Glenbrooks Speech and Debate Tournament

2018 — Northbrook and Glenview, IL/US

Daniel Alessandro Paradigm

7 rounds

Glenbrooks 2018 Update: I haven't judged a debate tournament this year. Don't assume that I have extensive knowledge about the topic.

Table of Contents Summary: Specific Preferences Speaking/Presentation: Policy Arguments: Framework: Theory: Defaults: Additional preferences: Kritiks: Tricks: Miscellaneous: Evidence Ethics: Speaker Points:

Conflicts: Lexington, Oakwood

Background: I debated in LD at Lexington High School, primarily on the national circuit and qualified to the TOC my Senior Year. I graduated in 2015. You can email me at with any questions about my paradigm.


This is an excerpt from Paul Zhou's wiki that sums up how I feel about judging:

"I think part of what makes debate great is its incredible openness. Given that fact, I am fine with speed, theory, policy-style argumentation, dense framework arguments, kritiks, micropolitical arguments, a prioris/prestandard arguments, and pretty much anything else you can think of. Debate is your game. Play it how you want to."

I am open to any style of argumentation; just do what you do best. Even though I primarily read policy arguments as a debater, I enjoy watching and judging good kritik and framework debates as well as any other style as long as it's done well. I will do my best to evaluate all arguments objectively. I prefer debates with heavy clash and engagement with your opponents' arguments.

Specific Preferences


  • I can flow any speed as long as it is clear. I'll say clear as many times as necessary without docking your speaks. That being said, if I am saying clear repeatedly I will visibly indicate that I am unable to flow your arguments, and I won't vote on an argument that I didn't flow.
  • When you are transitioning between flows or arguments on the flow, state the argument or flow you are going to next and then pause for 1-2 seconds for me to find it so I'm ready to flow your responses- if you do this well it will give you a speaks boost.
  • When making multiple responses to an argument, make sure to label them through numbering or lettering.
  • Go slower on tags, plan texts, counterplan texts, theory interpretartions and K alt texts.
  • Try to give an overview establishing how I evaluate the round during final rebuttals; this will make it much easier for me to vote for you.
  • Don't say "we" or "our argument"- you don't debate with a partner

Policy Arguments:

  • I read these a lot as a debater and will be able to follow any policy-focused debate.
  • Make sure to give good weighing between impacts. When doing weighing, make sure to not only tag why your impact outweighs e.g. it has greater magnitude, but explain why that weighing mechanism means one impact is more important than another.
  • I really like seeing well researched and specific strategies.
  • I prefer watching high-quality impact scenarios rather than a high quantity of impact scenarios. Take time to establish uniqueness, solvency, brink for each impact scenario rather than reading several short and underdeveloped impact scenarios.
  • I view perms as advocacies that can be kicked in the 2AR when the aff reads a plan.


  • What counts as offense under a framework is determined by the framework warrants and not an ad hoc statement of what impacts link. For example, the aff may not read a Rawlsian framework and then just assert "this means only means-based impacts matter" without justifying through framework arguments why ends-based impacts aren't also relevant.
  • I enjoy judging good philosophical framework debates. Don't assume that I'm knowledgable about your framework; all framework arguments need to be clearly explained in the first speech, or I will not vote on them.
  • Contingent standards or triggers are fine as long as they are supported by an argument made in the first constructive that states why defense on part of the framework would trigger a different framework
  • Framework debate is comparative- explain why your framework is good in relation to your opponent's framework



The following are a list of soft theoretical defaults that I have. If any argument is made that opposes any of my default beliefs, I will always prioritize an in-round argument. These defaults merely indicate which way I will side on an issue if it isn't spoken to at all in the round.

  1. Theory is a reason to reject the argument.
  2. Theory is evaluated through a competing interpretations model where the better interp is the one that has more offense to it in the context of this specific round.
  3. No RVIs
  4. I presume aff in the absence of offense on either side at the end of the round

Additional preferences:

  • I will vote on any theory argument that is justified and won, so long as it isn't blatantly offensive.
  • I believe that the voter section is usually the least-developed section of a theory argument. If your opponent only spends 10 seconds arguing why fairness is a voter and reason to drop the debater, then exploit that. Debaters rarely justify specifically why a given theory violation is so egregious as to reject the debater, so if you go for theory as a voter, develop "reject the debater" well.
  • I prefer theory debates that center on what interp would be best for this specific round over potential abuse claims or arguments about why a given rule would make another round worse. If you point out why your theory offense is relevant to this round and their's isn't, that will help put you ahead.
  • Sign-post clearly on theory.


  • I'm fine with any "K" or critical positions.
  • I'll be much more inclined to vote on these positions if the role of the ballot/role of the judge is well-developed. Reading a card that says "x is bad" is not sufficient to prove why my specific obligation as a judge is a reason to stop x, given that there are a million bad things in the world.
  • Be clear about what the alternative does/advocates for
  • I will evaluate arguments for why the K comes before theory or T based on the flow as I would with any other argument.


  • Tricky arguments are fine with me as long as they are clearly explained.
  • If I don't flow the implication of an argument in the first speech, then I will grant your opponent new responses to the implication in the next speech because it is unreasonable to expect them to flow an argument that I couldn't flow.
  • New responses to tricky arguments can be made against the new part of the trick. For example, if the NC concedes the claim and warrant for an argument, but the impact doesn't come until the 1AR, then the 2NR can respond to the impact, but not the claim or warrant.
  • I would prefer to judge positions that rely on clash rather than positions that seek to obfuscate the meaning of your arguments in the hope that your opponent will drop them and/or have their arguments precluded by them. However, I will vote for tricks if they are won on the flow.


  • I'm fine with debaters asking questions to each other during prep time (flex prep).
  • You won't get higher than 20 speaker points if, upon request, you don't make an electronic copy of your case available to your opponent.
  • Compiling your speech into one document is prep time; if your opponent tries to do this without using prep time, then call them out on it.
  • Claims must have warrants for me to vote on them.

Evidence Ethics:

Evidence ethics are important. If debater A proves that debater B miscut or clipped any pieces of evidence, I will immediately drop debater B with 0 speaks and report them to the tab room. You may make an ethics challenge via an in-round theory argument or by stopping the round and staking the debate on the ethics challenge.

Speaker Points:

0-25.9 = bad
26-26.9 below average
27-27.9 = average
28-28.9 = good
29-29.9 = very good/excellent
30 = one of the best performances I've ever judged

Things that will give you higher speaker points:

  • Answering abusive arguments well without theory
  • Reading your opponent's evidence and making specific responses that reference their evidence
  • Good use of CX
  • Sitting down early
  • Good overviews in final speeches
  • High amounts of substantive clash
  • Being clear, persuasive and efficient
  • well-executed strategy
  • perceptual dominance
  • interesting and unique arguments
  • Being funny
  • Doing high quality weighing that makes it easy for me to write my ballot

Things that will give you lower speaker points:

  • Plans bad theory
  • Avoiding specific clash
  • Frivolous theory arguments
  • Excessive use of the word "probably"

Jonathan Alston Paradigm

6 rounds

I am a head coach at Newark Science and have coached there for years. I teach LD during the summer at the Global Debate Symposium. I formerly taught LD at University of North Texas and I previously taught at Stanford's Summer Debate Institute.

I do believe that basic things are true, though. The Affirmative must present a problem with the way things are right now. Their advocacy must reasonably solve that problem. The advantages of doing the advocacy must outweigh the disadvantages of following the advocacy. You don't have to have a USFG plan, but you must advocate for something.

Be clear. Be very clear. If you are spreading politics or something that is easy to understand, then just be clear. I can understand very clear debaters at high speeds when what they are saying is easy to understand. Start off slower so I get used to your voice and I'll be fine.

Do not spread philosophy. If I have a hard time understanding it at conversational speeds I will not understand it at high speeds. (Don't spread Kant or Foucault.)

Slow down for analytics. If you are comparing or making analytical arguments that I need to understand, slow down for it.

I want to hear the warrants in the evidence. Be clear when reading evidence. I don't read cards after the round if I don't understand them during the round.

Make it make sense. I'll vote on it if it is reasonable. Please tell me how it functions and how I should evaluate it. The most important thing about theory for me is to make it make sense. I would like for the debates about the debate to be interesting. I am not into frivolous theory. If you like running frivolous theory, I am not the best judge for you.

Don't take it out of context. I do ask for cites. Cites should be readily available. Don't cut evidence in an unclear or sloppy manner. Cut evidence ethically. Do not take evidence out of context by cutting qualifiers like "might" or "maybe".

Speaker Points
30 I learned something from the experience. I really enjoyed the thoughtful debate. I was moved. I give out 30's. It's not an impossible standard. I just consider it an extremely high, but achievable, standard of excellence. I haven't given out at least two years.
29 Excellent
28 Solid
27 Okay

For policy Debate (And LD, because I judge them the same way).
Same as for LD. Make sense. Big picture is important. I can't understand spreading dense philosophy. Don't assume I am already familiar with what you are saying. Explain things to me. Starting in 2013 our LDers have been highly influenced by the growing similarity between policy and LD. We tested the similarity of the activities in 2014 - 2015 by having two of our LDers be the first two students in the history of the Tournament of Champions to qualify in policy and LD in the same year. They did this by only attending three policy tournaments (The Old Scranton Tournament and Emory) on the Oceans topic running Reparations and USFG funding of The Association of Black Scuba Divers.

We are also in the process of building our policy program. Our teams tend to debate the resolution with non-util impacts or engages in methods debates. Don't assume that I am familiar with the specifics of a lit base. Please break things down to me. I need to hear and understand warrants. Make it simple for me. The more simple the story, the more likely that I'll understand it.

I won't outright reject anything unless it is blatantly racist, sexist, homophobic.

Important: Don't curse in front of me. I don't like high school students cursing in front of me. Please don't do it. I may take off points because of it. If the curse is an essential part of the textual evidence, I am more lenient. But that would be the exception. Ultimately, I do not think that high school students are grown, and the language that is used should be consistent with my classroom standards.

Note: I generally don't enjoy debates that are more than three off in LD. However, do what you do well. Just going by what I've seen in the past.

Sam Anderson Paradigm

7 rounds

Update 11/13/18: I will have a higher threshold for argument explanations, and will be more inclined to say "I didn't vote for this argument because I didn't understand it" in borderline cases, even if it's dropped. This is especially/mainly important in cases where there's embedded clash, e.g. the neg reads a K and the AC has a 'my method/framework/etc. is key to solving oppression' argument. This is less important on areas of the flow where there's no clash whatsoever (the aff drops that Kant negates or the 2N collapses to T and drops their case turns).

- Background: I did LD for four years for Lakeville North (MN), graduating in 2013. For the last four years I've coached for Eagan (MN). As a debater I was fairly active on the national circuit but since then my only exposure to circuit stuff has been through judging annually at Apple Valley and Blake and the occasional faster local round, so you don't have to consider me a lay judge but at the same time I won't be 100% up to speed with the current norms and meta.

- Pref shortcut: stock ≈ policy ≈ framework > K > Theory > Tricks

- Speed: I'll be able to flow like 75-80% of top circuit speed. If you add me to the email chain feel free to go much faster. In rebuttals make sure you are signposting clearly and giving some sort of pause between your analytics or else I may not be able to flow you.

- There are basically no substantive restrictions on the content of arguments I will listen to. Exceptions: no bigotry, no personal attacks, both are up to my discretion (I think it's unlikely that either would come up in a round but the disclaimer is still necessary). That being said, like all judges I have preferences. I like clash so I dislike evasive blippy strategies or multiple off-case uplayering neg strats. I strongly prefer topical debate because theory and non-topical Ks both make debate less accessible, they just do. And I most like debates grounded in the topic lit, so I prefer an original well-researched position over weak and tangential links to a moral framework, K, or impact scenario from the backfiles. That's more about how you get better speaks than how to get my ballot.

- I prefer argument depth over breadth and will evaluate some amount of embedded clash, so even if a debater doesn't say the magic words "cross-apply this to their third response" I will make those very obvious connections for them.

- Theory: hate it when it's frivolous; what constitutes "frivolous" theory is pretty subjective but I know it when I see it. For example, theory against things like a prioris, NIBs, PICs / delay CPs / alt-agent CPs, many types of plans, non-topical Ks, severence / intrinsicness perms, and condo can be legitimate, depending on the circumstances (e.g. if you're reading a very specific plan then my intuition shifts to "PICs okay"). If your opponent is obviously being shady I'll give you more leeway; if the AC is spike-heavy with a ton of paragraph theory and you think you're more likely to win "must spec an enforcement mechanism" than "paragraph theory bad" then go for it. If the AC is super stock and you run theory just because you can, I'll vote on it but I'll tank your speaks.

- I have read a decent amount of analytic moral and political philosophy and very little critical lit, so I will be a better judge for you if you read Ripstein than if you read Deleuze. (If you run Gauthier with cards you've cut that shows me you've read Morals by Agreement, and your contention-level argument isn't that the resolution is permissible because there's some power imbalance, I'll give you great speaks.) In general I find myself not understanding a lot of Ks, especially when debaters rely on jargon instead of clearly-explained warrants.

- I won't vote on non-sequiturs or unwarranted arguments, whether or not they're pointed out. To give a very common example, if a debater argues: "Evaluate theory using competing interpretations because reasonability is arbitrary and invites judge intervention." Then in the next speech: "They have conceded that you evaluate theory using competing interpretations which means that you automatically drop them because they didn't read an explicit counter-interp." This is a non-sequitur because the debater running theory has not justified why an explicit counter-interp is necessary except for the fact that the name of the model vaguely implies that there should be two interps that are competing with each other. This should only be relevant if you're making very underdeveloped arguments or if you're assuming esoteric or controversial norms without justifying them.

- Cross-ex time belongs to the person asking the questions. If they cut you off, stop talking. You lose speaker points for loudly talking over the other person just to waste their time and because you want to keep talking. If you feel like you absolutely need to clarify something, just say that and I'll give you leeway if you say that in rebuttal ("I didn't actually make that concession in CX, they cut me off while I was explaining. I was actually saying...")

- If you're at Blake, please don't complain about my decision to your friends while waiting for the elevator. We're probably about to take the same elevator.

Alayne Ashman Paradigm

6 rounds

Not Submitted

Nirmal Balachundhar Paradigm

7 rounds


I no longer care what you read, as long as it is not oppressive in any matter. I only ask that you explain your arguments and their impacts well.

Add me to email chain:

Also, if you can sit down early in a speech, please do. That way we can all just go home and be happy a little earlier.

***old stuff**

- Speed is fine, please be clear, I'll call it as many times necessary but I will get frustrated and dock speaks
- I won't vote for an argument if I don't understand it, it is your responsibility to explain that
- Prep stops after you have compiled your stuff into one document. If you're flashing- it stops after the flashdrive leaves your computer
- I'm comfortable with most arguments as long as you can explain and weigh them explicitly and clearly
- Disclosure is good norm- if you don't disclose or disclose insufficiently and it's brought up in the round, I will dock your speaks by 1-5 speaker points (based on how I am feeling about this violation) from whatever I would have given you, but I will still evaluate the theory debate and the rest of the round.
- You must make your evidence available
- I enjoy policy debates the most, please weigh
- I also enjoy theory debates that are well executed

Policy-esque arguments:
- Impact comparison and weighing is crucial, otherwise i have no idea where to look first
- Utilize argument diversity
- Framing is very important, if you don't explain implications of winning arguments, then i don't know their use even if you have won them
- please compare evidence
- i personally think that hard work should be rewarded, so well executed strategies will increase your speaks

- I understand the basics of most theories/general responses. If this is what you're good at- feel free to go for it.
- Explanation is crucial, your framework should be organized in a well explained syllogism, and your explanation should follow from that
- A lot of people just don't cut evidence that warrants their philosophical arguments or use big buzzwords when going for philosophical arguments- don't do that
- Be comparitive: reading dumps on their ethic is insufficient, explain why your ethic is better

- Please have good evidence and diversify/nuance your kritik and when you respond to it
- Tech and ethos are both very important on the K debate, make sure that you can do both
- Long dumps and generic responses aren't that great, make them better by tailoring it to the round and explaining the 2NR or 1AR against these very well
- I am pretty convinced by policymaking arguments against these, that being said, be super responsive and err on the side of overexplanation against these
- Not well read in high theory, my understanding will solely depend on your ability to explain it.

- Default to competing interps, no rvi, drop debater- will still be convinced by arguments for other sides
- Frivolous theory: I will listen to it because it is strategic but if it's clear that it's used as argument avoidance and just for strategy rather than actual abuse, I probably won't be too thrilled and that might reflect in your speaks
- Good theory debates are better to watch especially when they are utilized well against tricks and abuse-
- Weighing and framing is important

- Not a fan of- they prioritize gimmicks over hard work which isn't what educational activities should do
- I will still listen to them but they will reflect in your speaks
- Implications need to be clear in the initial speech
- these include: a prioris, triggers, INCOHERENT framework applications, etc.
- If you come up with some very nuanced and interesting applications against various scenarios, then I'll probably be more receptive to it.

Evidence Ethics:
If you are caught clipping, it will result in a Loss 0. That being said, if you accuse someone of an evidence ethics violation and you are proven to be wrong, the same punishment will be given to you. Accidentally skipping 2 words in a card is not clipping.
Clearly miscut evidence or misrepresentation should be brought up by opposing debaters in round as evidence indicts.

Margo Batha Paradigm

7 rounds

Policy Paradigm:

I am a policy maker/stock issues judge. If I am going to vote affirmative, it is going to be because the affirmative team presents a clear case that maintains all of the stock issues throughout the debate round. If I am going to vote negative, it is going to be because the negative team has taken out one or more of the stock issues or has presented a counter plan with a clear net benefit. I believe that all three elements of rhetoric – ethos, pathos, and logos – should be evaluated equally, and as a result, I will weigh your speaking ability equally against logic and evidence. I value strong analytical argumentation, clear links in your logic and clash in debate. While I will listen to K, I expect links to the stock issues at hand. The current trend of not valuing flow because you've flashed evidence is extremely problematic for me. If you drop arguments because of your unwillingness to actually listen to your opponent, that will count you against in my evaluation of the round.

LD Paradigm:
I am a traditional LD judge. Even though I understand K's, counterplans, etc., I am not a fan of them in LD. Plan on referencing the philosophers and why your case offers the values and criterion needed to win the round. Clear speaking, not speed counts.
I am not a fan of speed but I can deal with it to a certain extent. Your analyticals and your tags must be clear or your speaker points will suffer accordingly. I will not tolerate rude, racist, or sexist behavior in the round. In my other life, I am a teacher of English and rhetoric.

Alex Bisnath Paradigm

4 rounds

I'm a first year out from Newsome. I did LD for three years, mostly traditional but I went to my fair share of circuit tournaments also. My email is if you want to ask questions before the round, or just add me to an email chain. I probably don't know anything about the topic.

I'm not super picky about what arguments you run, just make sure you give me plenty of weighing, especially for non-T affs.

I can flow speed decently well; make sure to slow down for advocacy texts, interps, taglines and author names. If I can't understand you I'll say "clear."

Framework: I love nuanced, interactive framework debates. I think framework needs to be justified, but I'm pretty open minded about what fw can be.

Ks: K debates are fun, just make sure there's interaction at the fw level.

Theory: I default to competing interps and no RVIs. I don't have much patience for frivolous theory; the sillier a shell, the lower my standard will be for responses.

Tricks: I really don't like tricks, it's probably in your best interest not to read them in front of me.

Don't be racist, homophobic or otherwise offensive. But also, just be nice to each other.

Adam Bistagne Paradigm

4 rounds

Updated for CPS 2018: This update is to mostly reflect how I've been judging rounds lately.

I debated for four years for Loyola high. I broke at multiple tournaments and had a 4-3 record at the TOC.

I am more familiar with policy arguments, philosophy, and theory, and am less familiar with kritiques. However, I am not really a fan of how most philosophy and theory debates are done today, and thus my familiarity does not always correspond to what arguments I vote on.

Specifically, I think that moral philosophy positions that involves tricks are doing a disservice to the literature. Further, theory debates are often frivolous, although what I may consider frivolous may be different than what others consider frivolous. Some examples of what I consider frivolous theory are the following: font-size theory, must spec status in speech theory, some spec shells, etc. My litmus test for frivolous theory might be the following: does the theory shell isolate an issue of fairness that has actual educational implications on the debate round?

Kritiques usually have good explanations attached to them, so I've voted on them in the past and will probably continue to vote on them in the future.

I evaluate the round via an offense/defense paradigm. Thus, I will vote for the debater who provides comparatively more offense back to the framework that has been won in the round, lest there are other issues (theory or kritiques) that precede this evaluation. Beyond this, I will try to evaluate the round in the most objective way possible. However, as all judges do, I have certain basic preferences that it would help to conform to.

