1st and 2nd Year National Championships at Woodward Academy

2018 — Atlanta, GA/US

Tim Alderete Paradigm

Judging Philosophy - Tim Alderete -The Meadows School - timalderete@yahoo.com

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

First Part - Short / Pre Round Version

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

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

Second Part - Longer Version

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lucas Bryant Paradigm

Updated - 9/22/2019

Hi, I’m Lucas Bryant, I debated for around 4 years on the national circuit in LD and have dabbled in policy, congress once, and PF like twice.

Email - bryant.lucas1205@gmail.com

General info- primary role is minimizing intervention and be tab, assumptions like the AC is 6 minutes and conceded arguments are true I will enforce probably unless convinced otherwise. Everything is fair game. Also, tech > truth. For lay, I give leeway if neither debater extends but if one does and the other doesn't it's an auto-L for the person who didn't.

Speaks- I use John Staunton's speaks mechanism now. https://www.dropbox.com/s/uiw9hvdy5yl0t1h/Speaker%20Points.pdf?dl=0

Framework- losing influence in the meta which is a shame, determines what offense is / what impacts are/ how to weigh. I default to epistemic confidence, Biggest mistake in framework rounds is just a bunch of conceded preclusion claims with no interaction, I’ll attempt to resolve these by doing work myself which I don’t want to do.

-TJFs: fine and strategic, maybe abusive, idk that's for y'all to settle.

-Triggers/Contingent Standards: abusive but can be funny

-Skep: mixed feelings, seems lazy in terms of debate application, read unique skep args plz. Skep aff’s are always welcome btw.

-Impact justified fwrks: are awful and hurt my feelings, this won’t hurt your speaks or change my evaluation if it's not an issue brought up by the debaters in the round

Theory- I understand theory for it's strategic purpose. I don’t default on any paradigm issue, they should be in round, things like spirit v text of interp obviously don’t matter if no semantic I-meets are made. Also, I’m fine if counter-interp txt is just “I’ll defend the violation” or “converse / inverse of their interp”. I will never “gut check” against theory args. The "frivolous" nature of shells is determined in round.

-Interps: don’t repeat while extending, I got it the first time, just say “extend the interp”. You should flash this / type it out at a minimum. Don’t be too lengthy or too short. Positively / Negatively worded interp as metatheory makes no sense to me - still will vote on it though.

-offensive counter-interps: just read it a new off / meta-theory shell, calling it an offensive counter-interp seems like you’re just trying to get an RVI when you don’t need one to begin with.

-spikes: are great and some are probably a bit necessary depending on the flavor of the aff. I’m totally fine with hearing a 5 min UV with generic pre-empts and your speaks won’t suffer, you do you.

-disclosure: My opinions don’t matter in round, I’ll vote on disclosure happily if you won it but won’t like cap speaks or vote someone down solely for not disclosing if it’s not mentioned in-round.

K’s- where some of the best debates happen, nothing is cooler than an amazing 2nr collapse, but be slightly original please.

-Performance: they’re fine, make it clear whether or not the act of performance is pre-fiat offense for you.

-Literature: not going to list what I’ve read or authors I like, if you have a concern just ask before the round. My familiarity with any lit base has no influence on my decision. If an understandable claim is conceded that has a complex warrant, an absurdly long explanation isnt necessary.

-K’s v/of Framework: probably slightly abusive possibly but eh who cares, I'll default to the ROTB and standard/value criterion being on the same layer - if Kant is evil in it's application (w/o any like Teehan weighing) but it's true in determining what is ethical then that doesn't matter. Preclusion / Hijack claims make sense in this debate.

-“Going Right”: is maybe not as strategic but equally compelling, read theory to not engage if you want too, or even better, do both.

LARP- plans are cool, soft-left aff’s are dominating right now but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a good extinction impact. I've done a decent bit of LARPing (reading a burner aff, crazy strategic) but rarely against a larp debater so not sure how I would be at resolving a pure Adv CP v. plan strat. But I've been in these rounds and babe some experience, it probably won't be an issue.

Misc- sit, stand, lay on the floor or levitate, idc as long as I can hear you clearly. Flashing isn’t prep time but if everyone in round wants it to be then it’s up to y’all. Embedded clash doesn’t exist unless made explicit or it’s your opponents lack of signposting / messiness was the cause of why an argument would need to be evaluated with embedded clash. If there's anything I didn't explicitly mention, just ask.

Matt Cekanor Paradigm

Experience- This will be my first year coaching at Northview High School. Before moving to Georgia, I coached for 7 years at Marquette High in Milwaukee, WI and I debated there for four years.

*As I have gained more coaching and judging experience, I find that I highly value teams who respect their opponents who might not have the same experience as them. This includes watching how you come across in CX, prep time, and your general comportment towards your opponent. In some local circuits, circuit-style policy debate is dwindling and we all have a responsibility to be respectful of the experience of everyone involved in policy debate.*

Yes, add me to the email chain. My email is mcekanordebate@gmail.com

Big picture “ideologies”

-Judging debates on the arms sales topic is most difficult for me when the negative strategy relies on winning an internal link or link turn to affirmative strategies in order to win an off-case position. Absent specific link or comparative sequencing analysis, I find it difficult to evaluate the distinctions between the China War advantage and the Deterrence DA, for example. I believe these debates are most successful at the highest level, but teams that are slower or might not have the strongest strategic vision often fail to win these negative strategies.

-I believe that rounds often lack comparative claims about the relative quality of arguments and how this impacts the interactions of arguments. Put another way, impact calculus does not only pertain to weighing the magnitude, timeframe and probability of impacts against each other but also pertains to comparing the way in which defensive arguments, claims about qualifications, evidence quality or other similar arguments impact how I should evaluate certain arguments within the round. When debating, always ask the question "Why?", such as "If I win this argument, WHY is this important?", "If I lose this argument WHY does this matter?". If you start thinking in these terms and can explain each level of this analysis to me, then you will get closer to winning the round. In general, the more often this happens and the earlier this happens it will be easier for me to understand where you are going with certain arguments. This type of analysis definitely warrants higher speaker points from me and it helps you as a debater eliminate my predispositions from the debate.

-For me to vote on a single argument, it must have a claim, warrant, impact, and impact comparison. This also applies to how I judge DA an CP debates.

A DA is not a full DA until a uniqueness, link, internal link and impact argument is presented. Too many teams are getting away with 2 card DA shells in the 1NC and then reading uniqueness walls in the block. I will generally allow for new 1AR answers.

Similarly, CP's should have a solvency advocate read in the 1NC. I'll be flexible on allowing 1AR arguments in a world where the aff makes an argument about the lack of a solvency deficit.

- Yes, terminal defense exists, however, I do not think that teams take enough advantage of this kind of argument in front of me. I will not always evaluate the round through a lens of offense-defense, but you still need to make arguments as to why I shouldn’t evaluate a debate through offense-defense. Again this plays into evidence questions and the relative impacts of arguments claims made above.

With those three main paradigmatic questions out of the way, here are my thoughts on particular arguments. This list is by no means exhaustive and if you have any questions about specifics, feel free to ask. Again, these are just predispositions that I would like to eliminate as much as possible while judging but I cannot shy away from the fact that they exist and will impact the way I think about rounds.


Case- Debates are won or lost in the case debate. By this, I mean that proving whether or not the aff successfully accesses all, some or none of the case advantages has implications on every flow of the debate and should be a fundamental question of most 2NRs and 2ARs. I think that blocks that are heavy in case defense or impact turns are incredibly advantageous for the neg because they enable you to win any CP (by proving the case defense as a response to the solvency deficit), K (see below) or DA (pretty obvious). I think that most affs can be divided into two categories: affs with a lot of impacts but poor internal links and affs with very solid internal links but questionable impacts. Acknowledging in which of these two categories the aff you are debating falls should shape how you approach the case debate.

DA- I most often evaluate the DA through a lens of probability. Your job as the aff team when debating a DA is to use your defensive arguments to question the probability of the internal links to the aff. Likewise, the neg should use turns case arguments as a reason why your DA calls into question the probability of the aff's internal link. I think that an interesting argument that is often not taken advantage of by the neg is DA is the prerequisite for the aff argument.

CP- While, when it is a focus of the debate, I tend to err affirmative on questions of counterplan competiton, I have grown to be more persuaded by a well-executed counterplan strategy even if the counterplan is a process counterplan. The best counterplans have a solvency advocate who is, at least, specific to the topic, and, best, specific to the affirmative. I do not default to judge kicking the counterplan and will be easily persuaded by an affirmative argument about why I should not default to that kind of in-round conditionality.

K- I think that the best critiques are critiques that directly engage the action of the affirmative, however, criticisms or the representations of the aff are also fair. Most rounds on the K are won in front of me when the 2N explains how the K turns the case or is somehow a prerequisite for the aff. I do find permutations persuasive when this sort of analysis is lacking, however. I also find that I will give higher speaker points to the team that explains links to specific lines in their opponents' evidence or to the logic within cross-x answers etc.

