded by claims about 4-5 conditional options as weighing heavily against in depth clash from the 2AC. Part of me believes that this is inevitable in a competitive activity, part of me believes that it is also a defensible tactic. That said, if a team is "pushing pieces" but not arguing well, I do value theoretical objections on the basis of what positons move away from clash and what positions move toward it.

B. Fear of Impact Turning arguments. Too many times arguments become needlessly unwound without a point of disagreement. Your solvency/framework/kritik cards may poke many a whole, but the best evidence takes a stance in the opposite direction. Do I believe all impact turns are the same, ethically speaking? No: see Victim Blaming, above. That being said, in front of me, you can "Impact Turn" a methodology as much as you can a value claim. Why teams don't do this more often is strategically puzzling. They said Science was Bad? Maybe there are arguments that Science can be Good, or Useful? "Impact Turn" strategies make an obvious point of contestation that makes creative clash possible. However, Impact turning is merely a sufficient but not necessary means achieve that clash.

C. Debaters hate being wrong. Probably for good reason - most have been trained not to argue wrong things. Still, without trying out different arguments that produce a response from your opponent, debate kind of becomes oratory research reports, rather than engaging discussion.

8. ROTB's that Both Teams can Access

I do not find a "Role of the Ballot" claim that is to "vote for us" to be persuasive. I think its dishonest and transparently one sided to interpret the role of a ballot through one team's participation. Strictly speaking I think the role of my ballot is always to vote for the team that did the best debating, but if you have an argument otherwise, I would be more persuaded by a functionality/interpretation of how my vote works if both teams get a chance of receiving that vote. Otherwise its a meaningless piece of debate jargon substituting comfortable rhetoric for good impact framing.

9. Balance of Pathos, Ethos, Logos

Old-School Comm in this sense. Good public speaking requires a balancing all three. Excelling in one or more is ideal, but an above average accounting for each aspect is more valuable than any one on its own.


You could be completely correct on a knowledge question, but did not impact that access to truth, nor argue for it with any passion. That is less persuasive than someone who may have lost a few questions of truth, but can still access impacts and passionately argue for them.

You could be full of passion, emotion and making an ethical case without an explanation of how your argument functions or why it should be believed (reasoning, logos).

Put another way:

If you are right on a question, that means you can win that part of the debate (Logos). You do not win for being right in places.

If you are passionate on a question, that means you can string together good arguments persuasively. Without arguments, you won't be persuasive, just passionate.

If you win an ethics question, that means you can frame the debate and win it. You could be right that violence is bad, but not provide a means to resolve it, analyze it or persuade me that its a reason to vote for you.

10. Round Framing in Final Rebuttals

Almost universally, this is what separates elite from above average debaters. Many of the Coachs and People Who Teach Labs I've talked to aree this is one of, if not the most important skill thats difficult to polish. The difficulty of the 1AR/2NR/2AR notwithstanding, the best speeches, and thus the easiest to vote for, frame how to make a decision regarding particular arguments and strategies as a whole. Not doing this puts it in my hands, which is not a bad thing per say, but it's always more strategic to tie together your arguments and show how they win the round. Old-school Voting Issues are important to me. What is most important, what could you do without? Even/if statements in the last rebuttals are supremely helpful.

Fall 2014 Judging Philosophy**

First, I should mention: I left College Debate before my senior year at Gonzaga. This did not play well with many in the community, after all I was abandoning an activity I had previously spent so much time on.

After graduating from Gonzaga, I enrolled SUNY at Buffalo's PhD in Philosophy program. I recently received my Masters and left UB to pursue other things in life.

I mention these things only to say, if I appear bitter, I really am not. But I do believe there are more important things than debate, and all of what I have been reading - on various media and social media platforms - about debate rings true about academia as a whole.

All of that said, I still think debate is an important activity, especially for students. As a judge, I have always preferred to act as an educator. This can include simply listening and giving the reflections of an average citizen - any debate is still ultimately a two-way street of communication for me. Thus, the primary importance of debate, for me, is that it is a speech activity emphasizing persuasion skills. I have no stylistic preferences, but I have been out of the game for about 3 years so I might be a bit rusty with speed, and might need some expanding of abbreviations, jargon and/or acronyms. Clarity and rhythm are crucial either way, and I'll announce "clear" several times before giving up flowing. Frankly, speed reading ultimately trades off with clarity, and I'd rather hear your argument than guess. Because I know I'm rusty I figured I should be clear with that warning - I'm not going to flow theory real well at 400wpm, let alone cards.

The other ultimate difference between myself and my peers: I detest reading a pile of evidence after a round. With few exceptions, most debates come down to a decision about a few issues. If this were quarters at the NDT, I would definitely join this practice insofar as my due diligence for the activity is concerned. If you think a piece of evidence is important, remember that I heard you read it once, and you have multiple opportunities to explain why the evidence is crucial. The obvious caveat to all of this is that I will check evidence for accuracy/truth in representation if another team claims it doesn't support its intended use (i.e. your card that says the sky is purple actually claims the sky is blue). If an argument wasn't clear to me, and you were supposed to win a round on it, you probably should have made it clearer than a mumbled 15 seconds.

I suppose in many ways my academic traits mirror that of my debate tastes. I tend to be a generalist - arguments of many shapes and varieties can peak my interest. In terms of my degree, my AOS is in metaphysics, and my AOCs are in Ethics, Ancient Philosophy and Continental/Social Philosophy. That being said, I spent the last few years being too weird for both the analytic and continental schools of philosophy - I find Baudrillard and Dennett equally intolerable. I probably have read the primary sources your authors are talking about. Just because you think repeating "Dasein" or some other term over and over is going to get a win, the reality of things often disagrees. Be clear and concise and don't rely on jargon to win your criticisms, make them apparent with evidence comparisons and concise link work. I love a good kritik debate, but despise a bad one. I debated all kinds of arguments in my career, and found many of those debates enjoyable for different reasons. I am comfortable with most anything, but don't tolerate any physical or mental abuse, discrimination or hate. Those are the easiest paths to make my ballot simple.

I'll accept any framework if it's argued for well. Performance, Identity etc. are all important elements in thinking about arguments. As I said, I like debate rounds that are aware of the activity as a communicative one. When I make expressions during your speeches, they usually are done intentionally. It's nice to be talked to as more than a transcriber.

If you have questions about typical jargon stuff, ask before the round. Frankly you should be able to convince me of something regardless of my biases - though I admit that my worst bias is openness to arguments. So I'm probably not going to reject a team for reading a K. Sorry.

Other housecleaning: I'm always a fan of being included in the debate if I'm judging, thus if you are paperless and are emailing, include me (andrewrossmyers [at] gmail [dot] com). I'll time prep as finished when the email is sent or flash drive is ejected. My main mentors, though I have had many, were Steve Pointer and Izak Dunn.

Speaker Points - My speaker points for an "average" debater is a 27.5. If I ever give someone a 30, it's probably going to be the last time I do.


Crafty-ness and Tactics

Persuasion and Interpersonal Speaking

Clarity, Calmness, Confidence

Effective and Engaging CX's




Unintelligibility/Marble Mouths


Unbearable/boring CX's

Tunnel Vision


Why you gott be so rude? Don't you know they're humans too? Actually, being a little bit rude is what makes the activity fun, but there's a difference between joking/confidence/pressure and being distracting/harmful/obtuse. Please respect the thin line.

** Weber Update: I will vote teams down for clipping. This includes skipping words. I will only do so with video evidence in combination with the speech doc. I don't think this is always malicious, so my reduced speaker points will vary with the severity of the offense. (For instance, if you skip entire lines, I will give you a zero).

Nicole Nave Paradigm

7 rounds

Nick D Nave

Baylor University

2017 Crowns United Boo!

enough said

Jason Regnier Paradigm

2 rounds

Gonzaga University
Judging Experience: 16 years
Email: jregnier@gmail.com

Overview: There is no one right way to debate. Of course we all have our biases and preconceptions, but I try to approach the round as a critic of argumentation & persuasion. Make your argument more effectively than your opponent and you will be in good shape. Your adaptation to the stylistic/technical comments below is far more important than your adaptation to any particular type of argument.

Stylistic/Technical Issues: I must be up front about the fact that I'm not a terrific flow. My ear for hearing extremely fast speech is not particularly great, and my handwriting is pretty slow. This means that debaters who strongly rely on the technicalities of the flow may not want to prefer me very highly. There seems to be a pretty clear cut inverse relationship between the speed at which you speak and the amount that I get written down on my flow. This greatly rewards debaters who give fewer, but more fully developed and explained, arguments. I will probably not read very many cards at the end of the debate, so don't rely on your evidence to make your arguments for you. Draw out and explain the warrants in your speech and you will be rewarded.I categorically *do not* want to be forced to reconstruct a debate round by rereading all of the evidence at the end of the round. This means that explanation in the final rebuttals weighs more for me than it might for others. Attend to the big picture, make direct comparisons showing why your arguments are better than your opponents', and most importantly, find the "hook" that allows you to frame the debate in your favor.

Theory Debates: I have found that I have a pretty high threshold for voting on theory issues. My general tendency is to congratulate the team that creates a strategic competitive advantage for themselves. This translates into a sort of "anything goes" attitude. For me, theory debates (and this applies to topicality and framework debates as well) come down to the depth of the impact explanation. If your argument is that the other team is being unfair, I want to hear all the gory details. What do they take away from you? What do they leave for you? What do they justify? And so on. If you don’t make me feel it, then odds are I won't vote on it.

Framework Stuff: I have regularly voted both ways in Framework debates. I evaluate these debates much like I would a debate over the "substance" of the case. Both sides need to play offense to amplify their own impacts while also playing defense against their opponent's impacts. In most cases where I have voted against critical affirmatives, it is because they have done a poor job answering the negative's "fairness" impact claims. In most cases where I have voted against traditional policy frameworks, it has been because they have done a poor job defending against the substantive critiques of their approach. My general set of biases on these issues would be as follows: critical (and even no-plan) affirmatives are legitimate, a team must defend the assumptions of their arguments, critiques don't need (and are often better served without) alternatives, debate rounds do not make sense as a forum for social movements, and most of the evidence used to defend a policy framework does not really apply to policy debate. Also, my new pet theory is that a large portion of framework debates can probably be "permed." However, to state the obvious, each of these biases can be overcome by making smart arguments.

Speaker Points: I think that I might tend to use a bit more range of the scale than some judges, and I've recently been trying to nail down more precisely how I assign points. Here are the things that I value in a good speaker. I love debaters that use ethos, logos AND pathos. Technique should be a means of enhancing your arguments, not obfuscating or protecting them. Look like you're winning. Show that you are in control of yourself and your environment. Develop a persona that you can be comfortable with and that shows confidence. Know what you're talking about. Answer your own cross-ex questions. Use an organizational system that works for you, but communicate it and live up to it (if you do the line-by-line, then *do* the line-by-line). I am now making a bigger effort to prioritize clarity in my points. By clarity, I do not just mean articulation & enunciation. I also include in that category the ability to understand the content of your evidence. If I can't follow what your evidence is saying, it will have as much weight in my decision as the tagline for that evidence would have had as an analytic. Debaters who make well thought out arguments with strong support will out-point debaters who just read a lot of cards every time.

Matt Reichle Paradigm

8 rounds

email for email chain: empireofme@gmail.com

high school 4 years cx/ld debate at laredo, tx united
college: 3 years policy at the university of texas at san antonio
coaching: 2 years coaching policy at the university of texas at san antonio, coached nine years as director of debate for reagan high school in san antonio, tx. 1.5 years as the director of speech and debate at San Marcos High School, currently the director of speech and debate at James Madison High School in San Antonio.

former writer/ researcher for wisecrack: this does not help you.

***note: please don't call me Matt or Matthew, it is jarring and distracts me. If you must refer to me by name please call me reichle [rike-lee].

(updated sections are marked with a *)

I proclaim, that I am making a concerted effort to be "in the round" at all times from here on out (I suppose this is my jerry maguire manifesto/ mission statement moment) . I understand the amount of time that everyone puts in this activity and I am going to make a serious effort to concentrate as hard as possible on each debate round that I am lucky enough to judge. I am going to approach each round with the same enthusiasm, vigor, and responsibility that I afford members of a writing group--and as such I am going to treat the post round discussion with the same level of respect.

Ultimately debate is about the debaters, not about the ways in which I can inject my spirit back into the debate format. That being said there are a few things that you might want to know about me.

I debated for four years in the mid-to-late nineties in high school and three years at UTSA. I have debated ‘policy’ debates in several different formats. Because I ended my career on the ‘left’ of the debate spectrum is in no way an automatic endorsement for all out wackiness devoid of any content. That is not saying that I don’t enjoy the ‘critical’ turn in debate—quite the opposite, I like nothing better than a debate that effectively joins form in content.

*I prefer explanation and examples in debates, these make sense to me.

*strategy is also something that I reward. I would like to know that you have either thought about your particular strategy in terms of winning the debate round--and I don't mind knowing that you accident-ed your way into a perfect 2nr/ar choice. Either way: the story of the round is important to me and I would like to know how the individual parts of a round fit together (how you understand them). I think this is part of effective communication and it's just helpful for me in case I am missing something. Illumination brought to me (by you) seems to be the crux of getting a decision that is favorable (to you) with me in the back of the room.

*I flow. I may not flow like you, but I keep a flow because my memory isn’t the best and because at some point I was trained to… it just kind of helps me. But I flow in a way that helps me arrange my thoughts and helps me to keep what is said in the debate limited to what is actually spoken by the debaters. I flow the entire round (including as much of the the text of the evidence as I can get) unless I know a piece of evidence that you are reading. That being said… If I can’t understand you (because of lack of clarity) I can’t flow you. also, some differentiation between tag, card, and the next piece of evidence would be great.

Topicality—I don't know why teams don't go for topicality more... it is a viable strategy (when done well in most rounds). In high school I went for T in the 2NR every round. In college I went for T (seriously) no times in the 2NR. While I give Aff’s lenience on reasonability—there is something hot about a block that just rolls with topicality.

