Alexis Elliott Memorial Round Robin

2017 — Bowling Green, KY/US

Kevin Ambrose Paradigm

This makes me feel old to say, but I have been judging four years now, and competed for four years as well at Hillsdale doing both Parli and LD.

New - I am really starting to dislike PICs, do with that knowledge what you will. I highly value overviews or underviews in the 2AR and the NR.

Newish - I have an inbuilt bias against plan texts that rely on solvency authors for clarification about what plan does. Whatever your plan says is all that you get to FIAT, and you should not be able to rely on your solvency author to shift what the plan will be doing. Also am against Affs advocating resolution as their plantext (unless 100% necessary in a hyperspecific parli round). I will happily vote neg on FIAT theory about concrete plantexts, voting neg on vagueness based on this, or doing a rules oriented thing about plantext specificity.

Speed/Flowing: I am fine with whatever speed as long as it is equitable, if one side can not keep up they need to be extremely vocal about the issue instead of not commenting and just running a speed position. I do NOT flow card cites so don't tell me to extend Wolf in 14, tell me to extend the C card, or third inherency card.

K/Project Affs/CP's: I am not a kritical theory guru. I have a limited background, and am not ultra hip with the jargon. If you want to run / win these positions you need to explain it to me in your own words and not by repeating words that no one in the room really understand. I need a really clear articulation of how me voting for you solves the problem you identify, yes you can say the 'squo is terrible' but thats not a reason for me to vote against your opponent. I need to understand how a ballot for you is a vote to make the world better in a tangible way. I hold K's and CP's to the same burden of solvency as I would a policy based aff. Also, if you are reading me 15 year old backfile link cards, just don't.

Impact Stories/DA's: Quantifiable is good. The question of 'probability' really depends on the ink on the flow. If the aff never argues how an alien invasion will not happen on the Link/Internal Link/Impact level I will grant it 100% probability. Saying 'Its not probable' is not an argument.

T/Procedurals/Theory: My T threshold is probably lower then the average judge, mostly because I don’t buy that there has to be a fair division of ground between the aff and neg. If the resolution only allows two topical affs, I am not going to ignore T so that there are more affs that can be ran, instead people need to stop voting for terrible resolutions. I am completely ok voting on straight theory regarding say FIAT, if the neg says FIAT can’t do xyz things, I could totally vote on that even if its not mentioned in the rules.

Closing thoughts: I will vote neg on 100% terminal solvency takeouts. Tell me where to vote, you don’t want me thinking. You should be moderately pleasant, I can deal with someone that is sassy or whatever, but don’t devolve to being rude.

Joel Anguiano Paradigm

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James Baugh Paradigm

I will automatically intervene against the following:

1. Overt racism and hate speech - this is an automatic loss.

2. Speed being used as a weapon in either direction - my threshold for this is typically not slowing down when asked to slow down. If all debaters are fine with the speed of the round, so am I.

3. Lies about what the rules say ("The rules never say T is a voting issue").

Besides that, run whatever you want. Dumb positions like RVI's are uphill battles, but I vote on the flow. Truth gets more speaker points than tech.

David Bowers Paradigm

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Brent Brossmann Paradigm

Brent Brossmann                                        

Director of Debate, John Carroll University since 1993

Years in debate: Since 1976

Years Coaching: Since 1985                                                                      

Rounds per year: ~50 per year recently

I am a policy maker.  I believe in the value of policy debate. The organization specifies that it embraces policy debate. I will make my decisions on policy. Thus, there are two ways you can win my ballot:

1. Have the best policy. This is mostly a comparison of plans and counterplans; advantages and disadvantages. However, many kritiks have policy implications and are relevant to policy making. Others are not.  

2. Prove that your opponent’s practice is so egregious that I need to vote against them regardless of the policy. That could be for topicality, a theory violation, or some in-round behavior that was so egregious that it should be the voting issue. Topicality is a voting issue. It is not a reverse voting issue. The negative doesn’t actually win topicality without demonstrating in-round abuse. In-round abuse can be proven by demonstrating that arguments to which you should have access were denied to you by the affirmative’s plan. You don’t actually have to run and lose the arguments, but you do need to win that these were arguments you should have had access to, that they were important and that the plan denied you access.   

Counterplans need to be competitive. The counterplan must be better than the combination of the plan and counterplan (net benefits) or better than the plan alone IF the policies are mutually exclusive.

As a policy maker, risk is important. Please use impact comparisons to weigh rounds for me. Probability, magnitude, risk and time frame are arguments that both debaters should use in rebuttals to weigh the round for me.  Prioritize those that help you win and explain why they are more important.The bottom line is that debaters need to respond to each other’s arguments in meaningful ways. However, there is a strong presumption against any argument which does not directly relate to the policy being discussed in the round, unless it is a compelling argument as to why your opponent is abusive either in theory (not playing fairly) or in discourse (is actually offensive). I will continue to defend the value of policy debate.

 To help the tournament run on time, I’ll submit a ballot before I comment. After that, I’ll be happy to disclose. The best education in debate happens in the post-round discussion and the more quickly that follows the end of the round, the more relevant the information is.