I will say that I think the strategy of going for the K with case defense is an argument combination that is rarely taken advantage of. I think that case defense allows you to provide substantive ways in which I can call into question the assumptions of the aff. I think that it is very difficult in high school debate for an aff team to come back from a block that consists of the K and case defense exclusively (NOTE: This is not me encouraging you to exclusively debate like this in front of me, I just think that it is an under used strategy).

More familiar bodies of literature: Queerness, security, Lacan, capitalism, anthro

Somewhat familiar: Afropessimism, settler colonialism

Less familiar: Baudrillard, Bataille, Deleuze

K affs- After having judged an increasing amount of debates between plan-less affs and framework, I have started to realize that my thoughts on this question are changing.

1.) Topicality is winning more debates in front of me- While I think that it is possible for teams to win debates vs. plan-less affirmatives without reading topicality, my thoughts on T as an effective strategy against these affs have changed to the point where I think this is a strategic position.

2.) The form vs. content distinction is persuasive- Teams that make arguments that distinguish between the content of the affirmative and the form of policy debate are generally persuasive to me. I think that the evolution in TVA and negative state action arguments have persuaded me that the content of the affirmative can be accessed through "topical" action. This, of course, does not mean that there isn't room for discussion here. Aff teams should be specific when making these arguments.

3.) Case in T debates- Regardless of the side you're on in one of these debates, I think that a lot of the debate comes down to whether or not the aff can access the affirmative and if this gives them offense on the T debate. I have been persuaded by "aff comes first" arguments in the past, particularly when the case is conceded. Negatives need to have arguments (preferably specific ones) about why the aff can't access their offense.

4.) I do think there are situations in which it is a fair expectation that the negative should have a specific answer to the affirmative that does not rely on a generic T, cap or disad shell. In particular, I tend to be persuaded by arguments about the predictability of “debate about debate” being a round for which the negative should have been prepared.

For reference, here is what I used to say about K affs (circa 2016-17):

I want to start out this section of my paradigm by saying that I have not judged many debates in which the affirmative has not read a plan text. I have openly coached teams that do not read plan texts and am open to the idea, however, I am not an experienced judge in this area of the debate. This means that if you are a team that does not defend resolutional action or does not read a plan text you must be clear as to how your advocacy statement or performative impact rectifies the impacts isolated in the 1AC.

I think that strong negative offense against these positions stems from kritiks or disads to the performative action/mechanism of the affirmative. In other words, I think the best answers to these affirmatives directly answer the thesis of the affirmative. I do not think that framework/T debates are the best answers to these arguments. Again, if framework is your response, that's fine but you will need to be making portable skills arguments that are contextualized to lack of access in debate, otherization in the debate space etc., to win my ballot in framework debates.

T- While I used to say that T is not necessarily my strong suit, I think that this has changed in the last year particularly given the lack of affirmative creativity on the arms sales topic. I think that portable skills are the best impact teams can make when they are engaged in T or theory debates. Comparative impact calculus and a discussion of how each team accesses their impacts will be important in winning my ballot in T debates. I find it incredibly problematic when there are multiple T interpretations in the round, especially when there are multiple definitions of the same word. However, as mentioned above, I think that an affirmative team can persuasively make arguments about why aff creativity outweighs predictability, particularly on this topic.

Theory- I debated on a team that engaged in a lot of theory debates in high school. There were multiple tournaments where most of our debates boiled down to theory questions, so I would like to think that I am a good judge for theory debates. I think that teams forget that theory debates are structured like a disadvantage. Again, comparative impact calculus is important to win my ballots in these debates. I will say that I tend to err aff on most theory questions. For example, I think that it is probably problematic for there to be more than one conditional advocacy in a round (and that it is equally problematic for your counter interpretation to be dispositionality) and I think that counterplans that compete off of certainty are bad for education and unfair to the aff. Again, portable skills are the most important to me in terms of my predispositions so you will need to do work in round to explain your arguments in this context.

Individuals who have most influenced my thoughts about debate/who's decision making calculus was (at least at one point) similar to mine: Tyler Thur (former partner), Ben Schultz (former coach).

Speaker point range on arms sales (for post-round reference):

Average- 28.2 (though teams I've judged that have cleared at circuit tournaments average ~28.7)

Range- 26.5-29.4

I recommend that you go to the bathroom and fill your water bottles before the debate rather than before a speech.

Betsy Cohen Paradigm

I am a third year parent judge. I have judged at a local and national level, mostly in Novice. I will flow and keep track of arguments and vote for the best arguments. I prefer a conversational speed and it is your responsibility to make sure that your speech is clear and understandable. If you are speaking too fast, I will ask you to slow down. I prefer quality over quantity.

I expect people to be respectful and I do not appreciate bully tactics during rounds. I consider constant interruptions to be rude. I love well-constructed arguments with well-supported evidence; I prefer to evaluate arguments based on the specific resolution and value/criterion.

I love judging. Have fun and be yourself!

Madi Crowley Paradigm

Im Madi.

put me on the email chain: madighancrowley@gmail.com

I’m currently a varisty fourth year debater at Lake Highland Prep.

The short version is: I believe that debate is a space for debaters to have fun and enjoy themselves, which means that I am open to anything you want to read. If you enjoy the utilz, go ahead and larp. If you prefer Ks, read Ks. If you are good at phil, read phil. I’m fine with flowing speed, but please slow down on tags, things you think are important, and whenever I say “clear." Also, if you are sexist,racist,homophobic,and just plain rude I will tank your speaks.

I tried to read a little bit of everything (high theory, performance, policy args, other Ks, theory/T, tricks, framework, reps, etc.) So I’m comfortable judging a lot of positions.

If you are reading a position that you think is slightly confusing, or that took you awhile to learn, chances are I will think its confusing too. Please, please, please slow down to explain it.

I want clear extensions with claim, warrant and impact. If the argument was conceded I will be more lenient.

I determine speaks based on how well I think you will do at the tournament. I also determine speaks based on how fun you make the round.

Remember to weigh!!!


These are what I default to if no weighing or arguments in favor of the other side were made in the round. These are all subject to change if you just make arguments.

theory before K

fairness 1st

competing interps

Truth testing (what it means for the res to be “true” or “false” can be determined through consequential impacts or rotb)

drop the arg

Some judges that i want to be: Tom Evnen, Becca Traber, Grant Brown, and Julia Wu.

Tom Evnen Paradigm

Current affiliations (for TOC 2019): NSD, TDC, Lake Highland Prep, Westview's Rohith Sudhakar.

I have coached and judged for various schools on the national circuit more or less since 2003. I am fine with whatever kind of debate you would like to have; I am more attached to the idea that you have the kind of round you would like to have, than that you debate in the ways I find most interesting. So, if you have a vision for how you would like me to judge a debate, then just argue for that vision in the round, and I will adjudicate it on the flow.

I have thought most about ethical framework debate, K debate, theory debate, and tricks. I think less about LARP debate, though I'm fine judging LARP debates.

Andrew Gong Paradigm

Hi! I'm Andrew, a junior at Harvard-Westlake. I've been doing LD for 4 years.

Put me on the email chain: agong2@hwemail.com

I'm fine for any argument, don't let my personal style dictate what args you run (except for tricks, don't read tricks). Speed is fine, but obviously be clear.

Specific args

K affs: I've never read them but I'm sympathetic to them. Just due to how I personally debate, I'm probably about 60% in favor of framework in these debates and 40% for the aff, but obviously the debate is still very winnable for the K aff. I think fairness is an internal link, not an impact, but I'm willing to be persuaded otherwise.

CP/DA: I read them almost every round, I like them. I'll read evidence if you tell me to. I'm honestly still undecided on condo/PICs good/bad, so I'm down for a good theory debate in either direction. I like impact turns.

K: I don't read them as often anymore (I probably read like 1 K a tournament nowawadays, but I used to read them every other round). That being said, I have tons of experience running/answering them in years past, and honestly K debate can be more enjoyable to watch than policy args. I know a decent amount about a wide range of K lit, but I don't have an in-depth understanding of any one K in particular, so you still have to explain concepts well - anything from cap, to afropess, to pomo is fine. Identity debate is cool, but I don't think the ballot should be solely a referendum on identity - debate should be about ideas before people.

T: It's cool and I'll judge it, I don't really have any opinions. My only notable thought on T: I want to clarify what reasonability means to me - if you win reasonability, then I'll ignore any offense connected to either team's interp, and instead just evaluate in-round abuse. If you're going for reasonability then you should debate about why you were reasonable, not your interp. If you want me to evaluate reasonability as the usual "if you win some defense you're good" I can do that too, but it's not my default.

Brent Huang Paradigm

I debated national circuit LD at Starr's Mill High School '12 (GA) and did Policy at Vanderbilt University '16 (TN).

I think I am a standard national circuit LD judge. If you only have experience with local debate, this means that I'm fine with (and proactively prefer) spreading and non-traditional arguments. However, if doing so, I recommend using a email chain, for which my email is brenthu1717@gmail.com.


LD Paradigm


My general preference for debate argument types is Framework >= Plan-Focused/Util > Theory >> Kritiks.


I like philosophy debate a lot, especially analytical ethical philosophy. If you frequently read cards from Singer, Korsgaard, Mackie, and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy in general, I would probably really enjoy judging you.