*Counterplans/ disads. Sure. Why not. Win net benefits. Answer the perm. Make it competitive. Win your framework (if an alternate framework for evaluation is proposed by the aff). more and more i find the quality of the evidence read for most cp and da's to be shaky at best--not that there isn't great evidence on political capital and the role of popularity in certain aspects of the political economy as it pertains to pending legislation... i just find more and more that this evidence is either written by some rand-o with a blog or is great evidence that is under-hi-lighted. please read good evidence, not evidence that can be written by one of my children on the cartoon network forums section.

Performance/ The K/ the Crazy/Whatever you want to call it: Do what you have to do get your point across. If you need me to do something (see the way I flow) let me know—I will comply willingly. Just warrant your argument somehow. As before, this is in no way a full on endorsement of ridiculousness for the sake of ridiculousness. Win your framework/ impacts and you should have no problem. Please help me out with the role of the ballot. Please.

*theory: I need to flow. I can not flow a theory debate where the shell is read at the speed of a piece of evidence--tag line speed at the fastest for theory, please. Also if you have no differentiation between tag speed and card speed (good for you) but people are only pretending to flow what you are saying.

*paperless issues: prep time is up when the speaker's jump drive is out of their computer/ when you are ready to email your cards (not continue to write blocks as you 'send' your email). Completely understandable if you send the other team a few more cards than you are going to read but please do not jump the other team an entire file or seventy cards in random order. Learn to send evidence to a speech document.

It becomes harder every year for me to think of a way to encapsulate how I view debate in a way that somehow gives a useful suggestion to debaters. It seems that each philosophy follows a formula--assure everyone that you were a good debater up to and including past experience, make sure they know that you are either open or receptive to all types of argumentation while still harboring resentment to anything progressive and different from what is deemed acceptable by personal debate standards, which is then followed by a list of ways the judge hopes everyone debates.

While the formula will apply to some extent I would like to say that i am in every way honest when I say this: do what you do best and read the arguments that you prefer in the style that you prefer in front of me. Do this and I say unto you that it will do less harm than running around in circles in round for the sake of a paradigm. Be the debater that you are, not who you think I want you to be.

That being said; this is who I assume you should be: kind. Be kind to your opponent and avoid shadiness and we’ll have no problems. There is probably a list that defines shadiness but it follows the same rule as inappropriateness: if you have to ask if something is shady--it is.

have fun. have a nice year.

Armands Revelins Paradigm

8 rounds

my email for email chains is arevelins@gmail.com

Quick update 2018 - some years ago I drafted the rubric for speaker points that you see below. Since then I have monitored developments in the debate community on typical speaker point distribution across all judges/tournaments, as discussed online by people who keep track of such things. I don't really dwell on this data much, but I do try to be mindful of community tendencies. Also, I notice how my own debaters read judge philosophies in crunch-time right before a round, and realize debaters reading this want a tl:dr.

Therefore, note that I probably now give speaker points that inch higher than what I initially suggested. This means in most cases I'm giving 28 and above, for debaters who seem to be doing elim-level debate it's usually 28.5 and above, and for especially impressive debate it's 29 and above. I do still dip into the mid-to-high 27's in occasional instances where I want to make it clear that I think the particular speeches really could use some work. At the time of writing (Jan 2018) my average speaker points are about a 28.5.

*******Paradigm Edited 11/10/13, prior to Wake Forest 2013 *******

** Scroll past speaker point scale to get a shorter philosophy explanation **

Speaker point scale:

0 = the debater committed some sort of ethics violation during the round (e.g. clipping cards)

26 to 26.9 = one or both of the following things happened: a) the debater made some kind of major tactical mistake in the debate, such as a completely dropped off-case position, without any attempt to address how they might still win the debate even if that argument is charitably given the full weight that the opposing team prefers. (more leeway on this is given to novice debates) b) the debater was hostile or rude towards competitors in the debate such that opportunities for respectful discourse concerning different ideas devolved into a breakdown of communication. Debaters have different personalities and approaches and I encourage you to explore ways of comporting yourself that express these personalities and approaches (be proud, indignant, cunning, provocative, etc), but please at all times also communicate with each other as students from different schools who respect each other for taking the time to have a lengthy debate round, in whatever part of the U.S. where you may presently have journeyed for such an encounter.

27 to 27.4 = the debater's overall strategy made sense, but various parts of the debate could have used more depth when instead those parts were fairly 'paint by numbers' (e.g. addressing certain arguments with generic/block answers instead of dealing with them more specifically). Evidence comparisons were fairly sparse, but the basic story on a given sheet of flow paper was clear enough.

27.5 to 27.9 = the debater did a solid job of debating. A coherent strategy was executed well. For certain key issues, initial clash advanced into higher forms of assessment, including a charitable understanding of why your opponent's arguments might be good yet your argument is ultimately more important/relevant.

28 to 28.4 = the debater did a solid job of debating across all the flows that were alive in the round. The debater focused on what mattered, was able to swiftly discount what did not ('closing doors' along the way), and took initial clash on key points to highly advanced levels. Given what I just witnessed, I would not be surprised if a debater with points like this advanced to early elimination debates (e.g. double octo's)

28.5 to 28.9 = the debater did everything from the previous scale, but was also able to do this with incredible organization: the most important things were in rank order, the crucial arguments were made without repetition/with cogent word economy, and I felt that the debater's communication seemed to guide my flow along with me. If cards/evidence are in question, you're able to speak of the overall ideologies or motivations driving a certain scholarship/movement, thus "getting behind" the card, in some sense. If a point is made without evidence or without a traditional claim/warrant structure, the debater does so in way that requires translation/interpretation on my part, yet the manner in which I should translate/interpret is also elicited from me/taught to me over the course of the debate. Given what I just witnessed, I would not be surprised if a debater with points like this could advance past early elimination debates.

29.0 to 29.4 = the debater did everything from the previous scale, but approached a sort of fluency that amazed me. The debater not only did what they needed to in order to match or outclass their opponents, but I furthermore felt that the debater was connecting with me in such a way where your arguments trigger understanding almost as a gestalt phenomenological experience. Given what I just witnessed, I would not be surprised if you did well in any of your other debates, prelim or elim.

29.5 to 30 = If memory serves, I have rarely if ever given speaker points that inch this close to 30. This is because 30 is perfection, without any umms, ahhs, odd turns of phrase, instances where you just lost me or where, given a rebuttal redo, you yourself would probably have done that part of your speech differently. If you are this close to 30 then you have perfect command of your opponent's position, of whatever gap you have to bridge in order for things to 'click' with me, and you are able to talk about your research and core arguments in a way where you yourself are clearly ready to push the scholarship/performance that you draw upon to its next heights, if you are not doing so already.

Objectivity and consistency is an elusive ideal: the reality is that subjectivity and some variability is inevitable. I think a good judge should be attentive in debates and vigiliant with self-assessments, not solipsistically but in light of evolving encounters with others. One of the biggest lessons I got out of my philosophy work was the extent to which all humans are prone to habits of self-deception, on many levels.

***** Debate experience

- Debated policy 4 years in high school (won the TOC)

- Debated policy 4 years at University of Southern California (4-time NDT qualifier, elims in my senior year)

- I was away from debate while in graduate school for philosophy

- I have coached Policy and PF debate at two high schools (Notre Dame and Millburn)

- I have coached Policy debate at two universities (Binghamton and Cornell)

- I am currently Assistant Director of Forensics/head debate coach at Cornell University

***** Some views on certain arguments

Any kind of argument is fine by me: I wait to see how debaters respond to what happens in the round and try not to import any predispositions concerning the default way that I should evaluate things. There are various harms/impacts that can orient a given side’s concern, plus various meta/framing/sequencing arguments that grant, reorient, or block my access to consideration of those harms/impacts, depending on how these issues play out in a debate.

Various kinds of challenges to the resolution and norms of the community are fine by me.

Kritiks: I ran them often in high school/college. I studied philosophy in graduate school.

Counterplans can take various forms: bring it on. See below about having full cp/permutation text for the entire round (to check against ‘morphing advocacies’).

Topicality debates: if an affirmative is trying to present a topical example of the resolution being true, but the negative thinks the aff is not topical then it is the negative’s right to go ‘all in’ on such an argument.

I debated policy advantage/da/impact debates almost as often as kritiks. Any politics link and link turn debates need to be laid out pretty clearly for me - mind your jargon please. The same goes for impact scenarios: who, what, against what country, etc.

For any asserted advocacy or test of competition, the plan text, permutation, etc needs to be clearly articulated in the round and written down so that it can be evaluated. For any card that you want me to read in last rebuttals, you should be telling me what I will find when I read that card and why it matters for the debate. I won't sift through a series of cards if you have just mentioned them/rattled off the citations without making use of them.

***** final notes

I have an aversion towards 'cloud clash', i.e. rattling off 2-3 minutes of overview and then basically hoping that the judge plucks out whatever applies towards some later part of the debate. Line-by-line debate and the elegance of organization that it offers is in decline lately. This has a lot to do with recent norms and computer-debating. This is at the cost of clash and direct refutation, and can come across as being aloof/wanting the judge to do the work for you. So, overviews should be short and then get on with actually responding to individual arguments.

I prefer the email chain over jumping flash drives, when possible. One click of ‘send’ and there is no longer the agonizing wait of flash drive driver installation, throwing jump drives around, etc.

Please communicate with each other, instead of yelling at each other (see my speaker point scale above for the under 27 range).

At the end of any round, I will vote for one team over the other and indicate this with my written ballot. This will be the case for any debate round that I can presently imagine.

That is all I can think of. Feel free to ask me more questions in person.

Kate Richey Paradigm

4 rounds

Updated for 2019/20 I love debate and I always have! Here are a few things that might give you a glimpse into how I make decisions:

---I strive to be as fair as possible. Meaning, I take this (my job as a judge to assign a win/loss) seriously and I pay attention.

---Arguments get as much attention from me as the debaters gave them in the debate. Explain, give warrants, read high-quality evidence.

---There's nothing I won't vote on or listen to. Convince me what's important, what's of value, what my ballot means, and why I'm voting the way I'm voting. Do the work.

---I like to be entertained by persuasive speakers, smart arguments, creativity, humor, etc. etc. (doesn't everybody?) and those things are usually rewarded.

---Don't be a sore loser or a smug winner.

Brian Rubaie Paradigm

5 rounds

brubaie at gmail - please add to email chains, ty!

2021 CX chutes and ladders: extra points (up to +0.5) for helpful, concise CX questions/answers. Big losses (up to -1.0) if you continually interrupt your opponents and do not give them reasonable time (>5 seconds) to speak.

Significantly shortened in November 2020, longer version in link at the end.

1. Thank you so much for being stewards of a beautiful game during a time of maximum strain. I consider it an honor to work with you all to sustain debate, and I'm grateful for each and every debater I judge.

2. I deeply appreciate every "style" of debate and I've been fortunate enough to debate, coach, or judge most all of them at a high level. I am familiar with most arguments and can usually pick up ones I'm not familiar with. Fire away!

3. Frame the debate. You must identify what the most important issue in the debate is, why it's the most important issue, and why voting your way best addresses it. If you don't, I can only hope I put the debate together how you'd like me to.

4. I am an "aff/neg better debated (x) better" guy, not an "I think the aff/neg is right about (x)" guy. You should emphasize, frame, and compare a few great points at the expense of a larger number of points that are only good.

5. I start most framework debates by asking "what might debate look like under the model of the aff/neg?" There's no requirement for the aff here to propose an interpretation/model per se, but if you don't then I think it's much harder for me to answer that first question. The "best" model for me often means "best developed and defended by the 2NR/2AR."

6. Policy affs--I tend not to hate, but this topic is wild. I've happily voted for them, but I am not a fan of plans that vaguely "clarify" (an oxymoron!), tell (x) we'll cut commitments unless (y), specifying increases in allied commitments, subset of a subset of a subset, etc. I strongly favor debates over big shifts vs. tiny affs that run from debate.

7. Policy neg--love most core topic DAs and strategies which heavily disagree with the plan. I'm an enabler of most neg terrorism that strongly disagrees with the 1AC. If your flavor of neg terrorism is doing the aff in a bizarre way to solve a contrived internal net benefit then I might not be your guy. Well evidentiated T violations are a strong move.

8. K aff--I have judged some great K affs, but many have run into trouble when confronted with age old questions like what is the controversial change defended by the aff, what is the consequence of voting aff, etc. Sometimes these affs are just too busy, with too many moving parts and several thesis claims. Do you, but clarity is key.

9. K neg--I've loved the innovation in approaching K affs, but some teams are still committing the cardinal sins. The 1AC often remains the aff's epicenter for offense and can usually be effectively challenged, but too often it is ignored. Some teams follow the ink instead of going for their best stuff, often to their own detriment.

10. Final thoughts--despite being a bit more "anything goes" than most, I deeply value every participant's well-being and worry about the way I see some people treated. This is not a call for "civility," but shitting on your partner, your opponent, or a judge is rarely called for. I'm unlikely to bite my tongue towards or to reward a jackass.

Give it your all and try to enjoy it, debate goes by way too fast and is very easy to take for granted. Good luck!

Longer philosophy for any self-hating individuals who might enjoy reading more verbose, poorly composed thoughts.

Joel Salcedo Paradigm

8 rounds

12 years in policy debate. CSU Fullerton.

Quality over quantity

Im open to whatever just give me something substantive to vote on.

K: I don't know all the literature out there and even if I do I expect explanations and I expect you to make it reasonably understandable for your opponent. I like the wild, the unexpected, the innovative.

FW: I like critical AFF's in general but I think FW is important too. Try to keep it organized for me. Framing becomes super important.

CP: Take your time articulating that cp text to me.

DA: If uniqueness is in question I hope you take some extra time clarifying it for me in the last speech.

T: I like topicality in theory but the I dislike how they sometimes play out. If you want me to vote on a standard it should have in round abuse or generally some well warranted reasoning. Dropped blippy arguments are not persuasive to me.