I don’t care about speed, per se. I do care about clarity. I know that some debaters care about speed. My policy is that the person who wants it to be slower “wins” that issue. So, if someone is too fast, simply say “slower please.” If someone says that to you, slow down.


I do not want to hear arguments that don’t have a real impact on policy.  For example, the fact that the USFG may be evil for some (fill in your own) reason, is, by itself, not a reason to reject a particular policy advocated by the affirmative. If you prove that the affirmative’s policy is evil, that is a reason to vote. If you abolish the USFG and prove that such a counterplan is competitive with the plan, that is a reason to vote. However, a general indict of a system which will continue regardless of how I vote is not a reason to reject a particular policy enacted by that system.


Have fun. Be kind. Learn a lot. Don’t forget to smile or laugh. Remember, your opponents are here because they share your love of the event. The same is true of your judges.  I love my wife more than my life, and yet I’ve been willing to come to tournaments without her for the last 30 years. We all dedicate huge amounts of time and passion. Respect that and your colleagues. Finally, my last name is pronounced with a long O, like a bro. But you can call me Brent.  

Matthew Doggett Paradigm


My college career started back in the 90s when CEDA still had 2 resolutions a year. I have coached in CEDA, NFA, NPDA, IPDA, and a little public forum. I am now coaching mainly in NFA LD.


First, you should not assume that I know anything. This includes your shorthand, theory, or K literature. If you do, given our age differences, you might be shocked at the conclusions I'm going to come to.

Second, if you don't offer an alternative framework I will be net benefits and prefer big impacts.

Third, I presume the aff is topical unless the negative proves otherwise. I don't necessarily need proven abuse either. What I need is a clean story from the final negative explaining why they win and why I'm voting there. T is a voter, and I'm not going to vote on a reverse voter (vote against a debater) unless it is dropped or the carded evidence is really good. I am more willing to ignore topicality and look elsewhere than I am to vote the negative down on it. In rare instances, a negative can win without going all in on it, but that is very, very unlikely.

Fourth, I tend to give the affirmative risk of solvency and the negative, a risk of their DA.

Fifth, I'm probably going to need some offense/risk of offense somewhere on the flow to vote for you.

Sixth, if your K links are non-unique (apply to the status quo as well), you are only going to win if you win your alternative.

Seventh, on conditionality (LD specific)- I will probably vote conditionality bad if you have more than one conditional position.

In closing, I think that pretty accurately describes who I am but just remember I try to vote on the flow, but I tend to only look at the parts of the flow the debaters tell me too. Good luck!

Nolan Goodwin Paradigm

Debated 4 years in High School

Assistant coached at various highschools since 2013

You can read whatever you want to read, if you have any questions that are argument specific please just ask me. 

Speed is 100% okay. If I can't understand you i'll just say clear. 

I guess if you have any other questions that you want to ask just let me know. 

Craig Hennigan Paradigm

Updated for LD judging

Craig Hennigan
Truman State University

TL/DR - I'm fine on the K. Need in round abuse for T. I'm fine with speed. K Alts that do something more than naval-gazing is preferred. Avoid running away from arguments.

I debated high school policy in the early 90’s and then college policy in 1994. I also competed in NFA-LD for 4 or 5 years, I don't recall, I know my last season was 1999? I then coached at Utica High School and West Bloomfield High school in Michigan for their policy programs for an additional 8 years. I coached for 5 years at Wayne State University. Now I am the Assistant Director of Forensics at Truman State University in my 5th year running the debate part of the program.

Dropped arguments can carry a lot of weight with me if you make an issue of them early. This being said, I have been more truth over tech lately. Some arguments are so bad I'm inclined to do work against it. If its cold conceded I will go with it, but if its a truly bad interpretation/argument, it won't take a lot to mitigate risk of it happening. I have responded well to sensible 'gut check' arguments before.

I enjoy debaters who can keep my flow neat. You need to have clear tags on your cards. I REQUIRE a differentiation in how you say the tag/citation and the evidence. If it blends together, I do not do well flowing your argument.

With regard to specific arguments – I will vote seldom on theory arguments that do not show significant in-round abuse. Potential abuse is a non-starter for me, and time skew to me is a legit strategy unless it’s really really bad. My threshold for theory then is pretty high if you cannot show a decent abuse story. Showing an abuse story should come well before the last rebuttal. If it is dropped though, I will most likely drop the argument before the team. Reminders in round about my disposition toward theory is persuasive such as "You don't want to pull the trigger on condo bad," or "I know you don't care for theory, here is why this is a uniquely bad situation where I don't get X link and why that is critical to this debate." Intrinsic and severance perms I think are bad if you can show why they are intrinsic or severance. Again, I'd drop argument before team.

