Glenbrooks Speech and Debate Tournament

2018 — Northbrook and Glenview, IL/US

Rajan Agrawal Paradigm

4 rounds

Emory ’22, Newman ‘18

Conflicts: Woodward Academy, Isidore Newman

Add me to the email chain:

Glenbrooks - This is my first tournament judging this topic, so please refrain from using acronyms at first.

General Thoughts:

Ideal debate - CP/DA strategy vs a policy aff. I never read a K aff nor went for any other K aside from cap or security.

Debate is a game

Tech outweighs truth - great spin/technical debating can beat higher quality ev when you have only decent/kinda bad cards

What my ballot does - all my ballot does is decide who wins and who loses a debate - it does not upend the social order and radically transform debate nor does it cause genocide

Line by line is very important – the cleaner the debate, the better the debate. I will add .5 speaker points if you engage in good line by line debate that includes a numbered 2AC.


Read a plan.

If you don’t and the other team goes for FW, I am predisposed to vote neg.


Give examples of what affs would be justified by the aff's interp. Impact comparison between standards is crucial. I'm open to either reasonability or competing interpretations.


Condo: I strongly believe there is no non-arbitrary difference between 2, 3, or infinite condo - if you can justify why having multiple CP's is good you probably get to read as many as you want - aff teams can win that the neg should get 1 or 0 condo in front of me, but it will be an uphill battle.

Other theory arguments: please debate about the topic and not some extraneous issue. I really would prefer for a 2ar not to go for theory when substance is an option - if you have a card that actually substantiates your CP, I will almost definitely not vote against you on theory. Super cheaty CPs are the only exception.


I believe the aff gets to way the implementation of the plan. I am not the right judge for any high theory or pomo K.

DAs and CPs:

DAs: I love the politics DA. That being said, pointing out logical holes and good analytics get really far with me and can completely take out a DA. Zero risk is possible. Don't drop "DA turns and/or solves the case.”

CPs: I like a good cheaty CP. If you can defend it theoretically, go for it.

Shree Awsare Paradigm

2 rounds

1/13/20 - Included Short Version, LD and PF Addendum added below

Current School Affiliations: NoBro (2016-), Emory (2019-)

Previous School Affiliations: JMU (2011-2016), Broad Run High School (2014-2016), Thomas Jefferson High School (2012-2014), Columbia University (2007-2011), Fordham University (2011), Monta Vista High School (2003-2007).

HS Topic Knowledge: Slightly above average. Led lab at DDI & actively cut cards for NoBro.

College Topic Knowledge: Below Average. I occasionally cut K answers and that's the extent of research. I need the topic disambiguated - topicality and complex topic mechanism-based counterplans will need more pentime and clarification.

Email Chain:

5 min version:

Line-by-Line x-------------------------------------- "Cloud Clash"/Overviews

Truth -------------------------------------------x-------- Tech

Insert Opponent Evidence-------------------------------------------x Read Evidence

Must Explain Cards ---------x------------------------------ Will Read Into Evidence

Judge Kick ----------------------x------------------------ Stuck w/ choice

Read Topical Affs ---------x-------------------------------- Free for All

Counter-Interpret Words -x------------------------------------ CI: "Discussion of Topic"

Aff Defends Model of Debate -x-------------------------------- T Impact Turns/RVI only

Limits/Fairness ------x-------------------------------------------- Skills/Other

No Ks on Neg -----------------------------------------x--- Yes Ks on Neg

Arguments about 1AC x------------------------------------ Personal Attacks

Cheaty CPs Good ------------------------x-------------------------- Aff Always Wins Theory/PDCP

Always a Risk -------------------------x----------- Zero Risk/Presumption

2010 Speaker Points -----x------------------------------------- 2020 Speaker Points

Long Version

No judge is tabula rasa, and I am no exception. My ideal debate involves two teams who read well-researched positions, engage in line-by-line refutation of their opponents’ arguments, and demonstrate strategic choice-making and vertical development of arguments. Not all debate is good debate. It is my firm belief that any model of debate (whatever the content) that disincentivizes any of the aforementioned qualities is an inferior product that is simultaneously less rigorous and less enjoyable. In the past, I have taken a more laissez-faire attitude towards judging rounds, but I’ve started to realize that I have been rewarding practices conducted by debaters on both sides of the artificial “traditional” and “critical” divide that are detrimental to the overall quality of debates – antics of which I was often guilty of pursuing as a competitor. As such, I will be making my biases transparent so that you can be more informed when you do your prefs. I’ve split this philosophy up into non-negotiables and preferences below.


(1) Only complete arguments will be evaluated. A complete argument consists of a claim, warrant, and data. This seems basic, but in the rush to construct 7+ off, scattershot 1NCs, some teams been encouraged to forward DA shells with poorly highlighted evidence without warrants, CP shells with just a text and no accompanying solvency cards, or cards tagged “extinction” (which is a word, not an argument) in hopes that they will get more words per minute out than the other team. You can miss me with that. Incomplete arguments will not be flowed, and in the event that an incomplete argument grows up to be a complete argument in a future speech, I will evaluate it as if you made the argument for the first time in that future speech, and I will give your opponents a new opportunity to respond with analytics and cards.

(2) You MUST be flowable. While I will try my best to keep up, I will feel zero remorse in the post-round if you tell me that I did not appropriately decode the word vomit on 2AC 5 subpoint C or the treatise you regurgitated about some vague "theory of power" in a 2NC overview. Not only should you limit your speed such that you maintain clarity at all times, but it would help me immensely if you used consistent, easily transcribable soundbytes so I can make connections on the flow effortlessly instead of speaking in large paragraphs with run-on sentences.

(3) Topicality is a voting issue, and never a reverse voting issue. The affirmative must defend the whole resolution or an example of the resolution. Nothing about this requirement is “the logic of genocide,” “psychologically violent,” nor a “will to mastery” that can be analogized to violence in “Abu Ghraib” or “drone strikes.” Ultimately, debate is a voluntary activity that you have the choice to not partake in, and to the extent that you've chosen to participate, it is only valuable insofar as the negative has an opportunity to anticipate and clash with your claims. That being said, I believe that critical affirmative approaches to the topic that may stray from traditional plan texts have immense value, but only if they creatively affirm the resolution in some way rather than being a negative argument or atopical. Here are some thoughts if you have me in the back of a K Aff v T debate.
(A) 2ACs should counter-define or prove they meet the words in the resolution to prove that the 1AC as presented is an example of the resolution, or they will have an extremely uphill battle in the face of a competently extended fairness violation. I am not persuaded by vacuous CIs like “discussion of the topic,” “only our aff is topical,” and others that are unsubstantiated by evidence interpreting words in the topic statement. None of those CIs would be acceptable in any other T debate (imagine if a Increase Sentencing of White Collar Crime aff responded to T – CJR = Reduce Criminalization with CI: discussion of the topic – L 27.5). That being said, I don’t think this forecloses critical approaches beyond traditional interpretations of fiat – I think there are plenty of ways to creatively define “USFG” as an agent outside the 3 branches in DC (see Burch’s Performative Revolutionary Fiat or “we demand” style affs) or "policing" as exceeding a law enforcement context that could posit a broader but more inclusive limit on the topic. 2ACs can also make criticisms of expert based definitions, suggesting alternate, non-traditional definitions that are grounded in lived experience or social location, and make the case for why their definitions should be preferred. But, no definition at all = no model of debate, which implies that there is no equitable role for the negative team to anticipate their opponents' arguments and critically engage their scholarship
(B) The "impact" debate should be focused on a particular set of limits – the negative should defend the benefits of narrowing deliberation over a topic, and the affirmative should point out the myopia of such a curriculum. I think there is a defensible case to be made that a curriculum where the affirmative is limited to the 3 branches as an agent or a narrow subset of what policing means distorts the cross-disciplinary literature over criminal justice and is exclusive of particular bodies of thought which may have an impact that outweighs the convenience of negative researchers, in the same way that a definition of CJR that limits out the increase white collar crime aff might arguably be contrived, uneducational, and have an impact. However, impact turns that suggest the reading of topicality itself is a violent form of conditioning or that the negative should not be able to anticipate and engage your argument are significantly less convincing and don't require much to be refuted.
(C) I am annoyed by negative arguments read on the affirmative side. Positions that are pessimistic about the possibility of improving the status quo are negative arguments… by definition... and are reasons to vote for the negative team. Turns out there is a vast body of defensible literature in your area of the library that is hopeful about the propensity for change. Please be willing to research and defend more than 1 "theory of power."
(D) I am more in the "limits/fairness" camp than the "skills" camp. The latter opens the neg up arguments about why we should prefer aff impact claims that exceed the intrinsic competitive nature of debate, permutation arguments to teach different skills to different people through different genres of argument, and arguments about how the neg's skills cannot be universalized to all and can be used for evil. This is not to say that "skills" style impacts are unwinnable in front of me, but it is certainly more uphill.

(4) There are 2 speakers on each team who have an equal amount of time to speak, and I will cast a ballot in favor of one winning team. I don’t really care about ins and outs or alternative use prep time, but there should NOT be debates where students are “kicked out” or otherwise don’t participate in an entire debate. Calling for a double win, intentionally interrupting an opponent’s speech, soliciting outside participation in a speech or cross-x, breaking time limits, playing board games, or devolving the debate into a 2 hour long discussion is a recipe for a quick L for the team that initiates it.

(5) I do not feel comfortable making decisions in contest rounds about the unconfirmable personal behavior or character of minors or coaching staffs that occur outside of debates. That said, arguments about things that are observable within the debate are fair game, and I have no tolerance for racism, etc - which I think is prolific in debate despite its pretense of liberalism.

(6) Attempts to negotiate speaker points with me within a contest round (eg, "please give me a 30 because x") will backfire. The last time someone tried to negotiate speaker points, they received a 24. Would not recommend.


(1) I am not staunchly offense/defense, as I believe in the existence of terminal defense and believe presumption can decide debates. Much of this depends on the quality of debating, but I can be compelled that negligible solvency to an affirmative case should be treated as zero, or that there is no internal link to a DA, or that a K aff doesn't meet its role of the ballot and should lose on presumption.

(2) Line-By-Line > OV/Implicit Clash. My favorite debaters number arguments and reference those numbers as they debate, regardless of whether they are debating a DA, T, K or CP – but a “they say” approach that follows the arguments in the order that they are presented is also acceptable. Implicit clash would be okay if people flowed more carefully and answered arguments in the order that they were presented - oftentimes it is not. 1+ minute overviews frustrate me and said frustration will be taken out on your speaker points.

(3) Judge Instruction in DA/CP Debates = Key. Does UQ frame the link debate, or do the links frame a close UQ debate and why? Does the DA turns the case or the other way around, and why? Does the internal net benefit to a process CP outweigh the impact of a CP solvency deficit? None of these questions should be left up to me.

(4) I enjoy T and Theory Debates more than most, but you will need to slow down for your analytics and adequately impact your arguments. If you want to read new 2NC CPs to avoid impact turns, generic process CPs, etc, I'm all ears if you are proficient at debating theory and won't take it out on your speaker points.

(5) Plan (Aff) v K Debates Thoughts. These appear to be the majority of debates that I watch. For teams reading the K: My familiarity with your literature base will be above average, and I won't need long explanations of terminology to demystify concepts. I am more interested in you establishing specific links to the affirmative and concrete impacts that turn or outweigh it.

For teams debating against the K: I am more interested in arguments (analytics and cards) that substantively engage the K while having a robust defense of the case. The K's "greatest hits" are useful but at some point, you are going to have to answer their "K turns the case" and other tricks they may have by using your aff. I do not necessarily need carded evidence to overcome their characterizations, smart analytics are often enough to respond to contrived uniqueness, link, or case turn arguments. Debaters on the policy end of the spectrum that I've judged tend to say I evaluate K debates like a "checklist."

(6) I have little familiarity with economics. I understand economics at high speed even less. The last time I studied economics was AP Macro in high school, and I didn't do so well in that class. If you are committing to a strategy centered on business confidence, the stock market, etc, it would help if you slowed down and added more details about how the economy works than you might have otherwise - you probably don't want me to make guesses by reconstructing the debate from your evidence.

(7) New Affs Bad/Must Be Disclosed is not a compelling argument - I have never voted on this argument sans 1 or 2 times it was conceded by the affirmative team in 3 consecutive speeches. I think there is arguably a case to be made that new affs might justify leniency for negative conditionality or that new K affs prove debate is controlled more by competitive incentives than subject formation, but I am not as sold as some of my colleagues that new affs justify shenanigans across the board (I have no idea why a new affirmative makes process counterplans more competitive or theoretically legitimate, for example).


LD Paradigm: I respect the potential of LD as an valuable event but don't believe that potential is being reached. Some LD debates I've watched have featured impressive debaters that make complete arguments, flow, and respond to their opponents. Others deal with interesting moral inquiries from a literature base that isn’t present in policy debates which I think are productive. However, more often than not what counts as debate these days (especially "tricks debate") is disease inducing and often the round devolves to an intellectually lazy version of policy. If you would like to receive speaker points higher than a 28, you will need to do the following:

1 - Flowing and Line by line refutation is mandatory. Visibly not doing either will start you at a very generous 26. Trying to do "cloud clash" or just haphazardly reading your coach's blocks as "overviews" will get you somewhere between a 27.5-27.9.

2 - Arguments must be complete - a claim, warrant, and data. My threshold for "tricks" is high - your dropped "indexical" or "monism" or "aff never wins" theory argument will not receive my ballot or speaker points higher than 28 if you did not explain it in enough depth for me to understand it and for me to be able to explain to your opponent why they lost. That said, if you make a complete argument that is "tricky" and it is unanswered, I would not hesitate to vote for it. I was a philosophy major at an analytic philosophy focused department so these arguments aren't necessarily lost on me - that said, the versions of these arguments made in LD are often painfully bad.

3 - Both plan focused debates and K debates are fine. Theoretical objections to either are fine as well. I am open to thinking that a policy making paradigm is ill suited in LD despite policy being my primary activity, and that the nature of theoretical objections (conditionality, etc) may have different weight considering the way time limits in LD are construed.

4 - You need to extend arguments made in previous speech in their complete form. You can't just flag "they dropped the DA" and move on - you need to extend the relevant pieces of the DA for it to be evaluated.

5 - Using the terms "pre-fiat," "post-fiat," or "LARP" automatically starts you at a 28 or lower. No one roleplays, no one shows up in wigs and a gavel to roleplay as politicians. Pre-fiat and post-fiat is a vocabulary that died 2 decades ago. It's 2020. Please leave it in the past, or you will get speaker points from the past.

6 - Reading is essential. If you are reading Wilderson and can't answer the question "what does the phrase 'political ontology' mean" or are reading Kant and can't answer the question "what is the categorical imperative" it's time to pack your bags and hit the books. Embarassing CXes will receive embarassing speaker points.

7 - Personal attacks are not a winning strategy in front of me. "I know what you did last summer" "I know what you wrote on the wiki in December" "In X debate Y opponent said Z mean things to me" or worse "I know what your coaches did last summer" is neither confirmable nor a reason why your opponent did not do the better debating in this particular round. Instead, make K links to the arguments made in THIS debate to receive better speaker points and even a W.


PF Paradigm: I think there is merit to a style of debate that adapts to a less technical audience, and there is a version of this activity that is meaningful. That said, I am not a blank slate - as a policy critic, I have strong, negative feelings about some of the pedagogical choices made in the "flay" version of this activity. While there are exceptions, there seems to be an extremely low standard for responding to arguments in the order that they were presented, and an even lower standard for evidence quality (bordering on academic dishonesty). For you to receive speaker points higher than a 28, all of the following will be required:

(1) Do not paraphrase evidence. I expect that you include the full paragraph to include the context that your author is speaking in. You have not overcome the "no paraphrasing" standard if your "card" has 3 words highlighted and does not contain complete sentences. If you paraphrase evidence, I will evaluate your excerpt with the same force as an analytic or opinion asserted by a debater.
(2) Extensions of argument labels or claims without warrants will not be evaluated as arguments. "Extend the X Analysis" is not an argument. If no one manages to make a complete argument, I will intervene when making a decision. You will not like that.
(3) I expect the second rebuttal to respond to every argument in the first rebuttal. I will not be extending arguments from your grand crossfire (or crossfires in general). I steadfastly believe it is the second team's obligation to address both sides of the flow in the second rebuttal. A second team that neglects to attack both the opposing case and rebuild against the prior rebuttal will have a very low chance of winning my ballot because they have conceded large swaths of argument. A team that ignores this bit of adaptation should expect to see speaker points that reflect a performance that I see as half-complete.

Ian Beier Paradigm

2 rounds

I think debate is a game with educational benefits. I will listen to anything, but there are obviously some arguments that are more persuasive than others. i think this is most of what you're looking for:

1. arguments - For me to vote on an argument it must have a claim, warrant, and impact. A claim is an assertion of truth or opinion. A warrant is an analytical connection between data/grounds/evidence and your claim. An impact is the implication of that claim for how I should evaluate the debate. debate is competitive and adversarial, not cooperative. My bias is that debate strategies should be evidence-centric and, at a minimum, rooted in an academic discipline. My bias is that I do not want to consider anything prior to the reading of the 1AC when making my decision.

3. framework - arguments need to be impacted out beyond the word 'fairness' or 'education'. affirmatives do not need to read a plan to win in front of me. however, there should be some connection to the topic. fairness is a terminal impact.

4. critiques - they should have links to the plan or have a coherent story in the context of the advantages. i am less inclined to vote neg for broad criticisms that arent contextualized to the affirmative. a link of omission is not a link. similarly, affirmatives lose debates a lot just because their 2ac is similarly generic and they have no defense of the actual assumptions of the affirmative.

5. counterplans - should likely have solvency advocates but its not a dealbreaker. slow down when explaining tricks in the 2nc.

6. theory - more teams should go for theory more often. negatives should be able to do whatever they want, but affirmatives need to be able to go for theory to keep them honest.

7. topicality - its an evidentiary issue that many people impact poorly. limits, not ground, is the controlling internal link for most T-related impacts. saying 'we lose the [insert argument]' isnt really an impact without an explanation of why that argument is good. good debates make comparative claims between aff/neg opportunities to win relative to fairness.

8. clipping - i sometimes read along with speeches if i think that you are clipping. i will prompt you if i think you are clipping and if i think you are still clipping i will vote against you even if the other team doesnt issue an ethics challenge.

9. 2nr/2ar - there are lots of moving parts in debate. if you disagree with how i approach debate or think about debate differently, you should start your speech with judge instruction that provides an order of operations or helps construct that ballot. teams too often speak in absolute certainties and then forward.

unapologetically stolen from brendan bankey's judge philosophy as an addendum because there is no reason to rewrite it:

---"Perm do the counterplan" and "perm do the alt" are claims that are often unaccompanied by warrants. I will not vote for these statements unless the aff explains why they are theoretically legitimate BEFORE the 2AR. I am most likely to vote for these arguments when the aff has 1) a clear model of counterplan/alternative competition AND 2) an explanation for where the

I would prefer that debaters engage arguments instead of finesse their way out of links. This is especially awful when it takes place in clash debates. If you assert your opponent's offense does not apply when it does I will lower your speaker points.

In that vein, it is my bias that if an affirmative team chooses not to say "USFG Should" in the 1AC that they are doing it for competitive reasons. It is, definitionally, self-serving. Self-serving does not mean the aff should lose [or that its bad necessarily], just that they should be more realistic about the function of their 1AC in a competitive activity. If the aff does not say "USFG Should" they are deliberately shifting the point of stasis to other issues that they believe should take priority. It is reciprocal, therefore, for the negative to use any portion of the 1AC as it's jumping off point.

I think that limits, not ground, is the controlling internal link for most T-related impacts. Ground is an expression of the division of affirmative and negative strategies on any given topic. It is rarely an independent impact to T. I hate cross-examination questions about ground. I do not fault teams for being unhelpful to opponents that pose questions in cross-examination using the language of ground. People commonly ask questions about ground to demonstrate to the judge that the aff has not really thought out how their approach to the resolution fosters developed debates. A better, more precise question to ask would be: "What are the win conditions for the negative within your model of competition?"

old judge philosophy wiki that i will leave as a historical artifact:

Me – I debated for both Cate Palczweski and Jacob Thompson. I was the ADoD at UNLV from 2010-2013. I was at Damien High School from 2013-2015. I was at KU from 2015-2018. I am now at College Prep.

Cross-ex is rarely damning on any question. Stop saying that. if the person you are speaking over in cross-ex is your own partner who is also trying to answer the question, you may have a problem. a hilarious problem.

for the love of god can we stop having these moments in cross ex where we say "obviously debate doesnt leave this room when we say the government should do something" in a condescending tone. you sound ridiculous. no one thinks that. literally no one. this is like... the royalty of a straw-person argument.

I like solvency advocates that say what your plan says, impact comparisons, people that are having fun, and milkshakes. I flow. I vote on dropped arguments that I dont believe.

I increasingly find myself protecting negative teams because the 2AR explanation seems too new. So for all of you shady 2ARs out there, you need to hide your newness better. Or, you know, communicate with your partner so that they can help set up your argument(s).

Debate is a world of enthymemes where there is a lot of presumption on the part of community in relation to the meaning of the text that you choose to speak. It would be a mistake to not fully explain an argument because you think I "get it." Sometimes that may be the case, but that is by no means a universal truth. Play your game, but make sure I understand what game we are playing at the conclusion of the debate. E.g. If you thought an evidence comparison should have gone differently than my RFD, it is probably your fault. Debate is a communicative activity, so identifying how I should evaluate your evidence / their evidence is... important.

I think debate is a game. This probably makes me evaluate debate differently. I will listen to anything I guess. If you think an argument is stupid, I would assume that you can easily defeat said argument. These are my thoughts, but keep in mind I will not just insert these things into the debate. That is your job. I have front loaded the philosophy with the things that you are most likely here to read. Without further ado:

Clipping - in many respects I think that prompts for clarity are interventionist. However, clipping is rampant, particularly during the 1AC. if I think that you are clipping, I will say clear. If it becomes a problem, I will prompt you with something to the effect of "read all of the highlighting." If I think that you are still clipping after this prompt, I will vote against you.

Buzzwords – stop it. If you cannot explain the argument, then that dog wont hunt. Also, I would really appreciate it if people would stop saying 'sure' prior to answering questions.

Critiques – An Aff will probably lose if they read generic answers and: don’t apply them to the criticism and don’t apply them to the affirmative. The more topic specific the K the better. The negative needs to win either that you 1) solve the aff 2) outweigh the aff [in those weird method v method debates] 3) have a framework or theory that makes the aff irrelevant. I dig the impact turn (imperialism good, Fox News) but also understand that these are probably more links to the critique. I find that lots of high end theory does not make sense when it is reduced to a blurb in the debate. method v method might be a top 5 worse argument in debate next to aspec.

"non-plan affs" – That word probably bastardizes your argument but I don't have a great alternate label that people can find in a quick search through judge philosophies. These are my predispositions. If you can address them, I'm all yours (but even if you don't, you should not worry. It seems to impact the debate less and less because you are answering generic blocks with specific arguments about your method.):
First, "role of the ballot" is over-used and rarely explained as a concept. Please do not assume that you will win just because you said it. Second, my understanding of the "policy debate good" literature means if I don't understand by your last speech, I will vote on a coherent framework argument. This is becoming less and less true because people are so afraid to say limits that they just say "you killed my decision-making" and decide thats sufficient for an impact. Third, these types of arguments typically mean the other team is forced to defend the community practices and not their own. At times I think this is a straw person argument, but I have become increasingly aware that this is not as artificial as I used to think. Fourth, teams tend to hilariously mishandle form arguments and generally lack a coherent strategy on the neg when answering these affs. Most of the time, every argument is a different way to say "you gotta have a plan." Even if the arguments sound distinct in the 1NC, they usually aren't by the 2NR. Rather than focusing on what you have prewritten, you should exploit these problems in the neg strategy. I end up voting for critical teams quite a bit because of this strategic problem even though i firmly believe in the pedagogical value of affirmatives being germane to the resolution.

Framework - "a discussion of the topic rather than a topical discussion" is not a good counter-interpretation. the limits disad is real.

Topicality – T is not genocidal unless the argument is dropped. I evaluate it like a disad so you should impact out arguments beyond words like "fairness" or "education". topicality is an evidentiary issue

Theory – You should go for theory because teams dont know how to answer it. The more counterplans there are, the more sympathetic I become to theory. that being said, its hard to be negative and the neg can do whatever they want. My threshold for theory other than conditionality is somewhat high as a reason to reject the team.

Disads - do people even read judge philosophies for this anymore? Don't bury me in cards. You may not like the outcome. Explanation of 1 really good card is better than 5 bad cards. The politics disad is a thing and so are other disads. i cut a lot of politics updates.

Counterplans - should have solvency advocates and should exploit generic link chains in aff advantages. The idea that a counterplan needs a card specific to the aff is not a deal breaker. Affs should probably read CP texts... they often times fiat out of your solvency deficits. what happened to 2nc counterplans?

Case Debate - These should be a thing. Ideally, there should be more than just generic impact defense. Otherwise, you will probably lose to specificity. People should impact turn.... everything.

Aron Berger Paradigm

5 rounds

Updated for October 2018.

Put me on the email chain -

Note - I only check this email at debate tournaments, so if you are trying to contact me for some other reason, my response will be delayed.

Short version.

I've started to question the utility of these paradigm things. In short, do whatever you want. Read whatever you want to read. All styles of debate can be done well or poorly. My decision in any particular debate does not reflect a judgement on those styles but instead on the aptitude with which they are deployed in the given debate. Content matters less than strategy, unless the content of your argument makes it a bad strategy. I tend to make decisions quickly. This should not indicate to you whether the debate was close or not. Just because I go for or have gone for certain arguments does not mean I will automatically understand your arguments or do work for you. Similarly, it doesn't mean I will automatically discount any particular argument. I like clash. I dislike attempts to avoid clash. Perm do the aff is not an argument.

One thing I have noticed about debate is the proliferation of "cut the card there." When you stop reading before what your evidence indicates what you will read, you or your partner must mark the card in the speech doc and have a copy of those marks ready for anyone who needs them. To quote Andy Montee,
"If you just yell out "Mark the card at bacon!" you have to physically mark the card on your computer. It is not the responsibility of the other team or myself to do so."
Not marking evidence, and relying "cut the card there" to indicate where you stopped reading, is a form of clipping cards, and I will treat it as such. Since this seems to be an acceptable thing in debate at the moment, at the first occurrence of "cut the card there" I will ask for the marks, and if I notice you going through the doc to mark your cards post-speech, I will warn you about basically everything above.

Background info on me: I'm a first year out of college debate. I debated at the college level for 4 years at the University of Southern California. Attended the NDT four times, making it to doubles twice and octas once. I debated at the high school level for 4 years at Notre Dame High School. Qualified to the TOC 3 times. I was both 2A and 2N during my debate career.

Longer version.

Debate is a rhetorical game where debaters use a set of (ostensibly) mutually agreed upon scripts to persuade a judge. Scripts are rhetorical conventions that have been constructed in order for the game to make sense to all involved - impact calculus, uniqueness, etc. are examples of these scripts, convenient ways of describing a world that make the complexity of that world reducible to a (hopefully) less than 2 hour conversation. Debaters who can control how these scripts operate within the debate, either by implicitly agreeing to them and winning their set of contentions, or through the use of competing framing arguments, generally seem to win more debates. For example, many debates occur in which the value of life is never questioned - that is a script implicitly accepted in those debates for the purpose of brevity. This is not to say that I want to judge a bunch of death good debates, though I won't say the opposite either. Regardless, controlling the framing of the debate will serve you well.

I seem to be judging a lot of framework/T-USFG debates. I think quite a few of the commonly held framework predispositions are arbitrary, so I'll just say this: yes, you can read your K aff in front of me. Yes, you can go for framework in front of me. I don't really care, just make it a good debate.

Here are some of my reflections about FW rounds that I have judged.

-I find myself voting affirmative when the negative fails to explain their impact beyond "limits are important for negative ground" or "we won't learn stuff about immigration" or "fairness is important because otherwise debate isn't fair."

-I find myself voting negative when the aff fails to provide a workable vision of what debate would/should look like. T/FW/whatever we call it is a question of models of debate. That the neg could have read a particular strategy against your particular aff is not a defense of your model. In other words, "potential abuse" is important. You need a defense of your model of debate.

-Almost all of the K affs that I saw on the education topic were basically little more than a criticism of education policy. I did not hear a persuasive response to "do it on the neg" in these contexts.

-Topical versions of the aff are not counter-plans. They don't have to be perfect. They should, however, be well researched (though not necessarily evidenced in the debate) and explained. I would prefer 1 good TVA over 5 asserted TVAs.

-Asserting that debate is a game is fair enough, but does not on its own provide a reason to discount any of the aff's impact turns. I do believe fairness is an impact. I don't think it is an impact that automatically trumps all other impacts. As with all other things, impact calculus on the parts of the debaters matters most.

Case Debate
I would prefer to adjudicate a debate in which the negative reads less than or equal to 4 well constructed offcase positions and invests a good deal of time in taking apart the aff instead of a debate in which throwaway offcase positions are used as a timeskew and the case is addressed sparsely and with only impact defense. A diverse 1NC that attacks advantages at every level is helpful regardless of your broader strategy. Most affs are terribly constructed and have awful chains of internal links. Most affs wont solve the things they say they solve. Point it out.

You do not need a card to make a smart case arguments. In fact, the desire for cards to make an argument can often work to limit the vectors of attack you have against the case. Example: you do not need a card to point out a missing internal link, or that the aff's internal link evidence is about X and their impact evidence is about Y.

CPs and DAs
Not much to say here. If you have them, read them. Specificity is your friend. "DA turns case" arguments are invaluable.

Teams have found it difficult to convince me that the reading of any particular counterplan makes being aff impossible and as such is a voting issue.

At the same time, I find myself increasingly annoyed at the "use fiat as a battering ram" approach to counter-plans. Indefinite parole that is immune from deportation or cancellation, has full work authorization, all the benefits of LPR, etc. is just not something that exists in the literature base and is a ridiculous interpretation of what scholars in the field are actually talking about. All that being said, it is up to the debaters to figure this stuff out in the round.

I have voted for conditionality bad only once, in a debate where the 2NR spent about 15 seconds on it.

"Judge kick" is an inevitable element of conditionality. If the status quo is always an option, then a 2NR that includes a counterplan is not always and forever bound to that counterplan. In other words, if the counerplan is described by the negative as conditional, then my default is to also consider the status quo, and not just the counterplan. I can be persuaded otherwise.


Sure, why not. I've read them, I've debated against them. Just be specific about what your alternative does. If it is a pic, say that it is and what your pic removes from the aff. If you are debating against a K, defend your aff. Generic K answers like the Boggs card are far less useful than justifying whatever assumption that the neg is critiquing.

Permutations are tricky. All too often, the aff just kinda extends "perm do both" and leaves it there. Explain what parts of the criticism you are permuting, how that interacts with the links, etc.

"No perms in a method debate" is a bad argument. You can wish away the form of "permutation," but you cannot do away with the logic of opportunity cost. If your K doesn't actually link, find a better argument.

As said above, "perm: do the aff" is not a thing.

Generally speaking, I am not a fan of severance permutations or intrinsic permutations. A permutation is legitimate only if it contains the entire aff plan and some to all of the negative counterplan/alternative. At the same time, many alternative texts are not representative of everything that an alternative would do - in my opinion, any evidence included by the negative as descriptive of the alternative is fair game for permutations. Example - many alt texts are written as "The alternative is to vote negative" - but the alt card says that "interrogating tropes of security" is important. A permutation that does the plan and interrogates tropes of security is not intrinsic.

If you have a theory of power, explain it and its implications for the aff. Meta arguments such as these have broad implications for both the link and the alternative.

Speaker Points

Points are always arbitrary and I wont pretend that my personal scale is anything different. Average speakers get in the low to mid 28s. Good speakers get in the high 28s to low 29s. Mid to high 29s, good job. You wont get a 27 unless you consistently do something annoying, like telling your partner "faster!" over and over during their speech.

Other random thoughts.

--Puns translate directly to increased speaker points.

--Please don't call me judge.

--When reading evidence, I will only evaluate warrants that are highlighted.

--I hate word-salad cards.

--Arguments that are "new in the 2" - generally the bar for me is whether the opponent team could have expected this argument based on the content of the previous speech. This excludes new impact turns to a disad in the 2AR, but maintains the capacity for 2As to cross apply, say, an impact defense argument on the case in the 2NR (intervening actors check, for example) to a disad scenario. If an argument is made in the 2AC, conceded by the neg block, not mentioned in the 1AR (and thus not responded to by the 2NR), it would be 'new' for the 2AR to extend and elaborate on the argument. While this may seem arbitrary, and while dropped arguments are, in a provisional sense, true, it is the job of the debaters to jump on strategic mishaps, not me. However, if a completely new argument arises in the 2NR or 2AR, I am willing to strike it from my flow without a debater pointing out that it is, in fact new.

--Speed is good, clarity is better.

--Confidence in your arguments, your partner, and yourself is good, disrespecting your opponents is bad.

--Ethically repugnant arguments will not make me want to vote for you. At the same time, however, if you cannot defeat ostensibly "bad" arguments, then you are a bad advocate and you should lose.

--If a debate does not occur, I will either flip a coin or consult tab.

--Please, "settler colonialism", not "set col". similarly, "afro-pessimism" not "afro-pess" -- yeah, I'm grumpy.

--Just because I go for certain arguments does not mean I will either automatically understand your argument or supplement your lack of analysis with my understanding of the literature.

--Random buzzwords are not arguments. I don't care until you impact a statement.

--There can always be 0 risk of something.

--Ad homs about the other teams authors aren't arguments.

--A claim without a warrant is just that.

--Theory and T debates are not my favorite.

--No insults or general shenanigans.

--Binding and prior consultation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is probably pedagogically relevant.

Hayward Blake Paradigm

7 rounds

Stylistic Comments

* I do not discriminate between policy, kritikal, and performance debating styles. If you have a strategic, well thought-out argument and are able to defend it, I will give it a fair and balanced consideration.

* Please be ready to give your speech when your prep is up. Too much 'grey area' time and I will dock your speaks. Tag team is fine. If you need an accommodation, just ask.

* 2NR and 2AR should summarize the round and why you win; you must give me a framework for how to evaluate the round (and why that framing is good). Much harder for me to vote for you if you don't do that.

* Tell me how to evaluate every argument and every impact. I'm not sure how to compare racial violence to nuclear radiation poisoning, but sometimes that's what I'm left with. I will not assume what you want me to do with your argument.

* I will not make arguments for you or the other team, but I cannot pretend that my opinion is irrelevant. It's important that you balance your tech with persuasion. Part of persuasion is looking at me and speaking to me as a human being at some point in the round. If you are constantly out of breath and stammering, you need to slow down.

Specific Arguments

* Kritiks: I am proficient in race debate (Sexton, Wilderson, Gumms, Afro-pessimism, optimism, futurism), IR theories, feminist theories, intersectional theories/Puar, "high theory" (Baudrillard, Deleuze, Bataille, et cetera). I am most well-versed in Queer theory.

* Theory: Love it, but you must go for it for at least 3 minutes in the 2NR/2AR (preferably all 5) if you want me to seriously consider it. The terms 'education,' 'fairness,' or 'portable skills,' are meaningless unless you tell me what exactly you mean.

* Framework/Topicality: I believe fairness and education are internal links to larger impacts, and are strategically meaningless in and of themselves. It is imperative that you be specific about what exactly is gained or lost as a result of some mechanism of your worldview.

* Concessions: My threshold for voting on conceded arguments is higher than most judges. I must be persuaded by the first time it is introduced in order for me to pull the trigger. "Blowing it up" in later speeches is all new argumentation that the other team is allowed to answer.

* Disads/CPs: Love 'em, but you must explain your advocacy/scenario. As I haven't researched on this topic, I may not know your specific scenario.

* .1% risk: I will not make this argument for you, and you must win it. If you cold concede a legit no-internal link argument, how can you still have 1% risk? Some defense is strong enough to give a scenario 0% risk.

About Me

* I've debated and judged policy for 5 years and parli for 1, mainly in the Chicagoland area.

* While I am relatively versed on most literature you'll want to run, I don't know everything. It's your responsibility to explain your argument and evidence; don't make me look at your cards.

* I flow on my laptop. If you'd like to see them after the round, just let me know!
*Be nice and enjoy the debate! Any questions, I'd be happy to answer! :)

Katherine Bleth Paradigm

7 rounds

Add me to your email chain:

I have been judging policy & LD debate since 2011 - however, I have not judged a single policy round on the 2019-2020 topic. I am mostly familiar with the commonly run arguments and literature this year, but I have not been coaching/judging until this tournament.

I am familiar with K literature and am comfortable hearing K affs as long as you are willing to have a strong framework debate in addition to the K itself. I will mostly "vote on anything" as long as it has been extended consistently throughout the round and has strong warrants (either based on evidence or solid theory arguments). You can ask me about specific positions in round, but I will most likely tell you that I am okay with it. Ks, policy arguments, etc. - it's all cool with me.

Brian Box Paradigm

7 rounds

I am the debate coach at Blue Valley North. I previously coached at the University of Kansas. I was a policy debater at Wichita State University (2012) and Campus High School. I have taught camp at Kansas or Michigan every year since I graduated and typically judge 50-80 policy rounds per year, plus some pfd/ld/speech.

email chain: brianbox4 @ gmail

I care far more about your ability to send an email, speak clearly and respond to arguments than which aff you are reading. I am a "policy judge" in the strictest sense, but that has far more to do with my experience in debate than any desire to hold the line for a certain style of argument. I am too old, too tired and consider the stakes of a given high school debate too low to fight any kind of ideological battle. My most obvious and influential bias is that I am a neg judge.

The aff should be topical. The aff needs an offensive justification for their vision of the topic. Reasonability is meaningless and ultimately begs the question of the impact. I find the arguments for why the aff should be topical to be better than the arguments against it. If you are reading an aff that is not topical, you are much more likely to win my ballot on arguments about why your model of debate is good than you are on random impact turns to T.

Evidence matters a lot. I read lots of evidence and it heavily factors into my decision. Cross-ex is important and the best ones focus on the evidence. Author qualifications, histories, intentions, purpose, funding, etc. matter. Application of author indicts/epistemic arguments about evidence mean more to me than many judges. I find myself more than willing to ignore or discount poorly supported arguments. Kansas debate is particularly bad about filtering quality and I am probably more "interventionist" than what many Kansas debaters have become accustomed to from judges at local tournaments.

Either get good or get good at going for theory. Judge kick is the logical extension of conditionality. I am far more likely to be convinced by a qualitative interpretation than a quantitative one. Have yet to hear a good reason why 4 conditional is worse than 3 is worse than 2. I am more likely to vote aff on an objection to the competition of a counterplan than I am an argument about limiting the scope of negative fiat. Obviously the two are not entirely separable.

I cannot emphasize enough how much clarity matters to me. If you have dramatic tone changes between tag and card, where you can barely be heard when reading the text of evidence, you will get lower points from me and you should stop doing that. If I can't understand the argument, it doesn't count. There is no difference between being incoherent and clipping.

Lose the computer. Probably the single biggest thing that will cause your points to go up or down in front of me is the amount of time you spend reading into your computer screen at a rate that is impossible for me to flow vs. the amount of time you spend using your flow to identify and respond to arguments.

The link usually matters the most. I typically care more about the link than other parts of the argument. Framework or alternative solvency do not reduce the salience of the link. Evidence is important here. When in competition, you should spend more time answering the link than reading impact defense.

Tim Brzny Paradigm

7 rounds

Debated Maine East H.S. 2009 -2012, Coach/Judge 2012 -

Debate is an educational game where everything in debate is debatable i.e. should I prefer tech over truth, do I need a plan text. Be nice to each other, try your best and have fun. Prefer debates were debaters are challenged to think in new ways. Do not be deterred from going for any argument because of what you read here. I’m open to listening to and voting for any argument even debates about what debate should be i.e. k of debate. Just because I stated that I will listen to / vote on / prefer something does not mean that it is an automatic win. If I do not understand something I will not vote on it.

Has been said in many different ways by many different individuals: debating / coaching for a school without many resources and understanding the experiences of similar schools competing against schools who are well resourced, I tend to be sympathetic to arguments based on inequities in policy debate. I will default to a policy maker but am open to other ways of deciding the ballot. I will go off the flow and will try not to intervene, however I might default to my opinions below (which are not concrete).

I will vote for the least complex way to sign the ballot. Explaining your arguments / ideas and keeping the debate organized by road mapping, sign posting, and line by line are key and will help your speaker points. Other things that are key and help to explain / frame the debate are: overviews with impact clac, turns case/da arguments, framing of arguments and the debate, impacting out arguments, and in-depth analysis of arguments. Likewise, overall analysis and framing of evidence / arguments / warrants / qualifications / the round, is key. “Even if” statements will help with speaker points and to frame an argument. Do not assume that I know an argument, author, or specific terms. Analytics, defensive arguments (even without your own evidence) are able to reduce any argument/evidence to zero risk or close to it. If I do not understand a part of the argument or it is not explained/major gaps in your logic I will be less likely to vote on it, even if it is dropped. Explain to me why you should win the round and what this means for both you and your opponent’s arguments. Speed is ok but need to clear. Do not sacrifice clarity for speed. Emailing speeches does not count as prep time as long as it is reasonable and send it all in one doc. Have cites available after the round. I will vote down teams/dock speaker points for rudeness, racist, sexism, unethical, offensive and unacceptable arguments / behavior.

Look at / debate / answer the actual warrants (or lack thereof) in the cards not what the card is tagged as. Comparing evidence / qualifications with explanations as to whose is better helps me to evaluate an argument (even just reading evidence and pointing out its inconsistency is great (will help your speaker points)) and is something that I find is missing in a lot of debates. If their evidence is bad point it out. I will read evidence if call for or if I believe there is an issue with it.

Cross x – Tag Team is fine if both teams are ok with it. Overtaking your partner’s cross-x might result in lower speaker points. Be sure to carry cross-x into the rest of the debate. If you indicted a piece of evidence or proved that an argument does not work, say so in your speech.

Theory – Just like any other argument dropping theory is not an auto-win. If a part of the theory is not explained well enough or the other team points out that it is not explained or missing, I will be less inclined to vote for it. Will vote on all types of theory, but need to explain the theory, in-round abuse (why what they did was bad), voters, fairness, education, impacts and why I should either reject the argument or the other team. Do not just re-read your blocks. The more specific the theory is to the argument / abuse / voters / round, the better.

Topicality – Overviews help. Tend to lean affirmative (Neg has the burden) unless there is a clear: violation / definition, bright line between topical and untopical, impacts for allowing the affirmative and others like it to be topical and in-round / potential (prefer in-round) abuse. Will default to competing interpretations. Explanation on all parts of the flow are key i.e. definition, bright line, topical version of the affirmative, case lists, reasons to reject the team (in-round and potential abuse), standards, ground, limits, voters, fairness, education, and impacts. Reasonability, clash / lit checks, race to bottom, etc. are able to reduce the chance of voting on topically. Will vote on aspec / other spec arguments however, need to show abuse in-round.

Speaker points – My range is 27.8- 28.5, this does not mean that I will not go above a 28.5. The road to better speaker points is in this philosophy i.e. know your arguments, be clear, do line by line, point out inconsistency in arguments and evidence, extend / explain / compare warrants and or qualifications (or lack thereof), road map, sign post, impact clac, frame the debate and the other things that are listed in the various sections.

Plan text / Counterplan text – Should be written down. Check how they are written. Will vote on plan flaws and counterplans that change the plan text with a net benefit.

Affirmative – Two things are key: good overviews with impact clac and in-depth case analysis.

Counterplan – Use overviews. Make sure that there is a clear net benefit and/or solvency deficit.

Disads/advantages – Good overviews with turns case /da along with impact analysis/clac where opponent’s impacts/arguments are considered. Disad links should be clear and specific to the case. All types of turns (link, impact and straight) are also a good idea.

K–Explain. Have a general idea on the basic k, not a k hack, but will vote on them (including k of debate arguments / debates about what debate should be). The k needs to be specifically explained not just in terms of what the idea of the k is, but what is the framework, link (the more specific and clearer the better), impact and alterative (not only what the alterative does but how its solves the k and plan’s impact (i.e. root cause) and what does the world of the alterative looks like). A good overview of the k and framework helps a lot. The affirmative should always question the alterative.

K affirmatives and framework - Will vote on k affirmative and k of debate arguments / debates about what debate should be. Needs to be a clear role of the ballot and clear reason why your version of debate is better. Totally fine with looking at images, listening to music, narratives, stories and other things. Debates are more interesting when: the neg does not just read framework / k but engages with the affirmative and the affirmative k the negative positions through the lens of the affirmative. Framework and disads to framework have to be explained, show how your interpretation of debate solve or root causes the other side’s impacts, impacted out fairness and education, have analysis to show which style of debate is the best and show why the affirmative or argument should be or not be in debate.

Conor Cameron Paradigm

4 rounds

Name: Conor Cameron

Current Affiliation: Solorio


If your affirmative strategy does not entail the defense of a topical plan OR if your primary negative strategy is not a reason to reject the affirmative's plan, then you should strike me.


Debate Experience: I debated for GBS in the early 2000s.  I have since started a debate program in one of the lower conferences in the Chicago UDL.  I am not intimately familiar with recent developments of the National Circuit. My first relevant exposure to the topic will be Round 1 of the first tournament of the year.


Summary – I am a policy-oriented judge. I’m a fan of neither performative debate nor the kritik. I do not mind speed, but clarity is key. You can tell if I can flow you by watching me. Failing a case specific strategy, my ideal negative strategy is a good topic generic: “Every topical affirmative must do [x]. [x] links to our topic-specific DA and/or generates competition for our topic-specific CP.” After that, I like classic debate disadvantages (politics, hegemony, e.g.) and counterplans (including Consult). I think it is difficult to beat most well-constructed affirmatives without a counterplan of some sort.

Disadvantages – I will not assign zero OR 100% weight to an advantage OR a disadvantage. Do your updates, but I tend to evaluate the direction of the link. While I try to keep it out of my decision, I am not oblivious to the ridiculousness of your scenario. I am more likely to spot ridiculousness in areas with which I am familiar. (I majored in economics)

Topicality – Affirmatives are topical until proven otherwise. That burden of proof is emphatically high. In order to win topicality, you need to compare what debating on this topic looks like under your interpretation vs the affirmative’s interpretation. It is insufficient to merely assert that the topic would be smaller under your interpretation. You need to talk about why the collection of affirmatives, disadvantages, and counterplans available under your interpretation would make for significantly better debate than the analogous collection available under the affirmative’s interpretation.

I give affirmatives a lot of leeway in characterizing the plan. In cross examination, the affirmative has the right to not take a stance on certain questions, e.g., whether Congress passes the plan. If a negative runs the XO CP, the affirmative has a right to say “Perm do the CP; that is how our plan passes; moving on.” I give the affirmative more leeway the less useful the counterplan is.

Counterplans – Are theoretically legitimate until proven otherwise. This burden of proof is also emphatically high. In debating counterplan theory, both sides need an interpretation of what a negative can and cannot do. An affirmative must prove that the negative’s interpretation significantly decreases the quality of the resulting debate. I like PICs, agent counterplans, consultation counterplans, etc.

Kritiks – Any acceptable framework should allow the affirmative to weigh the advantages of the plan against the implication of the kritik. Winning that “failure to solve the root cause means you do not solve” is a solvency question. I am unlikely to think that an affirmative has zero solvency in such case. I think affirmatives let negatives get away with a lot in terms of kritik links and alternatives. I am persuaded by “all other instances” permutations, because I think negatives very often do not have an explanation for why the plan in particular is key.

I do my best to avoid pulling the trigger on cheap shots, but if you failed to respond to a dumb argument, it makes you look disorganized and hurts your ethos.

Style – Keeping these notes in mind make you look more organized and “with it,” which will improve your speaker points. – Flowing and line by line are good. Referencing your opponents’ arguments in order and by number are good. Paperless debate is not an excuse to not flow. ALSO: Many theory debates in particular are super fast and super clear. Teams appear to be having a really good debate with each other. But they fail to realize that the only reason they can follow along is because they have immediate access to their opponent’s blocks / speech documents. The judge does not. We are in effect excluded from the conversation. If you want us to evaluate the argument, you need to make sure that we are flowing. It is your responsibility to make sure that your judge understands you. It is not your judge’s responsibility to call for all of your evidence OR try to recreate the entire debate from the fragments that did make it onto the page. Debate is, at its core, a communicative undertaking.


Finally, I do not give away free time, even for flashing. I keep a running clock: I stop a constructive after 8 minutes, cross examination after 11minutes, and just subtract out the 11 when you give me an order for the next speech. I start speech time after the order is given.  

Nahin Cano Paradigm

4 rounds

Policy debate preferred. Please don’t read a K in front of me unless you actually understand what you are saying.

Please Note: Your speaker points will be docked if you are unnecessarily rude/condescending during cross-x.

Mike Carlotti Paradigm

4 rounds

I debated for four years in HS at Cathedral Prep and another four years at Wake Forest University.


I'm going to try and keep this short and sweet:

- First, this is not a paradigm, it is a list of my proclivities.  That just means, without context, I generally find these arguments persuasive.  There are no arguments I will not consider, short of ad homs and the like.

- A dropped argument will be given its full weight, assuming it makes sense (e.g. I will *NOT* vote on "They conceded the sky = blue is a voting issue").  I will not do work for you.

- Evidence - 1) quality over quantity, all day 2) nuance and specificity win debates at the margins 3) evidence does *NOT* hold primacy over analysis.  Logic is the only filter I use, so if you read 10 cards to reinforce a bad argument, don't be surprised when I vote on an analytic answer.

- Critical affs/framework - I generally prefer affs to have some sort of advocacy text.  Doesn't have to be a plan/policy, just a statement that lets the neg have a stable target.  I think framework arguments that attempt to dictate the *form* of argumentation are not compelling.  If you go for T against K affs I would simply prefer you to define *anything* other than "Resolved:" "USFG" "should."  Those debates got stale before *I* stopped debating.

- Disads - the link is the most important component of any DA debate.  The more nuanced and deep your link story, the better your chances of winning and likely the better your speaker points as well.  I'm a sucker for intrinsicness arguments vs. politics-type DAs.

- Kritiks - like DAs, it's all about the link.  The more specific your link story/evidence, the better your chances.  Reps Ks are pretty weak imo - you generally need a link to the plan itself for me to reject the perm.  Other than that I'm fairly comfortable with whatever you wanna do - class-based Ks, Afro-pessimism, existentialist Ks, pomo...go nuts (psychoanalysis is stupid but I will vote on it if you make me)

- Conditionality/theory - I'm probably more neutral than I've ever been re: conditionality.  I used to abuse the shit out of aff teams with conditionality, so go nuts if you want.  That being said, I would easily vote for conditionality bad, especially if one can demonstrate in-round strategy skew.  To be clear, "time skew" is not a compelling argument here.  Anything other than conditionality/dispo is a reason to reject the argument, generally speaking.


I will interject in the round in the event of any of the following:

- I am asked to clarify if a certain argument is on my flow

- I am confused by a statement or word and require clarification

If I do, don't be alarmed, I won't go Dallas on you - it is exclusively to prevent avoidable and unnecessary miscommunication.


Finally, be kind to each other and be respectful.  If someone asks you to use a certain pronoun when speaking to them or about them, please honor it.  If you have any questions I didn't sufficiently answer, feel free to ask.

Kate Carroll Paradigm

1 rounds

If you're not going to be cordial and polite, do not expect exceptional speaks. The "best" debater is a reflection of skill, execution, and decorum.

(be kind or go home)

and yes, I would like to be on the email chain katecarroll4[at]gmail[dot]com

TOC 2019 PF:

showing up to rounds when they are supposed to start, or late without good reason is disrespectful to your competitors, your judges, and the tournament hosts. if a team shows up late, or exactly when the round is supposed to start, they will automatically forfeit the flip.

Refer to Christian Vasquez’s Paradigm for the PF translation of my philosophy.

• I will flow, clarity is important, and arguments must be impacted.

• Paraphrasing in front of me is not a good idea.

• Winning a defensive argument does not mean that you win the debate. I consider a turn that is not impacted as a defensive argument.

• Offense to me means impacts, you can interpret that as consequences.

• Terminal impacts do not need to be held to the threshold of nuclear war, but they also need to be more than "econ decline is bad." Your impact explanation should (at the bare minimum) look something like this: "econ decline is bad because XYZ happens"

This debate is about the resolution/topic: being a good/bad idea. This debate is not about the hypothetical implementation of any plan. there is no such thing as "fiat" in PF because there is no plan.


"Strike me if you're not going to read cards. These are cards. If I have to ask for a card at the end of the round and what you show me isn't close to that, I'm just not considering it for the round. I'll just evaluate my flow as if it wasn't there.

Telling me that you've summarized this part and that part of a 40 page PDF is ridiculous. More than half the time the article isn't about the actual debate topic and you're just hoping no one calls you out for it. Paraphrasing in public forum is out of control and it's really become intellectually dishonest.

Here's even a link to Verbatim, a macro template that works with Microsoft Word so that card cutting is really easy."

Policy: JV/Novice Specific:

I try to be more of a teacher than a judge. I believe that it's part of my role to make sure that you're using best practices, and that both teams have an idea of what is going on in the round.

if you show me your flows and they're good, I could give you extra speaker points.

that being said:

you must have a full debate with all 4 constructive speeches and all 4 rebuttals. you have to try.

I'm willing to be flexible, if you need something ask. If you're confused about the structure or how to do things, or need tech help let me know.

general policy things:

  • Clarity is important and will be reflected in speaks. I will not hesitate to yell clear if I am having trouble understanding you.
  • Be on time! start the debate on time! if you're late absent a compelling reason it will negatively impact your speaks.
  • I'll listen to anything, but in the spirit of best judging practices it’s good to know that I am not the best judge for niche kritiks
  • in order to win the debate you must win the line by line
  • Be nice to each other, will be reflected in speaks if you're a jerk to your partner/opponent
  • Pet peeve-when sides call the advantages/off case different things. don't do that
  • Tech over truth
  • If your overview is longer than 1 min it's no longer an overview, it's just a waste of your time. put the link overview on the link debate, the uniqueness overview w/the uniqueness debate, etc.
  • You must impact dropped args/args in general
  • Generally think t is not a question of solvency, I am easily convinced that limits are good.
  • Reading wipeout, Schopenhauer, death good, time cube, and/or death cult in front of me is a waste of your time.
  • Conditionality is meh, the argument for 3 being bad is a lot more compelling than 2 ill default to in round abuse. but will likely not be compelled to vote on two is abusive.
  • You must extend an interpretation and violation or CI if you're going for T!!!!!!!!!
  • I'd prefer email chains to flashing 1) faster, 2) no worries about viruses and 3) less prep thievery
  • I believe that card clipping is a reason to reject the team, but you must have coherent evidence (audio/video recording). If I catch you I will call you out and you will lose the debate (If the other team doesn't notice or calls you out). The team card clipping will get zero speaks. If you choose to stake the debate on this violation I will evaluate the evidence and if there is substantial evidence the team that card clips will lose the debate. Substantial evidence is an audio recording.

do your thing, do it well and I'll vote for you.

I would rather you not read a plan text than read a meaningless plan text. Either be policy or don't be policy, the in-between sacrifices a lot of offense.

If you are a debater that reads non-traditional arguments know a few things:
1. you still have to win the line by line to win the debate, regardless if it is on FW or the aff.
2. you must answer all relevant theory arguments
3. "help" me flow, frame things from an impact/link/etc. perspective.

if you have any questions for me, ask.


I will still vote for you if you win the debate. (absent any sorts of cheating/card clipping)

fun facts:
my favorite topic in hs was the transportation topic
I lost to one off t-its once as a sophomore
favorite color is green

Wayzata 14'
University of Minnesota 18

email me if there's any other questions katecarroll4[at]gmail[dot]com

Robert Ciborowski Paradigm

7 rounds

Not Submitted

Josh Clark Paradigm

2 rounds

Joshua Clark

Montgomery Bell Academy

University of Michigan - Assistant Coach, Institute Instructor

Past Schools:
Juan Diego Catholic
Notre Dame in Sherman Oaks

Jordan (UT) 96-98
College of Eastern Utah 99
Cal St Fullerton 01-04


Speaker Points
Points will generally stay between 27.5 and 29.9. It generally takes between a 28.6 and 28.7 to clear. I assign points with that in mind. Teams that average 28.65 or higher in a debate means that I thought your points were elimination round-level debates. While it's not an exact science, 28.8-28.9 mean you had a good chance advancing the elimination rounds, 29+ indicates excellence reserved for quarters+. I'm not stingy with these kinds of points and they have nothing to do with past successes. It has everything to do with your performance in THIS debate.

1. Jumping is no longer considered prep.
2. Please do your best to reserve restroom breaks before the opposing team's speeches and not right before your own.
3. Try to treat each other with mutual respect.
4. Cards MUST be marked during the speech. Please say "Mark the card" and please have you OR your partner physically mark the cards in the speech. It is not possible to remember where you've marked your cards after the speech. Saying "mark the card" is the only way to let your judge and competitors know that you are not intending to represent that you've read the entirety of the card. Physically marking the card in the speech is necessary to maintain an accurate account of what you did or didn't read.

My 20 years in the community has led me to have formulated some opinions about how the activity should be run. I'm not sharing these with you because I think this is the way you have to debate, but because you may get some insight about how to win and earn better speaker points in front of me.

1) Conceded claims without warrants - A conceded argument is only given as much weight as the warrant that supports it. You still must have a warrant to support your claim...even if the argument has been conceded. If no warrant has been provided, then it wasn't ever an argument to begin with. For theory arguments to rise to the level of an actual "argument", they have to be properly warranted. If your conditionality argument takes less than 5 seconds to read, it's probably not an argument. "Condo -strat skew, voter....I hope they drop it" very well might be dropped, and not voted on. Politics theory arguments and Permutations fall into this same category. A perm must describe how it resolves the link to the net benefit to be an argument. You can't win on "perm: do the cp" without a reason it resolves the aff and should be theoretically allowed. "Vote NO" and "Fiat solves the link" need to have warrants also. If you are the victim of a theory arg like this, vote no, or intrinsicness, or whatever short thought, do not give up on this argument. You should be honest about not having flowed the argument because of its absurd brevity. You should also make arguments about how the development of those arguments in the 1ar are all new and should be rejected and your new answers be allowed. Affirmatives should make complete theory args in front of me, and negatives shouldn't be afraid to point out that the argument lacked a credible warrant.

2) Voting issues are reasons to reject the argument. (Other than conditionality)

3) Don't make affirmative statements in CX to start your response to a CX question you disagree with. For example, if one is asked "Is your plan a bad idea?' You shouldn't start your response with "sure" or "right", and then go on to disagree with the question. If you need a filler word or phrase, find one that doesn't posit an affirming response.