- I enjoy cases that are balanced between framework and contention-level offense, e.g., the AC spending half its time justifying an ethical system (utilitarianism, Kant, Hobbes, virtue ethics, divine command, moral skepticism, etc.) and then the rest on offense under that framework.

- I'm extremely opposed to theoretically-justified frameworks/affirmative framework choice. I think these things kill philosophy education, which is the most useful part of debate. If you can't prove that util is objectively true, what's even the point of pretending it's true if we have no reason to believe it?

- I'm not a fan of vague standards like "structural violence" where practically anything commonly considered bad can be considered an impact. Winter and Leighton are the bane of my existence.

- Your impacts need to actually link to an ethical philosophy in the round. Explain to me why I should care about people dying, why human rights exist, and why racism is bad in the context of the round.


I can enjoy a Plan-focused or whole-resolution util debate just as much, however, and I've done Policy in the past.

- Weighing is wonderful, and probably the point where you will best be able to pick up high speaks.

- Things like author-specific indicts or methodological critiques of particular studies are fantastic. Tell me things like, "This study only has a sample size of n=24" or "The study's authors indicated the following problems with their own study."

- Impact turns are great. I can’t promise it’s always the best idea, but I’ll probably love it if the 1AR is four minutes of “global warming good” or "economic collapse prevents nuclear war."

- Counterplans are a very important neg tool, but I think some of the more abusive ones, like 50 States CP or Consult CP are difficult to defend in terms of making debate a good activity.

- In LD, I'd prefer you just read one unconditional CP.


- If the AC is super spiky, please number the spikes. This will make it a lot easier for me to flow. If you spout out single-sentence arguments for a full minute, I’ll be more inclined to vote on them if I can clearly tell where one ends and another begins.

- I like clearly articulated theory shells in normal Interpretation-Violations-Standards-Voters format. It makes it much easier to flow compared to paragraph theory.

- I would prefer if you shared pre-written shells in the email chain, even if they're only analytical.

- I default to competing interpretations but am receptive to reasonability if mentioned.

- I like RVIs and will often vote on them, especially for the aff. If you're the aff and you're not sure if you should go for 4 minutes of the RVI in the 1AR, my advice is probably yes.


- Post-fiat Kritiks are fine. I'm not very receptive to pre-fiat Kritiks. If you aren't sure about the distinction, think about whether your alternative negates the resolution. For example, if the resolution is "The US gov should do [x]", and your alternative is "The US gov should not do [x]" or "The US gov should instead do [y]", that's fine. If your alternative is only "People around the world should..." or "The judge should..." or "The debate community should...," I'm probably not going to enjoy it. If the alt doesn't even have an actor and is just to "reject the aff," that's even worse.

- Although I’m generally well-versed with the basic ones like Cap/Security/Fem K, my understanding of the more esoteric ones falls off. Although I will try to evaluate the round as fairly as possible, I haven’t spent much time reading 1970s Continentals, and you can’t assume that I’ll have intimate knowledge of their arguments ahead of time.

- I lean towards the Role of the Ballot being just whoever proves the resolution true or false (offense-defense is also acceptable).

- Fairness definitely matters. Education might matter to some degree. I am very loathe to consider anything else as an independent voter. If your argument is nothing more than "Util justifies slavery, so auto-drop them," I am not likely to be agreeable.

- If your NRs often include the claim, "It's not a link of omission; it's a link of commission," I am probably not the judge for you.


- I'm fine with flex prep (asking questions during prep time) if you want it. I think it's a good norm for debate.

- I do not care if you sit or stand.


Policy Paradigm


Read the Plan-focused/Util and Kritiks sections of the LD paradigm, but you can ignore most of the rest. Due to my LD background, I am much more willing to vote on philosophical positions. If you want to go for "Don't do the plan because objective morality doesn't exist" or "Pass the plan because that's most in line with Aristotle's notion of virtue," I'm totally fine with that.


- I still prefer clearly articulated Interpretation-Violation-Standards-Voters theory shells, even in Policy.

- I'm more willing to accept conditional CPs in Policy, although it gets really sketchy with conditional K's, especially if there's performative contradictions.


- I'm probably more willing than most Policy judges to consider analytics. I don't think you need a card for every argument you make, and oftentimes just having a warranted argument is sufficient.


Public Forum Paradigm


I understand that Public Forum has different end goals than LD or Policy. I will try to evaluate it through the following in contrast to LD or Policy:

- I will not require explicit ethical frameworks. If something sounds bad, like "It kills people" or "It hurts the economy" or "It is unfair," I'll try to evaluate that in some gestalt manner. You can probably expect a little bit of judge intervention might be necessary in the case of mutually exclusive impact frameworks and lack of weighing.

- I will generally keep in mind who is "speaking better." Although this will not change my vote in most cases, if the round is really close I might use that as the determiner.

- If I ask for a card and you can't find it, especially if it has a statistic, I will drop 1 speaker point for poor evidence norms.

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.

Alexa Kathol Paradigm

TOC PF Paradigm

Name: Alexa Kathol

School Affiliation: Liberty University

Number of Years Judging Public Forum: 3

Number of Years Competing in Public Forum: 2

Number of Years Judging Other Forensic Activities: 0

Number of Years Competing in Other Forensic Activities: 3

Speed of Delivery: Any is fine as long as you're clear.

Format of Summary Speeches: I like line by line and big picture

Role of the Final Focus: convince me to vote for you

You should extend Arguments into later speeches

For Topicality, Plans, and Kritiks see below

Flowing: I will flow all your speeches matching up answered args

I think Argumentation is important as this is a debate activity but I also appreciate good persuasion. I think both are essential for a winning ballot.

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

If a team is second speaking, do you require that the team cover the opponents’ case as well as answers to its opponents’ rebuttal in the rebuttal speech? In your 1st speech, I understand that you have a prewritten script, but it will gain you extra points to refute some of the main points mentioned in your opponent's first speech. However, I will not penalize you for NOT doing so and you can each refute each other's each side's 2nd speech.

Do you vote for arguments that are first raised in the grand crossfire or final focus? No, if these points have been touched on throughout the round I will evaluate it, but if it's totally out of left field, I won't vote on it since the other side won't get a chance to refute it.


Email- alkatdb8@gmail.com


- Debated policy 4 years in HS for BVSW

- Debated policy 1 year for Liberty University

- Debated PFD 2 years in HS

Things I like


- I want to be included on the email chain. Be clear and slow down (especially on tags). If I can’t catch what you’re saying, it won’t get flowed. If I don’t catch the tag, I try to make up a tag based on the warrants of the card you’re reading. But, if I can’t understand what you’re saying in the card it won’t get flowed either

- Explanation is key, especially throughout rebuttals. I am super unfamiliar with this topic and tend to not vote on things that don’t make sense to me.

- Be organized, especially on the flow. Easier flowing gives you an easier win.

- Tell me why I should vote for you. If you leave doors open, both you and I will end up frustrated.


- I prefer plan texts, but college debate has made me appreciate non-traditional affs. I wouldn’t consider myself an expert by any means on the lit, but I have a general knowledge. That being said, it’s important to me that things are clearly articulated



- When I’m aff I hate cheating CP’s, when I’m neg, I love them lol. Feel free to run CPs. Just make sure they’re well explained. And try not to be too abusive. But, if the aff doesn’t call you out on your abuse, then more power to ya

- I tend to lean more aff on stupid process or consult CPs, but I appreciate a good PIC


- Even though in the real world PTX disads make less than no sense, I was (and still am) a huge policy hack. Again, explanation is key. Topic DA’s are also encouraged. Disads, in general, are good. Make sure you have a solid link though. I am persuaded by aff’s no link and link turn args

- Impact calc is awesome! I also love turns case/solves case args too. They’re usually dropped by the aff and make it an easy way to vote neg


- I’m most familiar with policy leaning K’s like cap or biopower. But I have (unfortunately) had my runs in’s with just about every K you can imagine. The hardest part to win is the alt. I have never heard a good/meaningful/logical explanation of an alt. I am super persuaded by affs that say vague alts bad. I’ve lost to psychoanalysis and the death K before, so I feel sympathetic towards aff’s answers. That being said though, I usually lean tech over truth, so a dropped argument is a true argument for the most part. You don’t have to be dissuaded from going for a K, just realize I have a high threshold for voting on it.

- On FW, I think that aff should be weighed against the K, so the alt needs to have a clear competitive advantage over the aff.


- I love a good T debate. A lot of teams run it as a time suck, which to me is just a wasted sheet of paper. If an aff is blatantly topical, or if it’s the heart of the topic, there needs to be a good explanation and specific examples why the aff is particularly abusive.

Shruthi Krishnan Paradigm

Greenhill '18 Cornell '22

updated 3/26/20 tl;dr:
- I've been away from debate for a bit, so please assume I know nothing about the topic and err on the side of clarity. If you have any questions, please ask!