First, when there is a clash on an issue or position, I tend to default to the more thorough and comprehensive explanation that makes sense to me. While technical drops are important, I don't think they automatically preclude good analysis. Strong weighing matters more to me than a dropped blippy argument on the flow.

Granted, this threshold only exists when there is clash on a position (and maybe sometimes across positions). If a position is totally conceded, or mostly conceded except for a couple of weaker arguments, my threshold for explanation and extensions becomes much lower (if totally conceded, it approaches zero).

Second, I flow CX, both because of theoretical implications of answers, and because I think your position is only as well warranted as your CX answers indicate. If I don't think there's a warrant after a particularly devastating CX on a position, you're going to have an uphill battle to convince me of the argument. (This is true only if the other debater brings up the flaws they pointed out in CX during a speech. CX by itself is not a rebuttal and thus cannot be the sole basis for my decision).

Third, I heavily favor debater's original analysis and arguments in later rebuttals (2NR and 2AR) as opposed to cards. While cards are good at setting up a position in constructive speeches, I heavily prefer debate styles that can go beyond cards with good explanations.

Theory defaults:
I default competing interpretations. I default no-RVI's. Topicality is a voter. All other issues must be justified by the debater.

Random Notes:

I like numbered responses to arguments, and clear distinction between line-by-line analysis and overviews.

I will only vote on arguments that I have flowed. During rebuttals, I mostly flow from what you're saying, rather than from the speech doc, so adjust accordingly.

While debate is a game, it is an educational game that brings lots of enjoyment to many of our lives. Please treat other debaters and it with respect.

Drew Bjorklund Paradigm

6 rounds

I debated for four years in PA and a little bit of national circuit.  


If you're affirming, please ground normative claims.  I will evaluate all impacts through a framework that is either won or both debaters seem to kind of implicitly agree on.  Please weigh your arguments.  


You can spread but I'm pretty out of practice.  Please slow down and clear up when I yell 'clear.'  I'll do this twice before deducting speaks.


I'm not a good theory judge.  Default to reasonability (sorry) and drop the arg (double sorry).  Obviously you can win other positions.


I will not assume that certain arguments are worse than others.  I will not automatically reject people for death good or racism good arguments.  They are easy to beat, but I won't just assume it if someone puts an argument on the flow and it goes unanswered.  

Performative positions sure just win the ROTB and take that and ROJ arguments seriously.  


Most importantly please be kind to one another.  This is just an activity.  I will not tolerate bullying or behavior that makes people feel personally unsafe.  You will lose if you are actively unkind.  


I love philosophy and would be happy to talk about it to anyone who wants to.

I'll answer any questions before the round.  



Chris Castillo Paradigm

4 rounds

I am the LD coach at Strake Jesuit in Houston, Tx. I've been involved in debate since the year 2000. I judge a lot. Mostly on the national/toc circuit but also locally. Feel free to ask questions before the round. Add me to email chains. Jchriscastillo at gmail dot com.

I don't have a preference for how you debate or which arguments you choose to read. Be clear, both in delivery and argument function/interaction, weigh and develop a ballot story.

Theory: I default to competing interps, no rvi's and drop the debater on shells read against advocacies/entire positions and drop the argument against all other types. I'm ok with using theory as a strategic tool but the sillier the shell the lower the threshold I have for responsiveness. Please weigh and slow down for interps and short analytic arguments. D

Non-T affs: These are fine just have a clear ballot story.

Delivery: You can go as fast as you want but be clear and slow down for advocacy texts, interps, taglines and author names. Don't blitz through 1 sentence analytics and expect me to get everything down. I will say "clear" and "slow".

Speaks: Speaks are a reflection of your strategy, argument quality, efficiency, how well you use cx, and clarity.

Prep: 1. I prefer that you don't use cx as prep time. 2. It is ok to ask questions during cx. 3. Compiling a document counts as prep time. 4. Please write down how much time you have left.

Things not to do: 1. Don't make arguments that are racist/sexist/homophobic (this is a good general life rule too). 2. I won't vote on arguments I don't understand or arguments that are blatantly false. 3. Don't be mean to less experienced debaters. 4. Don't steal prep. 5. Don't manipulate evidence or clip.

William Caugherty Paradigm

6 rounds

As a Lincoln Douglas Judge I am a very traditional judge from a very traditional area of the country. With that, comes all of the typical impacts.

I am not able to flow spreading very effectively at all.

I, very rarely, judge policy, but those would be in slower rounds as well. Because of that, though, I am at least somewhat familiar with K debate, K AFF, theory, CP's, etc.

For me to vote on progressive argumentation in LD, it has to be very clearly ARTICULATED to me why and how you win those arguments. Crystal clear argumentation and articulation of a clear path to giving you the ballot is needed.

Devansh Chauhan Paradigm

4 rounds

Princeton High School ’18 UChicago ’22


Conflicts: Princeton High School

Debate Clout: Competed extensively on the national LD circuit. I reached a bid round and consistently made it to elims at bid tournaments, so take that as you may into your pref calculus.

if you want a better idea of how I think about debate, see these paradigms: Matt Chen, Paras Kumar, Bob Overing, Amit Kukreja

I have a round in a bit and i have no idea how this dude evaluates stuff:

speed is cool, progressive stuff is cool, don’t make shitty/offensive args, tech > truth, explain, and entertain.

Quick Pref Sheet:

Stock stuff: 1


Stock K: 1

Theory/T: 1

Phil: 2

Friv Theory (Side bias dump debaters): 2/3

Tricks: 2

Pomo/High Theory/Dense Ks: 3


Before anything else, have fun! Debaters focus way too much on W/L records and get super stressed out but that kills the point of debate, so I’ll try to make the round as chill as possible and it would be awesome if you could do the same.

I’ll vote on anything so long as it has a warrant/impact and isn’t offensive like rape good/racism good. If someone reads those types of arguments, it is also the burden of the other person to call them out on it, and if you don’t, both of your speaks will suffer.

I’m fine with spreading, and will call clear/slow/loud as necessary, but it is your burden to make sure I can clearly understand your arguments so slow down somewhat on tags and especially author names and pause between cards so i can differentiate them

default truth testing - but that can very easily change based on the content of the debate. If the debate is a plan vs DA or something then I’ll obviously switch to comparative worlds.

Default RVIs on Theory, Competing interps, no RVIs on T, Fairness and education are voters, DTD, spirit of interp

If you are reading something prepared, I expect you to flash/email/pass pages or whatever to your opponent. i won’t count flashing/emailing as prep, but please be reasonable with it, and compiling docs definitely counts as prep time.

disclosure is good, and i won’t 100% vote someone down for not disclosing, but the theory debate pretty clearly flows in favor of disclosure. That being said, if you initiate the disclosure debate and end up losing it, I won’t be super impressed by your display of skills

please make args + weigh and extrapolate warrants instead of just reading shit off a doc, those debates are super boring and don’t show me you are skilled at all.

if you have questions after the round, then ask constructive ones and I will gladly answer. I’ll try to give suggestions of drills to do to improve after I finish my RFD as well. But if your strategy is to intimidate me by bringing in like 10 coaches and then trying to roast me, no one in the room will be happy, and at some point I’ll just ignore you because that practice is one of the most toxic parts of debate.

If you claim your opponent has miscut or is misrepresenting evidence, or has been clearly intentionally clipping (by which I mean they haven't been reading the full text of what they say they have been) I will stop the round and the round comes down to the ethics challenge. If it's an elim, I will stop flowing and call the evidence after the round. If an evidence ethics challenge is won, the debater who miscut evidence will get an Loss-20. If an evidence ethics challenge is wrong, then the debater who initiates the charge will get a Loss-20. No other argument will be evaluated.

How to get a big W

  1. Collapse strategically. My favorite part of debate is how it’s like a chess game, and making strategic choices/ reading strategic positions in the round will be a sure path to high speaks and a ballot
  2. Weigh - I can’t evaluate the debate objectively if you don’t weigh impacts, and it’s not that hard to do so.
  3. Have overviews/framing issues - gives me a clear vision of the round and can easily tip the ballot in your favor.
  4. Engage/Clash effectively with your opponent’s positions
  5. Explain your arguments as much as possible. You know your arguments well, but chances are I don’t know shit about it

Specific stuff:

LARP debate:

This is by far my most experienced pillar of argumentation and my favorite.

Do impact comparison and weigh as much as possible - this is essential to do if you want to win by LARPing

Make somewhat logical arguments and analytics instead of just engaging in card war

Compare evidence

Advantage CPs are super strategic, and some agent CPs are also strategic.

PICs are very strategic, and are theoretically fine

Condo is also fine, but is less fine as the number of conditional positions increases.

I’ll still listen to args like 1 condo bad tho.

case turns are awesome and should be a staple 1NC strategy, and solvency deficits are also necessary. More specific the better.

Impact defense is underrated, and so are impact turns. These are both great strats. Obviously don’t double turn yourself.

Default functional competition over textual competition

K vs T Framework

Either way is fine by me, I never read K affs and T was one of my favorite strategies but I can easily vote either way

Don’t read a bunch of fairness for whom/predictability bad/K outweighs T arguments or Galloway-type fairness o/w K args and call it a day. I expect you to actually answer the internal warrants of the shell/aff

Using the warrants in your specific aff as indicts to the shell + having a counterinterp based on your method is the BEST way to beat back T args, and is a path to a ballot with high speaks

TVAs are a strategic gem in these debates and should be read

DTA type args are also cool


EXPLAIN YOUR POSITIONS. K debate is getting more nuanced and complex by the day, and spewing shit about subjectivity and the mean green human machine or whatever the fuck is not going to win you a ballot. Give examples, and heavily explain the thesis of your position in the 2nr and how they link in.

I highly recommend checking out Katherine Fennell’s article on how to go for the K, and employing that strategy in front of me is the optimal way to win.

ROTBs/ROTJs have to be warranted, and compared with the opposite debater’s method. I hate when people read parametricized role of the ballots like “vote for the debater who best solves back for (only anthropocentrism) or (super specific type of literature like prison abolition)”. I believe these can be weighing arguments under a more general rotb.

Default perms are a test of competition, but am fine if the aff collapses to a perm as an advocacy.

Reps K’s are cool but depends on what exactly is being read. If someone drops their charger and curses or accidentally says the word “We”, and you gasp and start screaming about how they said the F-word or “We”, I will cringe. The closer it is to the thesis of their position the better. These are very strategic positions, but arguments such as judge choice have some truth value to them and are strategic.

Don’t go for like skep or 3 1ar shells once you hear a K. Kritiks are the positions with which I expect you to engage as much as possible.

I’m most familiar with Wilderson, Cap, Model minority, Tuck and Yang, agamben, saldana and somewhat familiar with edelman and baudrillard



These debates can be really funny and entertaining, and nuanced burden affs are very strategic.

Don’t be an asshole about this stuff. one example is avoiding CX questions. If you are going to be a trickster, you should be straight up about it.

High threshold for quality tricks tho, and I’m not the best flower so I’m not the best at evaluating these debates.

Nardin probably doesn’t take out theory

Once again, don’t dump, and collapse strategically


It’s a strategic tool, go for it. I became fond of theory in the latter end of my career. Obviously theory should be used to check abuse tho, and the truer the shell the easier to win.

My favorite speech of all time was a 2NR/2AR collapsing to T.

Having good evidence in T debates is awesome, and endorse a specific case list then just categorically saying one standard comes before the rest

Strength of Link weighing is key and will be heavily used in my evaluation of the round.

T > Theory

Justify your reasonability bright line

No RVIs off I meets.

your abuse story should be specific to your interp

I don’t think 1AR theory is categorically good or bad. These debates make me cringe, but 1ar theory hedges are strategic.

I hate side bias dumps, and think debaters exaggerate too much about it. My least favorite debater is one who clearly came to complain about side bias from the get-go and had no intention to engage even in good theory debates.

Semantic I-meets are trash but funny


Default ethical confidence but love ethical modesty so i’ll gladly go either way

I started appreciating the merits of phil debate more and more as my career went on, and these debates can be super fun.

Make multiple reasons as to why their fw fails, is bad/repugnant, and is fallacious. Line by lining fw warrants + having overviews is awesome.

Compare and weigh between frameworks. The more normatively justified the better.

TJFs are cool

Hijacks are super duper strategic, and err on the side of over explaining them. I’ll reward high speaks if you effectively use hijacks in the debate.

Impact calc is a necessity - i + your opponent need to know how to compare/weigh impacts under your standard so be super clear about that.

Syllogisms that normatively justify a fw >>>>> random unrelated blips.

A semblance of a framework is essential when affirming unless its critically based.

Using your framework’s internal warrants to make nuanced arguments against kritiks is awesome and a quick route to a ballot + high speaks.

Speaker Points (will change depending on tournament)

I’ll try to average around a 29, and these are based mostly on strategy/skill, and then conduct, and then speaking

26 - you did something super bad

27 - are inexperienced/many strategic errors

28 - 28.5 - were ok- won’t break

28.5 - 29 - average - will break/make it to early elims

29 - 29.5 - very good - will probably bid

29.5 - 30 - excellent, will make deep elims and possibly win the tourney.

Matthew Chen Paradigm

6 rounds

put me on the email chain:

Strake '18

University of Chicago '22

gbx 19 update --- I have not judged or listened to a round since TOC 2019. As such, I'm not very accustomed to spreading. You'll have to build up to your top speed and slow down on tags and analytics a LOT. I'll call clear and slow as much as necessary, but if I miss something because you were going too fast that's on you.

also, because of my time out of debate, I'm not up to date on the newest strategies and philosophies. No, I haven't read whatever new author top lab dug up. Feel free to read it if you can explain it, but please realize that I won't know how you expect me to evaluate offense or syllogism indicts unless you spell it out very clearly for me. The inverse implication of this is true though - if you can clearly explain to me how you think I should evaluate offense and what framework arguments matter with a dense philosophical or critical position, your speaks will almost certainly be among the best I've ever given.

In order of arg style, I will probably be best at judging policy v policy, T/theory, or policy v K debates. I'm fine judging other styles but they'll definitely require more explanation and less speed.

tl:dr; you do you. be respectful to each other and everyone watching. additionally, feel free to tell me if i'm doing something/acting in a way that makes you feel unwelcome, either during the rfd or during a round.


1] Don't cheat - miscutting, clipping, strawmanning etc. It's an auto-loss with 0 speaks if I catch you. Ev ethics claims aren't theory arguments - if you make an ev ethics challenge, you stake the round on it and the loser of the challenge gets an L0. (this only applies if you directly accuse your opponent of cheating though - if you read brackets with an ev ethics standard that's different).

2] I'm not going to follow the speech doc, so signpost and be clear. I'll look after the round to verify evidence claims though, but generally debating evidence well is more important than shitting cards out.

3] weigh as early as possible - i.e. disad outweighs case in 1nc, t standards weighing in 1ar. The later you weigh, the lower my credence in your claims is

4] I have found that many analytics get too short to qualify as arguments - especially on theory. At the point where your drop the debater arguments are literally "1) deterrence 2) rectify time lost on theory 3) sets good norms" and then nothing else, you haven't made an argument.

5] I will assume zero prior knowledge when going into a round on any subject, which means it's on you to make me understand your warrant purely from the speech itself. For example, even if I know what the warrant for something like gratuitous violence, if I don't think your explanation completes a logical warrant chain on why gratuitious is an accurate description of relationships, I won't vote for you.

6] then larger your claim is, the higher the threshold i have for a warrant. "there is no hope for progress ever" is a much larger, more broad claim than "this action can do something good", and as such, needs a stronger warrant to be won.

7] don't be offensive - going for "racism is ok", for example, is an easy way to lose

8] if you can't explain how your study was conducted/important control factors/etc. and your opponent calls you out on this, i'm probably not going to vote for said piece of evidence no matter how fantastic you insist it is or how qualified the author is. good ev matters, but being able to explain evidence matters more.

Olivia Chilkoti Paradigm

4 rounds

  1. Introduction: I competed for Durham Academy for five years, the last three of which were in LD. I competed on the National Circuit (Holy Cross, Yale, GMU, Emory, Harvard etc.) as well as the North Carolina circuit. As such I’m familiar with progressive and traditional argumentation. I attended GDS and most of my attitudes towards debate stem from there. I’m a first year out at UChicago (where I do not debate). For email chains use
  2. In Round Etiquette: I expect that you are polite at all times. Passion is encouraged but personal attacks will result in me tanking your speaks. If you are debating someone who is clearly less experienced than you, be kind. Debate is an educational activity and being unfair/rude/abusive significantly reduces its educational potential for all parties involved. Do not be offensive. I will not vote for discriminatory or offensive positions.
  3. Speed: I prefer to flow what I hear. If you’re flashing/emailing docs I still want to receive it, but I will try to evaluate based on the flow. Start at a conversational speed and increase from there. Slow down for tags, cites, theory, and super dense phil. If you do not slow down or speak more clearly after the first two times I ask, I will start to dock your speaks.
  4. Run whatever you want: Just because I did or didn’t run an argument doesn’t mean I won’t vote for it if it’s executed and explained well. I share that information merely to let you know what I am most familiar with.
  5. Argumentation Styles: I have zero tolerance for tricks — I think they’re unfair and rob debate of its educational value. Plans/CPs/Disads are fine. I only ever ran theory as a way to check abuse in round. As a result that is the limit of my confident ability to evaluate theory, and I’d rather not judge rounds that collapse to theory/high theory. FAIRNESS IS NOT A VOTER IT IS AN INTERNAL LINK TO EDUCATION. I’m familiar with critical positions but wasn’t a K debater so take that as you will. Because I see K’s as an indictment of problematic practices/mindsets, I will evaluate it before theory, which I conceive of as rules/norms for the debate space. You’re probably going to have a hard time convincing me to vote for a non-topical case. I have little to no experience with performative debate, but I think it’s absolutely fascinating so if it's what you do best, go for it. My favorite cases are framework heavy philosophy cases; that being said my in-depth philosophy knowledge is uneven/esoteric so as always please explain things clearly.
  6. Judge intervention: It is your job to make my decision clear for me. I will not substitute my knowledge of the topic of any given author/lit to supplement unclear argumentation, and you should not assume what authors I am familiar with. I will however intervene if there is blatant abuse. I will also call for cards if I feel that’s necessary.
  7. WEIGH YOUR ARGUMENTS: I want to see comparison of whatever framing is going on on both sides, impact calculus that links back to framing, and EXPLICIT VOTERS IN THE 2NR/2AR. (You should probably number them as well)

Beth Cukier Paradigm

3 rounds

Update for Glenbrooks: The following is still mostly true. Treat me as a very a traditional judge who is trying to learn about tech. I will listen and evaluate tech but probably not as well as you would like. I have not learned speed so go at most at a fast converstional pace.

Hello, my name is Beth Cukier. I did Old School LD back when I was in high school and Parli in college. I am a still learning how to be a tech judge but am doing my best. The following are my main views as translated by my son:

In General:

put me on email chains:

Don't Spread


Be Respectful

Spend time debating the Resolution

Minimize Jargon, explain what you mean, just because a word is in this paradigm does not mean I'll remember what it means

Implicate everything

Framework/Phil debate:

Understand basic FWs (Util, Social Contract, Kant, Structural Violence, Rawls)

Besides that EXPLAIN everything

Remember to impact back to framework

Don't assume I have previous knowledge on anything except the frameworks above

Counterplans / DAs / Plans

Do these if you want to

If you want to use the following terms, explain them instead. There are suggested phrasings courtesy of my son. This is not a comprehensive list.

PERM -> The counter-plan actually affirms/is better if we do......

SOLVENCY DEFICIT -> Does not fix anything

COMPETITIVE -> Does not affirm

CONDITIONAL -> I may abandon this advocacy and ignore this flow

UNCONDITIONAL ->I may not abandon this advocacy

------------------------Novi can stop reading, I will only evaluate the below in JV and varsity rounds---------------------------


I am still learning but will do my best to evaluate.

Legit T is good and I will easily buy it

If theory is a wash I will turn to substance. My version of a wash probably happens more often than yours.

Continue the substance debate. Do not rely on theory (see above)

Try to keep it to not blatantly frivolous

I default RVI, drop the debater, Education and Fairness are Voters, and Competing Interps

Try not to use other voters, if you do, be sure to make the justification clear

I will not "gut check," for other reasonability brightlines, add them as a plank to the counter interp ex. a reasonability brightline of substantive abuse becomes a counter interp of "I may do x if I am not substantively abusive" OR explain why there is no abuse on the shell directly

If you want to use the following terms, explain them instead. There are suggested phrasings courtesy of my son. This is not a comprehensive list.