4) Debate stays in the round -- Debate is a game of testing ideas and their counterparts. Those ideas presented inside of the debate will be the sole factor used in determining the winning team. Things said or done outside of this debate round will not be considered when determining a winning team.

Topicality vs Conventional Affs: I default to competing interpretations on topicality, but can be persuaded by reasonability. Jurisdiction means nothing to me because I see jurisdiction being shaped by the questions of predictability, limits, and fairness. Topicality is a voting issue.

Topicality vs Critical Affs: I generally think that policy debate is a good thing and that a team should both have a plan and defend it. Given that, I have no problem voting for "no plan" advocacies or "fiat-less" plans. I will be looking for you to win that your impact turns to topicality/framework outweigh the loss of education/fairness that would be given in a "fiated" plan debate. I generally think affirmative teams struggle with answering the argument that they could advocate the majority of their aff while defending a topical plan. I also think that teams who stress they are a pre-requisite to topical action have a more difficult time with topical version type arguments, then teams do who impact turn standards. If you win that the state is irredeemable at every level, you are much more likely to get me to vote against FW. The K aff teams who have had success in front of me have been very good at generating a reasonable list of arguments that negative teams could run against them in order to mitigate the fairness impact of the T/FW argument. This makes the impact turns of a stricter limit much more persuasive to me.

I'm also in the fairness camp as a terminal impact, as opposed to an emphasis on portable skills. I think you can win that T comes before substantive issues.

One note to teams that are neg against an aff that lacks stable advocacy: Make sure you adapt your framework arguments to fit the aff. Don't read..." you must have a plan" if they have a plan. If a team has a plan but doesn't defend fiat, and base your ground arguments on that violation.

Counterplans and Disads: The more specific to the aff, the better. There are few things better than a well-researched PIC that just blind sites a team. Objectively, I think counterplans that compete on certainty or immediacy are not legitimate. However, I still coach teams to run these arguments, and I can still evaluate a theory debate about these different counterplans as objectively as possible. Again, the more specific the evidence is to the aff, the more legitimate it will appear.

The K: I was a k debater and a philosophy major in college and you are welcome to run a criticism in front of me. I prefer criticisms that are specific to the resolution. If your K links don't discuss arms sales this year, then it's unlikely to be very persuasive to me. I think that impact comparisons usually become the most important part of a kritik, and the excessive link list becomes the least of a team’s problems heading into the 2nr. You need to win that either a) you turn the case and have an external impact or b) you solve the case and have an external impact. Root cause arguments are good, but rarely address the timeframe issue of case impacts. If you are going to win your magnitude comparisons, then you better do a lot to mitigate the case impacts. I also find most framework arguments associated with a K near pointless. Most of them are impacted by the K proper and therefore depend on you winning the K in order to win the framework argument. Before devoting any more time to framework beyond getting your K evaluated, you should ask yourself and clearly state to me, what happens if you win your theory argument. You should craft your "role of the ballot" argument based on the answer to that question. I am willing to listen to sequencing arguments that EXPLAIN why discourse, epistemology, ontology, ect. come first.

Conclusion: I love debate...good luck if I'm judging you and please feel free to ask any clarifying questions.

In an effort to promote disclosure at the high school level, any team that practices near-universal "open source" will be awarded .2 extra per debater if you bring that to my attention prior to the RFD.

Jason Courville Paradigm

4 rounds

For email chains and any questions, my email is

Speaking Style (Speed, Quantity) - I like fast debate. Speed is fine as long as you are clear and loud. I will be vocal if you are not. A large quantity of quality arguments is great. Supplementing a large number of quality arguments with efficient grouping and cross-application is even better.

Theory - Theory arguments should be well impacted/warranted. I treat blippy/non-warranted/3 second theory arguments as non-arguments. My threshold for voting on a punishment voter ("reject the team") is higher than a "reject the argument, not the team" impacted argument. I'm open to a wide variety of argument types as long as you can justify them as theoretically valuable.

Topicality - My topicality threshold is established by the combination of answers.

Good aff defense + no aff offense + solid defense of reasonability = higher threshold/harder to win for the neg.

Good aff defense + no aff offense + neg wins competing interps = low threshold/easy to win for the neg.

Counterplans - counterplan types (from more acceptable to more illegit): advantage CPs, textually/functionally competitive PICs, agent CPs, textually but not functionally competitive PICs (ex. most word pics), plan contingent counterplans (consult, quid pro quo, delay)

Disadvantages - Impact calculus is important. Especially comparison of different impact filters (ex. probability outweighs magnitude) and contextual warrants based on the specific scenarios in question. Not just advantage vs disadvantage but also weighing different sub-components of the debate is helpful (uniqueness vs direction of the link, our link turn outweighs their link, etc).

Kritiks - My default framework is to assess whether the aff has affirmed the desirability of a topical plan. If you want to set up an alternative framework, I'm open to it as long as you win it on the line-by-line. I most often vote aff vs a kritik on a combination of case leverage + perm. It is wise to spend time specifically describing the world of the permutation in a way that resolves possible negative offense while identifying/impacting the perm's net benefit.

I most often vote neg for a kritik when the neg has done three things:
1. effectively neutralized the aff's ability to weigh their case,
2. there is clear offense against the perm, and
3. the neg has done a great job of doing specific link/alternative work as well as contextualizing the impact debate to the aff they are debating against.

Performance/Projects - I’ve voted both for and against no plan affs. When I’ve voted against no plan affs on framework, the neg team won that theory outweighed education impacts and the neg neutralized the offense for the aff’s interpretation.

Other Comments
Things that can be a big deal/great tiebreaker for resolving high clash/card war areas of the flow:
- subpointing your warrants/tiebreaking arguments when you are extending,
- weighing qualifications (if you make it an explicit issue),
- comparing warrants/data/methodology,
- establishing criteria I should use to evaluate evidence quality,
- weighing the relative value of different criteria/arguments for evidence quality (ex. recency vs preponderance/quantity of evidence)

If you do none of the above and your opponent does not either, I will be reading lots of evidence and the losing team is going to think that my decision involved a high level of intervention. They will be correct.

Luisa Cusick Paradigm

7 rounds

Top Level

Coach at Central Catholic High School

luisacusick [at] gmail (put me on the e-mail chain)

I'll do my best to make a decision based solely on the arguments presented in the debate. Your speaker points will benefit from specific and well-researched strategies

Please be kind to your opponents and partner! I am very concerned with the way (esp. national circuit) policy debate trains us to treat other people

Relevant Predispositions

- Condo is good. Counterplan theory depends on the quality of the solvency advocate and my proclivities change from topic to topic
- I default to kicking the counterplan for the neg if they win offense but don't win the counterplan
- Skills and process framework arguments are more persuasive to me than topic education arguments
- I don’t like how little evidence quality matters in policy debates. I wish it were debated more
- It pretty much never makes sense to assign anything 100% risk. Likewise, minimizing an argument's risk to a small enough signal means it's overwhelmed by noise, and that's enough to assign it 0 risk

Andie Divelbiss Paradigm

7 rounds

Debated at Blue Valley Southwest High School for 3 years. Local and TOC circuit. Class of 2015. I have judged and worked as an assistant coach for Blue Valley Southwest High School every year since that. If you have any questions just ask.

Top Level: As a debater I really enjoyed faster, technical debate, but I’m sympathetic to the necessity of adaptation in certain situations. I weigh tech over truth and I generally believe a dropped argument is a true one, but an argument/extension must include a claim and a warrant and an argument isn’t conceded if it’s answered explicitly elsewhere on the flow or in an overview. I view the debate through an offense defense paradigm and am hard pressed to vote for a negative team that doesn’t have any offense. However, I could vote on no risk of a link, especially if there’s dropped defense or an interrogation of author qualifications.

Theory: Except in the case of condo, theory is almost always only a reason to reject the argument or justify otherwise questionable arguments. I generally think conditionality is good.

Topicality: T is never a reverse voting issue. I default to competing interpretations, and generally find reasonability unpersuasive. I think that definitions should be precise. Standards need to be impacted out, and debaters should describe these impacts in terms of what debate would look like for the aff and neg. Precision and limits are the most persuasive impacts to me.

Framework: I think that affs should defend a topical federal government action, but I will try to limit the impact of my bias on my decision. I believe that some predictable stasis point is necessary for debate to be productive. I don’t see 2AC answers that revolve around framework being exclusionary as a persuasive reason for the aff to win the debate.

Counterplans: Counterplans should almost always have solvency. In general my opinions on common counterplans are as follows – PICs are good, 50 state/agent/international/multiplank CPs can go either way, for word PICs and delay and consult counterplans I lean aff but will vote neg if they win technically and am more willing to vote on them if they have specific solvency or ground for competition. Textual and functional competition both have a time and place. I’m willing to judge-kick a counter-plan, but only if told to do so explicitly. However, I have a fairly low threshold for the aff to win that that’s abusive and I shouldn’t do so.

Disads: Impact calculus is extremely important and should begin early and continue through the rebuttals. I think that disad and case can be a winning strategy when doing top-level arguments like turns case. 1AR needs to answer impact calculus but I have a low threshold for answering arguments like “rolls back the case”, that said, I will absolutely vote on them if dropped. I also think time frame is an underutilized method of impact calculus that can make resolving the debate much easier.

Kritiks: I have a fair understanding of most generic Ks (neolib, marx, security) and a limited one for more radical kritiks (baudrillard, deleuze, etc) so you shouldn’t rely too heavily on buzzwords. I have a pretty low threshold for the aff answering K tricks like floating PIKs, but I will vote on them if dropped. I don’t think either the neg or the aff should be entirely mooted and believe the aff should have the ability to weigh their impacts against the K. Finally, I don’t want to have to evaluate two ships passing in the night, so the negative must do aff specific analysis on both link and impact levels.

Speaker points: Please be respectful of your competitors - racist and sexist language will result in extremely low point values. Smart strategy/concessions, impact calc, humor, efficiency, evidence comparison, and technical proficiency will get you more points. If a team wants to challenge another team for clipping they must have audio proof.

Duncan Donahue Paradigm

7 rounds

Duncan Donahue - Assistant Debate Coach at H.H. Dow High School

Debated - 14-18 for H.H. Dow (Policy), Currently debating for the University of Notre Dame (NPDA)



- I lean toward kritikal debate over traditional policy, but my preferences don't determine my ballot - you do you

- my experience and comfort zone is soft left + k affs, t, fw, and ks.

- the framework/framing flow will decide what I'm doing in the back of the room, so don't overlook it for the minutiae of the line-by-line on other flows

- tech over truth, but every arg has to be impacted and warranted

- affs need to defend something other than the status quo but don't necessarily need to have a plan text or advocacy statement.

- overall, explain what your arguments are and why they mean I should vote for you. see below for little specifics about how tend to evaluate different types of arguments.

Procedural Information

- Be nice and have fun! Being rude/offensive will drop your speaker points quick, regardless of whether it's in a speech or not.

- Speed: Speed is great as long as you are clear.

- Warranted Claims: an argument isn't complete unless there's a warrant for the claim. I won't vote on unsupported blippy arguments even if they're conceded.

- Offensive Arguments: Offensive arguments like "Oppression Good" will sharply drop speaker points. Offensive/hurtful language directed at another debater will result in a loss, a zero in speaker points, and me contacting the offending team's coach.

- Post-rounding: it'll drop your speaks.

- Cheating: one warning for stealing prep before I dock speaks. Proven clipping will result in being dropped and zeros.

Specific Arguments:

Case - Extend it every aff speech. When the story of the aff is missing, I'm left wondering what I'm supposed to be voting for.

T - I love T, but because of that I have a high threshold for evaluating T. I favor tech over truth for T, but you’re interp and violations should at least make logical sense. I default to T being apriori unless the affirmative makes args to the contrary.

Theory - isolate how the other team’s specific actions warrant me punishing them with a loss or with dropping a certain argument. Generic claims of fairness and education won't get very far unless you contextualize specifically to the round. Also, don’t spread theory blocks please :)

CPs - no problem with CP debates but the solvency and net benefit debate need to be flushed out. I don't judge-kick CPs so if it's in the 2nr, the neg doesn't get the status quo. I will stick the negative to the exact plan text in the 1nc just like I will stick the aff to their plan text in the 1ac.

DAs - I think a lot of traditional DA link chains and impacts are kind of comical outside of the lens of debate, but so are a lot of advantages so don't expect me to believe the plan 100% causes nuclear annihilation, just weigh the probability of your impacts relative to the aff. Politics DAs are kind of disgusting.

Ks - love them, especially creative and specific ones. Make sure you’re explaining exactly what your alt is/does, including who does it and what my role as a judge is in participating/endorsing/affirming etc. I am most familiar with Cap/Neolib (especially Giroux, Marx, and Zapatismo), Critical Pedagogy, Security, Foucault, Postcolonialism, Posthumanism, and Anthro. Any high theory will need more explaining.

K affs/FW - Love them. Hate them when they're soulless and unexplained. I staunchly believe the affirmative should know their advocacy in and out and not just reread tags. Sure, K affs can just impact turn FW, but the best answers to FW usually go a bit further. It's gonna be hard for the neg to win any sort of "prior question" or apriori args in front of me and I'll probably lean toward weighing impacts on FW so tell me how to weigh them!

Speaker Point Ranges

27.6 to 27.9 needs work

28.0 to 28.3 acceptable

28.4 to 28.7 good

28.8 to 29 should probably get high speaker placement, maybe an award

29.1-29.4 speaker award

29.5+ top speaker contender

Sean Duff Paradigm

7 rounds

Debated 4 years at Dowling HS in Des Moines, Iowa (09-12, Energy, Poverty, Military, Space)
Debated at KU (13-15, Energy, War Powers, Legalization)
Previously Coached: Ast. Coach Shawnee Mission Northwest, Lansing High School.
Currently Coaching: Ast. Coach Washburn Rural High School

Top Level
Do whatever you need to win rounds. I have arguments that I like / don't like, but I'd rather see you do whatever you do best, than do what I like badly. Have fun. I love this activity, and I hope that everyone in it does as well. Don't be unnecessarily rude, I get that some rudeness happens, but you don't want me to not like you. Last top level note. If you lose my ballot, it's your fault as a debater for not convincing me that you won. Both teams walk into the room with an equal chance to win, and if you disagree with my decision, it's because you didn't do enough to take the debate out of my hands.

Carrot and Stick
Carrot - every correctly identified dropped argument will be rewarded with .1 speaks (max .5 boost)
Stick - every incorrectly identified dropped argument will be punished with -.2 speaks (no max, do not do this)

DAs - please. Impact calc/ turns case stuff obviously great, and I've seen plenty of debates (read *bad debates) where that analysis is dropped by the 1ar. Make sure to answer these args if you're aff.

Impact turns - love these debates. I'll even go so far as to reward these debates with an extra .2 speaker points. By impact turns I mean heg bag to answer heg good, not wipeout. Wipeout will not be rewarded. It will make me sad.

CPs - I ran a lot of the CPs that get a bad rep like consult. I see these as strategically beneficial. I also see them as unfair. The aff will not beat a consult/ condition CP without a perm and/or theory. That's not to say that by extending those the aff autowins, but it's likely the only way to win. I lean neg on most questions of CP competition and legitimacy, but that doesn't mean you can't win things like aff doesn't need to be immediate and unconditional, or that something like international actors are illegit.

Theory - Almost always a reason to reject the arg, not the team. Obviously conditionality is the exception to that rule.

T - Default competing interps. Will vote on potential abuse. Topical version of the aff is good and case lists are must haves. "X" o.w. T args are silly to me.

Ks - dropping k tricks will lose you the debate. I'm fine with Ks, do what you want to. Make sure that what you're running is relevant for that round. If you only run security every round, if you hit a structural violence aff, your security K will not compel me. Make sure to challenge the alternative on the aff. Make sure to have a defense of your epistemology/ontology/reps or that these things aren't important, losing this will usually result in you losing the round.

K affs - a fiat'd aff with critical advantages is obviously fine. A plan text you don't defend: less fine, but still viable. Forget the topic affs are a hard sell in front of me. It can happen, but odds are you're going to want someone else higher up on your sheet. I believe debate is good, not perfect, but getting better. I don't think the debate round is the best place to resolve the issues in the community.

Speaker points.
I don't really have a set system. Obviously the carrot and stick above apply. It's mostly based on how well you did technically, with modifications for style and presentation. If you do something that upsets me (you're unnecessarily rude, offensive, do something shady), your points will reflect that.

Tim Edstrom Paradigm

3 rounds


Tim Edstrom
Edina High School, MN

Rounds on Topic: Around 20
Debate Experience: 15 Years
Coaching Experience: 9 Years
Judging Experience: 11 years

Masculine or gender neutral pronouns.

Chain? Yes.

I think the value of debate is in its incredible ability to help people learn not only about the world around them but also about themselves. Debate is not only what happens in the debate round, but also all of the attendant things that surround and go into the debates and the performance of the debaters: their work, their thoughts about their arguments, their partnerships, their coaches, personal relationships, stress of school, family life, upbringing, privilege, ethnic or racial identity, orientation etc etc etc. I mention this first and foremost because you should definitely understand that I connect to you in the difficulty of this activity and can appreciate that sometimes debate is so overly stressful, you might make a mistake, might say something wrong, or might be off your game. I will take into account the relative difficulty of the tournament and your place in it in my evaluation of speaks and the round.

Debate judges are not robots or argument calculators: we have feelings just like you. I do not believe that debate is merely a technostrategic forum for the comparison of cold and static policy ideals. Please know that I think beliefs like this are not only harmful, but seriously make me question people's actual grasp of what this activity is and can mean for people. The benefits of debate have been guarded by wealth, race, and heteronormative gender elitism for decades (and I am no exception to this rule- white masculine pronoun using individual here from a relatively privileged background) but I would like to think I can entertain the notion that we can use the space to examine some of the ideas that we have about the world around us and that actually effect us as people rather than pretending that the only importance of a debate is whether or not a policy would be successful. If we can't examine those questions in debate, I am of the opinion that debate can't really change. And it is, and it will, but it's slow and a long road and a hard fight. It's easy to lose hope.

Lest you turn away in anger because you want to just plain read a DA- that's awesome! I still very much enjoy and am compelled by what some call "traditional debate" and judge all sorts of rounds on the national circuit. I like politics DAs, cleverly researched case negatives, and impact turns. All arguments should strive to emphasize evidence quality and internal warrants, and comparison of these are one of the key ways to a ballot and good speaks for me.

I am generally a bit affirmative leaning on theory as many times process based counterplans stretch the definition of what could be called a solvency advocate and actively seek obscure terms on which to condition the plan. I do love PICs however, and think that they can lead to some of the most interesting debating. If it's going to be a theory debate, please slow down a bit- I want to be able to actually flow the reasons I should vote for you. Generally I find I am compelled to vote for the team that not only best explains their impact but also how it relates to the other impacts in the round, whether policy or critical.

I judge a lot of clash of civilization debates as well- just a note for these: a creatively explained TVA is much better than a generic text with little explanation of how it actually "solves the affirmative." I would like you to actually make an effort to interact with the warrants of the affirmative.

Please feel free to ask any questions you have. I'll do my best to accommodate your debating in any way I can. This activity is for the debaters and not the judges, and I will strive to make sure my decision reflects that philosophy. Have fun and good luck!

Michael Eisenstadt Paradigm

6 rounds

Michael Eisenstadt, Ph.D.

Director of Forensics, California State University Long Beach | Notre Dame High School

9th Year Judging College Debate | 14th Year Judging High School Debate

2014 CEDA Pacific Region Critic of the Year | 2018 "Top Critic Award" at the Las Vegas Classic (UNLV) | 2019 CEDA Pacific Region Critic of the Year

For questions of any kind, please e-mail me at:

Tournaments Judged This Season (2019-2020): CNDI 3-Week, Jack Howe Memorial Invitational (Long Beach), Aztec Invitational (SDSU), Meadows, Fall at the Beach, Glenbrooks, Alta, Cal Swing 1, Cal Swing 2, Golden Desert, D1 NDT Qualifier (Pacific Championships), ADA Nationals

Updated 9-17-19

***I would like to be on the e-mail chain (, not my Tabroom e-mail).***

I will not necessarily read along with your speeches, but I would like to have evidence in the case that particular cards are disputed in cross-x and/or to make reading them after the debate concludes quicker.

This judge philosophy is just that, a philosophy. I think I have become more ambivalent to what your argument is over the years and more concerned with how you argue it. My job is to evaluate the arguments made in a debate, your job is to tell me why and how I should vote for them. Therefore, I think the following information is more helpful for you than me telling you what arguments I "like." This is your debate and not mine. Every day is #GAMEDAY and I will work hard when judging your debate, the same way I appreciated those who worked hard to judge my own.

An important meta-theoretical note: I believe in a 'healthy diet' of persuasion. I perceive there to be a serious problem with communication in competitive debate. Debates are won by important communicative moments (see below). Whether they are fast, slow, passionate, or hilarious, they must happen. I believe Will Repko has called these "Moments of Connection." Reading into your computer screen with no emphasis or clarity would make having such a moment extraordinarily difficult.

Debate is a communicative activity. This means that to win an argument a) I have to understand it and b) I have to hear it clearly enough to know it was there. At the end of the round, if we have a disagreement about something, usually a failure to achieve those requirements will be my explanation. Reading directly into your computer during your speeches and/or making no attempt at eye contact drastically heightens the risk of a miscommunication.

I am deeply concerned about the trend of evidence quality in debate. Teams seem to frequently read evidence that either fails to make a warranted claim OR that is highlighted down into oblivion. I think that a team who reads fewer, better (read: warranted) cards and sets the bar high for their opponents has a much better chance of winning their nexus/framing arguments.

Debate is what you make it. For some, debate is a game of verbal chess that is designed to teach them about institutional policy-making. For others, it is a place to develop community and advocacy skills for the problems and issues they face on an everyday basis whether at school, within debate, or elsewhere. I believe that one of the best things about this activity is that it can accomplish so many different things for so many individuals and it serves a variety of purposes. I think either or any of these approaches teach us the transferable skills debate can offer. No matter the arguments presented in a debate, I will always recognize this and will always support you for what you do. Over the years I have found myself voting fairly evenly for and against "framework" arguments because I will evaluate the arguments made in the debate itself. My ballot will never be an endorsement of one form of debate over another, it will very simply represent who I thought did the better debating.

Framework. In 1984, Dr. David Zarefsky famously argued, "the person who can set the terms of the debate has the power to win it." Generally, the 2NR that goes for "Topicality + Case D to Aff Impact Turns" is more likely to win in front of me than the 2NR who only goes for "State Good/Inevitable," though that is typically suitable defense on the case when the affirmative criticizes governmental action. The negative wins in front of me going for this 2NR strategy most often when it includes some combination of the following 3 arguments:

1. An interpretation supported by definitional evidence (that is ideally contextual to the topic). I am uncertain why negative interpretations like "direction of the topic" circumvents affirmative offense. These softer interpretations typically hurt the negative's ability to win the limits DA without much payoff. I have found that negative teams have a more uphill battle in front of me when the only term in the resolution they have defined is "United States Federal Government."

2. A Topical Version of the Aff and/or Switch Side Debate argument - I think of "framework" as the intersection between Topicality and argument(s) about how I prioritize impacts, which impacts should be prioritized, and what the best strategy for dealing with those impacts is. So, having a "counterplan" that plays defense to and/or solves portions of the case (and/or the impact turns) can be a good way to beat the affirmative. I find myself voting affirmative in debates where the 2NR did not address the affirmative's substantive offense (so, you did not respond to internal links to impact turns, address impact priority arguments, etc.). I also think this sets the negative up to make arguments about potential neg ground as well as a switch-side debate argument.

3. An impact - I have voted on procedural and structural fairness, topic education, and argument advocacy/testing impacts. Ideally, the 2NR will be careful to identify why these impacts access/outweigh the affirmative's offense and/or solve it. I think that debate is generally more valuable for "argument testing" than "truth testing," since the vast majority of arguments made in a debate rely on assumptions that "the plan/aff happens" or "the alternative/framework resolves a link."

Conversely, the affirmative should point out and capitalize on the absence of these arguments.

Presumption: This is a legal term that I think folks are often confused about. Presumption means that the affirmative has not met their burden of proof (sufficient evidence for change) and that I should err negative and be skeptical of change. Although a 2NR should try to avoid finding themselves with no offense, I am increasingly compelled by arguments that an affirmative who has not chosen to defend a(n) change/outcome (note: this does not mean a plan) has not met their burden of proof. For instance, an affirmative that says "the State is always bad" but does not offer some alternative to it has not overcome the presumption that shifting away from "the State" would be inherently risky. Of course, a framework argument about what it means to vote affirmative, or whether the role of the debate is to advocate for/against change factors into how I think about these issues.

Flowing: is a dying art. Regardless of whether I am instructed to or not, I will record all of the arguments on a flow. You should flow too. Reading along with speech docs does not constitute flowing. I am frustrated by teams who spend an entire cross-x asking which cards were read and requesting a speech doc with fewer cards. In the days of paper debate (I am a dinosaur to the teens of 2020), you would not have such a luxury. There are clearly instances where this is not uncalled for, but the majority of cases appear to be flowing issues, and not "card dumps" from an opposing team.

Permutations: I am almost never persuaded by the argument that the affirmative does not get a permutation in a "method debate." Permutations are mathematical combinations and all methods are permutations of theories and methods that preceded it. I could [rather easily] be persuaded that if the affirmative has no stable advocacy or plan, then they should not get a permutation. That is a different case and has a different warrant (affirmative conditionality). "Perm do the aff" is not an argument, it is not a permutation and says nothing about how a counterplan or alternative competes with the aff. I have also found that teams seem to have difficulty in defending the theoretical legitimacy of permutations. Although I would have an astronomically high threshold for voting on an argument like "severance permutations are a voting issue," such arguments could be persuasive reasons to reject a permutation.

Risk: I find that I am mostly on the "1% risk" side of things when a team has [good] evidence to support a claim. However, I can also be easily persuaded there is a "0% risk" if a team has made too much of a logical leap between their evidence and their claim, especially if the opposing team has also indicted their opponent's evidence and compared it to their own. This is especially true of "Link->Internal Link" questions for advantages and disadvantages.

Tech and Truth: If all arguments were equal in a debate, I would err on the side of truth. However, that is rarely (and should not be) the case. When there is not a clear attempt by both teams to engage in line-by-line refutation, one team tends to miss important framing arguments their opponents are making that undercut the "impact" of their truth claims. This understanding is distinct from "they dropped an arg, judge, so it must be true," since that is not a warranted extension of an argument nor is it a comparison that tells me why the "dropped argument" (how do we know it was dropped if we aren't debating line-by-line and making these comparisons? Could an argument somewhere else or on an entirely different sheet answer it?) should affect the way I evaluate other portions of the debate.

Other important notes:

A) I will vote for the team who I found to do the better debating. This means if your framing argument is "your ballot is political because _______" and I vote for you, my ballot is NOT necessarily an endorsement of that politics. Rather, it means you won your impact prioritization and did the better debating, nothing more, nothing less.

B) I do not want to preside over accusations about what has or has not happened outside of the debate I am judging. In these situations, I will always defer to the arguments presented in a debate first and try to resolve the debate in that fashion, since I am often not witness to the events that are brought up about what may or may not have happened prior to a debate.

C) I am ambivalent about argument selection and theory and am willing to vote against my own convictions. E.G. I think the Delay CP is 100% cheating and unfair but I will not credit a 2AR on that position that does not defeat the negative's arguments about why the CP is good/legitimate or I think conditionality is generally good but would still vote that it is bad if the negative is unable to defend their 1NC strategy.

D) I am unwilling to "judge kick" a CP extended by the 2NR unless they have explicitly told me why I should. The affirmative should, of course, contest the claim that I can always revert to the status quo in the event that a counterplan is insufficient/unnecessary.

Ashley Ellis Paradigm

7 rounds

always throw me on the email chain- my email is

- northwestern university 2022/shawnee mission northwest 2018

- coach at evanston township

top level:

1. be nice to each other please-- being excessively rude will to anyone in the room will probably get your speaker points docked. aggressive postrounding is ugly and will also get your speaker points docked.

2. tech (almost always) > truth

3. tech>truth, but i do think pics, conditions cps, object fiat, and other silly fiat tricks can be pretty cheaty, so you'll have to reeeeeally pull through on those to win them-- and i will grant a lot of leeway to bad 2acs on them

4. debate is a game

5. i try to avoid any argumentative extrapolation when deciding

6. time yourselves


1. affirmatives should be topical. i'll weigh a k aff if you win framework. be clear and thorough with framework answers or i'll probably err neg

2. i find presumption arguments to be pretty persuasive

3. any impact scenario is fine-- if you're reading a structural advantage, have good framing cards

4. fiat is durable

topicality: jurisdiction is not a voter and potential abuse is ALMOST never a voter

disadvantages: please read them

counterplans: as i said above, there are a few types that i think can be cheating and you absolutely must win the theory debate if you want me to vote on them. if you find yourself wondering if you may be reading a cp that i am inclined to think is cheating, just ask yourself: am i cheating right now? the answer should become pretty clear at that point. be very clear and thorough on cp theory.

i'll judge kick if you tell me to. i'll probably do it even if you don't tell me to. as long as it's conditional, the status quo is always an option, especially since you'll presumably still have a disad in play. not allowing judge kicking justifies sloppy work on the net benefit which is probably... bad for debate.

** to be clear: i will not judge kick if the aff is winning a perm or any offense. apparently this is a point of contention.

kritiks: go for them if that's your thing, i'll weigh them. i'm really not sure how i feel about out-of-round occurrences, so you can most likely persuade me either way.

1. don't sacrifice argumentative clarity for trying to sound sophisticated

2. perms

3. cyclical structural violence is infuriating but you should still, idk, be a nice person in round

theory: It sounds trashy, but, as a 2a, I'm definitely willing to vote on bad theory arguments if not answered well. this is where i'm definitely the most tech>truth.

conditionality is generally good but I'll vote aff on *1 fewer* solves their offense if the work is there.

reverse voting issues??? probably don't belong in debate

speaker points: start around a 28.5 and i'll raise or lower them accordingly. you can go pretty fast in front of me, i'll probably be slightly offended if you go slow. pop tags and stay clear. i appreciate good jokes and time-relevant memes. really hot lines in cards will probably get you a boost. i really like weird/risky strategies that end well. a strong, hot cross ex is the #1 route to a 30. good organization is #2.


****framework =/= framing****

1. i am 100% a policy debater/judge/coach but I did a little bit of ld in high school and have judged it before without managing to royally screw up decisions-- keep this in mind when choosing which argumentative tools are at your disposal in the debate.

2. being that I'm not too big into ld, make sure you're getting your point across. i understand most of the tech, but if I look confused, you should try to help me out. i'm pretty reactive.

3. util did not justify slavery. this arg is tired and I have a very very very low* threshold for voting on it.

4. i think defensive framework pre-empts in the 1ac are generally a waste of time because they make args that have to almost fully be reiterated in the 1ar- just read more offense.

*I will never vote on it

public forum:

1. see ld- i'm definitely a policy person. i did pf a lot more in high school than I did ld and was alright at it, but i was limited to the local, nsda-type circuit.

i'm not sure if that means I'm a flex-type judge then? if you want to turn it into a policy debate---go ahead, i'll adjudicate the round like i would a policy debate. if you want to keep it soundbyte debate, then it will probably be a low point win-- i can't not let myself weigh tech, sorry.

Tim Ellis Paradigm

7 rounds

Tim Ellis
Head Coach - Washburn Rural High School, Topeka, KS
Debated at Manhattan High School
Updated 7/29/19
Email chain -

First thing is first, if anything in this paradigm isn't clear enough, feel free to ask me before the round, I'd be more than happy to clarify.

Tl;dr - I judge quite a bit, about 100 rounds last year, and am generally pretty familiar with the topic from coaching and working at camps. As a competitor I gravitated toward plan oriented affs and CP/DA strategies on the neg and have coached teams who debate similarly, but I am open to you debating however you would like to. I have literature deficiencies in some areas that make me less knowledgeable of certain strategies. I am also a teacher who believes in debate as an educational activity, so I am generally open to listening to you debate in whatever fashion you're the most comfortable.

If you would like to know more specifics, they are below.

Topicality: I feel like topicality is usually a question of competing interpretations, but just like anything else in debate, you can persuade me otherwise. I tend to think that debaters are not great at explaining the offense that they have on T flows, and particularly, how offensive arguments interact with one another. I have seen a lot of 2ARs recently where the aff doesn't extend a terminal impact to their counter interp. I pretty much always vote neg in these situations. All too often the neg will go for a limits DA and the aff will say precision, but no one will discuss which one has more value in creating a stable model for debate. Reasonability alone is not an argument that makes sense to me, absent an offensive argument. Good is good enough is nonsense - if you are close to beating a DA, I'm still going to vote neg. If you want to utilize a reasonability argument more persuasively, I would suggest that you frame it almost like sufficiency on the counterplan and have an offensive reason that inclusion of the aff is good. As far as spec debates, I usually find them quite dull. I am growing weary of affs that obviously defend a certain agent with their solvency advocate and advantages but will not defend that agent when debating an agent counterplan. Stop this and defend your arguments please.

Framework: I find that framework debates to me are usually an issue of fairness. I find myself generally not super persuaded by the value of topic education vs the value of whatever educational outlet the affirmative has chosen to discuss is. The aff usually has better evidence about the importance of their particular educational outlet anyway, especially given the fact that they know what it is and can adequately prepare for it. Fairness is a bit more contestable from the negative perspective, in my opinion. Central to convincing me to vote for a non-resolutionally based affirmative is their ability to describe to me what the role of the negative would be under their model of debate. K affs can gain a lot of leeway with me by being in the direction of the resolution and defending at least some links in the realm of topic literature. I am not a very good judge for affs that have no resolutional basis. Regardless, I also think that the aff has a better chance by focusing most of their time on impact turning framework and then using the directionality of the aff toward the topic in order to win some defense against the negs framework claims.

Theory: Most theory debates are people reading blocks back and forth and are totally useless. I usually default to rejecting the argument and not the team. Conditionality is a potential exception to that rule, but it has been a long time since I saw a team ready to debate condo very well.

Kritiks: I am not as familiar with the literature base for this style of argumentation. That doesn't mean I don't vote on the K, it simply means that you need a little more explanation for your argument than you otherwise might. I think that good K teams are able to contextualize their argument with the world of the affirmative. Recently I've judged a bunch of K debates where the links all seem to be descriptions of the status quo, but the affirmative is not very good at winning that the aff is in the direction of the alt. If the neg is going to try and go for just framework and a link/ethics argument, I think it is important that they focus a substantial amount of time on the framework debate, and try and have an interpretation of framework that is not completely arbitrary and should try and win that there is a unique link to the aff. If you are able to win framework and a unique link then you're probably good without an alt. If you are going to go for an alternative, it is probably important that you explain to me how the alternative functions and how the alt resolves the links to the K and probably portions of the affirmative, otherwise you will be susceptible to losing on the aff outweighs. Be descriptive of how the alt functions. I have also found myself recently voting for the aff in the vast majority of debates where the 2NR does not have a thorough contestation of the affirmative. You don't explicitly have to go to the case pages, but you should definitely be calling into question the truth of the 1ACs internal link chains or the efficacy of it to solve the problems that it seeks to solve.

Disads/Counterplans/Case: These are the types of debate I am most familiar with. I think the case debate is under utilized, and that the education topic may have been the worst thing in recent memory at teaching people to debate the case. I wish that more teams would focus on the internal links to the aff advantages instead of just reading impact defense and hoping that a DA outweighs. I think delay counterplans are cheating. Conditions and consult counterplans I can easily be convinced are cheating, but having a solvency advocate helps.

Things I like: Rebuttals that paint a clear picture of what an aff/neg ballot means. Evidence comparison. Debaters who don't read off their computer for the whole debate. Debaters who are funny/having fun. Warranted arguments/smart analytics. Well thought out strategies.

Things I dislike: Bluetooth speakers, must define all terms, running arguments you don't really understand, death good, topicality = genocide, general rudeness, stealing prep time, and clipping cards. If you enjoy doing these things, you probably don't want me to judge you.

Disclaimer: I love the activity of debate, and think that it is a place where all types of debate styles/debaters should be welcome. If you are excessively rude to the other team (laughing during speeches, being disrespectful in cross-x, etc) I will let you know. If the behavior continues, there is a strong chance that I will vote against you on principle.

Adegoke Fakorede Paradigm

4 rounds

I have debated in Lincoln-Douglas Debate for 4 years in Science park high school. I recently graduated and I am now on the Rutgers Newark debate team. I've qualified to the TOC in both Lincoln-Douglas and Policy debate my senior Year.

I am ok with speed. I love k's and critical arguments when they are ran correctly.

Theory is fine with me as well as topicality but I need really good analysis on the violation and impacts back to standards.

Im really ok with any argument that isn't racist, sexist, or offensive in anyway.

I give high speaks if you are clear and really good in the big picture debate. I like a good story.

email is: for email chains

Aly Fiebrantz Paradigm

2 rounds

Current Director of Speech and Debate at NSU University School in Davie, FL.

Former Director of Forensics and Full time policy debate coach at Cypress Bay High School in Weston, FL (7 years).


General: First judging philosophies are silly. Read whatever arguments you would like to read that you think are best appropriate for that round. I will not wholesale discount or credit arguments at face value. I think people should be nice to each other. I believe in tech over truth within reason, a shitty argument is a shitty argument regardless if it's conceded but, if an argument is dropped it's probably true and my threshold for extension/impact calc is much lower. I will also add .5 to your speaker points (guidelines below) if you engage in GOOD LBL Debate that include numbers in the 2AC. I miss organization. I prefer to have the least amount of judge intervention this means saying things like "extend" are necessary for me. Most importantly I believe the debate round isn't about me it's about the debaters. You do you and you'll be fine (mostly).

Pet Peeves that may result in lower speaker points

1) Longer than 20 second overviews on ANYTHING ever.

2) Claiming you'll go LBL and then failing miserably

3) Responding to a CX question with "we don't take a stance on that"

4) Being generally rude/mean to others. Making people feel unsafe, forcing disclosure of identities etc.

5) I'll do X debate here. This is inefficient but more importantly it normally means you're answering arguments that are in fact not on that place on the flow.

Framework Debates: I don't think you need to defend a plan or the state but I do think you need to defend your interpretation of debate if pressed. Fairness/Predictability are probably good impacts but I can be persuaded otherwise. I think "fair for whom?" Is also an appropriate question when asked in a persuasive manner. I find when I do end up voting on FW it's entirely frustrating if all of the arguments from one side are in a long narrative overview and the other is extending specific arguments on a flow. I am not inclined to take arguments from one piece of a flow and apply them elsewhere without being told.

Planless Debates: I think these debates can be awesome and really enjoyable to watch, however I think you need to defend your interpretation of debate. If that means you don't have to talk about the resolution then tell me why. If that means you don't have to have a plan text that's fine just explain/defend yourself. I sometimes find Framework arguments responsive, and reasons to reject the affirmative it quite honestly just depends on the debate round.

Topicality: I think a lot of the affirmatives on this year's topic are not topical. I'll default to competing interpretations if not told otherwise. I find arguments that Fairness/predictability are good and pretty persuasive. Topicality is never a reverse voting issue, but some K's of T might be persuasive. I think if you go for T in the 2NR you need to extend your Interp, Violation & Impacts clearly.

K's: IF you read high theory stuff (Baudrillard mainly) I might not be the judge for you and/or you need further explanation. Psychoanalysis is bunk science is a believable arg for me. And Presumption is never a winning strategy. Something like Hostage taking really shouldn't be read in front of me, I find myself thinking "who cares" I think rejection is enough of an alternative almost all of the time. Reading FW against K's I don't really ever think is a round winning argument. I'm most likely going to default that the aff gets !!s and the K gets to exist.

CPs/DAs: I don't see these debates very often, but few things. I don't think counter-plans need to be textually competitive. I think if you don't have offense on the disad I'm not likely to vote aff, I don't think terminal defense is almost ever a thing. And I am not willing to judge kick arguments. I AM NOT AN ECONOMIST do not assume I understand anything about the economy at all. It's for everyone's benefit I promise.

Speaker points ... I've done a lot of thinking about this and have decided that my speaker points did not reflect the current inflation and probably unfairly punish teams from breaking when speaker points matter. I will try to follow to the following guidelines:

medicore (you probably aren't breaking): 28.3-28.8,

I'm almost impressed. Perhaps you'll break": 28.8-29.3

I'm impressed, you even were organized and did LBL: 29.4-29.7

Best speech I've ever seen. 29.8-30

E-mail me if you have any questions and include me on email chains please :)


1) I primarily judge policy so most of my reasoning etc will default to policy norms instead of PF norms.

2) BE NICE!!! This includes using offensive/racist/sexist/rhetoric. If this is done you will receive 20 speaker points.

3) I think the 2nd rebuttal needs to answer the speech that has preceded it, and extend theirs.

4) I judge/evaluate arguments as they are presented on the flow. Arguments should be answered in the order they are presented.

5) You should flash speeches or use email chains. Prep is continuously running once speeches end.

6) Terminalize your impacts. There are 3 ways and only 3 ways to evaluate impacts: magnitude, timeframe and probability. Nothing else. Use those. Anything else (like scope) will result in a loss of speaker points.

7) You must read dates. I highly recommend you do not paraphrase evidence. I will evaluate paraphrased evidence as analytics not as real evidence.

8) Disclosure is your friend. You must disclose before the debate to myself/and the other team. Doing so will result in higher speaks. If someone discloses and either a) you do not and they read disclosure theory OR b) you LIE about what you've disclosed, I consider this a TKO. This means if disclosure theory is read in the round then it is basically over. Not disclosing or lying is indefensible.

9) You can only extend things in a subsequent speech if it was in the previous speech. This means defense in summaries, impacts in all speeches, evidence extended etc.

10) Defense does not win debate rounds, you need to extend/evaluate/weigh OFFENSE. A failure to do so will result in a mental coin flip on my part because it's impossible to evaluate competing/unwarranted defensive claims.

Ross Fitzpatrick Paradigm

4 rounds

Ross Fitzpatrick: Updated 2/13/20: put me on the email chain (

I debated for four years at Barstow in Kansas City between 2013-2017

I currently debate for the University of Kansas class of 2021

Top Level:

Do what you do best, I'll try to keep up

I value tech over truth in almost every instance

I try my best to get everything down on my flow, and it's what I'll decide the debate on. If you think an argument is especially important to deciding the debate, make sure you slow down and emphasize its importance so it ends up factoring into my decision

Your speaks will reflect how easy you make my job, that means focusing on argument comparison and framing my ballot for me in the final rebuttals

I haven't done any research on the HS topic so explaining acronyms, tricky topic mechanisms/T arguments will be important

Argument Specifics:

Like I said, I'll do my best to avoid intervening or letting my own preconceptions affect the debate in any way. That being said, here are my basic thoughts about most of the main types of arguments:

T: I'm down to vote for T but my lack of experience researching this topic might make it more difficult. I am pretty neutral on the question of competing interpretations vs reasonability. Defining what reasonability means in the context of the specific debate is very important. I think topicality is a lot like most other arguments in debate, explain your internal links to standards like limits, ground, and precision, etc. as well as the impact to those standards, fairness or education, and how those interact with the other teams impacts.

FW: This is an argument I've gone for with a high frequency over the past several years, and I've never read an aff that didn't defend the hypothetical implementation of a United States policy. I think affs should have some relation to the topic, and if your aff doesn't, I find framework to be incredibly persuasive. Just like for T, internal link and impact comparison is especially important. Another note, I tend to find the topicality portions of this argument about why limits/fairness/clash are good more persuasive than args about why defending the state is the ONLY internal link to critical thinking or decision making, but that being said I'll definitely vote on them.

Ks: This is the area I have probably the least familiarity with in debate. I'm down to listen to anything, but you're probably going to have to spend more time explaining the theory of your K than you would in other debates. I think most Ks should have an alternative capable of resolving the links to the aff, and more often than not, the aff gets to weigh the 1ac.

CPs: Well developed, specific CPs w solvency advocates are awesome. That being said, few of them are, and most of them I believe to be cheating in some way. The ones I find the MOST CHEATY are: Word PICs, Conditions CPs, and Delay CPs. Process and Consult CPs are also not my faves, but they're better than the others. But again, do whatever.

DAs: These are definitely my favorite arguments. I love politics and most other DAs, generic or otherwise. However, a lot of DAs have utterly inane internal link stories which the aff should point out, especially in CrossX, it's an easy way to get speaks. Spin can get you out of a lot, even if you're worried about specific evidence. Impact overviews and turns case arguments are an absolute must, especially in later rebuttals. Again, make my job easy. Tell me why your impacts are more important than theirs.

Theory: Condo: I think after three things start to get a little iffy. Aff teams will do best going for condo if they can prove in round abuse. I'm more open to voting on Condo bad than I used to be. Most other arguments are reasons to reject the argument not the team.

Chris Flowers Paradigm

7 rounds

Paradigm update eNSDA


Chris Flowers

Little Rock Central

You can call me by my first or last name. I use he/him pronouns.

Email -


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

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

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

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

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

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

Debaters should not do any of the following:

Clip cards

Steal prep

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

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

Misgender folks

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

Read identity arguments that you don't identify as.

Defaults when you forget to make warrants to your arguments

Education > Fairness

Shapes Subjectivities > Just a game

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

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

K’s don’t need to win an alt to win.

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

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

reasonable disclosure practices = should be followed.

Analytic > Low quality evidence

Heg = bad.

Cap = bad.

Grumpy things

We don’t need to shake hands.

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

Case debate is underutilized.

Analytics are underutilized .

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

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

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

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

I'd pref these teams at 1:




PV VG (ride or die)



NoBro MR

Lane Tech CG

Determining Speaks

I evaluate a speech similar to how I would grade a paper.

30 = 100%

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

Execute a clear and cohesive argument strategy.

Delivery is dynamic, clear and organized.

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

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

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

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

Be yourself, don’t be flippant.

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

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

Strategy is cohesive and cool.

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

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

Argumentative Preferences

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

t/framework vs. k aff

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

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

T vs affs w a plan text that uses the usfg

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


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

Perf Con.

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

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

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

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

Counter Plans

If you have a solvency advocate, its legit.

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


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


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

Debate Philosophy

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

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

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

Eric Forslund Paradigm

3 rounds


Copied and Pasted from my judge philosophy wiki page.

Recent Bio:

13 years judging and coaching high school debate. First at Damien High School and most recently at Greenhill. Generally only judge a handful of college rounds a year.

Zero rounds on the current college topic in 2018.

Coached at the University of Wyoming 2004-2005.

I have decided to incentivize reading strategies that involve talking about the specifics of the affirmative case. Too many high school teams find a terrible agent or process cp and use politics as a crutch. Too many high school teams pull out their old, generic, k's and read them regardless of the aff. As an incentive to get away from this practice I will give any 2N that goes for a case-only strategy an extra point. If this means someone who would have earned a 29 ends up with a 30, then so be it. I would rather encourage a proliferation of higher speaker points, then a proliferation of bad, generic arguments. If you have to ask what a case strategy involves, then you probably aren't going to read one. I'm not talking about reading some case defense and going for a disad, or a counterplan that solves most of the aff. I'm talking about making a majority of the debate a case debate -- and that case debate continuing into the 2NR.

You'll notice "specificity good" throughout my philosophy. I will give higher points to those teams that engage in more specific strategies, then those that go for more generic ones. This doesnt mean that I hate the k -- on the contrary, I wouldn't mind hearing a debate on a k, but it needs to be ABOUT THE AFF. The genero security k doesnt apply to the South Korean Prostitutes aff, the Cap k doesnt apply to the South Korea Off-Shore Balancing aff - and you arent likely to convince me otherwise. But if you have an argument ABOUT the affirmative --especially a specific k that has yet to be read, then you will be rewarded if I am judging you.

I have judged high-level college and high school debates for the last 14 years. That should answer a few questions that you are thinking about asking: yes, speed is fine, no, lack of clarity is not. Yes, reading the k is ok, no, reading a bunch of junk that doesn't apply to the topic, and failing to explain why it does is not.

The single most important piece of information I can give you about me as a judge is that I cut a lot of cards -- you should ALWAYS appeal to my interest in the literature and to protect the integrity of that literature. Specific is ALWAYS better than generic, and smart strategies that are well researched should ALWAYS win out over generic, lazy arguments. Even if you dont win debates where you execute specifics, you will be rewarded.

Although my tendencies in general are much more to the right than the rest of the community, I have voted on the k many times since I started judging, and am generally willing to listen to whatever argument the debaters want to make. Having said that, there are a few caveats:

1. I don't read a lot of critical literature; so using a lot of terms or references that only someone who reads a lot of critical literature would understand isn’t going to get you very far. If I don’t understand your arguments, chances are pretty good you aren’t going to win the debate, no matter how persuasive you sound. This goes for the aff too explain your argument, don’t assume I know what you are talking about.

2. You are much better off reading critical arguments on the negative then on the affirmative. I tend to believe that the affirmative has to defend a position that is at least somewhat predictable, and relates to the topic in a way that makes sense. If they don’t, I am very sympathetic to topicality and framework-type arguments. This doesn’t mean you can’t win a debate with a non-traditional affirmative in front of me, but it does mean that it is going to be much harder, and that you are going to have to take topicality and framework arguments seriously. To me, predictability and fairness are more important than stretching the boundaries of debate, and the topic. If your affirmative defends a predictable interpretation of the topic, you are welcome to read any critical arguments you want to defend that interpretation, with the above stipulations.

3. I would much rather watch a disad/counterplan/case debate than some other alternative.

In general, I love a good politics debate - but - specific counterplans and case arguments are THE BEST strategies. I like to hear new innovative disads, but I have read enough of the literature on this year’s topic that I would be able to follow any deep debate on any of the big generic disads as well.

As far as theory goes, I probably defer negative a bit more in theory debates than affirmative. That probably has to do with the fact that I like very well thought-out negative strategies that utilize PICS and specific disads and case arguments. As such, I would much rather see an affirmative team impact turn the net benefits to a counterplan then to go for theory (although I realize this is not always possible). I really believe that the boundaries of the topic are formed in T debates at the beginning of the year, therefore I am much less willing to vote on a topicality argument against one of the mainstream affirmatives later on in the year than I am at the first few tournaments. I’m not going to outline all of the affs that I think are mainstream, but chances are pretty good if there are more than a few teams across the country reading the affirmative, I’m probably going to err aff in a close T debate.

One last thing, if you really want to get high points in front of me, a deep warming debate is the way to go. I would be willing to wager that I have dug further into the warming literature than just about anybody in the country, and I love to hear warming debates. I realize by this point most teams have very specific strategies to most of the affirmatives on the topic, but if you are wondering what advantage to read, or whether or not to delve into the warming debate on the negative, it would be very rewarding to do so in front of me -- at the very least you will get some feedback that will help you in future debates.

Ok, I lied, one more thing. Ultimately I believe that debate is a game. I believe that debaters should have fun while debating. I realize that certain debates get heated, however do your best not to be mean to your partner, and to the other team. There are very few things I hate more than judging a debate where the teams are jerks to each other. Finally, although I understand the strategic value to impact turning the alternative to kritiks and disads (and would encourage it in most instances), there are a few arguments I am unwilling to listen to those include: sexism good, racism good, genocide good, and rape good. If you are considering reading one of those arguments, don’t. You are just going to piss me off.

Tim Freehan Paradigm

3 rounds

Yes, email chain.

POLICY DEBATE--updated FEB 2020:

Top Level:

--Old School Policy. University of Michigan Class of 1995. Get off my lawn. (Let's be honest, most of you will stop reading now. Please don't.)

--Co-Founding Member of the Never Spark Society

--Truth>Tech. But silence is concession. Also, see below on my new ASPEC Rule

--Quality of Evidence Counts. Massive disparities warrant intervention on my part.

--Not great with theory debates. Condo is okay. Other than that, see below.

--I love nuanced case debates.

--Prefer arguments that originate from Truth and Research. The more you respect the value of research in your round, the happier I will be.

--I am a better judge if the round is about substance rather than procedure or ethos. Full stop.

The Line by Line...

Advantage vs Disadvantage. I will always give more credence to the team that has a more consistent narrative and better explains causality from A to B to C. I can and will vote against an argument if cards are poor exclusive of counter evidence being read. Coherent and plausible stories with good evidence will always win out in my mind. You not understanding obvious political reality will cast a bit of a shadow over your credibility.

Not a big fan of Pre-Fiat DA's: Spending, Must Pass Legislation, Riders, etc. I will err Aff on theory unless the Neg has some really good evidence as to why not.

Counterplans. Run them. It is perfectly okay for Agents to be a part of the debate and I am not sure why whining about it via theory blips you have in your back files is the best course of action. The Negative having specific solvency will solve theory problems. No International Fiat and Object Fiat please.

PICs-- all good. But will err Aff on Theory when the PIC is just "we solve the Aff and a eensy weensy bit of something else."

Process Counterplans-- I mostly hate them. You had better have a solvency advocate and a good one and you had better prove why your "process" is somehow valuable and/or educational. This is another time I will err aff on CP theory debates.

K-Affs/Kritiks. If you lean on high theory or K Affs, just do yourself a favor and put me low or strike me. If you can't do that...

I am a big enough person to admit that I am not up on the literature and the pantheon of scholars that are presently utilized in Policy Debate. Also, I am not very smart. Nor do I feel that 200+ words per minute is the appropriate manner in which to discuss such high-minded topics. So here it is: I will vote on Kritikal arguments. But know that VERY few in-depth K debates I have seen thus far have been decided by anything more than me reading all of the relevant evidence and drawing many conclusions on my own. Sorry, but it’s the risk you run.

A K debater once told me they thought I got a bad rap against as a K judge. That may be true when you are on the Neg but KAffs are a tougher needle to thread with me. Its game over of you can't beat back a TVA.

Topic relevance is important.

If your goal is to use the K as a means to teach an old white male who engages with both capitalism and the state for a living something valuable, then I am all ears. I love being taught things and you have done the K justice. If your goal is to make blanket statements about why certain people are good or bad or should be excluded from valuable discussions then I am not your judge. We are all flawed.

I do not like “debate is bad” arguments. I don't think that being a "small school" is a reason why K's are good.

Topicality. I look at this argument differently than almost EVERY other judge on the circuit. Because it theoretically serves an external function that affects other rounds, I do give the Aff a fair amount of leeway when the arguments start to wander into a gray area. It has been pointed out to me that the requirement for Offense on the part of the Affirmative is something on which I place little value. Put another way, the Aff need only prove that they are within the predictable confines of research and present a plan that offers enough ground on which to run generic arguments. The Negative must prove that the Affirmative skews research burdens to a point in which the topic is unlimited to a point beyond 20-30 possible cases and/or renders the heart of the topic moot.


Some arguments I hate:

“Spark” (Russia/China/Iran/NoKo strikes good are okay)

"New Affs Bad"

"T-USFG means all 3 branches"

"Death Good"


ConCon CP (unless there is specific literature for Solvency)

A few additional notes:

I have yet to hear a debate about Floating PIKS or Intrinsic Perms that makes me understand them.

If you want to turn debate into games of Mario Kart or slam poetry, strike me. Respect the game.

Debate the evidence. It’s a lost art and, trust me, it’s a great skill to learn.

As I am a judge who likes to reward research, there is an argument that can solve many problems: Literature Checks Abuse. What I mean by this is that if you have a dubiously topical Aff, a seemingly abusive Process Counterplan, etc. I will tend to give a lot more leeway to the defense against theory claims. All you need to do is show me some evidence that your argument has a specific and valuable place in the debate and I am willing to overlook ‘PICS bad’ or other claims of this ilk because having a debate about X issue is educational.

I have romantic notions that well-reasoned assertions are good things. Feel free to think on your feet.


I judge about 1 PF Round for every 25-30 Policy Rounds so bear with me here.

· I have NOT judged the PF national circuit pretty much ever. The good news is that I am not biased against or unwilling to vote on any particular style. Chances are I have heard some version of your meta level of argumentation and know how it interacts with the round. The bad news is if you want to complain about a style of debate in which you are unfamiliar, you had better convince me why with, you know, impacts and stuff. Do not try and cite an unspoken rule about debate in your part of the country.

Because of my background in Policy, I tend to look at things from a cost benefit perspective. Even though the Pro is not advocating a Plan and the Con is not reading Disadvantages, to me the round comes down to whether the Pro has a greater possible benefit than the potential implications it might cause. Both sides should frame the round in terms impact calculus and or feasibility. Impacts need to be tangible.

Evidence quality is very important.

I will vote on what is on the flow (yes, I flow) and keep my personal opinions of arguments in check as much as possible. I may mock you for it, but I won’t vote against you for it. No paraphrasing. Quote the author, date and the exact words. Quals are even better but you don’t have to read them unless pressed. Have the website handy. Research is critical.

Speed? Meh. You cannot possibly go fast enough for me to not be able to follow you. However, that does not mean I want to hear you go fast. You can be quick and very persuasive. You don't need to spread.

Defense is nice but is not enough. You must create offense in order to win. There is no “presumption” on the Con.

While I am not a fan of formal “Kritik” arguments in PF, I do think that Philosophical Debates have a place. Using your Framework as a reason to defend your scholarship is a wise move. Racism and Sexism will not be tolerated. You can attack your opponents scholarship.

I reward debaters who think outside the box.

I do not reward debaters who cry foul when hearing an argument that falls outside traditional parameters of PF Debate. Again, I am not a fan of the Kritik, but if its abusive, tell me why instead of just saying “not fair.”

Statistics are nice, to a point. But I feel that judges/debaters overvalue them. Often the best impacts involve higher values that cannot be quantified. A good example would be something like Structural Violence.

While Truth outweighs, technical concessions on key arguments can and will be evaluated. Dropping offense means the argument gets 100% weight.

The goal of the Con is to disprove the value of the Resolution. If the Pro cannot defend the whole resolution (agent, totality, etc.) then the Con gets some leeway.

I care about substance and not style. It never fails that I give 1-2 low point wins at a tournament. Just because your tie is nice and you sound pretty, doesn’t mean you win. I vote on argument quality and technical debating. The rest is for lay judging.

Relax. Have fun.

Bryan Gaston Paradigm

4 rounds

Bryan Gaston
Director of Debate
Heritage Hall School
1800 Northwest 122nd St.
Oklahoma City, OK 73120-9598

I view judging as a responsibility and one I take very seriously. I have decided to try and give you as much information about my tendencies to assist with MPJ and adaptation.

Quick Version:

1. Debate is a competitive game.

2. I will vote on Framework and T-Aff's should be topical. But, you can still beat framework with good offense or a good counter-interpretation.

3. DA's and Aff advantages can have zero risk.

4. Neg conditionality is mostly good.

5. Counterplans and PICs --good (better to have a solvency advocate than not)

6. K's that link to the Aff plan/advocacy/advantages/reps and have an alternative that is explained and solves are good.

7. I will not decide the round over something X team did in another round, at some other tournament, or a teams judge prefs.