- I'm most familiar with policy args and Ks, fine with T/theory, less familiar with complex phil, least familiar with tricks. But read what you want and just explain it well.

policy stuff:

- 2NRs that just extend evidence on DAs are much less effective than 2NRs that explain the link story and weigh
- evidence quality is important and debaters should compare evidence

- Most important thing to do is explain what the alt does/ world of the alt looks like/ alt solvency
- Specific links are good. It's not enough to just tell me that something is bad, you have to explain how the aff makes things worse or how the alt resolves this thing better

- There needs to be more answers to the perm than "links are DAs"
- I have less experience with "high theory" (Baudrillard, Deleuze, etc) so I'll need more explanation on these Ks.

- The the 2NR story cannot be drastically different from the 1NC/cx.

T/ Theory:
- slow down when reading these, especially on the interp and please weigh
- I'd prefer that you not read theory just for the sake of reading theory. More frivolous interps = lower threshold for responses
- Not super persuaded by RVIs most of the time but am persuaded by reasonability
- You don't have to defend the resolution, but you should do something, or else presumption is pretty persuasive. I will also vote on presumption if you don't explain your solvency mechanism

- disclosure is good, cites plus first and last 5 words are fine

Cheating Allegations:

If a cheating allegation is made, the round is staked on that question. There is a difference between reading theory and making an accusation about someone's academic integrity, and I take these allegations very seriously. If the allegation is proven true, I will give a loss and the lowest speaker points possible. But if the person making the allegation is incorrect, they will get a loss and the lowest speaker points possible.

Josiah Macumber Paradigm

Debated for Liberty University.

Current: Affiliate Coach for JMU. Interlake High School.

Yes email chain: josiahmacumber@gmail.com

TLDR: Do not feel the need to adapt to my preferences I will do my best to judge fairly. Be persuasive and tell me why arguments are important. Dropped arguments are true arguments, but you need to still explain them and why they matter.

Speaking Preferences:

Slow down on analytics people can only write/type so fast, so slow down if you want me to flow it all. Same applies for theory arguments.

I do not have a concrete method for assigning speaker points. That being said things that help are: clarity, volume (not a big fan of barely being able to hear someone), cross ex (good questions/good answers), and strategic decisions.

K: Have a specific link to plan action/reps/epistemology makes it a lot easier to win instead of generic state links- those are cool and all, but at least contextualize it. Many times bad link debating is done so that the link explanation could have been read against any affirmative on any topic. Those are bad ways of explaining a link and it should be articulated in context of the round that is being had. That can take a variety of forms such as reading through the other team's evidence and pulling quotes that prove your link argument or the logic of the link. It could also take the form of using the answers that other teams provide in cross ex. Each link should have it's own unique impact and it would behoove you to explain how the link turns the case.

Framing for these debates is essential and direction is key for what to prioritize. It's nice to win the alternative, but I don't think it's necessary. IF you are not going for the alternative make it clear otherwise I will evaluate the perm and whether the alt can overcome the instances of the links.

CP: A good CP and DA combo is a solid option for the 2NR. I also enjoy well thought out PIC's. CP's don't necessarily need evidence, but it is preferred (solvency advocate theory is probably a good arg against this).

Maybe it's just me, but after a team spreads through the planks and card for a CP I am still somewhat unsure what it does. Explanation is important in terms of explaining how it solves and why it is different from the affirmative.

DA: Explain it well and it's interaction with the case. You need to do the analysis of why it outweighs the case or turns it. Do comparative evidence analysis and provide reasons why their evidence is not as warranted or does not really answer the DA and tell me why your evidence is better. That does not mean "our ev post dates by 3 days so it's better", but rather "our evidence analyzes long term trends through X method that provides a predictive claim, and their's is an opinion article".

T: Not really a big T expert, so explanation is key.

Generally I believe that over limiting is better than under limiting due to in depth research providing better education. Provide a coherent view of what the topic would look like without the limit that you set on it versus what the affirmative justifies when you are impacting out the T debate. That could include a case list that they justify that explodes research burdens or specific ground loss. You do not have to win in round abuse. Just impact it out well and you should be good.

Analyze the other teams evidence and make smart args against it. I think that is specifically true in the context of things like T subs (some ev makes claims of what substantial is not, but does not set a standard for what is substantial).

Framework: Strategic and I vote on it. However, I think that there are a few different ways to do it that are less offensive / more strategic. Top level winning that debate is a game probably means that fairness is an impact, but that work needs to be done. If education is the impact you are going for there must be good reasons why policy education is desirable or better than critical education. I think it is less strategic to make arguments like "our education spills over and we can one day do _____ to change the system"... that relies on a notion of spill over from policy education. If that is true, why then does that spillover not apply to the affirmative and their method/epistemology?

Theory: Dropped theory arguments are pretty easy to vote on, so don't drop them. Provide a reason why the abuse outweighs any other possible impact and make it a big deal. Just don't blaze through it and expect to win even if it was dropped.

-Policy AFF's: Tell a coherent story and do good impact calculus. Often times teams forget to do that and it's a super important part of the last rebuttals. If you are reading a hard right AFF I find it is better to just stick with it and go for util/death outweighs. I really do think it's more strategic against the criticism to go hard right.

-K AFF's: I think there is a great value to critical affirmatives. Just be prepared for the framework debate and explain why your model of debate is better or have disads to their model. I find it very helpful when critical affirmative provide examples and have in depth historical knowledge about their theory. In addition, providing examples of things the aff could do or would do helps to materialize some of the theory that can make it easier to grasp especially if it is not a literature base I am familiar with.

I typically find that most teams are not ready to defend the entirety of their aff, so if you are negative against a K aff I think that a well developed PIK argument and some case arguments are rather strategic.

There is no single way to my ballot and there are often a variety of strategies that can work in the debate. Be smart and strategic... I often find that the debates I enjoy the most are guided by bold choices from the debaters.

Be nice to other debaters. That doesn't mean you can't be witty or funny just be respectful of others. I think debate is a great activity to make new friends and to enjoy yourself. There is no need to take yourself and other people too seriously, creating a fun environment to debate in makes debates 100% more enjoyable. Jokes are also appreciated. On second thought... maybe don't.

David McGinnis Paradigm

EMAIL: mcgin029@gmail.com

I spent a bunch of time before New Trier 19 writing a policy paradigm and in the one round I got the aff read "queer eroticism" so I am done trying to explain to policy teams how to adapt to me. Those of you who would strike or otherwise depref me because I am an LD coach: good call. Those of you who would refrain from striking me and then read "queer eroticism": please reconsider.


I am the head coach at Valley High School and have been coaching LD debate since 1996.

I coach students on both the local and national circuits.

I can flow speed reasonably well, particularly if you speak clearly. If I can't flow you I will say "clear" or "slow" a couple of times before I give up and begin playing Pac Man.

I'm most familiar with philosophical framework debating, but you can debate however you like in front of me, as well as you explain your arguments clearly and do a good job of extending and weighing.


Schuyler Morales Paradigm

Not Submitted

Jacob Nails Paradigm

LD Paradigm

This is the LD paradigm. Do a Ctrl+F search for “Policy Paradigm” or “PF Paradigm” if you’re looking for those. They’re toward the bottom.

I debated LD in high school for Starr's Mill high school (GA) and policy in college for Georgia State University. I coach LD, so I'll be familiar with the resolution.

If there's an email chain, please add me to it. My email is: jacobdnails@gmail.com

Harvard '20 Update:

It seems there's been a resurgence of "object fiat" theory on this topic. Object fiat has never been a real argument; it's a cop-out for people who think agent CPs are ever real arguments to explain away the most egregious ones on an arbitrary, ad hoc basis. But this new trend seems to involve accusing any CP that solves the aff of being "object fiat" (lookin at you, IndoPak affs), even when it has the same agent. That's both not object fiat and also not a real argument.

1. Unwarranted/incomplete arguments are not arguments. It seems like a lot of LDers really try to test the limits of what the bare minimum standard for a warranted argument is. Ex., “Use util because it promotes the best consequences” is not a warranted argument simply by virtue of having “because” in it; you’re just defining what util is.

2. Tech over truth in the sense that I'm perfectly fine voting for obviously false claims if the opponent can't refute them. That does not mean I'm agnostic about warrant quality. A dropped one-liner with a weak warrant doesn't receive the same weight as a well-developed argument.

3. The onus is on you not to mis-cut or powertag evidence, not on your opponent to catch you cheating. Most common culprit: If your impact card just says that bad things happen but doesn't mention extinction, you don't get to tag it as "extinction" and make Extinction First arguments about future generations and the like. It is far from a foregone conclusion that impacts like terrorism, global warming, or nuclear war cause total human extinction. If that's all your impact card mentions, you get credit for a large global catastrophe, not an existential risk. That distinction is sometimes very important.


The affirmative should affirm the topic.

I don't have any particular bias against RVIs. They're debatable in LD.

Theoretical reasons to prefer/reject an ethical theory are generally pretty terrible arguments. This includes: Must Concede FW, May Not Concede FW, Util is Unfair, Only Util is Fair, etc. You should prove that you're right, not that it's educational to pretend that you are. Many 'role of the ballot' arguments are just theoretically justified frameworks by another name, and I feel similarly about these. I also do not assume by default that your warrant comes logically prior to your opponent's because you referenced "education" or "ground"; the falsity of a standard seems at least as salient a reason not to require debaters to use it.