Steven Sanchez Paradigm

4 rounds

Steven Sanchez

4 Years/Weber State University, 3rd year out.

Overall Philosophy:

  • Run whatever you like. I am open to all arguments just as long as you execute them well - I'll provide exact criteria to what that means to me:
    • A. You have been able to explain your argument at a basic audience comprehensive level.
    • B. You have developed your arguments throughout the debate to adapt and provide the best application to the learning or outcome of the activity and have shown why your argument carries greater significance to what that outcome is.
    • C. You have demonstrated a strong understanding of your opponents strengths and weaknesses and have identified why you win and why they lose this debate. I have no problem adapting to your style/preferred strategy. I prefer to evaluate the debate based on what information I am given from you instead of having to assert my own understanding, so please note that my decision rests heavily on the information provided by you on paper.
  • Significance is key - this helps me understand what the meaning or outcome of this momentary learning experience at a tournament is about and what the intended purposes of your arguments are. I find that impact comparison oftentimes streamlines a lot of the information provided and helps me understand what the significance of your argument is.
  • Bonus points if you have specific links with a strong evidence - I think it shows that you care to research your opponents and demonstrates hard work outside of the round, which enhances your credibility in front of me.
  • CX is very important to me. Pressing on the hard questions and using this time wisely to demonstrate your knowledge (or lack of theirs) will earn you additional speaker points. I flow this too.
  • I have rarely voted on potential abuse, and I don't find those arguments compelling unless you can prove why the potential margins of error will result in poor debatability/education. Specifically tailored theory arguments are always preferred.
  • I always found that technical strategic moves are good - I think that it shows you have game knowledge to finesse on your opponents, so use their non-responsiveness or mishandlings to make the different sheets of paper come together in cohesion and it will be rewarded.
  • Make me believe in your argument just as much as you do. Your speaking has a lot of power, so be sure to speak as clearly, assertively, and as passionately as you can. Being an effective speaker will always help you stay ahead/catch up in the debate.

you can always include me on the email distro and/or reach out with any questions- stevengsanchez1@gmail.com

Courtney Schauer Paradigm

2 rounds

Competed: University of Minnesota
Coach (Present): Emporia State University; College Prep
Coached (Past): Augsburg College; Highland Park Senior High (MN)


Although my primary background is in policy, I am familiar with the procedures of public forum and spent a season of my high school career competing in the format. Below are my answers to the suggested PF philosophy questions provided by the TOC.

Please share your opinions or beliefs about how the following play into a debate round: Speed of Delivery: Speed is fine so long as clarify doesn't suffer.

Format of Summary Speeches (line by line? big picture?):Both effective line by line and big picture storytelling are important to my ballot.

Role of the Final Focus: Providing a rubric/judge instruction for my ballot

Topicality: Generally these debates are done poorly, it's important to have a comparative metric for evaluating interpretations and a robust discussion of the various impacts to the violation. I do not view topicality in a purely "jurisdictional" way - offense/defense is important.

Plans: Not needed but not automatically disallowed.

Kritiks: Sure although just like any argument, it must be explained, applied, and impacted thoroughly.

Flowing/note-taking: I will flow the entirety of the debate.

Do you value argument over style? Style over argument? Argument and style equally? Quality and depth of argument is the primary thing I will evaluate, but style is not unimportant by any means.

If a team plans to win the debate on an argument, in your opinion does that argument have to be extended in the rebuttal or summary speeches? Yes.


"I view my role in the debate not as arbiter of truth, but critic of argument, as such I attempt to divorce myself from relative "truth" values of arguments." - Chris Loghry

I like to see debaters deploying arguments that motivate and interest them.

I don’t call for many cards. This does not mean evidence quality does not matter, or that I don’t call cards often. What it does mean is: the debaters make the arguments, not the cards. I will not view them as placeholders for warranted explanation. Not every argument requires a card to answer.

Framing matters: provide me a macro-level filter through which to view the micro-components of the debate. The debates I find myself most frustrated with are the ones in which the 2NR and the 2AR have respectively delivered me 2NC #2 and 2AC #2 and left me to sort through the pieces. Rebuttalists that present a clear story while closing the right doors will be rewarded.

The more explicit you are with me in terms of my ballot, the better. This mostly goes for presumption and judge conditionality, but also for competing Frameworks/Role of the Ballots. If debaters are not explicit, there becomes no objective standard for me to use as a reference for when and where I infer these arguments.

Have a plan for Cross-X.

Things I like to see in cross-x: Asking precise, critical questions. Giving succinct, impactful answers. Writing down all concessions for utilization in the next speech.

Things I hate to see in cross-x: Ad-homs. Open-ended softballs. Questions that blatantly indicate a lack of flowing. Refusal to answer reasonable questions. Repetition of questions to avoid giving answers. Poorly-timed invocations of false ethos. 4-person shouting matches.

If you are reading critical literature, whether on the Affirmative or Negative, please explain and utilize your method. Make the links turn the case. Have a robust explanation of the alternative. Strive for internal, philosophical consistency. Your authors have particular theories of subjectivity, violence, etc., and I want to thear them; just remember that they all can and SHOULD be ACTIVELY applied broadly to frame many portions of the technical debate.

A speech doc is not a flow substitute.

Debate matters just as much to your opponents as it does to you, even if for different reasons. Be mindful of this and respect your competitors.

Lucia Scott Paradigm

6 rounds

She/her or gender neutral pronouns. Yes, I want to be on the email chain: lucia.scott at barstowschool.org

Previous debating: K-State (2013-2016), Kapaun Mt. Carmel (2009-2013)

Coaching: Barstow (2018-Present), Baylor (2017-2018), Kapaun Mt. Carmel (2013-2017)

Meta things

I appreciate scrappy debate. If you like to use tricks to win, fine by me. What I don't appreciate is cowardly debate. I don't love watching rounds where the core strat seems to be answering nothing. Debate is about arguments and controversy. Embrace it. It's awesome.

Tech over truth with some exceptions as outlined below. However, the less true an argument is, the less tech you need to beat it.

Quality over quantity; what constitutes quality is, of course, up for debate.

Questions are not arguments. I see way too many 2NRs/2ARs that say, "What does the alt/aff even do?" instead of just explaining why it wouldn't do anything.

The rest of this paradigm is written in very certain terms to avoid confusion, but all of these are really just my defaults. My goal is to do as little intervention as possible. Like a lot of judges, I enjoy debates when you enjoy debates. I'd rather see you do your thing and do it well.

Procedurals/ Theory

I get really grumpy about arbitrary interps of theoretical arguments (conditionality, ROB's, really anything). This means I do think "conditionality bad" is a better interp than "they get three conditional advocacies." I don't think there's really a difference between three vs four or four vs five or five vs six conditional advocacies.

With the exception of conditionality, theoretical objections are reasons to reject the argument or reasons that justify you also doing some theoretically illegit thing, like perm do the counterplan. I will vote on conditionality.

As far as topicality, you need impacts. You're saying this team should lose the debate. That's a pretty steep punishment. You need to win more than just a violation here. I feel like a lot of debate in high school has devolved to just "if you win the violation, you win" type of debating. Standards/reasons to prefer are a thing for a reason. What affs would be allowed under their interp that you shouldn't have to prepare for? What off case positions do you lose access to?

I think "lit checks abuse" solves 90% of policy-based limits arguments. Aff teams should also make more arguments about why whatever ground the neg loses isn't ground they should have had in the first place.

Reasonability, to me, means that the neg had a reasonable amount of predictable ground, not that the aff is "reasonably topical," whatever that means. I don't think that means the aff's counter interp has to be "reasonable."

Case Debate

My favorite part of debate. I can be persuaded to (and even like to) vote neg on presumption, but the work done needs to be specific. I'm more likely to assign a low or no risk of the aff if there's a compelling internal link debate than if the 1AR dropped the third impact D card that's non-specific and two lines long.

I also think a well-leveraged aff can do a lot on other sheets of paper, especially when comparative work with the neg's offense is done.

Big pet peeve of mine is treating the aff like it's just one big page if it isn't. E.g. the 1AC had an advantage and a solvency contention, but the 1N just says "case" in their roadmap. Where on case? If it doesn't matter, you're not doing very good case debate. Same thing with the 2AC order. Why did you make the 1AC more than one page if you're not going to treat the pages as separate???


This is where "quality over quantity" and "the less true and argument is, the less tech you need to beat it" become really important. Affs can beat bad disads on defense if affs explain why that defense is more important than everything the neg is saying (same goes for the neg with bad aff advantages). In terms of impact calc, I think probability is generally the most important. Zero risk is a thing. Uniqueness determines the direction of the link.


On balance, I think counterplans should be functionally and textually competitive. A 2A who's good at theory can win process counterplans just go away with enough work. I think counterplans should have solvency advocates, especially if you've added seven planks just designed to fiat out of solvency deficits. I don't kick the counterplan unless the 2NR tells me to. I am willing to vote aff on zero risk of a net benefit even if the counterplan solves 100% of the aff.


I don't have any preferences as far as whatever lit base you like to read in debates. I'm not afraid of the big bad Baudrillard.

My threshold for a link here seems to be comparatively low. I think this "links must be to the plan text" argument people keep making is absolutely ridiculous. If you get to weigh the aff, I think the neg should get links to the advantages.

My threshold for the alt is relatively high. Examples are good. I don't necessarily think you need to win the alt to win the k, but it's probably a good idea to have an alt. That said, if you've won the 1AC is anti-black or a settler project, and you're winning your arguments about ethics, you probably win the debate.

Framework arguments that compare world-views (i.e. "extinction outweighs epistemology") are far more compelling than framework arguments about procedural fairness (i.e. "the K is cheating"). I can be persuaded not to weigh the aff, but usually that requires the aff to straight up drop this argument.

For the 2AC, stick to the things that are really important. Don't read things/ make arguments you'll never go for unless they're actually dropped. It's a waste of time you don't have.

K Affs

I think it's reasonable for K affs to say that all they have to do is prove their method is good; if the method is good, I should vote for the aff. I am generally not persuaded by "winning is key to our method" arguments. Probably means you've got a bad method. Similarly, not of fan of consciousness-raising arguments. I don't know why that means I should vote for you.

I am more persuaded by T violations that deal with substantive parts of the resolution than framework violations about the fg. Both the aff and the neg should be doing some comparative work about how education and fairness implicate one another.

I conceptualize TVAs as counterplans (an alternate mechanism to solve the same impacts while avoiding the net benefit, e.g. under limiting). That means I hold a TVA to similar standards; I think it should have to solve all or most of the aff and that the TVA should have a solvency advocate. 80% of the TVAs I hear aren't topical; not enough aff teams make this argument.

Other things:

Arguments about micro-aggressions - Fine as long as you explain the implication for this debate/ perhaps the community as a whole. Tell me what you want me to do about it.

Arguments that compare conditionality to structural privilege - Fine as long as you warrant them. Just saying, "This is the logic of..." isn't enough; tell me why.

So clipping. If you have somehow misrepresented what you have read/ if there is not a way to tell from the speech doc what was read, you have clipped. I've had some recent judging experiences that are moving me toward clarity being a clipping issue. If I can't understand any of the words in your cards, and it seems like this is to get in more cards, that's probably clipping. If I catch clipping, I will make sure I'm sure (usually during prep time), and then stop the debate. If a debater accuses someone of clipping, the debate stops right then. If the challenger is correct, they win. If they are not correct, they lose. I don't really know what to do with speaks here, tbh. I will give the person who clipped a 0, but everyone else is probably going to get somewhere between a 28.5 and a 29.5.

Speaker Points

I start at a 28.5 and move up or down from there. If I think you should clear, I'll give you at least a 29.

Khalid Sharif Paradigm

7 rounds

Not Submitted

Elijah Smith Paradigm

6 rounds

High School ***elijahjdsmith AT gmail.com

College*** Rundebate AT gmail.com

Parli/World Schools, PF, Policy, LD can all be excellent formats when debated excellently. If I am judging you in a non-evidentiary form of debate, I don’t have any preferences for what you should do.

Fall 2020

You should record a local copy of all of your speeches. If I or you drop the call, I am not going to ask you to regive a speech. Keep going and send the file so I can listen to it using "tech time". It will be a small audio file so even if you're having connectivity issues the file will send quickly. This is especially true in elims. There are no do-overs in elims.

Outside of this, I plan to be pretty reasonable about tech and environmental issues.

My General Thoughts on Debate
The role of the affirmative is to affirm and the role of the negative is to negate the affirmative in an intellectually rigorous manner. However, I would personally like to hear the affirmative say we should do something. I would prefer to hear about an actor outside of the folks reading the 1AC (Nonprofits, governments, the debate community as a whole, etc) do something but that is not a requirement. You can fiat things or you can say we should not fiat things.

I think it is nice when people offer trigger warnings for some content but I find that most of the time they are used when people probably don’t need them and are not used when they probably could be.

Please don’t say racist, sexist, ableist things or things that otherwise participate in -isms . Sometimes debate is an opportunity to learn but if you continue that behavior after someone has informed you it becomes a larger issue. For example, I judged an elim debate where someone was misgendered one time which was followed up with an apology and everyone in the debate moved on. The debater was then misgendered 5 or 6 more times in the next speech. Please don’t do things like this.

If there was an accessibility, disclosure, or other request made before the debate that you plan to bring up in the debate please inform me before the debate. I would like to evaluate the debate with this information ahead of time. More personal issues/things that someone did last year are difficult for me to understand as relevant to my ballot.

I will evaluate debates on the line by line and will read evidence after most debates. I give a lot of weight to what the evidence says. I decide debates by figuring out 1. framing issue 2. offense 3. good defense 4. if the evidence is as good as you say it is 5. deciding which world /side would result in a better outcome.

These thoughts are fairly general yet firmly how I think about debate.

LD, Policy, and PF thoughts are below.

LD Specific

If your opponent didn’t read 2/3 cards in the doc it is not their responsibility to send you an entirely new document. It holds up the debate and gives judges less decision time. If your opponent marked more than one card that they did not finish they have a responsibility to send out an updated document so everyone has a record for the debate.