GIVE ME THE RVI -> If I win on theory, vote for me even though I didn't initiate it

REASONABILITY -> Do not use, see above

COMPETING INTERPS -> Do not use, I assume this structure but might forget what the word means

TOPICAL - Actually affirming the resolution


Some of these become very hard to evaluate and buy, use cation, if I don't understand it, I will not evaluate it

I prefer post-fiat to pre-fiat but will try to evaluate both

I evaluate these similar to a new framework and a counterplan

no Wilderson

If you want to use the following terms, explain them instead. There are suggested phrasings courtesy of my son. This is not a comprehensive list.

PERM - the K still actually affirms/ affirms if we do__________ because...

ALT - the counter advocacy

REPS -what they said/did


I will most likely miss them

I will most likely not understand how to implement them

If they are used to prevent clash, I won't like them

Daniel Diamond Paradigm

7 rounds

I did policy debate at Oak Park and River Forest High School and then at the University of Kentucky. I know that debate takes a lot of preparation, and want debaters to make whatever arguments they feel are best with the time that they have. I try to do my best to not intervene in the round, but unfortunately, we are all human and bias always plays a part in the judging process.

I enjoy judging cordial competitors, who ask good cross-x questions, and who have fun making arguments that they want to make.

Dean Doneen Paradigm

6 rounds

Add me to the email chain:

I coach LD Debate at Roseville Area High School in MN

Speed is fine under most circumstances, probably not great to plow through Deleuze at top speed though. I'll say clear/slow 3 times max.

Please debate the resolution

27.5 is average speaks

I will not vote for a prioris (this doesn't include thought out deductive argument like an amoral state NC)

If you have a dog, please include a picture at the bottom of your speech doc

Policy Making

- Advocacy needs to be clear. This doesn't necessarily mean a plan text.

- I won't weigh for you

- I don't like Bostrom

Critical Theory

- I'm familiar many authors on this subject, but don't assume that. If you don't explain an author correctly or make some mistake I won't do the work for you to get it back correctly. If you catch your opponent doing this and point out some contradiction, however, this will be very persuasive and you'll get speaker points for it.

- You should have a ROB

- Jean Baudrillard ruined my life, and for that I am forever grateful

- I'm very uncomfortable judging debate rounds centered around identity politics

- Just because an activity produces meaning (a sign) does not mean it is harmful or "co-opts" something. Signs are an important part of communication, if not the entirety of it.


- I default to reasonability, no RVIs, drop the argument, and it is getting harder every day to convince me otherwise.

- Sometimes I just won't vote for your shell if I think it's dumb.

- I don't believe that Theory is not a strategy. If abuse is real, go right ahead.

- If you consider yourself a theory/tricks debater, I am not the judge for you

- I will not vote for disclosure theory in LD. However, disclosing is probably a good thing to do.

- I will not vote on potential abuse.

Lay Debate (MN Circuit)

- This is absolutely fine. In fact it often seems silly to me to get so technical about this activity.

- I don't really care much about the value debate. You could literally just say your value is "good" and I'd buy it

- The standard/criterion debate DOES matter, very much so.

- Being easy to weigh isn't a real reason why your philosophy is true

David Dosch Paradigm

7 rounds

I debated for four years at John Marshall High School in Los Angeles, California. I qualified to the TOC my junior and senior years, attaining a career total of 8 bids. I am the Co-Director of the The Debate Intensive. I am a conflict for any competitors on this list:

Speed is fine. I don't care if you sit or stand, feel free to lay down if that’s how you're most comfortable. I come into the round with very few rigid preconceptions about what arguments should be read. Nearly all of the defaults outlined below can be changed by explicit arguments to the contrary. I will not blatantly intervene against any position (save for those which are morally repugnant).

As a competitor I ran primarily policy style arguments, so I feel very comfortable evaluating these types of debates. Robust evidence comparison is a tool that I feel is very underutilized. Identifying power-tagged evidence and pointing out intuitive logical gaps in an advantage can be just as effective as reading a hefty carded prep-out. I would say that I am fine with more conditionality than most judges. Feel free to read condo bad theory, just know that it’s a slight uphill battle.

The bulk of the K debate should not be centered around arbitrary assertions about the "role of the ballot." I absolutely loathe the state of K debate in contemporary LD. I will reward competitors who can make it through the round without using the phrase ROB or relying on the contrived pre/post-fiat metaphor, with extra speaker points. Rather than relying on Trifonas 03 as your ace in the hole, you should make arguments which actually explain why your criticism is a prior question to the hypothetical consequences of the 1AC. Many kritiks suffer from links which are overly generic and alternatives which are horribly convoluted. Remedy this by pulling specific lines from the Affirmative and by being able to provide an intelligible explanation of your alternative in CX. I'll vote on your silly K tricks (floating PIK, VTL > Extinction, Alt solves the case) just be prepared to defend them theoretically.

Performance/K Affs
I gave this topic a separate heading because it presents unique challenges that may raise more nuanced questions. I am fine with performances and non-topical positions; often they introduce very interesting discussions and literature bases into the round which might otherwise be over looked. I would prefer that your position be at least in the direction of the topic, but that’s no mandate. Please defend something tangible. By tangible I do not mean realistic (feel free to burn it down, just please do tell us what that means!), rather I ask that you defend a consistent position so your opponent can formulate a coherent strategy. I will vote on T. I think topical version of the Aff arguments are pretty close to being silver bullets, so be sure you are winning impact turns to topicality or some other offensive reason why the topical version of your position is bad.

I default to viewing theory as an issue of competing interpretations. To me this means that you need offense on theory to either beat it back, or, assuming you've justified it, gain access to an RVI. Offense on the theory flow can come in the form of turns to your opponent's standards or a counter interpretation with standards of its own. I do not believe that competing interpretations necessitates an explicit counter-interp. If you want to justify an alternate understanding of competing interpretations, go for it, just explain the effect it has on the theory debate. To me reasonability means that winning sufficient defense on your opponent's abuse story is enough to beat back theory. Again, if your understanding of reasonability differs from the above explanation, warrant it and impact it. I default to drop the debater and no RVIs. As mentioned above, you must have offense in order to access an RVI. I will not vote on the RVI + I meet double whammy or any similarly preposterous shenanigans.

I'll touch on the issue of "spikes" here because it fits more neatly under the theory heading than any other. I strongly dislike spike-heavy strategies that rely on deception and trickery to snag a few easy ballots. Please slow down for short spikes. Though not mandatory, it would be greatly appreciated if you numbered your spikes. If your 1AR is four minutes of extending 1AC blips, expect very poor speaks. I am extremely receptive to the argument that spikes needn't be answered until they are extended. I will not tolerate CX evasiveness about the implication of spikes. Answer your opponent's questions honestly or face the wrath of the loss 25.

Ethical Frameworks
I default to a paradigm of epistemic modesty where I assign offense credence to the extent that the framework it links back to is won. I do not view frameworks as being entirely preclusive impact filters. I find framework heavy strategies that concede the entirety of the opposing contention to be unpersuasive. I find framework heavy strategies to be more effective when coupled with case turns/case defense. If you are going to read a generic NC against a plan, please read a link specific to the plan just as you would for a DA or a Kritik.

Be comparative with warrants for your framework. Don't just insist that your framework justifications "come first", instead address the differences between your frameworks at the warrant level. I enjoy good framework clash and appreciate the strategic value of contesting framework.


My range is 25-30. An average performance will earn a 27. Good disclosure practices will earn you extra speaks (like a .5 boost or something).

Maceon Downer Paradigm

7 rounds

I’m a very simple judge, not many presences or bias towards different types of arguments. I am good with understanding theory or T. My decisions are made simply based on what arguments are won on the flow. Technicalities are a big thing for me, if you make drops or fail to properly extend arguments I will not consider them. I have over 5 years of judging experience in Policy, LD. PF.

Nick Eikelbrener Paradigm

7 rounds

My name is Nick and I debated for Princeton High School. I graduated in 2018 and Glenbrooks will be my first tournament judging on the 2018/19 season. If you need to contact me, email me at or message me on Facebook.

Short Version: read what you want, be clear, and don't exclude anybody.

Long Version:

I can flow most speeds as long as you’re clear, but if your top speed is slightly unclear, please slow it down a bit. If you consider yourself fast, starting at 50% and working your way up would be appreciated.

I don’t count flashing as prep, but please don’t steal prep. Flex prep is good but I won’t pay as close attention so if a question is important try to get my attention.

I have some defaults but these can all be changed as I try to be as tab as possible. I default to tech over truth, truth testing, drop the debater on T, drop the argument on theory, and no RVI's. Out-of-round arguments are OK generally, and I won't hack for it, but disclosure is a good norm. As soon as you take a stance on one of these issues, the default goes away.

Here’s some specifics:

Theory- I’m most comfortable judging theory debates, mainly because I had to judge more of them between Daniel Shahab and Daniel Lin than I can count. I’m fine with any shell, but if you find yourself considering something like font color theory, I can almost guarantee you there’s a better shell, and your speaks will reflect that (same goes for reading >4 shells). Explicit, extended weighing between standards is the best way to get my ballot on a theory debate. Anything from skep takes out theory to reading meta-meta theory is fine as long as you justify why you’re able to do that.

LARP/Policy Args- I'm a big fan of LARP cases because I feel like they avoid trying to mislead or trick your opponent, so if you've done your research, go for it. I won't knock you for reading the same generic util framework as everyone else. Please don't read a 2 minute plan/fw and then a 4 minute underview. Creative counterplans that solve the aff are cool, I'm fine with condo (unless you lose a theory debate on it), and any DA is fine as long as it has a structure. Perms need a net benefit. If you go top speed or are heavy on jargon, please have an overview or slower explanation of the overall story of your case to contextualize everything else.

K's- really broad category, but I'm a fan of most things that fall under it. As long as you set up an explicit ROB and have a link/impact/alt structure (or similar structure for aff K's), I'll follow it. It really helps if you delineate the sections while spreading (e.g. a quick pause between two different parts of the K).

I like to think I have a pretty fair background in the literature bases people draw from for LD K’s, but err on the side of caution. When it comes down to it, hopefully you do a good enough job explaining the K that my background doesn’t matter.

Performance- big fan. You do you, and if you want to win, give some kind of reasoning. You'll probably get high speaks regardless. The flipside is that I'll evaluate T-Framework, Cap, and other generics as responses. If you link some further reading on whatever topic you're addressing in the speech doc, I'll do my best to check it out.

Phil- my personal favorite type of debate, so if you’ve got creative philosophical approaches to the topic, please bring them. For reference, my favorite case I ever read was a Hegel AC on the 2018 Jan-Feb topic. That said, please go light on the jargon where possible. I’ve noticed a lot of cases centered around recent continental philosophy that have average word lengths around 9. Please don’t do that. But if you like Kant, Hobbes, Fanon, Aquinas, Butler, or anyone in between, I’d like to hear it.

Tricks- my least favorite type of debate, but I feel like it’s strategic, so I’ll vote for you all the same. I’ve got a very solid background in LD tricks, so I’ll catch the one sentence Resolved A-Priori you read in the middle of a paragraph if you emphasize the wording enough. I won’t read the speech doc to fish out each and every trick though, and if I miss it I won’t vote on it in a later speech. Truth testing and then a list of a prioris is fine, I feel like that’s as clean as tricks can get. My main gripe is people being asses in CX and while extending stuff. I really hate super elusive CX (what’s an a priori?) or debaters acting condescending to their opponents because they dropped a trick. If you debate tricks, just be upfront about what they are: cheap ways to get a ballot. That way, your speaks will be fine and I won’t be upset.


  • Don’t let anything else in this paradigm fool you- speaker points are assigned based entirely on laptop stickers (laptop stand stickers do not count)

  • If you extend a skep trigger or something to similar effect and fail to say “You activated my trap card” I will consider you a grimy tricks gremlin and assign speaks as such

  • I’ve only seem someone shout at full force in round once. I’d prefer if it wasn’t twice

  • If you can think of more than 5 responses to Sinhababu I’ll give you 0.1 speak per argument (counting the original 5).

  • If your opponent reads “all negative interps are counter-interps” and you read RVIs good, a bunch of theory, and then argue that they don’t get to add standards in later speeches to their “implicit interps” I will vote for you with a 30

  • If you begin the AC with “Welcome to Trump’s America” I expect you to say “Welcome back to Trump’s America” and “Welcome once again to Trump’s America” in the subsequent speeches to avoid confusion on where we are

  • Reciting (from memory) the entire intro to Avatar: The Last Airbender guarantees you at least a 28.9

  • I believe in you

Evan Engel Paradigm

7 rounds

Email Chain:

I debated LD for 3 years for Harvard-Westlake School (2014-17) - 13 career bids, Dukes and Bailey 17', won some tournaments/broke at the TOC. I loved debate because of the variety. I could be a fan of any argument you want to read, provided it 1) is explained in a way I can understand and 2) has an explicit reason why that means you should win. I like when debaters appreciate the space they've been given and use it to do what they like. This means engage in the resolution and your speaking time however you want whether that means dense ethical philosophy, debate theory, or critical debate. Just do what you find meaningful even if that just means doing what gives you the best chance to win. My biggest preference in terms of what you run is that you make good arguments, which you understand and execute well. I hated judges that say "I won't vote on X because I disagree with/don't like it" so I try not to be one, but I reserve the right to hold debaters to a reasonable standard of quality argumentation.


You must share your speech docs with your opponent. Flashing, emailing, pocketbox, whatever method of sharing you prefer as long as it's more effective than looking over your shoulder.

I think disclosure is very good for debate - this is not to say you cannot beat disclosure theory in front of me - it just means you will have a very hard time.

Prep ends when the flash drive leaves the computer/the email is sent


I like good K debate a lot. An NR containing a well explained, and well impacted K that doesn't forget about the case is a good thing. An NR containing a K you've never read the lit for is hair pullingly frustrating. Ask yourself if you can explain your position without the use of buzzwords, if the answer is no, you risk being in the latter category.

I'm not generally a huge fan of the 4 minute K overview followed by line by line constituted primarily by "that was in the overview". Take time to clearly explain and implicate the links/impacts/framing arguments and contextualize them to the aff.

Non-T/Performance Affs

I believe people should be able to do whatever they want with their affirmative, and I will by no means auto vote you down for not being topical. That said, T/Framework was my favorite argument in high school, and I will be hard pressed to vote aff absent a robust defense against it - whether that comes in the form of impact turns, a counter-interp, or something else is up to you. I find myself voting aff during these debates more often than not for two reasons - 1. The NR on framework is more whining about how hard the aff was to prep than it is clear impact comparison 2. The NR doesn't engage the 1ar arguments properly - the 2nr should both deal with the warrant AND implication of these arguments because too often I have on my flow "this doesn't make any sense" without an explanation of why or why that matters.


I think these can be some of the best debates around. I would love you if you did good evidence comparison and comparison of links to the impact rather than doing superficial weighing of impacts. I've read DA's, CP's, and Plans (basically every aff round), so I like to think I know most of the lingo and the function. The straight turn and impact turn are both deeply underutilized arguments in LD. I'm sick of judging 1ARs that are 80% defense against the DA.

I'm not a fan of plans bad theory arguments. I think you should either read a T shell or a more nuanced reason why their type of plan text is bad.


Your interp needs evidence, standards and voting issues. A good T debate is one of my favorite debates and should involve a deep comparison of the world of debate each interp justifies, not just competing 6-points of the limits standard. Textuality as a voter just barely meets the standard for coherent argument, i'll vote on it, but it will be defeated easily in front of me. RVIs on T are not a thing.


I'm not a fan of frivolous theory, i'll vote on it, but there is a low bar to answering it. If you're struggling to figure out whether a certain shell is too frivolous for me to give the benefit of the doubt, don't read it. I am extremely persuaded by infinite regress/arbitrariness arguments against the vast majority of spec shells.

Ethical Philosophy/Framework

I am far and away the least versed in this part of LD. I'm not unwilling to vote on anything you choose to read, just understand that if it's more complicated than the simple end of ripstein or util, you will need to explain it to me like I'm a distracted 5 year old. You should know that I generally speaking am a firm believer that comparative worlds is the best interpretation for debate, as a result, I will likely not love your burdens aff/whatever postdating related trend is popular.


I will vote for these arguments if I absolutely have to, but I greatly dislike them. Chances are if you're winning in front of me on a blippy theory spike or an apriori it's because the rest of the debate was literally impossible to evaluate and you will not be happy with your speaks because of it.

Madison Estes Paradigm

6 rounds


I have done all debate events, but I have substantially more experience with LD (both traditional and progressive). Four time state qualifier and two time national qualifier, once in Extemp and once in Worlds. While competing in Worlds, my team placed sixth and I placed fourth speaker.


I will judge the round how it should be judged according to Worlds norms and standards. Don’t try to be too limiting with framing, definitions or models. I will not evaluate the round using any other influences (LD, CX, PF). Ideal speed would be about conversational, and spreading will result in a a reduction of speaker points, speaking quickly to cover everything may not. I love POIs when done tastefully. Don’t stand up constantly with the sole purpose of distracting your opponent, but everybody needs to be asking them (not just the same team members). I also think that using POIs as more than just questions is a phenomenal strategy (20% of your overall rank).



I prefer to have a framework to weigh the round with. Some sort of weighing mechanism makes the round more clear. I tend to evaluate different impacts though that weighing mechanism presented and won.


I need warrants and impacts. I will vote on most anything not obviously offensive (racism, sexism, homophobia ect.). While I have some familiarity with K's, it is not anything close to being extensive. If you decide to run one, you will probably have to give me more analysis and slow down more for claims and warrants (adding me to an email chain or flashing it won't hurt). I also require clash.


A framework is preferred, but not necessary. There needs to be clash and the other team's case must be addressed. My least favorite debates are those that heavily center on only one case because that usually results in a purely defense/offense debate.


I would rank myself as about a 7 as far as speed goes. Answers to questions-

I don't care where you sit

I don't care if you time on your phone

I don't need to see if your laptop/phone is on airplane mode

I don't care if you sit or stand for cross ex

Josh Evers Paradigm

7 rounds

Um, so, like, so, ummmm, so ... yeah.

He/Him/His pronouns

Add me to the email chain or involve me in flash trades ->

I guess I should put my experience here:

I debated 3 years at Appleton East in PF, competing both in state and in the national circuit. Since graduation (2-3 years now), I have coached LD mainly on the national circuit.

General beliefs

How to win my ballot

I default to an offense-defense paradigm to evaluate rounds (maybe that's bad, terminal defense is a thing, but I generally have a high threshold for terminal d). This has a few implications for how I make my decision. First, I love turns, especially if they are not just blips in the rebuttal. I will happily just vote on your opponents' case if you turn each of their arguments and extend those turns. Second, if you only extend defensive arguments and your opponent extends one offensive argument I will vote for them even if they do not point that out.

Above all, I try not to intervene. I do as little work for you as possible, I flow very well, and I put a lot of thought into my decision. I judge because I like doing it and I think Public Forum specifically needs more flow judges that want to be there.


I do not care about how fast you talk in PF or local LD. For nat circuit LD, I can usually handle a 7-8 dependent on how tired or hungry I am (If it is an 8 am round, I'll prolly be a bit rusty so that that with a grain of salt). If I can't understand you, I will yell "Clear" (yeah, this almost never happens, y'all are pretty good at understanding when I'm tired). Jargon is good as it usually helps me understand what you are saying. If it stops being helpful, my expression will let you know.


I guess I'm kinda picky about extensions. Just saying "extend this piece of evidence" is not gonna be enough in my eyes. I will only extend evidence that is warranted, especially if it is key to your offense.


I will reward debaters for clarity, humor, tech skill, strategy, and topic knowledge. Here is my scale: 30 - You were amazing, I will remember your performance six months after the round. 29 - You were great, I was impressed by your performance, but not overwhelmed. 28 - You were good, but there is room for improvement. 27- You were below average or didn't disclose :[ . 26 - You were not so good. 25 and below - You said something offensive.


Technical Beliefs about PF

EVIDENCE (updated 4/28/19)

- I've done a lot of thinking about evidence quality in PF specifically. I've come to the realization that paraphrasing is not just bad for the debate community (because it allows for power-tagging, misconstruing evidence, the whole shebang) it is also intellectually dishonest and should be punished. If you paraphrase cards in front of me in the constructive or rebuttal, I will regard that evidence as an analytic that has no empirical backing and you will likely get an L. If you don't have a card cut and instead pull up a pdf that makes it impossible to determine what you actually read in the round, I will also consider that an analytic and you will likely get an L. This is not negotiable. Cut cards, ask your coach the proper formatting, and PF will be much better. Strike me if you don't want to engage in norms that every other form of debate has practiced since at least the 70's.


- In order for me to evaluate arguments in the final focus, they MUST be in the summary. This includes offense from case, turns from the rebuttal or defense you want to extend. If you want to win with me at the back of the room, you must be consistent.


- I do not believe that that second speaking team must return and answer the entirety of the first rebuttal as the time skew is much too great. I do think that this second speaking team should adapt to the round and answer major offense that could be damning to them in the speech.