I don’t like round bullys. If you run an obscure K philosophy don't expect everyone in the room to know who/what it is saying. It is the duty of those that want to run the K to be a ‘good’ person who wants to enhance the education of all present. I have voted for a lot of K's though so it's not like I'm opposed to them. K alternatives should be able to be explained well in the cross-x. I will have a preference for K alts that actually "do" something. The influence of my ballot on the discourse of the world at large is default minimal, on the debate community default is probably even less than minimal. Repeating jargon of the card is a poor strategy, if you can explain what the world looks like post alternative, that's awesome. I have found clarity to be a premium need in LD debate since there is much less time to develop a K. Failing to explain what the K does in the 1AC/NC then revealing it in the 1AR/NR is bad. If the K alt mutates into something else in the NR, this is a pretty compelling reason to vote Aff. (Or in the opposite of the person running the K for that matter).

Never run from a debate. I'll respect someone that goes all-in for the heg good/heg bad argument and gets into a debate more than someone who attempts to be incredibly tricksy in case/plan writing or C-X in order to avoid potential arguments. Ideal C-X would be:

"Does your case increase spending?"

"Damn right, what you gon' do about it? Catch me outside."

I will vote on T. Again, there should be an in-round abuse story to garner a ballot for T. This naturally would reinforce the previous statement under theory that says potential abuse is a non-starter for me. Developing T as an impact based argument rather than a rules based argument is more persuasive. As potential abuse is not typically a voter for me and I'll strike down speaker points toward RVI's based on bad theory. Regarding K's of T, there are better ways to garner offense, like say... your case.

Anything that you intend to win on I need to have more than 15 seconds spent on it. I won't vote for a blip that isn't properly impacted. Rebuttals should consist of focusing on the arguments that will win you the round. It should reflect some heavy lifting and doing some real work on the part of the debater. It should not be a laundry list of answers without a comparative analysis of why one argument is clearly superior and a round winner. Kevin Ambrose said during one of my decisions that the ability to encapsulate the round in the last 15-20 seconds of your speech is a lost art. I agree.

Performance: Give me a reason to vote. And make sure to adequately respond to your opponents arguments with the performance. I do not see that many of those rounds in the first place. If you win a framework debate, you're more than halfway there to a win. I think there are lots of ways that framework can be run that isn't inherently exclusive to debate styles. However I think there are framework arguments that are exclusive too, which isn't very cool. The main issues that I voted on in those rounds were dropped arguments. If a team running an alternative style aff/K is able to show that the other team is dropping arguments then that is just as valid as the traditional style making claims that arguments are dropped and should be weighed accordingly. I am seldom compelled that my ballot changes anything outside the debate community or outside the room. If you have specific evidence to why it does, then I have voted on those arguments (Think Giroux type evidence on pedagogy). Most of the time though, the idea that my ballot changes anything places too much importance on me. I'm just a poor debate coach. However if there's things in the room that are going on that can be remedied by my ballot, I'm definitely listening.

Speaker Points -

Upon entering the LD community, I was informed that my previous speaker point distribution was akin to Santa Claus on a meth binge. It has now been revised.

Floor- 25 - you might have said something offensive about the other team or my family. I may have had to think about whether or not to stop the round. You didn't complete a speech and conceded. You were racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic and unapologetic. Or you didn't complete speeches.

26-26.5 - You made me feel like a qualified judge. (There were noticable and glaring flaws in your strategy. You went for Condo Bad without a unique reason why I should vote and there was only 1 K and 1 CP in the round. You have problems with fundamentals of making arguments)

26.5-27 - I had to think and do work, but also had to send you a message that I'm not a good judge. (You made some tactical errors that I noticed perhaps went for the wrong NR, or you asked a bunch of questions in C-X that never came up in the speech. Or you lacked confidence, you looked like you were behind. You dropped a lot on the flow.)

27-27.5 - Meh. Middle of the road.

28 - You made me pay attention to my flowing. At one point I was hoping you would not go for the PIC because I had no idea what was happening on that flow. (Odds are you made the correct strategic decisions, outcarded your opponents or did not drop round-winning arguments and tooks advantage of your opponents dropped arguments. You should get a low speaker award)

28.5-29.5 - I would give you a cigarette after the round if asked if I still smoked. (You have noticed a double turn or a speech act by your opponent that is a round winner. You also have reminded me of items in my paradigm for why you are going for the items that you are. You should be top 10 to top 5 speaker.)

29.5-30 - Would you like to do my oral defense for me? (I could not find a flaw in your performance to incredibly minor flaws that there is little way to realize that they even happened)

Small note: If you're totally outmatching your opponent, you're going to earn speaker points not by smashing your opponent, but rather through making debate a welcoming and educational experience for everyone.

Card Clipping addendum:

Don't cheat. I typically ask to be included on email chains so that I can try to follow along at certain points of the speech to ensure that there isn't card clipping, however if you bring it up I in round I will also listen. You probably ought to record the part with clipping if I don't bring it up myself. Also, if I catch clipping (and if I catch it, it's blatant) then that's it, round over, other team doesn't have to bring it up if I noticed it.

Chris Joffrion Paradigm

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Noel Massarelli Paradigm

I have opinions about debate like Adult Swim has Cooks, too many. First and foremost to contextualize the rest of this paradigm: Debate is a game, nothing more nothing less.