8. Email Chain access please:

9. The debate should be a fun and competitive activity, be kind to each other and try your best.

My Golden Rule: When you have the option to choose a more specific strategy vs a more generic strategic, always choose the more specific strategy.

Pro-tip: FLOW---don't stop flowing just because you have a speech doc.

"Clipping" in debate: Clipping in the debate is a serious issue and one of the things I will be doing to deter clipping in my rounds is requesting a copy of all speech docs before the debaters start speaking and while flowing I read along to check from time to time.

Long Version...

Affirmatives: I still at my heart of hearts prefer and Aff with a plan that's justifiably topical. But, I think it's not very hard for teams to win that if the Aff is germane to the topic that's good enough. I'm pretty sympathetic to the Neg if the Aff has very little to or nothing to do with the topic. If there is a topical version of the Aff I tend to think that takes away most of the Aff's offense in many of these T/FW debates vs no plan Affs--unless the Aff can explain why there is no topical version and they still need to speak about "X" on the Aff or why their offense on T still applies.

Disadvantages: I like them. I prefer specific link stories (or case-specific DA’s) to generic links, as I believe all judges do. But, if all you have is generic links go ahead and run them, I will evaluate them. The burden is on the Aff team to point out those weak link stories. I think Aff’s should have offense against DA’s it's just a smarter 2AC strategy, but if a DA clearly has zero link or zero chance of uniqueness you can win zero risk. I tend to think politics DA's are core negative ground--so it is hard for me to be convinced I should reject the politics DA because debating about it is bad for debate. My take: I often think the internal link chains of DA's are not challenged enough by the Aff, many Aff teams just spot the Neg the internal links---It's one of the worst effects of the prevalence of offense/defense paradigm judging over the past years...and it's normally one of the weaker parts of the DA.

Counterplans: I like them. I generally think most types of counterplans are legitimate as long as the Neg wins that they are competitive. I am also fine with multiple counterplans. On counterplan theory, I lean pretty hard that conditionality and PICs are ok. You can win theory debates over the issue of how far negatives can take conditionality (battle over the interps is key). Counterplans that are functionally and textually competitive are always your safest bet but, I am frequently persuaded that counterplans which are functionally competitive or textually competitive are legitimate. My Take: I do however think that the negative should have a solvency advocate or some basis in the literature for the counterplan. If you want to run a CP to solve terrorism to you need at least some evidence supporting your mechanism. My default is that I reject the CP not the team on Aff CP theory wins.

Case debates: I like it. Negative teams typically under-utilize this. I believe well planned impacted case debate is essential to a great negative strategy. Takeouts and turn can go a long way in a round.

Critiques: I like them. In the past, I have voted for various types of critiques. I think they should have an alternative or they are just non-unique impacts. I think there should be a discussion of how the alternative interacts with the Aff advantages and solvency. Impact framing is important in these debates. The links the Aff are very important---the more specific the better. Some K lit bases I'm decently familiar with: Capitalism, Security, Anti-blackness, Natives, Reps (various types), Fem IR, Anthro, Nietzsche, and Queer theory. Some K lit bases I don't know very much about: Baudrillard, Bataille, Deleuze.

Big impact turn debates: I like them. Want to throw down in a big Hegemony Good/Bad debate, Dedev vs Growth Good, method vs method, it's all good.

Topicality/FW: I tend to think competing interpretations are good unless told otherwise...see the Aff section above for more related to T.

Theory: Theory sets up the rules for the debate game. I tend to evaluate theory debates in an offensive/defense paradigm, paying particular attention to each teams theory impacts and impact defense. The interpretation debate is very important to evaluating theory for me. For a team to drop the round on theory you must impact this debate well and have clear answers to the other sides defense.

Impact framing-- it's pretty important, especially in a round where you have a soft-left Aff with a big framing page vs a typical neg util based framing strat.

Things not to do: Don't run T is an RVI, don't hide evidence from the other team to sabotage their prep, don't lie about your source qualifications, don't text or talk to coaches to get "in round coaching" after the round has started, please stay and listen to RFD's, and don't deliberately spy on the other teams pre-round coaching. I am a high school teacher and coach, who is responsible for high school kids. Please, don't read things overtly sexual if you have a performance aff--since there are minors in the room I think that is inappropriate.

CX: This is the only time you have “face time” with the judge. Please look at the judge not at each other. Your speaker points will be rewarded for a great CX and lowered for a bad one. Be smart in CX, assertive, but not rude.

Speaker Point Scale updated: Speed is fine, and clarity is important. If you are not clear I will yell out “Clear.” Average national circuit debate starts at 28.4, Good is 28.5-28.9 (many national circuit rounds end up in this range), Excellent 29-29.9, Perfect 30 (I have given 3 in 16 years judging) they all went on to win the NDT at some point. I will punish your points if you are excessively rude to your opponents or partner during a round.

Paperless Debating (most of this is old and not necessary anymore):
1. You need to provide a readable copy of all evidence used in your speech (in one speech doc---like 2AC Round 6, do not open up 7 files on your computer and tell the other team you are reading different things from all of them).
2. You should let the other team view your speeches on their own laptops if they choose.
3. You should have a viewing computer for teams that use paper (or you must let them use one of your computers if they ask).
4. Give me a digital copy of the speech also. Why? See "clipping" below...
5. DO NOT give your opponents speech docs with all the tags and/or cites missing. This is not acceptable. You may leave out analytics (not tags) if you choose.
6. I will stop prep while you save your doc.

Have fun debating!

Elsa Givan Paradigm

4 rounds

Elsa Givan

College Preparatory School

Georgetown University

A few quick things:

- I was both a 2A and a 2N in high school. While I read mostly policy affs, I went for the kritik often on the neg, so I’m pretty flexible with argument choices.

- I will work hard to be as objective as possible and evaluate tech over truth unless told otherwise.

- Specificity and effort are rewarded in my book. If it’s clear you’ve done the research and have extensive knowledge of the topic, I will boost your points accordingly.

- Framing the debate is key – the 2NR and 2AR should aim to write my ballot.

- I’d prefer you read enough of your evidence to make a complete argument, so if you’re going to highlight two lines of a card and call it an internal link then it’s probably not worth reading at all. Evidence = claim and warrant (same goes for arguments).

- Please be clear - if you aren’t, I’ll yell it a few times but eventually I will give up. I’m a pretty expressive person so look up every now and then - if I’m obviously frustrated, you should change something.

- Debate is fun – act like it! Be nice and have a good sense of humor.

- Feel free to ask me questions before the debate if I haven’t covered something or you’d like clarification.

Paperless: Prep time ends when the flash drive leaves your computer. If your computer crashes, we’ll stop prep.

Topicality: Topicality needs to be substantively developed for me to vote on it. Please do not be incomprehensibly fast on T in the 2AC, because I will sympathize with the negative if there are missed arguments. Remember to impact your interpretation.

Theory: Theory must be well developed and impacted, like topicality. I am more sympathetic to some theory arguments than others. I never went for conditionality as a 2A and I have a high threshold for this argument – I will vote on it if you win it, but winning it requires substantial time investment in both the 1AR and the 2AR. Other theoretical objections such as international fiat, 50 state fiat, conditions/consult/process theory, etc. are much more persuasive to me.

Case: I really like a good case debate. The 2AC and 1AR need to be clear and warranted on case. I’d prefer if the negative collapsed an extensive case debate from the block into a few winnable arguments in the 2NR instead of going for everything.

Counterplans: I’m a huge fan of a case specific counterplan (especially PICs), so the more specific you get, the better your points/chances will be. Conversely, I’m not a huge fan of process/delay (and consult if it’s hypergeneric) counterplans because I don’t think they’re competitive. I will be persuaded by perm do the CP and theory arguments by the aff. That being said, I was definitely guilty of going for the commission CP and others like it in high school – it’s certainly winnable in front of me, but I’d rather see you go for something more specific.

Disadvantages: I am a strong believer in credible defense. If the aff can point out logical problems with the disad, I will reduce the risk substantially (even if it’s not a carded argument). There can be zero risk of a disad. Clear articulation of the link in the context of the aff is essential. I think that carded arguments about how the disad turns/solves the case are persuasive.

Kritiks: I went for security a lot in high school and I understand it pretty well (same with most other IR-based K’s). Anything beyond that is going to take a high level of explanation and work to get my ballot.

Framework is important and underutilized on both sides - if you can really just lay down a beating on the other team on the framework debate, it will get you so far on every other part of the flow.

For the aff – defend your 1AC! Know who your authors are. Have cards that defend the studies of your authors and the method they used. Know what method they used! Create evaluative mechanisms for how I should evaluate evidence in the policymaking sphere (i.e. default to empirics and studies) and then explain why your evidence meets those mechanisms. I definitely prefer an impact turn debate to a permutation debate, but do what you gotta do.

For the neg - link debate is very important, and contextualizing it within the context of the aff is even more crucial. Question the scholarship of their authors and press them on internal links and logical take-outs in cross-ex – I think the best way to get mileage on the K is to have credible defense against the aff because it proves their epistemology is fundamentally bankrupt.

Critical Affs: Please be very clear about what the role of the ballot is and how I should evaluate the debate. Also, I’m inclined to agree with Brian Manuel that you must defend something, even if you’re not defending the topic. Your position must be debatable. While I will vote on framework, I prefer a case turn debate, a PIC, or a K. Understandably, a specific strategy is not always possible when debating an aff that doesn’t defend the topic, and framework may sometimes be your best option.

Malcolm Gordon Paradigm

4 rounds

A quick guide to getting good speaker points:

-get to the point, and be clear about it
-"extinction" or "nuclear war" is not a tag
-a well explained, logical, argument trumps an unexplained argument merely extended by it's "card name"
-Ks must pass the make sense test
-cross x is a speech-i figure it in as a substantial factor in speaker points

Here is an explanation of how I evaluate debates at a meta-level:

While I think there is value in the offense/defense framework for evaluation, for me to vote on offense there has to be substantive risk. Second, quality trumps quantity. 30 bad uniqueness cards that barely make a claim can not overcome the power of 1 well warranted, logical argument that is consistently applied to the onslaught of evidence. In short:

Where X is a good, warranted argument and Y is an illogical argument, and X, A, and Y are all positive integers:

X > A(Y)

Also, "extinction" is not a tag line. I don't even like tag lines like "causes nuclear war." I need complete sentences, with claims and warrants.

Where does the evidence come from? there are not enough debaters talking about the quality of research their opponents are quoting.

Get to the point. On any given controversy in debate, there are relatively few arguments at play. Get to the core issues quickly. Point out the central logical/argumentative problems with a given position. I am much more compelled by a speaker’s ability to take the 2-3 core problems with their opponent’s position and use those fallacies to answer all of the other team’s advances. It shows you have a grip on the central issue and you understand how that issue is inescapable regardless of your opponent’s answer

Calling for cards: I will do this, but I don’t like to read every card in the debate. If you opponent is making well explained arguments you should be very wary of just saying “extend our smith evidence”.


Arbitrary interpretations are one of the worst trends in debate right now. If your interpretation of debate theory is wholly arbitrary and made up it doesn’t seem very useful for me to uphold it as some new norm and reject the other team.

Conditionality is good, it would take a very decisive aff victory with a very tangible impact (in policy debate). Whatever your arbitrary counterinterpretation is that limits the neg to X number of conditional positions…..sorry, I wasn’t born yesterday. If conditionality is good it’s good.

While I'm fine with conditionality, I am persuaded by other theoretical objections (multi actor fiat, uniform fiat without a solvency advocate, etc). I also think that a theory argument that combines objections (conditional multi actor CPs) could be a reason to reject the team.

My personal belief is that the negative can only fiat the agent of the resolution, and that competition based off the ‘certainty’ of the plan (consult/conditions) is not productive. This does NOT mean I have a low threshold in voting aff on agent/actor cps bad, but it does make my threshold lower than most. To win these theory debates on the aff, see above point about cutting to the core 2-3 issues.

On topicality-you need tangible impacts. You’re asking me to drop a team because they made debate too unfair for you. “limits good” is not an impact. “They unlimit the topic by justifying x types of affs that we cannot hope to prepare for” is an impact. There must be a very coherent connection between neg interpretation, violations, and standards in the 2nr.

Counterplans: I spoke above about my theoretical beliefs on counterplans. I think counterplans should be textually and functionally competitive. I am sometimes persuaded that purely functional competition (normal means/process counterplans) should probably not be evaluated. If you’re aff and theory-savvy, don’t be afraid to go for theoretical reasons the process cp goes away.

Floating Pics/Word PICs- I’m great for the aff on these. I believe that every position has theoretical reasons behind it related to education and competitive equity. The aff counterinterpretation of “you can run your K/word K as a K without the CP part” generally solves every pedagogical benefit of those positions-this means the aff just needs to win that competitively these positions are bad for the aff, and it outweighs any ‘educational benefit’ to word/floating pics. I'm persuaded by those arguments, making it an uphill battle for the neg if the aff can explain tangible impacts to the competitive disadvantage the PIC puts them in.


The story must matchup. I will vote on such non-offensive arguments like: your uq and link evidence don’t assume the same group of politicians, you have no internal link, passage of that bill is inevitable, Trump has no PC etc. Of course I don’t vote on these in isolation-once again, refer back to my meta-approach to debate-you need to explain why that core defensive argument trumps everything else the neg is saying.


I’m generally not compelled by framework against a Neg K-I think all Ks have a gateway/framing issue that is much easier and more logical for the aff to attack. For example, if the neg reads an epistemology K you are much more likely to win reading a card that says “consequences outweigh epistemology” or “epistemology focus bad” than you are to win that the other team is cheating because of their K. Focus on answering the gateway issue so that you can leverage your aff against the K and get the decision calculus of the debate back in your favor. Subsequently for the neg the issue of ‘framing’ is also very important.

In the 2ac, don’t make a bunch of perms you have no hope of winning unless they are conceded. Perm do the alt is not a perm. Make 1 or 2 permutations and EXPLAIN IN THE 2AC how the permutation overcomes neg links/risks of the impact.

Ks are a great example of the “there are only 2-3 arguments” theory I subscribe to. If you’re debating a 1 off team, it’s much better for me if you don’t read 40 cards in the 2ac with as many different caveats as possible. Instead, read a good number of argument but take the time to explain them. What part of the K do they refute? How do these arguments change the calculus of the round? When you do this I put much more pressure on the neg block to get in depth with their explanations, which I find usually helps the aff.

K affs:

T > Framework. Given that most impact turns to T come from pedagogical reasons, you need to prove that your interpretation provides space for the ‘good education’ the aff thinks is key to stop genocide/war/racism/turkeys. Topical version of your aff is compelling, as well as giving other examples of topical action that prove the aff could have accepted the parameters of the resolution and gained the same educational benefits. Then it’s just a matter of proving that competitively the K aff hurts the neg. Also, prove how your competitive equity impacts implicate their education impacts.

Case debate:

These are great. Impact defense is kinda meh unless it's real specific. Solvency and internal link answers are where it's at. Make alt causes great again!


It’s all about probability-magnitude is ok but only when you’re discussing it in terms of “our impact causes yours”. Extinction outweighs is trite because by the end of the debate all impacts are extinction or nuclear wars that easily result in another impact in the debate that has been claimed as extinction (nuke war hurts the environment, aff said that causes extinction). Probability is key. Establishing risk is where it’s at. A higher risk trumps a higher magnitude in most instances.

Cross Examination: it’s a speech, I grade it like a speech. Be funny if you can. Base the cross x on core issues in the debate, and base it on quality of evidence and establishing risk/threshold for various arguments.

Nate Graziano Paradigm

4 rounds

Policy Coach at Kent Denver School. HS Policy, NDT/CEDA, NPTE/NPDA Competitor.

> Please include me on email chains - <

TL;DR - I like judge instruction. I'll vote for or against K 1ACs based on Framework. Clash of Civilization debates are the majority of rounds I watch. I vote frequently on dropped technical arguments, and will think more favorably of you if you play to your outs. The ballot is yours, your speaker points are mine. Your speech overview should be my RFD. Tell me what is important, why you win that, and why winning it means you get the ballot.

Note to coaches and debaters - I give my RFDs in list order on how I end up deciding the round, in order of how I resolved them. Because of this, I also upload my RFD word for word with the online ballot. I keep a pretty good record of rounds I've judged, so if anyone has any questions about any decision I've made on Tabroom please feel free to reach out at my email above.

1. Tech > Truth

The game of debate is lost if I intervene and weigh what I know to be "True." The ability to spin positions and make answers that fit within your side of the debate depend on a critic being objective to the content. That being said, arguments that are based in truth are typically more persuasive in the long run.

I'm very vigilant about intervening and will not make "logical conclusions" on arguments if you don't do the work to make them so. If you believe that the negative has the right to a "judge kick" if you're losing the counterplan and instead vote on the status quo in the 2NR, you need to make that explicitly clear in your speech.

More and more I've made decisions on evidence quality and the spin behind it. I like to reward knowledgeable debaters for doing research and in the event of a disputable, clashing claim I tend to default to card quality and spin.

I follow along in the speech doc when evidence is being read and make my own marks on what evidence and highlighting was read in the round.

2. Theory/Topicality/Framework

Most rounds I judge involve Framework. While I do like these debates please ensure they're clashing and not primarily block reading. If there are multiple theoretical frameworks (ex. A RotB, A RotJ, FW Interp) please tell me how to sort through them and if they interact. I tend to default to policy-making and evaluating consequences unless instructed otherwise.

For theory violations - I usually need more than "they did this thing and it was bad; that's a voter" for me to sign my ballot, unless it was cold conceded. If you're going for it in the 2NR/2AR, I'd say a good rule of thumb for "adequate time spent" is around 2:00, but I would almost prefer it be the whole 5:00.

In the event that both teams have multiple theoretical arguments and refuse to clash with each other, I try to resolve as much of the framework as I can on both sides. (Example - "The judge should be an anti-ethical decision maker" and "the affirmative should have to defend a topical plan" are not inherently contradicting claims until proven otherwise.)

Winning framework is not the same as winning the debate. It's possible for one team to win framework and the other to win in it.

Procedural Fairness can be both an impact and an internal link. I believe it's important to make debate as accessible of a place as possible, which means fairness can be both a justification as well as a result of good debate practices.

3. Debate is Story Telling

I'm fond of good overviews - round vision, and understanding how to write a singular winning ballot at the end, is something I tend to reward. To some extent, telling any argument as a chain of events with a result is the same process that we use when telling stories. Being able to implicate your argument as a clash of stories can be helpful for everyone involved.

I do not want to feel like I have to intervene to make a good decision. I will not vote on an argument that was not said or implied by one of the debaters in round. I feel best about the rounds where the overview was similar to my RFD.

4. Critical Arguments

I am familiar with most critical literature. I also do a lot of topic specific research and love politics debates. Regardless of what it is, I prefer if arguments are specific, strategic, and well executed. Do not be afraid of pulling out your "off-the-wall" positions - I'll listen and vote on just about anything.

As a critic and someone who enjoys the activity, I would like to see your best strategy that you've prepared based on your opponent, rather than what you think I would like. Make the correct decision about what to read based on your opponent's weaknesses and your strengths.

Debate that includes narration, personal experience, or autobiographical accounts is fine. I've voted for it frequently in the past.

Don't hesitate to email me or ask my opinions on framework before the round if it's a concern of yours.

5. Speaker Points

I believe that the ballot is yours, but your speaker points are mine. If you won the arguments required to win the debate round, you will receive the ballot from me regardless of my personal opinion on execution or quality. Speaker points are a way for judges to reward good speaking and argumentation, and dissuade poor practice and technique. Here are some things that I tend to reward debaters for-

- Debate Sense. When you show you understand the central points in the debate. Phrases like "they completely dropped this page" only to respond to line by line for 3 minutes annoy me. If you're behind and think you're going to lose, your speaker points will be higher if you acknowledge what you're behind on and execute your "shot" at winning.

- Clarity and organization are appreciated. Numbered flows, references to authors or tags on cards, and word economy are valued highly. I also like it when you know the internals and warrants of your arguments/evidence.

- Judge instruction. I know it sounds redundant at this point, but you can quite literally just look at me and say "Nate, I know we're behind but you're about to vote on this link turn."

I will disclose speaker points after the round if you ask me. The highest speaker points I've ever given out is a 29.7. A 28.5 is my standard for a serviceable speech, while a 27.5 is the bare minimum needed to continue the debate. My average for this last season was around a 28.7-28.8.

Omar Guevara Paradigm

3 rounds

Not Submitted

Tony Hackett Paradigm

7 rounds

i use they/them pronouns!

Add me to the email chain! arh2020 (at)

Chances are if you're reading this, you're up late deciding where you should pref me or you already have me in the back and you're frantically trying to prep and look and see if I'll be down for what you want to read. To save you the time -- I'm probably fine with it, and the tldr; of my philosophy is that you should feel comfortable doing whatever you're best at.

If you want to read the more long-winded version of my debate background / personal style / my methodology for adjudicating debate rounds, read below.

I debated for C. K. McClatchy High School in Sacramento, CA, and I'm currently debating for Stanford University ('20). I did the whole TOC thing my senior year and qualified to the NDT my freshman year. I'm currently affiliated with C. K. McClatchy/Nevada Union and St. Francis High School (Mountain View, CA).

I'll try to keep this brief --

Ultimately, my goals are to try my hardest and vote for the team who won the debate, no matter who they are.

If i have the pleasure of sitting in the back of the room and watching you debate, here are some pieces of advice --

Do what you do best. I'd rather see a well-debated counterplan and disad debate (if that's what you want to do!) than a poorly executed attempt to appease me based on my argumentative preferences in high school. If you're asking yourself at this moment whether or not I'm fine with the arguments you're planning on reading, the answer is almost assuredly yes.

Critics that I most respect are: Sarah Lim, Mimi Sergent-Leventhal, Kevin Hirn, Jarod Atchison, John Spurlock, and Sam Haley-Hill, Taylor Brough, Brian Manuel, Shanara Reid-Brinkley, Syndey Pasquinelli, and Brian McBride.

When I go about deciding debates, I try answer a series of questions. Primarily, if both teams win all of their arguments, who wins the debate? Is there a major execution error? Is there a team lacking offense on any given position? Has either team won an impact framing argument by virtue of execution or evidence? Is there significant argument interaction? Once I have found answers to these questions, I've likely decided who won the debate.

That being said, here are some specific thoughts.

K affs -- I think Kevin Hirn said it best when he said " Despite some of the arguments I've read and coached, I'm still sympathetic to the framework argument (especially in high school). I don't presumptively think that topicality arguments are violent, and I think it's generally rather reasonable (and often strategic) to question the aff's relationship to the resolution. For what it's worth, I would generally prefer to see a substantive strategy if one's available, but I understand that often framework is the best option (especially in certain circumstances, like when the aff is new or you're from a school with a small research base).

I typically think winning unique offense, in the rare scenario where a team invests substantial time in poking defensive holes in the other team's standards, is difficult for both sides in a framework debate. I think affs should think more about their answers to "switch side solves your offense" and "sufficient neg engagement key to meaningfully test the aff", while neg's should brainstorm better responses to "other policy debates solve your offense" and "wiki/disclosure/contestable advocacy in the 1ac provides some degree of predictability/debateability."

I'm interested (and invested) in both sides of the framework debate, and have about a 50/50 record voting both ways. Being inventive, smart, daring, and responsive will win you major points, as it seems like I judge mostly clash debates, and the prospect of listening to a decaf state good/reform bad debate seems unfair.

Disads/CP's -- I love nuanced counterplan/disad debates. Explain the mechanism for your counterplan and slow down on the text. I'm persuaded by presumption arguments insofaras you win a turns case argument or are winning some hard core terminal defense to the aff. I love intrinsic offense and well-prepared stategies over generics with poor evidence quality. Disads with plan specific links are for real.

Topicality -- I used to think that Topicality was incredibly trivial, but after having debated in college and seeing some of the downright wild things that policy aff's can try to get away with sometimes, I think it's an essential argument for the negative arsenal. You should explain your internal links in the context of the aff and have external impacts. Ask Jordan Foley.

I think evidence comparison is a job of the debaters, but I'll call for it if there is a technical question that comes down to how the ev reads or if there is a concern about the validity of args made in the evidence by the debaters where a large portion of the debate rests.

If you've made it this far and you're still not sure if you should strike me, maybe seeing what args I currently read in college can provide some insight:

Have fun!

Mr. Haley-Hill Paradigm

4 rounds


I've been around a long time. I've seen a lot of conventional wisdom come and go. I don't always agree with the consensus of the moment. Be fast, be clear, read a K and/or a counterplan.

Speed? - Yes

Open CX? - Sure, but if you aren't involved somewhat, your speaker points suffer.

When does prep time stop? - When you cease to alter your speech doc and to talk about the debate with your partner.

Judge Disclosure - Unless the tournament has some terrible counter-educational policy preventing it (looking at you, NCFL).

Can I read (X argument)? Yes, if it's not hideously offensive.

T? - Reasonability (whew - really feels good to be honest there)

Will you vote on disclosure theory? - No. Disclosure is a good community norm which I support, but I do not think ballots can or should enforce this norm. The exception would be if you can prove that someone straight up lied to you.

Tech over truth? - Yes, but I think people often take this way too far.

Want to be on the email chain? - Yes, but know that I won't look at the docs until the debate is over.

Please send docs to:



Years Judging: 12
Years Debated: 4

I currently run the debate program at St. Francis H.S. in Mountain View, CA.

I debated for four years in high school for Nevada Union (1998-2002) during which time I made two TOC appearances. I did not debate for Berkeley during my time there, but I was an assistant coach for the College Preparatory School from 2002-2006. After that, I was off the circuit for a few years because I moved to Hong Kong for a year and then went to graduate school. 2010-2011 was my first year back. I worked for New Trier for a year after that and at Nevada Union from 2011-2012. After that I went back to CPS for three more years. This is my third year at Saint Francis. I have judged a lot for a long time.

Tech Over Truth - This is not dogma

I think that the phrase "tech over truth" is just as vacuous as its inverse, "truth over tech." I honestly have no idea what either of these slogans is trying to say, but I do know that people who repeat either of them incessantly tend to make decisions that I don't get.

"Tech" is just as subjective as "truth" because whether someone's embedded clash has answered something, whether an argument has a warrant, whether someone has explained something enough to have extended it, etc. are all judgement calls at some level anyhow.

I think that dropped arguments are conceded. I think that I should refrain from dismissing arguments that I don't agree with. I think that arguments which I think are bad should still win the debate if the debater advancing them has argued better than the opponent. I guess that's tech over truth?

At the same time, I am the kind of judge who thinks that one strong, well-developed argument can be more important than three weak, underdeveloped ones. I don't think that the concession of a less significant argument necessarily outweighs a more significant argument that is won despite contestation. Is that truth over tech? Is this whole tech vs. truth binary kind of pointless?

My bumper sticker slogan would be something like: "Analysis over blips."

Speaker Points - No, you can't have a 30.

It used to go without saying that I award speaker points solely based on how well I feel the debaters performed in each round. These days, it seems that I need to say that I will continue to do this regardless of what anyone else does and regardless of what debaters tell me to do during the debate.

I think that there's a performative/communicative aspect to this activity. Speak persuasively and your points will improve.

Try to be nice.

Judge Disclosure - I do it.

I'll disclose my decision and talk about the round with you in depth afterwards. I remember getting a lot out of post-round discussions when I was a debater, and I hope I can pass something along. If your analytics are in your speech docs for my later reference, I'll even give you my flows.

Speed - Go ahead, but be clear

I can flow any rate of delivery.

Lately, someone out there has been telling high school debaters to slow down and emphasize tags. Stop it, whoever you are. This advice implies that I don't care about the text of the card. In fact, I care about how you tagged the card far, far less than I care about what the text of the card actually says. When you slow down for the tag, but slosh unintelligably through the card, you are implying that I can't understand high speed and that the actual card text is a mere formality. If this is so, you may as well just paraphrase the card like a PF debater.

Believe it or not, I actually can understand your card at high speeds if you read it clearly. I'm actually flowing what the card says. Often as not, I won't flow your (often misleading) tag at all.

I'll yell "clear" at you if you're not being clear. I'll do this twice before putting my pen down and pointedly glaring at you.

Line By Line - Please and Thank You

I'll look at evidence, sure, but I will be grumpy if you make me sort out a huge rat's nest of implied and unexplained clash for you. I am a believer in directly responsive line-by-line debate. I think that explaining warrants is good, but comparing warrants is better.

Framework - Can't we all just get along?

I am one of the last folks out there who won't take a side. I vote neg on framework sometimes; I vote aff on framework sometimes. I think framework debates are kind of fundamental to the activity. I'm up for any kind of argument. I love a good K debate, but I'm equally pleased to adjudicate a game of competing policy options. Run what you love. In my heart, I probably don't care if there's a plan text, but I'll vote for theory arguments demanding one if the better debating is done on that side. Please don't read offensive/amoral arguments.

Conditionality - Yeah, sure, whatever

I think one or two conditional CP's and a K is just fine. You can win a debate on conditionality being more permissive than that or being bad altogether. I won't intervene.

T - I am different from the folks at Michigan

I think that winning complete or nearly complete defense on T is sufficient for the aff even in a world of competing interpretations. If the aff meets, they meet. I'm unlikely to give this RFD: "Even though you're winning a we meet, the neg interpretation is better, so any risk that you don't meet etc etc." Ever since someone told me back in 1999 that T should be evaluated like a DA, I have not agreed. It's a procedural issue, not a predictive claim about the consequences of implementing a policy. As such, I evaluate T procedurally. Whether or not the aff meets is a binary question, not a linear risk.

I think sometimes people think that "competing interpretations" means "the smallest interpretation should win." To me, smallest is not necessarily best. Sure, limits are a big deal, but there is such a thing as over-limiting. There are also other concerns that aren't limits per se, like education, ground, and predictability.

I can be persuaded otherwise in a debate, but I think we should evaluate T through the lens of reasonability.

Open Cross Ex - Yeah

Just make sure that you're involved somewhat or I'll hammer your speaks.

Disclosure theory

Stop it. People choose to disclose as a courtesy. It is not and should not be a requirement. I tell all my teams to disclose. I think you should disclose. If you choose not to, so be it.

If you make a disclosure theory argument, I will ignore you until you move on to something else.

I always find it sadly hilarious when big, brand-name programs tell me that disclosure is good for small schools. It most definitely is not. The more pre-round prep becomes possible, the more that coaching resources can be leveraged to influence debates. That's why the most well-resourced programs tend to be the most aggressive about disclosure theory.

Alex Halkias Paradigm

3 rounds

Experience: 4 years of high school policy debate, 8 years judging high school policy debate

E-Mail: for e-mail chains.

I am open to most positions, but I usually default to in round argumentation, analysis and clash over other factors that might occur in a debate. I generally have few biases about how to debate a round but do my best to prevent these from influencing my in round decisions.

Most of my experience in debate was in policy as opposed to critical literature. That doesn't make me uncomfortable with kritiks, but I have limited knowledge of the critical literature base. Even more so than in policy rounds, solid evidence analysis and application is very important for me. For critical affirmatives, framework and topicality answers are still going to be necessary unless you can convince me completely of a different paradigm to vote in. For kritiks against these types of affirmatives, I think it's important to contextualize the philosophies and arguments in each in relation to the other side. Maybe even more than in policy v critical debates clash here is very important.

On the policy side of things, I love to see a good case debate, and think that evidence analysis(of both your own and your opponent's evidence) is of the utmost importance in these debates. I love a good discussion and comparison of impacts.

I'm also open to any counterplans, but solvency is important in making it a truly good argument for me.

Cross-X's importance, I think, is usually undervalued by most, and an effective use of CX time is very important. However, I believe this time is for the teams more than for the judges, and while I will listen, I will not flow. Tag team cross-ex is completely acceptable.

Speed is fine, but know that you must still be intelligible. If I can't flow due to mumbling/no separation of words, your speed isn't helping you any more. Card TAGS should be read at a slower pace to ease in flowing, but card TEXT needs to still be comprehensible as well.

Andrew Halverson Paradigm

6 rounds

Name: Andrew Halverson
School: Wichita East High School (Wichita, KS), Assistant Coach
Experience: 20+ years. As a competitor, 4 years in high school and 3 years in college @ Fort Hays and Wichita State.

[BELOW IS UPDATED FOR DCI AND STATE - My original philosophy is after the update.]

I'm going to be that person that vent a bunch of my pet peeves regarding how the logistics of the debate go and how I adjudicate debates. Here's goes a quick list (I intended this to be a quick list, but now it's decent sized list of what grinds my gears):

1. If possible, I want to be on the email chain (halverson.andrew [at] If not, I want your speech docs flashed to me before you speak. There are a few reasons I would like this to happen: a) I'm checking as you are going along if you are clipping; b) since I am reading along, I'm making note of what is said in your evidence to see if it becomes an issue in the debate OR a part of my decision - these national qualifier tournaments put a heavy premium on quick decisions, so having that to look at before just makes the trains run on-time and that makes the powers that be happy; c) because I'm checking your scholarship, it allows for me to make more specific comments about your evidence and how you are deploying it within a particular debate. If you refuse to email or flash before your speech for me, there will probably be consequences in terms of speaker points and anything else I determine to be relevant - since I'm the ultimate arbiter of my ballot in the debate which I'm judging.

2. Don't make the roadmap harder than it needs to be. PLEASE DO HAVE A ROADMAP! If you were giving a 1nc roadmap, it should sound something like, "There will be 4 off and then case in the order of Advantage 1, Advantage 2, and Solvency." DON'T SAY: "It'll be 4 off and case." WTAF?! Where do I flow these arguments on case? Find a place to put your arguments. Keep to it.

3. This jumping around on the flow thing is ridiculous. I have judged more debates than I can count this year where a debater says: "On Solvency, the AFF is key to...wait, back onto Topicality. Reasonability should be the lens to evaluate T because...oh, back on the other T." THIS DRIVES ME BONKERS!! Be clean on your flows. If I can't figure out where you and what's you're doing it will costs you lots of speaker points and, most likely, a victory.

4. Don't debate off a script. Yes, blocks are nice. I like when debaters have blocks. They make answering arguments easier. HOWEVER, if you just read off your script going for whatever argument, I'm not going to be happy. Typically, this style of debate involves some clash and large portions of just being unresponsive to the other team's claims. More than likely, you are reading some prepared oration at a million miles per hour and expect me to write down every word. Guess what? I can't. In fact, there is not a judge in the world that can accomplish that feat. So use blocks, but be responsive to what's going on in the debate.

5. Blippy theory debates really irk me. To paraphrase Mike Harris: if you are going as fast as possible on a theory debate at the end of a page and then start the next page with more theory, I'm going to inevitably miss some of it. Whether I flow on paper or on my computer, it takes a second for me to switch pages and get to the place you want me to be on the flow. Slow down a little bit when you want to go for theory - especially if you think it can be a round-winner. I promise you it'll be worth it for you in the end.

6. Read below about this but I want to make this abundantly clear. I won't do work for you unless the debate is completely messed up and I have to do some things to clean up the debate and write a ballot. So, if you drop a Perm, but have answers elsewhere that would answer it, unless you have made that cross-application I won't apply that for you. The debater answering said Perm needs to make the cross-application/answer(s) on their own.

7. Stop stealing prep time. In terms of flashing, prep stops when the save is complete and the flash drive leaves your computer. At this point, you should have an idea of a speech order and be getting set to speak. Don't be super unorganized and take another 2-3 minutes to just stand up there getting stuff together. I don't mind taking a bit to get yourself together, but I find that debaters are abusing that now. When I judge by myself, I'm usually laid back about using the restroom, but I strongly suggest that you consider the other people on the panel - not doing things like stopping prep and then going to the bathroom before you start to speak. I get emergencies, but this practice is really shady. Bottom-line: if you're stealing prep, I'll call you on it out loud and start the timer.

8. Disclosure is something I can't stand when it's done wrong. If proper disclosure doesn't happen before a round, I'm way more likely to vote on a disclosure argument in this setting. If you have questions about my views on disclosure, please ask them before the debate occurs - so you know where you stand.

9. New in the 2nc is bad. What I mean by that is whole new DA's read - old school style - in the 2nc does not foster good debate. I'm willing to listen to theory arguments on the matter, BUT they have to be impacted out. However, that's not the best answer to a NEG attempting this strategy. The best answer is for the 1ar to quickly straight turn whatever that argument is and then move on. Debaters that straight turn will be rewarded. Debaters that do new in the 2nc will either lose because of theory argument or have their speaks tanked by me.


I never know how to completely do these things – because I tend to think there’s no way this judging philosophy can 100% accurately describe how I evaluate a debate, but here goes.

Stylistically, I’m a decent flow, but I wouldn’t go completely crazy. That being said, I’m one of those critics (and I was the same way as a debater) that will attempt to write down almost everything you say as long as you make a valiant attempt to be clear. Super long overviews that aren't flowable make no sense to me. In other words, make what you say translate into what you want me to write down. I will not say or yell if you aren’t clear. You probably can figure it out – from my non-verbals – if you aren’t clear and if I’m not getting it. I will not say/yell "clear" and the debate will most definitely be impacted adversely for you. If I don’t “get it,” it’s probably your job to articulate/explain it to me.

What kind of argument and general preferences do I have regarding academic debate? I will listen to everything and anything from either side of the debate. You can be a critical team or a straight-up team. It doesn’t matter to me. An argument is an argument. Answering arguments with good arguments is probably a good idea, if the competitive aspect of policy debate is important to you at all. If you need some examples: Wipeout? Sure, did it myself. Affirmatives without a plan? Did that too. Spark? You bet. Specific links are great, obviously. Of course, I prefer offense over defense too. I don’t believe that tabula rasa exists, but I do try to not have preconceived notions about arguments. Yet we all know this isn’t possible. If I ultimately have to do so, I will default to policymaker to make my decision easier for me. Hope all of this settles a few things about argument selection with me as a critic.

A caveat to the above – I have recently developed a disdain towards Consult CPs and most “cheating” CPs. If it’s a part of your core strategy, you shouldn’t be dissuaded from running these styles of argument. However, I tend to be sympathetic towards the AFF on theory and substantive arguments vs. this style of argument. As the NEG, you had better REALLY win this argument to win my ballot.

Debate theory is something that is continually evolving. As a young debater, you learn and execute the basics. Then other theoretical concepts come into play as you grow in debate. In the end, debate theory can be either really complicated or really interesting. Lots of people like to stay away from theory goo—I used to be one of them. Over time, I changed my viewpoint on the matter. One of my dislikes as a critic is tagline debating—especially when it comes to theory. Repeating your tags over and over again aren’t going to convey your point any further unless you get deeper into the claims/warrants being argued. Anyway, thoroughly explaining your theory argument is a very good idea with me. Like other debate arguments, I want to theoretically know what your interpretation of whatever aspect of debate theory includes or exclude—what the world looks like under your viewpoint.

Comparing and contrast claims, whether with evidence or analytics, is extremely important for me. If you don’t do it, then you’ll leave me to kneejerk to my own proclivities. That means that I’ll probably end up concocting a story that makes sense to me—confusing you and probably leaving you a bit irritated. My advice is do the work for me so I don’t get into such a position. For the record, I do tend to lean liberal with both my debate and political proclivities.

Finally, I know you hear this a lot, but be nice and have fun. If you have any specific question about my philosophy (which you should because this certainly doesn’t explain everything), ask me questions either immediately before the debate or you can e-mail me at halverson.andrew [at] gmail dot com. Hope this clear a few things up. Happy Debating to all of you!!

And by the way, below is a semi-judge of how I give speaker points. I stole the bulk of this (actually all of it) from Lucia Scott, so I guess this means she’s gets a h/t in this portion of my judging philosophy. This is a guide for how I give speaks, but it is subject to contextual change with any given debate (which probably shouldn’t happen very often – if at all).

Speaker Points:

25 or below – You were so offensive I almost told you to shut up. You're lucky my RFD wasn't as long as they would give me telling you how terrible whatever you said was. This also includes instances where I think you probably aren’t ready for the level of debate that I was judging at the time.

25.5-26.5 – You didn't use all your speech time, and/or your partner gave most of your rebuttal. You probably repeated yourself a lot and your speech, most likely, was not compelling at all. You also might have just been absurdly rude.

27 – You failed to extend warrants, your speech was so disorganized it hurt, and/or your rebuttal was clearly scripted. You made some kind of damning strategic error. I had to say clear twice and you still weren't clear.

27.5 – This is where I start. Your speeches were pretty average with no glaring strategic errors. You were decently clear, but by no means should you quit speed drills.

28 – Your strategy or the way you deployed it impressed me in some way. You're pretty fast and pretty clear.

28.5 – You're fast and I understood almost everything you said. You're persuasive. Your strategy was efficient and effective.

29 – I understood everything you said. You obviously know your arguments well, maybe even cut the argument yourself. You were smart and aggressive without being rude at all. I
had fun watching you debate.

29.5 – Your speeches were so devastating the other team had no chance. I heard every single word of every single card. You didn't rely on cheap arguments. Everything you said could've been the 2NR/2AR. This was a super easy decision.

30 – You're not getting one of these UNLESS there are some amazing circumstances that permit it OR you have given one of the top 3 debate speeches that I have ever heard. Usually, this amount of point means that I think you could win the NDT right now.

Jyleesa Hampton Paradigm

4 rounds

Assistant Director of Speech and Debate at Presentation High School and Public Admin phd student. I debated policy, traditional ld and pfd in high school (4 years) and in college at KU (5 years). Since 2015 I've been assistant coaching debate at KU. Before and during that time I've also been coaching high school (policy primarily) at local and nationally competitive programs.

Familiar with wide variety of critical literature and philosophy and public policy and political theory. Coached a swath of debaters centering critical argumentation and policy research. Judge a reasonable amount of debates in college/hs and usually worked at some camp/begun research on both topics in the summer. That said please don't assume I know your specific thing. Explain acronyms, nuance and important distinctions for your AFF and NEG arguments.

The flow matters. Tech and Truth matter. I obvi will read cards but your spin is way more important.

I think that affs should be topical. What "TOPICAL" means is determined by the debate. I think it's important for people to innovate and find new and creative ways to interpret the topic. I think that the topic is an important stasis that aff's should engage. I default to competing interpretations - meaning that you are better off reading some kind of counter interpretation (of terms, debate, whatever) than not.

I think Aff's should advocate doing something - like a plan or advocacy text is nice but not necessary - but I am of the mind that affirmative's should depart from the status quo.

Framework is fine. Please impact out your links though and please don't leave me to wade through the offense both teams are winning in that world.

I will vote on theory. I think severance is prolly bad. I typically think conditionality is good for the negative. K's are not cheating (hope noone says that anymore). PICS are good but also maybe not all kinds of PICS so that could be a thing.

I think competition is good. Plan plus debate sucks. I default that comparing two things of which is better depends on an opportunity cost. I am open to teams forwarding an alternative model of competition.

Disads are dope. Link spin can often be more important than the link cards. But
you need a link. I feel like that's agreed upon but you know I'm gone say it anyway.

Just a Kansas girl who loves a good case debate. but seriously, offensive and defensive case args can go a long way with me and generally boosters other parts of the off case strategy.

When extending the K please apply the links to the aff. State links are basic but for some reason really poorly answered a lot of the time so I mean I get it. Links to the mechanism and advantages are spicier. I think that if you're reading a K with an alternative that it should be clear what that alternative does or does not do, solves or turns by the end of the block. I'm sympathetic to predictable 1ar cross applications in a world of a poorly explained alternatives. External offense is nice, please have some.

I acknowledge debate is a public event. I also acknowledge the concerns and material implications of some folks in some spaces as well. I will not be enforcing any recording standards or policing teams to debate "x" way. I want debaters at in all divisions, of all argument proclivities to debate to their best ability, forward their best strategy and answers and do what you do.

Card clipping and cheating is not okay so please don't do it.
NEW YEAR NEW POINT SYSTEM (college) - 28.6-28.9 good, 28.9-29.4 really good, 29.4+ bestest.

This trend of paraphrasing cards in PFD as if you read the whole card = not okay and educationally suspect imo.

Middle/High Schoolers: You smart. You loyal. I appreciate you. And I appreciate you being reasonable to one another in the debate.

I wanna be on the chain:

Mike Harris Paradigm

5 rounds

Mike Harris
Wichita East High School -Director of Debate

(formerly Kapaun Mt. Carmel)

Congress Update for West Kansas NSDA Qualifier: prefers substantive clash and advancement of debate over key issues grounded in literature. I don't believe in the dueling oration model of Congress. NSDA national semifinalists the past three seasons.

I have significant experience in the past 15 years judging many tournaments both in Kansas and around the nation. I am the Director of Debate at Wichita Eastl in Wichita. I have multiple students currently competing in the NDT/CEDA circuit in colleges across the country. We have had many national qualifiers in policy debate in recent years and compete as much as Kansas will allow at national circuit tournaments. I coached the 2nd and 3rd place teams at NCFL, had three teams in the top 30 at NSDA and coached the 7th place team and a top ten speaker, and had two teams qualified for the TOC last year. I have been exposed to many teams and styles from across the nation. Below is a brief explanation of some of my judging preferences. This is by no means a complete explanation, so feel free to ask specific question regarding my paradigm:

I'm a tabula rasa judge as much as that exists and you will need to address framing in this debate to win my ballot. DOn't care of it's K v K, clash of covs, or policy debates.

Speed - No preference. I can keep up on the flow with any team although I do not believe that extreme speed is required to win. I prefer clarity and quality argumentation to speed. With that said, I most enjoy a quality high speed round that combines the above traits.

Kritik's - Literature is essential to quality kritik arguments. I do not have any problem with performance k's or kritikal aff's. I'm familiar with kritikal identity and postmodern lit. I am a glutton for solid evidence and I know that the literature exists. Be prepared to explain the literature clearly and succinctly. I have a philosophy degree although I am quite a few years removed from in-depth study of the literature.

CP's - If it solves the for the aff advantages and has a net benefit I'm good. I'm solid on perm theory. Not often do I reject a team on theory. Is there such thing as cheating?

Topicality- My threshold for topicality is high. That said, I have voted on T in very significant out rounds when I don't feel it has been covered appropriately, and it is extended effectively. T must be impacted out and weighed to be a factor in my decision.

Disads - I am particularly interested in strong specific links and true internal link scenarios. I hate hearing internal links and impacts that are based on evidence from 2007. I am convinced at this level of debate evidence for disads should be updated every week to paint an accurate portrayal of the world. I will weigh a disad impact scenario without good specific links against case impacts in all cases, but the risk will probably be very low. I'm going to vote for whichever team (aff or neg) has the best and most true story.

Case - I love a good case debate. Above I mentioned I have a philosophy degree, but it is important to note my main degree area if study was political science and IR. I have found that specific and significant case turns by the negative can be very effective in undermining an aff case and being enough to win a round. Common sense analytics are important to accompany cards for both teams. Shadow extensions do little for me, I want warrant analysis with specific comparisons.

Theory and framework - Ask regarding specifics. Impact it out, ask for leeway, answer independent voters. I think this is an area of debate that is often under-covered and not understood by many advanced teams. I vote for kritikal affs and neg t/framework about evenly. I'll go either way.

All said, have fun and enjoy yourselves. Please signpost appropriately! I don't always catch the authors and sometimes it gets interesting in rebuttals when all I keep hearing is the "Brown 11' card" over and over. I can usually figure it out, but is annoying and a waste of time. I am very open-minded and will listen to anything, however teams need to explain both claims and their appropriate warrants. []

Carolyn Hassett Paradigm

7 rounds

Shawnee Mission East ‘17

Currently debating at The University of Kansas ‘21

Assistant coach at Shawnee Mission East

Please put me on the email chain: and

Top Level

I am very expressive and you will know what I am thinking. Use that to your advantage

I appreciate jokes and confidence, but don’t cross the line

Disclosure is good

Tech over truth (a dropped argument is a true one as long as it contains a claim and a warrant)

I will not vote on anything that happened outside the round

Clipping or cheating of any kind will result in an immediate loss and 0 speaks

Please respect your partner. It is my biggest pet peeve to see one member belittle the other and act superior. You are only as good as your partner, and please act that way.

** Do whatever you want, my thoughts do not determine how you should debate


I was a 2A for a long time and because of that, I really appreciate well thought out aff’s with a strong internal link chain. If your evidence is bad/ internal links are weak how are you expecting to defend the aff? That being said I have stayed strictly policy and have rarely strayed from big stick impacts. I am open to listening to anything as long as you can defend and explain the aff. I think case debate is very important, too many teams don’t use the offense they have built to their advantage. Spend time extending your impacts and making cross comparisons to other arguments. I also really appreciate new and tricky policy affs that are unexpected.

T vs traditional aff’s

I am a big fan of T debates and feel that they can be particularly compelling and interesting. I default to competing interpretations, but can be persuaded by reasonability if done well. Spend time on impact comparison and explaining the violation, I am most persuaded by limits and precision impacts. T is never a reverse voting issue!


I've never read a planless aff and generally always go for framework or a CP. That being said I do find framework compelling and tend to lean heavily negative. Don’t think my predispositions mean you can get away with a shoddy job on framework and expect to win the round. I am most persuaded by fairness or limits based impacts and will award negatives who are able to explain their argument, 2N's that can give the speech primarily off the flow will be rewarded. I also appreciate different approaches to dealing with planless affs. Reading DA's and CP's against K aff's is cool and fun, you should do it. That being said, it is very easy for me to vote aff if you win your impact turn outweighs their impact or an interp that solves a lot of their offense.


With the exception of condo, I think all other theory based arguments are a reason to reject the argument not the team. I will not vote on cheap shot theory arguments. 2 condo is good, 3+ I can be persuaded, but need a warranted and contextualized explanation of your interp and why it should not be allowed in debate.


Probably my favorite argument in debate. I think a 2nr that is a DA + good case debate is very compelling. I prefer specific links, but there are some instances when generics work too. You need updated evidence!! I will award teams who have obviously spent time cutting new and good evidence. Please make turns case arguments, this is vital in a DA debate. And yeah i like the politics DA.


I also love a good counterplan debate. I think specific counterplans cut from the other teams evidence is especially compelling and I will award you for that. I am neg leaning on a lot of counterplan theory questions, but i can be sympathetic. I am not the greatest when it comes to CP theory so make sure you explain your argument and interp.


The aff should get to weight the implementation of the aff against the K or the squo. I have not done too much K debating in my career and am not too familiar with literature outside of neolib, security, and generics. Do not expect me to be able to follow along with complex K’s as I am not too well versed in the K world.

Neg: It is fine to go for the K with me in the back of the room, but I want a clear explanation of the alt and the link. I think that specific links are particularly important and need to be utilized. Links of omission are not links.

Aff: please impact turn the K

Please feel free to email me with any questions

Sherri Ho Paradigm

7 rounds

My name is Sherri and I’ve debated Maine East High School from 2010 to 2014. When I debated in high school, I would run a lot of politics, case-turns, security k, colonialism k, neoliberalism k, and counterplans. I have been a 1A/2N as well as a 2A/1N so I know how both sides function.

I am not that familiar with this year’s topic but here are a couple of things that I feel about certain positions:


Overviews are quite helpful. If you provide an overview, please tell me so I can flow it on a separate sheet of paper. I hate debates where the negative just uses a bunch of jargon instead of engaging with the affirmative and vice versa. If you go for the kritik, create a link story that is specific to the affirmative. Pull out some of the rhetoric from the affirmative and explain how it links to the kritik.

Framework debates tends to bore me because there’s a lack of clash on each side. If affirmative does go for framework, please provide some type of substance instead of just a generic framework argument, otherwise I will just side with negative on their interpretation of framework. I usually don’t vote on framework often due to the lack of clash.

For the affirmative, if you go for the permutation, you must tell me how it functions in the world of the alternative or how it is able to negate all the harmful impacts that the affirmative causes. I think it’s aff’s burden to explain that to me and not the negative.


I think the counterplan text is quite important. If you go for abusive counterplans, I think negative teams should be smart enough to write their counterplan text so that it can dodge a decent amount of the theory arguments. That being said, I think any theory that gets thrown at to the negative team is fair game especially if you run a highly abusive counterplan.

I would rather have the negative run a case-specific counterplan instead of a generic one.

For the affirmative, make sure to create convincing solvency deficits. If you are able to win the solvency deficit, negate some impact of the net benefit, then I believe the permutation is a much more convincing story. That being said, explain to me how the permutation function.


I don’t often vote for theory but if you want me to vote for it, you must prove in-round abuse. I will be more reluctant to vote on theory if there’s no in-round abuse proven. The reason I don’t vote for theory often is because I often see a lack of clash from both sides.

For every offense you go for, I believe a mini overview is always good.

I believe that competing interpretations is an effective way to evaluate T-debates. Impact your arguments. Don’t just say.. “oh, their affirmative is bad for fairness and education because we lose ground”. Explain what type of ground is lost and why that specific ground is important. If negative team goes for topicality, explain why their affirmative is bad in the first place and create a topical case list under your interpretation. For the affirmative, explain why the ground that you provide is good enough for the negative team etc.

Kritikal Affirmatives

I’ll listen to any arguments thrown at me. That being said, I am not that familiar with the kritical affirmatives for this year’s topic. I believe that framework debates are quite boring but I will evaluate them. I think a better debate would be the negative to fully engage with the affirmative instead of just going for “they aren’t within the resolution, that’s bad”.


People usually run generic disads, and that’s ok. I think trying to make the link specific to the affirmative is much more persuasive than a link that is something like “spending is bad”. Case-specific disads are much more interesting and fun to judge.

Cross X

Don’t be an ass. Tag team cross-x is fine but be respectful to your team members and competitors. I don’t want cross-x to end up as a “who can scream louder”-fest. Cross-X is a great way to establish links to your offense, to poke holes in other people’s arguments, and to increase your ethos. I do believe cross-x is binding.


Do not run things like sexism good, rape good, racism good, patriarchy good or I will dock your speaks and vote you down instantly. BE CIVIL. Besides those typically horrible arguments, I am down to listen to any arguments as long as they are well explained. Don’t be discouraged to run arguments that I have never heard of. I will theoretically vote on anything if you are winning the argument.

For prep-time, be civil and do not steal prep. If you do, I will dock your speaks and take away prep time. Let’s maintain the integrity of this activity.

Robert Holmes Paradigm

4 rounds

Flow and respond to what the other team says.

I don't have the speech doc open so do things that make it easier for me to flow. Position yourself so I can hear you. Don't speak into your laptop or stand on the opposite side of the room. Don't read typed-out things like they are the text of a card. Slow down and change the intonation of your voice when you're speaking.

If I don't understand something, I will not vote on it even if it is conceded.

Corss-x starts right after the constructive speech ends.

Starting and stopping prep each time you need to use more prep time will cost at least 15 sec.

Very simply, if you have trigger warnings because the topics are more taboo then I am not the judge for you. If you can't explain it to your school administration or parents without them raising concerns then don't run it in front of me. Time and place are important.

Things I will not vote on:

Arguments that suggest students should engage in risky behavior.

Death is good.

Fear of death is bad

Aff's that don't defend the resolution.

Aff's that link to debate in general instead of the resolution.

Judge pref disclosure

Vote for a team because they are part of a marginalized group.



Settler Colonialism



ontological argument

epistemological arguments.

In fact, it would be better if you just didn't run a K.


Condo CP's

Topical CP's

Consult CP's

conditions CP's

This list will be ongoing. I will update it to let you know.

So what is left you might ask:

Case debate



CP's that are not listed above.

Other things you might want to know:

1. Da's can have a zero-risk.

2. Aff adv's can have zero risk

3. Solvency can have zero risk

4. Substantial will be important in these types of debates.

5. The neg will get a healthy dose of presumption.

I really would like to listen to a debate about the resolution.

Atul Jalan Paradigm

5 rounds

Email for email chains:

Debated for Peninsula 2014-2018. I was a 2A in high school and ran pretty much exclusively policy arguments.

My judging will probably be very similar to Scott Wheeler.

General -

1. I resolve argument probabilistically. There is no such things as "zero risk," except for theoretical questions such as whether a counterplan is conditional or whether a perm is severance.

2. Smart analytics can beat bad cards. Good cards make for great arguments.

3. I'm more lenient about new spin and explanations of arguments in the later rebuttals, though you should at least hint at it before.

4. I prefer 1ACs and 1NCs with less impacts and more in-depth, supported arguments.

5. Conditionality is good. Ideologically contradictory positions are not.

6. Extinction is a great impact but a smart team can beat it with a much smaller impact and some decent weighing. If you do have structural impacts, you don't need to read a ton of cards as part of a big framing advantage. Just make the arguments.

Counterplans -

I feel like I'd be aff leaning in most CP theory debates. Both aff and neg teams should think about their theory standards' larger implication for debate, why the CP (or voting against the CP) would make debate worse and/or unfair.

DA -

I don't think I evaluate DAs very differently from others.

Dropping DA turns the case does not result in an auto neg ballot. If your turns case is just a series of one liners against each aff impact, I probably won't consider it very much.

Ks -

I'm decently acquainted with the more mainstream Ks. My favorite debates often end up being very specific, well-prepped k debates.

Please try to stay organized and refrain from going full stream-of-consciousness.

Ks need to have a well explained, specific link to the aff. State bad is probably not going to be enough. I won't be very technical on the perm debate (i.e. perm is severance). Usually, the perm debate is just the link/link turn debate.

Unless the neg goes all in on FW, it usually doesn't end up mattering much. The aff can weigh their plan against the K.

K alts suck and I think aff teams should spend more time exposing them.

T (against topical affs) -

I don't think reasonability matters much in these debates. What it does mean is that the aff is more likely to win in cases where they have really good defense against the neg standards but don't have great offense.

Non-topical affirmatives -

I pretty strongly believe that affirmatives should be topical.

I think fairness is an impact.

I don't think negative teams need a TVA to win. And, if the negative does have one, I don't think the TVA needs to solve the aff -- this isn't a plan vs. CP debate.

against Ks (if you're reading a non-t aff), I think that aff teams do usually get the perm.

Logan Jancek Paradigm

7 rounds

Pronouns: He/Him

E-mail: - put me on the email chain

Updated for MIFA state finals.

Experience: 2 years high school debate at Mona Shores High School, 2 years college debate at Wayne State University, 1 year coaching at Mona Shores High School, 2 years coaching at Detroit Country Day School.

I have a fair amount of experience debating both traditional policy and K frameworks.

I expect everyone to be timing themselves.

I'll give a short version: I'll listen to just about anything, minus overtly problematic arguments (racism good, sexism good, fascism good, etc.), which will at best lead to tanked speaker points, at worst an automatic loss.

Dropped arguments are usually true arguments, you must make the argument early enough in the debate for me to vote on it. That being said, I vote on arguments I understand. If I don't understand, that's on you, this is a speech activity.

The long version:

K affs - fine by me, be prepared for the framework debate, win the impact turns to framework and I'll probably vote for you. That being said, I still have to understand. These weird "every theorist ever" affs are kind of getting out of hand, but if you can explain it, run it.