- Plans and counterplans have their own place in PF and if justified by the language in the resolution - I'm okay with. I am not very sympathetic to "you can't have a plan/counterplan in PF" or other rules based arguments unless well laid out. Impact the breaking of the rules by the opposing team or find a better argument against it.


- I am in favor of unconventional argumentation. As a debater, I frequently made arguments about nuclear war and extinction. I am happy to vote for big (albeit unrealistic) impacts as long as there is a solid link chain. I will vote for any type of argument, including critiques, performances, plans, theory, etc. and have had some decent experience evaluating these types of arguments in national circuit LD. Read my LD paradigm for thoughts on those more progressive arguments.

- I am not in favor of violent argumentation. I will not vote for racist, sexist, homophobic, or other oppressive arguments, and I might intervene against teams making them. A surefire way to ensure that I vote against a team making an oppressive argument is to say: "As a judge you have an ethical obligation to vote against arguments like these because they exact violence on people that you are supposed to protect in this space."

- PF specifically needs more T/Theory arguments. Too many of y'all are getting away with really bad interpretations of debate. I am not afraid to pull the trigger on disclosure good arguments and if you're not disclosing, particularly on the national circuit, you're going to have a rough time with me at the back of the room. Spending the extra minute to disclose your positions is not that tough and has never hampered good debates in LD and Policy. I expect the same in PF.

More evidence stuff that won't cost you an L but might lower you speaks

- During the round evidence should be exchanged quickly and often. I prefer to use an email chain at the beginning of rounds (yes, even in pf - y'all gotta stop power tagging every damn card you read), but if you don't, evidence will be exchanged off of prep time unless they read it during a speech or crossfire. If a team does not have a piece of evidence available I will disregard it. I will call for evidence if not in an email chain after the round in four scenarios.

First, if during the round a debater tells me to look at specific evidence I will ask to see it. If the evidence is misrepresented I will reevaluate the argument that the evidence relates to as though it had never been read, which likely means that I will no longer be comfortable voting on that argument.

Second, if you cite a piece of evidence that I have read and it is blatantly misrepresented I'll want to see it to see who has the correct interpretation. For example, if a debater reports the wrong date for an event for which I know the correct date, provided that the date matters for the argument and the argument is made a voting issue, I'll need to see the source. In this case, do not be tempted to falsify the date on the evidence, I will google it to make sure that what you give me matches the actual evidence.

Third, I'll call for a piece of evidence if it's obviously false. For instance, I might want to read evidence that states that during the round global nuclear war broke out and everyone outside of the room is dead.

Fourth, if there is a "tie" I will ask for evidence from both teams. (This occurs when neither team weighs any of their arguments, extends clean offense, or has an obviously bigger impact.) If either team has misrepresented evidence pertaining to their key arguments I will vote against them. If each team has a similar quality of evidence I will intervene in the best way I can.

Ok, if you’re a pfer, this is where you can check out (read the bottom if y'all feel like getting some extra speaker points tho).


Great, you made it this far, congrats.


Bad topicality debates are just the negative whining that “the aff is obviously untopical because we didn’t have any evidence prepared against it.” This is not a winning argument whatsoever. To more easily win a T debate, debaters should have two things:

1. A clear, exclusive interpretation of the resolution. This doesn't necessarily need to be carded.

2. An impact showing why your interpretation is better, whether that be a clear disadvantage to the opposing team’s interp or advantages to your interpretation. This includes clear impact calculus and comparison to outline which definition is superior for the activity and why.

I usually don't default to reasonability but can be persuaded to fit check interps. I often find myself in debates where t isn't really an issue, but often times negatives don't realize when they are ahead on the t debate. Either way, do what you do.


Bad, cheaty cp's are really bad, but good ones I really enjoy hearing. Don't be afraid to go for the PIC, process, or consult CP if the aff undercovers it. Don't let my predispositions decide the debate, particularly when the flow dictates it. Counterplan theory is a good way to answer this. I default to rejecting the argument and not the debater. Also, seeing as people in state (WI) don't really run counterplans that well, I need to hear a net benefit to the aff. If you don't have that it's going to be an uphill battle to win my ballot.


I am not here to listen to Jake Nebel's stupid nonhypocritical theory. If you read that in front of me I will not be happy. (This is also the same dude that says stock issues like T and Theory shouldn't be a voting issue in LD. Stop listening to the garbage he spouts.)

I weigh theory in an offense-defense paradigm. If the negative gives some crappy answer to a theory argument that only has defense, don't be afraid to go for it. If you have the only offense, you'll win. Generally, I think theoretical objections are a reason to reject the argument (except for condo), but I can be persuaded otherwise if you show me a reason how the other team has caused irreparable damage to the fairness of the round. I don’t think that theory necessarily comes down to a debate of competing interpretations as it should in T debates, but if a question comes up as to where a bright line should be drawn between what is (for example) a process counterplan and what is not, you should be prepared to provide that bright line so that your theoretical objection has a clear basis as to what is and what is not legitimate. I do believe the negative in particular gains a lot from defending an interpretation of what is legitimate (especially as it pertains to conditionality). Additionally, slow down on the theory debate. I don't have your old ass condo block file in front of me like you do. If you just blow through like 5 subpoints in just as many seconds, I will probably not catch all of it. If I don't catch it, I won't be flowing the "extension" of it in later speeches.


Typically, I see K debates as a double-edged sword. Usually, teams either are great at what they’re doing and have blocked responses to typical 2AC answers and know how to employ those responses at later points in the debate OR a team throws together a 1NC shell and thinks if they say “it’s better to have no life than to live one with no value” enough times then they win. Don’t be the latter team. On the other hand, affirmatives should be far less fearful of the K. It truly isn’t all that much more than a uniqueness counterplan and a generic disad (most of the time). That being said here are the things I should see from a successful negative team debating the K:

1. A clear explanation of what the alternative does and why it solves

2. A link that is specific to the affirmative

3. An impact that is explained as per the context of the debate; the impact debate is oft-ignored by the negative

An explanation of an alternative shouldn’t just be “we break down capitalism.” You need to explain to me how. If I don’t know what the world of the alt is like it makes it hard for me to vote on it. A link specific to the affirmative should be more than just cherry-picking a representation from an impact in the 1AC. Tell me specifically how the aff presentation of that representation is especially problematic. The impact is where this debate is won and lost. Whether the impact comes from extinction, turning aff solvency, structural violence, etc. you need to tell me why your impact is worse in the context of what the impact to the affirmative is. Just because you’re reading a K doesn’t excuse you from doing impact calc. Do your K tricks and whatnot too. Floating PIKs, serial policy failure, etc.

K affs

I'm cool with them. I have had limited experience running and judging k affs, so take that with a grain of salt. T/Fw is usually a good response to K Affs, but that may just be my experience speaking.

As far as clash of rev debates go, I have little experience adjudicating or debating them. I'll try to judge them as best I can and have judged a fair number of them on the LD nat circuit, but do not construe that with me being comfortable with them (though I will try my best to interfere as little as possible)


A good disad should have a clear link and impact and be able to turn the impacts to the affirmative. It's cool if they act as the net benefit to the cp or on its own. Using the DA to turn the case is prolly a good thing. I love a good politics DA debate (but this congress is weird so the link and il is gonna be crucial to win).

Phil, Skep, and the like

- yeah, so ummmm...

- This is the thing I am least comfortable adjudicating. I'll evaluate it the best I can and have voted on phil plenty of times, so don't discourage that from letting you do your thing, but ... yeah.

One last thing,

"'"If you haven't disclosed you will not get above a 27."- Akhil Jalan' - Kedrick Stumbris" - Joshua Evers.

- Plz put me on the email chain -->


Judge person

Tom Evnen Paradigm

1 rounds

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

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

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

Trent Gilbert Paradigm

7 rounds

For when you inevitably ask for my email for the email chain, my email is


Stanford University '21
Valley HS '17
Conflicts: Valley HS, Southwoods HS

I debated LD for 5 years and coached for 2 years at West Des Moines Valley High School. During my time as a debater, I attended the TOC my sophomore, junior and senior year and attended Nationals my freshman, sophomore, junior and senior year. I acquired 12 bids total during my career, cleared at the TOC my senior year, and was awarded ninth at Nationals my senior year. I've also worked at NSD, TDC, and VBI as an instructor.

If I had to guess, I think I probably approach rounds most similarly to TJ Foley, Leah Shapiro, Evan McKinney, and Jason Smith since they all influenced my understanding of debate in some way. Evan and TJ because we were pretty close teammates that prepped together and debated similarly, Leah because she was most involved in helping me prep my Junior and Senior Year/influenced my strategic vision a ton and Jason because he had a consistent presence in my career as a debater (and even as a coach). Dave McGinnis and Christian Tarsney also had an incredibly formative influence on myself as a debater (and person), though I think I probably approach theory debates slightly differently than they do.


I will evaluate any arguments you make in the round so long as they are not blatantly offensive. I have found that I am often more compelled to vote on line-by-line comparison in rounds rather than overviews that are not directly implicated as responses to arguments on the flow. That said, an overview clarifying the way line-by-line argumentation functions in the context of the round as a whole generally makes it a lot more clear for me on how to evaluate certain arguments.

It was really maddening to me when a judge didn't seem to care about making the correct decision, so please know I'll make my best attempt to fairly and accurately judge your round. I'm okay with you asking me questions after the round about my decision so long as they don't hold up the tournament and your questions don't become insulting to me or your opponent.

UPDATE: I guess I will also add here that I've decided I will no longer intervene against any theory (yes, this does mean I will vote on disclosure theory, an update from my initial paradigm)— this is not to say I'd like to hear either disclosure theory or brackets theory though, and you'll be quite displeased by the speaks you receive if you go for disclosure or brackets bad and really didn't need to.


I will try to default on paradigmatic issues to what's assumed by the debaters (for example, if no one reads a fairness voter, but both debaters talk about fairness like its an end goal, I'll evaluate the round with the assumption that fairness is a voter. To clarify, though, I won't assume fairness is a voter if one debater contests whether or not it is and points out that no fairness voter was read). I also will evaluate internal links on standards if they are embedded implicitly (within reason) to the standard.

If no one seems to take a stance on any issue, here are my defaults:
1) I default to fairness and education are voters.
2) I default to drop the argument.
3) I default to no RVIs (and that you need to win a counterinterp to win with an RVI)
4) I default to competing interpretations. With that said, I will assume the counterinterp is the converse of the interpretation even if no counterinterp is explicitly read. I think this avoids the regressive theory trick about needing a counterinterp to win under competing interps and also makes the round possible to resolve in a muddled theory debate.
5) I default to metatheory comes before other theory.
6) I default to T and theory being on the same layer.

Trust me, though; you should address paradigmatic questions if they're of even vague relevance. If I'm in a situation where I have to default, I'll be pretty frustrated.

A few more things you should be cognizant of:

1) I am not the best at flowing- I catch the majority of arguments made but usually not all of them. if you are reading a dense position filled with analytics and particularly theory, I recommend slowing down. Also, for very technical debates it is best to signpost clearly (it's maddening when I'm trying to flow a speech and I realize the debater suddenly started talking about another layer of the flow without telling me). If you don't do this, there is a decent chance I will miss a few of your arguments.
2) While I read mostly framework heavy positions as a debater, this does not mean I will automatically understand your position- I expect you to make your framework clear enough to me in rebuttals that I feel comfortable explaining the ballot story after the round.
3) When reading Kritiks, it's best to have a well-explained ballot story. I think Kritiks that are well executed are often very compelling, but often Kritiks go poorly explained. Also keep in mind that I probably will not be up to date about the latest norms tied to critical debate and most definitely won't extrapolate implications from your Kritik that weren't explicitly stated in the round, and I've found this particularly applies in reference to pre-fiat implications of a K that are either not explained or barely explained (consistent with my general interpretation of arguments).
4) I rarely took the more than 3-off approach when negating as a debater, but that isn't to say I don't appreciate general LARPy tendencies. I think disads that are pretty specific to the topic with unique impacting that isn't strictly utilitarian are pretty strategic and of course T is a great strategy as well.
5) This is tied in with the don't be offensive part of my paradigm, but I won't vote on anything advocating the exclusion of a certain member of the community (this includes your opponent, your opponent's coach, Dave McGinnis, and anyone else in the community). It will make me particularly unlikely to vote for you as well.

Beyond this, feel free to ask me questions before the round.

Mark Gorthey Paradigm

7 rounds


TOC 2019 Conflicts: Walt Whitman HS, Scarsdale HS, Westview RS, Hunter MN

I debated LD on the local and national circuit for Westlake High School in Texas, graduating in 2013. I coached Scarsdale High School, and currently coach for Walt Whitman High School.

I will vote on any argument so long as the conclusion follows from the premises–my primary aim is to operate under the shared assumptions held by both debaters, so I will avoid "defaulting" on any framing issue at all costs and will detest being forced to do so. I will evaluate arguments as they are presented on the flow, so I will always prioritize explicit over implicit comparison made between arguments. If you'd like me to be on an email chain, send everything to

Morgan Grosch Paradigm

5 rounds


I debated for three years at Cedar Park High School in Austin, Texas and graduated in 2017. I qualified to the TOC twice, making it to octos my senior year. I also qualified to TFA state three times. I take a pretty open view on debate. I read predominantly framework but I also did K/Larp debate up until my senior year. I will evaluate almost all arguments (not those that are morally repugnant i.e. racism, sexism, homophobic, transphobic etc.) given a reason to do so.

Most of this stuff is my presumptions, but that being said they are just defaults. If I have to vote on a default of mine I will be frustrated.


I find unique, nuanced framework debates very interesting. I think that framing needs to be actually justified, but I am very open to what counts as a framework, especially when it comes to arguments that are usually viewed as "K" arguments.


I default competing interpretations and no RVIs.


Same as theory, but I presume drop the debater.


Great! Please don't assume I know super dense post-modern jargon though. Just explain things and I will be fine.




Definitely not the biggest fan, but I won't completely disregard them. If a spike has a warrant* and is dropped, I'll vote on it if it is extended. However, If I don't understand your really incomprehensible permissibility trigger I won’t vote on it.

General stuff:

I'd love it if you'd email or flash the speeches to me and your opponent.

Do not cut cards, but if you do I expect you to mark them as you are reading.

Speed is fine. I'll yell clear.

Please just BE NICE! It just really isn't that hard to not be super rude :( Also, please don't be offensive. I won't have tolerance for anything that is racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic etc.

Aysha Hafiz Paradigm

7 rounds

I debated for Newtown (CT) for 4 years and graduated in 2017. I currently attend the University of Chicago.


  • The round is ultimately up to the debaters, and I’m open to listening to any strategies/positions as long as they aren’t blatantly racist/sexist/homophobic/etc. or threaten your opponent. Read whatever you would like or are comfortable with, just be nice to one another :)

  • I will evaluate all arguments based on the flow, and thus would prefer not to evaluate embedded clash unless there isn’t any explicit clash on the flow.


  • I default truth testing, competing interps, drop the debater, and no RVI. However, please justify these in round, I would prefer to vote on arguments actually made by the debaters.

Speaker Points

  • I always liked judges that gave good speaks, so I’ll try not to be too harsh. Generally I will try to reward you as much as possible.

  • Slowing down for tags/interpretations/advocacy texts is a good idea.

  • Don’t take too long to flash.

  • Be efficient, and make the round clean and easy to resolve (overviews are super helpful).

Good luck and have fun!

Taesik Han Paradigm

7 rounds

Lay parent judge with some basic experience judging traditional LD. Prefer traditional arguments. Sign post and be clear about your argumentation. Do not spread.

Miguel Harvey Paradigm

6 rounds


Summer/Fall 2020 update: if you don't identify as Black, please respect the wishes of many of your peers in the community and don't read afropessimism in front of me. This is not a pronouncement that I agree or disagree with any particular person's position on whether this practice should be allowed. But the bottom line is, if people in our community who we value and respect articulate to us that they are hurt by this practice, it's on us not to do it or encourage it. This doesn't mean you can't argue against the theory or read other positions that deal with antiblackness or structural racism. Note: I will have a *very* high threshold for dropping a debater as retroactive punishment for reading afropessimism in the past (or at least before late 2019, when the Dixon-Hughes-Porter article ignited so much thoughtful discussion in the community). This is an evolving norm without a broad community consensus, and we are all learning as we go. The exception is if you were called out on it before or made verifiable pronouncements indicating you stopping the practice but continued to do it afterward. If that's the case, sorry bud, you kind of brought it on yourself.

TLDR: If you or your coach are a person who post-rounds after losses, please know in advance that I am an extreme lay judge and strike/block me forever. I don't default one way or another on most arguments. Don't be argumentatively or personally abusive. Don't insult my (admittedly limited) intelligence. I will intervene against bigotry and disregard for others' physical and mental wellness. Tricks and excessive preempts/triggers piss me off. For email chain

LARP/1-off (setcol, cap, ap, etc)/tfw: 1+

topicality/1nc non-friv theory/softleft: 1

deleuze/non-pess black studies: 1/2

most K/high theory/kant without tricks: 2-3

performance/pomo/semio: 3

non-kant phil/heavy fw: 3

friv theory/skep: 4

tricks: strike

Long version:

Generally, I don't think it's my job to tell debaters what to do; rather, it's the job of the debaters to tell me why to vote a certain way.

Debaters shouldn't lie or act like jerks. While I get that debate is ostensibly a competitive activity and can get very intense, this is supposed to be educational, good-spirited, and fun. Personal abuse, harassment, or competitive dishonesty of any kind is strictly unacceptable. I don't like to intervene, but blatantly oppressive/bigoted speech or behavior will make me consider voting against a debater whether or not the issue is raised by their opponent. If a debater asks you to respect and use preferred pronouns/names, I will expect you to do so. If your argument contains graphic depictions of racial, sexual, or otherwise marginalizing violence, and there's even a slight question as to whether it might be a trigger, please notify your opponent. Blatant evidence ethics violations such as clipping are an auto-voter. I consider bullying nontechnical debaters a violation of the "shouldn't act like jerks" maxim. Stop yelling at each other.

Our community and the individual people in it are deeply important to me. Please do your part to make debate safe and welcoming for competitors, judges, coaches, family members, and friends. I am moody and can be a total jerk sometimes, and I'm not so completely naive to think everything is fluffy bunnies and we'll all be best friends forever after every round, but I really do believe this activity can be a place where we lift each other up, learn from our experiences, and become better people. If you're reading this, I care about you. I hope your participation in debate reflects both self-care and care for others.

(cw: self-harm)

Mental and emotional well-being are at a crisis point in society, and particularly within our activity. We have all lost friends and colleagues to burnout, breakdown, and at worst, self-harm. If you are debating in front of me, and contribute to societal stigmas surrounding mental health or belittle/bully your opponent in any way that is related to their emotional state or personal struggles with mental wellness, you will lose with minimum speaks. I can't make that any more clear. If you are presenting arguments related to suicide, depression, panic, or self-harm, you must give a content warning for my sake and for your opponent's. I am not flexible on this and will absolutely use my ballot to enforce this expectation.


Speaks: You're probably not going to get a 30. I tend to start at 28 and work my way up or down. If you get a 26 or below, you likely did something bigoted/abusive. I usually range between 27.5 and the low 29s. I'm a little more generous in PF and at locals. I will dock you hard if you make the space unsafe, particularly for women, gender/sexual minorities, disabled or differently abled debaters, and debaters of color.

Speed: Fine, though I love and prioritize clarity. If you are not clear, I will say "clear" once. I like speed to be consistent between reading and extemping, but whatever you do you. If you won't flash or email docs, maybe slow down for tags for my sake and for your opponent's sake.

Kritik: Fine. I have a basic understanding of most of the literature. Explain why I should vote. Your arguments need to be coherent and well-reasoned. "Don't weigh the case" is not a warranted argument - I tend to believe in methodological pluralism and need to be convinced that the K method should be prioritized. A link is *not* enough for a ballot.

Theory/T: Fine, including 1AR theory. Just like with any other winning argument, I tend to look for some sort of offense in order to vote on either side. I don't default to drop the debater or argument. My abuse threshold on friv shells is much higher. An exception to me voting on friv theory is that I will not ever vote for a shell that polices debaters' appearance, including their clothes, footwear, hair, presentation, or anything else you can think of (unless their appearance is itself violent). I'll have a fairly high threshold on a strict "you don't meet" T argument against an extremely common aff. One more thing - all voters and standards should be warranted. I get annoyed by "T is a voter because fairness and education" without a reason why those two things make T a voter. I don't care if it's obvious.

Frameworks: Fine with traditional (stock or V/C), policy-oriented, phil, critical frameworks, performance, narratives. While I don't think you have to have your own framework per se, I find it pretty curious when a debater reads one and then just abandons it in favor of traditional util weighing. I hate framing that is abusive for abuse's sake, like "the aff/neg must win every round." An example of this is the boneheaded a priori that says "Resolved" means the resolution has already been affirmed. I'm the worst person to pref if you are a tricks debater.