About Me and Debate: I am in my 13th year of doing competitive debate in some capacity, 7 of those years were in CEDA/NDT debate or High School Policy debate. This is my sixth year of judging NFA-LD. I am a fairly easy judge to read, at least I think so. Generally if I look confused, I am. If I am holding my hands in the air and staring at you that means I think you're making a brand spanking new argument in the NR or 2AR that I have no idea what existing argument to put it on. So if that's happening, please make sure I understand why this isn't new (so why its an extension of an existing arg or in the NR's case a response to an Aff arg). Reading your judge is a good skill to have. Ultimately I think the debaters are in charge of their own destiny and I’ll vote wherever/however you tell me I should. I like offense. I am willing to vote on defense, but I will be unhappy about it. There are exceptions to this rule, they are in the K aff section.

Good line by line argumentation is always awesome. Good analysis will beat just reading a card (a good card PLUS good analysis is even better). I prefer not to read cards after a round unless there is contention on what that cards actually says.

Speed: I am fine with speed, but (especially in this activity) clarity is KEY, if both your opponent and myself can understand then we're all good. I have judged too many rounds where debaters will try to go quickly not because they can do it clearly/efficiently, but because I'm fine with it so why not. That is a terrible reason to spread and I will dock speaks accordingly. Additionally please slow down on your theoretical positions, no one can write that fast. If I don't get all those sick T arguments you're making then my ballot will probably reflect it. Most important thing is everyone in the round understanding you, but don't be that person who says 'clear' just so slow someone down then go that speed yourself. No one should be winning rounds strictly because one person was much quicker than the other or because one debater can't understand the words another is saying.

I will say clear once, and that it all.

Ethos: For the most part, your ethos will only effect your speaker points and not whether or not you win the debate. Just because I think you're a jerk doesn't mean you're not a jerk who won. Though keep in mind that often the things that ruin your ethos ALSO lose you rounds (like assuming arguments are stupid and not explaining why or not finishing your argument because the implications are clear enough to you). I will usually let you know if you have done something that damaged your ethos.

There is another surefire way of damaging your speaks with me in the back of the room: I can get a bit angry when debaters I know are smart make stupid decisions.

General Theory: The voting issue "The NFA-LD rules say X" holds exactly no weight with me. I do not follow/enforce rules simply because they are rules. You should at least explain why that particular rule is good. In fact, if you wish for me to judge based on what the rules say, then I can. Please disregard the entirety of this paradigm, I am now a stock issues judge. If you want me to the follow the rules I will.

There are SO MANY other reasons T is an a priori issue and I never hear most of them.

Topicality: Topicality is my jam. It is quite possibly one of my favorite arguments in debate. I have fairly low threshold for voting on reasonability on marginally topical affs. I think debaters are the ones who set the realm of the topic. Tell me why your aff deserves to be topical. Tell me why your definition is the best one for this topic. Tell me about it. If your aff deserves to be considered topical, TELL ME WHY. For my negatives, remember to tell me why the Aff is taking the topic in the wrong direction. Make sure you think through your position and all of its implications. Make sure you tell me why this aff hurts you. Try to force them into showing their true colors. Run that DA you claim they will No Link out of, worst case is they don't make that argument but now you have a DA with a conceded link.

Kritiks: The Kritik is a special animal, in my opinion. If you run the K like the NDT/CEDA people do I think you’re doing it wrong. In fact, there is a good chance you will lose the debate if you just pull an NDT/CEDA K out of some backfile and read it. Keep your implications tied to policy action and try to avoid flowery and long tags on evidence.View the K as if you are a lobbyist for X cause and you want to convince congress (me) to vote against a policy currently on the floor (the aff) due to a negative assumption that policy is making. Explain to me what happens when we keep making policies that make this bad assumption. Reject the Aff is a fine alt, just keep the above in mind. If you start reading a K and look at me and I look extremely annoyed, its probably because you aren't adapting to me. Not an auto loss, just a rough go. DO NOT RUN LINKS OF OMISSION. I am extremely partial to the 'we can't talk about all the things all of the time' argument.

To my Affs: Kritikal affs are my favorite thing. I think they're a lot of fun and are super educational. If your K aff doesn't have a plan text that is fiated you will never get my ballot. Consider my position on the K in the paragraph above this one. There are plenty of excellent examples of this. Once I read a position that changed the definition of torture to include mental anguish as a form of torture as a staunch rejection of Cartesian Dualism. This both helped the people we're doing terrible things to in Gitmo and other places, but also began the break down of dualistic rhetoric in the government (and yes, my card did say that. It was a sick card). What I'm trying to stress here is that we are a policy making role play activity. To defend a position you do not believe in is to become more educated on that position.So I do not care if you 'like' the government or not, defend them on the aff in front of me or lose.


Debate rounds are not a form of political activism. They are individual games within a larger competition which in many cases can aid in the training of activists, but it itself is not a form of activism.

The K as NDT/CEDA does it (and mutually preferred judging) is what has damaged that activity and ushered in its radicalization. Vague sort of positions not tied to policy are what is WRONG with NDT/CEDA. Finals of the NDT in 2017 proves my argument.