T/Framework - Framework is also good, but you should do it right. You need to have impacts to framework that you can weigh against the aff. "Fairness" is not an impact I'm going to vote for. Explain the impact to fairness (research burden, ground loss, etc.).

DAs - fine, run them, explain them, win them.

Theory - the aff's last ditch effort. Run theory at your own risk. The only theory I find automatically compelling is conditionality bad (and that's if the neg runs like 4 condo positions). That said, if theory is dropped and is a reason to reject the team, that is super bad for the team that dropped it. Best case, I reject the argument, worst case I reject the team.

CPs - PICs get the aff some leeway on the perm and case debate, I wouldn't run them. See above for how I feel about conditional advocacies. I can be convinced of most counterplan theory.

Ks - Ks should usually engage something specific about the aff. Specific links are good. However, I don't think you necessarily need them. Ks should prove the aff is a bad idea and prove the alt can solve it. They should prove the perm doesn't work and that the impacts outweigh the aff. This means you have to win the framework debate too.

Speaker points - I guess I give low speaks? I'm sorry, speaker points are subjective and largely useless except for tie-breaking. Doing things like using problematic language, misgendering, stealing prep, being generally rude, etc. will at worst get you dropped (malicious use of problematic language or misgendering will get you dropped 100% of the time), and at worst will get you docked speaks.

Sean Ji Paradigm

6 rounds

Thomas Jefferson High School ’18 (VA)

University of Chicago ’22 (IL)

I wasn’t the best debater when I debated but I like to think I have a pretty solid grasp of the activity. I did policy debate for 3 years and I got 1 TOC bid my senior year of high school at BigLex. I was a 2n up til my senior year where I switched to a 2a and double 2 for a couple of tournaments.

Big picture and other miscellaneous things

Assume I don’t know anything about the topic because I probably don’t.

Tech > truth for everything. (if you say the sky is purple, it’s purple)

Stupid arguments are stupid (if they say the sky is purple, “No” is a sufficient response)

You should try new things in debate, if I see you read the same thing on aff and neg I’ll probably give you less speaks unless it’s super strategic.

I like cheap shots, It takes a lot of skill and smarts to make a good cheap shot.

Overviews should never be so long as to need a new sheet. If you’re making new arguments make it on the flow.

Line by line is your best friend.

Numbering is your second best friend.

I am very emotive, you will probably know what I’m thinking by how I react. Use that to your advantage.

Debate is supposed to be fun, don’t make it not fun.

There’s a fine line between good and being a dick. Don’t be a dick.

Stupid puns/jokes will get you bonus speaks.

If you finish a speech early don’t fill it with bullshit or underviews, just stop talking.

I’ll say clear twice. If it gets so bad, I’ll just stop listening to what you say for the rest of the round.

Oh also I did a little thing called Determinism in my senior year, it’s not really a K or T so I’ll just mention it here. It didn’t work but it was fun, and that’s why I did it. Even if your things don’t always work, they can at least waste some time, so have fun with it.

Now I’ll break it down by argument.


I was so bad at this when I debated. Be better than me and you’d be fine. I actually like a good T debate if it’s impacted out correctly. Also I’m one of the few judges that is probably aff leaning on T. To me there is no set box that topical affs fit in, so reasonability is pretty compelling.

If you go for T in the 2NR go for 5 minutes of it.


It’s cool I guess. Reject the arg not the team is usually fine unless you can somehow prove it matters so much that they destroyed the entirety of the debate because of it.

Have enough on your theory shells to viably go for later. If I miss your 3 second condo block that probably means you didn’t say enough to warrant a condo 2AR.

Unless I also missed it, if you drop condo you probably lose.


I really like the idea of K’s but I’m honestly disappointed with the types of debates I see with these. By that I mean if you aren’t good you shouldn’t be reading k’s. I also hate that people read the same thing every debate because it’s feasible and easy with the K. In my high school days I read primarily settler colonialism and neolib/cap. I dabbled a bit in psychoanalysis and triple-O too. I’m familiar enough with Antiblackness/afropess/afro-optimism K’s to be a competent judge in most rounds but I’ll likely get lost in the minutae in a “methods debate” between different authors or concepts.

The big thing for me about debating against K is to get any sort of offense against the K. I LOVE aff specific link turns to the K. Also if you can impact turn it (not like racism good stuff, more like cap good) that’s pretty useful.

If you are reading the K you really need to explain the link to me. If your only link is a link of omission, you can basically be guaranteed a loss. Don’t forget to weigh the K against the aff, even if it’s “a prior question.”

One more piece of advice, CX is important in all debates but especially important in K or K Aff debates.

K Affs / Framework (or T if you’re into that)

I’m not going to force you to read a plan, but I would love to see some sort of topic relevance. Like a really good link to the resolution is imperative at worst. If you re-use the same k aff every year I will be disappointed.

I like good framework debates

I love debates not about framework.

Back to framework

I’m as open for anything and everything as I can be. Say whatever you like as long as it’s not offensive or rude.

Neg, it might be smart to define words in the resolution other than “USFG”

Always contextualize your impacts to the round or model of debate the interpretations justify. I don’t have any real opinions on what is or isn’t an impact, but I am somewhat partial to switch side debate and informed clash arguments.


Not much to say here.

The 1NC better have uniqueness, otherwise the DA makes no sense.

I love a good politics DA, but honestly most of them are really stupid.

Goes without saying but aff specific links/DA’s are the best.


I don’t really care how abusive they are unless there’s a theory argument.

A CP must have a net-benefit. Just saying the CP “solves better” doesn’t show me the Aff doesn’t work.

I will not judge kick the CP for you unless you explicitly say to in the 2NR and the 2AR doesn’t respond.

Make sure your perms are all different.

Insert standard cheating/clipping stuff here.

And that’s it. If you have questions, email me at

Also add me to the email chain ^

Christian Jones Paradigm

4 rounds

Updated Last: 3.14.19
Affiliation: Director of Forensics at Union Public Schools in Tulsa, OK (2011-present)

Email: christian.d.jones[at] (yes, I would like to be on the chain)

Experience: This is my 12th year coaching.

All Debates

My General Paradigm
In my view debate is a game. The game must be fair, but debaters may argue what is and is not fair. Debaters may try to convince me which particular instance of the game will be played in each round. I will try to have an open mind, but I do have likes and dislikes.

I prefer debaters to ensure clarity before trying to accelerate. I can handle speed, but if I can't understand it, it doesn't get flowed. If I am being honest, I would estimate that I can catch almost every argument at about 85% of top speed for the national circuit. But if you brake for taglines and present them in a unique vocal inflection, top speed is not a problem.

I prefer line by line debate, but I don't have a problem resetting the flow if the new organization makes sense. Overviews are helpful, but please apply your arguments. A dangling overview is just an introduction. If you don't apply overview arguments to the flow, don't expect me to. Also, please do not machine gun your theory arguments. They should have a warrant and enough explanation to give me time to flow effectively. 2-3 complete sentences will usually get the job done.

Decision Calculus
I will only intervene if I feel I absolutely have to. I prefer that debaters to help me decide the debate. Comparative arguments will usually accomplish this. Extrapolations in rebuttals are acceptable if they are grounded in arguments already on the flow. I view truth vs. tech to be a false dichotomy; truth and tech are two different aspects of a debate and both weigh in my decision. Arguments that are extremely offensive or outright false may be rejected on face.

I enjoy and find value in a variety of argumentation styles as long as they do not preclude a debate from taking place. A debate must have clash.

Speaker Points (Oklahoma ballots in parenthesis)
30 (6) = Best speaker I expect to see at the tournament
29.9>29.5 (5) = Deserves a speaker award at the tournament
29.4>29 (4) = Excellent speaker, but has a few things to improve on
28.9>28.5 (4) = Great speaker, but has several things to improve on
28.4>28 (3) = Made some small mistakes, but was still enjoyable to listen to
28>27 (3) = Made large mistakes
27>26 (2) = Made several large mistakes that probably cost the round
26>0 (1) = Generally reserved for people who make direct insults toward a person or group of people or do not give their full effort in the debate


The most effective 1NC strategy is 8 minutes of case. If you can win case turns take out the 1AC impacts, you will win my ballot every time. I know this is an unlikely strategy for multiple reasons, but the importance of case debate can't be understated. Every negative should attack the affirmative case, even if it is only a handful of analytics. By the same token, if you are affirmative, don't forget about the 1AC. You read that stuff for a reason. Extend it.

The 1AC presents their argument to a blank slate. If you want to change this, you will need an interpretation and to be clear on the criteria for winning the round. This criteria should offer both sides the possibility of winning the debate. What you call it (role of the ballot, voting issue, impact framing, etc.) is not that important.

Topicality (or any other procedural/theory argument)
If you want me to vote on a proposed rule violation, then you need to win the complete argument. You must win that you have the best interpretation, that the other team has violated your interpretation, that your interpretation is good for debate, and that the offense is a voting issue. If you want to argue that the other team is breaking the rules, then you have the burden of proof. Procedural arguments may also urge a lesser punishment, such as, excluding the consideration of an argument.

I do not want to proscribe specifics when it comes to kritiks, but I do want to see clash and comparative argumentation in any debate. I prefer Ks that are germane to the topic or affirmative case in some way. Specific links are preferable to generic ones. I like kritiks that have a clearly defined alternative. Alternatives that propose something are preferable to 'reject' or 'do nothing' type alts. I am not a fan of ontological arguments, especially nihilistic ones. If you choose to enter the debate space, you have already ceded certain assumptions about reality.

I have no problem with this either, all of the kritik stuff applys here too. Performance rounds can be quite entertaining and enlightening. They can also be the opposite. I am open to forms of communication other than the default language of power that most debaters engage in.

I am open to any type of counterplan, but all arguments are subject to the standard of fairness determined in the debate round (see Framework/Topicality). That said, if you are going to read a counterplan, it should probably have a solvency card. Conditionality is okay, but let's not get carried away (see Multiple Worlds below).

Multiple Worlds
I do not like it when a team defends contradictory positions. I would prefer each side to have a consistent advocacy. A team may defend multiple actions (plan planks, counterplans, kritiks, etc.), but they should be consistent or at least not contradictory.

Other forms of debate
My expertise is in policy debate. I will do my best to consider whatever arguments you choose to present. I do not appreciate sandbagging/trickery and will punish debaters who are egregious in this respect.

K. Karas Paradigm

7 rounds

I was a policy debater in high school (Glenbrook North) and college (Georgetown) in the 1980s, which means I debated in an era where debaters didn't get to pick judges who they knew agreed with their arguments before the round started.

I have been on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues for the last decade and I have been actively coaching and judging these past four seasons.

I'm a strict tabula rasa judge. Yes, I have my own viewpoints, but I leave them in the hallway and I have voted for and against every type of argument. I'm fine with well-articulated speed. Take CX and the obligation to be polite seriously, because not doing so will affect your points, but please make sure to have fun. Also, please include me on the email chain and include analytics.

Melissa Kellams Paradigm

3 rounds

Updated February 2019

Email: for email chains

Experience: B.A. Public Affairs (Public Policy Analysis) from the John Glenn College of Public Affairs. Minor in Political Science. 4 years of high school policy debate, 4-5 years (consistent) judging high school policy debate

General Paradigm: I used to considered myself a gamesplayer, but I no longer want to be a cog in the system that upholds privilege and exclusion. Truth > tech because I’m tired of hearing racism, sexism, and exclusionary practices disguised as “arguments” or strategy. Play the game, but know that there are implications that exist real world and I have a hard time ignoring those as a judge.

Types of Arguments: All types of arguments are fine. I'm well versed in Theory, Kritiks, Topicality, etc. I will entertain pretty much anything you want to throw out there, but you have to be strategic and explain your argument well. Underdeveloped arguments are frowned upon. Make it clear what you see as the winning strategy by the end of the round, and tell me where to vote. If you're going to go for T or a theory argument, you need to be winning the standards/voters debate. I like to see theory arguments impacted out. Tell me what the in round implications are as well as implications for debate as a whole.


- Clash and analysis are important. Reading cards is not the same as analysis/warrants. Use what you read or don’t even bother reading it.

- Language matters- be careful what you say and how this could be portrayed to other groups. Blatant racism/sexism/overly offensive language will not be tolerated. Don’t lose your integrity trying to win a debate round.

- For signposting, if you're going to refer to an author, make those names clear in the 1ac/1nc or give me a clue initially (ie: The Jones 2017 card- 2nd card in solvency...)

Cross-X: While I will listen, I will likely not flow. Tag team cross-ex is completely acceptable. Be strategic.

Speed: is fine, but know that you must still be intelligible. If I can't flow due to mumbling/no separation of words, your speed isn't helping you any more. Card TAGS should be read at a slower pace to ease in flowing, but card TEXT needs to still be comprehensible as well.

Anything else? Just ask.

David Kingston Paradigm

4 rounds

Put me on the email chain: --- Makes life easier.

Hi, I'm Dave.

I debated 4 years in High School in Albuquerque, NM. I graduated in 1989.
I also debated for 4 years in College at Arizona State and transferred to UMKC. I won CEDA Nationals and graduated in 1994.
After that, I was a grad assistant at the University of North Texas and coached debate for 2 years.
and then got married and took my wife's last name changing mine from Genco to Kingston.
and then was a grad assistant at KU for a couple of years.
and then was the Assistant Director at UMKC until 2000.
From 1994 until 2000 I taught at a bunch of camps.
I've helped out several college teams here and there for the last 5-6 years.
I am currently cutting cards and coaching Blue Valley Northwest on the high school topic.

If you have any questions ask.

TL/DR: I really don't have a preference for what you do in a debate round. I've judged a ton of them over the years. I suggest you do something that you do well.

K: Everyone wants to know if I'm ok with "the K" or "the criticism" or a "performance". Sure. That sounds good to me. I understand those types of arguments. I've become more up to date with some high theory and race/structural Ks. You do you. I don't hold them against you.

CP: You don't have to answer the aff if the Counterplan solves all of the aff and you should point out what disads/turns are net benefits to the counterplans. I do not default to judge kick. I default to you're stuck with what you go for unless you make some argument about it. If you make an argument about the counterplan being condo, then you have to kick it unless you make judge kick args.

DA: They're good. Uniqueness, link or impact defense, and foundational warrant comparison are all good ways to help resolve things. Please don't read generic impact stuff that doesn't take the context of the round into account. It helps my decision and comments if you differentiate your warrants or find ways to compare your link to the turn or vise versa. Do I believe in zero risk? Kinda. Dropped args are probably zero risk. But I default to the arguments made about risk. Generally though, I default to some risk on a contested debate unless the resolution of the arguments is made very clear (Uniqueness goes the wrong direction, dropped args with some analysis, deeper warrants etc.)

T: If you have a good interp you can defend and can do standard debating well, I'm willing to hear the debate.

K Affs: I have been more in touch with this style of debate in recent years. I'm pretty neutral in FW debates. If you're aff vs FW, isolate a couple pieces of offense and you should be all right.

Theory: I don't care about how many or what kind of condo if you can defend it.

Round Comments:

I try to stay neutral in my judging and vote on things said in the round, not things that I make up about things you say. I'll make things up if that's the only way to resolve stuff, but I never feel good about it. Don't make me feel bad, plz.

I don't care how fast you go as long as you don't have mush mouth and I can understand it.

I try not to be a jerk about prep time, please don't be a jerk about it either. That being said, we do have to have a debate and it does have to finish on time, so don't steal prep.

Also, don't clip cards. I read along in the speech doc.

Don't flash docs that contain a ton of cards you're never going to read, and don't mess with the speech docs (remove navigation, purposefully try to avoid sharing, or do other random crap that is borderline cheating). The other team gets to see everything you read, and vice versa.

None of that doesn't mean that you can expect me to ignore arguments that aren't in a speech doc. If it was said, it's an argument. You should FLOW.

I don't like posturing between speeches and during CX in debates. If you have comments to make about the way the other team is debating or the arguments they choose, then you should make them as an argument in a speech.

Speaker Points: I'm trying to achieve more clarity about how I assign speaker points. This should give you a good idea about what I'm thinking when I assign them. This is a bit of an upward departure from points I have given in the past. Basically, I'm looking at points as a consideration of whether or not I think the debating you did was of elim rounds quality or that your performance was worthy of putting you on track to win a speaker award. I have my standards, but my points will probably end up being .2 or so higher than I have given in the past.

Bonus speaker points if you find a way to win that doesn't assume you win all of your arguments.

Have fun and Good Luck!

Ishmael Kissinger Paradigm

4 rounds

Last Updated 08/30/19

Ishmael Kissinger
Experience: 3.5 yrs for The University of Central Oklahoma 02-05 (JV & Open)
12 yrs as Coach @ Moore High School, OK
Policy Rounds Judged: Local ~10
Policy National/Toc - ~12
LD Rounds Judged Local: 0
LD National/TOC - 0

PFD - Local = 0

PFD Nat Circuit - 3

Email Chain:

Email for questions:

LD -

Just because I am primarily a policy judge does not mean that I think LD should be like 1 person policy. Small rant: I am tired of us making new debate events and then having them turn into policy... If you are constructing your case to be "Life & Util" and then a bunch of Dis-Ads you probably don't want me as your judge. If you are going for an RVI on T in the 1AR you probably don't want me as a judge. I don't think that LD affs should have plan texts. If I were to put this in policy terms: "You need to be (T)-Whole Res."

Affirmatives should have: a specific tie for their value to the resolution. An explanation on how their Criterion(a) operates in context of the value and the ballot. Contentions that affirm the whole resolution.

Negatives should have: a specific tie for their value to the resolution. An explanation on how their criterion(a) operates in context of the value and the ballot. Contentions that negate the whole resolution.


I tend to consider myself a flow oriented judge that tries to be as tab as any one person can be. Absent a framework argument made, I will default to a policy-maker/game-theorist judge. I view debate in an offense-defense paradigm, this means that even if you get a 100% risk of no solvency against the aff, but they are still able to win an advantage (or a turned DA) then you are probably going to lose. You MUST have offense to weight against case.

Generic Information:

Speed is not a problem

T & Theory need to be impacted with in round abuse. As the debate season goes on I tend to err more toward reasonability than I do at the beginning of the year. This is usually because as the debate year goes on I expect Negative teams to be more prepared for less topical arguments. This is generally how much judges operate, they just don't say it. I typically don't vote on potential abuse, you should couch your impacts on potential abuse in very real-world examples.

Please make impact calculus earlier in the debate rather than just making it in the 2nr/2ar

Kritiks are not a problem, but I am not really deep into any one literature base. This may put you at a disadvantage if you assume I know/understand the nuances between two similar (from my point of view) authors. **If you are going for a K or an Alt in the 2NR but are unsure if the aff is going to win the Perm debate and you want me to "kick the alt" and just have me vote on some epistemic turn you're only explaining in the overview of the 2NR you are not going to enjoy the RFD. If you think it's good enough to win the debate on with only a :30 explanation in the overview, you should probably just make the decision to go for it in the 2nr and kick the alt yourself.

When addressing a kritikal aff/neg I will hold you to a higher threshold than just Util & Cede the political, I'll expect you to have specific literature that engages the K. If this is your strategy to answering K teams I am probably not your "1."

I don't have a problem with multiple conditional arguments, although I am more sympathetic to condo bad in a really close theory debate.

CPs are legit. Just like judges prefer specific links on a Dis-Ads I also prefer specific Counter-Plans. But I will evaluate generic states/int'l actor CPs as well.

Dispo = Means you can kick out of it unless you straight turn it, defensive arguments include Perms and theory. (My interp, but if you define it differently in a speech and they don't argue it, then your interp stands)

DAs are cool - the more specific the link the better, but I will still evaluate generic links.

Case args are sweet, especially on this year's (2019) topic.

Personal Preferences:

Really I have only one personal pref. If you are in a debate round - never be a jerk to the opposing team &/or your partner. I believe that our community has suffered enough at the hands of debating for the "win," and although I don't mind that in context of the argumentation you make in the round, I do not believe that it is necessary to demean or belittle your opponent. If you are in the position to be facing someone drastically less experienced than yourself; keep in mind that it should be a learning process for them, even if it is not one for you. It will NOT earn you speaker points to crush them into little pieces and destroy their experience in this activity. If you want to demonstrate to me that you are the "better debater(s)," and receive that glorious 29 or maybe even 30 it will most likely necessitate you: slowing down (a little), thoroughly explaining your impact calc, clearly extending a position, then sitting down without repeating yourself in 5 different ways. If you opt to crush them you will prob. win the round, but not many speaker points (or pol cap) with me.

Grace Klage Paradigm

4 rounds

About me

I debated at Minneapolis Washburn High School for four years. During my time there, I traveled regularly and had some success on the national circuit. I’m now attending UW Madison. I worked at a week-long debate camp this summer and am still somewhat involved with Minneapolis Washburn, so I have the bare minimum of basic knowledge about the 2018-19 topic, but please explain your acronyms and topic-specific phrases!

I went for arguments on every side of the spectrum in high school, and I’ve always been a 2N. I have no argumentative predispositions and will happily listen to anything you want to have a debate about. That being said, my favorite debates are debates over topic-specific Ks, case specific disads and tricky counterplans, and robust case debates. Tech over truth, but within reason, meaning I won’t vote for arguments that are offensive or violent.

Add me to the email chain! My email is Feel free to email me with questions as well!


Plan, no plan, whatever – I’ll listen to anything as long as you’re willing to defend it. I read a K aff for most of high school and then switched to exclusively policy affs my senior year. I think policy affs get away with murder when it comes to case debating and often spend far too little time answering case arguments. I think I’m a good judge for presumption and think there’s nothing quite as threatening as deeply developed negative case takeouts, especially when the aff tries to wish them away in under 30 seconds in the 2AC. For the aff, I’m extremely impressed by people who read well-researched, unique affirmatives and can demonstrate their knowledge of their aff in the way they debate the case. I enjoy policy affs more when they have one or two impact scenarios and an actual description of their solvency mechanism, rather than having a bunch of scenarios with very little explanation of how the aff solves them.

For K affs, I think you have to defend some method and it should be related to the resolution. What that means is up for debate! I think a lot of K affs, especially those of the more postmodern variety, often just wait until the 1NC has happened to generate offense – this is really frustrating, because it’s often hard to pin down what these affs exactly do. If I don’t know what your aff does, I’ll be less inclined to vote for you and far more sympathetic to framework arguments.


I think zero risk is real. The more contrived your internal link chain is, the more I’ll believe this. Despite this, I actually kind of enjoy the politics disad and don’t think intrinsicness arguments are particularly convincing. Disads that emphasize turns case arguments are awesome. I wish more people went for disads and case – I’m perfectly fine voting on a disad regardless of whether it’s net beneficial to a counterplan, especially if you significantly reduce the risk of the case. Impact comparison is everything, and the earlier in the debate you can start it, the better.


I think I have a slightly higher bar for theoretical illegitimacy when it comes to “cheating” counterplans. I love process counterplans, but I’m also sympathetic to the limited range of arguments the affirmative has to respond with. I understand the need to go for theory versus counterplans like these, but if you go for theory I’d still like to hear clash over it. I’m pretty neutral on questions of agents, 50 state and international fiat, etc. – I could be persuaded in pretty much any direction on theory, but I do definitively think the neg gets fiat. I won’t judge kick the counterplan for you – I think it’s pretty abusive and you should just pick a world and stick with it. Tricky perms are fun – but make sure to distinguish between which perm you're going for/answering, especially versus counterplans.


I love kritiks and a large chunk of my 2NRs in high school were the K. The Ks I went for most often were neolib, queer pessimism, and critical geopolitics (lol). Links about the action of the plan are better than general links about the affirmative’s impacts, rhetoric, or the system the aff exists within. Alts are helpful but not necessary – kick them if you want to but make sure the links wholly disprove that the aff is a good idea. Framework is a helpful tool to filter which links I evaluate, but doesn’t wish away entire Ks. The neg can use framework to reduce the chances of the aff outweighing the K. I think the aff probably always gets a perm, but could be convinced otherwise if there was explanation beyond saying “this is a method debate”. Ks versus K affs still need a link, preferably specific to the aff – root cause isn’t a link.


Both sides of the framework debate are enjoyable to me, and while I love hearing a good K aff, I’m also pretty sympathetic to negative framework arguments. I think the best way for the neg to win a framework debate is to go for a more procedural impact like fairness or limits and isolate clear examples of the way the aff makes debate considerably harder, while making smart case arguments that mitigate the risk that the aff’s education is good for debate. Contextualization goes very far in these debates. For the aff, I think the best way to win is to prove that your aff is contestable, even under the negative’s parameters, and to actually defend your counter interpretation as a model of debate. If you want more thoughts on this, I really agree with Brian Rubaie’s philosophy on framework.

Please don’t be rude or unkind when you go for framework (or any argument, but I find that this is especially a thing in framework debates).


I do enjoy debates about non-framework T, but I’m not very well versed in the high school topic and you may have to do some additional explanation to make T arguments clear to me. The more ridiculous your interpretation is, the easier it’ll be for me to buy reasonability arguments from the aff. I don’t know which affs are “core affs” and probably won’t know most of your acronyms – please clarify things like these for my sake!

Other stuff

I'm not a fan of yelling, being rude to your opponents and partner, Pocketbox, ethics violations like stealing prep and clipping, Antonio 95 or the fiat double bind, or talking down to your opponents in cross ex. I like it when people are funny and have personality in cross ex, but I think it's a fine line between being entertaining and being snarky, and the latter will definitely hurt your speaker points. I don't think I should have to read evidence at the end of a round if you're doing the work to contextualize it but I'm not opposed to it if need be. I'm probably not a great judge for any theory in the vein of Baudrillard, Bataille, etc. My idea of average speaker points is ~28.3. Internal links are underrated, and I like it when debaters prioritize explaining their internal links just as much as they do their terminal impacts.

Kevin Kuswa Paradigm

3 rounds

Updated 2019. Coaching at Berkeley Prep in Tampa. Nothing massive has changed except I give slightly higher points across the board to match inflation. Keep in mind, I am still pleased to hear qualification debates and deep examples win rounds. I know you all work hard so I will too. Any argument preference or style is fine with me: good debate is good debate. Email: kevindkuswa at gmail dot com.

Updated 2017. Currently coaching for Berkeley Prep in Tampa. Been judging a lot on the China topic, enjoying it. Could emphasize just about everything in the comments below, but wanted to especially highlight my thirst for good evidence qualification debates...

_____________________________ (previous paradigm)

Summary: Quality over quantity, be specific, use examples, debate about evidence.

I think debate is an incredibly special and valuable activity despite being deeply flawed and even dangerous in some ways. If you are interested in more conversations about debate or a certain decision (you could also use this to add me to an email chain for the round if there is one), contact me at kevindkuswa at gmail dot com. It is a privilege to be judging you—I know it takes a lot of time, effort, and commitment to participate in debate. At a minimum you are here and devoting your weekend to the activity—you add in travel time, research, practice and all the other aspects of preparation and you really are expressing some dedication.

So, the first issue is filling out your preference sheets. I’m usually more preferred by the kritikal or non-traditional crowd, but I would encourage other teams to think about giving me a try. I work hard to be as fair as possible in every debate, I strive to vote on well-explained arguments as articulated in the round, and my ballots have been quite balanced in close rounds on indicative ideological issues. I’m not affiliated with a particular debate team right now and may be able to judge at the NDT, so give me a try early on and then go from there.

The second issue is at the tournament—you have me as a judge and are looking for some suggestions that might help in the round. In addition to a list of things I’m about to give you, it’s good that you are taking the time to read this statement. We are about to spend over an hour talking to and with each other—you might as well try to get some insight from a document that has been written for this purpose.

1. Have some energy, care about the debate. This goes without saying for most, but enthusiasm is contagious and we’ve all put in some work to get to the debate. Most of you will probably speak as fast as you possibly can and spend a majority of your time reading things from a computer screen (which is fine—that can be done efficiently and even beautifully), but it is also possible to make equally or more compelling arguments in other ways in a five or ten minute speech (

2. Examples win debates. Well-developed examples are necessary to make the abstract concrete, they show an understanding of the issues in the round, and they tend to control our understandings of how particular changes will play out. Good examples take many forms and might include all sorts of elements (paraphrasing, citing, narrating, quantifying, conditioning, countering, embedding, extending, etc.), but the best examples are easily applicable, supported by references and other experiences, and used to frame specific portions of the debate. I’m not sure this will be very helpful because it’s so broad, but at the very least you should be able to answer the question, “What are your examples?” For example, refer to Carville’s commencement speech to Tulane graduates in 2008…he offers the example of Abe Lincoln to make the point that “failure is the oxygen of success”

3. Argument comparison wins debate. Get in there and compare evidence—debate the non-highlighted portion of cards (or the cryptic nature of their highlighting). Debate the warrants and compare them in terms of application, rationale, depth, etc. The trinity of impact, plausibility, and verge analysis doesn’t hurt, especially if those variables are weighed against one another. It’s nice to hear good explanations that follow phrases like “Even if…,” “On balance…,” or “In the context of…” I know that evidence comparison is being done at an extremely high level, but I also fear that one of the effects of paperless debate might be a tilt toward competing speech documents that feature less direct evidence comparison. Prove me wrong.

4. Debates about the relative validity of sources win rounds. Where is the evidence on both sides coming from and why are those sources better or worse? Qualification debates can make a big difference, especially because these arguments are surprisingly rare. It’s also shocking that more evidence is not used to indict other sources and effectively remove an entire card (or even argument) from consideration. The more good qualification arguments you can make, the better. Until this kind of argument is more common, I am thirsty enough for source comparisons (in many ways, this is what debate is about—evidence comparison), that I’ll add a few decimal points when it happens. I do not know exactly where my points are relative to other judges, but I would say I am along a spectrum where 27.4 is pretty good but not far from average, 27.7 is good and really contributing to the debate, 28 is very good and above average, 28.5 is outstanding and belongs in elims, and 29.1 or above is excellent for that division—could contend for one of the best speeches at the tournament.

5. All debates can still be won in 2AR. For all the speakers, that’s a corollary of the “Be gritty” mantra. Persevere, take risks and defend your choices

( The ballot is not based on record at previous tournaments, gpa, school ranking, or number of coaches.

6. Do not be afraid to go for a little more than usual in the 2NR—it might even help you avoid being repetitive. It is certainly possible to be too greedy, leaving a bloated strategy that can’t stand up to a good 2AR, but I usually think this speech leaves too much on the table.

7. Beginning in the 1AR, brand new arguments should only be in reference to new arguments in the previous speech. Admittedly this is a fuzzy line and it is up to the teams to point out brand new arguments as well as the implications. The reason I’ve decided to include a point on this is because in some cases a 2AR has been so new that I have had to serve as the filter. That is rare and involves more than just a new example or a new paraphrasing (and more than a new response to a new argument in the 2NR).

8. Very good arguments can be made without evidence being introduced in card form, but I do like good cards that are as specific and warranted as possible. Use the evidence you do introduce and do as much direct quoting of key words and phrases to enhance your evidence comparison and the validity of your argument overall.

9. CX matters. This probably deserves its own philosophy, but it is worth repeating that CX is a very important time for exposing flaws in arguments, for setting yourself up for the rebuttals, for going over strengths and weaknesses in arguments, and for generating direct clash. I do not have numbers for this or a clear definition of what it means to “win CX,” but I get the sense that the team that “wins” the four questioning periods often wins the debate.

10. I lean toward “reciprocity” arguments over “punish them because…” arguments. This is a very loose observation and there are many exceptions, but my sympathies connect more to arguments about how certain theoretical moves made by your opponent open up more avenues for you (remember to spell out what those avenues look like and how they benefit you). If there are places to make arguments about how you have been disadvantaged or harmed by your opponent’s positions (and there certainly are), those discussions are most compelling when contextualized, linked to larger issues in the debate, and fully justified.

Overall, enjoy yourself—remember to learn things when you can and that competition is usually better as a means than as an ends.

And, finally, the third big issue is post-round. Usually I will not call for many cards—it will help your cause to point out which cards are most significant in the rebuttals (and explain why). I will try to provide a few suggestions for future rounds if there is enough time. Feel free to ask questions as well. In terms of a long-term request, I have two favors to ask. First, give back to the activity when you can. Judging high school debates and helping local programs is the way the community sustains itself and grows—every little bit helps. Whether you realize it or not, you are a very qualified judge for all the debate events at high school tournaments. Second, consider going into teaching. If you enjoy debate at all, then bringing some of the skills of advocacy, the passion of thinking hard about issues, or the ability to apply strategy to argumentation, might make teaching a great calling for you and for your future students ( note: debaters are definitely part of academia, but represent a group than can engage in Emdin’s terms). There are lots of good paths to pursue, but teaching is one where debaters excel and often find fulfilling. Best of luck along the ways.

Jack Lassiter Paradigm

4 rounds

Baylor Debate GA/Berkeley Prep Assistant Coach - 2017-2019


I have an appreciation for framework debates, especially when the internal link work is thorough and done on the top of your kritik/topicality violation before it is applied to pivotal questions on the flow that you resolve through comparative arguments. On framework, I personally gravitate towards arguments concerning the strategic, critical, or pedagogical utility of the activity - I am readily persuaded to vote for an interpretation of the activity's purpose, role, or import in almost any direction [any position I encounter that I find untenable and/or unwinnable will be promptly included in the updates below]

The Kritik

I have almost no rigid expectations with regard to the K. I spent a great deal of my time competing reading Security, Queer Theory, and Psychoanalysis arguments. The bodies of literature that I am most familiar with in terms of critical thought are rhetorical theory (emphasizing materialism) and semiotics. I have studied and debated the work of Jacques Derrida and Gilles Deleuze, to that extent I would say I have an operative understanding and relative familiarity with a number of concepts that both thinkers are concerned with.


I think that by virtue of evaluating a topicality flow I almost have to view interpretations in terms of competition. I can't really explain reasonability to myself in any persuasive way, if that changes there will surely be an update about it - this is also not to say nobody could convince me to vote for reasonability, only that I will not default in that direction without prompt.


Theory debates can be great - I reward strategic decisions that embed an explanation of the argument's contingent and applied importance to the activity when going for a theory argument on a counterplan.

I believe that permutations often prompt crucial methodological and theoretical reflection in debate - structurally competitive arguments are usually generative of the most sound strategic and methodological prescriptions.


Judging for Damien Debate - Berkeley 2016

In judging I am necessarily making comparisons. Making this process easier by developing or controlling the structure of comparisons and distinctions on my flow is the best advice I could give to anyone trying to make me vote for an argument.

I don't feel like it is really possible to fully prevent myself from intervening in a decision if neither team is resolving questions about how I should be evaluating or weighing arguments. I believe this can be decisively important in the following contexts: The impact level of framework debates, The impact level of any debate really, The method debate in a K v K round, The link debate... The list goes on. But, identifying particular points of clash and then seeing how they are resolved is almost always my approach to determining how I will vote, so doing that work explicitly in the round will almost always benefit you.

If you have any questions about my experience, argumentative preferences, or RFD's feel free to ask me at any time in person or via email.

I may on occasion request pieces of evidence, if thats the case it can be sent to my email:

Alexander Lennon Paradigm

5 rounds

Travel policy debate coach at Thomas Jefferson (VA) since 2014 and founding Board Member, WUDL (Washington Urban Debate League). Debated nationally in HS and at Harvard (1990 NDT champion and Copeland Award winner) before starting a foreign policy career, including a stint in the State Department, earning a Ph.D., and have run the Washington Quarterly journal (you've probably cut or read a bunch of foreign policy cards from it) since 1998 as my full-time job.

I judge about 50+ rounds a year, but don't teach at summer camps so I'm familiar with topics, but not necessarily intimately, so better to explain topic args early in a year. I realize (ok, been told) that my paradigm was tl/dr the spirit of David Letterman and Zbigniew Brzezinski (not necessarily in that order of importance), here's a top 10 list of things you should know about me, or about what I believe makes you a better debater with me, as your judge.

10. I don't read speech docs along with you while you are speaking (except to check clipping); I use them as reference docs.

If I don't understand you, and it's not on my flow, it didn't happen. This is a speaking activity. Speed is fine, and I'll say "clear" if you're not.

9. Better debaters structure their speech (use #s) and label each new piece of paper (including 1AC advs) before starting to read tags/cites.

Ever listen to Obama speak? It's structured. Structuring your speech conveys the important points and controls the judges flow (don't use "and" as that word is used in cards ALL the time). The best debaters explain arguments to the judge; they don't obscure arguments to hide them from the other team. Points will reflect that.

8. I generally prefer Affs to have plans as examples of the resolution.

I am indebted to the activity for opening my eyes over the years to the depths of racial tensions and frustration in this country, particularly among today's students, and constantly learn about them from coaches and students running these arguments well. All that said, I do intuitively believe the resolution divides ground and is vital for the long-term viability of this activity (aka I will vote on framework, but neg has to do more than say "you know old school policy debate is did it").

7. Portable skills (including switch-side benefits) are real, and will pay off over 1-2 generations when you are trained and in charge.

What you do in this room can help train you to improve government (from inside or outside) even if it takes patience (think a generation). I am an example of that and know literally dozens of others. The argument that nothing happens because the aff doesn't actually get adopted overlooks the activity's educational value and generally feeds the stereotype that this generation demands instant gratification and can't think over the horizon. It's a process; so is progress.

I also intuitively believe teams shouldn't get the right to run an argument on both sides of the topic. The best way to challenge and sharpen your beliefs is to have to argue against them.

6. I'm not a good postmodernist/high theory judge (this includes psychoanalysis).

5. I am more likely to vote on conditionality if there are strategic contradictions.

4. Top debaters use source quals to compare evidence.

Debaters make arguments and use cards--cards don't make arguments themselves. Cards effectively serve as expert testimony, when the author knows more about the subject than you, so use the author's quals as a means of weighing competing evidence.

3. Permutations should be combinations of the whole plan and part or all of the CP or alt to test whether the CP or K is a reason to reject the Aff (aka competitive).

I've found permutation theory often painfully poorly debated with the neg block often relying on trying to outspread the 1ar not to go for perms in HS. Perms are not inherently illegitimate moving targets. Conversely, don't assume I know what "permute: do the CP" means; I find debaters rarely do. MAKE SURE THE TEXT OF A PERM IS CLEAR (careful when reading a bunch at top speed and text should be written in your speech doc for reference and is binding).

POTENTIAL UNCOMMON VIEW: I believe affs have the right to claim to adopt permutations as the option the judge is voting for (the neg introduced the CP/alt into the debate so it's not a moving target) to solve a DA and can offset the moral hazard that "you can't straight turn a CP so why not run one/more", but this must be set up in the 1ar and preferably 2ac.

Finally, I will resort to judge-kicking the CP or K if nobody tells me what to do, but somebody (before the 2ar) should.

2. Good Ks have good alts

At its core, policy debate is about training your generation to make a better world. That means plans and alts are the key to progress. I prefer not to hear generic Ks with either nihilistic (burn it down, refusal, reject the Aff) or utopian (Ivory Tower) alts. But show me a K with an alt that might make a difference? Particularly with a link to the Aff (plan specifically or as example of resolution) rather than the world? NOW we’re talkin’ ...

1. The most important thing: I try to be as tabula rasa as possible.

If you win a debate on the flow, I will vote for it. Seriously. All the above are leanings, absent what debaters in the room tell me to do or what I tend to do in evenly-matched, closely contested debates. But you should do what you do best, and I will vote for the team that debates the round best. You are not here to entertain me, I am here to evaluate and, when I can, teach you.

I save this for last (#1) because it supersedes all the others.

PROCEDURAL NOTE: If you're not using an e-mail chain, prep time ends when your flash drive LEAVES your computer (or if you are on an email chain, when you save the doc) -- before that, you are compiling your speech doc and that's your prep time. I tend to get impatient if there's too much dead/failed tech time in debates.

This is a working philosophy, which I'll update periodically, so please feel free to ask me any questions and if I hear the same one/s a couple times, I'll be happy to update this.

I came back because I believe policy debate was invaluable in my education, loved the competition, learned from and started a career based on the research I did and heard (and still do learn from it and you to this day), and want to create opportunities for others to benefit from competing in policy debate over the next few years. I owe my career to this activity, and other members of my family have benefited from it in many ways too. I'll do my best to make each round fun and worthwhile.

Compete, make each other better, and have fun. There's no better intellectual game. Enjoy...Let's do this...

Patricia Leon Paradigm

4 rounds

Last Updated: 11/18/2019

Maine East high school Assistant Debate Coach & Alum, class of 2015 / Northeastern Illinois University, class of 2020

Pronouns: They/Them/Their(s)

About Me: My name is Patricia Leon and I am an assistant debate coach for Maine East high school and alum. I debated in high school, and I am now a fifth year undergraduate student studying environmental science at NEIU in Chicago, IL.

General summary of my judging:
-I prefer big picture over small technical issues. I can't stress this enough: framing (top level especially) is super important to me and provides more concrete reasons for me to vote for you. This is especially important for me in rebuttals. Key questions you should ask yourself and explain to win me over: What arguments are you winning? How does this help you win the debate? What does this mean for your opponent's arguments(that is, why should I prefer them less and why are their arguments insufficient)? Please also try to slow down a bit in rebuttals so I can flow these crucial moments properly.

-I generally believe that debate is an educational activity and should be valued as such. Recently I have been finding myself less and less likely to view fairness as an impact as a result. If you are going for arguments that frame fairness as a prior question, please try to have a coherent explanation as to why this is net better role for my ballot and why this subsumes their educational/indicts to your educational model claims. Going for other impacts would also be a good move if FW is truly your only option.

-I enjoy all kinds of arguments, but for more complex ones I will need more explanation before I can feel comfortable voting for you. I am familiar with the topic, so I know the common terms and court cases. If you are running an uncommon aff, just don't act like I automatically understand your specific terms and acronyms.

-I am actively trying my best to understand your arguments and strategy, and to accurately determine who won the round. By the end of the round, you should have really made it clear to me why I should vote for you. If I am still left confused once the round ends, it will be harder to do so.

-Evidence comparison. Please do this! This year's topic in particular I have seen a flood of evidence from debaters, yet no explanation or clash regarding the evidence. Absent comparison, I'm left to make these decisions myself, which can end up hurting you in the end. See a flaw in their evidence? Point it out, and explain why your evidence is better.

Cross-x: Cross-x should be where you poke holes in the other team's arguments, not for asking pointless questions because you are forced to. If you are the one asking the questions in cross-x, you should have taken at least 3 minutes before the speech ends to prepare your questions. Being prepared in cross-x will not only clarify issues in the round you did not understand, but will(or should) signal to me, the judge, where you are going with your strategy.

Kritikal debate: I enjoy K arguments a lot. I have decent knowledge of generics(cap, security), Feminism kritiks(K's of western/white fem), Queer Theory (Edelman, Halberstam, Puar), and general understanding kritiks relating Race, Ableism, etc. BUT- I have found that when debaters go for arguments under the spheres of postmodernism, poststructuralism, and existentialism (think Nietzsche, Deleuze, Bataille, Baudrillard, etc.), their speeches are filled with incoherent arguments. If these are your preferred K stuff, then I am not the best judge for y'all. If you wish to go for these arguments in front of me, PLEASE go in depth on explanation and go beyond unnecessary jargon.

Buzz words or excessive jargon are annoying and should not be used in place of actually explaining your argument. So please- explain your argument concisely and precisely. This makes it significantly easier for all of us to be on the same page and avoid confusing cross-x.

Policy debate: Be sure to have proper overviews that explain them more clearly to me. For affs- the 1ac tags should be coherent enough to help me understand your aff. I find it more compelling when counterplans/disad's are specific to the affirmative and are explained in depth.
Impact defense is certainly necessary for case, but internal link turns also make for great case arguments. Impact turns are interesting, but usually have low-quality evidence/warrants (don't go for those terrible warming good cards in front of a scientist...).

Framework vs K aff's: I'd rather the neg engage with the substance of the affirmative, but big picture framing, impacting out arguments, and overall in depth explanations from either side will help me the most in any of these scenarios.

Topicality: I have a high standard for this. You absolutely need standards or reasons to prefer your interpretation. Focusing on even one standard like limits or ground could help you out. Affirmatives should focus on impacting their offense. If your argument has multiple interpretations, be sure to make clear what you are going for (all or some of the interpretations). Re-reading your 2AC block will not help you get my ballot.

Theory: Topicality comes before condo. 50 state uniform fiat, multiplank are probably good. 1 or 2 condo is fine, 3 condo is probably pushing it, 4+ is bad.

Other notes: I always have items like bandaids, tampons and pads on me. If you don't have access to any of these at a tournament we're both at, contact me! Find me in my room if I'm judging or email me.

Any other questions: just ask me in round!
If you ever want to email me any questions or resources (I'm a college student so I have access to various sites and articles that you may not), send me an email at !

Nick Lepp Paradigm

5 rounds

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

I use he/him pronouns.

Last updated: 4/30/2019

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

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

Top level things:

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

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

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

How I decide debates:

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

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

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

Other misc things:

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

2. I am very flowcentric. Do not ask me to not flow, because I won't listen to you. Please do line-by-line. If you don't, I'll be frustrated and less likely to buy new extrapolations of arguments. Your speaker points will definitely drop if you don't do line-by-line. I'm not a huge fan of overviews at all. I am unlikely to yell clear at you if I cannot understand you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some specifics:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Topicality: It's only ever a voter and not a reverse voter. I oftentimes feel like teams get away with bloody murder teams should just go for T against. That being said, I’m not great for silly/arbitrary T interps. That being said, I am a sucker for plantext in a vacuum and will vote aff on terminal defense.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jason Levin Paradigm

7 rounds

for the email chain:

Debated two years at Northwestern and four at GBN. Fine for any argument besides obviously abhorrent stuff. Probably don't know anything about the topic so tread lightly with acronyms. As long as you're having fun and being respectful and kind to your opponents, everything else will be fine.

Happy to answer any specific questions before the round in person or via email.

Tim Lewis Paradigm

2 rounds

Affiliations and History:
I am the Director of Debate for Hebron High School in Lewisville, TX.
I was an Assistant Coaches at Damien High School in La Verne, CA from 2017-2020.
I debated on the national circuit for Damien from 2009-2013.
I graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles with a BA in Critical Theory and Social Justice.
I completed my Master's degree in Social Justice in Higher Education Administration at The University of La Verne.
My academic work involves critical university studies, Georges Bataille, poetics, and post-colonialism.
I judged 29 rounds on the Arms topic (2019-2020) (not including practice rounds without a decision rendered).
I judged a bit of LD (32 debates) on the Jan-Feb Topic (nuke disarm) in '19/'20.
I judged around 25 debates on the Immigration topic (2018-2019) on the national circuit.
I judged around 50 rounds on the Education topic (2017-2018) on the national circuit.

Front Matter Elements:
Please email ( me all of the speeches before you begin.
If you need an accommodation of any kind, please email me before the round starts.
I want everyone to feel safe and able to debate- this is my number one priority as a judge.
I don't run prep time while you email the speech doc. Put the whole speech into one speech doc.
I flow 1AC impact framing, inherency, and solvency straight down on the same page nowadays.
Speed is not an issue for me, but I will ask you to slow down (CLEAR) if you are needlessly sacrificing clarity for quantity--especially if you are reading T or theory arguments.

I will not evaluate evidence identifiable as being produced by software, bots, algorithms etc. Human involvement in the card’s production must be evident unique to the team, individual, and card. This means that evidence you directly take from open source must be re-highlighted at a minimum. You should change the tags and underlining anyways to better fit with your argument’s coherency.

I privilege technical debating and the flow. I try to get as much down as I possibly can and the little that I miss usually is a result of a lack of clarity on the part of the speaker or because the actual causal chain of the idea does not make consistent sense for me (I usually express this on my face). Your technical skill should make me believe/be able to determine that your argument is the truth. That means warrants. Explain them, impact them, and don't make me fish for them in the un-underlined portion of the six paragraph card that your coach cut for you at a camp you weren't attending. I find myself more and more dissatisfied with debating that operates only on the link claim level. I tend to take a formal, academic approach to the evaluation of ideas, so discussions of source, author intentions and 'true' meaning, and citation are both important to me and something that I hope to see in more debates.

The best debates for me to judge are ones where the last few rebuttals focus on giving me instructions on what the core controversies of the round are, how to evaluate them, and what mode of thinking I should apply to the flow as a history of the round. This means that I'm not going to do things unless you tell me to do them on the flow (judge kick, theory 'traps' etc.). When instructions are not provided or articulated, I will tend to use (what I consider to be) basic, causal logic (i.e. judicial notice) to find connections, contradictions, and gaps/absences. Sometimes this happens on my face--you should be paying attention to the physical impact of the content of your speech act.

I believe in the importance of topicality and theory. No affs are topical until proven otherwise.
Non-impacted theory arguments don't go a long way for me; establish a warranted theory argument that when dropped will make me auto-vote for you. This is not an invitation for arbitrary and non-educational theory arguments being read in front of me, but if you are going to read no neg fiat (for example), then you better understand (and be able to explain to me) the history of the argument and why it is important for the debate and the community.

I try to read all evidence as it is read throughout the debate. This can go well or badly for you, but only if you do not make the debate legible and winnable at the level of argument (which is the only reason I would have to defer to evidentiary details).

I find framework to be a boring/unhelpful/poorly debated style of argument on both sides. I want to hear about the ballot-- what is it, what is its role, and what are your warrants for it (especially why your warrants matter!). I want to know what kind of individual you think the judge is (academic, analyst, intellectual etc.). I want to hear about the debate community and the round's relationship within it. These are the most salient questions in a framework debate for me. If you are conducting a performance in the round and/or debate space, you need to have specific, solvable, and demonstrable actions, results, and evidences of success. These are the questions we have to be thinking about in substantial and concrete terms if we are really thinking about them with any authenticity/honesty/care (sorge).

If you are going to go for Fairness, then you need a metric. Not just a caselist, not just a hypothetical ground dispensation, but a functional method to measure the idea of fairness in the round/outside the round i.e. why are the internal components (ground, caselist, etc.) a good representation of a team's burden and what do these components do for individuals/why does that matter. I am not sure what that metric/method is, but my job is not to create it for you. A framework debate that talks about competing theories for how fairness/education should be structured and analyzed will make me very happy i.e. engaging the warrants that constitute ideas of procedural/structural fairness and critical education.

In-round Performance and Speaker Points:
An easy way to get better speaker points in front of me is by showing me that you actually understand how the debate is going, the arguments involved, and the path to victory. Every debater has their own style of doing this (humor, time allocation, etc.), but I will not compromise detailed, content-based analysis for the ballot.

I believe that there is a case for in-round violence/damage winning the ballot. Folks need to be considerate of their behavior and language. You should be doing this all of the time anyways.

CX ends when the timer rings. I will put my fingers in my ears if you do not understand this. I deeply dislike the trend of debaters asking questions about 'did you read X card etc.' in cross-x and I believe this contributes to the decline of flowing skills in debate. While I have not established a metric for how many speaker points an individual will lose each time they say that phrase, know that it is something on my mind. I will not allow questions outside of cross-x outside of core procedural things ('can you give the order again?,' 'everyone ready?' etc.). Asking 'did you read X card' or 'theoretical reasons to reject the team' outside of CX are NOT 'core procedural things.'

While I believe that high school students should not be held to a standard of intellectual purity with critical literature, I do expect you to know the body of scholarship that your K revolves around: For example, if you are reading a capitalism K, you should know who Marx, Engels, and Gramsci are; if you are reading a feminism k, you should know what school of feminism (second wave, psychoanalytic, WOC, etc.) your author belongs to. If you try and make things up about the historical aspects/philosophical links of your K, I will reflect my unhappiness in your speaker points and probably not give you much leeway on your link/alt analysis. I will often have a more in-depth discussion with you about the K after the round, so please understand that my post-round comments are designed to be educational and informative, instead of determining your quality/capability as a debater.

Do not read these types of arguments in front of me:
Arguments that directly call an individual's humanity into account
Arguments based in directly insulting your opponents
Arguments that you do not understand

Online Debating Preferences:
Each team gets 1 technology error flag. If your opponent's audio/video crashes, if something happens to your computer, if your partner's audio/video crashes, etc. Any other technology issues that might hinder you from completing your speeches are your responsibility. Signal me by either saying 'Tech Issue' or by waving your hands--using chat functions will be sufficient if we cannot rely on audio/visual.
a. The way that this will proceed is as follows: 1. Flag thrown 2.All prepping and debate round activity ceases 3. Speech act paused and tech issue communicated 4. Resolution pursued 5. Tech test with non-round content 6. Resume round
If I am having issues with audio/video, I will let you know via audio and/or chat text.
I will defer to stated tournament online guidelines if they are present otherwise.

Victor Li Paradigm

5 rounds

Arcadia High School ’16, debated for three semesters at Georgetown


You should always go for the most strategic argument/the one you're clearly winning. Don't let this philosophy dissuade you from executing a particular strategy; this is just how I think about debate personally, and I will be persuaded to shift the way I evaluate things if you make a convincing argument.

I haven’t judged a ton this year, so I’d really appreciate it if you explained the acronyms/topic jargon floating around.

Disadvantages (and I guess advantages): I believe in terminal defense. Card quality is paramount for me – the context within which a card is written in, the specific claims it makes, the research methodology, and a host of other nit-picky stuff matters in determining who’s on the right side of an issue. I will almost always defer to the team that has one card that’s just better versus a collection of a bunch of cards that approximate the claim the other wants to make. I’d also say “truth > tech” but I feel it’s a bit of an overgeneralizing way to view things.

Generally, if the opposing team’s disad/advantage has an internal link card that’s just blatantly out of context/doesn’t match up at all with the previous cards in the advantage, just pointing that out is probably sufficient for me to assign it very low risk.

Counterplans: Conditionality is good, and I’m also (generally) likely to let the neg get away with more egregious stuff (like fiating away some solvency deficits to the states counterplan). However, I do lean aff in terms of the kinds of permutations you can get away with (e.g. “perm do the aff through the counterplan’s method” is almost always a way to beat your classic process counterplan, if explained correctly).

I really enjoy advantage counterplan debates. I’d also really appreciate it if the 2NC rehighlights a lot of the aff’s internal link cards in those debates.

Topicality: I generally think a big topic is better, and overlimiting is a problem. This doesn’t mean T is unwinnable in front of me (debated for a small school in HS, so I am sympathetic) – if you’re neg, providing a caselist and sketching out the logical boundaries of that caselist is probably the best way to get my ballot. I personally think these lists are often intentionally contrived to list the most ridiculous ideas possible, which means most examples don't pass the "this aff loses automatically to states/generic topic cp/standing up and saying 'hey this aff makes literally negative sense'" test, so they wouldn't be read anyway – so being persuasive on “these are actual strategic, unmanageable affs” is super important.

Kritiks: Probably familiar with a lot of the mainstream lit, but explaining it never hurts if you’re in doubt. I think the best way to win a K in front of me is explaining the impact of each link on perm solvency. I think consequences of a hypothetical action matter in determining whether that action is something I want to affirm. Fiat isn’t real, but honestly in like 99% of cases when you say it the alt isn’t either, so we might as well use it.

Non-traditional affs: Against framework, my default assumption is that a vision of debate where the affirmative must defend an instrumental affirmation of the resolution is good. I can be convinced this model of debate is a bad one, but I think it’s an uphill battle for the aff if the neg executes correctly. I don’t think arguments about “education” or “switch-side debate” are all that persuasive, but I do think it’s important to have a stable stasis point to focus that education. I also think fairness is an impact.


- I take a (relatively) long time to decide rounds – please don’t take it as some sort of indication of the outcome

- I will dock your speaks if you’re being rude, condescending, or making the opposing team feel uncomfortable. We’re all just here to have fun and learn – please try to keep the atmosphere civil

Matt Liu Paradigm

5 rounds

Matt Liu (formerly Matt Struth)

University of Wyoming

Last updated: 5-15-19

Email chain:

I put a pretty high premium on effective communication. Too many debaters do not do their evidence justice. You should not expect me to read your evidence after the round and realize it’s awesome. You should make sure I know it’s awesome while you read it. I find many debaters over-estimate the amount of ideas they believe they communicate to the judge. Debaters who concentrate on persuading the judge, not just entering arguments into the record, will control the narrative of the round and win my ballot far more often than those who don’t. I have tended to draw a harder line on comprehensibility than the average judge. I won’t evaluate evidence I couldn’t understand. I also don’t call clear: if you’re unclear, or not loud enough, I won’t intervene and warn you, just like I wouldn't intervene and warn you that you are spending time on a bad argument. Am I flowing? You're clear.

Potential biases on theory: I will of course attempt to evaluate only the arguments in the round, however, I'll be up front about my otherwise hidden biases. Conditionality- I rarely find that debaters are able to articulate a credible and significant impact. International actor fiat seems suspect. Uniform 50 state fiat seems illogical. Various process counterplans are most often won as legitimate when the neg presents a depth of evidence that they are germane to the topic/plan. Reject the arg not the teams seems true of nearly all objections other than conditionality. I will default to evaluating the status quo even if there is a CP in the 2NR. Non-traditional affirmatives- I'll evaluate like any other argument. If you win it, you win it. I have yet to hear an explanation of procedural fairness as an impact that makes sense to me (as an internal link, yes). None of these biases are locked in; in-round debating will be the ultimate determinant of an argument’s legitimacy.

Clock management: In practice I have let teams end prep when they begin the emailing/jumping process. Your general goal should be to be completely ready to talk when you say ‘end prep.’ No off-case counting, no flow shuffling, etc.

Cross-x is a speech. You get to try to make arguments (which I will flow) and set traps (which I will flow). Once cross-x is over I will stop listening. If you continue to try to ask questions it will annoy me- your speech time is up.

Pet-peeves: leaving the room while the other team is prepping for a final rebuttal, talking over your opponents. I get really annoyed at teams that talk loudly (I have a low threshold for what counts as loudly) during other teams speeches- especially when it’s derisive or mocking comments about the other team’s speech.

Chris Lowery Paradigm

4 rounds

Former policy debater from the late 90s. Coach of policy teams since 2004. I coach in Indiana which is a very traditional circuit, but I am well versed with other forms of debate.

I default to a policy option judge - preferably on advantages vs disadvantage models. Impact calc matters, but understand that I do focus on links more than most judges. Generics are fine, but you need to win more than a 1% link for me to let the impact carry you. Strategic drops are perfectly fine and encouraged. Conditional positions are fine, but you shouldn't get carried away. I will listen to condo good/bad and other theory, but there needs to be clear actual abuse for me to vote on it - I always prefer my ballot to based on policy decision rather than theory/technicalities.

On T - I will vote on T, but like most of our judges I will factor in reasonability. You DO NOT need to only go for T in the 2NR for me to consider it, but obviously should invest enough time on it throughout the debate round in order to win it.

On K's - I am not a huge fan of the K. I am conscious that this is your time to debate and your world; so I attempt to evaluate it the best that I can. Typically this means that I will view it in a fiated world view - meaning that I will weigh your alternative vs the plan action. This means that you must have a legit alt to the K for you to have any chance with me. Unless there is egregious action in round I don't usually vote on "real world impacts come before fiated arguments." Instead i will view the K through the lens of a policy maker.