None of the resolutions say the USFG should. If you are going to make an argument that depends on this link argument you have to make sure the affirmative has defended that the USFG should do something or you have to win that the resolution is the stasis point for the negative to debate and not the aff.

The 1ar has to read cards. In a 4/5 off debate you won’t cover if you only read 1 card and some analytics. All things being equal, the aff is likely going to lose this debate.

I am predisposed to believe that disclosure of cites/using the wiki is good. The wiki doesn’t hurt small schools. It helps them. Prior to having a wiki only “big schools” had the ability to get intel and only shared it with “big schools” that had intel to trade. Disclosure also creates better debates. I do not believe that a team should be forced to open source. I believe open source has made debate worse and students have become less likely to do their own research.

I don’t like silly theory arguments. Condo is not always bad. In an LD debate going beyond 4 off/2 condo options makes me willing to believe that it can be.

See policy for policy-arguments in LD


The following are predispositions, not hard rules. If you don’t want me to evaluate the debate this way, tell me not to.

I don’t coach many teams who debate under the Stock issues. I don’t know as much about the topic as you. If you hail very topic-specific acronyms at me (The CCP will trigger MAD if we get rid of BMDs and kill the NPT) I reserve the right to be confused.

Affirmatives- Debate the case. Impact turn it. Internal link turn it. Read all the defense you have. But you have to answer it. Policy or K. I am still a bit upset about an unfinished game of Mahjong from a debate where the affirmative and negative team played during the reading of the 1AC. I thought that was cool. I’m probably down with whatever your business is. The less your argument is related to a traditional debate the less I will understand why you need a ballot. But I don’t particularly think anyone “needs” a ballot.

Topicality/FW- The affirmative, K or policy, should have to beat topicality and I will vote on it. I have realized that my beliefs about T in K debates are outdated and not applicable to the developments of policy debate in 2020. Reasonability is prob true. Even if you both read an interp, if the aff interp is reasonable I default to the affirmative even if the neg interp is slightly better. In K debates I am still not as persuaded by fairness claims as I am by education claims, but I have and will consider fairness to possibly be more important than the 1ac. However, my threshold for aff answers/impact turns to fairness is still lower when compared to my desire to have an educational activity. You should know that I don't believe argument phrases ( 77th/78th level testing, Clash, moral hazard) are arguments.

Counterplans- I like counterplans. My threshold for allowing cheating counterplans is higher than most people’s. However, the more the counterplan cheats the more explanation I require so I can explain to the aff why the counterplan is different from the aff. If I can’t easily distinguish the two, I will vote aff. People should read theory against these things. They’re cheating.

Disads- The Link is more important than UQ. Everyone has a uniqueness block but they never spend the same amount of time on the link. You can’t just assert that the disad turns the case. If I’m not sure what part of the case you are turning I will just evaluate the aff impact vs the da impact.

K/Performance- The easiest way to lose this debate is just to read your blocks. You need to explain why each card you are reading is answering the claims made in the 1NC. The 2NC should not be a 3-minute overview. The 2NC link explanation should not be a rant. It needs to be structured. The 2nr link explanation can not be " I did this work in the 2NC". I would advise you to do some of it again in a reasonably condensed fashion and to make choices. I understand that you are time-crunched. But I also don't let the affirmative revive an impact from the 1ac in the 2ar. The negative can't have its neg flex cake and eat it too. You should debate if cap, humanism, etc are good or bad. These are valuable debates.

Public Forum

If you already know what evidence you are going to read in the debate/speech you have to send a document via email chain or provide the evidence on a google document that is shared with your opponents before the debate. Those cards have to be provided before the speech begins.

You don’t get unlimited prep time to ask for cards before prep time is used. A PF debate can’t take as long as a policy debate. You have 30 seconds to request and there are then 30 seconds to provide the evidence. If you can’t provide it within 30 seconds your prep will run until you do.

The Final Focus should actually be focused. You have to implicate your argument against every other argument in the debate. You can’t do that if you go for 3 or 4 different arguments.

Jesse Smith Paradigm

6 rounds

Alliances- slight rewrite,


Email: jsmith55@binghamton.edu I do want to be on the email chain, I don't usually read along during the round, but it makes post-round evidence collection much easier.

Feel free to email me if you have any questions or accessibility related issues

Debated at Binghamton for 2.5 years, coached there for a year, coached two years at Baylor as a GTA, Currently a second year PhD student at Kansas

First and foremost do what you are comfortable with, everything below is a personal preference, but I do my best to adapt to the debaters in front of me.

General Thoughts

Online Debate: I'll echo what I imagine most people are saying, you should slow down a bit for online debate, probably to around 60/70 percent. Please be as clear as possible with things like cp text, alts etc.

Framing arguments are really important: I place a really high value on arguments that explicitly articulate as to how I should think about the round. Be clear about the implications of winning specific arguments. IE what does it mean if you win the TVA, how should I think of myself as a judge? I think that every debate involving a K, be it against policy or against other Ks, should have explicit framework sections that articulate what the role of debate is, how I should think of competition etc. If there is one consistent theme across my judging it is that teams that make more framing arguments and spend more time explaining the debate at the meta level do well.

Less focus on concessions, more on comparative impact calculus: My biggest issue with debates last year was that I found a lot of final rebuttals just became contests of telling me which team conceded more. I generally think that the term conceded should be eliminated from rebuttal vocabulary, it costs time in which you could be doing actual comparisons of what you are winning versus what they are winning and what the implications of those arguments are. Additionally, the arguments that people claim are conceded often are not, and even when they are, those concessions only matter as far as you implicate them. Answer the best version of the argument, explain how you win even if I give them their arguments, It will go a lot better for you.

I really value explanation: I try to judge almost exclusivity based on what the debaters say. That doesn't mean I don't care about evidence (especially if you make framing arguments as to why I should care) but my default position is to care about evidence to the point debaters are able to articulate it. I often feel like debaters debate to an imaginary person in the room and treat the judge as though they are an detached observer who will pick out arguments. You should avoid this, talk to me, explain to me how you want me to understand arguments and think about the debate. Its more persuasive and just generally makes debate makes debate make more sense to me. All of this also means you should be aware of your speed, I can generally keep up with fast debate, but the more clear you are, the more explanation I get and the better it is for you. Try to find a balance.

More Specifics

Framework Debates I do enjoy these debates, last year I found myself voting neg a lot because I think negatives were better at framing what they think debate should be and thus setting up their impacts more effectively.

For Affirmative Teams

AFF teams need to explain to me what debate is, how does it interact with all the neg claims of debate being a game. If you do not do that you start off way behind in these debates.

I also found that affirmative teams often did a poor job of using their 1ac as a base for their answers to framework. Think about how your aff interacts with the idea of debate as a game, and with how we think about the activity as a whole. If I feel like I could have heard your framework 2ac with other affs you are in a bad position.

I don't think enough teams question the relationship between games fairness and competition. Debate might be a game, but there are a lot of great games that don't really care about fairness or that value things more than competition and deeply influence society.

I find myself persuaded by args about the value of kvk debate and the way framework debate forgets about those conversations. I also think affs only articulate this arg in a defensive context, when there are strong offensive arguments to gain.

For negative teams, I tend to think that negative teams often fail to make their framework arguments contextual to the aff, your explanations of unpredictability or fairness, or whatever "link" you are going for should be specifically tied to the aff you are debating (think of it as an in-round abuse discussion) Similarly your impacts should also be discussed in relation to both the affirmative and what you think the game should be. Good framework debating is good case debating, the more you are talking about the aff, the better you are doing..

Not really a fan of fairness as an impact, but good debating and framing has convinced me in round. I generally think of TVAs as a permutation. I'm more interested in teams that avoid the trend of getting increasingly smaller in their claims (ie debate has no impact on subjectivity, doesn't teach skills etc) and actually defend the possibilities of what they think plan debate could be. I think there are good arguments that negative teams don't have to be wed to current policy debate practices and instead defend the version of policy debate they think should exist. However, I also understand the strategic value of purely procedural framework args so go with what you think is best.

Policy aff V K

Not too many specific thoughts. I usually feel like neither team makes enough framing arguments. I think affs under utilize their cases, particularly the way a k teams under coverage of the case implicates the framework/education debate. I think K teams are often not explicit enough in relating their arguments to the meta questions of debate. IE what does it mean if we win our theory of power at the level of my evaluation. I also think K teams often fail to connect their alternative with the framework they are defending

KVK Debates:

So many of my decisions in this debate come down to which team packages their args better. Both teams should talk about what they think the role of debate is, what competition is etc. I think establishing framework esq arguments is very helpful in gaining links and making competition clear. I am far more open than most to debates as to whether aff should get permutations in the world of planless debate, as well as other weird permutation things such as counterperms.

Sidenote: In terms of K familiarity, I'm very familiar with ableism literature and Spanos style criticisms. I also have a decent working knowledge of most of the structuralist Ks read in debate. I'm cool with high theory stuff as well, but you should know that high theory really does not come naturally to me, so the more explanation you can do to break down these theoretical Ks will be immensely valuable.

I'm also generally very receptive to criticisms that challenge the form of debate in various ways, but you do need to be explicit as to my role and how you think I should evaluate these rounds.

policy v policy

i have very little experience judging or competing in these rounds. My biggest advice is to keep in mind my discussions of explanation and speaking to judges at the beginning of the philosophy. Also make sure you are implicating your arguments on the meta level of what they mean for the debate even if they seem exceedingly obvious to you. They certainly aren’t for me and laying it out as plainly as possible helps a lot. If your strategy relies on very complicated/technical tricks to confuse the other team, keep in mind you need to make sure you don't lose me as well

Having judged a few more of these debates, I'm finding that I'm really not good for policy T debates because I'm not deep in the literature or the type of debating and I find it difficult to keep up with moving parts of the argument and how they interact as I'm trying to flow quick blocks. If you want to go for T against a policy team, I really recommend that you slow down a bit and focus on creating a clear narrative both at the level of substance and in terms of how I should be technically evaluating the round.

Michael Souders Paradigm

2 rounds

Mick Souders

James Madison University

17th years judging NDT/CEDA debate


*Lengthy note at end.

**Additional procedure note on evidence at end.

Mea culpa

I believe that I’m out of step with contemporary debate. I feel it almost every time I judge. It’s not about the type of arguments that are made, it’s about how I judge them. I try to be even-handed and fair to both sides, but compared to most debaters’ expectations: I’m too opinionated about what constitutes adequate support, I’m too willing to dismiss badly supported arguments, I have too high of standards of engagement between two teams, I expect extra-ordinary claims to have at least decent proof, I don’t think repeating a prior block is a respectable extension of an argument even if the other team didn’t respond, I don’t think 2-3 sentences is usually enough to win a major argument. I do think you need to explain the claim, warrant, data for arguments in rebuttals, even when dropped. I don’t think a dropped assertion is necessarily true for the purposes of debate. I will ignore arguments I cannot understand and I have a coherence standards for positions and arguments. I think lots of ‘defensive’ arguments end up being terminal for positions.

Which is all to say that I am probably far too opinionated and interventionist for most debaters’ tastes. I like to think of it as being a principled critic of argumentation, but call it what you will. Does that make me a bad judge? Probably, if the concept of good/bad are culturally determined. But I certainly don’t think I’m what deabters want. I don’t know. But I am this way because I feel like these principles matter and I find them impossible to ignore.


My perspective on debate is grounded in the idea that debate is the kiln in which ideas and minds are fired and strengthened into ever better forms. The goal of each debate is not necessarily to find the right answer to a question, but an exploration of ideas and an experiment with concepts, enabled by the unique forum of debate that protects us from the full consequences of the ideas we advocate. It is the freedom of debate which enables it to be so effective. Hence, debate is a political project as well as an educational one. It is a democratic experiment, wherein we declare our freedom to advocate for idea—and to oppose them—in the spirit of putting our minds to work on a wide set of problems.

As a judge, I try to evaluate the quality of ideas and argumentation that debaters present. I do not have a preference for policy debate, critique debate, non-traditional debate or whatever any wishes to call their format. I do ask that ideas are presented coherently, cogently, and be well-supported by epistemologically-appropriate evidence.

I do have some argument biases (charted, per others):

Killing/letting die on purpose good--------------------------X--Killing/letting die on purpose bad.
Children are good-X--------------------------------Children are bad.
Ha funny debate only stupidity good!------------------------X-Ha funny debate only stupidity bad!
Topic ------X------------------No Topic.
Conditionality Good--X------------------Bad
ESR good for debate--------------------X---ESR is nonsense.
Offense/defense paradigm yes----------------X----no.
Alt-less Ks yes-----------------------X---no.
Stupid contrived fiat on CPs yes!-----------------------X--no.
Asserting another person has no role in debate: YES good strat-------------------------X---no.

Ok, I got bored of that. Here's that in another form.

I tend to dislike misanthropic arguments that ask me to kill people or increase suffering. If you read any argument says people dying is irrelevant, mass suffering is good for people or that children should not exist or be killed, you simply do not want me as a judge.

I tend to dislike arguments that rely on ideas almost everyone knows are wrong or originate out of dubious sources.

I tend to dislike arguments that attempt to stop rather than promote the development of ideas.

I tend to think the concept of a resolution is good and affirmatives should be topical, although I vote for non-topical affirmatives when it seems warranted by the debate (see note).

I tend to err negative on many theory questions, except when it comes to fiat.

In that, I believe that international fiat, state fiat, and object fiat are unfair to affirmatives. That does not mean I automatically vote on these issues. None of them seem like voting issues anyway.

I do not believe your assertion alone constitutes an argument that I am required to respect.

I tend to place great weight on cross-examination and I consider it roughly equivalent to a speech.

I tend to dislike arguments or positions that indicate that the other team may not speak or has no place in the conversation, although there are some exceptions.