LARP: Great. Plans, counterplans, PICs, PIKs, disads, solvency dumps, whatever. Argue it well and it's fine. I don't think making something a floating PIK necessarily gets rid of competition problems; it has to be reasoned well. I'm skeptical of severance perms and will have to be convinced. For UIL/traditional policy debaters - please read the entirety of the aff in the 1AC and please divide labor in the block. To the extent that anyone prefs me, and you shouldn't pref me under any circumstances, I don't understand why more LARPers don't pref me apart from the fact that I've coached decent K debaters.

Condo: Fine, although I don't think all conceded offense on kicked arguments just goes away because the argument is conditional (especially stuff like oppression/discourse-related offense). Be really, really careful before you kick a K, especially if it is identity-related - I think reps matter. I am more likely to entertain condo bad if there are multiple conditional advocacies.

Flashing/Email/Disclosure: I will vote for disclosure theory, but have a higher threshold for punishing or making an example of novices or non-circuit debaters who don't know or use the wiki. Lying during disclosure will get you dropped with 25 speaks. If you're super experienced, please consider not being shitty about disclosure to novice or small-school debaters who simply don't know any better. Educate them so that they'll be in a position to teach good practices in future rounds. My personal perspective on disclosure is informed by my background as a lawyer - I liken disclosure to the discovery process, and think debate is a lot better when we are informed. One caveat to prior disclosure is that I do conform to "breaking new" norms, though I listen to theory about it. For sharing, I prefer email. Please include me on email chains.

Sitting/Standing: Whatever. I have my own debaters stand if they can because it helps with volume and clarity. But do your thing, it won't affect speaks. Maybe look at me every once in a while, your call.

Flex prep: Fine. More clarity is good.

Performative issues: If you're a white person debating critical race issues, or a man advocating feminism against a woman, or a cis/het person talking queer issues, etc., be sensitive, empathetic, and mindful. Also, I tend to notice performative contradiction and will vote on it if asked to. For example, running a language K and using the language you're critiquing (outside of argument setup/tags) is a really bad idea.

I do NOT default to util in the case of competing frameworks.

I tend to think plan flaw arguments are silly, especially if they're punctuation or capitalization-related. I have a very high threshold to vote on plan flaw. It has to be *actually* confusing or abusive, not fake confusing.

I don't vote against a "traditional" value debater because they're "less progressive" or "less cool" or whatever. Every person in our community has value. PUN INTENDED!

Warrant all arguments in both constructives and rebuttals. An extended argument means nothing to me if it isn't explained.

Some of this is LD-specific, because that's the pool to which I'll generally be assigned. Policy debaters, most of what is above applies to my policy paradigm. Critical/plan-less affs are fine. That said, just like in LD I like a good T debate and I will happily vote for TFW if it's well-argued and won. One minor thing is different from my LD paradigm: I conform a little bit more to policy norms in terms of granting RVIs less often in policy rounds, but that's about it. Obviously, framework debate (meaning overarching framing mechanisms, not T-Framework) is not usually as important in policy, but I'm totally down with it if that's how you debate. I guess a lot of policy debaters still default to util, so be careful if the other side isn't doing that but I guess it's fine if everyone does it. Excessive prompting/feeding during speeches may affect speaks, and I get that it's a thing sometimes, but I don't believe it's particularly educational and I expect whomever is giving the speech to articulate the argument. I am not flowing the words of the feeder, just the speaker.

PF: If you're actually reading this, congratulations! Speed is fine. Framework is great (actually, to the extent that any weighing mechanism counts as framework, I desire and enthusiastically encourage it). Nontraditional PF arguments (theory, spec advocacies) are fine. I will listen to disclosure theory, though I am less likely to buy it if the offending case is straightforward/common. Offense is important. I'm surprised and impressed when PF debaters cut actual evidence rather than paraphrasing it, especially offense and uniqueness evidence. If you try to read a policy/critical argument you don't understand, I will flame you in the oral, so be ready for that. For god's sake, do weighing.

All that said, I love that the format is sometimes still accessible to actual regular people. I believe PF debaters should be adaptable, like all-weather shrubbery.

More PF specifics:

Anything above regarding performative issues applies to PF, so please read carefully. I am primarily an LD judge on the Texas and national circuits. Take from that what you will, and assume I am fine with either a more progressive or traditional style of PF debate. "It's not allowed in PF" is not a warranted argument. Line by line debate is important, and as it's what I am used to, I am not likely to vote on new arguments (or arguments that weren't gone for in Summary) made in Final Focus. Weighing offense is important. Framing should be established in constructive or at the very latest on the top of rebuttal. Don't call something terminal without a warrant. Don't call link defense a turn. Don't say you are "turning an impact" if you're not. An impact turn argues that the impact itself is good. If you want me to use something from crossfire in my RFD, it needs to be in subsequent speeches. I am not flowing crossfire. I have an extremely LOW tolerance for miscut or mischaracterized evidence. Evidence ethics arguments have a very low threshold - if you're shady and there's a shell or implication I am very inclined to vote on it. If you're running theory, don't run it wrong or I'll make it really obvious how little I care for your debating.

Please ask questions if I can clarify anything, and don't be afraid to engage and ask questions after the debate. That doesn't mean I want to be post-rounded or harangued about my decision, but I'm happy to discuss stuff in a rational and collegial way. If you get aggressive after the round, expect the same from me and expect me to disengage with little to no warning. My wellness isn't worth your ego trip. I encourage pre-round questions. I might suggest you look over my paradigm, but it doesn't mean you shouldn't ask questions.

Finally, I find Cheetos really annoying in classrooms, especially when people are using keyboards. It's the dust. Don't test my Cheeto tolerance. I'm not joking, anything that has the dust sets me off. Cheetos, Takis, all that stuff. I get that it's delicious, but keep it the hell out of the academy.

Chetan Hertzig Paradigm

7 rounds

EXPERIENCE: I'm the head coach at Harrison High School in New York; I was an assistant coach at Lexington from 1998-2004 (I debated there from 1994-1998), at Sacred Heart from 2004-2008, and at Scarsdale from 2007-2008. I'm not presently affiliated with these programs or their students.

If you're in high school, please just call me Hertzig.

Please include me on the email chain:


CLARITY in both delivery and substance is the most important thing for me. If you're clearer than your opponent, I'll probably vote for you.


- Starting speeches slowly and building speed as you go (rather than starting at top speed)
- Speaking slower than average circuit speed
- Providing an explicit decision-calculus/voting issues
- Explicitly linking to a standard or ROB in speeches, especially rebuttals
- Telling a clear and coherent ballot story
- Weighing between your extensions and your opponent's (not just giving me two non-clashing sets of extensions)
- Reading a whole res aff that defends the topic as a principle
- Having a layered NC and responsive/specific turns off the aff
- Making topical critical arguments/reading Ks that are grounded in the topic lit
- Comparing evidence and weighing
- Giving structured speeches
- Using good word economy


- Using profanity in the round. I don't care what your purpose is; it's not necessary.
- Using ad homs of any kind against your opponent (e.g., commenting on their race, clothing, or practices as a debater). Find a non-personal way of making the argument.
- Reacting non-verbally when your opponent is speaking (e.g., violently shaking your head, making faces, waving your arms, etc.). It's rude, unpersuasive, and unnecessary.
- Indicting or insulting an opponent's team or coach in round (e.g., "It's no surprise [team name] is going for T this round")
- Sitting during CX and/or speeches unless you're physically unable to stand


If, after the round, I don't feel that I can articulate what you wanted me to vote for, I'm probably not going to vote for it.

Speed: Slow down, articulate/enunciate, and inflect - no monotone spreading, bizarre breathing patterns, or foot-stomping. I will say "slow" and/or "clear," but if I have to call out those words more than twice in a speech, your speaks are going to suffer. I'm fine with debaters slowing or clearing their opponents if necessary. I think this is an important check on ableism in rounds.

Theory: I don't view theory the way I view other arguments on the flow. I will intervene against theory that's clearly unnecessary/frivolous, even if you're winning the line-by-line on theory. I will vote on theory that is actually justified (as in, you couldn't have answered the position without it, or there was something about the opponent's strategy that made it impossible for you to win without theory). Is that subjective? You bet. Is there a brightline? Probably not. Don't like this view? Don't pref me.

Framework: If you and your opponent agree on a FW, great. If not, make the FW debate relatively short (i.e., not 4 minutes of a 7 minute speech). Also, please explain the philosophical concepts you're using instead of assuming that I know them. I probably don't.

Policy Arguments: I dislike generic politics DAs and extinction impacts on topics that clearly don't link to them. If you want to run those impacts on a topic about nuclear weapons, go for it. If the topic's about compulsory voting, I'll be very receptive to good defensive answers from the aff.

Ks and Non-T Arguments: I generally prefer topical critical arguments, but I'm okay with non-topical affs if you make it clear why you had to be non-topical to read them.

Disclosure Theory: I'll vote for this if I think it's won on the flow, but I'm not a huge fan of rounds that come down to this.

Tricks: Shut the front door! Who are you?! (In other words, "no.")

Extensions: I need to hear the claim, warrant, and impact in an extension. Don't just extend names and claims.

"Flex Prep": I am fine with you asking clarification questions of your opponent during prep time. I am not okay with you ending CX early and taking the rest of the time as prep time.

Other Stuff: Link to a standard, burden, or clear role of the ballot. Signpost. Give me voting issues or a decision calculus of some kind. WEIGH. Be nice. And stand up.

To research more stuff about life career coaching then visit Life coach.

Dontae Hill Paradigm

3 rounds

Here are the things that matter:

I did not debate as a student.

I have judged and coached PF and LD for 8 years.

I don’t lean towards any style of debate, just convince me why I should vote for you and you can win.

My favorite philosophy is Utilitarianism... just sayin’

Jonathan Horowitz Paradigm

5 rounds

Hi. I debated at Glenbrook North HS in Northbrook for 4 years, 1.5 in policy and 2.5 in LD. I was the LD coach at Loyola Blakefield HS in Baltimore for 3 years followed by being the debate coach for Chicagoland Jewish HS in Deerfield, IL, New Trier HS in Winnetka/Northfield, IL, Bronx Science, Beacon HS in Manhattan, and the director of debate at Mamaroneck HS in Mamaroneck, NY. I've also worked at multiple debate camps and have been a private coach for multiple debaters. Trust me, I've seen it all.

Last updated 2/15/20. Added stuff about Non-T affs.

LD Paradigm:

I will vote on any argument, in any weighing mechanism provided. I do not discriminate, I'm find with speed (though sometimes my flowing can be bad), fine with theory, fine with kritiks, whatever you want to do. It's your round, have fun with it.

That being said I do have one very important caveat:
Extensions are key! Every extension needs to have the word extend/pull through the flow/or similar wording attached to it. Then it needs to have a warrant for what is being extended, finally the extension needs an impact back to the weighing calculus. If that is the value/value criterion mechanism then it needs to impact back to the VC that is being used for the round. If that is some other mechanism, it needs to be impacted to that weighing mechanism (theory means voters I guess). That weighing mechanism and the warrants for the mechanism should be extended (In a v/vc model the vc should be extended along with the argument). If these things are not done then the arguments will not be evaluated in the same depth and I might not give you credit, or as much credit, for an argument that you may have clearly won on the flow. I guess in simpler terms I have a high threshold for extensions. Also, when extending please extend along with the warrant please compare your arguments to other arguments. The best extensions are not just argument extensions but have comparative weighing along with the arguments.

Other things I've noticed about my preferences for debate: (This is just a list of things I like, none of these are necessary to win a round)
- I tend to prefer debaters who debated similarly to how I debated. What does this mean? I debated in an old school national circuit LD style. On the aff that meant a very broad criterion with mutually exclusive contentions that I tried to kick out of as much as possible (usually at the end of the 2AR, I had one contention and maybe framework). On the neg, it meant a short NC, no more than 2 minutes, with extensive analytical responses to the aff. While it might not help you win the round, debate has changed a lot, it will help your speaker points.

- I like a 2AR that isn't on the flow. What does this mean? The 2AR should be more of a story speech that merely references the flow. A lot of weighing/crystallizing or time on voting issues.

-I like even/if stories. They tend to make the round clearer and make my life easier.

-LD debaters need to stop saying "we" when referring to themselves. You are a singular human being and not one half of a partnership. If you say "we" while referring to yourself you will lose 0.1 speaker points. I will also interrupt your speeches to ask "who is we?" Be prepared.

-I'm a leftist politically. Property rights arguments and other capitalist arguments are not particularly persuasive to me and I don't like hearing them. That doesn't mean I won't vote on them, it just means if you have something else it's probably a good idea to run it.

-I presume coinflip. That means if I can't find any offense or way to vote I will flip a coin to decide the round. I have done this quite a few times and never want to do it again but I'm not afraid to do it and if I think your round warrants it, a coinflip will happen. (That said the only times I've done it has been in rounds where there have been on offense by either side so as long as offense exists I will not flip a coin).

-I like philosophy, I am a philosophy major. That said I'm not good at flowing it, especially when spread at the beginning of the speech. So if you do read philosophy slow down a little bit so that I can catch your arguments.

-Going off that last point, my major is in continental philosophy; which means I take classes on all those critical authors you've wanted to use in rounds. Kritiks are wonderful! If you know what are you talking about, please run them in front of me. Ks do not need an alt, though it is preferable. Make sure to understand the interactions between your position and the position of what your opponent is running. Also just because your opponent is running a K does not mean you lose the round.

- Please start the AC/NC with I affirm/I negate. It doesn't take away from your word economy and it gives me a second to "catch up" and get used to your spreading/debating voice so that I don't miss your first argument. You don't need to re-state the resolution though, that's unnecessary.

-Something most debaters forget is that as a judge I do not look to see what you are reading while you are reading it. Therefore, be more specific in signposting then off the Martin card 1..2..3 etc. Don't just say Martin, say what Martin said as well, because I might not have gotten the author name Martin but I got the argument s/he made. Also, be clear about where Martin is on the flow. If Martin is a contention 1 card, say that she is in contention 1.

- WEIGH! One of the things I'm almost always unsure of after a round is which argument to evaluate first. Do I look to the Disad, the spike, the contention 1? Most debate rounds involve multiple arguments that could "come first" and people telling me the order in which to evaluate arguments and which arguments are more important makes my life easier. It also means you'll be more likely to win because the argument that you're saying is most important/comes first is probably also the one that you're winning the most. WEIGH! Seriously WEIGH!

- Policy style arguments have started to come more and more into LD and people like running them in front of me. That's fine, I really like them. However, if you are running them you also take on policy-style burdens. For example, if you read a plan then you have to fulfill the 4 criteria of the HITS (if you don't know what that is, you shouldn't be running a plan. Also, considering the last person to lose on significance was Tom Durkin in the 1978 NDT, significance doesn't matter anymore). Most importantly, is that policy has a status quo whereas LD does not. That means that you need to orally give me the dates of evidence! If you're running a DA I need to know that the uniqueness is actually unique, if it's a plan that the inherency is actually inherent etc. Evidence without dates on it means that I won't give you credit for uniqueness or inherency claims that you need in the debate round. If your opponent points out that you didn't read those dates then I will give zero credit for any uniqueness/inherency claim and assume that your evidence is from 1784 and take away any offense that is based off of that plan/DA (I will also give said opponent at least a 29). So make sure to tell me those dates!

- I've recently read A LOT of social movement theory and have also been actively been involved in crafting strategy for a social movement. This has made me significantly more wary of most kritik alternatives. Kritik alts either make no sense, are not realistic, would never be adopted by wide ranging social movements, or are actively harmful to spreading social movements. It won't change how I vote, if the alt is won, but it does mean that common sense arguments against K alts will be considered more important.

- A priori/pre-standards arguments/other tricky-esque nibs. If you are losing everything else on the flow I need a reason to uniquely prefer your 3 sentences over the rest of the flow. If that does not happen I will find it very hard to vote for you over somebody else who is winning the rest of the round. Not that I won't evaluate the argument at all it will just be weighed against the rest of the round and if someone else is winning the rest of the round I will vote for the person winning the majority of the round. In simpler words if you go for an a priori, go for it hard. I'm not going to buy it simply because it is dropped.

- Metaethics. I used to have a long screed about metaethics here. It's been deleted (you can read it on the back edits if you're really interested) as I've decided that, while I agree still with what I said before, meta-ethics are being used a lot better by debaters so that it doesn't apply as much. I do think meta-ethics have a place in debate but they need to be used properly. Basically, meta-ethics cannot be used as a "magic wand" to get out of framework debate. You still need to provide an ethic to meet your meta-ethic. Just saying my meta-ethical util comes before your ethical deont haha! is not enough. Language might be indeterminate but that doesn't mean we default to util (or deont) unless it's justified.

Since everybody asks me about how I evaluate theory here it is:

I don't mind theory, I will vote on it and I will vote on it in cases where I think no actual abuse has occurred or even times where the argument itself is patently non-abusive. But before you rush to pull out your three theory shells, I really don't like voting on it. Moreover, of all the decisions where people have argued with me after the round, 2/3 of them are because of theory. My paradigm seems to be different than other judges so I would say run theory at your risk. Now of course you're asking why is my paradigm different? Simple because I don't default to a monolithic competing interpretations framework, you don't need a counter-interp/RVI/etc. to win theory (though it is helpful and in a case of offense vs. no offense I'm going to default to offense). I'm not as technical on theory as other judges, simply saying my argument is not abusive, drop the argument not the debater, or even talking about reasonability will probably be enough to convince me to not vote on theory. In other words, I default to reasonability, though will be persuaded otherwise. Also, in a round between two equal theory debaters or even a round where both debaters have competent theory blocks, theory turns into a crapshoot (which, by the way, is most theory rounds) so while I will do my best to sort through it that doesn't mean my decision won't be somewhat random.

Also, I guess most LD judges don't evaluate theory this way so I should point this out. If you only go for theory in the NR/2NR or 2AR then the affirmative/negative does not need a RVI to win the theory debate because the only offense at the end of the round is on theory which means that I am merely evaluating who did the better theory debating and not worrying about substance at all. The RVI only comes into play if there is a contestation of substance AND theory at the end of the debate.

On Non-T affs:

You ought pretend to be topical. Topicality means different things to different people and I think that the topic and what topicality means can change in debate and in different debates. However, the aff should claim that they are talking about the topic. How they make that claim or whether that claim is true can be (and should be!) contested in the round.

Feel free to come up to me at any tournament and ask me questions about anything, I can't guarantee you a great answer but I can guarantee that I will try to respond.

Policy Paradigm:

I will vote on any argument, in any weighing mechanism provided. My main philosophy is it's your round not mine so do what you want. I think a lot of how I judge policy is probably transferred from LD so look there for good stuff. One caveat to that, if there is something that seems very specific to LD (like saying "we" for example) do not bring that into a policy context.

Obviously I have some caveats for that:

First and foremost is that LD is most of what I've debated and coached. Though policy kids have this outdated version of what LD is, there is now every argument in policy in LD also with extra stuff too! I am fine with speed etc. Don't worry about that. However, I did not go to camp, I did not do research on the resolution (whichever one it is) and don't know what is stock or what isn't. I know, more or less, what aff my team is running and generic stuff to be used on any topic. Your explanation barrier for me understanding topic specific arguments then is a little bit higher.

The other important take away is that social conventions of what you can and cannot do in LD and policy are slightly different. For example, RVIs in LD are not joke arguments but made in almost any theory round (though I don't like RVIs in policy). LD does not have the concept of overviews in the same way as policy and what is considered "line by line" is very different. I've been able to figure out most of these biases but occasionally I'll mess up. Just be aware.

I default to reasonability on T and theory issues.

I don't know why this has become a thing but apparently people don't say AND or NEXT after finishing cards in the 1AC or 1NC. You still need to do that so that I know when to flow.

Utilitarianism is moral philosophy that evaluates the morality of actions based on the consequences. This means that small scale/structural violence impacts are utilitarian because we care about the consequence of structural violence. Stop saying these arguments are not utilitarian or answering them as if they are not utilitarian. They are.

Samuel Hoska Paradigm

6 rounds

Samuel Hoska’s Judge Philosophy

A little about myself: I have been involved with forensics for 15 years as a student, judge and coach. I am currently a coach at Edina High School, teaching Lincoln Douglas Debate. My background was originally in debate and speech where I competed and coached. I have been judging debate for the last 4 years, in all categories. I am currently a student at Minneapolis Community College for a Business Bachelors. I have a half a year remaining and then I will be working on a Bachelors in Communication and a Teaching certificate. I typically judge LD but I am capable of judging any category.