Permissibility does not affirm. Barring a rehash of SepOct '08/JanFeb '12-style topic wording, I have trouble conceiving of a warranted argument that would justify this. And no, none of the cards y'all tag as making this claim actually do.

"I don't defend implementation" doesn't make sense on most topics.

I default to Truth Testing. It makes much more sense to me than any other paradigm. This does not mean I want to hear your bad a prioris.

I don’t have strong opinions on most of the nuances of disclosure theory, but I do appreciate good disclosure practices. If you think your wiki exemplifies exceptional disclosure norms (open source, round reports, and cites), point it out before the round starts, and you might get +.1-.2 speaker points.


I think Conditionality Bad is much more winnable in LD than policy.

LDers are infuriatingly dodgy about answering CP status questions. This has been one of my biggest pet peeves as of late. You should answer with an immediate "it's conditional/unconditional." Your opponent's CX is not the time to spend 20 seconds pondering the matter, and I never want to hear the phrase "What do you want it to be?" You know damn well what the aff would rather it be. It would make me happy if you just specified the status in your speech to avoid this whole rodeo, e.g. "[CP Text.] It's conditional," as I no longer trust LDers to give a prompt CX answer. I do not, however, want to imply any amenability to 'must spec status' as an aff theory argument.

Most CP theory questions (PICs, Delay, cheaty process stuff) seem best resolved at the level of competition. I can't think of any types of counterplans I would consider both competitive and also theoretically illegitimate. Likewise, lack of a solvency advocate seems more like a solvency press than a voting issue.

Extremely aff leaning vs agent counterplans. These are not real arguments. It remains unclear to me how anyone seriously thinks agent CPs are ever competitive. If you can’t explain how the agent of action could choose to do the CP rather than the plan, you have not presented an opportunity cost to affirming. Neg fiat is not an excuse to forgo basic logic.

'Role of the ballot' is an overused buzzword. These are often impact justified frameworks, theoretically justified frameworks, or artificially specific.

New NR floating PIKs will be disregarded, just like any other new NR argument. This is your 2NR, not your 2NC.

Vague alternatives are bad, and any ambiguity will not work in favor of the K. Minimum standard of clarity: don't phrase your alternative as an infinitive. None of this "the alt is: to reject, to challenge, to deconstruct, etc" business. It needs a clearly specified actor. Which agent(s) will do what?

If you think your alt functions like an agent CP, be sure to read the CP section of my paradigm.

Policy Paradigm


Yes I want to be on the email chain: jacobdnails@gmail.com


I qualified to the NDT a few times at GSU, but nowadays I mostly coach/judge LD. Don't assume I'm well-read on the policy topic.

The affirmative should defend a topical USFG policy. The negative should prove that the status quo or a competitive USFG policy is preferable to the affirmative. I'll vote for arguments outside of those parameters if you win them, but I highly doubt I'm a good judge for them.

Neg leaning on: Conditionality, most cheaty CP theory questions.

Aff leaning on: Agent CPs, most cheaty CP competition questions.

I'll assume the CP can be judge-kicked unless the aff makes an argument to the contrary.

A lot of advantages/DAs are super contrived, and it’s easy to convince me that impacts short of extinction should matter more.

I do find existential risk literature interesting, but I dislike the lazy strategy of reading a card that passingly references nuke war/terrorism/warming and tagging it as "extinction." If accessing extinction specifically, as opposed to just a big non-existential impact, is important to your impact framing arguments, then you should justify that last internal link.

Straight turns are great turns.


Delay, consult, and the like don't seem competitive to me, but if the neg can prove that their CP is competitive with the plan, theory arguments telling me to disregard it anyway seem weak. 'Perm do the CP' is your friend.

I don't really understand why intrinsicness is such a dirty word. If the neg wants to say a logical policy maker should consider every germane opportunity, that cuts both ways. Likewise, I don't see any reason why the aff can't extend a permutation on a CP that was kicked, if it happens to be relevant to other flows.


The plan is the focus of the debate. The negative will be hardpressed to win that their alternate ex post facto framework is not arbitrary and self-serving.

Using critical theory to support advantages or impact framing is totally fine. I enjoy philosophy, although admittedly I'm more well-read in analytic philosophy than continental.

Most kritik alternatives are unacceptably vague. If I don't understand what it means based on the 1NC text, I'm probably not voting for it. Bare minimum: I need to know which agent(s) will take the action/adopt the mindset of the kritik. If your alternative is worded as an infinitive (it probably is), re-word it to clarify the actor.

PF Paradigm

9 November 2018 Update (Peach State Classic @ Carrollton):

Public Forum - As the rest of my paradigm suggests, my background is primarily in LD/Policy. I don't have strong opinions on PF norms in general, but I do prefer directly quoted evidence over paraphrasing. If you cannot quickly produce the specific portion of the source you're referencing on request, paraphrased evidence will be given the same weight as an analytic, which, if the claim was just "expert X says Y" with no further warrant, is zero weight.

Jaya Nayar Paradigm

I = debater for Harvard-Westlake. For email chains add me at: jnayar1@hwemail.com

Theory: sure, whatever, plz no friv theory (major dislike)

Ks: like

CPs/DAs: like

Topicality: like

Phil: Nope

Tricks/Sketch: Nope

Mihir Rai Paradigm

FYO - Greenhill LD Debate (2017-2019)

Send docs to greenhilldocs.ld@gmail.com

For ease, I have underlined areas of a debate that you might have questions about.

I largely agree with this blurb from Miles’s paradigm and think it accurately describes my general philosophy:

Ideal debates clearly resolve whether the benefits of a topical change to the status quo outweigh its costs. “Ideal” means I recognize (and will judge fairly to the best of my ability) some debates will fall outside of this, whether they are about topicality or counterplan competition. “Clearly resolve” means debaters have made evaluating the debate easy, with impact calculus, judge instruction, and evidence comparison. “Topical change” means affirmatives should read plans that are examples of the resolution. Hopefully the rest is self-explanatory.


I’ve had enough exposure to national circuit debates to competently evaluate most arguments that you would most likely read. As a debater, I primarily read policy arguments and some Ks (primarily pessimism and I didn’t really read anything that would be considered “high theory"). All arguments should have a claim, warrant, and impact. I’m best at evaluating hard policy debates and am still developing a taste for K vs framework debate (I’ve had the least exposure to these debates both as a judge and debater). Obviously, I have biases towards certain arguments which I will now identify below to help you identify what you should and should not do in rounds I am judging you.

Theory should be a way to check abuse and not create abuse – I think theory is probably the most controversial issue in LD debate, hence the emphasis on it. While I understand that theory and topicality are both strategic tools used in the game of debate, not all theory shells are made equal. It will be harder for you to win debates with theory shells that rely on creating artificial limits or constraints on the topic (ex: spec shells against whole res affs). If you choose to read a topicality shell that relies on some artificial limit, it’s important to win some form of in-round abuse otherwise I think a 2AR can win with a strong push on reasonability and an artificial limits bad argument. Specifically, on Nebel, I don’t really get why the Nebel 2NR that only extends pragmatics is ever a winning argument. If the 2NR is not clearly winning a grammar argument for Nebel, I am receptive to a 2AR that includes SOME reasonable definition or grammatical argument combined with functionally any pragmatics argument. If you're going to read bad theory shells, know the threshold for responses is so low. I’ll still evaluate the shell, and if you're winning it, I will obviously vote you up. But the sillier the shell, the more receptive I am to minimal responses. This is by no means a free pass to read frivolous theory, but a heads up if you choose to read theory. Analytic theory shells should not be full speed – I guarantee you I will not get half of the things you say

The affirmative decides the ground of the debate, so the negative should get every argument to test the aff – I don’t think there are too many things the negative can’t do in a debate, but I tend to think that more than 5 to 6 off is unnecessary and just means you either run out of time to develop case arguments or have underdeveloped off case. This also makes me more receptive to 1AR theory arguments that I normally wouldn’t really check in with. I don’t think there’s an advantage you gain from saying the CP is condo or dispo, so just say its condo and have the debate (unless you have some killer dispo condition which I highly doubt). If you have the wrong interp in the document, you must clearly flag it as incorrect, otherwise I’ll hold you to whatever interp is in the document.

Conceded arguments don’t excuse extensions and effective application – I’ve seen this more recently in debates with policy arguments vs Ks. Even if your theory is conceded, you still need to explain why it doesn’t apply to the CP or DA that the negative has specific analysis for. This is where I tend to be more truth > tech because even if I know the argument the other person has made isn’t fully responsive to your theory, I’m going to buy an extended argument over the work I would have to do to connect the truth level of your theory to the other person’s arguments.

Evidence ethics and clipping Rodrigo and Bennett’s paradigms delves into this extensively and I agree with most of it. I’ve pasted a short section of the relevant section but if this is something that you think will become relevant in the round, I would read their paradigms.