However, to the negative against the K aff reading this. The above all being true. Please make arguments in round and actually debate. Your speaks are on the line.

Roles of the Ballot: The role of the ballot functions as a round framing and a focus. If you think that a particular minority group is underrepresented within the topic and you'd like the debate to be solely about their betterment, make THAT the role of the ballot. Use it as offense on that generic nonsense test the neg didn't bother to make more specific to your position. We can have the debate on whether or not that framework is a productive one. Hell, the neg can agree that you're right about that minority group and tailor their position to operate within it. And isn't that what we should all want, assuming we truly care for said minority group and the role of the ballot is not simply to box the neg out of all of their ground?

Speaker Point Assignment: My speaker point assignment system is mostly gut based to be perfectly honest with you, but there are a couple tips and tricks I can provide to get your 30. Ultimately the assignment is a combination of debate style, organization, ethos, and clarity of speech. A perfectly clear speaker with poor organization won't get a 30, but neither will an unclear speaker with perfect organization. In terms of priority, I suppose, it goes Clarity, Ethos, Organization, Style.

My Flow and You: I would describe myself as a good flow. If you have any experience that statement should ring a few alarm bells and I get that. I have trouble getting cites at times, especially if you're of the 'full citation' mentality where the author and the date are 20 seconds apart. To be honest I prefer people actually extending their positions instead of "Cross apply XY in ## " and it definitely helps with my flowing. If you're flying through things like theory or don't clearly enunciate your tags I will miss things and you may lose because of it. You have been warned.

Things I think are dumb/Pet Peeves: Disease extinction impacts, "The rules say so", State links, Kritiks without impact D, "99% of species that ever existed are now extinct" logical fallacies, the rest of the logical fallacies, Soft power positions with no answer to 'Trump Exists', Putting the burden of proof on the negating position, blatantly asking your opponent how they'd respond to a potential argument you may make in your next speech (like come on, have some nuance).

Other Thoughts: Debate is my favorite thing and happy rounds full of debaters who also love debate is my other favorite thing. Remember, THIS IS A GAME. As the great Abe Lincoln once said in a fictional movie "Be excellent to each other. And... PARTY ON, DUDES!"

Chad Meadows Paradigm

Content (What arguments should I run)

Not exhaustive – but you get the flavor:

Stellar (I’m proud of you): Policy-based arguments specific to the topic, Critical arguments grounded in plan specific research, Topicality arguments with topic relevant interpretation/violation evidence, critical affs that have a Topical plan

Good (I’ve rolled my eyes a bit, but we’re fine): “Topical” no plan affs, Impact Turns, suspect PICS (agent stuff, states, etc.), Totalizing philosophical Critique (K args that aren’t specific to the plan/topic)

Bad Judge (I’m not a good critic for this round): 2ac theory to reject team, Condo Bad (except in LD if more than 2 cp’s), Neg theory (vagueness/specs/test case), RVIs (theory and critical), Debate bad, Consult, Counterplans that result in the plan, defensive stock issues strategies

Best rule of thumb: would the topic agent consider my argument to be a logical justification for/against the resolution? The further you stray from this consideration, the less likely I am to appreciate your arguments.

Form (How should I debate)

Not exhaustive – but you feel me:

Not negotiable: Winner/loser, speech times, speaks are my decision, I read the cards, I flow the debate, abusive behavior isn’t rewarded, clipping is cheating

I think you’re silly: You delete the analytics from the docs, Your docs are messy and disorganized, You don’t disclose (aff/neg), you excessively mark every other card

I don’t care: How you speak, how you dress, if you sit or stand

Process (How do I judge)

Truth>Tech. What I mean by that: The quality of an argument both in terms of its in-round development and its inherent persuasiveness can largely determine the burden of rejoinder on that argument. So bad args (no scholarly evidence to support, unwarranted, obviously not true, etc) don’t take too much. However, I generally will not intervene if a complete argument is dropped.

Critic of Argument. I determine which issues/arguments are most important for me to resolve to make a decision. (ideally that’s largely informed by the last speeches) Most of the time, I phrase this in terms of a question: Is there a large risk of nuclear terror? Is China a revisionist state? I then list out each argument both sides have on that particular argument. Then I make a new list of reasons why I resolved the debate in the way that I did, and provide an implication for my ballot. I do that until all of the major issues in the debate are concluded and make a decision informed by those choices.

Booker Mendes Paradigm

History: This is my third year out from undergrad and my second year judging NFA-LD on the regular. 2 years of CEDA/NDT debating, 2 years of NFA-LD debating. High school; Congress and Mock Trial.

Dear Trans Debaters (and judges): Please feel free to approach me at any time over any medium for any reason. I am happy and honored to give any support you may need. Seriously, do not hesitate or think you are being a bother or a burden. You are important and deserve support.


In round: You should generally ignore faces I make, I make them a lot. The one thing you should not ignore is if I make a point to lean back in my chair, cross my arms, and frown at you. I am making it obvious that I am not flowing because you are either a)making a completely brand new argument when you shouldn't be b) repeating yourself or c)being offensive.