On speed - I prefer a moderate debate. I can handle speed and I won't penalize you for it.

Open cross-x is fine. If you all agree to it and don't take advantage of the internet for other things I am fine if you do an email chain rather than flashing

Any other questions, just ask at the beginning of the round

Brian Manuel Paradigm

1 rounds

Director of Policy Debate @ Stanford University; Director of Debate @ Edgemont Jr./Sr. High School

(High School Constraints - Edgemont)

(College Constraints - Stanford, Harvard, and a crew of exceptionally talented college debaters I've had the pleasure to coach)

2017-2018 PF TOC Update: April 23rd, 2018

As you can see I used to have a very strong leaning towards how evidence needs to be presented during a debate. I've backtracked pretty substantially on this point. Therefore, I won't ask for your case ahead of time. However, I do still prefer evidence that is directly quoted and cited according to the rules of the tournament we are at. I do not like paraphrasing and will only accept paraphrasing as a logical argument to be made in the round and will not credit you for reading a qualified author.

I know a lot about debate, arguments, and the topics you are debating. I have an extremely competitive set of students that are constantly talking about the topic, I tutor students around the world in PF, and I generally like to be educated on the things that students will debate in front of me.

Beyond what I've said above, I'll give you an additional piece of advice: If you would strike Stefan Bauschard or Amisha Mehta than you'd probably want to strike me. I tend to fall somewhere in between where they are at in their philosophies.

Last but not least, I don't intend to steal your cards...we have more than we can use...however if it means you'll throw me up on a Reddit post that can get over 100+ responses then maybe I'll have to start doing it!

**Disregard the section about asking me to conflict you if you feel uncomfortable debating in front of me since I've judged minimally and don't have any experience judging any of the teams in the field more than once therefore, it doesn't apply to you**

2016-2017 Season Update: September 11, 2016

HS Public Forum Update: This is my first year really becoming involved in Public Forum Debate. I have a lot of strong opinions as far as the activity goes. However, my strongest opinion centers on the way that evidence is used, mis-cited, paraphrased, and taken out of context during debates. Therefore, I will start by requiring that each student give me a a copy of their Pro/Con case prior to their speech and also provide me a copy of all qualified sources they'll cite throughout the debate prior to their introduction. I will proactively fact check all of your citations and quotations, as I feel it is needed. Furthermore, I'd strongly prefer that evidence be directly quoted from the original text or not presented at all. I feel that those are the only two presentable forms of argumentation in debate. I will not accept paraphrased evidence. If it is presented in a debate I will not give it any weight at all. Instead I will always defer to the team who presented evidence directly quoted from the original citation. I also believe that a debater who references no evidence at all, but rather just makes up arguments based on the knowledge they've gained from reading, is more acceptable than paraphrasing.

Paraphrasing to me is a shortcut for those debaters who are too lazy to directly quote a piece of text because they feel it is either too long or too cumbersome to include in their case. To me this is laziness and will not be rewarded.

Beyond that the debate is open for the debaters to interpret. I'd like if debaters focused on internal links, weighing impacts, and instructing me on how to write my ballot during the summary and final focus. Too many debaters allow the judge to make up their mind and intervene with their own personal inclinations without giving them any guidance on how to evaluate competing issues. Work Hard and I'll reward you. Be Lazy and it won't work out for you.

NDT/CEDA Update: I'm getting older and I'm spending increasingly more hours on debate (directing, coaching, and tabulating at the HS and College level) than I used to. I really love the activity of debate, and the argumentative creativity being developed, but I'm slowly starting to grow hatred toward many of the attitudes people are adopting toward one another, which in turn results in me hating the activity a little more each day. I believe the foundational element of this activity is a mutual respect amongst competitors and judges. Without this foundational element the activity is doomed for the future.

As a result, I don't want to be a part of a debate unless the four debaters in the room really want me to be there and feel I will benefit them by judging their debate. I feel debate should be an inclusive environment and each student in the debate should feel comfortable debating in front of the judge assigned to them.

I also don’t want people to think this has to do with any one set of arguments being run. I really enjoy academic debates centered on discussions of the topic and/or resolution. However, I don’t prefer disregarding or disrespectful attitudes toward one another. This includes judges toward students, students toward judges, students toward observers, observers toward students, and most importantly students toward students.

As I grow older my tolerance for listening to disparaging, disregarding, and disrespectful comments amongst participants has completely eroded. I'm not going to tolerate it anymore. I got way better things to do with my time than listen to someone talk down to me when I've not done the same to them. I treat everyone with respect and I demand the same in return. I think sometimes debaters, in the heat of competition, forget that even if a judge knows less about their lived/personal experience or hasn’t read as much of their literature as they have; that the judges, for the most part, understand how argumentation operates and how debates are evaluated. Too many debaters want to rely on the pref sheet and using it to get judges who will automatically check in, which is antithetical to debate education. Judges should and do vote for the "worse" or "less true" arguments in rounds when they were debated better. Debate is a performative/communicative activity. Its not about who wrote the best constructives only. Its about how teams clash throughout the debate.

Therefore, as a result I will allow any person or team to ask me to conflict them if they feel uncomfortable debating in front of me or feel that the current system of judge placement requires them to prefer me since I'm a better fit than the other judge(s). I won't ask you any questions and won't even respond to the request beyond replying "request honored". Upon receiving the request I will go into my account and make sure I conflict you from future events. I feel this way you'll have a better chance at reducing the size of the judge pool and you'll get to remove a judge that you don't feel comfortable debating in front of which will narrow the number of judges available to you and might allow you to get more preferable judges. My email is Please direct all conflict requests to this email.

2014-2015 Season Update: September 2, 2014 (The gift that keeps on giving!!)

The following are not for the faint of heart!

Some days you just can't get ready in the morning without being bothered.Then you just need to be cheered up and it fails or someone threatens to eat your phone.
However, when it's all said and done you can at least sleep having sweet dreams.

**On a more serious note. Dylan Quigley raised a point on the College Policy Debate facebook group about what "competition" means when people are judging debates. Therefore, I'll go with this answer "Because this is an emerging debate with no clear consensus, I would encourage judges to let the debaters hash out a theory of competition instead of trying to create one for them. I think in an era were students are taking their power to mold the "world of debate" they debate in it is especially important for us judges to *listen* to their arguments and learn from their theories. No shade towards the original post, I just think it's worthwhile to emphasis the relationship between "new debate" (whatevs that is) and student's ability to create theories of debate on their own instead of choosing a theory that's imposed on them." However, in the absence of these debates happening in the round I will default to a traditional interpretation of "competition." This interpretation says the neg must proves their alternative method/advocacy is better than the affirmative method/advocacy or combination of the affirmatives method/advocacy and all or part of the negatives method/advocacy. Also in these situations I'll default to a general theory of opportunity cost which includes the negatives burden of proving the affirmative undesirable.

2013-2014 Season Update: December 25, 2013 (Yes, it's here are your presents!!)

If you love debate as much as Sukhi loves these cups, please let it show!!

If you can mimic this stunt, you'll thoroughly impress me and be well rewarded: Sukhi Dance

And you thought you had a sick blog!!

Also why cut cards when you can have sick Uke skills like these and these!!

To only be shown up by a 2 year old killing it to Adele

Finally, we need to rock out of 2013 with the Stanford version of the Harlem Shake by Suzuki and KJaggz

2012-2013 Season Update: August 22, 2012

Instead of forcing you to read long diatribes (see below) about my feelings on arguments and debate practices. I will instead generate a list of things I believe about debate and their current practices. You can read this list and I believe you'll be able to adequately figure out where to place me on your preference sheet. If you'd like to read more about my feelings on debate, then continue below the fold! Have a great season.

1. TKO is still in play, and will always be that way!

2. You must win a link to a DA - if you don't talk about it I'm willing to assign it zero risk. Uniqueness doesn't mean there is a risk of a link.

2a. "Issue Specific Uniqueness" IS NOT a utopian answer to all affirmative arguments.

3. You must defend something on the aff - by doing so it also implies you should be able to defend your epistemological assumptions underlying that advocacy.

4. T is about reasonability not competing interpretations. This doesn't mean every affirmative is reasonably topical.

5. Debate should be hard; its what makes it fun and keeps us interested.

6. Research is good - its rewarding, makes you smarter, and improves your arguments.

7. "Steal the entire affirmative" strategies are bad. However, affirmative teams are even worse at calling teams out on it. This mean they are still very much in play. Therefore, affirmatives should learn how to defeat them, instead of just believing they'll somehow go away.

8. There are other parts to an argument other than the impact. You should try talking about them, I heard they're pretty cool.

9. Your affirmative should have advantages that are intrinsic to the mechanism you choose to defend with the aff. Refer to #6, it helps solve this dilemma.

10. Have fun and smile! The debaters, judges, and coaches in this activity are your life long friends and colleagues. We are all rooting you on to succeed. We all love the activity or we wouldn't be here. If you don't like something, don't hate the player, hate the game!

Clipping/Cross-reading/Mis-marking: I hear that this is coming back. To prosecute cheating, the accusing team needs hard evidence. A time trial is not hard evidence. A recording of the speech must be presented. I will stop the debate, listen to the recording, and compare it to the evidence read. If cheating occurred, the offending debater and their partner will receive zero speaker points and a loss. I'd also encourage them to quit. I consider this offense to be more serious than fabricating evidence. It is an honor system that strikes at the very core of what we do here.

Additional caveat that was discussed with me at a previous tournament - I believe that the status quo is always a logical option for the negative unless it is explicitly stated and agreed to in CX or its won in a speech.

Newly Updated Philosophy - November 18, 2011

So after talking to Tim Aldrete at USC, he convinced me that I needed more carrots and less sticks in my philosophy. Therefore, I have a small carrot for those debaters who wish to invoke it. Its called a T.K.O (Technical Knockout). This basically means that at any point of the debate you believe you've solidly already won the debate, beyond a reasonable doubt, (dropped T argument, double turn, strategic miscue that is irreparable by the other team) you can invoke a TKO and immediately end the debate. If a team chooses this path and succeeds, I will give them 30 speaker points each and an immediate win. If the team chooses to invoke this but its unclear you've TKO'd the other team or in fact choose wrong, you obviously will lose and your points will be severely effected. Who dares to take the challenge?

Past Updated Philosophy - September 9, 2010

I am Currently the Assistant Coach @ Lakeland/Panas High School, College Prep School, and Harvard Debate. I’m also involved with Research & Marketing for Planet Debate. This topic will be my 14th in competitive debate and 10th as a full time coach. Debate is my full time job and I love this activity pretty much more than anything I’ve ever done in my life. I enjoy the competition, the knowledge gained, and the people I’ve come to be friends with and likewise I really enjoy people who have the same passion I have for this activity.

I last posted an update to my judge philosophy a number of years ago and think it is finally time I revisit it and make some changes.

First, I’ll be the first to admit that I probably haven’t been the best judge the last few years and I think a majority of that has come from pure exhaustion. I’ve been traveling upwards of 20+ weekends a year and am constantly working when I am home. I don’t get much time to re-charge my batteries before I’m off to another tournament. Then while at tournaments I’m usually putting in extremely late nights cutting cards and preparing my teams, which trades off with being adequately awake and tuned in. This year I’ve lessened my travel schedule and plan to be much better rested for debates than I was in previous years.

Second, since my earlier days of coaching/judging my ideology about debate has changed somewhat. This new ideology will tend to complement hard working teams and disadvantage lazy teams who try and get by with the same generics being ran every debate. Don’t let this frighten you, but rather encourage you to become more involved in developing positions and arguments. When this happens I’m overly delighted and reward you with higher speaker points and more than likely a victory.

Adam Marquardt Paradigm

7 rounds


"If debate isn't fun, you might be doing it wrong." -Edmund Zagorin

Put me on the email chain please and thank you -


If fun isn't one of the reasons you're a policy debater, don't let it show. I'm a person. I get bored. If you make me laugh, teach me something fascinating, or connect with me as a person my desire to vote for you will increase.

Frame your arguments. Explain to me why your impacts matter (even extinction). Your final rebuttal should tell a story that's unique to the intersection of the arguments presented in that round. When in doubt, your last rebuttal should start with some variation of "the nexus question of this debate is _____."

I like critical args with a capital K, but don't go for them in front of me if that's not your thing.

Don't assume I know your acronym.

My facial expressions usually give away what I'm thinking. Looking at me while you're speaking will benefit you.


I debated for four years at Evanston Township doing primarily K stuff, currently coaching at Wayzata.

I'm happiest in the back of a really good K v K debate, but I've judged and enjoyed a lot of hard-line policy on policy debates so interpret that as you will.

What NOT to do

Read everything above and think "he's a K guy so I'm going to whip out a spicy meatball that I don't understand at all." Please just stick to what you're good at. I'd rather listen to a Horse-Trading debate than watch you pull a Puar backfile out of an evidence dumpster for brownie points (that being said if Puar is your actual strat I might just be a great judge for you).

I think expecting you to meet a prescribed standard of politeness is pretty silly. That being said I will assign a loss and award minimum (that's 0) speaker points for harassment or unacceptable offensive behavior. You know what this means, don't make me have a conversation with your coach.

The Criticism

My understanding of the literature will be above average, especially critical race theory, queer theory, and cap. I'm very responsive to arguments by post-structuralists like Baudrillard when done well, but I'm also ready to judge-kick the K if you never explain your nonsense.

I'd prefer contextual, specific links + clean line-by-line over a long overview. Give me impacts and tell me why they turn and outweigh the aff and/or their standards on framework.

Debate rarely spills out. Debate does inform our politics, values, and actions. There is pedagogical and epistemological value in what y'all do, but fiat probably doesn't work how you think it does.

Planless Affs

I did this a lot, and I'm all for it. I think you should be within the scope of the topic but honestly just do you. Give me a reason to vote for you and a justification for eschewing the resolution. The explanatory threshold is set by the effectiveness of your opponent's objections.

Debating Against Planless Affs

There's almost always a way to engage with the affirmative, and if there isn't then the aff is probably of so little substance that I'd vote neg on presumption anyway. Engaging with the metaphor of the affirmative when done convincingly will dramatically improve both my reception of your arguments and your speaker points. Additionally, there are many ways to respect the content while challenging the mechanism. Literally no one is trying to make you argue racism good.

I generally agree that planless affs increase the neg's research burden, but also can be persuaded that adequate disclosure checks this in certain instances. However, saying "aff explodes neg research burden" as an abstract point isn't convincing. Contextualize these claims to the topic, and compare the breadth of aff literature to past resolutions. See the next section for more on how to do this well.


It's a good argument. I try to stay tech>truth but you'll have a hard time winning my ballot by vilifying K debate. Generic backfiles are bad, and will not reflect well on your speaker points, especially if you're coming from a school with more resources. There are a few things both sides can do to facilitate a good framework round. Give me a model of debate, then tell me what happens if we debate under your model. Do we become better activists? Better thinkers? Do we win more debates? Impact out your model and compare it to theirs, fairness for the sake of fairness as an impact doesn't cut it. There are many persuasive link chains with terminal impacts that justify "traditional" debate, pick one or several but never have zero.

The TVA is important.

The interpretation is a prescription about what debaters ought to do in the future.

There's a critical lack of innovation in how many teams deploy framework. Things like agonism and arbitrary rules good have brought some variety but I think that there are boundless other potential arguments debaters could come up with if they want to circumvent their opponent's blocks. If you think K debaters are playing dirty by making pre-round prep obsolete, innovate your framework blocks and give them a taste of their own medicine.


I love a good advantage CP. Specificity is obviously good. Tell me a story, make it interesting. Both sides should prioritize explaining to me how to frame the round and my ballot. I shouldn't be the one deciding whether or not uniqueness overwhelms the link, or that the solvency deficit outweighs the internal net benefit. The likelihood of you walking out of the round thinking my decision was bogus goes up the more you force me to make these decisions on my own.

Theory and Topicality

Keep the flow clean and number your arguments. I default to it being a procedural but can be convinced otherwise. I reward high-level thinking about what debate should look like. Three well-developed standards beat thirteen that are poorly-developed. Numbering your arguments will improve your speaks and my ability to follow you.

Other thoughts

-Antonio 95 is the best worst card in debate

-Debate is a strategic game about managing both your time and your arguments. I think the number one thing that keeps good debaters from becoming great debaters is a lack of strategic vision within any given round. A lot of debaters get caught up in getting as much ink on the flow as possible without thinking about which arguments are actually going to be the central issues. Like chess, high-levels of debate require having a vision of what your opponents next move (or ten) will be and putting yourself in a position to respond to all reasonable choices they could make.

Gregg Martinson Paradigm

4 rounds

I have been the head coach of Roseville Area High School for 12 years. I have coached kids in LD and Policy with a much stronger background in Policy. I feel fairly qualified to hear most of your arguments but I am not a PHD candidate in post-modern philosophy so please provide clarity especially around K literature. Here are some tendencies:

Debate is...

- Debate is a role-playing game loosely based on reality. I will buy many arguments if there is enough factual evidence to support it in cards. It is not my job as a judge to assert realism claims in the round unless your argument is absurd. Where is the line for this? I dunno. I'd vote for a lot of stuff if you back it up well.


I believe in arguments based on ethical obligation over a strict util framework but I can be convinced either way based on solid impact calculus.


I have limits and framework arguments that force me into too tiny a box just might be ignored. Your topicality arguments, for example, ought to demonstrate some form of in-round abuse in order for me to buy that I need to vote on it.


I will vote on politics debates(especially in the Trump era) and I follow politics fairly closely.


-I will vote on Ks and in fact I work with a K heavy team but make sure that the Kritic links to the debate in a meaningful way and that the alternative is read so that I can follow it.

Performative things

I am fine with speed.

Also, why are we still asking judges if they are OK with tag team cross-x?

If you run performative work be prepared to give me a standard to judge your debate and your performance. I do not prefer wading into standard debate vs. performance without a standard. You won't like my decisions and I won't like being forced to establish a

I'd like to judge your round and I think you will find I am a competent judge.


If you have further questions feel free to email me at

Kevin McCaffrey Paradigm

1 rounds

Updated 9-26-2013

Kevin McCaffrey

Assistant Debate Coach Glenbrook North 2014-
Assistant Debate Coach Berkeley Preparatory School 2010-2014
Assistant Debate Coach University of Miami 2007-2009
Assistant Debate Coach Gulliver Preparatory School 2005-2010

I feel strongly about both my role as an impartial adjudicator and as an educator – situations where these roles come into conflict are often where I find that I have intervened. I try to restrain myself from intervening in a debate, but I make mistakes, and sometimes find myself presented with two options which seem comparably interventionary in different ways, often due to underarticulated argumentation. This effort represents a systematic effort to identify the conditions under which I am more or less likely to intervene unconsciously. I try to keep a beginner’s mind and approach every debate round as a new learning opportunity, and I do usually learn at least one new thing every round – this is what I like most about the activity, and I’m at my best when I remember this and at my worst when I forget it.

My default paradigm is that of a policy analyst – arguments which assume a different role (vote no, performance) probably require more effort to communicate this role clearly enough for me to understand and feel comfortable voting for you. I don’t really have a very consistent record voting for or against any particular positions, although identity- and psychology-based arguments are probably the genres I have the least experience with and I’m not a good judge for either.

Rather, I think you’re most interested in the situations in which I’m likely to intervene – and what you can do to prevent it – this has much less to do with what arguments you’re making than it does with how you’re making them:

Make fewer arguments, and explain their nature and implication more thoroughly:

My unconscious mind carries out the overwhelming majority of the grunt work of my decisions – as I listen to a debate, a mental map forms of the debate round as a cohesive whole, and once I lose that map, I don’t usually get it back. This has two primary implications for you: 1) it’s in your interest for me to understand the nuances of an argument when first presented, so that I can see why arguments would be more or less responsive as or before they are made in response 2) debates with a lot of moving parts and conditional outcomes overload my ability to hold the round in my mind at once, and I lose confidence in my ability to effectively adjudicate, having to move argument by argument through each flow after the debate – this increases the chances that I miss an important connection or get stuck on a particular argument by second-guessing my intuition, increasing the chances that I intervene.

I frequently make decisions very quickly, which signals that you have done an effective job communicating and that I feel I understand all relevant arguments in the debate. I don’t believe in reconstructing debates from evidence, and I try to listen to and evaluate evidence as it's being read, so if I am taking a long time to make a decision, it’s probably because I doubt my ability to command the relevant arguments and feel compelled to second-guess my understanding of arguments or their interactions, a signal that you have not done an effective job communicating, or that you have inadvertently constructed an irresolveable decision calculus through failure to commit to a single path to victory.

In short, I make much better decisions when you reduce the size of the debate at every opportunity, when you take strategic approaches to the debate which are characterized by internally consistent logic and assumptions, and when you take time to explain the reasoning behind the strategic decisions you are making, and the meta-context for your arguments. If your approach to debate strategy depends upon overloading the opponent’s technical capabilities, then you will also likely overload my own, and if your arguments don’t generally “jive” with one another, then I may have difficulty processing them when constructing the big picture. I tend to disproportionately reward gutsy all-in strategic decisions. As a side note, I probably won’t kick a counterplan for you if the other team says just about anything in response, you need to make a decision.

Value proof higher than rejoinder:

I am a sucker for a clearly articulated, nuanced story, supported by thorough discussion of why I should believe it, especially when supported by high-quality evidence, even in the face of a diversity of poorly articulated or weak arguments which are only implicitly answered. Some people will refer to this as truth over tech – but it’s more precisely proof over rejoinder – the distinction being that I don’t as often reward people who say things that I believe, but rather reward fully developed arguments over shallowly developed or incomplete arguments. There have been exceptions – a dropped argument is definitely a true argument – but a claim without data and a warrant is not an argument. Similarly, explicit clash and signposting are merely things which help me prevent myself from intervening, not hard requirements. Arguments which clash still clash whether a debater explains it or not, although I would strongly prefer that you take the time to explain it, as I may not understand that they clash or why they clash in the same way that you do.

My tendency to intervene in this context is magnified when encountering unfamiliar arguments, and also when encountering familiar arguments which are misrepresented, intentionally or unintentionally. As an example, I am far more familiar with positivist studies of international relations than I am with post-positivist theorizing, so debaters who can command the distinctions between various schools of IR thought have an inherent advantage, and I am comparably unlikely to understand the nuances of the distinctions between one ethical philosopher and another. I am interested in learning these distinctions, however, and this only means you should err on the side of explaining too much rather than not enough.

A corollary is that I do believe that various arguments can by their nature provide zero risk of a link (yes/no questions, empirically denied), as well as effectively reduce a unique risk to zero by making the risk equivalent to chance or within the margin of error provided by the warrant. I am a sucker for conjunctive/disjunctive probability analysis, although I think assigning numerical probabilities is almost never warranted.

Incomprehensible value systems:

One special note is that I have a moderate presumption against violence, whether physical or verbal or imaginary – luckily for me, this has yet to seriously present itself in a debate I have judged. But I don’t think I have ever ended up voting for a pro-death advocacy, whether because there are more aliens than humans in the universe, or because a thought experiment about extinction could change the way I feel about life, or because it’s the only path to liberation from oppression. While I’d like to think I can evaluate these arguments objectively, I’m not entirely sure that I really can, and if advocating violence is part of your argument, I am probably a bad judge for you, even though I do believe that if you can’t articulate the good reasons that violence and death are bad, then you haven’t adequately prepared and should probably lose.

Email me:

I like the growing practice of emailing flows and debriefing at the end of a day or after a tournament – feel free to email me: kmmccaffrey at gmail dot com. It sometimes takes me a while to fully process what has happened in a debate round and to understand why I voted the way I did, and particularly in rounds with two very technical, skilled opponents, even when I do have a good grasp of what happened and feel confident in my decision, I do not always do a very good job of communicating my reasoning, not having time to write everything out, and I do a much better job of explaining my thinking after letting my decision sit for a few hours. As such, I am very happy to discuss any decision with anyone in person or by email – I genuinely enjoy being challenged – but I am much more capable and comfortable with written communication than verbal.

Chase McCool Paradigm

7 rounds

Liberty University '04-'08
Policy Debate Coach @ Theodore Roosevelt High School `14-`18

Policy Debate Coach @ Dowling Catholic High School since `18
NFA-Lincoln-Douglas Coach @ Simpson College since '17

contact me via email at cpmccool at gmail dot com

Hello debaters, coaches, or other judges interested in my judge philosophy. I feel that the debate round is a unique environment where almost any argument can be utilized so long as it is justifiable. I say "almost any" because some arguments are highly suspect like "racism good" or "torture good". What I mean by "justifiable" is that the argument made, to me, becomes more persuasive when coupled with good evidence. What follows are my preferences on theory, Topicality, CPs, Kritiks/Performance, and Style.

I do not consider my mind to be tabula-rasa (i.e., blank slate). To me, the most persuasive theory arguments contain a claim, some support, and an impact. Just saying "voting issue" does not make it so - I need to be convinced that voting for your interpretation is justifiable, which means that I can cogently explain to the opposing team why they were deficient and should lose the round.

See my comments on Theory. I like it when Neg can show that the Aff's interpretation is bad for debate. Like many other judges, I am annoyed by messy T debates. The side that clashes the most, organizes the T debate, and shows why their interpretation is better for debate will most likely win my ballot.

I am a huge fan of creative and competitive CPs. If Neg can give a couple of reasons why the CP solves better/faster than the Aff, I feel more comfortable finding that the net-benefit outweighs case. The perm is a test of competitiveness. I will not consider the perm a legitimate policy option unless there is some good evidence read to support it as such.

I think that Aff should have a written plan text, but does not necessarily have to advocate for the USFG. Aff, if you think that USFG is bad, be ready to defend the theory onslaught by the Neg. I prefer the policy making framework, but understand the value of the K and Performance debate. The key for me is justification. Make sure you clash with opposing and show why voting for you is net-beneficial for debate.

I do have some preferences regarding style that you should consider in order to obtain one or two extra speaker points from me: 1) Clarity outweighs speed - it's ok to spread your opponent, just make sure you pick the arguments you are winning and go for them in the rebuttals 2) I lean negative - I believe that Aff must thoroughly defend the plan. My standard is that it should be more probable than not that the plan is a good idea in order to vote Aff. 3) Civility and charm go further for me than pretension and hate. Being classy and focusing on the arguments and generally making everyone feel good during round are skills that are valuable and actually useful in the real world. 4) Have fun and enjoy this amazing sport! Energy can be communicated through your arguments and when it does, it makes me want to listen.

Clare McGraw Paradigm

6 rounds

Clare McGraw

Juan Diego Catholic H.S. '17 (2A/1N)

University of Michigan '21 (both speaking positions)

Please put me on the email chain -

Top Level Note - 2018 H.S. Topic: I have not judged many rounds on this topic so clarification of acronyms would be helpful.

1. Kritiks (Neg)

I am most familiar with feminist literature/arguments (particularly rage) and ran a one off strategy almost all through H.S. You should have multiple links specific to the plan and make turns case arguments. Please explain your alt and how it implicates the impacts of the aff. I am less familiar/have very limited knowledge of high theory/postmodern literature so those debates may require a bit more explanation. If you go for a state link, it needs to be contextualized to the aff - or else the neg is very susceptible to step in the right direction or aff reforms the state arguments.

As far as framework vs a neg k goes, I will almost always allow the aff to weigh their impacts, but am open to arguments about why education or scholarship should come first.

The permutation is the best aff strategy against most Ks, in my opinion. Outline clear NB's to the perm that the alt can't solve.

2. K Affs/FW

I don't think you necessarily need to defend the state, but teams should certainly attempt to relate to the resolution and be in the direction of the topic. Anti-topical affs or affs that plausibly do not have anything to do with the resolution are a hard sell for me and are certainly susceptible to FW. If the negative team reads FW, the 2AC should make specific we meet and counterinterpretation arguments as well as impact turns.

I think FW is a fair and oftentimes effective strategy against affs without a plan but I enjoy case-specific k's and innovative disads/case turns as well. If you decide to read FW, the negative should make arguments about how a TVA/working through the state can solve the impacts of the aff/the impact turns the aff has read to FW. I also think internal link turns (how FW solves the aff better) are persuasive. I think fairness and predictability impacts against most K affs (particularly identity affs) tend to be susceptible to strong impact turns and maybe aren't your best option.

I really like nuanced, external impacts or internal link turns for FW. These debates can be really boring/repetitive sometimes and when people explain their arguments in new and fun ways, it will be rewarded. I love case debating against K affs. Presumption/ballot args are always a good idea and are usually pretty powerful.

In the final rebuttals in a FW debate, both teams should outline what their respective models of debate look like and have net benefits to each model that the opposing team's model can't solve.

I default to giving K affs a perm unless persuaded otherwise.

3. Topicality/Theory

I love good T debates. If an aff is blatantly untopical do not be afraid to go for it. That being said, I am very open to reasonability arguments for the aff. Negative teams should identify the ground they lose and clearly impact out their violation starting in the block.

As far as theory goes, I don't necessarily have any preexisting biases. Please slow down and contextualize your theory arguments, this will get you much farther than speeding through blocks.

4. Case Debate

Great case debates are something I really enjoy. 2AC answers to case arguments should be clearly delineated, maybe even slow down a little bit instead of speeding through analytics. I enjoy on-case disads/case turns that are blown up in the block. Advantage CP + case turn debates are super fun.

5. Disads/CPs

Make clear, smart turns case arguments. If your disad is specific to the aff or not something a lot of people read, be sure to explain it in the block.

Specific CPs/PICS are a great. Just be clear about explaining what they do in CX/the block. Affs, oftentimes the perm is your best option.

6. Speaking Style/Points

I enjoy speakers who write my ballot in the final rebuttals. Please do this. Good, precise CX's with a point will improve your points. Be strategic and take risks if you think they will pay off. Violent/overly aggressive rhetoric and behavior will not be tolerated, please make debate a welcoming space.

You can't insert rehighlighted evidence. Please read it. Graphs, however, are insertable and can make good cards.

I don't judge too frequently -- this means you might need to slow down a little bit. I probably won't be able to write down every single thing you say, so if something is important, mark it as so.

Be funny! Debates can be pretty boring sometimes but charismatic and enjoyable debaters change that.

Overall, do what you do best.

Feel free to ask me any other questions before the round. Also, feel free to ask me anything about the Michigan debate team/college debate in general!

Brad Meloche Paradigm

7 rounds

TOC 2020

1) please create an email chain before the round (as per to facilitate quick exchange of evidence. My email is below - please include me on the chain.

2) as I most commonly judge policy, most of the below is about that. don't overadapt by going faster than usual or using policy lingo.

Brad Meloche (my last name rhymes with "Josh" not "brioche")

he/him pronouns

Affiliations: Wayne State University, Niles West High School, Seaholm High School, Birmingham Covington School, the School of Hard Knocks, the School of Rock, a school of fish

Email: (I ALWAYS want to be on the email chain)

The short version -

Tech > truth. A dropped argument is assumed to be contingently true. "Tech" is obviously not completely divorced from "truth" but you have to actually make the true argument for it to matter. In general, if your argument has a claim, warrant, and implication then I am willing to vote for it, but there are some arguments that are pretty obviously morally repugnant and I am not going to entertain them. They might have a claim, warrant, and implication, but they have zero (maybe negative?) persuasive value and nothing is going to change that. I'm not going to create an exhaustive list, but any form of "oppression good" and many forms of "death good" fall into this category.


Non-traditional – Debate is a game. It might be MORE than a game to some folks, but it is still a game. Claims to the contrary are unlikely to gain traction with me. Given that, I'm a good judge for T/framework. One might even say it makes the game work. I don't think the correct palliative for inequalities in the debate community is to take a break from debating the topic. Approaches to answering T/FW that rely on implicit or explicit "killing debate good" arguments are nonstarters.

Related thoughts:

1) I'm not a very good judge for arguments, aff or neg, that involve saying that an argument is your "survival strategy". I don't want the pressure of being the referee for deciding how you should live your life.

2) The aff saying "USFG should" doesn't equate to roleplaying as the USFG

3) I am really not interested in playing (or watching you play) cards, a board game, etc. as an alternative to competitive speaking. Just being honest.

Kritiks – Scientists predict that we will begin to see the catastrophic impacts of climate change within the next three decades and I would really prefer I don't waste any of that time thinking about baudrillard/bataille/other high theory nonsense that has nothing to do with anything. If a K does not engage with the substance of the aff it is not a reason to vote negative. A lot of times these debates end and I am left thinking "so what?" and then I vote aff because the plan solves something and the alt doesn't. Good k debaters make their argument topic and aff-specific.

Unless told specifically otherwise I assume that life is preferable to death. The onus is on you to prove that a world with no value to life/social death is worse than being biologically dead.

I am skeptical of the pedagogical value of frameworks/roles of the ballot/roles of the judge that don’t allow the affirmative to weigh the benefits of hypothetical enactment of the plan against the K.

I tend to give the aff A LOT of leeway in answering floating PIKs, especially when they are introduced as "the alt is compatible with politics" and then become "you dropped the floating PIK to do your aff without your card's allusion to the Godfather" (I thought this was a funny joke until I judged a team that PIKed out of a two word reference to Star Wars. h/t to GBS GS.). In my experience, these debates work out much better for the negative when they are transparent about what the alternative is and just justify their alternative doing part of the plan from the get go.

Theory – theory arguments that aren't some variation of “conditionality bad” aren't reasons to reject the team. These arguments pretty much have to be dropped and clearly flagged in the speech as reasons to vote against the other team for me to consider voting on them. That being said, I don't understand why teams don't press harder against obviously abusive CPs/alternatives (uniform 50 state fiat, consult cps, utopian alts, floating piks). Theory might not be a reason to reject the team, but it's not a tough sell to win that these arguments shouldn't be allowed. If the 2NR advocates a K or CP I will not default to comparing the plan to the status quo absent an argument telling me to. New affs bad is definitely not a reason to reject the team and is also not a justification for the neg to get unlimited conditionality (something I've been hearing people say).

Topicality/Procedurals – By default, I view topicality through the lens of competing interpretations, but I could certainly be persuaded to do something else. Specification arguments that are not based in the resolution or that don't have strong literature proving their relevance are rarely a reason to vote neg. It is very unlikely that I could be persuaded that theory outweighs topicality. Policy teams don’t get a pass on T just because K teams choose not to be topical. Plan texts should be somewhat well thought out. If the aff tries to play grammar magic and accidentally makes their plan text "not a thing" I'm not going to lose any sleep after voting on presumption/very low solvency.

Points (updated 10/13/17 because inflation is reaching Weimar Germany levels) - My average point scale is consistently 28.2-29.5. Points below 27.5 are reserved for "epic fails" in argumentation or extreme offensiveness (I'm talking racial slurs, not light trash talking/mocking - I love that) and points above 29.5 are reserved for absolutely awesome speeches. I cannot see myself going below 26.5 absent some extraordinary circumstances that I cannot imagine. All that being said, they are completely arbitrary and entirely contextual. Things that influence my points: 30% strategy, 60% execution, 10% style. Saying "baudy" caps your points at 28.7.

Cheating - I won't initiate clipping/ethics challenges, mostly because I don't usually follow along with speech docs. If you decide to initiate one, you have to stake the round on it. Unless the tournament publishes specific rules on what kind of points I should award in this situation, I will assign the lowest speaks possible to the loser of the ethics challenge and ask the tournament to assign points to the winner based on their average speaks.

I won't evaluate evidence that is "inserted" but not actually read as part of my decision.

A high school specific note -

I am employed by a public school district. If you plan on introducing arguments that would violate anti-harassment codes or rules banning the introduction of sexually explicit materials in the classroom, you should either strike me or not read those arguments in front of me. If I think a round is getting close to a point where I would not be able to explain my decision to stay in the room to a disciplinary board/school administration, I reserve the right to remove myself from the round and make a decision accordingly.

Inspired by Buntin

Doug Bandow ------------x-------------------------------------------- Doug Husic

multiple condo-------------x-------------------------------------------Marie Kondo

pounders/"X pounds the DA"-----------------------------------------------------x--- thumpers/"X thumps the DA"

thumpers/"X thumps the DA" ----------------------------------------------------x---- yeeters/"X yeets the DA"

Eleanor/Chidi --------------------------x------------------------------ Eleanor/Tahani

untropical affs ---x----------------------------------------------------- untopical affs

pigs ---x----------------------------------------------------- the average human

buttercream fillin' --x------------------------------------------------------ russia fill-in

free market of ideas ------------------------------------------------x-------- farmers market of ideas

dinner roll ------x-------------------------------------------------- role of the ballot

timecube -------------------------------------------------------x- Jeremy Bearimy

Cats -----------------------------Bats--------------------------- Insects

Monster Zero Ultra x-------------------------------------------------------- every other liquid

Ryan Mills Paradigm

4 rounds

Ryan Mills - Archbishop Mitty High School, CA

Competitor: Damien HS 1980-1984, Loyola Marymount University (LMU) 1984-1987

Coach: Loyola HS (Los Angeles) 1989-1994, Pinewood 1994-1995, College Prep 1995-2000, Archbishop Mitty 2016 - Present

Please put me on the email chain:

[My] Framework - Or how do we achieve our best selves by doing this thing called 'debate'?

I approach debate as an educator so for me the primary reason we spend our nights and weekends together is our appreciation of the activity's ability to help us improve our critical thinking skills and articulate complex concepts in a logical and persuasive way. To that end

  • Tell the story - the team who ends the debate with a coherent, compelling narrative is generally rewarded. Resolve, rather than merely extend, arguments in the 2nr/2ar.
  • 'Debate the debate we're in.' Reading canned blocks, especially through rebuttals, means you're not clashing (or listening, or flowing) which also means I'm left to resolve the debate myself - no one's happy in that scenario.
  • I'll be on the email chain, but I'm not reading along and won't fill in my flow from the speech doc what I don't hear comprehensibly. I prioritize flowing the card verbiage over the (very often overpowered) tag, so please don't do the slow tag line/incomprehensible high-speed card read routine. I flow, on paper, which is my detailed record of what transpires in the debate and is what I reference when rendering a decision. If it's not on my flow, it's not considered, so please make sure you tell me where your 2nr/2ar extension originates earlier on in the debate.
  • Card clipping is cheating - loss and zeroes if caught.
  • If the debate centers around whose evidence is better on a particular argument, best you do the evidence comparison work for me because...
  • If you *do* ask me to read a piece of evidence, you are inviting my intervention in the debate regarding the 'quality' of the evidence (whether it actually says what you claim it says). Once you invite me (or any critic) into *your* space, you've lost control of how far that critic engages your invitation.
  • Overtly racist, sexist, misogynistic, anti-LGBTQ discourse, etc. results in a loss and zero points.
  • I welcome a spirited discussion during the RFD, but sometimes we simply won't agree on the outcome. Most judges make decisions on 'meta' arguments governing the overall direction of the debate, not some claim buried in the quickly-spewed third-level subpoint in a block. Even if you come away from my RFD thinking I'm a complete idiot, the best way to approach any critic is to ask probing questions about how we arrived at our conclusions. That way next time you debate in front of me you have a beat on how I think and can craft your approach accordingly (or decide my view is just so antithetical to yours that you strike me, which is fine too). If you treat these exchanges as a training ground for successful future, much higher stakes exchanges you'll have both personally and professionally, you'll have absorbed the best of what this activity has to offer.

That's my framework. Now, a few words on how I default if you leave me to my own devices.

Overview - 'You do you' as long as you warrant it

I do my best to suspend my predilections: whether I love or hate a particular argument, I'll vote for you if you win it unless it's fundamentally reprehensible (genocide good, etc.).

Primary guidance: debate the debate we're in rather than read canned blocks written months ago in a land far far away from the round we're sitting in. Clash is paramount.

Default views on argument types


I prefer to understand what specific ground the negative is rightfully entitled to that the affirmative interpretation precludes access to. I care more about what you do than what you might allow. Conversely, I am also receptive to arguments around T as language policing resulting in the exclusion of marginalized voices, so don't be afraid to go for that either. I'm a former English teacher, so to me words matter in both directions.

Plans/Counterplans/Permutations: Words Matter!

Document the exact plan/counterplan/permutation(s) wording before engaging. If there is a real grammatical flaw in the text, don't be afraid to stake the debate on it, properly impacted (the 2003 ToC was decided on a plan flaw argument so it's a thing, at least to me).

Won't 'judge-kick.' It's up to the negative to make strategic decisions about advocacy in the 2NR.


No link means no link. Offense always helps, but I will easily vote on a well-executed no link/internal link/low risk of impact approach.

I lean toward probability over magnitude. Focus on uniqueness and the link/internal link whether on aff or neg. Debate solvency on case and do the work to weigh impact vs. aff advantage remaining in the rebuttals. Extend impacts in rebuttals and tell the comparative story (again resolve, don't just extend).

Accordingly on the neg, your time is better spent making the link bulletproof than reading impact extensions unless the aff is impact-turning the disad/k. If you want to win on framing/framework invest time there.


  • Read extensively in the literature of the criticism you're advocating and compile your own positions. CX can be devastating with these arguments, so if you've read the literature you can tease out nuances that teams who take the lazy way out won't be able to account for.
  • I'm receptive to specific link and impact assessment. Better to establish how this particular affirmative triggers a unique link to this specific criticism rather than rely on a generic indictment of a particular normative framework or 'you use the USFG' - i.e. a link to the status quo. Advocate an alternative and explain how you access it. 'Refuse' isn't a great option since that just puts the resister on a pedestal divorced from efforts to materially improve the lives of the marginalized, but I'll (reluctantly) vote on it if well defended.
  • If your strategy is 'high theory' I'm not the best judge for you so please pref me accordingly. I strive to read enough critical literature to be conversant, but I have a day job so will not be PhD-level familiar with any critical argument. Please debate with this level of familiarity in mind or risk disappointment with the outcome.
  • Critical affs/planless affs/Performance: Fine, again just want to understand what I'm endorsing if you're asking for the ballot.

If you have questions about something I haven't covered, please ask before the debate starts.. The activity is meant to be educational, fun, and inclusive - if it's not, we should all be doing something else.

Roberto Montero Paradigm

6 rounds

Roberto Montero, Bronx Science ’16, Binghamton ’20. I debated 4 years in high school and broke at the ToC if that means anything to you.

There are two types of arguments in debate (and their inverses): smart arguments and good arguments. Some arguments happen to be both but most of the time they are neither (thus either a bad argument or a not-so-intelligent argument). A smart argument is well-researched, nuanced, and interesting. Good arguments are strategic and effective at winning debates. For example, the politics disad is a ‘good argument’ in that it wins a lot of debates and can be executed and deployed to perfection in the correct hands. That doesn’t make it a smart argument because every novice can tell you that it doesn’t reflect real politics outside of a basic uniqueness claim (which half the time is cut out of context because news articles aren’t written as conclusive as cards are purported to be). A smart argument isn’t always good however. If you have a critique that you’ve put a grad thesis amount of work into, it might make some interesting observations about the world/aff but may not be the most strategic.

Understanding the distinction between these two types of arguments is a recipe for combining them and developing the most well rounded arguments and a higher quality of debates. However, it isn’t my job to sit behind my laptop and mock the quality of your arguments, rather it is up to you as debaters to develop and articulate your arguments as such. When judging I do my best to let debaters do the debating so regardless of what my opinions/thoughts on your arguments are, as long as they are warranted, impacted and clearly extended throughout the speeches. This is also important for understanding how I judge debates—framing your rebuttals with important technical concessions on the line by line is valuable in making my decision easier and not make me sift through dropped arguments on both sides.

The biggest problem in most debates starts with that whole line by line thing. Teddy Albiniak taught me that one of the ways that high schoolers develop bad habits is through imitating prominent college debaters. The thing that bothers me the most is the reliance on 7/8 minute overviews. While this may be something that works for some very talented college debaters, generally it shouldn’t be a tactic employed by most. There is a place for an overview, and it serves a valuable and strategic function but there is such a thing as excessive. This is one of the biggest tradeoffs with engaging in the line by line in general which is pretty important.

*This last portion, like most of my paradigm, assumes a basic model of debate. This means that if you present an alternative model of debate and a different metric for evaluating arguments I will accept that. To quote Alain Badiou It’s only a principle, it’s not a programme. Debate isn’t standard and that is one of the things that makes it such an enjoyable and valuable activity, so take this with a grain of salt.

The second biggest problem is case debating. ~~Newsflash~~ most affs are bad. Not even most, definitely all of the affirmatives are bad. One of the best way to satisfy judges (and me) is by exploiting that on the case page. The threshold for smart 1nc case analytics is a little high but by the block some smart engagement with the warrants and internal links of the 1ac, especially at a basic, logical level, can only help you in the long run. This is particularly important for me as a judge because I can easily justify pulling the trigger on a presumption/0 risk of the aff type argument if mishandled by the affirmative and well-articulated/nuanced by the negative. This is not to say it’s impossible to be aff or that even that the standard is higher but that you should be prepared to defend the 1ac against larger level solvency questions.

We also need to talk about presumption. It is important, especially versus critical affirmatives. If your aff cannot answer the question of why the ballot is key or implicate it in any sense, you have abdicated my role as an adjudicator. All I can really do is enter a team that is victorious on a ballot, just saying that this is obvious does not mean the issue goes away. Perhaps this contradiction is too much to overcome in 8 minutes of a 1ac, and maybe is a problem with how we construct affirmatives but something persuasive needs to be said that doesn't amount to "You're right nothing we said or do matters but you should vote for us anyways" in 1ac cross-x.

Tl;dr please debate the case. Just do it. Like cigarettes and overviews it’s not cool just because the big kids do it.

As for specific arguments I don’t have much to say on all the ~nuances~ of agent counter plans or the intricacies of politics disad theory. I think the go through every issue thing is cliché and generally just a waste of time. If you have any specific questions about my thoughts on some random thing I’d be happy to answer it but I won’t bother to write down an arbitrary opinion on the 7th subpoint of some condo block from 2006. The only issue worth addressing (and what I’m almost confident is the only thing people look at) is framework.


The biggest problem with framework is that a lot of 2nr’s seem to forget to extend an impact. And when they do remember to extend an impact it turns out to just be a really bad impact. Although I’m willing to vote on a dropped fairness argument I’m still skeptical that the age old phrase ‘Debate is a game so fairness you broke the rules you lose’ meets the necessary threshold of an argument. If you plan on going for this impact in front of me make sure it is clearly articulated and not the same circular claim without a warrant.

What I think the so called ‘intrinsic’ value of debate is can be loosely understood as clash. The ability for two teams to debate the merits of competing positions seems valuable not only for education but is just plain fun. Not to say that clash is an impact in it of itself because at some level it’s fundamentally inevitable, but it’s a question of what that clash looks like. This should structure how you articulate a framework impact (or answer one for that matter) most likely to get my ballot. If framework is a question of competing models or visions of debate then you just have to prove comparatively that your model produces better debates, skills or education.

The second biggest problem with framework debates is that negative teams let affs get away with too much. If the 2ar gets to stand up and weigh the entirety of the 1ac versus framework it puts you way behind. The easiest way for an affirmative to defeat framework is to complicate and problematize the way they have constructed the world. This means if you win some truth claims about your aff and the way the world operates through your theory or interpretation then it nullifies a lot of their arguments. For example if you read an affirmative that says the global system of capitalism is bad and the 2nr doesn’t answer the case debate, then what do their skills matter if they can only reproduce a system of capital you have critiqued. This, like any good framework rebuttal, requires a lot of framing and contextualizing the line by line through these bigger picture questions.

The best way for negative teams to check back against this is to just reduce the risk of the aff. You can look back up to that whole portion about case debating, it applies to K affs as well. The other necessary piece is a topical version of the aff. Obviously not helpful against an anti-topical aff but in a majority of framework debates a persuasive and nuanced topical version of the aff goes a long way in resolving a lot of their offense. It still requires a larger impact in conjunction because at the end of the day it is still a defensive argument.

Tl;dr don’t waste time, make good arguments, do line by line, debate the case, extend a framework impact, don’t say talks about how.


Trevon Muhammad Paradigm

7 rounds

Add me to the email chain:

K teams pref me 1!!!!! I am more than capable of making the right decisions when it comes to Policy V Policy debates.

David Munoz Paradigm

2 rounds

I debated for 4 years at Damien High School and currently debate at Wake Forest University.

I don’t have any specific argumentative preferences. I've debated both sides of the spectrum and enjoy them both and find academic validity to each. Therefore, I will vote on anything as long as it is debated well. I think one of the major problems with policy debate is a lack of argumentative comparison. One of the biggest misconceptions debaters have is that reading multiple mediocre cards is more effective than a thoroughly explained analytic argument. I will reward teams who go beyond shallow extensions of their cards and actually explain how different arguments in the debate interact with one another and implicate my decision making process. Speed is completely fine with me but I strongly believe that speakers who are slightly slower but clearer are far more efficient debaters. Remember that getting arguments out quickly is only beneficial if I am able to record them on my flow. One last general thing I want to mention is that I believe that debaters should be held to a rigorous standard for evidence quality. Warranted and qualified evidence is always better than low quality evidence that happens to be power worded.

One of the most important part of resolving the debate for me is impact calculus. Impact calculus is more than just “DA outweighs the case”. These are the sorts of things that decide close debates and improve your speaker points.Tell me how to evaluate the debate, and absent some comparison about the relative importance of competing arguments, some “intervention” is inevitable if I have to resolve the quality of uniqueness evidence or whatever is in question. The impact calculus is important and doesn’t only apply to the “Impact” portion of the debate and should be applied to every aspect of the debate and these can act as “framing arguments” for how I should evaluate and prioritize arguments in the debate.

Critiques: I am fine with critical arguments but think they are often poorly executed. In my opinion, unless your link stories are framed in a way that interacts with specific portions of the affirmative you will have a hard time making me believe your impact scenarios and you will be highly susceptible to permutations. Affirmative framework interpretations that exclude all critical arguments are going to be a tough sell for me but I also think most common negative interpretations are abusive and easy to beat. I find myself voting on the critique more often than not, on k-tricks or turns the case arguments that are dropped, so if you are aff please answer them.


"Perfomance/Non-traditional" - I enjoy them but explain to me why the ballot is important and why the debate round matters. 

Counterplans: Like many judges I am easily persuaded that cheating process counterplans are theoretically illegitimate.

Theory: Well-constructed theory arguments go a long way in front of me although I don’t have many personal biases regarding them. I am not a fan of short cheap shot theory arguments. Just because somebody dropped your hidden theory argument you spent three seconds on doesn’t mean I automatically sign the ballot for you.

Politics: Evidence comparison is huge. 


Topicality: My default position in topicality debates is to evaluate competing interpretations. I think these debates often come down to impact comparison and think that the more in depth you go on this level of the debate the more likely I will be to vote for you.

At the end of the day I will be fine with whatever you read as long as you debate it well. I won’t completely disregard arguments because I don’t think they are good and similarly will not hack out for arguments just because I have a personal preference for them.

Theo Noparstak Paradigm

6 rounds

Niles West High School '14
University of Kentucky '18

Coach at Northwestern University

Put me on the chain

I decide debates by re-organizing my flow around the issues prioritized in the 2nr and 2ar, going back on my flow to chart the progression of the argument, reading the relevant evidence, then resolving that mini-debate. Tell me what I should care about in the final speeches. Use the earlier speeches to set up your final rebuttals.

I try not to consider personal biases when judging policy or k debates. Debates hinge on link, impact, and solvency questions that have to be argued whether its plan/cp, perm/alt, fw/advocacy.

I believe the most important skill a debater should have is the ability to do good comparative analysis.

I'll read evidence during and after the debate. Evidence quality influences my perception of the argument's strength. Bad evidence means there's a lower bar for answering the argument and vice versa.

When trying to resolve questions about how the world works, I defer to expert evidence introduced in the debate. When trying to resolve questions about how the debate in front of me should work, I defer to the arguments of the debaters.

The debates I enjoy the most are the ones where students demonstrate that they are active participants in the thinking through and construction of their arguments. Don't be on auto-pilot. Show me you know what's going on.

Have an appropriate level of respect for opponents and arguments.

Michael Obuchi Paradigm

5 rounds

UC Berkeley 2018

East Kentwood Highschool 2016

PF TOC 2019:

Threshold for theory is high, I'll vote on it if the abuse is egregious. Default to competing interps, no RVI, drop the arg (unless justified otherwise)

Speed is fine

I will call for evidence after the round has ended either when I have to intervene on evidence (which I hate doing by the way) or when there's a significant dispute throughout the round / asked explicitly in a speech to do so. If there is legitimate abuse of evidence, you're getting dropped and losing speaker points regardless of how hard you won. Don't make me do this.

Short Version:

I like:

warrants, line by line, effort, humor, examples, historicity, praxis, you telling me how to vote and why

I don't like:

Rudeness or over hostility

I do not have:

reservations about voting for any argument

the ability to adjudicate any disputes about what goes on outside of the debate

I don't want:

you to change anything about what you do just because you think it will appeal to my tastes. You do you

I will hold the line on:

speech times, evidence quality, clipping and cheating of any kind

As far as arguments go

Topicality- I'm for it. Compare how your interp affects aff/neg ground vs theirs. Compelling impact stories are awesome

DA's- I'm a sucker for flushed out turns case analysis and impact comparison

Case debating- please do

Counterplans- "Why debate the aff when you can steal it"- Miles Gray. I draw great inspiration from this line of thinking

K- near and dear to my heart. As such, I hold a high threshold for compelling link/impact analysis and will be displeased at shallow explanation of theory. I appreciate an Alt that is contextualized to the aff grounded in examples/history. If you're going to make a big fw push (which I highly recommend), develop robust arguments about how we should understand/utilize debate and how I should relate to your arguments

FW- Love these debates. I prefer external impacts to debate is a game but will vote on procedural fairness if you win its the only thing I can/should be concerned about. As with disads, sucker for compelling turns case analysis. Fw is not genocide unless this argument is dropped.

Theory-No strong feelings either way

Eric Oddo Paradigm

1 rounds

 I am the Head Debate Coach at Niles West High School.

Concordia University-Chicago
Master of Arts in School Leadership
Wake Forest University
Master of Arts in Education
Chicago-Kent College of Law
Juris Doctor
University of California at Santa Barbara
Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy & Political Science

Debate arguments:
I will vote on any type of debate argument so long as the team extends it throughout the entire round and explains why it is a voter. Thus, I will pull the trigger on theory, agent specification, and other arguments many judges are unwilling to vote on. Even though I am considered a “politics/counter plan” debater, I will vote on kritiks, but I am told I evaluate kritik debates in a “politics/counter plan” manner (I guess this is not exactly true anymore...). I try not to intervene in rounds, and all I ask is that debaters respect each other throughout the competition.

Miles Owens Paradigm

7 rounds

General Thoughts – I try to be as tab as possible. However, I think everyone inevitably comes in with some preconceived notions about debate. Don’t feel like you have to adapt to my preferences – you should do whatever you do best – but if what you do best happens to be judge adaptation, here are some of my thoughts:

Framework – All I ask is that you engage each others’ interpretations--don’t just read and extend. Look to my comments on topicality if you're interested in how I try to evaluate the standards debate. 

Case Debate – I think case-specific strategies that integrate intelligent on-case arguments into the 1NC can be really compelling. 

DA/CPs – The more specific the better, but I’ll vote on anything. 

Kritikal Debate – I like kritikal debate, but I think it’s much more persuasive when it interacts with the 1AC/2AC. For example, I like specific 2NC link analysis (doesn’t necessarily need to be carded) that points to arguments being made in the 1AC/2AC, and I like 2NC attempts to gain in roads to the case by suggesting the alternative is a necessary precondition to case solvency. I'm fine with kritikal affirmatives so long as you explain the significance of voting affirmative. A general note: given that I'm trying to evaluate your arguments as though I'm hearing them for the first time, please operate under the assumption that I'm completely unfamiliar with the literature you're reading. 

Topicality – My threshold for T is the same as any other type of argument, but like all other positions, there are central issues that the 2NR needs to resolve in order for me to vote on T. If neither team articulates a framework within which I can vote, then I’ll default to competing interpretations, but I’d much rather not have to default to anything. Assuming I’m voting in a competing interpretations framework, I think of standards – or reasons to prefer – as external impacts to a vote for a given team’s interpretation. That means I think that comparative impact calculus has a huge place in a 2NR that’s going for T. Explain to me what debate looks like if I vote for your interpretation and why that vision should be preferred to one that would allow for cases like the affirmative. Also, it’ll be a lot easier for me to vote negative if there’s in-round abuse. 

Theory – It’s easier for me to evaluate theory debates when one actually happens, which means engaging the other team's arguments and not just reading blocks and talking past one another. If you expect to win on theory (independently), you should probably give me some kind of substantive reason why a given violation merits a rejection of the team, and not just the argument. 

Non-Traditional Debate – As long as I’m provided with a standard for evaluation that I feel both teams can reasonably meet, I don’t care what you do. 

In Round Decorum – Don’t be mean, but try to have fun. 

Speed – As long as you’re clear, I’m fine with speed. 

Speaker Points – 27.5 is average. I'll add points for things like clarity and efficiency, and I'll subtract points for particularly messy debating.

If you have any specific questions, please ask. Feel free to email me after round with questions:



Sachet Paharia Paradigm

5 rounds

General Info

Pine Crest School '18

Georgetown University '22

Explain acronyms (no topic knowledge)


Do what you will, but do it well.

T-USFG/Framework/"No-Plan" Affs/Whatever you like:

As a HS debater, I pretty much exclusively went for T/FW against these affs. That being said, I really don't have strong opinions on this. For the aff, advocate something, be able to answer why the ballot matters to your advocacy, and clearly explain the impacts to your interpretation of debate or the impact turns to their interpretation. For the neg, pick your impacts and defend them. Have good counter examples to the other team's examples and be able to explain why the ballot is important to your interpretation.


Do specific link analysis. If your cards don't say anything relevant to the aff, do the explanation yourself. DO IMPACT CALC. Just because it's a K doesn't mean you don't get to explain why the K's impact outweighs or turns the aff. Explain the alt and all of its functions by the end of the neg block. Against the K, defend your aff, point out why their links aren't links, and 9/10 you will get to weigh your aff so case outweighs is solid, and explain why their alt isn't sufficient or have offense against it.


No strong opinions here. If it's theoretically questionable, then question it and win it on the flow. I've gone for enough "cheating" counterplans to really have no strong opinions on this.


Same deal with the CP section. Do impact calc. Do line-by-line. Don't group things that can't be grouped (i.e. first argument and fifth argument on the flow just because they both started with no link).


Slow down. If you're going too fast, I'll tell you. I know nothing about the immigration topic. Do not assume I know camp affs or what the acronyms are.


Slow down. If you're going too fast, I'll tell you. Have real theory debates with impacts if you plan on going for it in the last rebuttals.

Chris Paredes Paradigm

4 rounds


(Updated for TOC; see bottom of paradigm for LD)

E-Mail Chain: Add me ( I do not distribute docs to third party requests unless a team has failed to update their wiki.