General: I enjoy a coherent arguments made with properly argued evidence. I am a “big picture” judge. I do appreciate the attention to detail, however, I don't like when it devolves into a debate that’s myopically focused on one thing. Make sure you take the time, especially in rebuttals to do a “birds eye view” of the debate. Remember, the rebuttal is the last time I hear from you before I make a decision, make it count. I appreciate good crossfire, and cross ex, specifically using information obtained in these for an argument. I try to bring the spirit of Tabula Rasa to every round I Judge.

Topicality: I like topicality, especially in varsity level debate. I think it makes a for a boring debate to have a non-topical aff. So it’s a pretty garden variety argument for the neg to make.

Critical Arguments: I was a LD and PF debater in high-school. I appreciate all critical arguments when they are understandable and explained properly. I catch on to arguments quickly, however I loathe having to have to fill in the gaps of an argument because its poorly argued. Make it logical, make it understandable.

Theory: I don’t have the background in this, so this won’t be very successful with me as a judge. I overall prefer substantive arguments over theoretical or procedural arguments. My flow can’t be muddy, and the explanation must be very logical and understandable. I pay attention when a debater uses Voters, I always want to know what each side thinks was the most important points in a round.

Speed: I have no problem with speed. I do ask two things. 1. Slow down enough on the tags so that I can understand them 2. Make your tags count. I dislike deciphering poor tags that do not tell me anything about the evidence.

Post Round Discussion: Please be respectful, I don’t appreciate a “shake down” when I’m explaining my decision. I don’t do speaker points till after the round is over and all the debaters have left the room and I take decorum into account. I am a bit of a non-traditional judge and I do make a concerted effort to bring up constructive criticism and positive comments. Please take these comments as an opportunity to learn!

Last Updated: 11/30/2018

Marissa Howe Paradigm

7 rounds

I debated Lincoln Douglas in high school at Woodlands Academy and I judge LD exclusively.

Please be civil throughout the round. Present your arguments and address and refute your opponent's to the best of your ability without belittling your opponent or introducing personal or otherwise inappropriate arguments. You may speak as quickly as you'd like, as long as you enunciate and speak clearly.

I hope you all have fun and learn more though your experience with debate.

Joshua Jacobs Paradigm

4 rounds

Updated for Yale (LD) of 2018

I debated for Pine Crest for 6 years, and am attending Northwestern University. I've had a lot of experience as a debater, so honestly, do whatever it is you do best. I did policy debate and qualified to the TOC reading primarily affs with extinction impacts and cp/da or topicality on the negative. That being said, I've had exposure to many arguments.

TLDR: Do what you want, but be wary of framework and tricks without a well-warranted explanation of why you have won the debate.

General outlook:

Tech over truth, but truth does matter. I prefer arguments that have some grain of truth in them, but in close debates, I will always default to technical concessions. You should make sure you thoroughly explain the argument to me and how it impacts the way I should view the round.

Evidence comparison is essential - comparing warrants, author qualifications, and dates can decide which way I'm leaning on certain parts of the debate. Teams that have the better evidence but do less work doing evidence comparison will find themselves in a worse spot than the team that is doing evidence comparison. Evidence quality is important, but debating that evidence and comparing it to the other team's evidence is just as important.

However, a well-thought out analytic will beat a bad piece of evidence every time. Some of my favorite debates are the ones that occur over analytics because it shows that the debaters have thought about the entirety of the debate before the round.

Please, please, please do not steal prep. This was one of my biggest pet peeves my senior year of debate because so many teams did it. If I catch you stealing prep, I will deduct .1 speaker points instantly. Please don't cheat; if I catch you clipping I will give you zero speaks and an automatic loss.

Most important: I will do my best as an objective judge to listen to anything you read and evaluate it in as fair of a manner as I possibly can. I won't vote on any offensive arguments. We're all in the same room for 1 hour so please respect me, respect your opponents, and respect yourselves. We've all made a commitment to being here, and I will do my best to respect you.

Important note: I hate when people are rude and condescending in cross-examination. Is it really that hard to be cordial?

I will gladly accept any questions after I give my decision and will be happy to go more in depth on how I decided the debate.

Specific arguments:

Policy Arguments: I was a policy debater in high school, so I'm very familiar and comfortable with these types of arguments. My favorite rounds to judge are the ones where each debater clearly explains how their arguments interact with each other with end-of-round vision. I love a "larp" aff with logical internal link chains and well-warranted solvency. On the negative, there's few things I love more than a strategic counterplan with (ideally) a net-benefit that has a good link to the affirmative.

Topicality (not like T-FW or T-Implementation, but stuff like T with regards to specific words in the resolution): This was my favorite argument senior year. I love a good topicality debate in which competing visions of the topic are examined rigorously and compared. If both sides read definitions, you should probably be doing evidence comparison.

Critiques: Do it if you're good at it. I love a good critique debate, but hopefully your link is not a generic state bad link (not saying I won't vote on this, but it is easy to beat and makes the round boring for me). Ideally, you have a specific link to the affirmative and your view of the world is well-warranted and explained well in the 2NR. Although I wasn't particularly critical, I have encountered a wide range of critical arguments and am most familiar with Baudrillard, Psychoanalysis, Security, etc.

K Affs: Do it if you're good at it. I have no weird preferences here, but I would prefer it if you aren't super shifty in the debate and/or are sketchy in 1AC cross-x.

Side note to K debaters: please do line-by-line and explain all of your arguments and how they interact with your opponent's arguments.

T vs non-T affs: This was my favorite strategy against affirmatives that were not topical (and my favorite argument too in general). That being said, I am very willing to vote up the non-T aff. Advice to both sides:

- Neg going for T against a non-T aff: impact out topicality and explain why it comes before the aff, solves the aff, or ideally both. Fairness is an impact if it's explained. Make sure to answer their impact turns to topicality very well. You should probably have case defense on the relevant parts of the aff that they are leveraging against topicality.

- Non-T aff beating T: You almost definitely should not meet them in the middle; instead, have offense. Explain why your aff takes out T/is a pre-requisite to T/impact turns T/whatever.

Theory: While theory was not a big deal in policy debate, I love topicality so I presume that I'll also enjoy a high-level theory debate. I'm willing to vote on whatever shell you read, but the more frivolous the shell, the more I'll be persuaded by reasonability or drop the argument.

Framework/philosophy: Yeah, this wasn't a thing in policy. I don't have any biases, and I will be as objective as possible. If you want to go for this, write my RFD for me in your final speech. By that, I mean seriously explain why you have won the debate.

Tricks: I am willing to vote on them. I will be seriously annoyed if I have to vote on the fact that spike #20 of your 4-minute underview was dropped, but if I have to vote on this, so be it. If you are reading tricks and plan on going for them, actually explain why you have won the debate. Every argument needs a claim and a warrant. Also, I have heard that some kids will be annoying during cross-examination and pretend like they don't know certain LD debate terms. Don't do this in front of me.

- Note about this: one of my favorite quotes is: "If you can't beat the argument that rocks are people and we should take their feelings into consideration, then you don't deserve to win the debate." I will apply this outlook to tricks; I might think your argument is stupid, but I will be objective as possible and hope your opponent is competent enough to point out the stupidity in your arguments.


- Truth-testing, although in all honestly, I probably view a debate in terms of comparative worlds and if you're actually having a truth-testing/comparative worlds ROB debate, you'll have to spend a little time explaining your view of debate

- No RVIs

- Competing interpretations

- Drop the argument

Random stuff that you should find relevant:

- Please never utter the words "Not my Baudrillard!"

- Please do not be incompetent with technology

- Please do not waste 5 minutes asking the other team multiple times what they did and did not read. Flowing is pretty cool.

- Please do not say "They have conceded..." 30 times in your final speech unless they surprisingly did concede all 30 of the things you are saying.

- Please don't try to be funny if you aren't funny

Speaker points: High speaker points will be awarded to debaters who demonstrate strategic vision and make persuasive arguments. Bonus points if you sound persuasive and establish ethos, but I won't penalize you if you aren't a good speaker. Extra bonus points if you make fun of my brother, Jason.

My email is . Please feel free to email me with any questions!

Josh Johnwell Paradigm

6 rounds

Joshua F. Johnwell (they/them/queer/whatever you want)
NYU Debate - open (Junior)
Houston, TX / Nat HS Circuit (4 Years)
GDI (Gonzaga) Alum - 4WK, 5WK Scholars, 2WK

Email questions to
or just ask before round, preferably. oh & YAS, EMAIL CHAIN ME

**Updated 4/27/19 for ToC: I expect so much from y'all -- please slow down on theory and your shells for me -- or at least spread through card and go slow for tag. Please read a TVA if you're going for T/FW; just do you -- please don't authenticity check me or make me relive trauma, thanks.

**Updated 10/10/18 for Bronx: hi so idk much about the LD topic whatsoever this semester, so please default to fleshing out the warrants for me, etc. also, please be wholesome; there's a lot going on in my life lately. For those who have me in policy, cool, I debated on the Latinx America topic so I'm sort of familiar, but still you be you.

**Updated 3/3/18 for Lakeland LD/CX: My paradigm was written with policy debate in mind. I'm not too huge on "theory" hacks (just, no, please), I don't like RVIs, I don't like huge underviews, IF THEY READ A CASE WITH A PLAN/ADVOCACY/WHATEVER -- ANSWER IT (Idk why I have to say this). I like T more now than my paradigm suggests (idk why). Also my lit base on the multitudes of LD frameworks are limited af -- i'm a policy debater. Make reference to Beyoncé and queer stuff and I MIGHT boost speakers if you're funny.

Idk why I have to say this either but: yes, I am Black.

If you are not Black (white and non black poc) do not read anti-blackness/Afrofuturism/pessimism/optimism arguments in front of me (aff/neg) if the other team calls you out at ALL you will lose the debate.... same for other PoC arguments that the authors say are for PoC. If it is not your position you don't get to use other peoples bodies to get a ballot.
******* - Jalisa Jackson

Most of this wiki is just a copy-and-paste of sarah lundeen's

This is basically just a TL;DR:

I'm reliant on my flow to dictate where the direction of our debate is going and i'm voting for the team that does the better debating. i desire the community aspect of debate and the friendliness that comes along with that. i dig rounds, and a community, where everyone is comfortable and getting what they want out of the activity, and i will try to accomodate that however means necessary. i live for the sass and clash in a debate, but there's a line to be drawn. also, i'm pigeonholed as asian a majority of the time, even though i'm black, and that annoys me and my psyche, so please don't assume anything -- also feel free to come up and conversate / have a discussion with me; i'm a southerner who loves branching out. i hate stealing prep.

If it's not in my job description, i ain't doing it. Now, i will listen to whatever type of debate you want to have (K, policy, performance, other), just do you boo. i'm not here to make a changes or to impose rules on this sphere. if you're good, great; just stick to what you're good at (i'm a very blank slate judge). i will not call for cards/ev after a round unless there's a fact check claim or just a large issue about the ev. with that being said tho, i'm not calling for ev if the debater is simply like "this evidence is on fire" or "call for this card after the round" - explain the warrants and flesh it out for me as a judge. I will not do the work for y'all, and i reward those who make my life easier.

Timing/Paperless - Speed: fine (idk why people go slow af on tags and an unclear sprint through the cite/card tho...?). Your prep time runs until you are finished prepping your speech - i.e. it is ready to email, saved to the jumpdrive, viewing computer, in the dropbox, whatever your method is. if you do not know how to functionally do these things or how to work your laptop, we're all going to have a bad time. Specifically, I hate people who steal prep (this can be in a multiude of fashions) and will call out against it - i.e. when the prep timer stops, you stop, all parties stop; just chill.

CP – I love a good CP neagative strategy and will give the neg more leverage on theory, but i will still evaluate aff theory (it just needs to be developed) and the neg still needs to defend their world. Conditional planks and multiple cp's is where things are gross for me, however. your cp should have a net benefit and you need to impact it out for me buy it especially if it's in the 2nr. i like "shady cp's" (Richard Min™) if done right– i.e. consult, process, delay, courts lol, but with that said they're probably bad for debate and i will most likely err aff theory. if you can explain the competitiveness in a topic-specific way, textually or functionally, i would live for this. Perms: do them, love them; they are a test of competition. PICS: i'm a fan, personally, but needs to be super specific and not a "throw-away" cp; embed that ish into your strat.

K – slay. me. i love the K; debate the k; live the k. I'm not familiar with the whole lot of dead french guys. Alternatives need to articulate what their world looks like, how it resolves the links, etc. i hold a high threshold for a k debate. my 2nrs in HS were baudrillard (i know, i'm sorry), cap, queer theory, etc. so i'm familiar with some literature, just not super specific. K affs need to be able to explain their framework/warrant to vote aff in a way which provides negative ground and debatability. I love k debate/performance and i think it has a lot of value to bring to the debate community –i prefer judging methodology debates too. pls don't just read blocks done by coaches/backfiles if you're reading these args, i love to see clash with links, da's to different methods/alts, etc.

Topicality – I'm not the biggest T fan, but i will vote on it! i say i'm not the biggest fan because i largely look at plans in a vaccum and reasonability sits well with me. that being said, this usually pertains to topics i'm debating on, and i have no knowledge of china besides helping out former HS teammates this year. a good t debate gives me a case list of examples under their interpretation. i evaluate t debates in a defense-offense type of way especially in competing interpretations debate. give me impact analysis, please.

DA – yaaas. you really can't go wrong with this. i love a good politics debate. give me a link story please for any type of scenario. i love the "traditional" craft and things you can do with a simple disad (turns, outweighs, etc.). most disads now-a-days have become let me just read the weirdest scenario and hope they don't have cards on it-- that's fine, i just want specifics and more specific links/story/argument will buy me more. do the werk.

Theory/Framework – i'm not a big fan of huge theoritical debates, but i can dig framework. FW has been read a bunch of times to my cases and i enjoy the substantive part of these debates. your framework needs to rise above the influence of "we could've done more" or "you need to be [XYZ]" because i feel like those debates are shallow and don't really engage with one another. if it's "impossible for you to debate" at this point, c'mon... if you have some good arguments about why they make debater better/worse in that it makes us better informes/more ignorant, better or worse people, etc I am all ears. Also, condo is okay until it becomes a mess i.e. condtradicting advocacies, taking it all into the block and not specificying your strat, always going for it in the 2ar, etc.

Underview – I would rather vote on how y'all debated, instead of intervening in anyway so i don't get post-rounded. Impact assessment and evaluation of the debate in the last rebuttals are important. a helpful tip is to write the ballot for me in the rebuttals, and most of the time mine will reflect that if you're winning. Speaks are a thing.

I don't enjoy listening to debates in which gendered/racist/ableist/homophobic/exclusionary language is used. At the very least your speaker points will be effected.

Vikram Kalghatgi Paradigm

7 rounds

Debated LD on the Local and National Circuit for Ridge High School. I now do policy in college.

Ridge '17
Northwestern '21

- Provided that the argument isn't offensive/discriminatory I'll vote on anything - debate is your activity do what you do best

- Reasonably familiar with most K args employed in debate; however, there's a huge amount of K lit so a clear explanation of how your kritik functions can only benefit you
- Links should be specific or atleast contextualized to the AFF
- Critical affirmatives with a topical plan were my favorite positions in high school

- Non-topical affirmatives are fine

Policy Esque Args
- These debates when done well are my favorite to watch
- Impact framing/comparison makes it more likely you get the decision you want
- Evidence comparison is crucial

- If this is your thing go for it
- I Know the basics of most philosophical positions but these were not my go to arguments in high school
- Clear explanations of claims and warrants for those claims are especially important in these debates
- I'd prefer that fw debates not become a bunch of preclusion arguments for me to sort through

- Defaults: Competing interps, Drop the debater, no RVI - Defaults can be changed

- Defaults: Competing interps, Drop the Arg, No RVI - Defaults can be changed
- Be Clear - theory analytics are hard to flow

- Go for it
- Innovative and well thought out tricks are a plus

- Im probably a speaks fairy - if I think you should clear your speaks will reflect that

I'd Like to be on the email chain:

Charles Karcher Paradigm

6 rounds

Progressive, technical debate is the best version of K-12 pedagogy in existence.

This paradigm was substantially overhauled in June 2020. It reads the same whether I am judging policy or LD. Email me with questions. Good luck!

10-second summary

I’m fine with anything but am partial to policy-style arguments (T, K, DA’s, CP’s). 1AC should be topical, 1NC should be smart and strategic. Don’t try stupid theory tricks or shells on me. Speech docs should be highlighted in yellow. Be nice, be funny, be educational. Have the email chain ready when I walk into the round - it is more than likely that I will get there after you have. During the round, prep time ends when the email is sent.

ROJ > ROB; ROJ ≠ ROB; ROTB > theory; presume aff; comparative worlds; reps/pre-fiat impacts > everything else; yes RVI; yes DTD; yes condo; I will never evaluate the round earlier than the end of the 2AR; no tricks; a blippy explanation of negation theory isn't sufficient to answer perfcon.


Hi! I'm Charles. I use he/him/his pronouns. I did LD in high school and now dabble in competing, coaching, and judging policy. I study International Relations and English at the University of Florida. My orientation to debate was mostly inspired by Jack Ave and Sean Fahey. I now find myself to be smack in the middle of the Policy/K spectrum. Debate is fun!

If you find yourself debating with me as the judge on a panel with a parent/lay/traditional judge (or judges), please just engage in a traditional round and don't try to get my tech ballot. Treat me as a traditional judge and just win the flow in a slow, persuasive way. It is incredibly rude to disregard a parent's ballot and spread in front of them if they are apprehensive about it. They are spending their weekend doing intense intellectual labor because their child has the same passion as you, and, in many cases, they have it more stressful because they deem themselves inferior to tech judges that know their way around progressive debate. The least you can do is show some respect for them. Debate is fundamentally an activity of communication and you should be able to adapt to panels. If you choose to ignore this part of my paradigm, I won't be able to decimate your speaks (because we're probably in outrounds if there's a panel), so just know that I won't be able to sleep well for the coming week and have a perma-sad face because of what you have done. Pls don't give me a sad face.

Well and consistently formatted Verbatim docs are hot. Particularly appealing document formatting will be rewarded with praise and a speaker point boost.

I don't disclose speaks anymore. stop trying to break the bracket, relax, and enjoy your time at the tournament. that being said, i am partial to raising speaks if you bring me some form of caffeine to the round (if this tournament isn't over Zoom lmao). also please flash all analytics, otherwise you run the risk of me not catching them. my flowing isn't the best these days. sorry.

Personal info

Here's my email: chazkinz [@] gmail [dot] com.

Here are my conflicts: Interlake, Sarasota, Oak Hall, Cypress Bay, Altamont, Valley, Newsome DB, Eagan AI, Brophy SA, Durham AA, Durham BT.

I write for Champion Briefs and have worked at Samford Debate Institute, NSD Philly, and Legacy Debate.

Substantial Level

*K Debate

This is the type of debate in which I am most comfortable judging. Just explain your arguments well and don’t assume that I know everything that you are talking about.

You may find me to be particularly useful as your judge if your research involves authors including Marx, Deleuze and/or Guattari, Puar, Hardt and/or Negri, Jodi Dean, Butler, Baudrillard, Foucault, or Agamben.

*Policy arguments:

LARP is fun. I like DAs and well-thought-out plan affs. Tech over truth, unless I’m told to evaluate impacts differently.

A well-cut LARP strategy with good internal links, impact chains, and recent evidence will be rewarded with high speaker points.

No judge kick

Good analytics are better than trash/blippy cards.

If you enter an image/chart/graphic into the round, I will not evaluate it unless you read alongside it a detailed description of the contents of the graphic in the same speech in which the graphic is presented.

LD specific note: The current norms surrounding card tagging in LD are absolutely abysmal. "Extinction" and "That's bad" are not tags. Those are just random words. A legit tag will outline the claim that the card makes and the warrants that it has in it. For example: "Nick Arozarena is a great guy - he's attractive, received a ton of Silver bids to the TOC in PF, and has a great sense of humor. That's Karcher in '18:"


Make the subject of the email chain as detailed as possible. Example: Florida Blue Key 2020 - Round 5: Florida KS vs Samford EG

See above for default assumptions.

Yes trigger warnings.

Yes humor.

Yes disclosure theory.

Yes <2-3 condo

Yes (warranted, and, in most cases, carded) rhetoric/discourse K’s/DA’s/independent voters

No frivolous disclosure theory.

No handshaking or fist bumps.

No asking for speaks after the round.

No author indicts unless they specifically implicate the validity of the relevant writing that is from that author.

If I laugh in between speeches or during cross-ex, I'm honestly probably looking at memes so don't think that I'm laughing at you.

T-FW note: I think that out of round impacts (advocacy skills, movement building) are more convincing than in round impacts (procedural fairness, etc.), especially when answering micropolitical affs.

Anything else, ask me before the round!

Debate is what you make it, whether that is a game or an educational activity. I don't think that there is much implication of this distinction either way.