KRITIKS: Kritiks to me are about questioning and attacking the assumptions inherent in the 1AC and proving that those assumptions cause policy failure and/or significant harms. Note that this does not mean I think the K needs to solve for the case. In fact, most Kritiks that attempt to do so *usually* have terrible Alternatives. Your evidence probably turns case, takes out solvency, or outweighs on impact on its own. Your alternative should be well supported by your evidence. Reject Alts usually don't. I prefer Ks to be as focused on policy making as possible.I probably won't vote for Ks based on links of omission 99.99% of the time, they put an obscene burden on the aff.

COUNTERPLANS: Counterplans are great for education and fairness in debate. Topical counterplans are BEST for these things. If you run a counterplan, you should probably go for it because they take a lot of time to just not go for in an LD structured round. That said, if you somehow have another viable position, you should be able to kick the counterplan as long as you don't use the affs own answers to it against them ? Thats abusive and the one thing I will vote you down for regardless of how poorly the aff explains the abuse.

THE AFFIRMATIVE: I love both traditional policy affs and kritikal affs. K Affs should keep my K section in mind as it applies to them. You should be topical and you MUST specify an actor within the resolution. Technically its not impossible to get me to vote for an untopical aff, but you should be relevant enough to be able to pretend you're topical and defending yourself as such. If you aren't relevant enough to do that, you shouldn't be running this. If you're not heavily involved in the topic, OR you are refusing to use the USFG, why are you even here? We all had to debate topics we didn't like, and I, a marginalized person, defended the USFG in every aff I wrote. Switch side debate is vital for fairness and education and rejecting the USFG cuz its evil is firmly neg ground. This is a game. Without fair rules it devolves into madness and national tournaments where Affs win 90% of their rounds (lookin at you CEDA (yeah that actually happened)).

ROLE OF THE BALLOT: Roles of the ballot can be used as a great way to open up debate about priorities and whats important. They can also be used to box the neg out of their fair share of ground. The neg should be able to critic it's productiveness and/or work within it. Forcing the neg to run a counterproposal probably means I hate your FW/Role of the Ballot

TOPICALITY: The best way to get my ballot on topicality is a really good brightline and a really good argument on the lost ground and why you should have it. You MUST talk about fairness and education and the topic as a whole. Refer back to General Theory below. If you are going to run it, you should probably mean it.

GENERAL THEORY/PROCEDURALS: In order to vote for a theory/procedural and treat it as a voter I need a clear description of what they did wrong, a brightline/what they should have done instead, and why it matters. It should detail exactly why it is abusive, and how it effects fair/equitable ground and education in this round and debate as a whole. I am not against voting on potential abuse and in fact, you should probably have some examples of it in your impacts. HOWEVER, it is more of an uphill battle.

If all you say is "its abusive and a voter" with no abuse story and no impact on debate as a whole I will not consider it a voter and you couldn't convince me to vote for it even if they drop it. If you can't make a full procedural for whatever reason, don't be afraid to use the word abusive though. It could still make me more likely to drop the arg if you do it right.

*Subsection: My pet peeve*
Failure to meet a stock issue is not an abuse/voter. Bad solvency evidence is not an abuse/voter. A major plan flaw is *probably* not abusive or a voter. All of these things are good reasons not to vote aff on their own so you don't need to make it a procedural. Even most "no links" are probably just bad args and not abusive.

Failure to specify some tiny minute detail or framing their aff in a certain way that supposedly prevents you from linking their aff to an obscure argument that you didn't even run is not abusive/a voter. All your opponent has to do in this case is say they're not abusive and you haven't lost enough ground to warrant voting them down, maybe list all the stuff you still have access to. They can even accuse you of being abusive in this particular instance. I'm open to that.

I believe the NFAs love affair for procedurals is bad for debate because it gets in the way of good argumentation on the actual thing. They're also usually not fleshed out enough to vote for. I believe they can be very slimy or straight up abusive because it artificially increases your opponents burden. Do not underestimate how much I hate these. Vagueness procedurals are the worst offenders and are usually vague themselves. Stop that.

Don't rely on the Da Rules. It will eventually come back to haunt you because the rulebook does not distribute ground fairly and is outdated (#sorrynotsorry). Its also a lazy non argument that doesn't develop your critical thinking skills and will lose you speaks.

FLOWING: My flowing capability is decent. I will write everything you say down, and will *probably* put it in the place you want me to, but you should *definitely* be clear about where that is just to be sure. I do not always (or often) catch citations (ya'll mumble them...I did too tho) so you probably shouldn't use just the cite and assume I know exactly which card you are referring to. Tags/Parts of the argument are preferable.

SPEED: I will understand most of what you say no matter how fast you go, but don't push my mediocre flowing to the brink ESPECIALLY if I am flowing on paper. I can only type/write so fast. If I can not understand you its probably an issue of clarity not speed. If I say CLEAR you need to CLEAR. If that requires you to slow down so be it.
You have the right to ask your opponent to slow down, but do not abuse this. I expect you to be able to keep up with above average conversing speed at bare minimum. If you ask someone to slow down, do not dare go any faster than that.