I’ll limit how much I inject my own ideas into decisions but I will not prohibit my evaluative skills from the debate. I demand greater argumentative power from counterintuitive arguments. Yes, in debates I judge I do happen to be arbiter of what’s “counterintuitive.” I try to be reflective about my biases but I will not defer to other persons to make decisions for me—the freedom to choose is the essential human quality.

I fundamentally believe in standards of decency and respectful treatment of colleagues and a sporting attitude toward competition. I understand that debate is serious. And as a former political activist, I realize that civility is sometimes a policing standard and there are limits to its application. But I persist in believing debaters should be free to make their arguments free from undue personal insults, discriminatory remarks, interruption, intimidation, or slurs regarding their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, sex, sexual behavior, religion or socioeconomic standing. I am quite willing to step in and object or refuse to continue to participate in debates in which such activity continues.

Speaker Point Scale (novice doesn't follow this scale):

29.5-29.9 Very to extremely high quality speeches that I would consider very good even for Copeland/Top 5 plaque competitors.

29-29.4 Excellent speeches that significantly advanced your team's chances of winning. Good to very good speeches for First Round-level competitors.

28.6-28.9 Above average speeches that I would expect to see out of clearing teams. Good to very good speeches for competitors at the NDT qualifier level.

28.1-28.5 Average to somewhat above average speeches that contributed to your team's chances of winning. Slightly above to somewhat below average speeches for the NDT qualifier level.

27.6-28 Mediocre to average speeches that only moderately advanced your team's position toward winning the debate.

27.1-27.5 Fairly poor speeches that did not significantly advance your teams position in the debate and likely did not sound good.

26.5-27 Poor speeches that had a negative impact on your team's chances of winning.

< 26.4 You did something very insulting and/or turned a near-certain win into a certain loss via your speech

**I am moderately hearing impaired. This should not affect you except that it helps if you enunciate clearly and project your voice. Rooms with echoes or ambient noise pose particular problems for me. If you see me moving around the room to hear, it's not necessarily you, it may be me trying to get a better angle to hear you.

*Lengthy Notes for Critical Identity Teams, originally written in 2014

I find it a nearly undeniable fact that the growth of critical identity arguments has dramatically increased the inclusiveness of our community in the past ten years. This is meaningful change. So I’m taking the time to write this extensive addendum to my judging philosophy because I think it’s important to recognize that there are terminological differences and stylistic differences in debate right now and I want to help the teams that are helping make our community more inclusive feel more comfortable in front of me.

Teams that make critical identity arguments are widely varied and so I’m reluctant to comment on them (or define them), except that I have noticed that those I think of *provisionally as critical identity teams are sometimes surprised by my decisions (for and against them). After some thought, I think it is because of a certain divergence in the judging pool. Critical identity teams, roughly speaking, share a common judging pool that emphasizes certain things, takes others for granted and has certain expectations. My background in traditional critique and policy debating has emphases and vocabularies different from this pool. In a few decisions that a few teams have not liked, I’ve explained my perspective and it’s sometimes been rejected or received push back and even dismissal. That’s regrettable. I want these teams (you, if you’re reading this) to see me as pointing them to the path to victory with me as the judge and I encourage these teams to see me as an opportunity rather than as a barrier.

So, rather than wait until a post-round to translate my views—which is too late—I’m going to post them here. It’s long, yes, but I put some effort and thought into this.

Overview over, here are my notes:


It’s probably true that it’s easier for you to win on the negative because there’s no topical barrier for you. There’s a huge exception to this, noted in the affirmative section. Here’s my hints:

-Argue the alternative. This is the number one point of difference between myself (and judges like me) and the pool of judges I’ve noted above. Winning a link and impact isn’t enough. You’re going to need to focus on extending, arguing, and explaining how your alternative solves your link arguments, how it solves the case and/or how it is the ‘better’ choice in the face of affirmative case arguments. If your alt solves the case, explain how. If it doesn’t solve the case, explain why that doesn’t matter. Your alternative needs to solve the link to the case, because if not, there’s simply no uniqueness to your arguments against the affirmative—they are true whether I vote affirmative or negative. That doesn’t mean that you need to solve the WHOLE link. For example, if the law is fundamentally anti-black, then even if the alternative doesn’t solve the law being anti-black it might provide us with a path to a non-law based perspective or something of that sort. When I’ve voted AFF against critical identity teams, there’s often been a post-round attempt at a gotcha question: “So, you just voted for a law you agree is anti-black/queer/ableist?” And I’ve answered: “No. Voting for an anti-black/queer/ableism law was inevitable because the alternative didn’t solve any bit of anti-blackness/queerness/ableism.” I will say that 90% of the time I’ve come to the conclusion NOT because I evaluated a contested debate about the alternative but because the negative barely extended the alternative or did not do so at all. I'm generally unpersuaded by "reject" arguments without some value to the rejection.

-Argue the case. Affirmatives often solve impacts—and those impacts can outweigh. If you don’t just let that slide, the fact that they CAUSE another impact cannot be easily dismissed. I watched a debate at the NDT where the critical race team just slayed the policy affirmative by reading phenomenal cards that indicating the structural, racist roots of climate change and consumption patterns. It was excellent. However, that doesn’t happen very often. Being anti-queer is bad…but so is climate change that kills millions, particularly vulnerable populations. It’s easier to pick which one I must address first if the chances of the cases chances of solving climate change are either mitigated or critiqued in a fashion that undermines its solvency.

-Frame the impact. A certain group of judges might think that if you win “social death now” that means basically all the impacts of the case are irrelevant. I don’t think it’s nearly that easy. Think of it this way—you, the debater, are often in the population that your argument says is socially dead. Yet I think that your life matters. And I want to stop bad things from happening to you despite your state of partial or total social death. So, you must say MORE than social death. You may explain, for example, that social death perpetually PERMITS radical violence at a constant or increasing rate; that massive real violence is a terminal and immutable consequence of social death. This does not, by the way, mute the entirety of offense gained by an opponent’s policy action, but in combination with a won alternative provides a nice pairing of a systemic impact with strong empirical grounding and very high future risk with a method of addressing that risk. Some framing evidence helps here.

-Fiat is illusory isn’t a real argument (nor is the affirmative argument that the “The plan REALLY happens!”). I get the plan doesn’t happen but it’s a worthwhile thought experiment that enables us to discuss the merits of the plan. I don’t AUTOMATICALLY assume this, but if the affirmative team frames their case as an representative anecdote of how we can learn to engage in politics, or how this kind of debate informs politics, either in general or in specific, I tend to agree that’s reasonable since that is the whole reason I think debate is educational. THUS! The KEY is is not to argue, “Fiat is illusory, they lose on presumption”—which is a bad argument—but to argue that given that they are teaching a BAD politics and that you present a better one. Your better framework may include arguing for the abandonment of plan-based politics.

-Frame the meaning of winning a key premise. To some extent, I find that to be true of anti-blackness or anti-queerness or anti-intersex, etc. If you win that blackness is an ontology and anti-blackness is a political ontology (although, to be honest, I’m not sure I understand what a political ontology is) you’ve won a premise that gets you a long way in the debate. However, you haven’t WON the debate, per se (nor does losing this premise necessarily lose you the debate). If society is anti-black, does that means politics is irrelevant? My presumption is NO. If you are black and live in anti-black civil society, I still presume that it would be better to do things that blunt the force of anti-blackness with ‘liberal’ policies. Now, you have a huge advantage if you win your premise because in a larger sense you’re winning that liberalism is doomed—but you need to make that clear. Finally, you should work at backstopping this argument. I’ve seen teams go all-in on winning queer is ontological without looking at how they could win if they did not win this premise. I saw a team at the NDT nicely win a debate where they lost that blackness is ontological by arguing that even if its socially constructed, its so deeply embedded that it can’t be extracted and that the alternative resolved it best. Well done.


Most of this is about topicality because once you’re beyond that barrier you’re just in regular debateland and the above guidelines apply.


First hint with me on this overall—persuade your opponent not to go for topicality. When negative teams don’t go for topicality against blatantly non-topical teams, I have a ridiculous affirmative voting record. The reasons are obvious: Links and competition are hard to generate when you’re not topical. That’s why topicality is vital for those teams. But let’s ignore that for a moment.

-Topicality: First hint: Be topical. I think it’s possible. I particularly think it’s possible to defend the topic from the outside—I think it’s possible for queer victims of police violence to argue police who harass queers should be arrested by the state without being or endorsing the state. I think you can be topical and argue that you shouldn’t need to answer process arguments. As the coach of repeated, successful topical K teams I don’t think topicality automatically means role-playing in the strong sense. I also think these debates are essential. Surely it can’t be the case that all critical identity positions of value require non-topicality and I’m very interested to hear the ways critical queer, race, gender, intersex values can be met with a topical plan. ***HOWEVER, if you have me as a judge and you’re NEVER topical, it’s probably a bad idea to just toss a plan in. It’s bad because you haven’t thought through how to defend yourself against arguments.

-Ok, so you’re not topical. Let’s talk about my presumptions on that. The main barrier for you here is that I don’t believe that any state action 100% pollutes any action. That doesn’t mean the state is good. Far from it. But considering the fact that many of the teams that refuse to ever agree with the topic attend STATE UNIVERSITIES with coaches receiving paychecks from THE STATE it’s hard for me to understand why talking about state action is impossible. That’s not a killer argument, but it does seem to hint that SOME state actions are not entirely poisonous. This is my own view and while it does color my T arguments, it’s not insurmountable. Here’s how you overcome that.

-Don’t be anti-topical. It’s a lot easier for me to vote for you if you’re not anti-topical. If you are anti-topical, say, your affirmative says (last year’s topic) that prostitution is bad (and implies shouldn’t be legal) then it’s going to be much harder for you to win in front of me. The reason is simply that you’ve staked out negative ground. You’ve admitted there’s a debate to be had on something and chosen NOT to take your assigned side. You refuse to take up the affirmative side yet you functionally attempt to force the other team to do just that.

- Being PRO-TOPICAL still requires you to be smart. The problem is that the other team will ask, “Why NOT be topical?” You need an answer to that question that isn’t just “State messed up, yo.” You CAN argue that. You CAN win that argument. But I’m going to want nuanced reasons that are specific to a particular to a place and time. Saying, “The US government is messed up and did bad things” seems to me to beg the question of what it SHOULD do to change. So, to overcome that you’ll need to explain why it’s better to debate about your adjacent discussion of topical things rather that government action AND you’ll need to explain why that’s an AFFIRMATIVE argument and not a negative argument.

-Answer their offensive arguments on T. Limits, ground, fairness, predictability, education—these are real things in debate and they matter. You will do well to answer these arguments with both offense and defense. I often see all offense (limits debate protect white folks) without any defense. PARTICULARLY answer their arguments about why topical/legal debating is good, in addition to the regular T argument set. These cards tend to be pretty good so your responses need to be good as well. “Fairness for who?” is a good question—but it needs to be answered rather than just leaving it open ended. On your education arguments you need to move beyond “All our arguments are educational” to explaining why you lead to good, predictable debates that are relatively fair and deeply educational. I am in agreement with the point that critical identity arguments are intrinsically educational (see my intro to this whole thing) but the bigger question is how do they create good debates where both sides explore issues in depth? There are really good reasons that this is the case—you need to make those arguments.

-Address topical version of the affirmative and understand that the legal debates good is a net benefit to this argument. A good team T will argue that you do not have a right to the perfect affirmative, just one that lets you discuss similar key issues. Also understand that “State bad” isn’t necessarily an answer. If can be, but even the anti-statist needs to understand the state. As a former anti-capitalist advocate, I still needed lawyers to get me out of jail and I still needed knowledge of the law to protect myself from the police as much as could be managed..

-Realize that “No Topical Version” is a trap. If you say no topical version, you are setting yourself up to link to the “this is anti-topical” argument, i.e., that your aff is wholly unpredictable and in the reverse direction of all of the regular topic negative arguments. The “no topical version of the aff” made by the 2AC sounds like, “Our whole affirmative advantage is illegitimate.” If you say “yes, topical version” then obviously you’ve also set yourself up. At the very least, so don't assert the 'no topical version' and set yourself up for this debate intentionally.

-Have an answer for the topical research burden argument. Critical identity teams are fond of arguing that there are many different versions of their arguments—TRUE! Which for teams going for T just shows how large the research burden becomes to prep for every single iteration—every different case is its own topic area. You need offensive and defense arguments. The argument that “You just don’t want to answer/research queer/black/feminist/trans/ableism arguments” is a good starting point but it’s not enough (and solved by topical version of the affirmative). “Case list” is also not answer to this argument, because research burden isn’t a question of predictability. Don’t fall into the trap of listing off a bunch of crappy positions you refuse to defend (state good, cap K) as neg ground.

-Find A CERTAIN TOPICALITY. Optimally, a strategic team will find a way to be topical, yet not defend the state. FYI, I absolutely do not think that having a plan that mentions what the US or USFG should do obligates you to defend “the State”. I think it obligates you to defend that particular state action. However, I think you can go beyond that. I think you can defend the plan as a critical intervention, as an imaginative starting point, as epistemological experiment etc. without defending state action in other ways. Now, you’ll have to defend your plan (or a topical advocacy statement—you need not have a PLAN, per se) in SOME ways but probably not a lot of different things.

-Impact turn topicality. If all else fails, impact turn and be extremely offensive against it. Disallow me from voting for T—you can complete this tactic by providing defense against their impact arguments while working on your own. Defense wins championships.

Hints not related to topicality

Once you’re past the topicality gate, you’re in the realm of normal non-procedural arguments and I have few suggestions in this area to avoid common errors (certainly not universal errors) I see in debates in front of me:

-Back up outrage with arguments. Excellent critical identity teams do this…but younger/lesser teams seem to struggle with this. Don’t get so wound up in your position that it stops you from making your argument.

-Antagonizing your opponent won’t sway me. There are reasons that you may choose to antagonize your opponent, some of which may be strategic, some not, some both. But as for how I view the debate, it will not contribute to me voting for you. See note in original philosophy about respectful behavior toward colleagues.