Experience: I consider myself fluent in debate, but my debate philosophy is reflective of the fact that I debated in the 00s and may not align with current "meta" trends of the community. I debated four years of policy for Damien ('05), but did not debate in college (Amherst '09). I coached during my gap year and continued to judge during law school (Emory 13L) for the Atlanta Urban Debate League, and returned to coaching for Damien in 2017.

Debate: I view debate as a game. The rules of the game (the length of speeches, the order of the speeches, which side the teams are on, clipping, etc.) are set by the tournament left to me (and other judges) to enforce. Comparatively, the standards of the game are mostly made up in round by the debaters. I am open to voting for almost any argument or style so long as I have an idea of how it functions within the round and it is appropriately impacted. Persuading me to favor your view/interpretation of debate is accomplished by convincing me that it is the method that promotes better debate (either more fair or more pedagogical) comparative to your opponent's method. CX is binding and I flow it.

Evidence and Argumentative Weight: Tech over truth, but it is always easier to debate well by using true arguments and good cards. In-speech analysis goes a long way with me; I am much more likely to side with the team that explains a warrant vs. the one that extends by tagline and/or author only. I will read cards as necessary, including explicit prompting, however when I start reading evidence I do so critically and will evaluate warrants for myself. Arguments are only as good as their warrants -- if a card does not have the necessary warrants underlined/highlighted then I will treat them as analytics. You are much better off with a few good well-highlighted cards than multiple bad and/or under-highlighted cards. Well explained logical analytics, especially if developed in CX, can beat bad/under-highlighted cards.

Topic Familiarity: It is the end of the year and I have judged around 60 rounds. I think I have a decent grasp of the topic. Generally speaking, I have less familiarity with international topics than I do with domestic topics from an educational/professional perspective, but I understand the IR arguments relevant to this topic.

Argument Selection: Run whatever you are most familiar and comfortable with. I believe it is better for debate that judges reward good debating over ideological preferences, and I try my best to hold myself to this standard. I am aware of my biases and strive to correct them and remain neutral. Almost all of my personal preferences can be overcome if you debate better than your opponents, and I have voted for numerous arguments that I would rather not exist in debate. Regardless of the style of debate you choose, your goal should be to debate in a way where you do the work for me. Your goal in your final rebuttal is 1) establish what criterion the debate should be evaluated under and 2) demonstrate to me why you win under those criterion.

Argument by argument breakdown below.


Debating T well is a question of engaging in responsive impact debate. You win my ballot if you are the team that best contextualizes how you provide the best internal links (ground, predictability, research burden, etc.) to terminal impacts (fairness and education). I appreciate a good T debate and I will reward teams with the ballot and with good speaker points for well thought-out interpretations (or counter-interps) with nuanced defenses.

I default to competing interpretations, but reasonability can be compelling to me if properly contextualized. I am generally receptive to arguments like "The aff interp only imposes a reasonable additional research burden of two more cases." I am generally not receptive to arguments like "They have case specific literature, proves we are reasonably predictable."

I believe that many resolutions are sufficiently aff-biased that preserving topicality as a viable negative strategy is important even against affs that are topical in a truth sense. I feel that this topic is sufficiently large that T-Subs is one of the few filters available and I will pull the trigger on it, especially when breaking new.

Fx/Xtra Topicality: Don't be afraid to go for Fx/Xtra with me in the back, but you need to independently impact them or connect them as internal links to your original violation and standards.

Kritiks of Topicality / Topicality Silences Voices: I dislike this argument on principle because the resolution should be one of the bare minimum rules of debate that I think I should enforce on the round. I also think the impact to limiting the scope of debate is terminally non-unique (there are always more important and interesting problems in the world to discuss than can be done in a single round) so killing the neg's ability to check non-topical affs by kritiking topicality feels like a disingenuous way for the aff to re-orient the debate to their argumentative/topic preferences. However, as a rule, I punish incompetence over principle so I will vote on this if the negative mishandles it.

Framework / T-USFG

My ideological predispositions lean negative. As an educator, I do not believe there is pedagogical value to a model of debate where the aff gets to avoid debating the resolution. I also believe that most planless affs avoid the resolution for competitive advantages (there is nothing wrong with this given that debate is a game, it just isn't a convincing reason to prefer the aff's model of debate). However, I strive for neutrality and I try my hardest to vote for whoever defended their model of debate better.

For an aff to beat framework arguments in front of me, they need to articulate and defend specific and compelling reasons why they cannot and do not embed their advocacy into a topical policy as well as why resolutional debate is a bad model for the activity. "The USFG/system sucks" is not a good reason for that -- I default to believing that you need to do more/better research vs. concluding that systems are bad. As the arbitrator in a competition, I default to treating procedural fairness as an impact; an aff team must make a positive case for why education outweighs or why I should prefer substantive fairness.

For the neg, you have the burden of proving either that fairness outweighs the aff's education or that resolutional debate has better access to education (or a better type of education). I believe the negative is on the truth side of both of those arguments, but contextualization and specificity is important in this debate. On the issue of fairness, you should not only articulate specific ground loss but impact out the ground loss. For example, rather than just saying that the use of non-USFG actors makes it impossible to research, argue that research is the internal link to both clash and a case debate which means fairness is key to both in-round and issue education. As someone who works in civil rights law, I generally believe in the potential for reform through laws and systems and that they ameliorate a great deal of harm for the must vulnerable. Therefore I give great weight to arguments for why plan-based debate is a better internal link to positive real world change out of debate compared to personal advocacy debate: debate provides valuable portable skills, advocacy for a case is excellent training for advocacy of actual real world policies, etc.


My default view on various theory (all of which can be overcome by better debating) are as follows:

- Debate is primarily a research and strategic activity therefore lit justifies almost everything.

- Condo is good but it should probably have limitations, especially regarding perf cons and skew.

- PICs, Actor, and Process CPs are legitimate, but must prove competition (this also means that the aff should give a testable answer for APEC)

- Consult CPs and Floating PIKs are bad.

- A specific solvency advocate generally proves competitiveness and non-abuse while the lack of specific solvency evidence indicates either the likelihood of a solvency deficit or a lack of competition.

- The level of cheating/utopianism of a CP/alt justifies equivalent levels of cheating with perms.

- The aff is not entitled to all theoretical implementations of the plan just because they do not specify.

- Reject the arg not the team is overcome with instances of real abuse.

- Disclosure of previously run arguments is good; breaking new shouldn't require disclosure.

- ASPEC is checked by cross, but the neg can win by proving moving target or link spikes.

While I can be convinced to care about real world impacts attached to the ballot (i.e. setting precedents), I generally do not care about anything that has happened outside the room/round (and there is a good chance I might just not know any drama you want to refer to) unless it specifically rebuts an argument presented by one team.

I value nuance a lot more than many other judges because I think that debate's largest educational impact is training students in real world advocacy. I think the best iteration of debate is debate that teaches participants (including myself) something about the topic, including process minutiae. Consequently, I have much less aversion to voting on procedurals and theory than most judges. Learning process is important and the aff has a burden as advocates to defend a specific and coherent implementation strategy to their case. Consequently OSPEC is not a thing (unless a team is fiating something contradictory to their ev) and I will absolutely pull the trigger on vagueness, plan flaws, or spec arguments as long as there is a coherent story about why the aff is bad for debate and a good answer to why cross doesn't check.

That being said, I have rarely see theory deployed convincingly as most debaters have an inclination to use it as a time sink. If you're not putting in the time and work to make it a viable choice in your last speech, it probably isn't going to persuade me unless it was flat conceded. Also if you are spreading through 20 points of theory at full speed, the reality is that I'm never going to flow all of it.

A special note on condo, I come from a time where condo was much less accepted. Part of that is because of an implicit understanding that the negative's entitlement to multiple worlds doesn't include severance of discourse/rhetoric pursuant to that world. It's one thing to test the aff from multiple perspectives, it's another to say you can run your Fear of Death K with a reps link along with a Hege Impact to your Politics DA and still access alt solvency just because you kicked out the DA. This is especially hypocritical if you claim there's no external impact to the ballot besides a rejection of a mindset. (That's not to say I think this is an automatic winning argument, I simply find it most logical to assume the negative is responsible for their discourse as much as the Aff is unless explicitly explained otherwise.)


TL;DR: If you actually are legitimately interested in critical academic scholarship, have studied the literature seriously, and have a good contextualized argument for why that lens of that scholarship is relevant to the aff, then I am a good judge for you. If you want to be lazy and avoid doing specific case research so you can brute force ballots with links to the use of the state/fiat, then I am probably a bad judge for you.

I enjoy critical literature, however I tend to dislike critical rounds because the vast majority of teams are very bad at making critical arguments (or establishing why they are relevant to debate). The kritik is an academic argument, therefore having good familiarity with the literature is essential to debating the K well. It's poor form for you to argue the other team should be rejected when you yourself do not truly understand the internal logic of argument and the necessary warrants because someone else cut the file for you. I find that the K evidence (on both sides) are the most likely to be power-tagged and under-highlighted (which is saying something given the ever descending bar for politics).

All that aside, I would much rather hear a good K than a bad politics disad. I have a high level of academic familiarity with basic critical lit, but only debate-level familiarity with higher level theory (Deleuze, Baudrilliard, etc.) However, even if I understand the lit, the kritik must be presented in an comprehensible fashion in round. I avoid intervention and I will not make a K coherent for myself. Additionally, the quality of your literature does not matter if the kritik is functionally deficient as a call for the ballot. My undergrad thesis was on ethics so you are well served by a developed defense of your decision-making process and why it is good.

The neg should clash with the affirmative head-on. A link is insufficient to win the K in front of me; a good contextualized link only proves relevance to the round, it is not a reason to reject the aff. You must offer me a reason to prefer the alt under your model of debate. I do not have any biases or predispositions about what my ballot does or should do, but if you do not explain your alt and/or how my ballot interacts with the alt (or lack thereof) you will find that I have an extremely low threshold for treating the K as a non-unique disad. If the alt is some actual action which solves back for the implications of the kritik, in the fiat world or the real world, the solvency process of the alt must be explained. Alts like "Reject the aff" and "Vote neg" are fine as long as you actually give me a reason to do that besides just saying the aff links.

Links of omission are generally bad. Floating PIKs can be answered by just saying that floating PIKs are bad.

Affs should not be afraid of going for straight impact turns behind a robust framework press. I'm more willing than most judges to consider the merit in challenging kritik ideology head on rather than labeling your discourse as a link. I am also particularly receptive to arguments about pragmatism on the perm if you have empirical examples of progress through state reform.


I'm more prone than most judges to assess minimal ("zero") risk based on defense, especially true when bad evidence is pointed out as bad. I can be convinced by analysis that there is always a risk of a DA in spite of a lost argument, but in the absence of that analysis I do not really care about how strong your impact is if you straight up lost the link.


I think that research is a core part of debate as an activity, and good counterplan strategy goes hand-in-hand with that. The risk of the net benefit the neg must win is inversely proportional to how good the counterplan is. Generic PICs are more vulnerable to perms and solvency deficits so they carry a much higher threshhold burden on the net benefit. PICs with specific solvency advocates or highly specific net benefits are devastating and one of the ways that debate rewards research and how debate equalizes aff side bias. Agent and process counterplans are similarly better when the neg can present a nuanced argument for why one agent/process is better than the aff's for a specific plan.

Because I do not think a 1AC plan text that fails to specify gives the aff default access to all theoretical implementations of the plan, I am generally super unfriendly to Perm Do the CP. I think it is a bad sign if the aff refuses to debate the details of their own case. Meanwhile the neg has an equally high burden to defend the coherence of a counter-advocacy (or the model of debate implied by their negative strategy). I will reject a counterplan for a structural defect or because the aff has effectively convinced me that the neg is debating in a way that is not just strategic but also fundamentally unfair.

Superior solvency for aff impacts can be a sufficient net benefit for me to vote on the CP (either because of a conceded aff-only case take-out or turn, or because the CP solves better) so long as there's a reason to reject the perm.

I do not judge kick by default, but 2NRs can easily convince me to do it if condo has been established.

I'm a sucker for sufficiency framing and DA as a tie-breaker against structural violence impacts; the aff needs a solvency deficit or well-developed arguments about why sufficiency framing itself means that the neg cannot capture the ethic of the affirmative's framing (and why that is important in the round).


Speaker Points: I feel speaker points are arbitrary and the only way to fix this is standardization. Consequently I will try to follow any provided tournament scale very closely. In the event that there is no tournament scale I distribute speaks as if I was grading performances on a bell curve with 30 being the 99th percentile, 27.5 being as the median 50th percentile, and 25 being the 1st percentile. I'm aggressive at BOTH addition and subtraction from this baseline since bell curves are distributed around an average rather than lumping everyone at average. Theoretically this means that teams seeking high speaks to break will be scoring above average by definition. The scale is standardized -- that means the majority of debaters at a national circuit tournament will be above average by default since the pool of nationwide debaters include many debaters who debate strictly local or lay-style.

Bonus Speaker Points: Points are rewarded for entertaining, organized, strategic, and clever speeches. I listen closely to CX and include CX performance in my assessment. Well contextualized humor is the quickest way to get higher speaks in front of me, e.g. Thanos jokes on a Malthus flow. Good analysis is rewarded, including but not limited to: correctly extending warrants of your cards, indicting warrants of your opponents' cards, arguments about comparative weight of evidence, or deployment of impact framing. Good strategy and mastery of details is also rewarded. On the neg that means that your neg strategy demonstrates that you researched the plan thoroughly and have a specific CP or disad that demonstrates your understanding of why it is a bad idea or why it does not belong in policy debate (i.e. hyper-specific counterplans/disads or nuanced procedural objections to the plan text). On the aff that means demonstrating mastery of the details of your aff as an implemented policy (hyper-specific no links or link turns to politics or core topic generics).

Delivery: Your speed should be limited by clarity. You should be clear enough that I can flow without needing your speech doc. Additionally realize that even if I can hear and understand you, no one can flow a successive stream of quick analytics. Don't be afraid to lose time sign-posting the line-by-line; you will likely make it up in efficiency (besides your arguments won't mean much if I don't know where to flow them).

Organization: I believe good line-by-line is a fundamental of good debate that is becoming increasingly rare and is the number one way most debaters can improve. Proper sign-posted line by line is the bare minimum to get over a 28.5. I dislike long overviews that just get cross applied everywhere.

Cross-X, Prep, and Tech: Tag-team CX is fine but it's part of your speaker point rating to give and answer most of your own cross. I think that finishing the answer to a final question during prep is fine but prep cannot be used as a no-limit cross time extension. Simple clarification and non-substantive questions during prep is fine. I don't charge prep for tech time, but tech is limited to emailing docs or flashing. When you end prep, you should be ready to distribute.

Accommodations: Feel free to ask for accommodations before or during round or email me ahead of time.


As I understand it, the LD meta is approaching the era of policy that I actually debated in. Combined with the fact that the meta generally drifts down from policy, I am probably competent enough to listen to most anything you want to run. Given my policy background I have some preferences that will probably be harder for you to overcome with me in the back than with an actual LD judge. Notably, RVIs are a non-starter with me and I probably will not vote on arguments centered on plan-based debate is bad (LD drifted to policy plans for a reason).

Coming from policy I have a few thoughts about how time works in the LD format that might be atypical. I think time constraints in LD mean that I have to give the aff a lot more leeway than I would give in policy. I am also a lot more receptive to arguments about why condo is bad in LD than I would be in policy. On a more substantive level I think that the "outspread then kick" neg strategy is fundamentally weaker in LD than it is in policy. While the strategic goal of attaining a time trade-off is the same, the limitation on the number of speeches means that the neg must frontload more depth to the offcase earlier in order to develop the basic level of argumentative coherence necessary for something to be a reason to reject the aff. Therefore you're probably better off limiting the number of offcase regardless of condo theory.

Sydney Pasquinelli Paradigm

1 rounds


  • Director of Debate @ Wayne State University
  • Policy Debate Coach @ Edgemont High School
  • BA- Wayne State University
  • MA - Wake Forest University
  • PHD - University of Pittsburgh
  • she/hers, or they/theirs is fine too

Sonny Patel Paradigm

4 rounds

Updated: 8/31 Niles Township Invitational

- i view the speech act as an act and an art. debate is foremost a communicative activity. i want to be compelled.
- i go back and forth on t/fw vs kritik/performance affs, which is supported by my voting record.
- i'm open to voting on nearly anything you put in front of me. details below.
- academic creativity & originality will be rewarded
- clarity matters. i flow by ear, including your cards' warrants and cites
- tag team cx is okay as long as its not dominating
- don't vape in my round, it makes me feel like an enabler

i've been in 2 camp rounds + a handful of practice debates on the arms sales resolution and will have >50 rounds by the end of the season. i've assisted with coaching debate on the north shore for several years. i am currently the head coach for u chicago lab school. former policy debater at maine east (north shore, wayne tang gharana) with some college debating at iowa. i identify as subaltern, prefer he/they pronouns. my academic background is medicine. this means i haven't spent my summers deeply reading into the topic aside camp files. it also means you may be counseled on tobacco cessation.

how to win my ballot:
*entertain me.* connect with me. teach me something. be creative. its impossible for me to be completely objective, but i try to be fair in the way i adjudicate the round.

as tim 'the man' alderete said, "all judges lie." with that in mind...
i get bored- which is why i reward creativity in research and argumentation by being more forgiving in articulation. if you cut something clever, you want me in the back of your room. i appreciate the speech as an act and an art. i prefer debates with good clash than 2 disparate topics. while i personally believe in debate pedagogy, i'll let you convince me it's elitist, marginalizing, broken, or racist. i wish i could adhere to a paradigmatic mantra like 'tech over truth.' but i've noticed that i lean towards truth in debates where both teams are reading lit from same branch of theory. my speaker point range is 27-30, above 28.1 being what i think is 'satisfactory' for your division. do not abuse the 2nr. kindly put me on the email chain, even if im just observing:

i think debaters should be able to defend why their departure from (Classic mode) Policy is preferable. however i don't enter the round believing plan texts are necessary for a topical discussion. i enjoy being swayed one way or the other debate to debate on k aff vs t/fw. overall, its an interesting direction students have taken Policy. i used to be a HUGE t & spec hack. nowadays, the they tend to get messy. so some flow organization is much appreciated: number your args, sign post through the line-by-line, slow down to give me a little pen time. i do not enter the round with an assumption of the necessity of plan texts. argument of T through analogy, metaphor, exclusion/inclusion is just as valid as a discussion of voters; i tend to vote on analysis with specificity and/or(?) creativity.

kritiks, etc.
i enjoy performance, original poetry, rap, singing, moments of sovereignty, etc. i find most "high theory" and critical identity politics literature & debates enjoyable. i dont mind how you choose to organize k speeches/overviews so long as there is some way you organize thoughts on my flow. 'long k overviews' can be (though rarely are) beautiful. i appreciate a developed analysis (more specific the better, analogies help a lot). i default to empiricism/historical analysis as competitive warranting unless you frame the debate otherwise. i understand that the time constraint of debate can prevent debaters from fully unpacking a kritik. if i am unfamiliar with the argument you are making, i will prioritize your explanation. i may also read your evidence and google-educate myself. this is a good thing and a bad thing, and i think its important you know that asterisk.

theory and ethics challenges
i have no way to fairly judge arguments that implicate your opponent's behavior before the round, unless i've witnessed it myself or you are able to provide objective evidence. debate is a competitive environment which means i take accusations with a degree of skepticism. i think the trend to turn debate into a kangaroo court, or use the ballot as a tool to ostracize members from the community speaks to the student/coach's tooling of authority at tournaments as well as the necessity for pain in their notion of justice. a really good podcast that speaks to this topic in detail is invisibilia: the callout.
regarding traditional theory args, whatever happened to presumption debates? i more often find theory compelling when contextualized to why there's a specific reason to object to the argument (e.g. why the way this specific perm operates is abusive/sets a bad precedent). as someone who used to go hard on theory pimps, i think there's an elegant way to trap someone. and it same stipulations apply- if you want me to vote for it, make sure i'm able to clearly hear and distinguish your subpoints.

i always enjoy creative, case specific PICs. i like hearing good story-weaving in the overview. impact analysis, a thorough perm debate also key. i do vote on theory - see above.

NOVICES: Congrats! you're slowly sinking into a strange yet fascinating vortex called policy debate. it will change your life, hopefully for the better. focus on the line by line and impact analysis. if you're confused, ask instead of apologize. this year is about exploring. i'm here to judge and help. :)

Donny Peters Paradigm

1 rounds

Donny Peters

Assistant Debate Coach

Damien High School

16 years coaching. Before Damien I have coached at; Cal State Fullerton, Santa Magarita High School, Fairmont HIgh School, Illinois State University, Ball State University, Wayne State University and West Virginia University.

I have been judging/coaching for 15 years, mostly college. After reading over paradigms for my entire adult life, I am not sure how helpful they really are. They seem to be mostly a chance to rant, a coping mechanism, a way to get debaters not to pref them and some who generually try but usually fail to explain how they judge debates. Regardless, my prferences are below, but feel free to ask me before the round if you have any questions.

Evidence: This is an evidence based activity. I put great effort to listening, reading and understanding your evidence. If you have poor evidence, under highlight or misrepresent your evidence (intentional or unintentional) it makes it difficult for me to evaluate your arguments. Those who have solid evidence, are able to explain their evidence in a persuasive matter tend to get higher speaker points, win more rounds etc.

Overall: Debate how you like (with some constraints below). I will work hard to make the best decision I am capable of. Make debates clear for me, put signfiicant effort in the final 2 rebuttals on the arguments you want me to evaluate and give me an approach to how I shold evaluate the round.

Nontraditional Affs : I tend to enjoy reading the literature base for most nontraditional affirmatives. I'm not completely sold on the pedagogcal value of these arguments at the high school level. I do believe that aff should have a stable stasis point in the direction of the resolution. The more persuasive affs tend to have a personal relationship with the arguments in the round and have an ability to apply their method and theory to personal experience.

Framework: I do appreciate the necessity of this argument. I am more persuaded by topical version arguments than the aff has no place in the debate. If there is no TVA then the aff need to win a strong justification for why their aff is necessary for the debate community. The affirmative cannot simply say that the TVA doesn't solve. Rather there can be no debate to be had with the TVA. Fairness in the abstract is an impact but not a persuasive one. The neg need to win specific reasons how the aff is unfair and and how that impacts the competitiveness and pedagogical value of debate. Agonism, decision making and education may be persuasive impacts if correctly done.

Counter plans: I attempt to be as impartial as I can concerning counterplan theory. I don’t exclude any CP’s on face. I do understand the necessity for affirmatives to go for theory on abusive counterplans or strategically when they do not have any other offense. Don’t hesitate to go for consult cp’s bad, process cps bad, condo, etc. For theory, in particular conditionality, the aff should provide an interpretation that protects the aff without overlimiting the neg.

DA's : who doesn't love a good DA? I do not automatically give the neg a risk of the DA. Not really sure there is much else to say.

Kritiks- Althoughout I enojy a good K debate, good K debates at the high school level are hard to come by. Make sure you know your argument and have specific applications to the affirmative.My academic interests involve studying Foucault Lacan, Derrida, Deleuze, , etc. So I am rather familiar with the literature. Just because I know the literature does not mean I am going to interpret your argumetn for you.

Overall, The key to get my ballot is to make sure its clear in the 2NR/2AR the arguments you want me to vote for and impact them out. That may seem simple, but many teams leave it up to the judge to determine how to prioritize and evaluate arguments.

Louie Petit Paradigm

2 rounds

Debate is a game.

My preference is debate centered around a plan focus style of debate. This is not say that other debate styles should or do not exist, but it is to say, I prefer policy debates, and I enjoy judging policy debate rounds. I will not rule out or prohibit other styles of debate, but I want to be clear, my preference is debates about the plan and competitive policy alternatives.


Well, for starters, they kick ass. I lean heavily neg on counterplan theory questions. Conditionally is generally good, but I think the format and speech times of parli and NFA-LD debate begs the "generally good" question.

If both teams are silent on the question, my presumption will be that counterplans identified as “conditional” mean that status quo is always an option for the judge to consider, even if the counterplan is extended by the 2nr. This presumption can easily be changed if debated by either side.

Counterplans which result in the affirmative, probably, not competitive. I’ve written many of these counterplans, and voted on many of these counterplans many times, so do not think they are off limits

The K

First, see above.

Second, if you are going for the K, please have well developed link args to the plan and an alternative that is competitive. Also, it is a very good idea to explain what the alternative does and how it interacts with the AFF.


All about which interp is best for debate.

Max Pilcher Paradigm

7 rounds

My kids keep making fun of me for my paradigm being too long so I decided to make a shorter updated version, but I'll leave the old stuff on the bottom for posterity. All the stuff I say in the old essay is still true unless it contradicts something written up here. Updated 12/22/2019. (Update 2: Apparently even in my short version I’m super verbose so I’ll give you a super cliff notes as well).


-Put me on the email chain but I flow off your speech.

-Warrants are super important, and I won’t vote on arguments without them.

-More impact comparison, no matter what kind of debate you do.

-Everything is fine, and I’m a lot better judge for neg FW than I used to be.

-Go for theory and T more.

-Don’t be shifty or mean.

-Zero risk is possible and defense can be terminal, but it often isn’t.

Paradigm, Short(er) Edition:

-Email is Put me on the email chain please, though I won't read along outside of curiosity etc. reasons. I flow based on the words I hear, not what's in your document. This means clarity is of utmost importance. I'll say clear up to three times, but if I don't hear an argument the onus is on you. My hearing is also apparently not as good as it once was so this is crucial. It also means if you want me to flow a rehighlighting, you have to actually read the important stuff.

-I'll vote on anything (with the exceptions of racism good, etc.) as long as it's warranted and impacted out. However, arguments do consist of a claim, a warrant, and an impact. If your argument doesn't contain a warrant I won't vote on it and I'll give the other team pretty much infinite leeway on answering it in later speeches. My threshold for blippiness is going up and, from recent panel results, is probably higher than your average judge's. When in doubt, explain.

-While I think I've developed a reputation as a K judge and coach, I'm definitely getting more middle of the road the more I judge, and I think my record in recent framework rounds is near 50-50 or even slightly favoring the team reading framework. I find fairness is usually least persuasive when gone for as an impact of its own, and most persuasive as an internal link to other impacts. The arguments I find most compelling when going for neg framework have to do with the educational value of beginning with the USFG as a starting point or of switching sides as pedagogy. Impact comparison is paramount in these debates and I usually vote for the team who does the most of it.

-Because it bears repeating, impact comparison is paramount. I find one of the most common post-round comments I give to be "there could have been more impact work," whether it's a T debate, FW debate, or DA/case. I would always err on the side of more.

-I love tricky and creative arguments but if your strategy relies on shiftiness and deceit I'm probably not the judge for you. This means if your cxes consist of a lot of "we don't have to answer that" or other forms of question dodging I will be greatly displeased. A good rule of thumb to follow: if truthfully answering questions about your argument hurts you strategically, you probably just shouldn't make that argument.

-I find it funny when judges say "I have a general predisposition against violence" or stuff like that then go on to vote on heg good in half their rounds. I too am predisposed against violence but if your argument includes advocating for violent revolution or whatever to me that's no different (and probably more morally defensible) than advocating for US empire. It's almost like certain forms of violence are naturalized and camouflaged to maintain the supremacy of whiteness and the global liberal order... That said I'll vote on heg good too and will try my best to counteract my personal bias against such.

-Affs should be reading and going for way more theory and negs should be going for way more T (at least in front of me). I find teams these days are getting away with the most ridiculously abusive counterplans and affs because everyone's too scared to go for theory against them.

-Most of all, have fun! Debate as an educational space is great and important but I'd rather have enjoyable debates bereft of educational value than educational debates that everyone hates. You only have 4-8 years on average to enjoy this strange and wonderful activity, and I want everyone to make the most of it and not just look back on their debate careers with ressentiment.

Old Stuff:

Quick LD cheat sheet for Apple Valley:

-I judge/coach policy mainly but judge a couple LD tournaments a year, and have judged multiple bid rounds, RRs, etc. in LD

-Anything goes: tricks, Ks, value/criterion, LARP, whatever. As a former philosophy major, I'm pretty familiar with all major moral theories that get used in phil debates and I judge a lot of K debates in policy so I shouldn't have a problem with whatever you read

-Depth>breadth in terms of argument development. I'm more likely to vote on well-developed arguments that are answered than dropped blips, although I will vote on the dropped blips occasionally as well.

-The one thing I ask is that you SLOW DOWN ON THEORY, maybe by about 20-30%. Any other argument you're fine going full-speed but my tiny policy brain can't flow LD theory at 300 wpm so if you want me to flow your arguments, slow down a bit.

-I'm not gonna disclose speaks, sorry. I get this is seemingly a norm in circuit LD so maybe I just need to adjust the way I think about this but it makes me fairly uncomfortable do so.

What do I need to know?

I'm the varsity policy coach for West Des Moines Valley for my 3rd (non-consecutive) year now, and in the past I debated for Des Moines Roosevelt and the University of Iowa. I just graduated from Grinnell College with a degree in Philosophy and Gender Studies. Over my first two years of coaching I ended up judging 70 or so rounds a year, mostly at bid-level tournaments.

Do what you want, within the reasonable guidelines of not being racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, and so on. I believe that debate is an activity for the debaters, and while I consider my role as judge to be that of an educator, the educational model I follow is one which is substantially less horizontal than traditional ones, in that I think my job as judge is to learn from you, as well as hopefully encourage and strengthen your competitive abilities.

There aren't any arguments outside of the parameters established earlier that I either won't or haven't voted on, and I'm down to hear whatever you enjoy most and are best at. What I find most disappointing while judging is when I see competitors who seem actively disengaged from the round for whatever reason, and as such I think I should facilitate enjoyment of the round by encouraging you to read and do whatever makes you happy.

With that said, here are my thoughts and presuppositions about specific arguments. All of them can be changed and I will always prefer arguments made within the debate to my thoughts outside of that round, but these are my "defaults" that I will revert to absent arguments to the contrary:

Top Level Stuff:

- Tech over truth but tech is guided by and generally adheres to the "truth," whatever that may be. In other words, I'll evaluate the round based off the flow and the arguments made in round, but determining which argument wins in a technical debate is something which is limited by, or at least shaped by, the truth of those arguments. "Global warming causes extinction" and "Global warming prevents an ice age, which causes extinction" are both viable arguments in a debate round, but the former is going to be easier to win because it is more in line with reality.

- On that note, dropped arguments are true arguments but an argument consists of a claim, a warrant, and an implication (impact). If you say that your opponent dropped X arg so you win the debate, that may be true, but you still need to explain why X arg wins you the debate. One of the things that is most frequently missing from high school policy rounds is the impacting of conceded arguments, and this often presents major difficulties to my ability to evaluate the debate, especially in messy rounds where both teams drop arguments all over the flow. If you want an easy way to win (and get good speaker points) make sure you are explaining not only that your opponent has dropped your arguments, but also what it means that they have dropped your arguments. All of the above is of course true in the case of contested arguments as well, but I find the implication debate appears a lot more naturally in those circumstances.

- Do as much as you can get away with. Again, everything here is just my personal bias or default, and just because I say I don't like or disagree with an argument doesn't mean you shouldn't make it or read it.

DA/Advantage Debate

- "Zero risk" is certainly possible but often unlikely. What I mean by this is that if the neg says "The plan leads to an increase in hair loss, and warming causes extinction" and the aff says "No link--no warranted reason the aff leads to hair loss and no internal link between hair loss and warming," I'm not going to decide that since the aff only made defensive arguments that there's "only a risk" of the DA occurring. Smart defensive arguments (including and sometimes especially analytics) can take out entire disads and advantages, but if they're not terminal I am going to be more susceptible to "only a risk" logic.

- I love a good impact turn debate (who doesn't?) and find they're often the most strategic option given that your opponents' evidence about their aff or DA or whatever is often (and probably even should be) better than your cards to answer it.

- Impact comparison is obviously crucial but it seems a lot of debaters forget the comparison part of the phrase. If your overview is just "our impact is big, fast, and probable" you've done the first step, now explain why your impact is bigger, faster, and more probable. Even more astute debaters will attempt to evaluate which of those metrics they are most likely to be winning, and then make arguments as to why I should prefer that one; e.g. "magnitude before timeframe" and so on.

- Most politics theory arguments are, in fact, garbage, but I will happily assign zero risk to the disad if they're conceded. Just because it's a bad argument doesn't mean you shouldn't have to answer it (which is a metric that is, in general, true for how I evaluate debates).


- My personal bias is that most process counterplans, consult, and so on, are generally cheating because they are A. usually marginally competitive at best and B. steal a lot of aff ground. If you're aff you should almost certainly be reading theory against these arguments, and if you're neg you should be prepared to defend them. All that said, I think "cheating" counterplans are usually a great strategic choice because they steal aff ground and because most aff teams aren't prepared to extend theory in the face of your 15-point 1NR block, so if you have them, it's probably wise to read them. Again, do as much as you can get away with.

- I generally really like PICs on the other hand, with the obvious caveat that the more well-researched and specific to the aff they are the better.

- The common thread between these two presuppositions is that I generally believe the best counterplans are those with a specific solvency advocate that distinguishes them from the aff. What the bar for this solvency advocate is is a matter of debate, but the more contextualized to the aff your cp is the less likely you are to lose it to theory.

- I'll judge kick for you, but only if you tell me to and the aff doesn't tell me you can't. The "logical policymaker" in me thinks the squo should always be an option, but the "debate is a game" person tells me this is bad for the aff, so just make an argument why I should/shouldn't do so if the aff ends up being worse than the CP


- The link debate is probably the most important here since you'll usually be winning that your thing is *~bad~* and the debate will usually come down to whether the aff actually does that thing or not and thus gets access to a perm. That said, if you're reading a big stick policy aff you should probably just bite the bullet and go for the impact turn if there's no chance you can win a link turn.

- In KvK debates I don't really find myself having a default when it comes down to whether "method debates" mean the aff gets a perm or not. I guess I don't really see why the fact that we're talking about methods means that those methods don't have to be competitive, but if we're not viewing the aff as a test of the resolution's truth value maybe that changes. Either way, simply asserting that "method debates means no perms" probably isn't sufficient and I like when these debates get in depth

- Similarly, the zaniness of your perm arguments should probably be proportional to the zaniness of the 1AC&1NC, and the same for perm answers. Creative perms that are based in your literature have often been effective in front of me, and the neg should rely on similar creativeness in answering them. In other words, why limit yourself to "perm do both" when you could tell me the perm is a radical cooption of their method which makes you the true symbolic terrorists, or something?

"K Affs"/"New Debate"/FW

- The teams I coach mostly read critical arguments, affs without plan texts, and stuff like that, I went to college to study gender theory and philosophy, and a large portion of the rounds I've judged in the past have been K rounds, so I think I've (deservedly) cultivated a bit of a prior reputation as a K hack. However, I've noticed in more recent times that perhaps I'm swinging a bit back toward the middle of the road in these debates, or at least that at the end of rounds I often find myself asking: "why didn't this team go for framework?" because the kritikal team has mishandled or neglected parts of that debate, yet the opposing team ends up going for something else. I have voted on framework in the past, I expect I will continue to do so in the future, and if it is the best option for you in any given debate you should choose it.

- I think the biggest shift in my thinking here is that over time I have stopped subconsciously viewing my vote of any given individual debate as implying that I have somehow committed some ideological boon/transgression, and instead believe that the most educational approach to facilitating debates as a judge involves me allowing debaters to challenge any and all aspects of their opponents arguments. While I believe each debate round is important as a unique pedagogical moment, I am somewhat less convinced that the results of that debate will change the world or even the (horrible and oppressive) structures of debate, and thus I believe that if a team is not capable of beating framework or topicality on its own merits, I shouldn't vote for them just because it helps the movement or is supposed to improve debate, because it probably won't.

- If you are the "K team" in this debate, you should make sure you answer args like "it's about the best model of debate/competing interps" if you're just going for arguments that boil down to "our aff is good." If it's "not what you do but what you justify," you need to ensure that you have either an adequate description of what you justify and why it's good, or an answer to the above argument.

- I'm finding myself (slightly) more compelled by "do it on the neg" style arguments against affs that just say the resolution is bad. If you are reading such an aff you probably want a defense of why you being even forced to defend the resolution in a pedagogical space is bad, not just reasons the resolution as a question is bad.

- TVAs are good and important but often not the game-ender FW teams think they are. If the aff says "state bad" then you give a big list of state actions, this still does not (on its own) mean that the state is good, and thus doesn't necessarily disprove any part of the aff's claim. If you impact out how exactly that TVA solves, preferably even with evidence, you're in a much better place. Basically, you need to actually have a warranted reason the TVA solves, not just the phrase "we have a topical version of the aff!!!"

Other random things:

My "role of the ballot" is to, as the cliche goes, determine who did the better debating, but that doesn't mean there can't be other "RoBs" within the debate. Generally I interpret these as frameworks or criteria for evaluating the different arguments and impacts within the round, so a phrase like "the role of the ballot is to vote for the team who best performatively and methodologically challenges queerphobia" would mean, to me, basically, that I evaluate arguments according to whichever team best meets such a criteria, not that my ballot serves some literal other purpose than choosing the best debater. However, this does mean that if you answer such an RoB with the phrase "the role of the ballot is to choose the team who does the better debating" I'm not sure you're being responsive to what that phrase is actually saying.

Any number of conditional options is allowed as long as you can justify you get that many, and any number of conditional options is not allowed as long you can win the opponent doesn't get that many. I don't think there's any magic number above which condo suddenly does or doesn't become okay, and as with everything I think this is a debate best left to the debaters. Despite my reputation I actually really enjoy big debates with lots of different arguments and you should always look to get away with as much as the other team will let you in any given debate.

Excessive rudeness is obviously never appreciated. I know debate can get heated sometimes and that's fine but if you get to the point of insulting the other team, your partner, etc. Jokes are always good as long as they aren't at the expense of other people, and so you should always be careful about accidentally hurting someone.

Call me Max, or judge if you absolutely feel uncomfortable with that (though being referred to as judge makes me feel weird), and put me on the email chain if you remember (my email is

As I've alluded to a couple times earlier, I believe that one of the reasons why debate is such an amazing activity (and it truly can be!) is because of the relatively non-horizontal nature of it compared to other educational activities, and I really want to facilitate that environment. Obviously as the person holding the sheet of paper or connected to the tabroom ballot I have a certain degree of power, but again, debate is for you (the debaters). So, as I keep reiterating, do what makes you most happy and comfortable within the debate space. Me asking anything otherwise would just be an attempt to stroke my ego as a judge and reassert my power within the room. I'm not going to stop you from doing anything as long as it does not hurt other people (which words can most certainly do, as we should all know) or cause me to be responsible for activities which would violate my contract as a coach. Read "trolly" arguments if you so desire, sit or stand to speak, go to the bathroom or get a drink of water when you need to, chat with people as long as it isn't disrupting or delaying the debate, or "dance with a chair if that's what the muse tells you to do." Do what you enjoy and I will enjoy it too.

Stephen Pipkin Paradigm

1 rounds

Glenbrook North

The role of my ballot is to vote for the team who does the better debating on whether a topical plan is better than the status quo or a competitive alternative. That means the aff has to defend a topical plan and the neg has to prove the plan is a bad idea or there's no risk the plan is a good idea. I will ignore any other framework or role of the ballot args. I think people don't believe me when I say I'm not voting on a kritik or a k aff but please don't test this. This is a change in how I've judged from the past. This isn't a "he's open to it, we just have to out-tech the other team" situation, this is a "there is no technical victory that's possible because I don't care what the other team says" situation. If the kritik is a necessary part of your neg strategy, you should strike me.

For everything else, flow and respond to what the other team says. Tech over truth, tech over offense.

Slow down and explain more. Voting on what you said requires understanding both the actual words and the substance of the arguments you are making. Do things that make it easier for me to flow. Position yourself so I can hear you. Don't speak into your laptop or stand on the opposite side of the room. Don't read typed-out things like they are the text of a card. Slow down and change the intonation of your voice when you're speaking. Sign-post. Be clear when you are transitioning between cards and sheets. Give me time to switch sheets. Be explicit about what you're answering.

Other things that may differ from what you consider norms:

I'm in charge of timing.

Asking the other team questions counts as cross-x.

I stop flowing when the timer goes off.

You can't take less than 10 seconds of prep. Every time you restart prep, you're taking at least 10 seconds. The constant starting and stopping is getting excessive, get your stuff together.

Everything needs to be in one speech doc. Getting everything together in one speech doc is prep. I stop prep when you've sent the doc.

If you steal prep, I'll take a punitive amount of prep time from you. If you read one or two extra cards, sending it after the speech is fine. If it becomes excessive, I'll also take a punitive amount of prep time from you.

There's no situation in which I'll vote for death is good.

No reinserting highlighting

I don't pay attention to questions after cross-x time is up.

Anirudh Prabhu Paradigm

7 rounds

Bellarmine ‘16

Stanford ‘20

Most of what I know about debate comes from Debnil Sur. I stole parts of this philosophy from his. If I articulated something poorly here, you can probably check his philosophy for a better articulation.

To quote Debnil, “tech >>>>>>>>> truth.”

General Experience: I debated at Bellarmine in San Jose, CA, where I currently coach. I was double 2’s my junior/senior year but am a 2A at heart. I travelled on the national circuit my junior and senior year reading a planless aff and kritikal strategies on the neg. I qualled to the TOC my senior year and went far at NFL’s my junior and senior year. At tournaments like state/NFL’s, I read policy strategies (my most common 2NR at NFL’s my senior year was the terror DA). I debated for a year and a half as a 2A at Stanford and qualled to the NDT my first year. I have exclusively coached teams who read primarily policy strategies.

Topic Experience: I have moderate familiarity with the arms sales topic, but the Glenbrooks will be my first tournament judging this year.

Deciding Rounds: Tech matters far more than truth, but use persuasion (eye contact, expression, etc.) to your advantage.

Make it clear what issues matter - I will start at what each team said mattered the most and progress from there.

I prefer final rebuttals that have substantial overviews to frame the debate (substantial does not mean inefficient).

Smart analytics can take out silly internal links - don't waste your time reading 3 worthless 'no impact to hegemony cards' when you could say military sequestration thumps and education doesn't help deterrence.

I will protect the 2NR if explicitly asked to - as mkoo puts it, “specific brightlines and warranted calls for protections (anytime) will be zealously adhered to,” but 2N’s shouldn’t assume I’m going to totally disregard new 2AR impact analysis.

I’ll probably ask for speech docs. I generally believe that in-round explanation is more important than evidence quality, but I will read cards if I need to decide a time-sensitive issue, if debaters ask me to with warranted explanation, or if it’s difficult for me to decide without the cards.

I try to line up arguments on my flow despite flowing on a laptop. Please keep that in mind. Specificity in roadmaps is appreciated when needed (e.g. if you're about to spend 3 minutes on the perm in the 2NC, let me know beforehand so I can add more cells).

I’ll probably flow CX.

Speaker Points: I’ll roughly follow this scale.

29.4+ — the top speaker at the tournament.

29.2-29.3 — one of the five or ten best speakers at the tournament.

28.9-29.1 — one of the twenty best speakers at the tournament.

28.7-28.8 — a 75th percentile speaker at the tournament; with a winning record, would barely clear on points.

28.5-28.6 — a 50th percentile speaker at the tournament; with a winning record, would not clear on points.

28.1-28.4 — a 25th percentile speaker at the tournament.

27.8-28.0 — a 10th percentile speaker at the tournament.

Be clear including on card text. Cheating means you will get the lowest possible points. You need a recording to prove clipping. If you mark a card, say where you’re marking it, actually mark it, and offer a marked copy before CX.

In general, debaters who do good line-by-line will get higher points in front of me. It’s not the only way to debate, but I find it tougher to resolve debates where there is less direct clash, and I think only a few debaters can effectively create clash without lining up arguments. If you think you’re up to the challenge then go for it.

Flashing isn’t prep but don’t take forever.

T: I like watching T debates.

I default to competing interps. The articulation of reasonability that will persuade me is that the substance crowdout generated by T debates outweighs the difference between the two interps. Note that reasonability is about the interps, not the aff.

Link comparison and impact comparison are the key in rebuttals.

Make your impact claims as specific as possible, and make sure to demonstrate knowledge of the topic in these debates.

The neg doesn’t have to win in-round abuse, the T debate is about interpretations.

Theory: (from Debnil) “Other than conditionality, default that violations are a reason to reject the argument not the team. To reject the team, provide well-warranted analysis of how it irreversibly damaged the rest of the debate, with examples of alternate, in-round strategies that would have otherwise been read.”

I’m probably more willing to listen to a theory debate than most judges.

CP: The more theoretically illegitimate your CP is, the more uphill the theory debate is. That being said, if you can defend them well, feel free to reading cheating counterplans. As Debnil puts it, “Literature proving a substantive difference between the plan and the counterplan will strongly help your case.”

Some specific thoughts (obviously up for debate) - non-enforcement is generally fine, process CP debates are best when the technicalities are explained early on and not saved for a block trick, multiplank CP’s are only bad when they allow the neg to take multiple contradictory positions that they use to squirm out of all aff offense in the 2NR. ASPEC is a tough sell as an individual voter, but the neg can sometimes use it to generate CP competition.

Presumption goes to less change - debate what this means in round. Otherwise, it goes aff in the event of an advocacy.

Decide in-round whether I should kick the CP.

DA: Case-specific disads are obviously good.

Generics are fine.

There is such thing as zero risk.

Make sure that turns case arguments actually are turns case arguments.

I like substantial impact turn debates. The big thing to watch out for is organization - it’s best if the debate is clearly grouped early on. Obviously down for heg/econ/etc., but if you’re amazing at China war good then feel free to pull it out.

K: I’m fairly well-versed in most common K’s in debate.

One common reason affs lose these debates is by being too defensive. Think about how your heg advantage interacts with a settlerism K.

I prefer small overviews, but if big overviews is your style and you can do it really well, then feel free to - but as Albert Li says in his philosophy, “don’t lie to me about how long your goddamn overview is.”


Nontraditional Affs: My main aff my junior and senior year was a planless aff. That being said, I also went for framework my senior year. I don’t have a particular bias to either side - there are good and bad arguments on both sides, and arguments I might consider “bad” (like dogmatism) can easily be viable if executed well. Affs should make smart defensive arguments against standards with silly internal links. One good piece of aff offense and a lot of defense can often beat framework.

For negative teams reading framework

  • Read it the best way you know how. Collapse down in the 2NR - go for 1-2 impacts max. In terms of standards, I'm generally fine with the common ones, as long as there's a coherent story. For example, I prefer a debate where the negative consistently argues that I should prioritize procedural fairness because debate is a game over one where they shotgun a bunch of different arguments like "learning technical details of the law key" and "decisionmaking k2 solving extinction from climate change" with the hope that something will stick.

  • You don’t have to engage the case, but if you choose to invest time into it, make it something more substantive than a bunch of generic case cards. If you’re reading biopolitics defense cards about Agamben against a Foucault aff, and you don’t know the difference between the two, you’re better off just investing more time on framework. That being said, don’t concede thesis claims of the aff that apply really well to framework.

  • Impact comparison is very important - if the aff’s model makes it substantially harder for the neg to engage but the neg’s speech act was problematic, which way do I vote?

  • Warrant internal links - don’t just jump to hyperbolic impacts

  • “TVA solves” doesn’t answer every aff arg, especially if they have a K of your performance.

For negative teams reading kritiks

  • Don’t let the aff get away with an unclear articulation of the perm, force them to clearly articulate what it means and how it functions. I default to giving the aff a perm but am open to competition theory arguments.

  • The more quotations from the 1AC, specific contextualization to the story of the affirmative and negative, and similar 1AC-focused debating that occurs, the more likely you are to win. Crystallize the points of clash between your theories as applied to the 1AC, as opposed to giving me a philosophy/literature/critical studies lecture.

If you correctly use the term "nchtr" in round, you will get a 0.2 speaker point boost. Don't use it unless you're gonna do it properly.

Email ani dot prabhu98 at gmail dot com if you have questions

Also, please put me on the email chain and send cards in a Word doc (not in the body of the email).

Colin Quinn Paradigm

4 rounds

Colin Quinn
University of North Texas

Highland Park High School (TX)

Please include me in email chains, thanks:

Framing how I should evaluate things is the most important thing to do. When that doesn't happen I have to intervene more and rely more on my predispositions rather than the arguments made.

Topicality: I like T debates. I think that for the neg to win a T debate there needs to be a well established competing interpretations framework and a good limits or ground argument. Affs need to have a reasonability argument paired with a decent we meet or counter-interpretation.

Counterplans: The neg needs to establish competition and a clear net benefit. I think i'm generally aff biased although they need to focus on what they can win (Most theory arguments are reasons to reject the argument except conditionality bad, I think most condition/consult-esque counterplans are legitimate but not competitive, etc).

Disadvantages: Impact calculus should be a priority. I do not think that there's always a risk of anything and can be persuaded that there's zero risk.

Kritiks: Impact framing arguments are the most important thing to win. They filter how I evaluate the rest of the debate in terms of deciding what is important to win and what isn't. I think that negatives need to make definite choices in the 2NR in terms of how to frame the K and what to focus on otherwise the aff is in a strategic place. Link/Impact scenarios that are specific to the plan make the debate much harder for the aff.

Affs: I think that framework is useful and can be won but I am sympathetic to affs that are topical without maybe defending a resolutional agent. I think a winning framework argument should be centered around a method that encourages the best discussion about the topic rather than just the government. When negs lose framework debates they fail to win links to the aff c/i or role of the ballot arguments. Topical version arguments are useful but negs need to remember to explain the reason they solve the affs offense; "you can still talk about x" often doesn't cut it. I think that affs that don't defend a plan need to focus on framing the ballot because that's how I will filter all of their arguments. I think that it is difficult for aff's to win framework debates without a we meet or counter-interp that can frame any other offense you have in the debate.

I may not know the very specific part of the topic/argument you are going for so make sure it's explained. I'm pretty visible in terms of reactions to certain arguments and it will be obvious if i'm confused as to what is going on.

Don't cheat.

Manav Rathod Paradigm

7 rounds

UC Berkeley ‘22

Okemos High School ‘18

General Stuff

My name is Manav Rathod and I am a student at UC Berkeley. I did 4 years of policy debate at Okemos High School (Okemos, MI). Senior year I qualified to the TOC with 3 bids. In high school, I mainly read Kritikal arguments (Afropessimism, Cap, Psychoanalysis, Deleuze, Baudrillard, Queer Theory) on both the aff and neg, however, don’t let that influence your thoughts on me as a judge. I have found many “policy” debates much more interesting/enjoyable than many “k v k” debates. Go for whatever you think is the best strategy to win the debate and execute it to the best of your ability – I will be happy regardless of the specific content.

There is no argument I am not willing to listen to. Debate is a space to explore your intellectual interests and be creative, so you should take advantage of that. So, if you like going for the politics DA, go for it. However, you should refrain from arguments that directly attack a person’s identity (such as racism good, sexism good, etc.). I am perfectly ok with listening to extinction good.

Tech > truth – as long as an argument has some warrant attached to it, it is true until addressed by the other team. I will do my best to protect the 2NR.

Topic Knowledge – I have some familiarity with the topic, however, it will benefit you to explain complicated nuances and to spell out acronyms (only once).

I flow on my computer and like being able to line arguments up.

My email is manav (dot) rathod (at) gmail (dot) com. I would like to be added to the email chain. You can also email me if you have any questions about my paradigm or want additional feedback about the round.


I will try to keep speaks in the range of 28 – 29.5.

Speaker points will be determined by your persuasiveness, clarity, and strategic mindset. Smart debaters will always outspeak debaters who are just really clear.

Being funny, referencing TV shows, using easy to understand examples (especially in K debates), etc. will boost your speaks.



I won’t hack for your K – you must do the work of explaining your argument.

I don’t mind a long overview, but I would prefer it if all relevant parts could be moved to the line-by-line. I would prefer it if links were done somewhere on the line-by-line (I don’t care where just don’t put them in the overview). Also, labeling links with cool names is good.

Specificity is key – if you aren’t doing the work to show why the 1AC specifically is bad (by pulling lines from their evidence and contextualizing your 1NC cards to the action of the plan), I am likely going to buy the perm solves. You don’t need links to the plan, but you should try to contextualize your generic links to the 1AC as much as possible.

You don’t need an alt, but you should spend time framing what my ballot means in a world where there is no alt to resolve the K’s impacts.

“K tricks” are fine but be smart with them – don’t just throw stuff at the wall and see if something sticks.

FW is important – you should very clear offense here as well as defensive arguments. Having good framing cards in the 1NC (especially if you are going one-off) is important. I can be persuaded that I shouldn’t evaluate the plan.

Demonstrating robust knowledge of your theory, as opposed to constantly reading blocks off your computer, will likely boost your speaks.


FW should never be “Ks bad.” Winning the FW debate for the Aff requires having a clear reason why your model of debate is good (e.g. fairness, political deliberation, etc) and making sure you answer all the neg’s tricks (e.g. Antonio 95, fiat is illusory, etc.). Being technical here is very key and I can be convinced to weigh only the consequences of plan action.

Perms should be thoroughly explained by the 1AR.

I think a lot of the common “policy tricks” (pragmatism, extinction first, etc.) make a lot of intuitive sense, but you still need to do a good job establishing them.

Coming into the debate with a strong understanding of the neg’s position will help you immensely, so you should be reading their cards and making sure you use cross-x to really understand their argument. It will make it easier to find their weak spot.

K v K Debates

I can be convinced not to give the Aff a perm, but a lot of the neg’s arguments for why I shouldn’t are usually quite silly, but must be answered by the Aff.

Both teams need to have a robust number of historical examples.

Links and net-benefits to the perm should be clearly labeled.



While I read a K-Aff in high-school, I am very persuaded by a lot of the arguments by FW teams. You can definitely go for procedural fairness as an impact. I also like arguments about truth-testing/argumentative refinement and research. Explaining the importance of each these in the context of predictable limits can make a very easy neg ballot.

I am not very persuaded by impacts like dogmatism or state good. While I think there is some merit to the dogmatism impact, I haven’t heard a very strong argument about why that would outweigh any offense the Aff generally goes for. I think truth-testing functions as a much more persuasive defensive argument to mitigate a lot of the Aff offense. State good is more convincing to me as a K of the aff’s refusal of certain forms of political engagement.

TVAs don’t need to solve the Aff but should somehow align with the Aff’s criticism of the status quo. Having a card isn’t necessary but would be cool.

I am perfectly fine with a short 1NC shell with no cards other than definitions.


Impact turn stuff and you will probably be fine.

You don’t need a w/m.

You don’t even necessarily need a c/I – but it will make it harder for you to win unless you go for debate bad, which is perfectly fine.

Slow down when explaining your DAs – teams often breeze through several 1 or 2 sentences DAs that I can’t follow. Your 2AC analysis should have a clear warrant as to why the neg’s interpretation is bad, what the impact to that is, and how your interpretation solves. Examples here are key.

Defense is important, don’t forget it.

You should be very clear and upfront about why the TVA or reading it on the neg doesn’t solve.


Not much to say here. Impact calc is good and should be done sooner rather than later.


I don’t have many thoughts about CP theory – so do whatever you like. Words pics are probably not cool, but if you want to go for it.

You should probably have a solvency advocate. Using 1AC lines to justify a cp will boost your speaks.


I enjoy a really good T debate. Both teams should be doing a good job explaining what debate looks like under different interpretations of the topic.

Impact Turns

I love a good impact turn debate. DeDev, Heg Good, Heg Bad, Warming Good, Extinction Good, etc. I love them all. Especially, against K-Affs or new Affs they can be very strategic and should be heavily utilized.


I will vote on new affs bad – given the neg can explain a coherent impact.


Don't clip. I will keep my eye out for it. If I catch it, I will warn you (unless it was egregious). If I catch you doing it again, I will give you 0 speaks and the loss. I will also allow the round to continue to the end.

If you believe the other team is clipping, start recording them and present the recording to me after the speech. I will listen and decide. You won't be penalized for calling out another team for clipping, as long as you do so in a manner that allows the round to continue smoothly.

If you are reading unhighlighted cards, I will expect you to read the whole thing, unless you clarify before your speech. If you don't, I will consider that as clipping.

Sukriti Rawal Paradigm

7 rounds

Emory '21

Edina '17


I'm down - but don't assume I'll vote neg just because you go for it. Have debated on both sides throughout my career.

Procedural fairness can be a thing if explained well.


I'm more familiar with traditional Ks (Neolib, Security, the works), identity-based Ks, and other structuralism Ks. But everyone should be explaining things anyways.


Love em.

Impact turns

Love em more.


Don't have preferences on theory. I want to see the neg defend super cheaty multiplank CPs that fiat out of all the aff internal links.

I'll judge kick if you say it in cross-ex or the 2NR.

Andy Reisman Paradigm

4 rounds

I lean tabula rasa but do bring the following biases to a round:

1. Although I will vote on kritiks, I am sympathetic toward framework arguments against rhetoric and identity kritiks, particularly ones that can be run on any topic. If the neg can't explain how it's kritik links to the aff, what it's alt is, how the alt would work, and why a permutation wouldn't solve, I'm not going to put in any work on the neg's behalf in the face of such aff arguments. Affirmative advocacy kritiks without plans have a high burden to overcome framework arguments with me. You'd be better off taking five minutes before the round to insert a topical plan relating to the advocacy, and even if your solvency mechanism is weak, I can balance that against your persuasiveness regarding the importance of the matter for which you are advocating, and of course any disadvantages/alternatives the neg presents.

2. I can flow well at high speeds, with the following two exceptions: (a) failure to clearly articulate tags, so please use volume/speed changes to make clear where evidence stops and new arguments begin; and (b) paragraph long tags, which I encourage you to pare down to something manageable or to make sure the most important tag elements are in the first few words. I'm not going to read through everything after the round to reconstruct tags I couldn't flow.

3. I lean tech over truth, but can be persuaded to bend a bit if the abuse of letting the untruth stand outweighs the abuse of making a new argument. It would take an egregious situation for me to go truth over tech on my own initiative, without the truth side making the argument.

4. I am sympathetic to arguments that an affirmative case needs to include stock issues, such as inherency, but if you make that argument, please know what inherency is and why it's an important element of an affirmative case.

5. Debate is supposed to be fun. Try not to be a jerk. If you are completely unbearable, it will affect your speaker points.

6. I am happy to answer any reasonable questions before the round. If allowed by tournament rules, I typically will announce results after the end of the round. I am happy to answer constructive questions after the round, but the debate ends after the 2AR. I am required to vote against one of you, don't take it personally or try to change my mind.