SPEAKS: There is not a very consistent speaker points range in this community. I am probably a bit of a fairy in this regards. Good oration skills will get you higher speaks. Good clear fast talk will get you higher speaks. Making it easy to flow will get you VERY good speaks. Best way to get good speaks is debate well and show you read this paradigm (or at least skimmed it).

Chris Outzen Paradigm

Judging Philosophy: NFA-LD

I take the position that any form of public communication, including debate, is an audience-centric endeavor. The role of each debater is to convince the judge that they are the more right debater in that round. Adaptation of strategy and delivery of argument necessitates consideration of both your opponent AND the experience of the judge. To that end, I submit the following paradigm:

Judge Experience: DOF at Truman State University since 2015. I hold an MFA-Forensics, have been involved in college forensics since 2007, and have been coaching/judging forensics since 2011. Primarily IE oriented, but with knowledge of policy debate terminology and consistent LD judging experience since Fall 2015. Listening and flowing speed will not to the same level as career policy judges and coaches.

Speaker Speed: I disagree with the trend of increasing speed in LD debate. I believe that LD inhabits a unique position where both argumentation and strong speaking skills can be valued. I take the position that increasing speed of delivery to maximize argument quantity is antithetical to effective public communication. It is also a performative border which keeps those outside policy debate experience from engaging with our activity, which I believe to be a fundamental error in ensuring support for our activity as relevant and valuable.

To that end, debate which is a bit faster than conversational is ok but I will be listening for the deployment of strategic vocal variety to enhance your communication within your quick pace. As a judge who does not have decades of flowing experience, I cannot keep up with true spreading. If you are a traditional spreading debater, consider this an exercise in audience adaptation skills. Failure to adjust appropriately may result in lost speaker points or even a lost round. Spreading does not guarantee a lost round, but it does increase the likelihood I will miss critical components of your case. Extreme cases of spreading or the clear abuse of speed against another competitor may impact my final decision. I will not tell you to slow down mid-round unless I am directly asked to do so.

This position on speed is related to audience adaptation. I expect and encourage ALL debaters to adapt to other judge's speed preferences and the other competitors, as warranted in each individual round. This is simply my personal position from which I will be judging my assigned rounds.

Argument Explanation: You are welcome to run any arguments you wish in front of me in varying levels of complexity. However, remember the audience-centric principle. Debate can be a teachable moment where you can inform us in order to justify your win. This means you should be practicing breaking down complex concepts and providing strong links between the different pieces of your argument.

Ethical Speaking: Engaging in unethical or obfuscating behavior, including but not limited to misleading card cutting, deliberate spreading against judge preference, ignoring the audience as consumers of your message, or styling your arguments deliberately to be overly complex/dense, are not acceptable as a speaker. You are also expected to grant your opponent the same ground/courtesy as you expect. Example: If you cut off their answers in CX to move on to your next question, do not talk over/ignore them when they do the same thing in their CX.

Topicality: I’m open to T arguments. Proven abuse is the best course to win a T argument, but I’m willing to consider potential abuse if the possible abuse is of a significant magnitude.

Kritiks: I’m open to K debate on two conditions. 1) K-Affs must pass the test of topicality, linking to the resolution. 2) Kritik arguments are often dense and highly specialized. Those who run K arguments have an elevated burden to educate in your arguments. Do not assume we are all well-read in the highly specific literature of your kritik.

Judge Intervention: I would rather see you make the arguments and guide my thinking through strong transitions, roadmaps, etc. I typically do not believe in intervening as a judge in debate rounds to complete your arguments for you and hold myself to that standard to the degree possible. However, I will intervene in issues of a) Overt racism, homophobia, sexism, and/or other forms of hate speech; b) Lies about rules or anything which was clearly said in round by either competitor; c) New arguments in non-constructive speeches (as defined by NFA-LD rules), especially in the final AR.

To summarize, I'm open to all forms of argumentation on the premise that a) They are understandable and follow basic ethical guidelines; and b) They are justified by you as fitting in the round and resolution. Arguments should be presented in a way which reflects is accessible to the judge in question.

I will assume that students who do not ask me questions about my paradigm I will assume have read it. It is the job of the students to make sure they understand how the judge will engage with the round.

Joe Packer Paradigm

Background: I competed in policy debate for four years in college at the University of Mary Washington. I coached policy debate for seven years, public forum for one year, and LD debate for five years.

Despite my policy background I am committed to the spirit of LD. This means that while you can speak quickly, you should be comprehensible and both debaters should be ok with going fast. I have seen too many debates where a varsity debater unnecessarily spreads out a novice debater.

Topicality is a voting issue. I am unlikely to vote on a reverse voting issue on topicality even if it is dropped. Arguments about why topicality is problematic may be reasons to include your affirmative, but are rarely reasons for you to win the debate. It is probably best in front of me to frame these as expanding the interpretation of what the topic can be, rather than rejecting a topic all together.

The citation rules are so widely disregarded that I would feel uncomfortable enforcing them, especially if there is no conversation between the debaters about reading them prior to the first speech.