If a debater says that a piece of evidence is miscut in round and their opponent clarifies that they are making an "evidence ethics challenge" (and the former person confirms that they want to make a challenge), the debate ends. I will read all of the relevant stuff and then make a decision. Whoever is correct on the evidence ethics challenge wins the debate. The loser will get the lowest speaks I can give. In lieu of an evidence ethics challenge, I am also ok with asking your opponent to just strike the cards from the doc/cross them off the flow in cx and have the rest of the debate but calling a challenge if they refuse to do so (this is noble but not required). You could also make arguments about why misquoting is bad, but I'm compelled by a response that basically says "call an ethics challenge or don't make the argument; we'll stake the debate on it." Indeed, I think that if you make an evidence ethics argument, you should be willing to stake the debate on it. If you don't stake the round on it, you'll still win (if they committed the evidence ethics violation), but your speaks will be worse than they otherwise would have been. Clipping is cheating! If I am reading along and notice that someone is clipping, I'll vote against them and give them the lowest speaks that I can give. I will not stop the debate unless a challenge is made, but if I notice clipping, I will vote on it regardless of whether a challenge is made. For clipping challenges, I'll follow the same procedure that I follow with evidence ethics (above). NDCA guidelines state that 5 words is clipping which is the standard I will use.

Speaks – Reading an argument that I don’t like as much won’t impact your speaks, but it will hold you to a higher standard on execution.

30 - Your debate will most likely be one of the best I’ve seen. Execution was flawless and strategy was unique.

29.5 and Up – You're one of the top debaters at the tournament and debated as one of the top debaters at the tournament.

29 and Up – Above average debate and minor errors. I expect you’ll be in elims

28.5 and Up – Mediocre debate where you made some flaws but found a way to get the W

28 and Up – This round was fairly disappointing, had several mistakes, and missed opportunities to win

Below 28 – There are several issues with this round that made it hard to watch

Below 27 – You have engaged in some problematic practice that should not appear in another debate (either offensive or cheating)

Happy debating

Carly Rieger Paradigm

email: cr30505@gmail.com - yes, add me to the email chain. please feel free to reach out by email/fb (i'm more likely to respond on fb) if you have questions.

i debated circuit LD at WDM Valley for four years and qualed to the TOC, receiving four bids, during my senior year. i have taught at NSD Flasgship (2018,2019), NSD Philidelphia (2018,2019), and TDC (2019). i coach for WDM Valley HS.

tl;dr - it's your round, debate it how you want to.

I will evaluate the round on the flow, everything here explains my defaults but if you make arguments as to why the round should be adjudicated in a particular way I will evaluate debate through your lens. please make the round as clear as possible - weighing is your friend, give clear overviews, justify everything, and explain. tell me the implications of your arguments.

I have the most experience with framework debate, identity K debate, and theory debate.

defaults: (this only matters if no one makes arguments to the contrary)

  • epistemic confidence
  • competing interps, no rvis
  • theory > k > substance
  • pragmatics > semantics
  • truth testing > comparing worlds


  • i’ll say ‘slow’ or ‘clear’ if necessary.
  • i am fine with flex prep.
  • i love a good framework/identity k debate, it makes my heart happy (you will probably get good speaks).
  • i very much think you need an impact mechanism (a standard text, a ROB, etc.) -- otherwise, i will be left to evaluate impacts as i see fit which probably won't make you happy.
  • extensions need warrants and impacts, even if you are extending a conceded argument. If you are extending a case that is conceded, it isn't sufficient to say "extend my whole case."
  • if you are debating a novice or someone who lacks a lot of circuit experience, please make the round educational and inclusive. this does not necessarily mean go full on traditional (although that's definitely fine), but it does mean don't go full speed and a bunch of offs (your speaks will go way down).
  • please be ready to debate when you walk into the room – this means pre-flowing during your opponent's prep if you need to and having the AC speech doc ready to send.


  • theory violations need to be verifiable. just provide screenshots please! if someone makes an i meet to an unverifiable shell with no verification (i.e. a disclosure shell without screenshots or a coin flip shell that's just word of mouth), i will default to the 'i meet' being true.
  • feel free to read theory for strategic reasons (i.e. friv theory) or because there’s actual abuse.
  • if you go for reasonability, please provide a brightline. if you don't provide a brightline, or provide a brightline of gut check, i will probably gut check to competing interps.

Sachin Shah Paradigm

I debated in Lincoln-Douglas for Lake Highland for 5 years. I competed at TOC my junior and senior years.

Add me to the email chain: inventshah@gmail.com

Short version: I will evaluate any type of debate. My evaluative strengths are probably in framework and theory debates. Warrants should be extended in all speeches, even if it’s dropped. Don’t be rude, mean, or offensive.

Warrants: Fancy rhetoric and big words are not substitutes for warrants. Repeating the claim or tag twice also is not a warrant. I want to hear the warrant from you as the debater. Arguments without warrants are claims, as a result, I will not vote on it. Author names are not warrants. However, I will vote on arguments with warrants that are clearly false and essentially nonsense so long as your opponent doesn’t point out the nonsense.

Framework: I have read a lot of philosophy from Kant to Social Practices so read anything. That being said, I will not use my prior knowledge of your framework in my evaluation. Hijacks are underutilized in my opinion. A combo of theoretical and philosophy warrants are cool, but you should weigh which comes first.

Theory: I enjoy these debates when there is lots of weighing and clash. I will vote on any type of shell, but the more frivolous the more I will be persuaded by responses. Theory “tricks” such as evaluate theory after the 2NR or must have a counterinterp can be useful. I don’t care the format you read the shell in, however I need to know the interp, violation, offense, and voters in all speeches to vote on it. In the absence of paradigm issues like drop the debater and fairness, I will not vote on the shell i.e. I don’t default to any paradigm, unless there is a shared assumption by other debaters.

Topicality: Similar to theory. I like both pragmatics and semantics. Having a TVA and topical cards is good. In my opinion linking T offense under the aff’s framing is underutilized. I like shells that have specific offense against the aff. T doesn’t automatically come before the ROB, you should weigh.

K’s: I am familiar with a wide variety of K literature from identity politics to high theory, so feel free to run your favorite. I like the K v phil interactions a lot. At the end of the debate I should be able to explain (a) why the aff is bad and (b) what the alternative does to resolve the link. Perms are good; they need a text and must be extended clearly. Similar to theory, a ROB doesn’t automatically come before theory or the framework, so you should explain why it comes first.

LARP: I like a well weighed and unique impact situations. You should know the warrants and link chain without relying on your authors. If there is only 0.00001% risk of the impact, its 0, unless you tell me why I should care about that small portion. Typically empirics come first, but I’ll listen to logical analytics.

Non-topical affirmatives: I will listen to the aff, but I need to know why I should vote aff. I may be swayed by a good topicality shell, however am willing to vote on impact turns to theory. I prefer affirmatives that at least try to be topical.

“Tricks”: They are cool. Dumb tricks like the “Resolved apriori” have a very low threshold for responses. If truth testing is not read, I use framework as the offense filter meaning some tricks won’t matter. You should be honest about tricks when asked in CX. The more sketchy you are the less I will like you.

Speaker points:

I don’t disclose speaks. I will try to average around a 28.5 and typically base it on the creativity of your positions and strategy.

Martin Sigalow Paradigm

Email chain: msigalow61@gmail.com

I'm out of debate and unwise to pref!

Conflicts: Lake Highland.

  1. No new arguments or arguments that are the exact opposites of a previously made argument.
  2. Severely mislabeling arguments is extremely bad.
  3. No arguments contingent on the identity of the other debater will be evaluated.
  4. I will not evaluate the debate at any point before its end.
  5. I default to offense-defense, competing interps, durable fiat, perms test competition, and that the aff defends implementation.

Rylie Slone Paradigm


I debated for three years at Bentonville High School, Arkansas in every style of debate. I did most of my national-level competition in LD and PF. I do not debate in college currently.

Generally, I am open to most styles/arguments. I would consider myself to be a flow judge so keep track of the line by line of arguments. BE ORGANIZED.

I will listen to anything. This is your debate. Talk about what YOU believe in. Be respectful. DO NOT use homophobic, racist, sexist, ableist, transphobic, xenophobic, etc. speech. I don't tolerate blatant disrespect. My preferences to specifics are listed below:


Be as fast as you want, but the second I stop flowing know you are unclear. I will yell "clear" twice, after that it is on you. I am totally cool with speed and the lack thereof. Generally speaking, be respectful of the usage of speed and be as clear as you can be.


Okay, kritiks aren't always the way to go in LD but I am totally fine with their correct implementation. I know most kritiks but DO NOT fall victim to the lack of explanation on said K. Be clear about your link and give me a really solid impact. Make sure the K alt interacts with the affirmative's solvency.


Topicality is procedurally important. I need a clear, organized topicality debate. Don't just go back and forth reading and rereading definitions. Give me good standards and voters and have solid clash on those.


Framing is very important in an LD round. Your framework (or lack thereof) is what I will use to decide the round. Make sure that you can achieve your value through your criterion. Framework should be continued well into the last speech. Don't waste your time on it, but don't undercover it.


I love solid case debate. Don’t assume I will flow your 1AC throughout the round if you aren’t extending it. Case debate is fundamental in a judge’s decision-making, especially in policy-oriented rounds. That being said, please cover offcase positions as well. Just don’t kick your case to the curb in the process.