Sarah Roberts Paradigm

6 rounds


was denver independent/denverlake independent, 2x qualified to the toc, berkeley '20, work for harker.

my email is – please put me on the email chain.

tdlr: you should not pref me if:

- you intentionally don’t disclose

- your strategies rely heavily on friv theory/tricks

- you are going to be rude and uninterested in the debate

- your strategies rely primarily on personal attacks of other debaters

- you find yourself postrounding judges for egregiously long times after the rfd

tldr: you should pref me if:

- you do not do the above

- you like high theory

- you like going 6 off w tricky cps + disads

- you like well researched politics scenarios

unsortable thoughts:

· IMPORTANT: flex prep means asking questions during prep time - in no world does unused cx time become prep time - what????? you get your 4 (or 5) minutes that's it no more of this nonsense

· larp>>good k debate>>>theory heavy debate>>bad k debate>>tricks and phil

· i flow cx -- that means i’m exhausted of the arg that "cx doesn't check because judges don't flow it", that doesn't mean you don't need to make the arguments you establish in your actual speech.

· i’m not into postrounding. this includes but is not limited to: talking at me for thirty minutes, trying to re-read your 2a/nr at me, sending me excessive emails about why you think my decision is wrong. if you have had me in the back and have postrounded me every time, you should... maybe think about redoing your pref sheet!

· explain what perm do both looks like (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

· if you want/will need me to look at an interp/counterinterp/perm you read, those things must be sent within the speech doc. i will hold you to what is written, or you will risk me just evaluating the words I heard -- that also means no shifty changing in cx!!

· given how clear it is to me that no one can really flow a debate round as it is delivered based on prep time just becoming a spec review, you are fine to toss out a "slow" at your opponents if you can't flow/understand at their top speed. this is better than you asking 1000 clarification questions during your prep time.

· getting the round started before the start time + being efficient: +.2 speaks. why can't anyone start the email chain on time anymore makes me sad :<


speaks --

here are my averages from the fall '19 tournaments i've been at (total average, at present, is a 28.53). things that help speaks: technical competence, getting the round started on time, good articulation of k lit, bataille

· damus: 28.11

· marks: 28.32

· presentation: 28.68

· greenhill: 28.58

· greenhill rr: 28.96

general --

almost everything in the sections below applies to the way i evaluate debates, but here are some specific things that i hold true when judging these rounds. with some small exceptions, (i would like to think) i approach judging relatively similarly to rodrigo paramo (thx for teaching me ld!).

· if the 2nr is split, it will hurt your speaker points

· i will evaluate judge kick arguments

· please slow down on theory

· bracketing is not good, disclosure definitely is. be reasonable here though -- if your opponent literally has never heard of the wiki and you immediately try to crush them on disclosure theory, i will be unhappy :<

· i am not very persuaded by frivolous theory arguments and will hold responses to a lower level of depth than with well developed, pertinent theory args. if you have to ask me if a theory arg is frivolous before the round i think you probably know what the answer is.

· rvis – primarily on topicality – are not persuasive to me

k affs –

things you need to do when you’re reading these sorts of affs

· utilize 1ac ev through the whole debate and contextualize your answers to the theories in your aff

· explain exactly what the aff does/aims to do – are you working towards a paradigmatic shift in how we approach (x) policy or are you criticizing the structure of debate itself? what does voting aff do to resolve those issues?

· understand that teams sometimes just read framework because they don’t know how else to necessarily engage your aff.

· have good background knowledge... i'm so unenthused by people who pull out their ~fire~ baudrillard aff and then make args about creating meaning being good... like what? i will you to a high standard of background knowledge and contextualization/explanation.

i feel more qualified to judge high theory args than i do performances or args centered on individual identity.

fw vs k affs –

my record shows me leaning slightly more neg on framework vs k affs (maybe around 60/40?) presuming you’re not reading fairness impacts (in which case it drops to like 30/70). i think arguments about the specific mobilization/utilization of skills gained uniquely from debate tend to be much more convincing. things i’d like to see in these debates:

· examples of how movements outside of the political sphere have used political knowledge to further their cause

· reasons why knowing about the way legal systems work/interact is good

· a defense of fiat/hypothetical discussions of policies

· contextualized case arguments (which can often answer back for the “they didn’t engage us” claims)

policy affs vs ks –

too many teams pivot to the left when they hear a k in the 1nc. just defend what you did in the 1ac and explain why it’s good. some things that i think are important to do in these debates:

· win framework/win fiat/win why hypothetical discussions of policies are good

· answer the long k overview from the 2nc

· be able to explain/give examples of what the permutation will look like (you definitely get a perm)

· actually debate the k rather than just reading author indicts

· not back down from big stick impacts. you know what ground you get against literally every baudrillard k? heg good.

ks –

you need to have background knowledge of the lit and arguments, i will know if you just pulled a backfile out or haven't engaged with the lit in necessary ways! i only ever went one off in high school so i will expect a high level of articulation from you in regards to explaining your arguments and contextualizing them to the aff specifically. some things i’d like to see in a k debate

· specific quotes being pulled from the 1ac on the 2nc link debate

· technical debating rather than reading a 6 min o/v and saying it answers all the aff arguments

· having a good, in-depth explanation of the theory of your argument/why and how it interacts with the aff in cx when asked about it

· bataille

some authors i have read/continue to read in my free time/am knowledgeable about (bets are off for anyone not listed) ranked from most liked to “ehhhh”:

irigaray (bring her back), bataille, baudrillard, spanos (bring him back), lacan/psychoanalysis, berlant, edelman, deleuze/deleuze and guattari

disads –

i love seeing a well debated disad as much as i love seeing a well debated critique. i think it is really important to have good evidence and good analysis in these debates.

i am less familiar with very specific political processes disads so i may need more explanation of those whether that occurs in a quick 2nc overview or in cx given the opportunity. some things i’d like to see:

· good case engagement along with the disad. this means good impact calc as well as judge instruction

· clear explanation of the political scenario you're reading if it's a politics disad, clear analysis on the link chains if it's not a politics disad

· actual cards after the 1nc

counterplans –

truly a 2n at heart; i’ll grant you a lot of leniency in how shifty your counterplans can be. i think really specific counterplans are one of the greatest things to see in debate.

· if you cut your cp evidence from 1ac evidence/authors you’ll get a boost in speaks!

· i also think (specific, not generic word) piks/pics are pretty underutilized -- especially against k affs – i’d love to see more of these.

· i don’t think explanation-less "perm do the counterplan" or "perm do the aff" are legit.

theory –

less qualified to judge these debates imo, but will still listen to them. please slow down and don't spread through blocks -- i'll stop flowing if i can't understand it.

i have no tolerance for frivolous theory. if you are reading arguments related to what your opponents wear or what esoteric word needs to be in the 1ac, i will not enjoy the debate and will most likely not vote for you!

topicality –

a good block/2nr contains a well thought out and developed interpretation of what the topic is/view of how the topic should be explained and debated in regards to specific arguments that can/cannot be justified vis a vis the topic wording.

i really like to see good lists in t debates (untopical affs made topical by the aff’s interp, clearly topical affs that are excluded by the neg’s interp, etc).

nebel is fine to read in front of me because it’s a warranted argument! there is no good world in which somebody can just say ‘nebel bad vote aff’ and win on that! this should not be so controversial!

case debate –

there needs to be more of it in every debate. go for impact turns. i love dedev. recutting aff cards.... amazing. if the negative drops your case or does not spend time on it you can spend less time on it in the 1ar/2ar too!!!!

ethics/rhetoric –

i'm not into rhetoric violations. please ensure that it is not just a singular slip of the tongue -- often times a mention in cx/the speech and a genuine apology from the team who said it suffices and provides more education overall.

if there is egregious/violent language, i will take it upon myself to appropriately intervene and adjudicate on a case-by-case basis.

i'm lenient on ethics violations. if an ethics violation is called, i will stop the round after getting evidence of the violation from the team that called it and make my decision based on the tournament invite, the ndca rules, and the round itself.

Christian Rodriguez Paradigm

3 rounds

2016 updated


Tech outweighs truth, great spin/technical debating can beat higher quality ev when you have only decent/kinda bad cards, I'm more flow oriented when judging, these are my defaults, you can change them by making arguments about it though.

DAs - pointing out logical holes and good analytics get really far with me and can completely take out a DA. Zero risk is possible. Don't drop "DA turns and/or solves the case". I'm more willing to listen to intrinsincness arguments than most people, I like them, but there are good neg answers too.

CPs - CPs that do the aff are illegit, but if you can defend them read them. Theory is always an option against bad CPs. I really like theory debates, but impact calc is incredibly important here. You really need to slow down so I can write down what you said though, I can be persuaded that abusive counterplans extended in the block are voting issues even if the neg doesn't go for it in the 2NR, but the 1AR has to spend a lot of time on why this is true. The neg can obviously beat this if dealt with, and it would take actual work for me to vote on it, not a 1-second blip. That being said, if you can defend these CPs theoretically, you should go for them.

K's - Aff's get to weigh implementation of the Plan. I am not a good judge for the K.

T/Theory - Give examples of what affs would be justified by the aff's interp. Impact comparison between standards is crucial. I'm open to either reasonability or competing interpretations. Theory is always an option in front of me, if you can't beat dumb things like T-substantial, you should lose. The text of your interpretation matters to me.

K-affs - You must read a Plan.

Jack Rubenstein Paradigm

2 rounds

Pine Crest School '18

Duke University '22

Put me on the email chain please:

Quick thoughts:

-Can’t flow what I can’t understand

-Debate the case, 2A’s really sometimes don’t know how to defend their own aff’s at the slightest pushback (if you are aff, please don’t be one of these teams)

-I don’t know much about the topic, so don’t expect me to be well-versed on the intricacies of most of your arguments, especially T.

-Make it clear which arguments are important in the debate. You may not get the decision you want if the 2NR/2AR are just a collection of equally emphasized arguments.

-I will obviously read evidence.

-Conditionality is probably good, but that doesn’t mean you should read 5 conditional advocacies. If you make conditionality bad arguments, contextualizing them to the round will be more persuasive than potential abuse styled arguments.

-Evidence comparison is important and would be appreciated.

-The affirmative should defend the hypothetical implementation of a topical plan by the United States Federal Government. Fairness is an impact, and a good one. I find that a TVA or “Do it on the Neg” will usually mitigate most aff offense in T-USFG/Framework debates.

Affirmatives: I love a really good affirmative. Having a really good one means all parts of it are backed by sound evidence, especially your internal links. You give me very little reason to care about a U.S.-China War, for example, if your impact card is a two sentence, terribly highlighted card from some random blog.

Counterplans: I will never vote against a CP on face just because it is a Process CP, Consult CP, etc. However, an aff team who invests in nuanced theory arguments can persuade me to reject these types of CP’s. Same goes for “Perm do the CP” against these types of questionably competitive CP’s. The more specific a CP is, the more legitimate it tends to be in my mind, and the more effective it will likely be in mitigating aff offense. Invest time in your net benefit: it can outweigh the aff case even if the aff team wins a solvency deficit. Planks shouldn’t all be conditional if you have a 12 plank CP.

Disads: Read a link in the 1NC. You will not get the speaker points you are hoping for if the 1NC is 9 off, and 4 DA’s without evidence-based links. Have well-developed “DA turns case” arguments. Aff team please don’t ignore these arguments; they can be very persuasive when it comes time to make a decision.

Topicality: I tend to side towards reasonability based arguments, especially when teams just spread through their blocks on this question. If you actually substantively debate this issue, however, I could easily see myself using a lens of competing interpretations. T arguments against affs that are generally accepted as core of the topic will struggle to find much offense and won’t be very persuasive. Again, I have limited knowledge of the topic, so I will be playing catch up here, but don’t let that stop you from going for it if T is your thing. I’ll happily vote for a well-developed T argument.

Critiques: I am probably not the best judge for Baudrillard, Bataille, Deleuze, etc., but I’m here for anything else. Unless one team really messes up, I find that framework/ROB debates end up being pretty meaningless. I will likely weigh the K versus the Aff, which means both teams should be doing considerable impact work. Good K debates always have well-impacted out links. Explain how the alt would function, and how it interacts with the affirmative case. Many teams fail to do this, and I have little interest in voting for a non-unique DA.

I hate judges who are on facebook or gchat and don’t pay attention to CX, or any other part of the debate. You have 100 percent of my attention, so use it.

Bill Russell Paradigm

7 rounds

Bill Russell Judge Philosophy

Overview- I love good debates of many kinds. I try to decide debates solely on what is said in the round. I love good evidence, but love good explanation, and evidence comparison even more. I will give a lot of weight to the way you argue the evidence. Everyone works very hard to get where you are, and I know these rounds are very important to you, so I try to work hard as a judge also. It is important that you treat your opponent and your teammate with respect, so that everyone can enjoy the debate. Doing otherwise will be reflected negatively in your speaker points.

Paperless debate and flowing- I usually will ask to be included on your file sharing email, but, I am generally not reading along while you read. I will look at cards after the debate to the extent that I need to, and in light of how the evidence is debated. As a result, you need to make sure you are debating your arguments and evidence with the understanding that-unlike most of the debaters-I am not reading the cards as you go. Debating the details, and making evidence comparisons will go a long way in how I view the evidence after the debate. If you don't do that, I will interpret the evidence as I see fit.

Topicality- For the most part I prefer limits arguments over ground arguments. In other words, I prefer interpretations argued in terms of the predictability of the research burden, to any asserted right to particular ground. Case lists are important. My default standard on Topicality is likely reasonability, with the debate about the interpretations determining what is reasonable. The phrase competing interpretations, as it is often used makes no sense to me, because often no standard is given by which to evaluate the “competing interpretations”, with the implicit assumption seeming to be most limiting. Similarly, the “topical version of the aff” argment, when applied to non-critique affs makes little sense to me. The point of the violation is the aff isn’t topical. If what you mean is the same ground can be debated (advantages, etc) say that, but I think it is unlikely to be useful.

I generally believe that the affirmative should be topical but I have been persuaded otherwise for numerous non-policy affs of differing types. I don’t have strongly formed opinions on this at this point on topicality/framework as applied to non-policy affs, so tend to judge it like any issue, and attempt to decide based on what I hear in the round, and who I think is more effective at impacting their arguments, and blunting the impact of their opponents arguments.

Theory- I don’t especially enjoy theory debates, and don’t vote on theory issues very often. I tend to default to “reject the argument” not the team. As a result, in order to win on theory issues it is likely that a team will need to commit time to it, get beyond tag lines, and do a good job of explaining why simply rejecting the team would not be enough under particular articulated circumstances in that round.

An Additional Comment on Theory and T Debates- One issue that I think contributes to problems in theory and topicality debates is the tendency to make 1NC shells as short and fast as possible, and due to the fact that often there are few cards, these can become unflowable. I think if the argument is one you might be going for, you will benefit in front of me if the argument has some development when it is first presented.

Counterplans-I generally think conditionality is okay, but have been persuaded otherwise. If the negative goes for a conditional counterplan in the 2NR, and doesn’t make specific alternative arguments as to how the status quo would compare or why I should consider the status quo, I won’t do that work for you. In other words, no "judge kick".

I tend to think that the affirmative plan is not automatically immediate, and that a counterplan that conditions the plan on something that isn’t explicitly in the plan is not competitive. However, that personal preference is not very strong, and must be considered along with what I said on theory issues: that I haven’t voted on them often. So, I think an affirmative can beat these counterplans on theory, but they will need to do the work.

Disads/Impact Comparison It is obviously useful to have “offense” against a disad-or case advantage-but that it is not essential if a team does a very good job debating the uniqueness and link can win on that alone. Impact comparison is important, but I often hear more about the minutiae of “magnitude” when the relative risk seems like the place where better inroads can be made.

It should also be remembered in your impact comparison that when I evaluate the round at the end, I don’t usually decide “neg won the link” or decide most issues as yes/no, win/loss, but instead on some continuum of how much I thought you win on that, so the more comparison you do assuming the worst case, the better.

Critiques- I enjoy good critique debates the same as I do good policy debates. I don’t see critiques as a different way to run a disad, or counterplan, so debating it like a disad or counterplan makes little sense to me. That said, the more the negative treats it like another disad or counterplan, and doesn’t articulate some reason why they should win on the argument, or provide some explanation for why the judge should be doing something different than comparing policies, the more leeway the affirmative has in treating the argument that way as well. The more the critique can be related specifically to the aff, the better, and the reason to vote for the critique should be related as closely as possible to the type of argument presented in the critique. Feel free to ask me questions if that does not make sense to you.

Chris Sardo Paradigm

6 rounds

To add me to the chain:

Rounds on the topic: 48

Tournaments Judged: Greenhill, Jack Howe Invitational, CSU Fullerton Invitational, Damus Hollywood Invitational, Glenbrooks, Arizona State HDSHC Invitational, Peninsula Invitational, UNLV

TL/DR: Run the arguments that you think will best show your skills as a debater. Argumentation isn’t just tallying dropped arguments, but engaging in comparative and contextualized analysis. Your warrants and evaluative criteria are the most important thing. I have a Ph.D. in political theory, so I'm probably familiar with your lit base, whether it's K or policy oriented.


I completed a PhD in political theory at Northwestern and now coach at Polytechnic School, where I judge 5+ TOC bid tournaments a year. Matt Liu (then Struth) taught me policy debate in High School, and I judged and coached occasionally throughout college. I was a 1A/2N, reading both big stick policy and soft left affs, and everything from Agent CP/Politics to 1 off Ks on Neg. In my other life, I teach and write on political theory, specifically on Nietzsche, critical theory, the Anthropocene, and political responsibility.

Stuff I care about (Judge philosophy):

My biases are much less on particular substantive arguments or styles and methods of debate, than on argumentation practices more broadly. I am equally comfortable judging a round with a non-traditional affirmative as a straight up policy round. I would much rather judge the debate that you want to have that plays to your argumentative strengths than watch a debate where you run arguments that you think I want to hear. Whether that’s a 1 off Deleuze K, a performance identity aff, a flex strat with 7 off, an agenda politics disad, or an all postmodernism round, I will evaluate the round based on the quality of the debating in round. I tend to think of debate as a game, albiet one with enormous pedagogic value.

While I think I’m fairly agnostic and open when it comes to argument substance and debate style, I tend to sound like a “cranky old man” when it comes to techniques and mechanics of argumentation. A couple of things you should know:

Comparative analysis: too many rounds lack comparative link and impact analysis. Simply repeating your link cards without doing the work to compare your evidence and/or analysis to your opponent’s and giving me multiple reasons why I should prefer your reasoning is not persuasive. Debate is not just about competing claims, or even competing evidence, but the warrants that that justify those claims.

Contextual evidence analysis: Just because you’ve read a card on it doesn’t mean that the argument is true. Just because the card is more recent doesn’t mean that it’s better. Contextualize and analyze the evidence in the round. More cards doesn’t mean better: I’m looking for the warrants of the evidence not just the assertions or conclusions of the author. If you highlight the card down to only the author’s thesis or conclusion without reading their justifications for reaching that conclusion, it’s just an argument from authority and is no different than if you just made that assertion. This also means that author’s qualifications and forum of publication matter. I reward debaters that really do the work on comparing the quality of evidence in the round

Flowing, listening, and organization: nothing will annoy me more than you spending significant portions of cross-x asking which evidence your opponent read. In some cases it is warranted, but in most cases the problem can be resolved by flowing. Don’t rely on speech docs and don’t assume I’m reading along (I’m not, I’m flowing what you actually communicate). If you don’t have a good flow, you’re going to miss round winning arguments and your speeches are going to get messy and you will not be able to develop as coherent and compelling arguments.

Ethos and Pathos: Good speakers aren’t just fast or clear, they speak with passion and emphasis. A speech is a performance and persuasion doesn’t just happen on the flow it happens through your rhetoric and your speech.

Tech v Truth: I tend to lean on the side of tech because you should have to develop the better arguments not just happen to be right on accident. That being said, I’m evaluating arguments not just looking for who dropped the argument. If you’re running arguments of a questionable veracity (conspiracy theories, Flat Earth, etc) or arguments that are demonstrably false and you should know better (i.e. the bill in your politics disad has already passed), your opponent doesn’t have to do a lot of work to persuade me that your argument is bad, regardless of the amount of ink on the flow.

Stuff you care about (specific issue biases):

Like I said, I’d rather hear the debate that you want to have. I prefer well-researched in depth substantive debates. These are just some issue biases, but I often find myself voting against them:

Affs: I personally think that affirmative should affirm the resolution, but I’ve become more open as to what affirming the resolution means. I love a clever and well-crafted affirmative (whether K or policy) that shows deep research into the topic.

Framework v K Affs: My personal biases tend to lean towards framework, since I think that in general – though not always – switch side debate is good and that most literature bases can be accessed by a topical action (more so on pomo than identity Affs). But I find myself often voting Aff in these rounds, because the framework debate gets too block reliant and is less responsive to the impact turns the Aff is making on framework. I tend to think that procedural fairness in itself is not an impact. Good TVAs can be quite persuasive to me, and I would rather have one clearly developed (and even carded) TVA than rattling off a bunch of them. I don’t think the TVA has to solve the aff, but has to a) access the literature base of the Aff and b)meet the framework interpretation. On the aff, you need more than just access to your literature, but some articulation of why that literature is a) necessary for debate and b)necessarily precludes a topical action.

T v policy Affs: I default to competing interpretations and evaluate standards like disad impacts. I tend to lean truth over tech a little bit here: just because you found a weird definition that excludes the aff and sets good limits for the resolution, doesn’t mean it’s the best, especially if it’s decontextualized or from a strange source. I do think your plan text is important, as it’s what provides the stable advocacy point around which I evaluate your action. Teams should be less afraid of going for T in the 2NR when they're ahead on the flow.

Case debate: I love a good case debate. Whether the neg strat is critical or policy, I think it’s hard for you to win without some ink on the case flow.

Disads: the link debate takes priority, the more specific you can contextualize the disad in terms of the affirmative the better. Impact calc isn’t just about outweighing, but providing the evaluative criteria for how you outweigh

Politics: Most politics cards are bad, but I like a clever politics scenario with a well developed internal link story.

Counterplan Theory: I lean neg on conditionality and agent counterplans, but lean aff on process counterplans (especially ones that involve multiple agents doing multiple conditional actions).

Counterplans: Counterplan texts are important (just like plan texts), and solvency advocates are important too. Case specific advantage counterplans or pics that show in depth research are some of my favorite arguments.

Perms v CPS: just because they perm doesn’t mean that they are severance or intrinsic. The aff should be able to test the competition of the CP; if it fails I don’t think it should be a reason to reject the team, but shows that the argument is competitive. I’d rather fewer well-explained perms than a bunch of blippy perms hoping that the neg drops one.

Ks: I think critiques are good for debate; forcing the affirmative to justify their method/reps/scholarship/speech act/ontopolitical assumptions is both good in general and good for debate. I would much rather hear specific link analysis that engages the specifics of the Aff advocacy and contextualizes the thesis of the K in terms of what the Aff is doing (whether their policy action or their ontological assumptions) than a vague pre-written overview that doesn’t connect to the aff. Even if the K is a really a K of debate or Fiat, I want to hear your criticism in terms of the Aff. As a political theorist, I’m fairly deep in the literature, so you should feel comfortable running just about any K in front of me. I’ll keep my own interpretive and hermeneutic biases out of my decision, but if it’s a blatent misinterpretation of the scholarship, I will let you know in my ballot. I also want to contextualize the alternative for me, whether it’s reject the aff, an advocacy statement, or some sort of ethical orientation. Tell me what it is that you are asking me to vote for.

Perms v Ks: I tend to think that most K perms are really variations on perm do both. I’d rather you just articulate why the alternative’s advocacy isn’t competitive with the AFF with one perm, rather than read a bunch of perms with no explanation and hope they drop one. I definitely give aff leeway on perm theory since most Alts don’t get fully articulated until the block. I don’t think Perm: do the Aff is a perm, or really an argument. It doesn’t test competition; just make the alt fails argument.

Framework v Ks: I don’t like framework arguments that are either pure defense “we get to weigh the aff’s impacts against the K” or frameworks that exclude Ks entirely from debate. In general I think framework is important on the K for both sides, as it provides the evaluative criteria by which I will make my decision. I think we all know that fiat is illusory, but it’s a question of how I should evaluate the competing speech acts in the debate, and why that method is the best (for whatever reasons you articulate).

Benjamin Sauer Paradigm

7 rounds

Background: In college I debated on the national circuit for parliamentary debate. I formerly coached collegiate parliamentary and policy debate. I currently serve as the Ronald Reagan College Prep head coach, I was an assistant coach for Solorio Academy High School for the past few years, I sit on the Board of Directors of the Milwaukee Urban Debate League, and I am the President-Elect of the Wisconsin Debate Coaches' Association.

E-Mail Chain: Yes. Send to (Note: asking me if I want to be on the e-mail chain is usually a sign that you didn't read my paradigm before the round. It is right here at the top...)

Quick Philosophy: I strongly favor a policy making philosophy. Ideally the AFF should advocate a policy topical to the resolution, and the NEG should explain why I should reject the specific policy case made by AFF.

Quick Tips:

  1. Speak clearly. If I can't understand you, I can't flow you.
  2. Do not argue a tagline. Argue the logic and evidence.
  3. Maintain clash. Line by line is good.
  4. Identify voting issues.
  5. Take advantage of the cross examination to force concessions and formulate your arguments.
  6. Do not be rude. Be witty. (Wit = speaker point bumps)
  7. Have fun.

Longer Philosophy:

- Planless Aff: If the AFF isn't affirming any specific plan, advocacy or course of action, then the status quo doesn't change, and NEG wins on presumption regardless of what else the AFF says.

- Tech v Truth: I will prefer tech to truth. Like all judges I attempt to avoid intervention, and a dropped argument is a true argument.

- Links: I do not think enough scrutiny is usually given to link arguments or link chains. I am a big fan of strategies that attack internal links or the link of a disadvantage/K/etc.

- Advantages and Disadvantages: You need to perform an impact calculus. Significance arguments should have fleshed out impact assessments with relative risk analysis supported by evidence. Politics DAs are great.

- Speed: Keep your speed reasonable. While I can handle a speedy round, I think teams who slow down perform better - they understand their round better, and I understand the arguments better. Clarity in the round matters. Make sure you articulate and enunciate your words. Speaking exceptionally quickly to try to read more cards or have more, and less developed arguments, isn't effective (and will hurt your speaks). I will let you know if I have a problem keeping up with (or understanding) you, and I'll give two warnings before I stop flowing. I will not use your cards to fill in what I miss because you are going too quickly (or if I stop flowing because I warned you twice).

If you are doing more than 7 off case arguments, you're not giving enough attention or time to all of the arguments, and you're likely relying on speed. I would far rather have fewer arguments with a deeper dive into the issues than more arguments and cursory explanations with an attempt to win simply by having the other team drop an argument that hasn't been developed much at all. I will weigh how well developed and impacted an argument is that the other team dropped when 8+ off-case are run.

- Cross Examination: I flow CX. Cross examination is an extremely important and undervalued tool in current policy debate. I recommend flowing those developments into your speeches. Do not be elusive in response to questions. A simple "I don't know" is an acceptable response if you do not know the answer. I do not prefer tag teaming on CX for varsity or open rounds. I award higher speaker points for individuals who do not rely on verbal assistance from a partner in asking or answering questions or making speeches.

- Topicality: I will vote on topicality, but my threshold for topicality is rather high. Topicality arguments that are well developed and given time during the 1NC/2NC are more likely to be successful, and the NEG should explain either how the AFF violated a reasonable and fair framework or why NEG's interpretation is better (I enjoy debates about what the proper meaning of a word should be and how that impacts the plan or the debate). If you are going to argue topicality and the AFF asks what a topical plan would look like under your framework for topicality, you need to be able to give an answer. If you cannot provide an example of topicality under your own framework, you have a problem, and your argument is very unlikely to persuade.

- Performance or Meta-Debate: I am not your judge, and you should strike me. My threshold for theory / topicality arguments against performance debate is low.

- Counterplans: I am a huge fan of counterplans, and I strongly look to functional competition. I enjoy a well run process counterplan. Process does matter in the real world and has real policy implications. I am not a fan of consult counterplans, but I have and will grudgingly vote for them.

- Theory: I am fine with theory arguments and debates. For conditionality, I am fine with multiple CPs and kritiks, but keep your conditionality within reasonable constraints (i.e. six or more worlds is not very reasonable). I default to reject the argument not the team for theory arguments. If I am to reject the team, not the argument, have a very good explanation as to why.

- Kritiks: I am not opposed to a K, but I am only well versed in K literature that is based in law and economics. For almost any other K you're going to need to SLOW DOWN, explain your buzzwords / jargon and explain the concepts. If you don't explain the buzzword / jargon, I'm not searching your cards for what a term means.

I strongly dislike K taglines that are paragraphs. That is not a tagline - it's a mini-speech.

The K needs to link to the specific policy case made and engage with the substance of the Aff's plan. If there is no link to the specific policy or no engagement with the substance of the plan, then there is no reason for me to vote for the K. A successful K will (1) link to the specific policy being argued; and (2) have an alt that (A) is a conditional policy option; (B) competes with the Aff's plan; and (C) you have explained how it functions in the real world. If, at the end of the debate, I am left thinking "So what?" I am going to vote for the Aff. The Aff actually solves for something, and the K does not.

For a K-Aff, the alt in the K-Aff needs to meet the same standards as the alt for any other K - the alt still needs to be topical, create change and solve for some harm.

- Off-Limits Arguments: No argument is out of bounds or off-limits in the debate round. Your team can make any argument it wants. If a team thinks an argument is objectionable or morally wrong, then the burden is on that team to explain why and why I should not vote for it. Merely claiming that something is offensive, immoral or "-ist" isn't enough. Why is it immoral or "-ist"? Why is it unfair or wrong? If your team can't explain why, I won't intervene to do the work for you. Run whatever argument(s) you want.

Note: The above should not be interpreted as carte blanche to engage in ad hominem attacks or other personal attacks in the round. You must be respectful to each other.

- Court or Legal Plans/Arguments: I am the general counsel of a multinational company. I really enjoy listening to plans/counterplans/etc that involve the courts or a legal strategy. That said, I will know if you do not understand how the judicial branch functions, and I will know if your plan/CP actually functions or solves the way that you claim. I will not intervene to vote on these issues if the other team does not call you on it, but my threshold for them to call you on these issues is low.

Ben Schultz Paradigm

4 rounds

-- You should speak more slowly. You will debate better. I will understand your argument better. Judges who understand your argument with more clarity than your opponent's argument are likely to side with you.

-- You can't clip cards. This too is non-negotiable. If I catch it, I'll happily ring you up and spend the next hour of my life reading Cracked. If you're accusing a team of it, you need to be able to present me with a quality recording to review. Burden of Proof lies with the accusing team, "beyond a reasonable doubt" is my standard for conviction.

-- If I can't understand your argument -- either due to your lack of clarity or your argument's lack of coherence, I will not vote for it. The latter is often the downfall of most negative critiques.

-- One conditional advocacy + the squo is almost always safe. Two + the squo is usually safe. Any more and you're playing with fire.

-- I like to reward debaters who work hard, and I will work hard not to miss anything if I'm judging your debate. But I'm also a human being who is almost always tired because I have spent the last 12 years coaching if you seem like you don't care about the debate at hand, I am unlikely to try harder than you did.

- Anything else? Just ask....

Lucia Scott Paradigm

3 rounds

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

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

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

Meta things

I appreciate scrappy debate. Tech over truth with some exceptions as outlined below. However, the less true an argument is, the less tech you need to beat it. Quality over quantity; what constitutes quality is, of course, up for debate. Questions are not arguments. Don't ask what the aff does, explain that it doesn't do anything.

The rest of this paradigm is written in very certain terms to avoid confusion, but all of these are really just my defaults. My preferences won't keep me from voting any particular way.

Procedurals/ Theory

I get really grumpy about arbitrary interps of theoretical arguments (conditionality, ROB's, really anything).

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

As far as topicality, you need impacts. You're saying this team should lose the debate. That's a pretty steep punishment. That means "predictability good" isn't an impact. Explaining why predictability is good is an impact. What aff's are now allowed that you can't prepare for? What arguments do you lose, and why do those arguments matter? I don't think there's such a thing as an "intrinsic good" in a debate.

Reasonability, to me, means that the neg had a reasonable amount of predictable ground, not that the aff is "reasonably topical," whatever that means.

Case Debate

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

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


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


On balance, I think counterplans should be functionally and textually competitive. A 2A who's good at theory can win process counterplans just go away with enough work. I think counterplans should have solvency advocates. Not a fan of word PICs. If your word PIC has critical implications, I generally think you're better off just running it as a kritik. I don't kick the counterplan unless the 2NR tells me to. I am willing to vote aff on zero risk of a net benefit even if the counterplan solves 100% of the aff.


My threshold for a link here seems to be comparatively low. I think this "no reps links" argument people keep making is absolutely ridiculous.

My threshold for the alt is relatively high. Examples are good. I don't necessarily think you need to win the alt to win the k, but it's probably a good idea to have an alt.

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

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

K Affs

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

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

I conceptualize TVAs as counterplans (an alternate mechanism to solve the same impacts while avoiding the net benefit). That means I hold a TVA to similar standards; I think it should have to solve all or most of the aff and that the TVA should have a solvency advocate. 90% of the TVAs I hear aren't topical; not enough aff teams make this argument.

Other things:

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

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

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

Speaker Points

I start at a 28.5 and move up or down from there. If I think you should clear, I'll give you at least a 29. I will doc speaks if you combine the case pages at any point after the 1AC. Do real case debate.

Isaac Segal Paradigm

7 rounds

For LD:

Im not a fan of overly heavy theory. I’ve learned that people in LD tend to un-clearly spread thru their pre-written theory analytics, and I have no desire to write down points 1-17 for why X is a voter when you’re slurring words at 400 WPM.

I don’t have super strong opinions on Phil stuff. I think it’s interesting for sure, and I have a good degree of familiarity with the authors, but I don’t think it makes for good or meaningful debate. Run it if u must, but if the entire debate ends up entirely coming down to Kant or Spinoza I will not be happy.

Trix are an interesting gray area for me. I guess I'll vote on it if you win, but if I have to evaluate whatever the fuck "firmly determined" means or something along those lines, my disappointment will be reflected in speaker points. I draw a distinction between trix and general trolling. Trolling is all good if it’s justified.

I think I’m really good for the K, for K-aff’s, and for framework. I elaborate on those in detail below in my Policy paradigm. I encourage you to read that before figuring out where to pref me.

If you know anything about debating in front of judges who've only ever done Policy debate, that's how you should probably try to adapt. I have, however, judged enough LD rounds at this point where I feel like I’m fairly familiar with all the ways this activity is different than Policy, so it’s chillin.

Cheaters lose. Clipping cards is cheating. Reading K-aff's is certainly not cheating unless you convince me that it is. Tech > Truth. Please make the round entertaining for me!!! It could only help ur speaks.

For Policy:

General Paradigm:

I debated for Stuyvesant High School for 4 years as a 2A, and ended my career in quarters of the TOC, so I'd like to think I'm qualified to judge you. Add me to the email chain ( Please make this round fun for me to watch and adjudicate. I'm a huge believer in tech over truth. All that being said:

Short and sweet version:

Run (almost) whatever you want in front of me. K debate is mostly what I stuck to when I debated, but I have absolutely 0 predispositions about what debate should look like that I bring into the round with me, that's completely up to y'all to argue about. I have no biases about any specific argument, but I do have a higher level of familiarity with most K's than with the topic-specific policy stuff on this year's topic. I assume I'll learn more and more about the topic as the year goes on, though. Just have fun with whatever arguments you run!

If you actually have time:

T: Sure I guess, just don't go hyperspeed on your standards. I always liked somehow tying T into the other flows I had in creative ways, so if you're able to do that somehow, you'll most likely be rewarded with speaker points. If someone makes an RVI I will probably laugh, but will vote on it if they somehow manage to win the arg.

DA's: I'm down. The link story is very important to me here because I feel like a lot of people try to get away with super shady links, and affs don't capitalize on that enough. I really enjoy listening to DA's that have a specific link to the aff and have a really unique internal link/impact scenario, and those are also really strategic so please run those! I also think DA's are a great and incredibly underused asset against K-Affs. Many teams won't be prepared to answer them beyond an impact debate, and if you can convince me that the aff's semiotic insurrection or whatever somehow leads to a collapse in the food chain causing extinction, by all means be my guest. Finally, if you absolutely must run the Politics DA, fine, I'll listen to it, but begrudgingly.

CP's: Sure. I generally prefer advantage CP's to shady PIC's, but I'll vote on your shady PIC if you win it. I honestly don't care about how many planks your CP has or how abusive or ridiculous it is, unless the other team tells me to care about it.

Theory: I won't pretend to be an expert on theory debates or to particularly enjoy evaluating them, but if you must you must. Make sure to have a clear, stable interpretation - "conditionality is bad" doesn't cut it, "the neg can get X conditional advocacies" is more like it.

K's: Yes please. Throughout my debate career, I've read almost every single K under the sun, from anthro to race and gender K's to every level of postmodern and psychoanalytic fuckery imaginable. I love hearing both K on K and clash of civs debates, so yes go for it. The one caveat is that the more familiarity I have with the K, the higher of a standard I'll hold you to while running it. This doesn't mean I won't vote on a poorly explained Baudrillard K, but my disappointment will be reflected in your speaker points. My preferred strategy when I ran K's was going 1-off, because I think that's the best way to fully develop your thesis and (hopefully) complex arguments. If you're the type of person who runs 7 K's in the 1NC that contradict to outspread the other team and go for whatever they undercover, I encourage the aff to take some prep for the 2AC and point out the contradictions in the neg's K's and why this means they should lose as per their own authors. I will most likely agree with you. I think framework is crucial for both the aff and neg in K debates, as these rounds can sometimes be won on framework alone, even stuff as extreme as "they don't get to have an aff" or "they don't get to have a K". Other than that, I think the best strategy for affs against K's is a solid link-turn that's specific to the K's impacts.

FW: I've been on both sides of the Framework/K-Aff debate many times, and have absolutely 0 predispositions about either argument when they clash. I've found that sticking to either procedural fairness/gameplaying or portable skills instead of trying to fuse the two works best, but you do you. I can be fairly easily convinced that K-Affs make debate less fair, but not enough teams are going the distance and explaining why fairness is an inherent good or important. For the aff, you may not win that you can leverage the 1AC against FW, but it doesn't hurt to try. As a 2A, I liked to have 1 or 2 main DA's to FW near the top of my 2AC, because then they'll be flagged on the judge's flow as your central pieces of offense, and what the debate comes down to.

K-Affs: I ran only K-Affs from my sophomore year onward, and probably prefer evaluating them to policy affs. I'm down with any branch of K literature u chose to use, and I'd really like for there to be SOME kind of relation to the topic, the extent of that is up to you. That being said, if you're trying to no-link framework fairness claims, the closer you are to the topic, the better it'll likely be for you. If you're ready to tell me fairness doesn't matter, the world is your oyster. In my eyes, you don't need to have an advocacy text, nor be constrained to auditory forms of communication, nor even be speaking in English, unless the other team says you need those things, in which case y'all can figure it out. Neg should try to run something other than just framework against K-Affs, as the aff has most likely prepped the hell out of your arguments. Get some good ol' fashioned case debate in there too!

Other side-notes:

Don't ever: be blatantly racist, sexist, etc, you know the drill. If it happens, you'll get an auto-loss, 0 speaks, and I'll have a conversation with your coach. Don't make me take time out of my day to do that.

Troll arguments: Go for it, there's very few things I won't vote for, and they were just mentioned above. I fall under the Calum Matheson school of thought, wherein if you truly think an argument is incredibly asinine, you should have no problem answering it, and if you can't answer it, you deserve to lose. However, trolling in cross-ex is a form of performance in my eyes, so be sure you know what you're getting yourself into, and how it relates to your arguments.

For reference: the people who have largely shaped how I view debate are: jon sharp, David Doktorman, and Luisa Cusick.

Intervention: I really don't like having to do work for either team, and wanna be as fair as I possibly can when judging, so please don't put me in a position where I have to fill in the blanks for a team in order for anyone to get the ballot.

Speaker points: I debated fairly recently so I know what speaks should look like in this day and age. I'll give higher speaks for bold strategic choices, creative arguments, a good knowledge of your arguments, and confidence in what you're saying. Jokes are also very welcome and appreciated and can boost your speaks, especially if they concern David Doktorman, there's a lot about him to roast. Entertain me.

Jack Shen Paradigm

4 rounds

PLS BE CLEAR; seriously, CX is still a communicative activity

I debated for Westwood for 4 years. During my junior and senior years, my partner and I were considered a “K team.” I went to the TOC.

Add me on the Email Chain:

Top Level Areas of Consideration

- I am not familiar with the topic

- I am more than comfortable listening to K affs. That said, I’m equally fine when the negative goes for framework.

- Tech > Truth, in most cases. This does not mean that the technical concession of 2NC 8 by the 1AR suddenly overcomes the larger theory presented by the aff.

- Impact things out. If you can’t explain why something matters and outweighs, I will be unlikely too. For example, if the negative has a conceded social death claim (throughout the round) but does not impact that out(at any time), I will be sad and still vote aff on extinction outweighs if that argument is made.

- Slow down, especially when explaining concepts. I’m an alright flow.

- An argument requires a claim, at least a warrant, and hopefully an impact. Make arguments, not claims.

- Evidence quality can matter but only if you make it. I will not scour your cards for arguments and will only likely read cards over areas of controversy and dispute.

- In deciding a round, I view arguments through risk. No risk is possible and makes the most sense in some instances however.

- I would rather you adapt to my stylistic requests than completely shift your argument base.


Go for it. I don’t mind the skills based or fairness-based approach.

Here are my thoughts on both approaches

fairness – its probably true that fairness is an impact but you need to explain why it matters more than their fw arg.

skills – aff interaction is valuable and reading your TVA block is probably not enough. Recognize when your TVA doesn’t solve an impact turn.

For me, most of these debates are won or lost on the (lack of) impact calc debate.

Aff teams

I spent a big chunk of my time in debate doing this. I generally read more impact turny K affs as opposed the middle of the road ones. Its your burden to explain how your impact turn disproves the thesis of all their offense. For middle of the road affs, teams need a larger discussion on the feasible vision of your topic.


Default to CI, believe reasonability is underutilized, especially when teams extend it as an afterthought in the waning seconds of speeches. Reasonability is about the interp, not your aff. Would like to hear more case lists and TVAs.

I am probably more willing to vote for a less truthy T argument than the general judge.


I think a well thought out advantage counterplan + disad is the most devastating strategy against most policy affs. Solvency deficits should come with implications.

Lean aff on most counterplan questions. Most theory is a reason to reject arg not team. This obviously shifts as the neg presents more researched contextualized evidence about their counterplan.

*thought on CPs vs Soft left affs

- if its obvious that the counterplan doesn't solve some amount of structural violence, I think it may perhaps be better for the negative to invest that time in framing as the counterplan becomes irrelevant if the aff wins their framing questions.


If mishandled I’m more than willing to vote on non resolutional procedurals. Condo bad becomes easier to win in front of me as # > 2.


I think like most judges for disads. I like specific arguments?


Theories should be explained with an assumption that I have little understanding of your field, contrary to what you might think I know.

I have some understanding of most critiques.

I begin my evaluation of these debate through framework. You don’t need an alt, but if you lose framework and don’t have unique link impacts, the end is near.

“Not my theory” without explanation will probably not be flowed.

I’m alright for K tricks but I will hold neg teams equally responsible for answering generic aff tricks

If you can’t beat the perm double bind, you should lose to it.

Remember that your links should be to the perm also, not just the plan.

My eyes glaze over in listening to an excessive amount of bad high theory debates.

Impact Turns

I'm willing to evaluate a lot of ridiculous shit if you back it up. My upper limit is around hormesis/ malthusian style args.

vs K affs

More then often, I find that teams automatically assume the link, forgetting that a good chunk of k teams read their planless affs to avoid clash and usually do close to nothing. Remember to tie them down.


At national tournaments the 29.8-30 range is reserved for bribes worth at least 5 figures.

29.2+ should receive a speaker award or executed some serious strategery

28.8 – 29.1 should most likely clear

28.5-28.7 may not clear/ are on the brink of doing so

28-28.4 made some errors, keep working on some fundmantals

27-27.9 should heavily work on technical skills or made a fatal error

<26 either clipped or intolerable, highly offensive actions

Sam Shore Paradigm

3 rounds

Edited most recently in March 2018. I debated in high school at Greenhill School (2006) in Texas and debated in college at Michigan State (2010). I have been helping coach Greenhill since my graduation. A fair number of the assumptions that one would draw about me being affiliated with those institutions are probably true. In a given year, I will probably judge 60+ HS policy debates, ~5 HS LD debates, and under 5 college policy debates. There are a couple special notes at the bottom for the latter two groups.

Case Debates – Case debate is underutilized, there are few things that I am more impressed with than beating a team on their own aff. Although, too many teams gloss over the fact that there needs to be uniqueness for neg case turns.

Disads – Defensive arguments are important, and I am willing to assign zero risk of a disad if the affirmative has damning defensive arguments even if the affirmative lacks any offensive arguments. Negatives who rely on there always being a risk of a link will leave me unimpressed. That being said though, I often think that many times a lack of offense does result in a moderate probability of the disad.

CPs – I lean negative on most CP theory issues (more on theory below), although I’m not a fan of the consult cp. I also lean negative on legitimacy of the states CP. This does not mean that affs cannot win theory debates in front of me. Additionally I think some of the arguments that affs make as to why some counterplans are bad, tend to be much better when used as a reason why the permutation is legitimate. Negs should be sure to weigh what happens when there is a solvency deficit to the cp when making their impact calculus arguments. Conversely, affs need to have an impact to their solvency deficits.

Kritiks – Teams must articulate an impact to what happens if they win their framework arguments. I don’t think the negative must have an alternative but I find it hard for the neg to establish uniqueness for their links without one. Affirmatives need to find ways to leverage their aff against the implications of the kritik as well as making sure that they are still able to access their offense if they lose their framework arguments. Negs must also discuss why the aff in particular makes the squo worse. I’m certainly not well versed in much kritik literature so avoiding buzzwords and jargon can help my understanding. If you want me to vote on a kritik, it would benefit you to debate it very much like a CP/DA: turns the case, solves the case, xyz comes first, etc.

Topicality – I tend to view T debates in an offense/defense framework. Its all about competing interpretations, whomever creates the best world for debate should win, issues of abuse are not necessary but can be helpful. That being said, I’m also not a fan of the cult of limits, just going for your interpretation is more limiting will most likely lose to a broader interpretation that is more educational. Also, your K aff's impact turn of T does not amuse me – topicality is a voting issue.

Theory – I lean neg on most theory questions but this is not to be taken to mean that I like to hear your XYZ-Spec argument, your points will go down. Conditionality, or multiple conditional counterplans are both fine. The caveat to this is that I'm not sure if I'm a fan of conditional counterplans with half a dozen planks each independently conditional (ie 2nr could be planks 1-6, or 1-3, or 1&3, etc.). This doesn’t mean I won’t vote aff on theory though, whomever can make their trivial distinctions seem most important will probably win.

Non-traditional affs – I’ve debated at Greenhill and Michigan State, if that doesn’t provide some hint, I’ll break it down some more. The Aff should probably be topical, probably have a plan, and probably also have to defend the effects stemming from the hypothetical enactment of said plan - I've yet to be convinced by a reason as to why any of these things are bad.

General Notes: All of this being said – I will evaluate the arguments made in the round even if they are contrary to my beliefs, this is a guide of what I think and how I will default with a lack of argumentation. Evidence comparisons are important, Impact comparisons as well. There needs to be a decision calculus set up in the final rebuttals – i.e. you can still win the round even after admitting a solvency deficit to your CP. I do like being on the email chain of documents but will NEVER be reading the speech doc during the speech – you need to be clear. I’m only going to flow what the person who should be speaking says, if your partner yells out an argument during your speech, you have not made it.

College debate note: I will judge at one college tournament roughly every four years, this being said, please, please, please, assume I have next to ZERO topic knowledge (careful with acronyms too). I judge a ton of debates, just none on your topic.

Lincoln-Douglas debate notes: Well, you’ve read all of this which means two things: 1. I’m probably judging you. 2. Something has gone terribly awry for both of us. If possible, I’d basically prefer your LD debate to be policy-esque, I can obviously follow whatever but still have no idea what a criterion is. For some reason when I say this, people seem to think theory args are a good idea....most LD theory args seem to be asinine standards that the other team needs to follow…I will not vote on this, and will probably lower your speaker points. Also, if you intend to win due to a theory argument, you need a reason to reject the team – otherwise the obvious remedy is rejecting the argument.

Eric Short Paradigm

6 rounds please add me to an email chain.

previous coaching: Niles West (2016-present), Walter Payton (2014-2016), Wayzata (2009-2013), Moorhead (2007-2009), University of Minnesota (2011-2015, plus various tournaments since), Concordia College (2006-2009).

I generally judge 75+ debates on the high school topic.

updated September 2019

I'm updating my philosophy not because of a meaningful change in how I evaluate debates, but because I think the process of how I decide debates is more important than how I feel about individual arguments.

I judge debates in the way they are presented to me. This means you control the substance of the debate, not me. As such, the team that will win is the team that is best able to explain why their arguments are better than their opponent's arguments.

I start deciding a debate by determining if I need to read evidence. I often read very few cards at the end of a debate. In many debates, the quality of evidence, its qualifications and even warrants or conclusions go uncontested. I'm not the judge to reconstruct the debate for you. Then, I assign "risk" to the positions forwarded in the last rebuttals. The type of "risk" is determined by the debate--anywhere from "does the DA outweigh the aff" to "do the representations lead to a unique impact" to "does the performance actively resist forms of oppression". Link and impact analysis is therefore extremely important. You probably won’t like the decision if I decide what is most important.

Most of my topic research revolves around critiques. I have also worked at a summer institute almost every year since 2005. Chances are I am familiar with your literature base, no matter which side of the library it's housed in. However, you still need to explain your arguments for me to consider voting for them.

If you want me to consider the status quo as an option, you should tell me in the 2NR: I will not default for you. Outside of conditionality, I default to rejecting the argument, not the team unless instructed otherwise.

Note on decision times: the longer it takes to finish the debate, the less time I have to adjudicate, so it is in your best interest to be efficient.

Speaker points are influenced by a variety of factors. While I do not have a specific formula for integrating all the variables, your points are reflected by (in no particular order): argument choice, clarity, execution, participation in the debate, respect for others, strategy, and time management. I tend to reward debaters for specific strategies, humor, personality and speeches free of disposable arguments.

Luther Snagel Paradigm

7 rounds

My email is

Add me to the chain please.

I debated for Northside College Prep for the past four years. I read soft left affs my freshman and sophomore years, big stick policy affs with tons of impacts my junior year, and critical affs my senior year. I have defended deleuze, lacan schopenhauer, bataille, Edelman, preciado, baudrillard, etc. I am well versed in afropessimism as well as critical responses to afropessimism.

I like debate and arguments. Make good ones that are better than your opponents' and I will vote for you.

I'll vote for a sneaky CP if you win competition.

I'll vote on kritiks if I understand why the argument is a reason to vote for you.

The bar for giving you weight on the kritik is lower if the alt is more action-based. The less your alt does the more you need to win FW.

I love a good advantage CP with an interesting scenario.

I love smart arguments and care very little about having cards if the args are logical. A shitty card doesn't beat a good analytic.

You do not need offense on T, you can win terminal defense.

I probably will not call for evidence after the round.

Don't talk loudly during opponent speeches.

Don't leave time on the clock, you can always make more arguments. You lose .5 speaks for every 30 seconds you leave on the clock.

Don't shake my hand.

Don't be an asshole.

Flow, and respond to your opponents' arguments and you should be good. Otherwise have a good time and don't take this so seriously that you:

a) cry when a round doesn't go your way

b) get overly angry and aggressive in CX

Brandon Sumner Paradigm

7 rounds

Brandon Sumner

Brophy College Prep

Arizona State University

Debating Experience:

4 years in high school

Debated briefly at Wake Forest University

Coach at Brophy College Prep


My philosophy shouldn’t change the strategy of the 1ac or the 1nc, all it should do is help the way you frame your arguments in the round. You should run what arguments you want to run/are strategically viable, and at the end of the day if you debate better than your opponent I’ll vote for you.


Tech > truth – I won’t vote on what your evidence says or if your argument is more true real world, I’ll only vote on what is said within the round. Even if I ideologically disagree with everything you’re saying, I’ll vote for you if the other side doesn’t respond to your arugments properly.

Prep time – keep track of your own/your opponents prep time, if you steal prep I’ll drop your speaks heavily so don’t do it. Prep time should stop when the email is sent/flash drive leaves the computer.

Evidence – please include me on the email chain (

Speaks – I give 27-30, if you go below 27 its because you were offensive. Best way to get high speaks is to be efficient, clear and have arguments with intention. Beyond that, I like puns and witty one liners about people I know/myself, but those come far after making sure you debate well. Demonstrating mastery of your arguments/the topic climate in cross ex will also boost your speaks.

Speaking style – Any speed/style/form is fine as long as I can understand what you’re saying. I will only say “clear” twice during a speech. After that if I can’t understand what you’re saying I won’t be flowing it. I will not flow off the speech doc.

Argumentative Positions:

Aff -- I read a K aff for 4 years in high school so I’m fine with any form of subversion from the resolution, be it tangential relationships through some critical/identity issue, or performance/high theory rejection of the topic. On the flip side, I have grown to love more traditional policy affirmatives lately, and I think there is a certain ethos to running a big-stick impact and defending your reps. I feel like I might be more qualified to judge “K on K” style debates, but I probably prefer judging a 6+off debate vs a traditional policy aff. Run whatever you want.

Disads – I like good link analysis, and unless the aff is running a lot of “big impacts bad”, “your internal links are bad” or good impact defense, focus more on the link and uniqueness. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t explain your internal link chain, I just think that UQ/Link are easier for the aff to contest than the idea that there is a 0% risk of the disad impact.

Counterplans – I have grown to love counterplans over the last year. Advantage cp’s, pics, multi-plank addons in the 2nc to respond to 2ac addons, generic cps (states), all of them. Uptopian fiat, pics good/bad, solvency advocate requires/not required are all theory debates to be had however, so make sure you answer any theory the aff brings up.

Theory – I’ll vote on theory, and you don’t necessarily need to prove in round abuse. Don’t just read your blocks, I like specific in round examples of how strategies have changed, how the round could have been different, what the aff justifies the neg doing, etc.

*Berkeley update* condo: I will vote on condo, but I think it's good to know that I probably lean slightly neg in my personal ideology (if the debate is 50-50 I'm more likely to default to condo good). If you want condo to be a viable option in the 1ar and the 2ar you should have examples of what types of offense/arguments the negative's interpretation prevents you from using - and why those arguments are important for the topic. On the neg, you should point out what arguments the 2ar can make that solve their offensive claims and what specific ground/education/type of debate you lose when I vote on the aff interpretation. Also, I haven't decided yet if I think condo should be a question of what model of debate is justified or if in round abuse is a magnifier for your interpretive claims, so tell me instead so I don't have to think about it.

Framework – I’m 50-50 on this issue. Probably the best answer to K affs in my opinion, but I was also a 2a against framework for 80% of my high school rounds so I understand how the arguments interact with each other. Please make the distinction between substantive framework and theoretical framework – I am persuaded by the argument that the neg went for only theoretical fairness and the affs 2ac was an impact turn to substantive framework.

Topicality – Love in depth topicality debate, both sides should describe what their model of debate does for the case list, the neg ground on the topic, and the theoretical implications of their interpretation. This debate, even more so than others, is a tech>truth flow. For this topic specifically, don't assume I understand how all of the mechanisms of the aff work in conjunction with the topic literature so if that's going to be a key argument do a little extra work on it.

K – I have predominately been a K debater, and I’ve read a lot of the literature base for most kritiks on the circuit. For me, you need to win a) the link to the aff and analysis on why the perm doesn’t work and aff doesn’t outweigh b) either win framework or that your alt solves the K/the aff. I won’t judge kick the alt for you unless you tell me to (and aff can answer that pretty easily) but if you win that you don’t need an alt, I will vote on reps/method/unethicality. Explain the thesis of your critique, even if I know the argument well I won’t vote on it unless you explain it well. I prefer the 2NC to be more flow/line by line heavy than your 2.5 minute rhetorical block. The only time I think you should wax poetic is if you have specific historical analysis for root cause/proximate cause or you need to explain the more nuanced parts of your critique that frame the rest of the line by line or specifying your argument to historical events/philosophical movements.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me

Wayne Tang Paradigm

4 rounds

Name Wayne Tang School - Northside College Prep, Preclusions- Maine East, IL

General Background:
Former HS debater in the stone ages (1980s) HS coach for over many years. I coach on the north shore of Chicago. I typically attend and judge around 15-18 tournaments a season and am sometimes placed (for whatever reason) in upper end rounds at national tournaments. However, I am not a professional teacher/debate coach, I am a patent attorney in my real (non-debate) life and thus do not learn anything about the topic (other than institutes are overpriced) over the summer. I like to think I make up for that by being a quick study, being forced to look at the files produced by my teams, and through coaching and judging past topics, knowing many recycled arguments.


Intelligent story telling with good evidence and analysis is something I like to hear. I generally will vote for teams that have better comparative impact analysis (i.e. they take into account their opponents’ arguments in their analysis). It is a hard road, but I think it is possible to reduce risk to zero or close enough to it based on defensive arguments.


I vote on T relatively frequently over the years. I believe it is the negative burden to establish the plan is not topical. Case lists and arguments on what various interpretations would allow/not allow are very important. I have found that the limits/predictability/ground debate has been more persuasive to me, although I will consider other standards debates. Obviously, it is also important how such standards operate once a team convinces me of their standard. I will also look at why T should be voting issue. I will not automatically vote negative if there is no counter-interpretation extended, although usually this is a pretty deep hole for the aff. to dig out of. For example, if the aff. has no counter-interpretation but the neg interpretation is proven to be unworkable i.e. no cases are topical then I would probably vote aff. As with most issues, in depth analysis and explanation on a few arguments will outweigh many 3 word tag lines.


Not a fan, but I have voted on them numerous times (despite what many in the high school community may believe). I will never be better than mediocre at evaluating these arguments because unlike law, politics, history and trashy novels, I don’t read philosophy for entertainment nor have any interest in it. Further (sorry to my past assistants who have chosen this as their academic career), I consider most of the writers in this field to be sorely needing both a dose of the real world (I was an engineer in undergrad, I guess I have been brainwashed in techno-strategic discourse/liking solutions that actually accomplish something) and a fundamentals of clear writing course. In order to win, the negative must establish a clear story about 1) what the K is; 2) how it links; 3) what the impact is at either the policy level or: 4) pre-fiat (to the extent it exists) outweighs policy arguments or other affirmative impacts. Don’t just assume I will vote to reject their evil discourse, advocacy, lack of ontology, support of biopolitics, etc. Without an explanation I will assume a K is a very bad non-unique Disad in the policy realm. As such it will probably receive very little weight if challenged by the aff. You must be able to distill long boring philosophical cards read at hyperspeed to an explanation that I can comprehend. I have no fear of saying I don’t understand what the heck you are saying and I will absolutely not vote for issues I don’t understand. (I don’t have to impress anyone with my intelligence or lack thereof and in any case am probably incapable of it) If you make me read said cards with no explanation, I will almost guarantee that I will not understand the five syllable (often foreign) philosophical words in the card and you will go down in flames. I do appreciate, if not require specific analysis on the link and impact to either the aff. plan, rhetoric, evidence or assumptions depending on what floats your boat. In other words, if you can make specific applications (in contrast to they use the state vote negative), or better yet, read specific critical evidence to the substance of the affirmative, I will be much more likely to vote for you.