Winning topicality or any other theory issue requires more work than winning on a substantive issue. This is to say, if both teams go for substance I have to pick a winner, but if one team goes for theory I can assess that they have not surpassed the burden required to reject the other team. This does not mean that T and theory are unwinnable arguments in front of me. In order to win you should clearly explain your interpretation, explain how the other team has violated it, explain why your interpretation makes for good debates, explain what the opponent does or justifies, and explain why that is bad for debate. This is not code for I do not vote on theory. I will vote on theory.

Negatives should narrow the debate in their second speech. Pick the arguments you are winning and go in-depth. I will give affirmative’s wide latitude in debate where the negative goes for everything in a messy way. Going for T and substance is usually a mistake, unless one or both are such a clear win that you have extra time (this happens rarely).

Presumption goes to the status quo, which means that ties go to the negative (in the world of a counterplan presumption is up for debate). A negative can sometimes make a persuasive case that the affirmative has to prove solvency, which is a separate issue from presumption.

Many debate arguments can be defeated without cards by making smart, warranted, analytical arguments. I wish I saw more of these types of arguments.

I don’t subscribe to an offense defense paradigm; good defense is in many cases enough, especially with theory debates.

I am increasingly willing to intervene in theory debates. Two speeches does not allow for proper theory development and gives both sides the ability to simply block out every speech. Counterplans like consultation and 50 state fiat require a very low threshold to defeat on theory. I am not a fan of conditional counterproposals in LD. Negative arguments like the affirmative doesn’t get permutations are generally nonstarters.

I will vote on kritiks but prefer them specific to the topic and with a hardy dose of explanation about why it relates to the specific claims of the 1AC. I am not a good judge for generic backfile checks with one card that is semi relevant to the topic area.

Things that will get you lower speaker points/make it hard for you to win.

  1. Be rude to the other team.
  2. Not answer or be evasive when answering cross ex questions.
  3. Be unclear in CX about the status of counter plans
  4. Being unable or unwilling to explain your arguments in CX
  5. Read unwarranted/unqualified evidence.

One way to get (perhaps unfairly) good speaker points from me is to be entertaining. Many debaters, who were not the best at debate, but nevertheless were pleasant to watch debate, (being funny, speaking passionately, being nice to their opponents) have received speaker points that would typically fall outside of their skill range.

Seth Peckham Paradigm

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Jon Sahlman Paradigm

Updated: 09/21/2020


Hey my name is Jon Sahlman. I debated at Western Kentucky University, coached at Western Kentucky, and am now pusuring a PhD at Louisiana State University. I've done LD-(1 v 1 policy) for 4 years and previously did NPDA for 2 years. I've coached HS Public Forum, LD, and Congress as well.


I try to be as hands-off as possible, and really just let the debaters do what they want and direct the round. I think that debate is educational and therefore allowing debaters to debate how they wish promotes creativity and education in the debate space. I will listen to ALMOST every position (Let me clarify)...

I believe that my ballot has some form of actual endorsement of arguments. Because of this, I refuse to endorse any argument that is discriminatory or offensive. For example, "Capitalism is good because it brought slavery which built America".....(Yes that actually happened in a round once).....I will automatically drop you. Any sexist, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, etc. argument that is made... I will refuse to endorse and will drop you.


I do not care how fast you go as long as you don't use speed as a tool to exclude your opponent. This means that if your opponent says "clear" or "slow down" I expect you to honor it. If I cannot understand you then I will say so. I suggest at least slowing down a little bit on tags and cites. If your opponent continuously says clear or slow down and you refuse to, I will drop you.


I default to Counter-interpretations unless you tell me otherwise. Make the standards debate clear. If the warrants are poor and there isn't a good comparison of interpretations I will most likely just call it a wash.

---Other Theory:

I will listen to any theory position. Cross apply what I said about the standards debate.

Proven abuse is not needed but obviously makes your argumentation better.

Condo Good? Sure

Condo Bad? Sure

Disclosure theory? Sure


love it. Make the links clear. I need to be able to understand your alternative. If it's something really out there break it down for me. Alt solvency is pretty important.


Please don't double-turn yourself and link into a DA you read. Conditional CPs are fine, its up to you and your opponent to have that debate. Again I do not really care what you read. PICS are cool.


Make sure you have the UNQ going in the right direction lol....Links links links links links... make it clear. Impacts...actually have one. I dont believe quality of life is really an impact.


Biggest complaint is FW. If I do not understand what your FW is then I don't know how to vote for you. Solvency is most important for me on the aff. If you have no FW then I default to Net-benefits.

Performance either aff or neg:

Again do what you want. I've seen some awesome performance debate. Just make sure I know what the thesis of your performance is/why the topic either does or doesn't matter. As the judge If interrogating a part of my mindset or identity is necessary that's completely fine with me.

Speaker Points:

I don't care if you sit or stand

I don't care what color your suit is..and the people that do are terrible.

I don't care what you wear in the round...and the people that do are terrible

I don't care if you wear heels...and the people that do are terrible

Final thought:

Have fun. Debate should be an expression of yourself. Don't let anyone tell you your "style of debate" is wrong.

Ken Troyer Paradigm

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