Quotes that I agree with from people that are smarter than me:

“Please do not spread out debaters who clearly cannot spread. You can still win this way if you're really that much of a tryhard, but I will decimate your speaks because you're an asshole. Be considerate and inclusive.” - Sean Fahey

"If you want to read a case full of analytic arguments that sounds like you are reciting the alphabet or practicing how to count please, for the love of god, strike me." - Daiya Massac

"I’m not the smartest human. You’re maybe/likely smarter than me. Please do not assume I know anything you are talking about. And I would honestly love to learn some new things in a debate about arguments you invented." - Lee Quinn (GOAT)

Fun debate personality questionnaire (email me if there is a spectrum that you want me to add):



States CP good---X-------------------------------States CP bad

Politics DA is a thing-X----------------------------Politics DA not a thing

UQ matters most------X--------------------------Link matters most

Fairness is a thing---------------X----------------Delgado 92

Try or die---------X--------------------------------What's the opposite of try or die

Clarity--X-------------------------------------------Srsly who doesn't like clarity

Limits-------------------------X---------------------Aff ground

Presumption----X----------------------------------Never votes on presumption

Resting grumpy face--------------------X---------Grumpy face is your fault

Longer ev---------------------------------X--------More ev

Fiat solves circumvention---------------X---------LOL trump messes w/ ur aff

CX about impacts-----------------------------X---CX about links and solvency

Fiat double-bind-----X--------------------------------------literally any other arg

1AR should be a card wall------------X---------------------------------No 1AR cards

(LD) 2NR should be a card wall--------------X--------------------------------No 2NR cards

Memes in speech doc--X-------------------------------------------I'm a boomer and wouldn't appreciate these



Adam Keller Paradigm

7 rounds

Experience: Nueva HS 2014-18 (circuit LD and parli)

Don't care what you do; I did a bit of everything in HS. Couple things to consider for GBX:

1- Start a little slower than you would normally. Haven't heard spreading in a while and I'm not the type to just copy taglines off the doc onto my flow.

2- I no longer hold strong views on what debate should look like, but here are some default positions: competing interps, drop the argument, epistemic confidence, T/theory/metatheory/Ks can be weighed "on the same layer". All of these opinions can be changed fairly easily.

3- Don't rely on my prior knowledge or understanding of anything (equally true for phil, Ks, and LARP)

4- I'll only intervene if either: a) the round sucks and I have no choice, b) something really fucked up happens

5- Don't be a dick and have fun

Todd Kessler Paradigm

4 rounds

School Affiliation: Coach at The Episcopal School of Dallas

Coaching & Judging Experience: I have been coaching teams and judging tournaments since 2006. This includes LD, PF, Congress, CX and IEs at different schools in Virginia and Texas. I have had debaters qualify for NCFL and NSDA on multiple occasions which are both considered traditional tournaments.

Speed: Although I am personally not a fan of it, please make sure your spreading is clear and coherent. If I can't understand you, I probably will not flow it. If you see me stop flowing for an extended period of time then it would be in your best interest to slow down. I also heavily prefer if you go slow on your taglines, analytics and any theory arguments, especially during your rebuttals.

Types of Arguments: Although I prefer framework heavy debates, a lot of clash in the round, and good crystallization and overviews in your final rebuttal, I will still vote on topicality, counterplans, some theory arguments at times and kritiks if they are explained well by the debater. I am not a fan of non-topical Affs as I tend to favor whole resolution ACs. Make sure when you run T, that you are linking your violation to your standards/voting issues and that when you run a CP, you explain your net benefits and how it's competitive.

Theory Argument: If you run any disclosure theory or new affs bad arguments, make sure you thoroughly break down the reasons to prefer. Although I have never really been a fan of these types of arguments, I am willing to consider them if you can show the impacts of the abuse committed by your opponent and how this outweighs. Please make sure that whatever theory shells you plan on running are presented at a slower rate of speed.

Kritiks: Run at your own risk because I'm not really a fan of complicated philosophical arguments that have nothing to do with the actual resolution that should be debated upon. I'm not saying you can't win if you run them, but I might look at you funny and simply not flow the argument depending on the complexity of the K.

Speaks: Clarity over speed is prefered. If your spreading is incomprehensible, this will reflect on your speaker points. Any acts of rudeness or displays of an unprofessional demeanor towards your opponent will also be taken into account. If you go against an inexperienced debater or a traditional style opponent, it would be in your best interest to accommodate their format and invest some time clashing with or turning their value, criterion and contentions. Also, please do not ask me if I disclose speaker points. It's not going to happen. In addition, please do not use profanity at all during the round. It will impact your speaks and could also impact my decision so don't do it.

Tricks: Please don't.

Overview: Debate the resolution, clash with your opponent's arguments, provide framework, slow down during tags and analytics, throw in some voters at the end.

Email Chain: If and only if both debaters are sharing files, please include my email as well:

Louis Kollar Paradigm

5 rounds

Email for the chain (Required unless it's a lay/paper, set it up early please):


-Debated for NT from 2012-2016 went to the TOC once, I go to Indiana now and coach NT every now and then. Assume that the number of rounds I've judged at the tournament is also the total number of rounds I've judged on the entire topic. I’ve graduated from college I now only judge with extreme rarity.

-Read whatever you're best at no matter what it is; good debates are better than bad ones no matter the content. I'll always vote for the winner.


-The distinction between true/false arguments and good/bad arguments are two different things. If your argument is false (e.g. global warming not real), I don't care and I'll vote for it if you win it (excluding blatantly offensive arguments, obviously). If your argument is just bad (e.g. global warming is real b/c it is hot out today) it takes a lot more technical skill in order to win with it.

-Zero-risk is absolutely thing

-Strategy, prep, creativity>>>

-Debated LARP in HS so it's what I'm most familiar with and like best. Most of my paradigmatic defaults are the same as the general consensus in policy debate but feel free to ask.

-Don't care about running theory for purely the strategic reason, obviously bad interps are harder to win with (see zero risk/bad arguments)

-Tricks are fine just please actually be creative with them

-Ks are fine, I've read the basics of the common Ks but if you're reading Baudrillard or something you should overexplain it. If you do a bad job explaining your stuff and I don't understand it I'm perfectly willing to vote against you and start the RFD with "Yeah I don't get it".

-In terms of non-T affs I'm not a complete framework hack but if it's not in the 1nc you're doing yourself a serious disservice. Also if you read a plan text, I'm going to hold you to defending/solving that plan text. Again though, debate what you're best at.

-Your pre-round prep/strat development is probably the best way to get good speaks.

-Debate is supposed to be fun, make jokes, be sarcastic, don't be an asshole, don't take yourself too seriously etc.

-I'm very pro-disclosure but generally anti-disclosure theory. I get that sometimes you'll have to read it and I'll treat it like I treat any other theory argument, but if you have a decent case neg put together or only want to quibble over the way that someone discloses then your 1NC is better served by just reading something else. (If you read and go for disclosure theory against someone who is obviously not familiar with the circuit I will not vote for it and your speaks will suck). In case anyone cares I think the true interp is disclosure for debaters with a career bid and in all elim rounds; if you want to card me for your counter interp or run a blog and want an article hmu

-I have a very low threshold for extensions

-I will answer clarifying questions about my paradigm during prep as long as they're things like "what's your default on RVIs?" or "Do you default to Condo means judge kick?" or anything else that you could've asked before the debate but didn't because you can never know which of my potential defaults will be relevant. Stuff that you'd need the context of the debate to ask like "Do you think there's a winning 2NR on the disad or should I go for T?" I will not answer. The former gives you the information you'd need to make strategic decisions, the latter makes some of the decisions for you.

-I really appreciate creativity. Lately, I've been feeling like I've heard every interp/framework/impact scenario before so if you can produce one that's completely unique that'll make me enjoy the round more.

-If you say “non-unique” when you actually mean “uniqueness overwhelms the link” or vice versa I will be annoyed

-If you can tell a joke that makes me laugh about the 2015-2016 debate season or the New Trier debate team speaks go up (they go up further for the 2015-2016 season because with the age of current debates that's tougher)

-Why on earth do so many people take prep for the 1nc?

Ram Krishnan Paradigm

7 rounds

Please do not speed read. Talk slowly and clearly. A little fast is fine by me. State your contentions as clearly as possible.

Brian Kunz Paradigm

7 rounds

Brian Kunz

U of Minnesota coach & Lakeville Coach


Do whatever you think helps you best in this space or is what you think you are best at is what I want to see, do that and I'll do my best to give you my full attention and to check my disposition at the door. I’ve read a lot of critical literature and I am generally very comfortable adjudicating critical positions but I have still voted on a fair number of FW / T arguments and as a competitor I generally ran Policy Plan affs.

I will award +.4 speaker points to debaters that have their case full disclosed on the wiki -please let me know before the start of the round if this applies to you

prep ends once the flash leaves the computer

Framework: Please tell me how the framework contextualizes your offense / defense in relation to the ballot and/or the round. I require framework to also contextualize how your opponents arguments are implicated by your f/w arguments otherwise I default to f/w being non sequitur and just evaluate offense/defense of both cases (this is not a good place for you to be imo)

Argument Resolution: I reward debaters who clearly articulate and provide reasons why their warrants, impacts, sources are stronger in this round - give me reasons why you win! not why your opponent has lost. Debaters who provide well warranted arguments that are developed early and throughout the debate get both high speaks from me and my ballot.

Theory: I vote on well developed procedurals, I rarely vote on blipped shells that blow up later in the debate - this isn't to say don't run T in front of me but rather that you need to provide me a well developed justification for why to prefer your side - arguments of exclusions and similar arguments can be good reasons to prefer one interp. over another. Focus on impacts through a education/fairness filter will be the easiest way to my ballot on this issue.

Critical debate: I will not dismiss your argument because it is counter to the norm of debate, I have read and actively coach a lot of critical debate but you should not however assume I know the literature base you will be pulling from, feel free to ask prior to the start of the round about my familiarity. The more specific your argument is to the round or issue at hand then the easier route you will have to my ballot.

Disadvantages: I evaluate Disads first on the risk of intrinsic link to the aff before questions of uniqueness and the way this implicates the affirmative, this isn't to say questions of uniqueness don't implicate the link but questions of link comes first and then are determined to be strengthened / weakened by the uniqueness. - Work done on the impact level to have strong warrants as well as good weighing are an easy way to my ballot.

Raul Larsen Paradigm

7 rounds

Email chains are a tangible improvement to debate. RLarsen at desidancenetwork dot org. You can read my entire paradigm for bolded passages, as you would a card. Pronouns are he/him/”Judge”. Flow paper is always appreciated and often needed; Affirmative should have speech doc ready to be emailed by round start time. Flight 2 should enter the room at Flight 2 start time.



(Long Version is for procrastinating non-debate work)




(Pre-round Prep/Deadline Preffing):

Debate is a group of people engaging in performances. The nature of those debate performances (including my role as a judge) is settled by the competitors in the round with arguments. My default as a policy judge is to believe that those performances regard policymaking and that plans (/counterplans/alts/advocacies) create worlds with real impacts I should calculate via fiat as the plan is executed. As an LD judge, I think the round is about pursuing philosophical reasons to affirm or negate the resolution, and impacting through the lens of the criterial structure. Any successful movement away from the default paradigm typically entails explaining why I, the judge, should interpret your speech time differently. Most people succeed in shifting my defaults, and would consider me a “tabula rasa” judge. Nearly all of my LD rounds look like solo Policy these days. I’m expressive while judging, and you should take advantage of that, and look for cues.

Clash happens through the lens of the ballot. The nature of how the ballot is to be considered is the framework flow, and that means that arguments like Kritiks might engage with T/Theory in some rounds and not others. This means I will vote for your take on burning down civil society in one round and vote you down on T in the next. More at the top of the long version below.

Strategy Notes:

Negatives are currently going for too much in the 2NR, while dropping case. Affirmatives are currently spending too much time extending case while dropping world of the perm articulations.

Perms: I give the benefit of the doubt to the intuitive status of the permutation. I’m happy to vote against my intuition, but you need to lead me there (more below).

Tricks: If you go for this, impact the tricks out, as you would a dropped card. Slow down for the key line(s) in rebuttal speeches. Eye contact makes this strategy sustainable. Yes, Tricks rounds have '19-'20 ballots from me. No, it should not be your first move.

Topical Version of the Aff (TVA): Gotta read them, gotta answer them. Most of the rounds I vote for T are from a dropped interp or dropped TVA

Independent Voters: explain to me why the voter stands apart from the flow and comes first. Debaters are not consistently executing this successfully in front of me, so consider my threshold higher than average

No Risk: I do vote on no risk of the aff/plan doesn't solve. Terminal defense is still a thing

If you expect me to evaluate charts/graphics in your speech doc, give me time during the speech to read any graphics. It will otherwise only be a tie-breaker in evidence analysis

Uplayering: layers of debate often interact with each other; that they exist in separate worlds is not very compelling. Sequencing why I should analyze argument implications before others is the best way to win the layers debate.

Season Notes:

While I recognize there's no obligation to share your analytics, the practice serves a good pedagogical benefit for those who process information in different ways. I will begin awarding +.3 speaker points for those speeches including all/nearly all analytics in the speech doc AND that are organized in a coherent manner.

Updated 2/12 Average Speaker Points '19 - '20 Season: 28.770

185 rounds judged for the season ('19-'20) going into Berkeley/Harvard, mixed LD and Policy




(good luck, get snacks)



I recognize that this is no longer a viable read between rounds. Because I continue to receive positive feedback for its detail, it will be kept up, but I do not have any expectation that you will memorize this for my rounds. Bold text is likely worth its time, though.

Long Version (Procrastinating Other Work/Season Preffing):

Role of the Ballot:

Framework debaters: if you think the debate space should be predictable and fair, you should articulate what education/fairness/pick-your-voter means to the activity and why the ballot of this particular round matters.

K debaters: if you think rhetoric and its shaping matters more than the policy impacts of the 1AC, you should articulate your world of the alt/advocacy/pick-your-impact in a way that allows me to sign the ballot for you.

Performance debaters: if you think the debate space is for social movements/resistance/pick-your-story, you should explain why your performance relates to the ballot and is something I should vote for. Ideal performance cases explain topic links or provide reasons they actively choose not to be topical.

Everybody else: you get the idea. Clash happens through the lens of the ballot. The nature of how the ballot is to be considered is the framework flow, and that means that arguments like Kritiks might engage with T/Theory in some rounds and not others. This means I will vote for your take on burning down civil society in one round and vote you down on T in the next.

The world is unfair. Fairness is still probably a good thing. We get education from winning, and from losing. Some topics are poorly written and ground issues might not be the fault of your opponent. For debaters pursuing excellence, traditional voters aren’t the end of the conversation. Argument context can be everything. Tech speak, fairness is an internal link more than it is an impact.

“Two ships passing in the night” is something we hear in approximately 143% of RFDs, and it’s almost always the most efficient way to sad faces, frustration, and post rounding. RESOLVE this by finding points of clash, demonstrating that your claims engage with the claims of your opponent in a way that is beneficial for you. Clash shows that you are aware that your opponent has ground, and your following that with an explanation of why that ground couldn’t possibly earn my ballot is very persuasive. A round without clash is a round left to the judge, and you don’t want to leave any argument, big or small, up to the discretion of the judge.

The preventable argument issue that most often shows up on my ballot is how the permutation functions. I give the benefit of the doubt to the intuitive status of the permutation. For example, I think it’s very easy to imagine a world where two separate policy actions are taken. I think it’s very hard to imagine a world in which Civil Society is ended and the 1AC still solves its harms through implementation. The former gets preference for the permutation making sense. The latter gets preference for exclusivity making sense. I’m happy to vote against my intuition, but you need to lead me there.

I flow on paper, because as a wise teacher (Paul Johnson) once (/often) told me: “Paper doesn’t crash.” This means I will NOT:

Flow your overview verbatim

Flow your underview verbatim

Flow your tags verbatim


Follow the speech doc for author name spelling

Have no issues jumping around sheets as long as you signpost as you go
Still always appreciate another run through the order (if you don’t have the order, or you change it up, that’s O.K. Again, just sign post clearly)

Write in multiple colors (for individual speakers and notes)

Typically respond to body language/speech patterns and give you cues to what should be happening more or what should be happening less (furrowed brow + no writing usually means bad news bears. No writing, in general, means bad news bears)

I will keep the speech doc open on my computer, because it seems like a good idea to live the round as closely to the competitors’ experience as possible. However, it is YOUR job as a debater to COMMUNICATE to me the most important parts of your speech. 9 times out of 10 this means:

SLOW DOWN to emphasize big picture ideas that you use to contextualize multiple parts of the round. Let me know that you know it’s important. That level of awareness is persuasive.

TELL A STORY of the debate round. Are you winning? (the answer is almost always “yes”) Why are you winning? What are your winning arguments? Why do they demolish your opponent’s arguments into a thousand pieces of rubble that couldn’t win a ballot if you were unable to deliver any additional arguments?

WEIGH IMPACTS. Time frame/magnitude/probability. These are all great words that win debate rounds. There are other great words that also win rounds.
PRIORITIZE (TRIAGE) arguments. You don’t need to win all the arguments to win the debate. If you go for all the arguments, you will often lose a debate you could have won.

I’m still hearing this debated occasionally, but cross ex is binding. I flow it/take notes.

Flex Prep is alive and well in my rounds. You have an opportunity to ask further questions, but not a clear obligation to answer them. I also think it’s pretty fair that prep time can be used to just… prep.

If you ask me to call for evidence, you probably didn’t do a sufficient job presenting your cards during the round.

Rhetorical questions seem very clever as they’re conceived, but are rarely persuasive. Your opponent will not provide a damning answer, and your time would have been better spent working to make positive claims.

I tend to like policy arguments and performance more than philosophy-heavy kritiks because Ks often lose their grounding to the real world (and, it follows, the ballot). Policy arguments are claiming the real world is happening in the speeches of the round, and performance debate has had to justify its own existence for as long as it has existed, which makes it more practiced at role of the ballot. If you love your K and you think it’s the winning move, go for it! Just make sure to still find clash. Related: “reject” alts almost always feel like they’re missing something. Almost like a team without a quarterback, a musical without leads, a stage without performers.

Good links >>> more links

Good evidence >>>>> more evidence

Many definition interpretations are bad. Good definitions win [T] rounds.

Many framework card interpretations are bad. Every debater is better off reading the cards in the entirety at some point during their infinite prep, in order to better understand author intent.

My threshold for accepting politics disads as persuasive feels higher than the community average. I think it’s because probability is underrated in most politics disads.

Anything I believe is open to negotiation within the context of debate, but general truths have a much lower standard of proof (i.e. Debater 1 says “we are currently in Mexico.” Debater 2 counters “Pero estamos en Estados Unidos.” I consider the truth contest over at this point). The more specialized the knowledge, the higher the standard of proof.

Technical parts of the flow (T & Theory come to mind) can be really fast. I mentioned above that I’m writing by hand. You are always better off with -50% the number of arguments with +50% presentation and explanation to the remaining claims. Yes, I have your speech doc. No, I’m not doing your job for you. Communicate the arguments to me.

Debaters are made better by knowing how arguments evolve. There’s a reason a permutation is a “test of competition” (see: plan plus). Knowing the roots and growth of arguments will make you better at clash will make you better at debate will make you better at winning real, actual ballots.

My default is always to give an RFD, and to start that RFD with my decision. This will typically be followed by the winning argument(s). Ideally, the RFD should look suspiciously like the final rebuttal speech of the winning team.

I apologize for this paradigm becoming unreasonable in length.



Advice I give frequently enough to consume space on this infinitely long page that is now my paradigm:

Ships passing in the night/Clash wins rounds (see above)

Thanksgiving standard: if you can't explain why this argument is important to your Grandma during Thanksgiving dinner conversation, you probably need to keep reading the literature until you can contextualize to the real world. There's also a really good chance it won't win you the round.

At least try to live the advocacy you endorse. If you think coalition-building is the move, you shouldn’t be exclusionary without clear justification, and possibly not even then. The debate space is better for inclusion efforts.

It’s always to your advantage to use cross ex/prep to understand opposing arguments. Don’t realize after a rebuttal speech that your strategy was based on an incomplete understanding of your opponent(s) and their case.

It’s almost always worth your time to take a small amount of prep to sit back, breathe, and consider how you’re going to explain this round to your coach, debate-knowledgeable legal guardian, or friend-who-doesn’t-like-debate-but-supports-you-in-your-endeavors-because-they’re-a-good-friend. It’s an exercise that will tell you what’s important and help clear the clutter of speed, terminology, and tech.

This is also a good test for seeing if you can explain all the arguments using small words. I think the fanciest words I use in this paradigm are “verbatim” and “temporal proximity”. If you can’t explain your arguments in a simple, efficient manner, you need to keep reading.

It’s also almost always worth your time to take a moment, a sip of water, and a breath to collect yourself before a speech. Do this without excess and every judge you compete in front of will appreciate the generated composure and confidence in your ensuing speech.