Make sure your evidence is legitimate. I will call for any card that I deem questionable and value the integrity of said pieces of evidence. Be cautious of this.

Email Chains

Personally, I prefer an email chain over flashing. I would like to be included in these email chains if they are in use.

All in all, good luck! I am thrilled to see the talent you all possess be put into motion this weekend.

If you have any questions prior to the round email me at rylieslone@gmail.com.

Charles Thomasian Paradigm

My name is Charles Thomasian. I have practiced intellectual property and government contracting law for about twenty years, and judged countless rounds of Parli debate for middle schools. But I am entirely new to LD. That means I have very limited knowledge of LD.

So be very clear and treat me like a newbie that I am. If I don't understand your argument, I will not be able to vote on it. Because I am new to LD debate jargon, please make sure to explain them very clearly to me. For example, if you are going to use kritiks, you will need to explain that to me.

I do not care very much for top speed in speaking. I prefer conversational or slightly faster than that. But not very fast.

Best of luck to you and to me :)


Aaron Timmons Paradigm

Aaron Timmons

Director of Debate – Greenhill School

Updated – April 2019

Please put me on the email chain – timmonsa@greenhill.org

New for the TOC 2019 – I am the Director of the Global Debate Symposium and for this summer I have hired Spencer Paul and Vishan Chaudhary from Harvard Westlake, and Ishan Bhatt from St. Andrews of the list of competitors that will be in the 2019 TOC competing in Lincoln Douglas.

Lincoln - Douglas Philosophy

I have coached debate, and been a classroom teacher, for a long time. I feel that when done well, with agreed upon “rules of engagement”, there is not a better activity to provide a training ground for young people. That said, at some point, most of the adults have left the building as it relates to national circuit Lincoln Douglas debate. I find many of the things that are now commonplace, are antithetical to the things that I love about debate. In fact, many of these practices are not educational, but also make the activity unsustainable in any meaningful way to sell to administrators, parents, new coaches, or even a new generation of debaters.

I have taken some time to reflect on how I judge debates, and have revised my paradigm. It would behoove you to read it if I have the potential to judge you. If you do not like what you read, strike me.

Debate rounds, and subsequently debate tournaments, are extensions of the classroom. While we all learn from each other, my role is parallel to that of an instructor. I will evaluate your performance. At this stage in my career, I have no interest in being the “most preferred” judge in the pool. In fact, what I see is that many in the Lincoln Douglas community (as opposed to policy debate); make preferences more based on personal relationships, than the relative experience/paradigmatic perspective of the critic. I see my role as to set a fair, but stringent, set of expectations for the students I am judging. At times, this means advancing expectations that I feel are best for the students and, at times, the broader community as well. At this point, I am also not shy to share those thoughts and expectations. I see myself as a critic of argument if I had to pigeonhole myself with a paradigmatic label. Unlike many claim to be, I am not a blank slate. If I see behaviors or practices that create a bad, unfair, or hostile environment for the extension of the classroom that is the debate round, I will intervene. I WILL do my best to be an objective evaluator of your argument but the idea that my social location is not a relevant consideration of how I view/decode arguments is just not true (nor do I personally think it is true for anyone).

Below please find a few thoughts as to how I evaluate debates.

1. Speed is not a problem. In most of the Lincoln Douglas I judge, clarity IS a problem. I judge high level policy debates quite a bit and while they are quiet fast, I don’t see clarity as much of an issue with the top teams. Please understand that unstructured paragraphs that are slurred together does not allow the pen time necessary to write things down in the detail you think it might. I reserve the right to yell “clearer” once or twice. Style and substance are fundamentally inseparable.

2. I feel theory is debated far too much in Lincoln – Douglas, and is debated poorly. I am strongly opposed to that practice. My preference is NOT to hear a bad theory debate. I believe the negative does get some “flex”, that said it can’t be unlimited. The idea of reading a “counter shell” against a theory argument is one of the silliest practices I see in contemporary debate. Before the proliferation of theory in Lincoln Douglas I thought RVI’s were silly. They have a place in contemporary LD. I DO NOT think jettisoning the case and going all in on the RVI should be the A strategy in the 1ar. While I like competing interpretations, in the end, I feel even that view is filtered through my perspective of reason/what is reasonable/the best lens for debate. Some intervention is inevitable as we judge.

3. Evidence is important. In my opinion debates/comparisons about the qualifications of authors on competing issues (particularly empirical ones), in addition to a comparison of competing warrants in the evidence, is important. Do you this and not only will your points improve, I am likely to prefer your argument if the comparison is done well. All students should have full cites for materials.

4. I am not a “blank state”. I also feel my role as a judge is to serve a duel function of rendering a decision, in addition to serving a role as educator as well.

5. Words matter. Arguments that are racist, sexist, homophobic etc will not be tolerated.

6. I am not a fan of random; multiple sentence fragments that claim to “spike” out of all of the other teams arguments. At its foundation, debate should be about argument ENGAGEMENT, not evasion.

7. Answer questions in cross-examination. Cross-ex is binding. I do listen carefully to cross – ex.

8. Although I know you have figured it out, Lincoln Douglas does not have a 2AC in the same way that policy does. 1AR’s that advance lots of offense on many negative positions will be rewarded with high points.

9. Debating with a laptop is a choice, if you are reading from a computer I have three expectations that are nonnegotiable:

A) You must jump the documents read to the opposition in a timely manner (before your speech or at worse IMMEDIATELY after your speech) to allow them to prepare or set up an email chain.

B) If your opponent does not have a laptop you need to have a viewing computer OR surrender your computer to them to allow them to prepare. The oppositions need to prep outweighs your need to prep/preflow in that moment in time.

C) My expectation is that the documents that are shared are done in a format that is the same as read by the debater that initially read the material. In other words, I will not tolerate some of the shenanigan’s that seem to exist, including but not limited to, using a non standard word processing program, all caps, no formatting etc.

10. Many debaters have been instructed, or watched others run, “metaethics” with some success. My experience is that many debaters have a very superficial grasp of what this even means. Make sure to explain, and compare your position against the position of your opponent. A good rule of thumb is to assume you don’t win every argument and frame things in an even /if perspective.

11. I do not like skepticism as an argument. It would be in your best interest to not run it in front of me. While perhaps interesting in a philosophy class in college, training young advocates to feel that “morality doesn’t exist” etc. is educationally irresponsible.

12. I do not disclose speaker points. That seems silly to me.

13. Dropped arguments and the “auto-win” seems silly to me. Just because a debater drops a card doesn’t mean you win the debate. Weighing and embedded clash are a necessary component of debate. Good debaters extend their arguments. GREAT debaters do that in addition to explaining the nexus point of clash between their arguments and that of the opposition and WHY I should prefer their argument.

14. I feel it takes more than a sentence (or in many of the rounds I judge a sentence fragment), to make an argument. If the argument was not clear originally, I will allow the opponent to make new arguments.

15. Choose. No matter the speech or the argument.

Please ask me specific questions if you have one before the debate.

Adam Torson Paradigm

UPDATED: 9/12/2018

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

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

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

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

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

Email: adam.torson@gmail.com

General Preferences and Decision Calculus

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

Tricks and Triggers

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

Counterplan Status, Judge Kick, and Floating PIKs

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

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

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


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


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


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


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

Speaker Points

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rude or Unethical Actions

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

Card Clipping

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

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


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

Eshaan Verma Paradigm

Eshaan Verma

High School Policy Debate - The Meadows School - 4 years


- I would like to be on the email chain (eshaanverma2@gmail.com) but I will still be flowing by hand most likely and I don't mind spreading as long as I can hear you and the other team can hear you. If I don't hear or understand an argument, it won't go down on my flow which means it won't be considered in my decision. I don't expect teams to answer arguments that I couldn't even flow. So speed and spreading are ok as long as you are clear and concise. Also how much you flow and whether or not you do it doesn't matter to me as long as you are producing good arguments and responding to the arguments of the other team. I will not dock you speaker points if you're not flowing.


Keep track of your own and other team's speech/prep times. You are not babies, I will not treat you like such so all the timing should be done by you guys.


DO NOT RUN A K IF YOU COULDN'T EXPLAIN IT TO A 10 YEAR OLD. I personally don't prefer K's especially in novice debate. I think they are sometimes too complicated for the teams to explain well enough for me to vote on them. However, if they are formulated and explained well enough, I will vote on them but a good understanding of the K should be expressed by both debaters.


I think affs should most definitely be topical so it encourages a fair debate where both teams can prepare. I do think topicality is very important and is a voter issue of great magnitude. I will look at topicality arguments very closely and put them at the top of my considerations when evaluating rounds. However, this doesn't mean if the neg brings up a topicality argument, they automatically win. The neg still has to explain topicality very well to convince me the aff isn't topical and can't just add it on top of a list of 5 other off cases just to bury the aff. The neg also needs to do a good job of proving to me that in the round, the aff not being topical is abusive and why, I will not just assume T is abusive. All aff's are topical to me until the neg proves to me beyond a doubt that they are not topical.