-Make the history lesson pay. Sometimes these debates collapse into scattered historical anecdotes that are only lightly tied together—get full credit for your analysis of history by investing time in explaining its application in this case.

-Don’t rely too heavily on enthymeme (don’t rely on me filling in the blanks for you). Too often, I hear judges (on MANY sides) say, “I guess I just know what they’re talking about.” No. You have an explanatory burden to help me cognitively grasp the situation. I grasp the frustration that comes with my lack of cultural connection to your argument, but I’m doing my best. If you think, “I’m tired of explaining myself to straight people, white people, cis gender people, able-bodied people, etc” and then don’t explain, it becomes really hard for me to vote for you (as well as making a bunch of assumptions that may or may not be accurate, depending on your judge). I won’t vote on what I can’t explain.

FINAL NOTE: You might be thinking, after reading this, ‘WOW, we’re NEVER preferring him. Look all the things he wants us to do—his presumptions are just too high. What a T hack.’

Maybe. But what I’ve tried to do is review almost every argument I find persuasive on T and flag it for you and send you in the right direction in answering it. In REAL DEBATES, teams won’t make all these arguments and they won’t always make them well. I ALWAYS evaluate the debate in front of me. But I wanted to flag all these so you could think through your answers and win my ballot. I wanted to flag these because winning my ballot is possible, not impossible.

I also think this can serve as a primer for winning in front of judges that are like me. To succeed in the big picture, you need to expand your judging pool. At the NDT and in national circuit elimination debates, you can’t hide from all the judges who think topicality is a thing or who have a grounding in traditional critique or policy debate. In my ideal world, you’d see me (or someone like me) on a panel against a non-critical identity team and think, “Good. Mick is a fair judge who sees the value of our arguments. He cares about our role in debateland and the world and even though he might not be our wheelhouse judge, we know the route to win with him.”

And, in the ideal world, your opponent would think the exact same thing.


1. I am worn out of looking through 6 different speech documents for cards. I am implementing a policy of asking that cards on positions that have been gone for in the 2NR/2AR be conslidated and sent to me). You don't need to sort out WHICH cards you went for, it's easier if I pick through what matters. Just consolidate them, organized by SUBJECT and SPEECH and send them to me. If you are paper team, you're are a cruel person who wants trees to die, but, on the other hand you make judging much easier :).

2. Most CX answers that given outside the 3 minutes of designated CX are not relevant to my decision. You want to get your argumentative question in? Fit it and the opportunity to answer into the CX time. You don't get to use some prep time to cover the argument you dropped, so you don't get to used prep time to ask the questions you forgot. Exception A: Filibustering to run out the clock will cause me to ignore this rule. CXer, you'll know you are free to keep asking because I will keep paying attention instead of getting up or walking away. Exception B: While answers might be non-binding, deception is misconduct foul, auto-loss. If the Cx-ee answers a clarifying question in prep like, "What's the status of the counterplan?" and then CHANGES it and thinks that's a clever trick, I see that as misconduct. Exception C: I think clarifying questions are fine in CX. Examples: What was your third argument on the DA? What's the status of the CP? Which card did you read? Answering these questions are matters of courtesy and fair play. Of course, they might just answer: "We didn't take a position on CP rules in the 1NC." And you'll be out of luck in arguing with them.

Daniel Stanfield Paradigm

7 rounds

Updated November 2020 2018 CEDA/NDT

Dan Stanfield

2 Years at Los Rios Community College

1 Year at CSU Fullerton

1 Year at UNLV

2 Years Coaching at UWG

2 years @ Baylor

Iowa 2019 - Current

Coached for CKM on TI topic

Coached for Juan Diego on Surveillance

Coach for SLC West Education

Coach for CKM Immigration - Current

Add me to your email chain stanfield.dan@gmail.com

2020 Update

The asshole quotient particularly from male presenting debaters is out of control and I'm honestly sick and tired of it. It doesn't make you cool, it makes you insufferable. It makes me not want to vote for you. This is a communication activity and your affect matters. And an affect of acting like a self-entitled asshole makes this activity worse for everyone that has to interact with you. If you feel it is your god given right to be condescending go ahead, I will also exercise my right to give you a 25.

"I am a firm believer that debate is for debaters. I had my time to make others listen to whatever (and I do mean absolutely whatever) I wanted to say, and its my turn to listen to and evaluate your arguments, whatever they may be. While I'm sure I have my limitations make me adapt to you instead of the other way arouund" -- Lindsay VanLuvanee

I will attempt to limit the amount my predispositions will influence how I evaluate a debate round. Don't feel as if you need to change your strategy to debate in front of me, do what you do best, because the alternative is usually subpar debate. The final two rebuttals should write my ballot for me, teams that accurately break the round down and are reasonable about what they are and are not winning will usually be rewarded with increased speaker points.I enjoy a high level of specificity and nuance broad sweeping claims will get you nowhere. I place importance on how pieces of evidence get debated, as opposed to simply constructing debates based on the pieces of evidence that have been introduced. While I also place a premium on quality evidence (which, I would like to be able to hear during your speech), I believe that a smart analytic argument has the potential to gain equal traction to a solid piece of evidence. Quality always trumps quantity.

I find cross ex to be the most important part of debate its one of the few times I feel I get to connect with the individual debaters, while I don't flow it I pay very close attention to it, and what happens here will inform how I see large portions of the round.

Theory needs to be well executed. Debates in which theory blocks do the arguing almost always favor the neg.

I don’t like cheap shots.(This does not mean I won't vote on them, I'll just be cranky about it) I like arguments to be well developed. Most cheap shots are not reasons to reject the team and significant time would need to be spent in order to convince me otherwise. However, it is your burden to point out how irrelevant many theory arguments that are advanced in debates are, as a concession may force my hand.

Nearly all theory questions I end up siding in favor of the negative, I think conditionality is fine, any potentially abusive CP is checked by quality of evidence. 50 States Fiat is one arg where an affirmative could convince me this is a reason to reject the team it is likely to still be an uphill battle.

Judge Kick: I think this deserves its own section, when the 2nr goes for a CP I believe the debate is solely a question of plan versus the CP. While a 2nr can instruct me to to kick the cp for them if the 2r wins offense against the counterplan an affirmative can respond that I shouldn't kick the counterplan for the negative and I am likely to side with the affirmative. If the 2nr contains a counterplan I have a very strong predisposition that if the affirmative wins substantive solvency deficits to the counterplan or other offense against it that outweighs the net benefit than I should be voting aff. And that I then shouldn't decide to then evaluate the status quo (i..e the net-benefit) vs. the plan.

Separate from the framework section, I really enjoy evidentiary T debates that aren't clash of civ debates. I find these are some of the most nuanced debates about what the resolution means which is always compelling to me. I evaluate topicality like a DA offense v defense. For affirmatives here do not place all your eggs in the basket of reasonability, I think only reasonability is only a question of the interpretation and not the aff or plan itself. Any other interpretation of reasonability I don't think constitutes an actual argument.


First contrary to popular belief I do not hack for framework, however this year I have noticed myself voting for framework more often than I don't vote for framework. For me there are a few ways the framework debates break down in terms of impact, primarily between procedural and education based impacts. By procedural I mean those impact arguments that result from things such as limits, or grounds internal links to impacts like clash, fairness, debatability. The second form of framework are those arguments about decision making skills, topic education, deliberative democracy.

If you are negative reading framework I cannot stress how much I would rather see the version of framework that couches its arguments in terms of the procedural side, ie. limits , ground, etc. I believe this is the most strategic form of the argument. I believe debate is a game and impacts that make the game unable to be played by one side or the other constitute a reason to vote negative. Explanations of the impact that have been compelling to me is that I strongly believe there should be a negative path to victory, a negative that couches their impacts like this will have greatly increased my likelihood to vote for framework. For affirmatives debating this style of framework if you win a counter interpretation that provides a limit on the topic and can explain why that limit on the topic mitigates some portion of the negative offense regards to limits or debateability, then that is the best route for getting me to vote affirmative. I will also say YOU NEED OFFENSE, playing the middle ground will not get my ballot I need impact turns big disads to their interpretation of the topic with well explained impacts. If affirmative I do not need 5-10 barely explained disads to FWI need 1-4 well explained and warranted DA's to the negative interpretation.

Conversely it is much harder to win my ballot exclusively going for arguments about topic education, decision making skills, or deliberative democracy. I believe any affirmative that is even close to knowing what they are doing will be able to easily impact turn these arguments. This isn't to say you shouldn't read these arguments at all they can be excellent external impacts to your interpretation, but instead you should use these arguments as a supplement to the more game-playing/ procedural versions of the argument.

For negatives who have framework as their go to strat THE CASE STILL MATTERS , the reason for this is the case determines the weight I give to affirmative impact turns / disadvantages to framework. If the affirmative solves 100% of their aff then I gave 100% of the weight of their impact turns to framework, conversely if the aff solves maybe 1% of their aff then the strength of the disadvantages or impact turns will be drastically reduced.

Topical version of the aff: You don't have to have one to win but it can help. They also don't have to solve the entire aff instead they are a test to show that the content of the aff is not precluded by the resolutional prompt. For affirmatives the topical version of the aff doesn't solve our aff not very persuasive to me. However, an argument that the topical version of the aff is not in fact topical under the negative's interpretation of the topic is persuasive. Similarly an argument that the topical version of the aff in fact does not allow for the content of the aff to exist. Form based arguments from affirmatives are also compelling to me in response to topical versions of the aff, how the content may exist but the form of it would not be, can be an extremely persuasive argument against both the topical version, as well as also acting as offense against the negatives interpretation.

Beyond counter interpretations it can be incredibly helpful for an affirmative to have a counter model of what debate looks like, which can act as a filter for a variety of the negatives arguments as well as acting as a type of uniqueness for your own impact turns to a negatives interpretation of the topic.

Something I've told to a few debaters this year may help further contextualize what I've said here -- "If both affirmative and neg execute absolutely perfectly I probably lean slightly negative" -- however it should be noted that I have never seen this perfect execution take place.

The K:
I will do my best to limit my predispositions from giving explanation or advancing arguments for the other team. Specificity and spin are important for both sides of the debate. I don’t like generic explanations of meta theory with no tie to the affirmative. Similarly, I don’t like generic responses to critical theory outside of the context of the aff. Generic evidence does not force generic explanation.

Disability k's -- Due to how I spent my last two years in debate , this is obviously a body of literature that I am extremely familiar with however if you are not familiar with it trying to pick it up just because I am in the back of the room is a terrible decision, and one you will almost certainly regret. Secondarily I thought I should include my thoughts on the various ableist language arguments. Essentially most of the time I believe these arguments in and of themselves don't constitute a great argument unless its an especially violent piece of language this doesn't mean what you say doesn't matter what it does mean is that the negative needs to explain to me why the language warrants a negative ballot and not just punitive measures like maybe lower speaker points or not evaluating certain pieces of evidence. I'm happy to explain this further if there are questions.

Recent years I have found I have a tendency to enjoy arguments described as "high-theory" IF THEY ARE EXECUTED WELL. I have coached teams to read all variety or arguments from the cap k to baudrillard, so if the death K is your jam then you should go for it. A lot of my current academic work revolves around disability and psychoanalysis so take that as you will.

If you ask anyone at Baylor they will tell you (and are correct) in that I really enjoy hearing arguments about psychoanalysis I find this to be an incredibly interesting area of argumentation and always enjoy when the affirmative or negative has to do with these questions of psychoanalysis.

I love a good, well-researched, specific strategy. The more generic your strategy becomes, the greater the chance of me assigning an extremely low risk to these arguments. Sometimes there is simply no link. Absolute defense does exist.

The last thing I will say is that debates that I have fun in will be rewarded by higher speaker points. I have fun when I see well thought out and deployed strategy.. Make me laugh and you will be rewarded. Be nice.

Also, I adore good puns (well maybe bad ones even more) make some clever puns in your speeches and you will be rewarded with speaker points.

Change in 2014

excessive / intentional use of racial slurs, jokes in bad tase, misgendering, ableist slurs will result in much lower speaker points. Note: an ableist slur is the R word , or derogatorily referring to someone as a cripple. It is not saying the word stand in your plan text/advocacy statement.

Daniel Stout Paradigm

8 rounds

Debate at Kansas State from Treaties (2001) – Courts (2006), Coached at Kansas State on Middle East (2007) & Agriculture (2008), Coached at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh for Weapons (2009) & Immigration (2010). I am now at Johnson County Community College.

I'd like to be on the e-mail chain- debatelearningdotcom@gmail.com (just copy and past that exact e-mail)

If I leave the room, please send the e-mail. It will signal I need to come back to the room. People should just not open the doc until I get back.

My litmus test for what I can vote for is solely based upon the ability to take what you said while debating and regurgitate it back to the other team as a reason why they lost.

I believe the most important part of debate is impacts. If left with no argumentation about impacts or how to evaluate them I will generally default to look for the biggest impact presented. I appreciate debate that engages in what the biggest impact means, and/or if probability and timeframe are more important. This does not simply mean “policy impacts”, it means any argument that has a link and impact. You could easily win that the language used in the round has an impact, and matters more than the impacts of plan passage. All framing questions concerning what comes first have impacts to them, and therefore need to be justified. The point is, whether you are running a Kritik, or are more policy based, there are impacts to the assumptions held, and the way you engage in politics (plan passage governmental politics, or personal politics). Those impacts need to be evaluated

I also prefer that teams explain their arguments so that a macro level of the argument is explained (Meaning a cohesive story about the uniqueness, link, or link and alternative are also necessary). This means piecing together arguments across flows and explaining how they interact with one another. My threshold for the possibility for me to vote on your argument is determined by whether or not I can explain why the other team lost.

Policy arguments are fine by me.

Quirks with Counterplans- I think consultation and conditions are more cheating, than not cheating, but up for debate. I think conditionality can get out of hand. When conditionality does get out of hand it should be capitalized by the affirmative as justification to do equally shady/cheating things and/or be a justification to vote against a team, again up for debate.