Also not a fan, but I have voted on these arguments in the past. I am generally not highly preferred by teams that run such arguments, so I don't see enough of these types of debates to be an expert. However, I judge a number of Chicago Debate League tournaments where teams run these arguments and also for whatever reason, I get to judge some high level performance teams each year and thus have some background in such arguments from these rounds. I will try to evaluate the arguments in such rounds and will not hesitate to vote against framework arguments if the team advocating non-traditional debate wins sufficient warrants why I should reject the policy/topic framework. However, if a team engages the non-traditional positions, the team advocating such positions need to answer any such arguments in order to win. In other words, I will evaluate these debates like I try to evaluate any other issues, I will see what arguments clash and evaluate that clash, rewarding a team that can frame issues, compare and explain impacts. I have spent 20 plus years coaching a relatively resource deprived school trying to compete against very well resourced debate schools, so I am not unsympathetic to arguments based on inequities in policy debates. On the other hand I have also spent 20 plus years involved in non-debate activities and am not entirely convinced that the strategies urged by non-traditional debates work. Take both points for whatever you think they are worth in such debates.

Case specific CPs are preferable that integrate well (i.e. do not flatly contradict) with other negative positions. Clever wording of CPs to solve the Aff and use Aff solvency sources are also something I give the neg. credit for. It is an uphill battle for the Aff on theory unless the CP/strategy centered around the CP does something really abusive. The aff has the burden of telling me how a permutation proves the CP non-competitive.

POINTS – In varsity debate, I believe you have to minimally be able to clash with the other teams arguments, if you can’t do this, you won’t get over a 27.3. Anything between 28.6 and 29 means you are probably among the top 5% of debaters I have seen. I will check my points periodically against tournament averages and have adjusted upward in the past to stay within community norms. Unfortunately for you, I have judged a lot of the best high school debaters over the years and it is difficult to impress me. Michael Klinger, Stephen Weil, Ellis Allen and Stephanie Spies didn’t get 30s from me (and they were among my favorites of all time), so don’t feel bad if you don’t either.

I dislike evaluating theory debates but if you make me I will do it and complain a lot about it later. No real predispositions on theory other than I would prefer to avoid dealing with it.

Tag team is fine as long as you don’t start taking over cross-ex.

I do not count flashing time (or general tech screw ups) as prep time and quite frankly am not really a fascist about this kind of thing as some other judges, just don’t abuse my leniency on this.

Speed is fine (this is of course a danger sign because no one would admit that they can’t handle speed). If you are going too fast or are unclear, I will let you know. Ignore such warnings at your own peril, as with Kritiks, I am singularly unafraid to admit I didn’t get an answer and therefore will not vote on it.

I will read evidence if it is challenged by a team. Otherwise, if you say a piece of evidence says X and the other team doesn’t say anything, I probably won’t call for it and assume it says X. However, in the unfortunate (but fairly frequent) occurrence where both teams just read cards, I will call for cards and use my arbitrary and capricious analytical skills to piece together what I, in my semi-conscious (and probably apathetic) state, perceive is going on.

I generally will vote on anything that is set forth on the round. Don’t be deterred from going for an argument because I am laughing at it, reading the newspaper, checking on my laptop, throwing something at you, etc. Debate is a game and judges must often vote for arguments they find ludicrous, however, I can and will still make fun of the argument. I will, and have, voted on many arguments I think are squarely in the realm of idiocy i.e. [INSERT LETTER] spec, rights malthus, the quotations and acronyms counterplan (OK I didn’t vote on either, even I have my limits), scaler collapse (twice), death good (more than I would like to admit), Sun-Ra, world government, etc. (the likelihood of winning such arguments, however, is a separate matter).

I will not hesitate to vote against teams and award zero points for socially unacceptable behavior i.e. evidence fabrication, threats of violence, racist or sexist slurs etc., thankfully I have only been faced with such issues twice in my 25 + years of judging.

John Tao Paradigm

2 rounds


  • Nationally ranked high school debater (2004- 2006)
  • Former Director of Debate at IUPUI (2009- 2012)
  • Former Director of Debate at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign (2013-2015)
  • Volunteer Judge for the CUDL 4+ years
  • Chicago Debate Summer Institute Instructor (Summer 2015)
  • Solorio HS Coach (2015- Present)
  • Milwaukee Debate Legue Executive Director (2017- Present)

TL;DR (The "Round Starts in 2 minutes, Who is this judge?!") *

  • Speed: Fine
  • Line-by-line: Always
  • Signpost: Always
  • Roadmap: Yes, off the clock
  • Tag Team: Meh
  • Default paradigm: Policymaker
  • Theory: Great
  • T: Lovely
  • K: Fine
  • Framework: Meh
  • CP: Competitive
  • DA: Awesome
  • Case: Fantastic
  • Analysis: Necessary
  • Debate Formality: Meh

Longer Form (The "Oh, there's time and we should probably see what this judge is all about")*


I'm comfortable with speed. But, with that said you need to be clear, you ideally do not do weird distracting things (like GASPS of air), you ideally slow down on tags, you ideally slow down when reading plan text/advocacy statement.

I ultimately flow based on what I hear within a round regardless of what you think you may or may not have said. I will "clear" you if you are egregiously unintelligible but that's probably a bad sign if I need to do that. If after I "clear" you and I still find myself struggling significantly with quality of presentation I will literally stop flowing for as long as I need to. With all of that said though, I do have a fairly high tolerance for speed.

There is one more important caveat I think it's necessary to say here: if you are able to spread and your opponents are clearly not able to handle it (e.g. literally cannot flow) I expect you to adapt to the round (i.e. do not steamroll a team because you are able to overwhelm them with quantity of arguments). Speed is a tool in the world of debate and I fully expect you to use it but not at the point where it becomes abusive for the other team and takes away from the educational value of the round for all parties.


Please try your best to stick to the structures of the round. Please do your best to frame your arguments in the "They say but we say" structure. Even if things get messy, please do your best to consolidate, group, or summarize arugments together and respond to them in a clear manner. Try and not jump all over the place.

With all of that said, I think this is a skill that all debaters aspire for. Sometimes rounds get messy and all I really do is ask that you do your best to try and line up your arguments as best as you can. The effort is important at the end of the day. I know all judges like a clean line-by-line, and I know that it can get lost in the moment, so... all I ask is that you try your best (cause, let's be honest, is there going to be a judge that ever says "No line-by-line"?)


Part and parcel with the idea of line-by-line format is signposts. I think it's incredibly important for teams to make sure they give proper sign posts. Give me a remider of where you are, let me know where I should be flowing, let me know what's going on. Give me a sign that you're about to move to the next card (usually a "AND NEXT" is a good indicator). Signposts help keep you organized, help your opponent stay organized, and helps the judge stay organized. It's an important skill to have... and all I ask is that you try your best.


Please. There are four things I've been seeing that drive me absolutely insane - and apparently there's enough for me to even write about it.

1) Roadmapping the 1AC. Don't do it. It's not necessary. It's not a thing.

2) Asking if I want a roadmap. The answer is YES. The answer is always YES (with the exception of the 1AC, because, once again, don't do it).

3) 1NC roadmap - just tell me how many off, and then where you plan on going on. Don't tell me what the Off cases are, that's not necessary.

4) Roadmap by being clear and concise: "DA, K, Case in order of solvency then advantage one." Do not roadmap: "I'm going to go a little bit on solvency, and then maybe the K...and if I have time maybe the DA...."


Tag teaming is okay as long as 1) the other team is okay with it and 2) as long as it is not abused. The person being questioned should be responding to a majority of the questions. The partner should be able to help but should absolutely not be dominating the cross-ex. Keep it minimal if you are not "standing up" during cross.


I like policy rounds. I think debate is a forum for analyzing policy so my default is always to be a policy maker. But, with that said, I've been engaged in this activity enough that I also just see it as a free-form open game space for debaters to discuss whatever issues, in whatever format they want to. If you are making arguments that deviate outside of the traditional policy arguments that's totally cool! I'm down (with caveats I'll explain on each specific argument below) but you need to give me a paradigm to judge in otherwise it probably won't go in your favor (or at least it'll be more of an upward climb).


I used to debate theory all the time. I don't think abuse necessarily has to be proven within a round to win this argument. I do think you need to make well articulated, well warranted, well impacted out arguments though. I am more on the side of rejecting the argument and not the team but depending on the flow of the round I can be convinced otherwise. I think a well run theory argument is something a debater can fill a full 8 minutes with, if necessary. That is the level of analysis I love for theory. The quick 10s blips are not particularly compelling.


Okay. I really do like Ks. BUT I need to see that the team running it (whether as a negative argument or aff advocacy statement) has a very good understanding of the Kritikal arguments. I think too many K cards are incredibly power tagged and full of unnecessary jargon. Keep things simple, pretend I've never heard of your literature/author, and explain it to me, do not assume I know your literature or author. For example, if you use the term "war machine" repeatedly but never explain what the "war machine" is, I will not do the mental work for you. You need to at a minimum explain it in the beginning of your speech. I think the K debate ultimately is made or broken at the link level -- generic Ks will not really do that much for me. I want to see that you understand the K you are running, and that you can actually find specific, concrete links, into your opponents' arguments.

Second, I think alternatives should actually be viable alternatives. Tell me what the altnerative is and show me how it can work. I think that should come without saying but often I hear alternatives that don't necessarily connect with the thesis of the K or ultimately just don't make sense. If the argument does not make sense then I will very unlikely vote for it.


Framework arguments are kind of boring these days to be honest. Try and keep it interesting by being specific. Show me how the framework interacts with the rest of your arguments. Explain to me how your framework works. Give me analysis, bring it outside of the world of generic cards and let me know how the framework works within the round we are in.


Ideally CPs are non-topical and competitive. I think they are viable options but there needs to be a clear solvency story presented and particularly good impact analysis to balance the world of the plan against the world of the counter plan.


DAs are great. The more specific the better. Generic DAs happen, of course, but the better the link story the better. If you can give me a good DA to the case then you have a significant chance of being able to win the round but it has to be well articulated, it has to be well warranted, it has to be well impacted out against the world of the plan.


Let's be real, the more specific case arguments you can make the better. Who doesn't like clash and actually engaging in the arguments?


Give me analysis. It's not good enough to give me impact calculus in the form of magnitude, timeframe, and significance. I need to understand how you reach the world of the impacts. I need to understand why the impacts are even a possibility. The magnitude, timeframe, and significance formula is fine and all but I need much more than that.


I may or may not run a timer at the back of the room and I strongly prefer both teams time themselves. I don't really care where you're speaking from. I'm not particularly formal about the rounds.


* I reserve the right to modify my paradigm based upon how much coffee I've had, my understanding of your team's argument tool kit (e.g. if your coach believes (s)he is the President when evaluating rounds I will hold any team from any such school to a higher expectation that the debaters' default actor for any plan is Executive unless I am specifically told otherwise), and any number of factors. If there is anything confusing, anything you're unsure of, please feel free to ask me before the round begins. It can only be a benefit for you.

~ A comment on speaker points if I am judging a Wisconsin, non-national circuit tournament. My default speaker point calibration is set to a 28.1 in accordance with national debate trends. Within the state of Wisconsin I have traditionally held an average of 27.5/28 with the idea that points should not and cannot go lower than a 25 (as a matter of custom and as a matter of rule at many tournaments since at least 2002). However, I have recently seen ballots within the state of Wisconsin where points within the low 20s (e.g. "23") seem to be acceptable and endorsed by the state. With that in mind, I am specifically calibrating my average point distribution to a 26 to ensure consistency with state practices.

Lucia Torres Paradigm

7 rounds

Debate Experience: I spent my four years of high school debating for Eric Solorio Academy and three summers at Northwestern's debate institute.

Please add me to the email chain:

My favorite type of debates to judge are policy debates and prefer policy over critical/performative debates. However, I can be persuaded to vote on any argument. I am fine with speed but make sure you are clear. Please be respectful to one another and have fun! If you have any questions, feel free to ask me before the round.

Corey Turoff Paradigm

1 rounds

After a decade, I’ve now finally decided to update my philosophy. I’ve found that nothing I could say about each of the main argument categories would be particularly relevant because of one simple issue- my ultimate preference is to evaluate the round in whatever way you tell me to. I’m not saying you can call me a “tabula rasa” judge, if people even use that phrase anymore…I’m saying that my goal is to intervene as little as possible in the debate.

-I find myself evaluating every argument in a debate as a disad. This is obvious for actual disadvantages, counterplans, etc but for me, it's also true of theory, framework, and topicality. Did you read framework against a critical race aff? Then you likely have a predictability disad and a fairness disad against the aff’s framing of how debate should be. Did the neg read a conditional CP, K alternative, and insist the SQ is an option? You probably have ground and fairness disads to the CP/K. In those instances, you HAVE to make an impact argument that makes sense. Exclude the aff, reject the CP, reject the team…whatever. I will compare those impacts to the impacts the other side has (flexibility, education, etc.). It’d be a lot better if you did the comparison for me. If you don't, I will read into everything and make a decision for myself.

-Otherwise, debate like you want to debate. I no longer find myself voting against framework all of the time or voting for the K vs policy affs that are going for framework against the alt. I probably have voted the opposite way more often in the last year.

-Lastly, I flow but I also want to be on the email chain ( I'm actually trying to model what you are supposed to be doing...flowing the speech and looking at the evidence the team is reading once I've written down what they said ALOUD. If you do this, guaranteed 28.9 or better (which is high for me). If you actually flow AND you are funny and/or efficient at line-by-line and/or making a ton of smart arguments while covering everything, guaranteed 29.5 or better (which is outrageous for me).

Hayden Uihlein Paradigm

3 rounds

Director of Speech and Debate @ Edina High School in Minnesota. Been involved in debate since '06. Former and minor affiliations: Portage Northern HS, University of Minnesota, MDAW, SDI, DCUDL.

Am now a risk-management professional with a dated academic background in continental philosophy and an avid antique collector. Do with that whatever you want. Good risk analysis is fun... and so are complex thinkers. Have prepped set col more than almost anything this year.

Email chain me: hayden.edinadebate [at]

Sem 2 - 2019.

Organization is the most underrated aspect of debate. If you are disorganized, I refuse to do the work of creating good analysis for you. As I get older and grouchier, the amount of work I want to do for debaters has plummeted.

Harvard RR

Well this should be fun. I'm going to be a very flow heavy judge for PF. I still don't quite understand which speech is called which or how the terms have been adapted from CX over the last 20 years. If I say something that sounds out of lingo, it is. I just don't know the language of PF well. I do have 500+ total rounds judged... so... some of you may really prefer that. I've also judged the PF ToC more than once and late elims for PF here and there.

Regular CX Prelims

The vast majority of my effort in the debate round comes through my flow. I work very hard in this regard to sustain the best possible understanding of how the round went. Don't bank on me reading your evidence or following the chain without prompting me to read a card. I'll try to only read something if the round warrants. For HS debate, too often unnecessarily reading evidence colors the judge's decision when those warrants don't play a significant role in how you structure your speeches. Don't get me started on speech docs... though you should flash your analytics to your opponents. It makes a better debate. I'm in a happy place as a judge where I feel like "I gotta read this card before I make a decision."

It's the Harvard HS tournament, I'm going to flow your CXs and they matter. Please use them. If you're not going to make something out of CX, please just make the round go faster and concede your time.

Few teams at Harvard will know me well as a judge. I self-evaluate as a leans K clash judge

IDRC what you do. I'd prefer your debate style well, whatever that means to you.
IDC if it's a clash round.
IDC if it's traditional debate.
IDC if it's K v K.

Don't be racist, sexist or overly problematic. Cmon.

Win the flow, meaningfully evaluate competing claims. <--------------- if you take nothing else away from my paradigm, it's that I want to see you debate out the clash.

If you have specific stylistic questions, ask me.

Quick thoughts:

1) Non-uq on theory. Are you doing this enough? I think not!

2) Probability is underrated.

3) Debate the interpretation please.

4) I've got a higher threshold for how you do cross applications and extensions. Laziness here is not a virtue. How much work you put into cross apps and extensions is proportional to how it gets weighted.

Aaron Vinson Paradigm

5 rounds

Aaron Vinson

Debate Coach, New Trier High School, Illinois

Formerly, Head Coach, Princeton High School, Ohio

Glenbrook North Alum, Miami University of Ohio Alum

==Updated 2/22/16==

Debate is about having fun - you should read arguments that you enjoy regardless of my past debate background or what arguments my students may or may not read. 

Debate is about communication, response, and oral argumentation - if it wasn't in the debate or if it was not clear to me in a debate, it's not a thing. All arguments should have some level of engagement with what the opposing team is saying or they are just floating statements. 

Debate should be a safe space - be respectful to your partner and opponents; if your "thought experiment" includes trivializing genocide, suicide, x identity, you should consider the impact that that argument might have on your opponents and anyone watching the debate. If this is egregious I will feel compelled to intervene.      

Luc Walkington Paradigm

7 rounds

Background: Currently coaching at MSU and assistant coach at Niles North High School


Do what you do best.

Tech>Truth. Evidence quality is important.

Slower = better. Don't assume I know every single acronym.

Our community suffers from a clipping epidemic that often flies under the radar. Clipping voting issues will be enforced regardless of whether or not it's an argument made in round. I will militantly follow along speech docs and if I believe you to be clipping, I will drop you without hesitation. Please do not put me in this situation.

There are many competing views on whether or not teams should be allowed to insert re-highlightings of their opponent's evidence without having to read the new highlighting. I encourage teams to insert re-highlightings because I believe it to be necessary in order to deter bad card cutting practices. That being said, there are qualifications to this. You can't just say "Smith concludes AFF".... there must be a warrant for why Smith concludes AFF. You also can only insert re-highlightings of evidence if the part that you are inserting was part of the original card that your opponent read. Inserting a re-highlighting of a part of the article three paragraphs after your opponent stopped cutting the card is NOT acceptable.

Don't steal prep. If you do, it'll be reflected in your points.

Don't bother asking me, always just put me on the email chain. lucwalkington [at] gmail

Speech times are static. No partner speeches after the 1AC/1NC.


Needs impacting out in any context. Case lists are often underutilized. I typically view topicality as a question of competing interpretations.

Go slower here - topicality/theory can be hard to flow.


I don't particularly enjoy some critical debates but I will not insert my own predispositions into my judging. I am much more interested in hearing a case-specific critical debate, not your same old Baudrillard/D&G/Bataille nonsense that gets read from year to year.

The best type of kritiks are ones that impact turn central components of the 1AC.

Weakest part of most kritiks is the alt. A clear articulation of how the alt functions and how it resolves the link claims is important in front of me.


Case-specific CP debate is better than your generic process CPs.

I'm AFF leaning on questions of competition regarding CPs that compete off of the certainty/immediacy of the plan. The more that your CP is well supported by topic literature, the less likely you are to lose to theory/competition args.

Non-Traditional AFFs:

AFFs are more persuasive when they have a tie to the topic. I'm very transparent - my proclivities are that debate is often better when the AFF defends the hypothetical implementation of a topical plan. If going for framework in front of me, it's important that the NEG clearly articulate their impact because teams often conflate internal links for impacts (i.e. predictability, deliberation, limits are internal links and NOT impacts). Framework debates favor the NEG when they explain how their method better resolves the structural impact claims outlined by the AFF.

Tommye Weddington Paradigm

1 rounds

Hey, so apparently sending evidence without tags is a thing now. Don't do it in front of me. I'll cap your speaks at 28.


I don't want to be on the email chain. If I want to, I'll ask. You should debate as if I'm not reading a speech doc.

I'm currently a phd candidate and I view debate as an educator and also activist/organizer. This is to say that I ground much of what I think is important in debate in terms of how skills critical thinking in debate rounds adds into a larger goal of pursuing knowledge and external decisionmaking.

i've been in debate since fall 2008. at this point i'm simultaneously more invested and less invested in the activity. i'm more invested in what students get out of debate, and how I can be more useful in my post-round criticism. I'm less invested in personalities/teams/rep/ideological battles in debate. it's entirely possible that I have never heard of you before, and that's fine.

you should run what will win you the round. you should run what makes you happy. don't run what you think I want to hear.

Impact scenarios are where I vote - Even if you win uniqueness/link questions, if I don't know who's going to initiate a war, how an instance of oppression would occur, etc. by the end of the round, I'll probably go looking elsewhere to decide the round. The same thing goes for the aff - if I can't say what the aff solves and why that's important, I am easily persuaded by marginal negative offense.

Prep time ends when you email the file to the other team. It's 2019, you've likely got years of experience using a computer for academic/personal work, my expectations of your email prowess are very high.

Competing methods debates don't mean no permutation, for me at least. probably means that we should rethink how permutations function. people/activists/organizers combine methods all the time.

I don't think I've ever voted a team down b/c theory. an arg yes, but not a team:

I've found myself especially unwilling to vote on theory that's on face not true - for example: if you say floating PICs bad, and the alternative isn't articulated as a floating PIC in the debate, I won't vote on it. I don't care if it's conceded.

I think fairness is an independent impact, but also that non-topical affs can be fair. A concession doesn't mean an argument is made. your only job is to make arguments, i don't care if the other team has conceded anything, you still have to make the argument in the last speech.

Affs I don't like:

I've found myself increasingly frustrated with non-topical affs that run philosophically/critically negative stances on the aff side. The same is true for non-topical affs that just say that propose a framework for analysis without praxis. I'm super open to presumption/switch-side arguments against these kinds of affs.

I've also become frustrated with non-topical affs that do not have any sort of advocacy statement/plan text. If you're going to read a bunch of evidence and I have to wait until CX or the 2AC to know what I'm voting for, I'll have a lower threshold to vote on fw/t/the other team.

Finally, I have limited belief in the transformative power of speech/performance. Especially beyond the round. I tend to think that power/violence is materially structured and that the best advocacies can tell me how to change the status quo in those terms.

Negs I don't like:

Framework 2nr's that act as if the affirmative isn't dynamic and did not develop between the 2ac and the 1ar. Most affs that you're inclined to run framework against will prove "abuse" for you in the course of the debate.

Stale politics disadvantages. Change your shells between tournaments if necessary, please.

Theoretically inconsistent/conflicting K strats.

I don't believe in judge kicking. Your job is to make the strategic decisions as the debate continues, not mine.

if you have questions about me or my judge philosophy, ask them before the round!


Peg Wefald Paradigm

7 rounds

General Information

I debated for 4 years in high school at Manhattan HS in Kansas

I debated on and off for KU in college

I'm currently in grad school for economics and debate my life decisions

I was a 1A/2N which probably biases my thoughts on debate more than I am self reflexively aware

General Opinions

There are very few things that I will not tolerate or listen to in a debate, in terms of arguments. In terms of being a person in a debate, be a good one.

I don’t judge or research on this topic frequently – if you’re reading critical arguments don’t assume link arguments are a foregone conclusion, likewise I don’t have particularly strong prejudices about whether certain affs are topical or untopical. That being said, I’m very familiar with the economics and mechanisms of immigration and I taught at a camp this summer so please don’t shy away from technical debates about minutia of the topic.

Here are some things I’ve noticed about the way I judge debates –

Affs that do not defend the topic and Framework – I think affs that do not talk about the topic in a “traditionalÍŸ” manner are always acceptable and consistently interesting. I think framework debates are also important.

Counterplans – I love counterplan debates. Whether the counterplan solves is generally not a yes or no question for me – I’m willing to consider degrees of solvency, but these arguments must be impacted out by both teams. If the CP doesn’t solve all of the aff, which parts are disads? Similarly what amount of defense vs the aff does this give the neg? I think the wordings of counterplans are important.

Theory – I lean heavily towards rejecting the argument on everything except conditionality but can certainly be persuaded otherwise. The more specific theory is to the debate at hand, the more I tune in. If a counterplan is cheating, I won’t make that decision on my own, the aff needs to read and win theoretical debates.

Topicality – I am concerned about what type of topic each interpretation generates. In terms of reasonability vs competing interpretations – I think each are persuasive in different contexts – this is certainly not a settled debate for me.

Kritiks – I’m much less picky about the arguments and authors you read as long as the aff is the core focus of the debate. Meaning: I’m less familiar with a lot of critical literature but I will listen to anything you want to read. I also think link arguments should talk about what the aff does rather than general immigration or legalism links, etc. I’m lenient towards a 1AR that does not answer the block links individually due to time constraints, but a 2AR going for a permutation needs to do all of that legwork. A 2NR that wants to win should talk about the aff. The alternative should be explained, I don’t care for debates that ask me to assume the alt resolves things without a discussion and defense of that alt.

In terms of case and disad debates – I like them. I don’t think I have particularly new or different opinions about them, hence the lack of discussion.

David Weston Paradigm

6 rounds

Updated: December 2017

*Update = I prioritize line by line debating when evaluating the comparison of arguments. Teams who decide not to debate in a line by line fashion will have a more difficult time winning my ballot. I think that line by line debating is essential for me to remain objective in the debate. Presuming that an argument in one portion of speech automatically responds to an argument that is somewhere else requires me to use my own inferences in applying argumentation. That is something that I should be avoiding as a judge. I find that this mostly happens in large K debates, where the NEG explains the thesis of their K for several minutes, then groups the debate in ways that aren't logically coherent with the 2AC, and expects me to understand why an argument made at the top/in the overview answers the #10 2AC claim without the NEG stating some comparative application.* 

I'm currently a head coach at New Trier Township High School outside of Chicago, IL. 

Here are some insights into the way I tend to evaluate arguments. Obviously these are contingent upon the way that arguments are deployed in round. If you win that one of these notions should not be the standard for the debate, I will evaluate it in terms of your argumentation.

*Offense/Defense - I'm not sure if I'm getting older or if the quality of evidence is getting worse, but I find myself less persuaded by the idea that there's "always a risk" of any argument. Just because a debater says something does not mean it is true. It is up to the other team to prove that. However, if an argument is claimed to be supported by evidence and the cards do not say what the tags claim or the evidence is terrible, I'm willing to vote on no risk to a negative argument.

*I prefer tags that are complete sentences. The proliferation of one word tags makes it difficult for me to understand the connection between arguments.

*Evidence should be highlighted to include warrants for claims. I am more likely to vote on a few cards that have high quality warrants and explained well than I am to vote on several cards that have been highlighted down to the point that an argument cannot be discerned in the evidence.

*Avoid ad hominem attacks. I would prefer that students attack their opponent's arguments as opposed to their opponent. General rudeness will probably cost you speaker points.

*Arguments require claims and warrants. A claim without warrant is unlikely to be persuasive.

*Performance/Non-traditional Affirmative - I would prefer that the debate is connected to the resolution. My ultimate preference would be for the Affirmative to defend a topical plan action that attempts to resolve a problem with the status quo. I think that this provides an opportunity for students to create harms that are tied to traditional internal link chains or critical argumentation. Teams should feel free to read critical advantages, but I would prefer that they access them through a topical plan action. For example, reading an Affirmative that finds a specific example of where structural violence (based on racism, sexism, heteronormativity, classism, etc.) is being perpetuated and seeks to remedy that can easily win my ballot. Debaters could then argue that the way that we make decisions about what should or should not be done should prioritize their impacts over the negative's. This can facilitate kritiks of DA impacts, decision calculus arguments, obligations to reject certain forms of violence, etc.

Teams who choose not to defend a topical plan action should be very clear in explaining what their advocacy is. The negative should be able to isolate a stasis point in the 1AC so that clash can occur in the debate. This advocacy should be germane to the resolution.

I am not wedded traditional forms of evidence. I feel that teams can use non-traditional forms of evidence as warrants explaining why a particular action should be taken. An Affirmative that prefers to use personal narratives, music, etc. to explain a harm occurring in the status quo and then uses that evidence to justify a remedy would be more than welcome. I tend to have a problem with Affirmative's that stop short of answering the question, "what should we do?" How a team plans to access that is entirely up to them.

*Kritik debates - I like kritik debates provided they are relevant to the Affirmative. Kritiks that are divorced from the 1AC have a harder time winning my ballot. While I do not want to box in a negative's kritik options, examples of kritiks that I would feel no qualms voting for might include criticisms of international relations, economics, state action, harms representations, or power relations. I am less persuaded by criticisms that operate on the margins of the Affirmative's advocacy. I would prefer links based off of the Affirmative plan. Kritiks that I find myself voting against most often include Deleuze, Baudrillard, Bataille, etc.

*Theory - Generally theory is a reason to reject the argument not the team. The exception is conditionality. I find myself less persuaded by conditionality bad debates if there are 2 or less advocacies in the round. That is not to say I haven't voted for the AFF in those debates. I am willing to vote on theory if it is well explained and impacted, but that does not happen often, so I end up defaulting negative. Avoid blips and theory blocks read at an incomprehensible rate. 

*CP's CP's that result in the plan (consult, recommendations, etc.) bore me. I would much rather hear an agent CP, PIC, Advantage CP, etc. than a CP that competes off of "certainty" or "immediacy."

*Case - I'd like to see more of it. This goes for negative teams debating against nontraditional Affirmatives as well. You should engage the case as much as possible.

Other things
*If your strategy is extinction good or death good, genocide good, racism good, patriarchy good, etc. please do all of us as favor and strike me. These arguments strike me as being inappropriate for student environments. For example, imagine a world where a debater's relative recently passed away and that student is confronted with "death good" for 8 minutes of the 1AC. Imagine a family who fled slaughter in another part of the world and came to the United States, only to listen to genocide good. These are things I wouldn't allow in my classroom and I would not permit them in a debate round either. Since I can't actually prevent people from reading them, my only recourse is to use my ballot. 

Scott Wheeler Paradigm

4 rounds

1. Offense-defense, but can be persuaded by reasonability in theory debates. I don't believe in "zero risk" or "terminal defense" and don't vote on presumption (though technically i guess I do in debates where the aff goes for "perm do the CP" and wins that it isn't severance, but not in any other instance). 

2. I'll submit the ballot that is most persuasive to me, and will try to think through the story of each ballot before choosing (of course, in good debates, that's what the final rebuttals do). I won't simply point to an argument on my flow and say "I voted on this," nor will my RFD lead with technical advice in lieu of an actual decision. Substantive questions are resolved probabilistically--only theoretical questions (e.g. is the perm severance, does the aff meet the interp) are resolved "yes/no," and will be done so with some unease, forced upon me by the logic of debate. 

3. Dropped arguments are "true," but this just means the warrants for them are true. Their implication can still be contested. The exception to this is when an argument and its implication are explicitly conceded by the other team for strategic reasons (like when kicking out of a disad). Then both are "true."

1. Conditionality bad is an uphill battle. I think it's good, and will be more convinced by the negative's arguments. I also don't think the number of advocacies really matters. Unless it was completely dropped, the winning 2AR on condo in front of me is one that explains why the way the negative's arguments were run together limited the ability of the aff to have offense on any sheet of paper.

2. I think of myself as aff-leaning in a lot of counterplan theory debates, but usually find myself giving the neg the counterplan anyway, generally because the aff fails to make the true arguments of why it was bad.

1. I don't think I evaluate these differently than anyone else, really. Perhaps the one exception is that I don't believe that the affirmative needs to win uniqueness for a link turn to be offense. If uniqueness really shielded a link turn that much, it would also overwhelm the link. In general, I probably give more weight to the link and less weight to uniqueness.

2. On politics, I will probably ignore "intrinsicness" or "fiat solves the link" arguments, unless badly mishandled (like dropped through two speeches).


1. I like kritiks, provided two things are true: 1--there is a link. 2--the thesis of the K indicts the truth of the aff. If the K relies on framework to make the aff irrelevant, I start to like it a lot less (role of the ballot = roll of the eyes). I'm similarly annoyed by aff framework arguments against the K. The K itself answers any argument for why policymaking is all that matters (provided there's a link). I feel negative teams should explain why the affirmative advantages rest upon the assumptions they critique, and that the aff should defend those assumptions.

2. I think I'm less techincal than some judges in evaluating K debates. Something another judge might care about, like dropping "fiat is illusory," probably matters less to me (fiat is illusory specifically matters 0%). I also won't be as technical in evaluating theory on the perm as I would be in a counterplan debate (e.g. perm do both isn't severance just because the alt said "rejection" somewhere--the perm still includes the aff). The perm debate for me is really just the link turn debate. Generally, unless the aff impact turns the K, the link debate is everything.

3. Many of these debates seem to involve one team discussing a nuanced critique and the other side arguing "state bad" or "state good." Not surprisingly, I'm generally going to side with the team doing the former. 

Nontraditional affirmatives:

Versus T:
1. I usually vote neg in these debates, because the aff never has a defensible interp (to be honest, I think the current model might be what they want--these affs require a boogeyman to rail against). Some people seem to view these debates as a plan/counterplan debate where the 1AC is weighed against the "topical version of the aff." I don't subscribe to that view. The affirmative has to defend an interp. If I do vote aff, one of two things has happened. Most often, the aff successfully impact-turned the impacts the negative went for. The other time I vote aff is when the neg doesn't have an external impact--their offense is simply "we're the better version of the discussion you want to have." In those debates, "TVA doesn't solve" does become offense against their interp.

2. I've noticed that some judges tend to dismiss T impacts that I take seriously. I've seen this with not just fairness, which I think is the truest T impact, but others run less often (like "moral hazzard") that were in the 2NR and then not in the RFD at all. I think a lot of things can be impacts to T, so aff teams might want to spend more time on them. 

3. To be honest, I enjoy judging K affs with plans, and wish teams ran them more. With judges voting on nonsense like PIC out of fiat and Schlag, I can see why teams don't. And of course you also still have to answer politics/util and regular T (which you might not be used to debating), but I think those are pretty doable and you'd be in better shape in front of me if you are a team that is at all flexible.

Versus the K:
1. Affs are in much better shape here because, for me, it's not up for debate whether planless affs get to perm. They do. I have yet to hear a convincing argument as to why there is such a thing as a "methods debate" for which theories of debate competition no longer apply. If the negative has a better methodology or starting point, I will vote aff, provided the aff methodology or starting point is good. I wouldn't vote for a counterplan that solves warming better than the aff without a link to a disad, and I don't believe competition theory goes out the window because it's a performance aff. If the aff doesn't get a perm, there's no reason the neg would have to have a link.


Topicality versus plan affs:
1. I used to enjoy these debates. It seems like I'm voting on T less often than I used to, but I also feel like I'm seeing T debated well less often. I enjoy it when the 2NC takes T and it's well-developed and it feels like a solid option out of the block. What I enjoy less is when it isn't but the 2NR goes for it as a hail mary and the whole debate occurs in the last two speeches.

2. Teams overestimate the importance of "reasonability." Winning reasonability shifts the burden to the negative--it doesn't mean that any risk of defense on means the T sheet of paper is thrown away. It generally only changes who wins in a debate where the aff's counter-interp solves for most of the neg offense but doesn't have good offense against the neg's interp.

LD section:
1. I've been judging LD less, but I still have LD students, so my familarity with the topic will be greater than what is reflected in my judging history.

2. Everything in the policy section applies. This includes the part about substantive arguments being resolved probablistically, my dislike of relying on framework to preclude arguments, and not voting on defense or presumption. If this radically affects your ability to read the arguments you like to read, you know what to do.  

3. If I haven't judged you or your debaters in a while, I think I vote on theory less often than I did say three years ago (and I might have already been on that side of the spectrum by LD standards, but I'm not sure). I've still never voted on an RVI so that hasn't changed.

4. The 1AR can skip the part of the speech where they "extend offense" and just start with the actual 1AR.

George Whitford Paradigm

5 rounds

I debated at Polytechnic school from 2014-2018, qualifying to the TOC 3 times in Policy debate while being a 2N and 2A for an equal amount of time



I mostly don't care what you run. I read K's for most of high school but exclusively read a policy aff my freshman and junior year. I think that gave me an understanding of both aff and neg policy arguments.

Extra thoughts:

I am not familiar with the topic this year in the context of policy debate. I know more about arms control than I'm comfortable with, but know that my background knowledge may not bode well with the direction of arguments being read.


I like them, but you need to develop your arguments. I don't think its fair when K teams assert fully developed arguments and don't read cards, as the time pressure that comes with a card to back up the argument goes away. If you need a card read it or explain the argument. Otherwise, I will be extremely sympathetic to the 1ar

If you're gonna go the "read fewer cards in the block" strategy and develop arguments based on you're 1nc, have properly highlighted cards. (quality>quantity)

Answering Ks
things I like:

-Impact turns
-not extending the entirety of the 2ac
-world getting better

T vs Policy affs

I like T and went for it at points in my high school career, but I would be lying if I said I was good for T. But, I think I can handle it. Be clear when you read your standards.

If you meet, you meet.

K affs

- Framework vs K affs

Note: I read a K aff my sophomore year because I was genuinely interested in scholarship outside of resolutional debate. I read a K aff senior year because I was lazy and wanted the debates to be on my terms.

What I like:

Policy teams that understand impact turns and are dismissive of them for the right reason. "They say drone warfare DA but (proceed to read switch side block, TVA block, etc.)" will not work. That's a non-answer that lets the 1ar give a standup 1ar where they read their blocks to the Framework tricks everyone goes for and the same blocked out an extension of an impact turn (because you didn't answer the substance of the impact turn) and the result is a late-breaking debate where the framework team loses. Point out how stupid the impact turn beyond "this is not the university" and you will be much better off.

I enjoy procedural fairness arguments vs an Impact turn strategy, political arguments against "they foreclose our education." Procedural fairness works against the latter, it's just not as enjoyable.

Defending a K aff

What I like:
Impact turns that are really a reason any strict interpretation of debate is bad.

What I don't like:
wasting time on we meet arguments


-Good link work ("There's no risk of a link insofar as there is literally no link")

-Quality of cards>quantity (full sentences within cards)

-good casework to make up for flaws with the DA

I won't default to judge kick.

I don't have a preference, but if you're gonna cheat do not expect me to be on your side because of how much I enjoyed stealing affs.


I used to give a lot of my cards to a LD debater I was friends with who most definitely didn't understand them but seemed to wreak havoc. This goes for theory to, but make sure if you go a more kritikal route you're actually developing your arguments. I won't appreciate sandbagging the aff with one card k's with the hope one of them gets dropped.


More than anything else, I care about a team being able to explain why their arguments warrant them receiving a ballot by the end of the round. My frustration with formats like worlds is when people think that being persuasive means you don't explain anything. If I can't explain to myself at the end of the round why one team won, don't be shocked when I give an unsatisfactory decision (especially if your prop).

Speaker points:

If you introduce yourself in a speech, your points will suffer.


I will give you perfect speaker points if you give your speech in iambic pentameter or as if there's music playing loudly in the room (the whole speech)

Whit Whitmore Paradigm

2 rounds

LD Specific Business:

I am primarily a policy coach with very little LD experience. Have a little patience with me when it comes to LD specific jargon or arguments. It would behoove you to do a little more explanation than you would give to a seasoned adjudicator in the back of the room. I will most likely judge LD rounds in the same way I judge policy rounds. Hopefully my policy philosophy below will give you some insight into how I view debate. I have little tolerance and a high threshold for voting on unwarranted theory arguments. I'm not likely to care that they dropped your 'g' subpoint, if it wasn't very good. RVI's aren't a thing, and I won't vote on them.

Policy Business:

add me to the email chain:

You should debate line by line. I continue to grow frustrated with teams that do not flow. If I suspect you are not flowing (I visibly see you not doing it; you answer arguments that were not made in the previous speech but were in the speech doc; you answer arguments in speech doc order instead of speech order), you will receive no higher than a 28. This includes teams that like to "group" the 2ac into sections and just read blocks in the 2NC/1NR. Also, read cards. I don't want to hear a block with no cards.

Debate the round in a manner that you would like and defend it. I consistently vote for arguments that I don’t agree with and positions that I don’t necessarily think are good for debate. I have some pretty deeply held beliefs about debate, but I’m not so conceited that I think I have it all figured out. I still try to be as objective as possible in deciding rounds. All that being said, the following can be used to determine what I will most likely be persuaded by in close calls:

If I had my druthers, every 2nr would be a counterplan/disad or disad/case.

In the battle between truth and tech, I think I fall slightly on side of truth. That doesn’t mean that you can go around dropping arguments and then point out some fatal flaw in their logic in the 2AR. It does mean that some arguments are so poor as to necessitate only one response, and, as long as we are on the same page about what that argument is, it is ok if the explanation of that argument is shallow for most of the debate. True arguments aren’t always supported by evidence, but it certainly helps.

I think research is the most important aspect of debate. I make an effort to reward teams that work hard and do quality research on the topic, and arguments about preserving and improving topic specific education carry a lot of weight with me. However, it is not enough to read a wreck of good cards and tell me to read them. Teams that have actually worked hard tend to not only read quality evidence, but also execute and explain the arguments in the evidence well. I think there is an under-highlighting epidemic in debates, but I am willing to give debaters who know their evidence well enough to reference unhighlighted portions in the debate some leeway when comparing evidence after the round.

I think the affirmative should have a plan. I think the plan should be topical. I think topicality is a voting issue. I think teams that make a choice to not be topical are actively attempting to exclude the negative team from the debate (not the other way around). If you are not going to read a plan or be topical, you are more likely to persuade me that what you are doing is ‘ok’ if you at least attempt to relate to or talk about the topic. Being a close parallel (advocating something that would result in something similar to the resolution) is much better than being tangentially related or directly opposed to the resolution. I don’t think negative teams go for framework enough. Fairness is an impact, not a internal link. Procedural fairness is a thing and the only real impact to framework. If you go for "policy debate is key to skills and education," you are likely to lose. Winning that procedural fairness outweighs is not a given. You still need to defend against the other team's skills, education and exclusion argument.

I don’t think making a permutation is ever a reason to reject the affirmative. I don’t believe the affirmative should be allowed to sever any part of the plan, but I believe the affirmative is only responsible for the mandates of the plan. Other extraneous questions, like immediacy and certainty, can be assumed only in the absence of a counterplan that manipulates the answers to those questions. I think there are limited instances when intrinsicness perms can be justified. This usually happens when the perm is technically intrinsic, but is in the same spirit as an action the CP takes This obviously has implications for whether or not I feel some counterplans are ultimately competitive.

Because I think topic literature should drive debates (see above), I feel that both plans and counterplans should have solvency advocates. There is some gray area about what constitutes a solvency advocate, but I don’t think it is an arbitrary issue. Two cards about some obscure aspect of the plan that might not be the most desirable does not a pic make. Also, it doesn’t sit well with me when negative teams manipulate the unlimited power of negative fiat to get around literature based arguments against their counterplan (i.e. – there is a healthy debate about federal uniformity vs state innovation that you should engage if you are reading the states cp). Because I see this action as comparable to an affirmative intrinsicness answer, I am more likely to give the affirmative leeway on those arguments if the negative has a counterplan that fiats out of the best responses.

My personal belief is probably slightly affirmative on many theory questions, but I don’t think I have voted affirmative on a (non-dropped) theory argument in years. Most affirmatives are awful at debating theory. Conditionality is conditionality is conditionality. If you have won that conditionality is good, there is no need make some arbitrary interpretation that what you did in the 1NC is the upper limit of what should be allowed. On a related note, I think affirmatives that make interpretations like ‘one conditional cp is ok’ have not staked out a very strategic position in the debate and have instead ceded their best offense. Appeals to reciprocity make a lot sense to me. ‘Argument, not team’ makes sense for most theory arguments that are unrelated to the disposition of a counterplan or kritik, but I can be persuaded that time investment required for an affirmative team to win theory necessitates that it be a voting issue.

Critical teams that make arguments that are grounded in and specific to the topic are more successful in front of me than those that do not. It is even better if your arguments are highly specific to the affirmative in question. I enjoy it when you paint a picture for me with stories about why the plans harms wouldn’t actually happen or why the plan wouldn’t solve. I like to see critical teams make link arguments based on claims or evidence read by the affirmative. These link arguments don’t always have to be made with evidence. I think alternative solvency is usually the weakest aspect of the kritik. Affirmatives would be well served to spend cross-x and speech time addressing this issue. ‘Our authors have degrees/work at a think tank’ is not a response to an epistemological indict of your affirmative. Intelligent, well-articulated analytic arguments are often the most persuasive answers to a kritik.

Tom Woodhead Paradigm

7 rounds

Very experienced judge and coach for Saint Francis high school. I will consider pretty much any arguments that are not blatantly sexist, racist or crudely discriminatory (blatant is the key word here, much of this stuff is debatable and I will try not to punish you for my general feelings about your arguments).

It is important to me that debaters be respectful and polite to each other, this puts the spotlight on the arguments themselves and I am not a fan of extra drama.

I try hard to be fair and the following things help me do that:

- I rarely call cards. I like to focus the debate on the analysis given by the debaters (of course I will usually give more weight to analysis that is taken from qualified sources). I do not like to decide debates on random parts of a card that neither debater really focused on. I will call cards if I forget what they said, if there is a conflict about what they say and I can not remember, or if I am personally interested in the card.

- I try to judge on the flow in the sense that I evaluate the debate on the arguments presented, explained and extended into the rebuttals. I will occasionally do the work to weigh impacts or decide framing if the debaters are not doing that for me.

- I will not yell "clear", so mumble and slur at your own risk (I don't yell clear because I don't want a team to find that sweet spot where I can understand them but their opponents can not). I will also not evaluate arguments that I can not hear. I do not read speech documents during the debate rounds, sometimes I will look at them after the round (see calling cards stuff above).

Argument preferences:

I am cool with critiques on the aff and neg.

I am cool with framework (I like the debaters to work this out and I am pretty neutral on this question).

I like clarity (both in speech and arguments). I am not impressed by things that are "too complex" for me to understand but I will do my best to try to make sense of it. I am confident enough to not pretend I know your position and I will not fill in the blanks for you.

I am cool with policy arguments.

I have a wide breadth of knowledge but little depth on certain positions, don't assume I know your literature.


I give high speaks for clarity, efficiency, a pace that I can flow, respectfulness and occasionally speaking style.

I feel like the speaker point range I give is pretty close to average (I am not a reliable source of high speaks for everyone, but I will reward excellent debate with high speaks).

Contact info

mail all speech documents to:

anything else (if you want me to read the e-mail or respond):

Henry Wright Paradigm

4 rounds

Debated 4 years of policy debate at Iowa City High school
Debated 3 years at the University of Iowa (BS Economics)
University of Chicago Masters in Public Policy candidate


I find debates the most interesting when debaters bring new things to the table or have a strong and innovative way to explain their argument. Someone who understands and can apply their links from the cap K or spending DA to the aff specificity is more rewarding than someone struggling to answer basic questions about a more topic-specific argument. With that in mind, if you have spent the time to construct a specific strat please please read it.

Before taking everything I say to heart, Tim Alderete told me something that changed my perspective on reading judge philosophies. He said something to the effect of “Judges ALLWAYS lie. No one ever wants to say they are a bad judge or predisposed to certain arguments. It is your job as debaters to sift through that.” So if you want the truth don't ask me what I like ask people who know me.

1) I find that debate is a game and whoever plays it better wins. I really enjoy good line by line debate but what is often lost is for what ends are your arguments being made. Please have a framework for me to evaluate everyone's arguments. That should help prevent me from intervening arbitrarily.

2) Speed=amount of arguments clearly articulated per second. So make sure you articulate the argument and not just a claim. Moreover, if I can't understand you then I can't flow you and I can't evaluate what you said as an argument.

3) I think that a discussion of the resolution is important. That can be come in many forms but should include an advocacy that answers/engages with the topic.

I want you to enjoy this activity so please ask me for help if you want it.

Jason Young Paradigm

7 rounds

Experience/Background: I debated policy for 4 years in high school (Centerville High School, OH), I did not debate in college. I started a policy team at Garfield High School, WA in 2014, and have been coaching them since then. I judge ~50 rounds a year split between the local Washington and national circuits. I am a white, cis-gendered, heterosexual male that was educated and socialized within a Western context, which has likely produced certain subtle biases in terms of my epistemological view of the world.

Bottom Line: As a debater I pursued a mix of policy and critical positions, so I'm familiar and comfortable with a wide range of arguments. Because of the openness of my paradigm I tend to judge more K debates than policy debates, so that is where I tend to get the most judging experience. My PhD work was also fairly heavy on critical theory, so I have a good grasp of that lit base. At the end of the day, though, I believe that a debate should be about the debaters, not about me. I will therefore do my best to decide the round based on arguments made by the debaters, rather than based on my own beliefs. Be clear about how you think I should be judging, and there shouldn't be any big surprises.

Biases: Unless I am convinced to do something different, I will generally do/believe the following:

-I will flow the round, and will give weight to arguments that are not answered by the opposing team.
-I will protect the negative team from new arguments in the 2AR. This means that if I cannot connect an argument in the 2AR back to the 1AR, then I will likely give that argument less, or no, weight.
-Completely new arguments should not be made in the rebuttals. I also think that it is difficult - although not impossible - for the negative to introduce completely new off-case positions in the 2NC and then develop them completely.
-I will vote for one team or the other.
-I personally believe that the open source movement in the debate community too often takes an unnuanced approach, without considering how the open sourcing of knowledge reproduces new forms of inequalities (often along neoliberal/service economy lines, wherein better resourced schools are better able to take advantage of the open knowledge economy). Therefore, I rarely find 'non-disclosure' theory arguments to be persuasive.
-Don't ask me to 'judge kick' things for you.
-I will vote against you if I think you are clipping cards.

Speaking: Be clear! I like transition words between your arguments, and find that my ears pick up the word 'next' better than 'and'. Not a requirement by any means, but perhaps something you would want to know about me. Please slow down a tad in theory debates, I'll miss arguments if you pepper me with a ton of underwarranted standards.

I learned to flow in the paper era, and I continue to flow on paper. As a result, my flow tends to be much more orderly if you do your line-by-line straight down the sheet of paper rather than when jumping around. Generally, I think that this straight-down organization will help your line-by-line coverage anyway. If you choose not to organize your speech in this way, I will still flow it. But, my flow is likelier to be messier than I (or you) would like.

Finally, please feel free to ask me questions before the round! I'm happy to answer specific questions about my paradigm.

Matthew Zhang Paradigm

7 rounds

GBN '18

Northwestern University '22


- framing is the most important aspect of debate: i want you to explicitly tell me how i should evaluate the round and why you win the round through that lens -- the team that does this the best will most likely win

- don't be overly aggressive/rude/arrogant to your opponents during the round

- portable skills are 100% real

Matthew Zhu Paradigm

7 rounds for email chains.

Arguments have to pass the sniff test.


I am a very good judge for the con on topicality. I think it’s very important that affirmatives prove inherency for topicality.

Other than that, I tend to place less importance on evidence quality and more on how healthy they are for the topic.


I like a good disad, but its very important that you prove solvency for your harms.

I’m okay with the mainstream politics disad mainly since they’re a valuable functional limit, but I have less patience for fringe politics disads.

Please refrain from reading Xi DAs in front of me, as they will lower my social credit score. Affs, if the neg reads a Xi Good DA, you may only answer the link. I will not hesitate to leave the room and report you to the CCP if necessary.


Counterplan inherency is not as important as many think, but it can be relevant especially if you choose to “kick” the counterplan.

I am less okay with negative cheating than most, but this requires an aff team that is equally committed to procedurally constraining the negation. “Cplans must have solvency advocates that match the aff” seems like a reasonable interp.


I am admittedly not a great judge for K affs. Impact turning, or having a very well thoughtout counterinterp that can ensure some clash is probably the best strategy if you’re aff.

On the neg, the two neg ballots I am most likely to deliver are “plan does something bad that prevents alt solving something important” or “subject formation most important and plan makes us bad people”. If you’re trying to go for something that could not call into either of these, you should invest time in outlining how I should decide the debate, and what offense is and isn’t relevant.

David Zin Paradigm

4 rounds

David Zin

Debate Coach, Okemos High School

Quick version: If you want to run it, justify it and win it and I'll go for it. I tend to think the resolution is the focus (rather than the plan), but have yet to see a high school round where that was a point with which anybody took issue or advantage. I like succinct tags, but there should be an explanation/warrant or evidence after them. I do pine for the days when debaters would at least say something like "next" when moving from one argument to another. If you run a critical argument, explain it--don't assume I understand the nuances or jargon of your theory. Similarly, the few critical debaters who have delivered succinct tags on their evidence to me have been well-rewarded. Maybe I'm a dinosaur, but I can't flow your 55-70 word tag, and the parts I get might not be the parts you want. I think all four debaters are intelligent beings, so don't be rude to your opponent or your partner, and try not to make c-x a free-for-all, or an opportunity for you to mow over your partner. I like the final rebuttals to compare and evaluate, not just say "we beat on time-frame and magnitude"--give me some explanation, and don't assume you are winning everything on the flow. Anything else, just ask.

The longer version: I'm a dinosaur. I debated in college more than 30 years ago. I coached at Michigan State University for 5 years. I'm old enough I might have coached or debated your parents. I got back into debate because I wanted my children to learn debate.

That history is relevant because I am potentially neither as fast a flow as I used to be (rest assured, you needn't pretend the round is after-dinner speaking) and for years I did not kept pace with many of the argumentative developments that occurred. I know and understand a number of K's, but if you make the assumption I am intimately familiar with some aspect of Kato, Taoism, Heidegger, or whoever, you may not like the results you get. Half the time I still struggle to be conversant about what many of these arguments involve unless somebody prompts me (indigenous peoples and nuclear development, anthropocentrism, tech=evil, etc. is far more informative than simply saying Baudrillard or Zizek). Go for the idea/theme not the author. If you like to use the word "subjectivity" a lot on your K argumentation, you might explain what you mean. Same thing for policy and K debaters alike if they like to argue "violence".

Default Perspective:

Having discussed my inadequacies as a judge, here is my default position for judging rounds: Absent other argumentation, I view the focus of the round as the resolution. The resolution may implicitly shrink to the affirmative if that is the only representation discussed. If I sign the ballot affirmative, I am generally voting to implement the resolution, and if the affirmative is the only representation, then it is as embodied by the plan. However, I like the debaters to essentially have free rein--making me somewhat tabula rosa. So if you prefer a more resolution focus rather than plan focus, I'm there. I also like cases that have essential content and theory elements (stock issues), but if one is missing or bad, the negative needs to bring it up and win it to win. I do generally view my role as a policy maker, in that I am trying to evaluate the merits of a policy that will be applied to the real world--but that evaluation is being done in a format that has strong gamelike aspects and strong "cognitive laboratory" aspects. As such, I will accept counter-intuitive arguments (e.g. extinction is good), planless affs, etc. and vote on them--although you will have to justify/win such an approach if it is challenged and in many cases there is a bit of a natural bias against such arguments.

I say "absent other argumentation" because if you want me to use another process, I all ears. I'm pretty open-minded about arguments (even counter-intuitive ones), so if you want to run something, either theoretical or substantive, justify it, argue it, and if you win it, I'll vote for it.

Weighing Arguments:

The biggest problem I observed when I did judge college rounds, and at the high school level, is that debates about how I should evaluate the round are often incomplete and/or muddled, such as justifying the use of some deontological criteria on utilitarian grounds. While such consequentialism is certainly an option in evaluating deontological positions, I struggle to see how I'm not ultimately just deciding a round on some utilitarian risk-based decision calculus like I would ordinarily use. I've had this statement in my philosophy for years and no one seems to understand it: if I reject cap, or the state, or racism, or violations of human rights, or whatever because it leads to extinction/war/whatever, am I really being deontological--or just letting you access extinction via a perspective. That fine if that's why you want it, but I think it makes "reject every instance" quite difficult, since every instance probably has solvency issues and certainly creates some low internal link probabilities. If you do truly argue something deontologically, having some sort of hierarchy so I can see where the other team's impacts fit would be helpful--especially if they are arguing an deontological position as well. Applying your position might be helpful: think how you would reconcile the classic argument of "you can't have rights if you are dead, yet many have been willing to give their life for rights". Sorting out that statement does an awful lot for you in a deontology vs. utilitarianism round. Why is your argument the case for one or the other?

Given my hypothesis-testing tendencies, conditionality can be fine. However, as indicated above, by default I view the round as a policy-making choice. If you run three conditional counterplans, that's fine but I need to know what they are conditional upon or I don't know what policy I am voting for when I sign the ballot—or if I even need to evaluate them. I prefer, although almost never get it, that conditionality should be based on a substantive argument in the round, preferably a claim the other team made.

Theory and K's:

I can like both theory args, especially T, when the debate unfolds with real analysis, not a ton of 3-5 word tags that people rip through. Theory arguments (including T) can be very rewarding, and often are a place where the best debaters can show their skills. However, debaters often provide poorly developed arguments and the debate often lacks real analysis. I do not like theory arguments that eliminate ground for one side or the other, are patently abusive, or patently time sucks. I like theory arguments but want them treated well.

I'm not a fan of K's, but they definitely have a place in debate. I will vote on one (and have voted for them numerous times) if two things happen: 1) I understand it and 2) you win it. That's a relatively low threshold, but if you babble author names, jargon, or have tags longer than most plans, you make it much harder for me.

Style Stuff:

As for argument preferences, I'll vote on things that do not meet my criteria, although I dislike being put in the position of having to reconcile two incomprehensible positions. I'll vote on anything you can justify and win. If you want me in a specific paradigm, justify it and win that I should use it. I like a 2ar/2nr that ties up loose ends and evaluates--recognizing that they probably aren't winning everything on the flow.

I don't like to ask for cards after the round, or reviewing the evidence in pocketbox, etc. and will not ask for a card I couldn't understand because you were unintelligible. If there is a debate over what a card really says or signifies, or it seems to contain a nuance highlighted in the round that is worth checking, I may take a look at the evidence.

I traditionally rely on providing nonverbal feedback—if I'm not writing anything, or I'm looking at you with a confused expression, I'm probably not getting what you are saying for one reason or another.

Debate is still a communication activity, even if we rip along at several hundred words a minute. If I missed something in your speech, that is your fault--either because you did not emphasize it adequately in the round or you were unintelligible. If you are a gasper, you'll probably get better points if you slow down a bit. I tend to dislike prompting on content, but keeping your partner on pace is fine. I'd prefer you ask/answer your own c-x questions. I like numbering and organization, even though much has apparently died. At this point, even hearing "next" when going to the next tag would be a breath of fresh air (especially when it isn't being read off of a block). Similarly, I'll reward you if you have clear tags that would fit on a bumper sticker I could read without tailgating. Humor is a highly successful way to improve your speaker points. If you are organized, intelligible and funny, the much-sought-after 30 is something I have given. I haven't given many, but that reflects the debaters I've heard, not some unreasonable predisposition or threshold.

If you have questions about anything not on here, just ask.