I will vote on disads if there is a reasonable probability of them happening. I am not part of the 1% club who will vote on a disad if theres a 1% chance of it occuring, I believe in being realistic and not that if little Jimmy doesn't get his education, it can cause nuclear war. Also, negs need to prove a plausible link to the actual case. I don't appreciate it when debaters try to link random generic disads with weak links to the case and this will be reflected in your speaker points. However, this is not me saying that you shouldn't do generic disads, I am okay with them as long as they do have a reasonable link.


I like counterplans as long as they are competitive and mutually exclusive. All too often the neg will bring up a counterplan that can be permuated without severance and that argument just dissolves and wastes everyone's time. So, as far as counterplans go, really really explain to me why your counterplan is better than the actual plan and why I should prefer it.

Case Debate

I think case debate is very important and integral. I don't like it when negs stray away from the case debate because they know they are losing on it. The case debate is the main point of the entire debate and should be argued till at least the 1NR. EXTEND YOUR ARGUMENTS. This is huge in my evaluations. If the other team drops arguments, extend them so I can draw a big line across my flow.


I think CX is very important and should be treated as its own speech. This is where good arguments are set up and important points are clarified. I don't mind feisty CX's as long as they don't stray away from the point and turn into irrelevant arguments. This is my personal favorite part of debate because it shows how good debaters really are at thinking on their feet. I don't mind tag team but the cx's shouldn't be dominated by one debater because this doesn't help the other debater get better. Speaker points are pretty heavily weighted in this area.

Russell Weas Paradigm

I prefer policy arguments over critical arguments, but I will definitely pull the trigger if a K convinces me.

Spreading is good, just slow down for tags and for theory. If I can't understand what you're saying for those I'm not flowing it.

Tech over truth. If an argument is ridiculous explain to me why it's ridiculous.

Debate is an educational activity. Ask me any questions you have about my judge philosophy, RFD, or arguments in debate and I'll be happy to explain. My email is russdebate@gmail.com .


Framework is a lens to view arguments through. It tells me how to decide my ballot, but it doesn't write the ballot. A conceded framework is not a round deciding event, but it decides which impacts I vote for.

Kevin Wright Paradigm

I am an old school traditionalist but appreciate and have adapted to the evolution of modern debate.  

A strong argument unchallenged pays big dividends. A strong argument, weakly challenged, pays dividends as does a weak yet unchallenged argument. 

The presentation of the argument is nearly as important as the quality of the argument. a well developed argument is understandable. I prefer debate to be intelligent, articulate, and persuasive and not a speed-talking amass of statistical evidence. I have to be able to comprehend and flow the internal logic of your arguments. If you are clear, enunciate well, with good diction and voice inflection it helps me understand the key parts of what you are saying. 

Evidence is important, but spend time talking about the implications of evidence and making analytical comparisons between arguments. Description of arguments through analogy, examples, testimony, or hypothetical situations is a more persuasive style of debate than just presenting statistics. Commissions of logic fallicies, especially those challenged by the opposition carry weight.

Debaters should take the time to create good cross-examinations. Use them to reveal the fallacies of your opponents' arguments and how their claims appear to run counter to probable impacts or how their silence or ambiguities are cause to vote against their conditional claims.  Concluding arguments demonstrate an understanding of what was most important in the debate to that point.

Everyone in the debate should be courteous through-out the debate. Winning arguments are quality arguments, not necessarily plentiful ones.

Show that you are having fun while making clear how your arguments matter and why you should win!  


Extensive instructional  experience in the military and as a civilian-as adjunct faculty at Columbus State University and Georgia State University as a professor of Political Science.  A former full time SROTC instructor at the University of Tennessee at Martin. Five years service as Senior Army Instructor at Centennial High School, Roswell GA, Hephzibah HS, Augusta, GA and Monarch HS Coconut Creek, FL.   Served as a US Army officer 1983-2006 retiring as a lieutenant colonel with two Iraq combat deployments.


University of Louisville (01/01/1997 - 1 May 2007 Graduate) Louisville, Kentucky Degree: MA - Major: Political Science

United States Military Academy (07/02/1979 - 05/25/1983) West Point, New York Degree: BS - Major: BS  International Affairs

Training - Near East and North Africa Regional Seminar (05/26/1995) US State Department Foreign Service Institute intensive seminar to prepare government employees for foreign service in the Middle East.



Baldwin City HS, KS  1975-1979 Debate Team.  1978 Kansas State Debate Champion. 1979  4th Place Kansas State Debate Championship

Forensics:  Improvisational Duo, Extemporaneous Speaking

Drama:   Supporting actor roles 4 years HS theater productions-character actor, impersonations, voices

Julia Wu Paradigm

Lake Highland Prep ’19

email: wuxjulia@gmail.com

I debated for Lake Highland for five years and went to the TOC my sophomore, junior, and senior year.

UPDATE FOR HARVARD AFTER R1: I will no longer evaluate "give me a 30" arguments unless you have an exceptionally good reason for why I should give you a 30. I will just give speaks based on how well I think you debated.

I don’t really have a preference towards judging any particular type of argument. As a debater, I read a lot of high theory, phil, theory/T, Ks, and sometimes I read tricks. You should read arguments in whatever style you are most comfortable with and I will do my best to evaluate the round. I'll always try to take the route of least intervention when I'm judging. As long as an argument has a claim, warrant, impact, I will vote on it. However, I will drop you for reading anything blatantly racist, misogynistic, ableist, anti-queer, etc.

If you're reading a confusing or dense position, make sure that you explain it well. Don't assume that I'll fill in the blanks for you if you make half-baked arguments just because I read something in that literature base as a debater. Also if you are reading blippy tricks just make sure you slow down enough that I can flow a warrant for all of them.

I will not vote on "evaluate the theory debate after the [insert speech] if the argument is made in the speech mentioned in the spike. For example, I won't vote on "evaluate the theory debate after the 2nr" if it's made in the 2nr. This is because any answer to the spike is technically a theory argument, making it unclear if even evaluating answers to the argument are legitimate. I will also not vote on this argument in any speech absent a clear articulation of what constitutes the theory debate and just generally have a low threshold for responses.

Here are my defaults (I will only use these if there is literally nothing said about these issues by either side and it will make me very sad):

  • truth testing (what it means for something to be "true" or "false" can be determined through a rob or framework)
  • my presumption default works the same as Grant Brown’s: “I default presume negative, unless there is an alternative advocacy (counterplan, kritik) in the 2NR without the choice of the status-quo, in which case I presume affirmative.”
  • permissibility negates
  • layers (theory, t, rob) can be weighed against each other

Speaks: I try to average around a 28ish but don't have a strict model of: do x for x speaks. I'll assign speaks based on good strategic decisions and knowing your positions well. Basically just be smart and don't be rude.

Here are some judges that I aspire to be like: Tom Evnen, Becca Traber, Grant Brown, John Staunton, Madi Crowley, and Vishaal Kunta.

If you have any specific questions, email me, facebook message me, or ask me before the round starts and I’ll be happy to answer them!

Lawrence Zhou Paradigm

Last updated for NHSDLC Online Tournament

If your cases aren't uploaded before the debate begins, you will get 25 speaker points. This is a rule.

I want you to treat this like a public debate where the judge is not particularly attuned to the specifics of debate norms. Teams that present a compelling story that compares the world of the Pro to the world of the Con will win. See my full paradigm linked below for additional PF thoughts.

I am the Director of Publishing and Lincoln-Douglas Debate at the Victory Briefs Institute and Debate League Director of the National High School Debate League of China. I have been involved with debate since 2010, having won NSDA Nationals in LD in 2014 and clearing at CEDA in 2016 and 2018. I coach The Harker School in LD and ideologically align with the vast majority of their preferences.

Email for the chain: lwzhou10 at gmail.com (Yes, I want to be on the chain, if you don't put me on the chain, I just assume you haven't read the paradigm)

If it is right before the round, just look at the "Answers to Common Questions" section. If you are doing prefs before the tournament or have more time before the round, you should begin at the "Prefs Overview" section in my paradigm in full paradigm linked below.

Full Paradigm here.

Answers to Common Questions

Q: Should I shake your hand?
A: NO (esp. nowadays...)

Q: What's your paradigm?
A: ... the way I evaluate rounds? More specifically?

Q: Are you okay with speed?
A: If I wasn't, do you think anyone would hire me?

Q: What experience do you have as a judge?
A: Too much.

Q: Do you care if we stand/sit?
A: Nope, but it's better for you if you can stand.

Q: Preference of seating?
A: Nope.

Q: Will you yell clear/speed?
A: Yes, 2 times.

Q: Are you okay with theory?
A: I suppose.

Q: What do you default on theory?
A: Competing interps, drop the arg, RVIs fine, but need to be justified.

Q: How about policy arguments?
A: I suppose.

Q: What about kritiks?
A: I suppose.

Q: What about performance?
A: I suppose (see below)

Q: What if I read a blatantly non-topical aff?
A: Meh (see below)

Q: Are there any arguments you don't want me to make?
A: Yes, bad arguments. Again, I'll vote on them, but I'd rather not.

Q: Do you disclose speaks?
A: Not anymore.

Q: What does it take to get the 30?
A: You probably won't get one, but knock my socks off and you'll get close.

Q: Should I pref this guy?
A: Good question.