Kritiks- I enjoy Kritiks. Be aware of my threshold for being able to explain to the other team why they lost. This means it is always safer to assume I’ve never read your literature base and have no idea what you are talking about. The best way to ensure that I’m understanding your argument is to explain them with a situations that will exemplify your theory AND to apply those situations and theories to the affirmative.

Framework- I will evaluate framework in an offense defense paradigm. Solely impacting or impact turning framework will rarely win you the debate. You will need offense & defense to win framework debates in front of me. Its an issue that I believe should be debated out and the impact calculus on the framework debate should determine who I vote for. When aff I believe that framework is a non starter. Defending the assumptions of the affirmative is a much more persuasive argument. For the negative, a lot of the discussion will revovle around the topical version of the aff and/or why doing it on the neg is best and solves all the affirmatives offense. I don't generally feel as though framework should be THE option against critical teams.

Framework on the negative for me is also can have and act like a counter advocacy that the problems isolated by the affirmative can be helped by engaging the state. Topical version help prove how engaging the state can create better and meaningful changes in the world. There should also be historical and/or carded explanations as to why engaging the state can help with the problems of the 1ac.

One other caveat about framework. I do not believe that affirmatives must provide a counter interpretation. The affirmative has not forwarded a way to debate in the 1ac, therefore it is the burden of the negative to explain their version of debate and why it's good. This allows affs to just impact turn framework as presumption has flipped in this instance.

With that said, framework is the last pure debate. I very rarely see the better team not win. It's been too hashed out for many if any gotcha moments

Rylee Taylor Paradigm

6 rounds

Updated 8/22/2019


I am a former coach and debater from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. I am currently a Masters student at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

3rd year judging college debate

6th year judging high school debate

N/A rounds on the college topic judged so far

8 rounds judged on the high school topic so far

Please include me on the email chain - Email:Taylor3@unlv.nevada.edu

*strongly prefer email over pocketbox(or speech drop)

TLDR Version:
I am willing to evaluate any arguments that you make, as long as you explain and execute it well. There is no need to change your arguments to something you think I like or will vote on, just give me the best debate you can, using your best arguments, and you will be fine. I try very hard to keep my personal opinions out of my decision as much as possible. I am more of a tech > truth judge, because I think technical debate is good debate. If you aren't doing line by line debate, or keeping things organized in some other manner, my flows probably look a mess which isn't good for anyone, so please keep things clean.

Long Version:
I will attempt to be as neutral as possible and evaluate the arguments presented in the debate independent of my own opinions.

I think it is important to EXTEND WARRANTS inside your evidence. You should explain the importance/relevance/ implications of the evidence as well. Tagline extended claims without warrants are not complete arguments.

Smart analytical arguments beat terrible cards all day, every day. Please don't just card dump if you never plan to explain any of those arguments or worse yet, if you aren't sure what to say. I would prefer you take the time to logically think through the other teams arguments than just read a bunch of cards that don't make arguments.

Judge Instructions/Directions: This is super important, especially in the last rebuttals, tell me why I should vote for you in response to the other teams arguments about why I should vote for them. Tell me how I should begin evaluating the round by comparing your arguments to the other team's.

Theory: Slow down on theoretical arguments, or I won't be able to flow them. They should not be read at the same speed as a card. I am fine to adjudicate theory args but you need to be specific, tell me how many conditional advocacies is too many and what specific abuse that causes.

Affirmatives with a plan: If I don't understand what the aff does at the end of the round or how it accesses its impacts, I won't vote for it. Make sure you are contextualizing your arguments to the specific round and not just reading generic blocks.

Critical Affirmatives- I am open to critical affirmatives that either defend a relationship to the topic or make offense reasons as to why they don't have to. Be careful about trying to be tricky, it may confuse the other team (idk why you want that) but it could easily backfire and leave me lost as well.

Negative critical arguments: I am willing to vote on any argument as long as it is well explained and has specific links to the aff. Your Kritik should have an alt and impact that is explained by the negative, I am highly unlikely to vote negative if you do not extend the alt. I am not familiar with all critical arguments, but I have had experience with a wide variety; capitalism, ableism, queerness, and anti-blackness are the arguments I am most familiar with. My last year as a debater I primarily read Warren on the negative, so I am most familiar with afro pessimism arguments when it comes to my understanding of anti-blackness. Good alt explanation can resolve any lack of knowledge I have. I am not a fan of post modernist critiques so it is a slightly higher threshold for explanation. The affirmative should always permutate critical arguments, and explain how the permutation functions, as well as how it resolves any residual links to the kritik.

Other negative arguments
CPs— I am fine with counterplans, but prefer they have some sort of solvency advocate as well as a net benefit. The text of the CP (and all perms) should be written out, and distributed to the other team. Affirmative permutations need to be explained, if you go for it, I need to know why I should prefer the perm to the CP and how it gets out of any DA links.

Disadvantages- I really like a DA vs. Case debate, but you need to have a link to the aff. Make sure to explain how the aff links to the disad and then how it triggers the impact(have a clear link story).

Topicality- I feel that it is a very strategic argument to be made in debate. Needs to be well articulated with both sides submitting competing interpretations. T arguments should be extremely structured and organized to make it easier for me to see why this is a voting issue. If you don't have a TVA and a list of specific abuses caused by the affirmatives interpretation, you will have a hard time winning T in front of me.

Speaker Points- You should be clear and able to explain your arguments well. I enjoy jokes and clever analogies that are relevant to the round and arguments being made. I adjust my points based off the level of debate I am judging, so a 28.5 in Novice is not equal to a 28.5 in Open.

Few other things-

  1. Do not steal prep!!!! I do not take time for sending out the document, but when the team that took prep calls time, everyone else should pause until the speech is handed over and begins.
  2. Only one person should be speaking per speech, unless it is a performative necessity or an accessibility issue in which case that should be made clear during the debate.
  3. Flow! If you are not flowing I notice and it probably reflects in the quality of your speeches, in particular the line by line debate.
  4. My face is pretty expressive, if I look confused or annoyed (during a speech or CX) I probably am and you should be reflexive about that.
  5. Debate should be fun; it is a game so be nice and courteous to everyone involved.

If you would like something explained further, please feel free to ask me questions before the round or send me an email. If you have any questions about debating in college or about debate in general, feel free to contact me, I am more than happy to help in any way that I can.

Austin Thoma Paradigm

8 rounds

Refer to arguments/cards by their ideas/tags, not exclusively the author names.

Add me to the chain: thoma.austin@gmail.com

I've noticed that as a judge I tend to close my eyes while I'm thinking. Some debaters have assumed that I was sleeping during their speeches. I assure you that this is not the case.

Fifth year judging college debate. Director of Debate at Wyoming. Previously coached for Cornell. Judged and coached high school in the past.


I do not reject any argument on its face. Everything I say here is preliminary - these ideas can be changed by arguments in-round. However, in the interest of full disclosure, I do have predispositions that will influence my decisions - as we all do. I will try to highlight critical points here, but will clarify anything at tournaments or via email - contact me at thoma.austin@gmail.com. This is not an exhaustive list, nor is it in any particular order.

It takes an awful lot for me to call for cards. If you aren't explaining it, it doesn't really matter. The arguments you make about the cards are more important than the evidence itself.

One good argument is better than lots of bad arguments. I have noticed that my theory threshold is not as low as it once was, but I believe that it is still lower than average. Theory debates are my favorite, but only if teams engage instead of just reading blocks.

My presumption is neg - aff should propose a change from the status quo.

Aff should be in the direction of the topic. This is a fairly ambiguous concept, but I feel like you'll know it when it happens. Does your aff want more executive control? If so, I probably won't be predisposed to vote for it, but I can be convinced otherwise.

Engaging "the system" (political, social, whatever power structure you want to talk about) is productive (perhaps with negative consequences).

Rhetoric choices matter - and come before evaluation of plan action.

Aff severence of 1AC rhetoric / assumptions is illegitimate.

Conditionality on neg is good for debate.

Condo does not let you no link rhetoric/reps arguments.

2NR condo is illegitimate.

Fiat is good for debate.

Performative argumentation is good for debate.

Fairness is of at least as much importance as education in the context of debate.

Narratives - personal or otherwise - need to be applied to broader, more generalized arguments to make sense in the context of the round.

"100% no link" is real and possible, but difficult.

Politics DAs are pretty silly.

Debate rounds are not particularly good forums for starting social change.

"Traditional policy" framework is a legitimate strategy better served with fewer arguments that are better developed than a multitude of arguments that are less developed. To get my ballot here, I suggest focusing on skills development.


Try to refer to arguments/cards by their ideas/tags, not exclusively the author names. I rarely write all of these down. This is obviously less true when attacking cites or comparing evidence, but it is certainly true in extensions. "Extend the Johnson evidence" doesn't do much for me.

Prep stops when you tell me it stops. Prep starts when speeches end. Don't prep during evidence flashing/emailing. I will punish it.

Troi Thomas Paradigm

7 rounds

I will evaluate what is debated in front of me. Usually in an offense/defense paradigm.


is is a voter. However I will evaluate impact turns to T. I assume competing interpretations on T


must compete


will vote on if it outweighs case. I will also evaluate linear das if it turns the aff


I will vote on. Sometimes people don’t articulate the link well. Make sure your explaining your arguments in the context of the aff. Performance affs are a voter however I will not evaluate based on competing methodologies unless I’m asked to do so

Do your best debating. I will look at the flow and decide who wins. Impact calculus of some kind is usually important in my decision

Michelle Thomas Paradigm

6 rounds

names michelle. Asst coach at gmu, previously binghamton for 2 years. debated for 5 years at mason

add me to the chain plz - my email is mthomasgmu@gmail.com

Do whatever you do best. I debated on both sides of the clash so I’ll hear just about any arg as long as it’s well warranted and you make it interesting.

FW - you need to give me a pretty compelling argument for why you have lost ground in this db8 and what kind of affs the c/i would allow that would be nonsense. if a team says u can go for a da and u dont im gonna be very sympathetic to the aff (seriously just go for the da). i am not compelled if ur tva isnt actually responsive to the aff. even if ur going for fw, u still need to answer the aff.

for answering fw - if youre a team that does nothing in the 1ac and all of ur offense is based on just impact turning whatever the 1nc said, im probably not the judge for u. i like affs that defend things. i need a v clear explanation of wut ur interp is and wut it actually means in a competitive sense; debate is a pretty cool activity and if ur interp is just 'fuck debate' ill be sad.

t - im p grumpy about nontopical policy affs, tho tbf i dont have much topic knowledge so keep that in mind when going for t - ill need a bit more eli5. competing interps are good.

Counterplans - condo is good up to about 3 conditional worlds. conditional planks are like never ok. cp solvency advocates r great. states cps are gross.

case debate - dear god please #bringbackcasedebate I LOVE good impact turn debates and will reward you for going all in. seriously, give me ur best heg good or warming good speeches. first strike china. go for cap good against k teams. have fun! also dont forget presumption!

K - I prefer specificity in the link story, but who doesn’t. i need a clear explanation of what my ballot does - this requires a decent level of framework debating. alt causes are not offense.

some odds and ends -

im typically a big picture thinker, so meta level questions and framing args are critical to instructing my ballot.

if im in a straight up policy db8, i dont get these too terribly often, so id recommend not making it too big - id prefer depth over breadth. my topic knowledge for the college topic is not so high tbh.

ive found im a pretty expressive judge, and if i am confused or cant understand u my face will make that clear.

That’s about it. Have fun, be clear, be clever. Don’t say fucked up shit.


Jacob Thompson Paradigm

3 rounds

Jacob Thompson, Director of Debate, University of Nevada, Las Vegas—19 years NDT/CEDA coaching. Yes, I want to be on the email chain: jacob.thompson@unlv.edu

I see my role in the round as that of an adjudicator and critic of argument. Debate is a game that we play that is facilitated by fiat: the mutual agreement that we will discuss whether or not the plan should be done. Fiat is concerned with the merits of the affirmative plan. Playing this game is an ideal forum for us to educate ourselves, train the opinion leaders and policy makers of the future, and to have fun.

Negative Strategy--I prefer, ideally, to listen to large well researched-case specific debates with specific disadvantages and a strategic CP. I believe in preserving maximum strategic flexibility for negative teams. Contradictions aren’t always a bad thing early in the debate, as long as the block boils it down and the 2NR is consistent.

Topicality—Generally, I don’t like judging T debates… I’d much rather listen to other things, although I understand that it is important to get rid of patently ridiculous affirmatives. I believe that topicality is a question of competing interpretations and of competing evidence. I am not persuaded by T is not a voter, or “reverse voting issue” arguments. The best way to win a T debate in front of me is to prove actual abuse, although evaluating T as a question of competing interpretations means that I necessarily must consider potential abuse. I will vote on Extra-T (see plan flaw arguments).

Affirmative Strategy—As a debater, I typically ran huge middle of the road cases with big impacts. The best advantages typically have strong internal links and impacts that leverage both timeframe and magnitude. I think plan wording is VERY important; it’s sacred for negative pre-round prep and strategy. A miswritten plan typically means that the affirmative team will lose (as long as the negative team argues the importance of correct and precise plan wording). I will vote on plan flaw arguments and 1 word PICS.

A good 1AR should try to bury the 2NR by reading plenty of evidence, covering, and always using offense. For the 1AR and 2AR (and obviously the 2NR too), it is important to extend warrants inside your evidence, doing more than just saying “extend the Smith in ’17 evidence.” You should explain the importance/relevance/implications of the evidence as well. A good 1AR will give the judge some pen time to flow analytics (especially theory).

I am not pre-disposed to vote for “non-traditional affs” that have only a tangential (or personal) relationship to the topic. Because of this I do not often judge teams that typically read these types of affirmative arguments. However, I have seen a few teams read non-traditional affirmatives, which I thought were very persuasive. These affs often have explicit relationships to the topic and can demonstrate their predictability, negatability, etc in relationship to the resolution. Framework/Topicality is a viable negative strategy against non-traditional types of affirmatives, but additional arguments that are directly related to the aff advocacy often make framework arguments even more persuasive.

Disadvantages—The specificity of the link is important for negative teams, and I generally believe that winning a specific link means that you’re likely to win most of the rest of a disadvantage. I generally default to link determining the direction of the DA.

More affs should straight turn disads in the 2AC--it's a great strategy to mess up the neg's pre-planned 2NC/1NR strategy, and generally makes it more difficult to deliver an effective block. Defensive answers can go a long way to minimize (or defeat) a DA, and depending on the quality of neg argumentation on a DA, I would potentially be willing to assign zero (or near-zero) risk to a DA. Common sense indicts of a DAs internal link chain, can potentially accomplish the same thing, especially if the Aff answers these arguments poorly.

Critical arguments—I am more likely to vote for a middle of the road K that is debated like a disad with a CP (the alt) tacked on the end. I strongly prefer criticisms related to the resolution/topic area with links that are specific to the aff, and an impact/implication that is explained in relation to the aff harms/advantages. They should also have an external impact. Specificity of the link to a critique is just as important as it is for a DA. I generally dislike certain critical arguments such as death isn’t bad (even though some teams have made that argument successfully and well), silence is good, poetry-related stuff, and anyone who says performativity and can’t explain what that means in terms of what I said above in relation to fiat. Affirmatives should always permute critical arguments, and making framework-related arguments against the critique can be effective. However if the critique is an intrinsic cost related to the affirmative, then your framework arguments are probably less likely to help you win. Negative alternatives/advocacies should have some discernible text (either one that you have written or a line or 2 in your evidence). I have recently become more exposed to critical arguments related to ableism, and have found certain aspects of those arguments persuasive.

CPs—No 1NC is complete without a CP (or 2 or 3…run lots of them if you want). I am not opposed to consult CPs, the states CP, or CPs that may result in the implementation of the aff--especially when they have a specific solvency advocate. It's pretty difficult, if not almost impossible for the aff to win "conditionality bad" in front of me. The text of the CP (and all perms) should be written out, and I hold them to as high a standard as I do the affirmative plan. Negative team should not be afraid to CP in the 2NC (it is a constructive, aff gets a CX, and the risk of a straight turn in the 1AR should check any abuse). These 2NC counter plans could be used to make external impact turns or uniqueness takeouts go away. I will judge kick a CP for you if you tell me that I can. I will not do so if you don't explicitly say (during your speech) it's an option that I have, but am unlikely to exercise.

Other Things—

1)FLOW--seriously, I feel silly telling anyone that they should flow, but your REALLY should, even if you have the speech doc in front of you. Answering an argument in your speech that did not appear in your oppositions speech makes you look bad and means you weren't paying attention.

2) If I can’t understand you I will say “clearer” please just slow down a notch or speak more clearly. Start your speeches out slowly and build up to top speed. If I have to tell you “clearer” more than 3 times I’m likely to stop trying to flow arguments that I can’t understand.

3) Debate should be fun, be nice and respectful to everyone involved.

4) Answer CX questions, don’t be evasive.

5) I have worked recently to make sure that my points are in the main-stream. Fighting against point inflation seems like a losing battle, and it's less important in the world of tenth point increments without ties.

6) I will read cards after a debate, especially if the debaters don’t explain them. If a card doesn’t in my opinion pass the “laugh test” I am unlikely to buy that particular argument, even if the other team does not talk about it (although they should).

7) I keep a semi-running clock—if it’s not speech time it’s CX or prep (excluding road maps, time to find lost flows or evidence, or bathroom/water breaks). Don’t steal prep. You do not have to take/count prep for sending your speech doc as an email. If your team is a tech train-wreck, I may audible during the debate and give you a warning. If the train-wreck continues, I will start deducting prep time...

8) "I will not give up my ballot to anyone else. I will not evaluate arguments about the actions of debaters that took place when I was not in the room or that occurred in previous rounds. I will not vote for arguments about debaters as people. I will always evaluate the debate based on the arguments made during the round and which team did the better debating. Teams asking me not to flow, wanting me to play video games, asking me to adjudicate a discussion or a board or card game, or to do any other thing that is not debate are advised to strike me, as this is all a waste of my very precious time." Borrowed (with slight edits) from Matt Gomez.

9) Analytic arguments that make sense are a good way to spend your time. Saying things that make sense and do not require evidence to prove generally create a good time tradeoff for you.

10) I will accept re-highlighted evidence "inserted into the record of the debate" if you explain argument's utility/function OR read the re-highlighting of each piece of evidence that you're inserting.

11) The best debaters consistently do the following things:

a. Make evidentiary comparisons—“our evidence on X argument is better than theirs for the following 3 reasons.” These reasons may include, but are not limited to qualifications, recency, history is on our side, more complete/better warrants, etc.

b. Understand that they are not winning every argument and hedge against the arguments that the other team may be ahead on. Saying things like, “even if you don’t believe that we are winning argument X, we still win the debate, because…”

c. Engage heavily in impact analysis, making sure to compare your impacts to the other teams.

d. Remember that defensive arguments are still important, and that other teams often don’t give them the credence that they deserve. Dropping arguments like “economic declines don’t lead to war,” or “Russian military is a disaster can’t project any power now” may lead me to assign little to no risk to your argument.

e. Be deep on offensive arguments. A few well-developed arguments in the block are typically better than 7 or 8 shallowly developed arguments.

f. Are unafraid to make logical arguments forcefully, without necessarily using “cards” as evidence.

g. Sound like they believe the arguments they are making; a good debater with a strong sense of advocacy is truly persuasive, and will get good speaker points.

h. Stand up in their speeches and CX, use their ethos effectively, and have a bit of swagger without going over the top.

Lindsay Van Luvanee Paradigm

8 rounds

I debated throughout high school and then at Idaho State University for 5 years. I then coached at Idaho State University for 2 years, Weber for 1, and USC for 1. I've been out of the game this season, fair warning.

I am a firm believer that debate is for debaters. I've had my time to make others listen to whatever (and I mean absolutely whatever) I wanted to say, and it's my turn to listen to and evaluate your arguments, whatever they may be. While I'm sure I have my limitations, make me adapt to you instead of the other way around.

I try my damnedest to line up all the arguments on my flow. I am, however, open to alternate flowing styles. I really do prefer when debaters make specific reference of which argument(s) they are answering at a given time regardless of flowing style. I also flow the text of cards.

I prefer not to call for evidence (although I would like to be on your email chain... misslindsayv@gmail.com). This means explain, explain, explain! Tell me what the card says; tell me why I should care and how I should apply it. That being said, I do not think that cards are always better than analytics.

Be prepared to defend all aspects of your argument.

Everything is open to (re)interpretation. For example, some questions that may be relevant to my ballot include: What is the purpose of debate? How does this affect the way that impacts are evaluated? These kinds of top-level framing issues are the most important to me.

This means things like framework and T (fun little-known fact: I've always found topicality in general super interesting--I love the nit-picky semantics of language) can be viable options against K affs. However, you are better off if you have a substantive response to the aff included as well.

I'm still kind of deciding how I feel about how competition functions in method debates. I think the most accurate depiction of what I think about it now is this (and it all obviously depends on what's happening in the debate/on the flow, but in general): I'll probably err that the affirmative on-face gets a permutation to determine if the methods are mutually exclusive, and so that means the best strategy for the negative in this world is to generate their links to the aff's method itself to prove that mutual exclusivity.

I'd really appreciate it if you could warn me in advance if there will be graphic descriptions of sexual violence.

Matthew Vega Paradigm

2 rounds

I rarely judge. I do actively coach.

Debate is a game and an educational activity. It ought to be fair, but there are other considerations as well.

CX - great place to earn speaker points. Its the time that you get to interact with the other team. Make it count.

I like quality evidence that is explained well much more than 30 cards with shallow explanation.

Theory: I tend to lean neg on theory, but can be persuaded. Most theory arguments are presumed to be a voiding of the argument about which the theory argument is run. Usually only conditionality/dispo are voters. I am not a fan of stupid theory/cheap shots. Perm do the alt is not an argument - it is a reason to vote for the alt.
I don't understand the trend to have arbitrary interpretations on theory, like conditionality. 2>3, 4>5, those seem really stupid. I can't imagine how that could solve any tangible impact. If conditionality is good, it is good.

Topicality: It should have an impact, and it should be coherent and well-explained. The interpretation should not be arbitrary. Ink does not a winning T argument make...

Impact calculus: I am not a big fan of the counterplan plus "any risk." Win a net benefit. There is "any risk" of just about everythiing. Sure, I use offense/defense, just like everyone (i suspect), but I believe that there exists a point when there is either a zero risk or a risk that is indistinguishable from randomness. In a similar vein, I tend to think that probability of the impact is weighted highly vs magnitude. Don't just read an extinction card and expect the round to be over. Not all extinctions are the same...

Lots of judges say they will listen to about everything. One time someone said they got a 3nr, then they actually stood up and gave one, and then the aff stood up and gave a 3ar. I was on a panel. I signed my ballot after the 2ar...so I won't listen to everything. (by the way, the two other judges waited until after the 3ar...be careful, its a jungle out there.)

Framework: Better on the neg than the aff.

Flowing: I try to do it.

Vitolo-Haddad Vitolo-Haddad Paradigm

8 rounds

Current Director of Debate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, previously coached at Wake Forest (2 years), University of Central Florida (2 years)

(They/Them Pronouns)

I believe debate is for the debaters. Do your thing, and do it well.

I try to leave as many of my argumentative preferences at the door as possible, but I generally believe a few things:

1. Debate is both a game and a site of activism, and the best conversations about aff and neg ground take both those functions into account.

2. Debaters who tell a story and make strategic decisions about where to apply nuance are more persuasive than those who delve into intricacy but don't frame it as part of a cohesive narrative of the round.

3. Quality > Quantity (of arguments, neg positions, etc)

4. Process > Product

Some things I love

- Mechanistic analysis- how do things happen in your scenario?

- Cards that are highlighted to include full sentences and warrants.

- Innovation.

- Getting strategically aggro in CX.

- Caring about your opponents. Just don't be the worst pls.

Yes, include me on the email chain: CVVitolo at gmail

Ryan Wash Paradigm

3 rounds

Do not attempt to appease me. I do not want you to debate to me but rather persuade me to believe you. Stay true to your argument set and do what got you here. That being said, who cares what I personally believe, this is your activity. Below is my process for making a decision in a debate:

Who should I be when evaluating the debate?

What is the main question/issue of the debate?

Who best answered/addressed that question/issue? Note: The characteristics of best should be determined by you and not me.

Are their reasons why their approach is dangerous or insufficient that overwhelms its positive potential.

Speaker Points: I give points based on how clear, efficient and engaging you are. What happened to debaters being able to be serious, funny, personable and entertaining simultaneously? You will be awarded of quality speaking even if you do not win the debate.


Kevin Whitley Paradigm

4 rounds

I debated 4 years at Towson University, coached Stanford University during the 2015-2016 season, Wake Forest University from 2016-2018, and am now the Director of Debate at Towson University.

I have judged very few debates on this years topic so assume that I am unfamiliar with your acronyms and/or unique theoretical approach to the topic. In-depth explanation of your arguments and evidence comparison will get you far in the debate.

I'm was performance debater. With that being said run traditional policy arguments at your own risk, but if I don't understand what I'm voting for, I'm very likely not to vote.

If the K is what you like, do that; give me links and impacts and tell me how those impacts interact with everything else going on in the round (needs to be explained thoroughly). A good 2AR/2NR tells me how I vote and why I vote that way.

An argument conceded is an argument won by the opposing team--unless I'm told otherwise.

Framework comes first--unless debaters tell me otherwise.

I do not prefer theory debates, so run them at your own risk.
In general, don't leave me to my own devices as my opinions on certain arguments tend to occasionally shift or be somewhat different than the norm. Tell me how to vote and I'll vote.

I would like to be on the email chain KwhitL15@gmail.com

Brittany Williams Paradigm

5 rounds

This paradigm is a work in progress.  I will continue to update when I have the time.  

Me: queer, black person.  Head Policy coach at the University of Puget Sound, graduate of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Social justice is very important to me.  Zero tolerance for anti-blackness, transphobia, sexism, classism, ableism, racism, homophobia and the many ways our community can often make people feel excluded.  This is something that can lose you speaker points and potentially lose you the debate.

In terms of debate arguments, I'm flexible.  I've been all over the debate spectrum in my capacity as a judge, debater, and coach.  At the end of my career I gravitated towards the K but I'm not opposed to listening to a t/framework debate, disads, counterplans, whatever.  Do what you do best and I'll enjoy the debate a lot more than a failed adaptation.

I will work very hard to make good decisions and judge the substance of the debate as objectively as possible.  It is unlikely that my RFD will contain anything that wasn't said in the debate.  The debaters have the burden of giving me the round winning calculous.  This generally includes a pretty tight explanation of your internal link chains.  Every argument should be impacted.

That's really all I have for now. 

andy montee Paradigm

5 rounds

I flow everything straight down on paper.

I actually think framework is a good argument, but in the way that I think it pushes K args to defend some of the fundamental aspects of their arguments - reform, legal solutions, the state, progress, liberalism, traditional forms of politics, etc. I think these are the important aspects of framework. Procedural fairness is an impact and not one that I love, but it's a means to an end. You still have to win some kind of terminal impact to framework, otherwise we're just playing a technical game of checkers. Give me a reason to care.

Affs get perms. You need a link to your K anyway. That should make it so the perm is unable to solve the impacts of your criticism. But they still get to make the perm argument so that that aspect of the debate is tested. I get it, it's a method debate. But I super want you to have a link that says why their method sucks.

Example: direct revolutionary praxis vs strategic, opaque resistance. There are a ton of flavors of these methods, but at their roots they are competitive and produce good debates.

"Performance" - All debate is a performance. This categorical distinction is arbitrary and I don't like it. Of course you can read a story to support your argument. People do that.

Evidence – I'm going to read cards. I like them. I think cards should be good and well warranted, and I hate calling for cards only to find a good argument was backed up with some lackluster ev.