Don’t start that speech with a million words a minute. Build to it. Double plus ungood habit if you forgot to check that everyone was ready for you to begin speaking.

I have never, not even once, in a decade+ of debate, heard a judge complain that author names were spoken too slowly.

Don’t take 5 minutes to flash a speech or to sort together a speech doc after you’re “done” prepping.

Your speech and prep time is yours to do with as you wish. Play music, talk loudly, play spades.

Opponent prep time is theirs to do with as they wish. That means you don’t get to play music intrusively (read: use headphones), talk intrusively, play spades intrusively, you get where this is going. This is one of the areas I think speaker points is very much at judge discretion.

If it’s not a speech and it’s not cross ex and neither team is running prep, you should not be prepping. Stealing prep is another area that I think leaves speaker points very much to judge discretion.

Don’t set sound alarms to the time you keep for your opponent’s speeches. Nobody ever, ever wants to hear the timer of the opponent go off before the speaker’s. I will keep time in 99% of debates, and if you’re wrong and cutting into their speech time, you’re losing speaker points.

I’m friendly.

I’m almost always down to give notes between rounds/after tournaments/via email on your performance in debate. Temporal proximity works in your favor (read: my memory has never been A1).

There are few things I love in this good life more than hearing a constructive speech that takes a new interpretation of an old idea and expands how I see the world. Writing your own arguments makes the time you invest in debate more worthwhile.

Spend some time teaching debate to others. Most things worth learning are worth teaching, and the act of teaching will give you an excellent perspective to arguments that have staying power in the community.

Lincoln-Douglas Debaters: A priori arguments can win rounds, but I’d rather see a debate where you win on substance than on a single line that your opponent dropped/misunderstood. If you’re going for a dropped analytic, impact it out in the 2R, as you would any other dropped card.

I feel like the rounds that end up being primarily the criterial debate typically indicate that the debaters could have done more to apply their arguments to the lens of their opponent’s criterion.



This space is for you. We don’t hold debate tournaments so that judges can sign ballots. You don’t spend hours/years preparing arguments and developing this skill because you just really want Tab Staffers to have something to do on the weekends. Mountains of money aren’t shifted so that we can enjoy the sweet, sweet pizza at the lunch hour. We’re here so that you can debate. Performance is about communicated intent, and debate is no exception. You can take anything out of that experience, but articulating your purpose walking into the round, even if only to yourself, will make you more persuasive.

Closing note: I typically think dialogue is the best way to educate, and that my role (at a bare minimum) is to educate the competitors following the round, through the lens of my decision and its reasoning. I will typically write a short Tabroom ballot and give as extensive a verbal RFD as scheduling permits/the students have asked all the questions they desire. The short version of this paradigm caused me physical pain, so that should indicate my willingness to engage in decision-making/pedagogical practices.

4 years high school LD/Extemp/PF

3 years college policy/parli/public

Coaching/teaching debate since 2009-ish

Writing Arguments by Allegory since 2013

Jonas Le Barillec Paradigm

7 rounds

Cal RR Policy Update: I did mostly LD in high school, and attended a few policy tournaments. I went to policy camp going into my junior and senior year. I have yet to judge a round on this year's policy topic, however I coached on last year's military aid topic which has quite the overlap in the topic literature with the arms sales topic. I believe argument explanation, regardless of content, is very important. Any of my defaults can be challenged and I will vote for any argument that is won. I am more than happy to entertain any questions either through my email, facebook, or before the round.

UPDATED: 9/21/2019

2013-2017: Competed at Peninsula HS (CA)

Yes I want to be on the email chain, add me:

I primarily read policy arguments during the regular season. At camp I experimented with everything including high theory, performance, (ethical) framework, theory, and tricks.

I am willing to judge, listen to, and vote for anything. Just explain it well. I am not a fan of strategies which are heavily reliant on blippy arguments and frequently find myself holding the bar for answers to poor uneveloped arguments extremely low.

Speed should not be an issue, but be clear.

Theory Defaults:
Drop the argument

Other Defaults:

Epistemic Modesty

If I shout TAGS it means that the end of your cards and the beginning of your next tags are not distinct enough.
If you want a better chance at winning and higher speaks start rebuttal speech with a real impact overview and not just explaining how debate works.

Explaining dense arguments will make me more likely to vote for them/higher speaks.

CX and prep are both flex prep. You can just use CX to prep if you want to, and you can use prep to ask questions, and both!

Incomplete extensions will be viewed with heavy skepticism when evaluating the argument. 99% of the time this is just shouting an argument or an author name without explaining what they say/warrant.

Aff vs. the K: No Link + Perm (Yes)

K vs. the Aff: Ks without a link (No)

"Read the Cards!" : If your 2NR/2AR puts your faith in me to just read all the evidence in the debate without any prodding as to what I am looking for, odds are you may be disappointed. I will not make arguments for you/come to conclusions about an argument on my own.




Buffet 2NRs/2ARs

Only the negative reads off-case positions, if you call a 1ar shell a "new off" and not a "new sheet", you will lose speaks.

No, I do not disclose speaks.

Role of the Ballot = Roll of the Eyes; It's just impact calc.

CX begins immediately after the 1AC and the 1NC.

Crawford Leavoy Paradigm

4 rounds

Crawford Leavoy, Director of Speech & Debate at Durham Academy - Durham, NC

Email Chain:

I am a former LD debater from Vestavia Hills HS. I coached LD all through college and have been coaching since graduation. I have coached programs at New Orleans Jesuit (LA) and Christ Episcopal School (LA). I am currently teaching and coaching at Durham Academy in Durham, NC. I have been judging since I graduated high school (2003).


- Speed is relatively fine. I'll say clear, and look at you like I'm very lost. Send me a doc, and I'll feel better about all of this.

- Run whatever you want, but the burden is on you to explain how the argument works in the round. You still have to weigh and have a ballot story.

- Theory - proceed with caution; I have a high threshold, and gut-check a lot

- Spikes that try to become 2N or 2A extensions for triggering the ballot is a poor strategy in front of me

- I don't care where you sit, or if you sit or stand; I do care that you are respectful to me and your opponent.

- If you cannot explain it in a 45 minute round, how am I supposed to understand it enough to vote on it.

- My tolerance for just reading prep in a round that you didn't write, and you don't know how it works is really low. I get cranky easily and if it isn't shown with my ballot, it will be shown with my speaker points.


- I'll give comments after every round, and if the tournament allows it, I'll disclose the decision. I don't disclose points.

- My expectation is that you keep your items out prior to the critique, and you take notes. Debaters who pack up, and refuse to use critiques as a learning experience of something they can grow from risk their speaker points. I'm happy to change points after a round based on a students willingness to listen, or unwillingness to take constructive feedback.

Russell Legate-Yang Paradigm

3 rounds

I did 4 years of PF at Strath Haven in PA, have taught at summer camps (ISD, VBI, ASAP), and currently coach.

My topic knowledge should be decent.

I used to say that I was a tabula rasa judge and could vote for almost any argument. I no longer say this because it is extraordinarily difficult to define tabula rasa in a both practical and rigorous way. Like every judge, I come into the round endowed with preferences. Please feel free to ask about these in detail. To provide a rough sketch sufficient for most rounds:

- I will do pretty much everything you expect an east coast ex-debater to do.

- Fiat is a scarce resource.

- I debated pretty fast, but never truly spread.

- I debated very few K or theory rounds.

- Maintaining the distinction between a card and a claim without evidence is critical.

Alec Loftus Paradigm

7 rounds

Alec Loftus - I for sure wanna be in the email chain

LSHS '18

Loyola University Chicago '22

While in high school, I primarily ran traditional arguments. Being from Minnesota, that was the norm there. However, having competed on the circuit at many tournaments, I'm not oblivious to the value of T, Kritiks, Theory, CPs, and the like.

My one request is that when running these offs that you speak a bit more clearer than you would otherwise (or think you need to otherwise). It's been a couple of months since I've been on the scene and I definitely know my affinity for understanding where the off is impacting has deteriorated a bit.

The most important thing to me in round is respect. Next is quality of impacts. If I cannot tell where an impact is specifically coming from and how it matters in the round then I am automatically going to weigh it less heavily in the round.

On a lighter note, this tournament can be kinda serious so any attempt at keeping it light, fun, friendly, or positive will get you some brownie speaker points.

Tl;dr- be friendly and have fun. I ran and heard mostly traditional, but am in tune to progressive debate. So, as the kiddos say, "go off I guess" if you want to and find it will add to the round.

Emmiee Malyugina Paradigm

6 rounds

For Email Chain:

LD Paradigm:

Background: Did some high school policy, some LD at Harker -- now doing policy @ Berkeley. I've done both Policy and K debate in both. For LD -- I don't have a whole lot of experience with tricks/phil/theory, but I do have a base level understanding. I got a few bids & taught at a few camps after graduating.

Arguments To Read/Not Read: I personally read LARP and K stuff (identity and pomo), but I'm not ideologically opposed to any other style. However, my understanding of Phil positions and tricks arguments are lower so you'll probably have to do more explaining. The only arguments I won't vote for are those that are blatantly abhorrent, unethically read (i.e.: clipped, misdisclosed, etc), or that lack a claim/impact/warrant.

Other Potentially Relevant Things: I tend to lean more towards how people explain/execute arguments and less towards what the original evidence says unless the other debater makes are argument about it or both teams are equally unclear because if you can't explain your evidence, I'm not going to do the work for you. Also, I presume NEG unless told otherwise and assume impacts are filtered by magnitude*probability if no one makes any framing arguments.

Kevin McCaffrey Paradigm

Not Submitted

Sean Mccormick Paradigm

7 rounds

Theory: I ran a lot of theory as a debater, I'll probably be pretty good at adjudicating a theory debate. I default competing interps, drop the debater, and no RVI's.

K's: I ran a lot of K's as a debater, I'll probably be decent at adjudicating a K debate.

Framework: I never did framework debate. I understand what most frameworks say, I conceptually understand how to debate a framework and how framework arguments work, but I'm definitely not going to be great at adjudicating a dense framework debate.

High Theory: I never ran these types of positions nor did I debate them much.

How to get better speaks: Slow down on author names.

Side note:
Use your best judgement on what to read against lay kids if you're a nat circuit debater. There's a comfortable middle between a theory-heavy, high-theory, super fast round & a lay round.

About me: I did debate for 3 years at Strake Jesuit in Houston Texas. I qualled to TOC as a junior and as a senior. My senior year I won a few tournaments, got eleven bids, and I got to Octas of TOC.

Jenn Melin Paradigm

7 rounds

Jenn (Jennifer) Miller-Melin, Jenn Miller, Jennifer Miller, Jennifer Melin, or some variation thereof. :)

Email for email chains:

If you walk into a round and ask me some vague question like, "Do you have any paradigms?", I will be annoyed. If you have a question about something contained in this document that is unclear to you, please do not hesitate to ask that question.

-Formerly assistant coach for Lincoln-Douglas debate at Hockaday, Marcus, Colleyville, and Grapevine. Currently assisting at Grapevine High School and Colleyville Heritage High School.

I was a four year debater who split time between Grapevine and Colleyville Heritage High Schools. During my career, I was active on the national circuit and qualified for both TOC and NFL Nationals. Since graduating in 2004, I have taught at the Capitol Debate Institute, UNT Mean Green Debate Workshops, TDC, and the University of Texas Debate Institute, the National Symposium for Debate, and Victory Briefs Institute. I have served as Curriculum Director at both UTNIF and VBI.

In terms of debate, I need some sort standard to evaluate the round. I have no preference as to what kind of standard you use (traditional value/criterion, an independent standard, burdens, etc.). The most important thing is that your standard explains why it is the mechanism I use to decide if the resolution is true or false. As a side note on the traditional structure, I don't think that the value is of any great importance and will continue to think this unless you have some well warranted reason as to why I should be particularly concerned with it. My reason is that the value doesn't do the above stated, and thus, generally is of no aid to my decision making process.

That said, debates often happen on multiple levels. It is not uncommon for debaters to introduce a standard and a burden or set of burdens. This is fine with me as long as there is a decision calculus; by which I mean, you should tell me to resolve this issue first (maybe the burden) and that issue next (maybe the standard). Every level of analysis should include a reason as to why I look to it in the order that you ask me to and why this is or is not a sufficient place for me to sign my ballot. Be very specific. There is nothing about calling something a "burden" that suddenly makes it more important than the framework your opponent is proposing. This is especially true in rounds where it is never explained why this is the burden that the resolution or a certain case position prescribes.

Another issue relevant to the standard is the idea of theory and/or off-case/ "pre-standard" arguments. All of the above are fine but the same things still apply. Tell me why these arguments ought to come first in my decision calculus. The theory debate is a place where this is usually done very poorly. Things like "education" or "fairness" are standards and I expect debaters to spend effort developing the framework that transforms into such.

l try to listen to any argument, but making the space unsafe for other bodies is unacceptable. I reserve the right to dock speaks or, if the situation warrants it, refuse to vote on arguments that commit violence against other bodies in the space.

I hold all arguments to the same standard of development regardless of if they are "traditional" or "progressive". An argument has a structure (claim, warrant, and impact) and that should not be forgotten when debaterI ws choose to run something "critical". Warrants should always be well explained. Certain cards, especially philosophical cards, need a context or further information to make sense. You should be very specific in trying to facilitate my understanding. This is true for things you think I have read/should have read (ie. "traditional" LD philosophy like Locke, Nozick, and Rawls) as well as things that I may/may not have read (ie. things like Nietzsche, Foucault, and Zizek). A lot of the arguments that are currently en vogue use extremely specialized rhetoric. Debaters who run these authors should give context to the card which helps to explain what the rhetoric means.

One final note, I can flow speed and have absolutely no problem with it. You should do your best to slow down on author names and tags. Also, making a delineation between when a card is finished and your own analysis begins is appreciated. I will not yell "clear" so you should make sure you know how to speak clearly and quickly before attempting it in round.

I will always disclose unless instructed not to do so by a tournament official. I encourage debaters to ask questions about the round to further their understanding and education. I will not be happy if I feel the debater is being hostile towards me and any debater who does such should expect their speaker points to reflect their behavior.

I am a truth tester at heart but am very open to evaluating the resolution under a different paradigm if it is justified and well explained. That said, I do not understand the offense/defense paradigm and am increasingly annoyed with a standard of "net benefits", "consequentialism", etc. Did we take a step back about 20 years?!? These seem to beg the question of what a standard is supposed to do (clarify what counts as a benefit). About the only part of this paradigm that makes sense to me is weighing based on "risk of offense". It is true that arguments with some risk of offense ought to be preferred over arguments where there is no risk but, lets face it, this is about the worst type of weighing you could be doing. How is that compelling? "I might be winning something". This seems to only be useful in a round that is already giving everyone involved a headache. So, while the offense/defense has effectively opened us up to a different kind of weighing, it should be used with caution given its inherently defensive nature.

Theory seems to be here to stay. I seem to have a reputation as not liking theory, but that is really the sound bite version of my view. I think that theory has a place in debate when it is used to combat abuse. I am annoyed when theory is used as a tactic because a debater feels she is better at theory than her opponent. I really like to talk about the topic more than I like to wax ecstatic about what debate would look like in the world of flowers, rainbows, and neat flows. That said, I will vote on theory even when I am annoyed by it. I tend to look at theory more as an issue of reasonabilty than competing interpretations. As with the paradigm discussion above, I am willing to listen to and adjust my view in round if competing interpretations is justified as how I should look at theory. Over the last few years I have become a lot more willing to pull the trigger on theory than I used to be. That said, with the emergence of theory as a tactic utilized almost every round I have also become more sympathetic to the RVI (especially on the aff). I think the Aff is unlikely to be able to beat back a theory violation, a disad, and a CP and then extend from the AC in 4 minutes. This seems to be even more true in a world where the aff must read a counter-interp and debate on the original interp. All of this makes me MUCH more likely to buy an RVI than I used to be. Also, I will vote on theory violations that justify practices that I generally disagree with if you do not explain why those practices are not good things. It has happened a lot in the last couple of years that a debater has berated me after losing because X theory shell would justify Y practice, and don't I think Y practice would be really bad for debate? I probably do, but if that isn't in the round I don't know how I would be expected to evaluate it.

Finally, I can't stress how much I appreciate a well developed standards debate. Its fine if you choose to disregard that piece of advice, but I hope that you are making up for the loss of a strategic opportunity on the standards debate with some really good decisions elsewhere. You can win without this, but you don't look very impressive if I can't identify the strategy behind not developing and debating the standard.

I cannot stress enough how tired I am of people running away from debates. This is probably the biggest tip I can give you for getting better speaker points in front of me, please engage each other. There is a disturbing trend (especially on Sept/Oct 2015) to forget about the 1AC after it is read. This makes me feel like I wasted 6 minutes of my life, and I happen to value my time. If your strategy is to continuously up-layer the debate in an attempt to avoid engaging your opponent, I am probably not going to enjoy the round. This is not to say that I don't appreciate layering. I just don't appreciate strategies, especially negative ones, that seek to render the 1AC irrelevant to the discussion and/or that do not ever actually respond to the AC.

Debate has major representation issues (gender, race, etc.). I have spent years committed to these issues so you should be aware that I am perhaps hypersensitive to them. We should all be mindful of how we can increase inclusion in the debate space. If you do things that are specifically exclusive to certain voices, that is a voting issue.

Being nice matters. I enjoy humor, but I don't enjoy meanness. At a certain point, the attitude with which you engage in debate is a reason why I should choose to promote you to the next outround, etc.

You should not spread analytics and/or in depth analysis of argument interaction/implications at your top speed. These are probably things that you want me to catch word for word. Help me do that.

Theory is an issue of reasonability. Let's face it, we are in a disgusting place with the theory debate as a community. We have forgotten its proper place as a check on abuse. "Reasonability invites a race to the bottom?" Please, we are already there. I have long felt that theory was an issue of reasonability, but I have said that I would listen to you make arguments for competing interps. I am no longer listening. I am pretty sure that the paradigm of competing interps is largely to blame with for the abysmal state of the theory debate, and the only thing that I have power to do is to take back my power as a judge and stop voting on interps that have only a marginal net advantage. The notion that reasonability invites judge intervention is one of the great debate lies. You've trusted me to make decisions elsewhere, I don't know why I can't be trusted to decide how bad abuse is. Listen, if there is only a marginal impact coming off the DA I am probably going to weigh that against the impact coming off the aff. If there is only a marginal advantage to your interp, I am probably going to weigh that against other things that have happened in the round.

Grammar probably matters to interpretations of topicality. If one reading of the sentence makes sense grammatically, and the other doesn't that is a constraint on "debatability". To say the opposite is to misunderstand language in some pretty fundamental ways.

Truth testing is still true, but it's chill that most of you don't understand what that means anymore. It doesn't mean that I am insane, and won't listen to the kind of debate you were expecting to have. Sorry, that interp is just wrong.

Framework is still totally a thing. Impact justifying it is still silly. That doesn't change just because you call something a "Role of the Ballot" instead of a criterion.

Util allows you to be lazy on the framework level, but it requires that you are very good at weighing. If you are lazy on both levels, you will not make me happy.

Flashing is out of control. You need to decide prior to the round what the expectations for flashing/emailing are. What will/won't be done during prep time, what is expected to be flashed, etc. The amount of time it takes to flash is extending rounds by an unacceptable amount. If you aren't efficient at flashing, that is fine. Paper is still totally a thing. Email also works.

Arik Mendelevitz Paradigm

7 rounds

I debated policy and then switched to LD on the national circuit as part of GBN's team and have since coached policy at various high schools across the country.  I can handle any speed, as long as its clear and you slow down tags. I have a philosophy degree focusing on language, ethics, and political philosophy.  This means that I have likely read most of your authors and that if you want to run moralistic based arguments or Ks in front of me, make sure to do them well.  In my opinion the most important thing in an argument is its warrants.  Thus, if you fail to mention the "why" when extending, I'm going to have a hard time evaluating your argument.  As long as you do this, I don't care whether you run personal narratives, bring a painting into the room for your K, etc. 

If you have me as a judge, please run interesting arguments.  This doesn't mean I'll be more likely vote for you, but it will make it more fun for everyone.  However, don't do this at the expense of running good arguments you know you can win with.

Kamil Merchant Paradigm

7 rounds

I graduated from law school from the University of Illinois College of Law in 2016 and previously completed a degree in philosophy from the University of California, San Diego.
I debated LD at New Trier Township HS and went to the 2006-07 ToC. I coached Torrey Pines students until 2012, and worked with Evanston for a year after.

The short story is that I want you to explain by the end of the round how I evaluate the round (i.e. explain what mechanism I use to weigh arguments, why your arguments meet that/why your opponents don't and the basic order in which I evaluate arguments); theory is fine, speed is fine; Ks are fine; I will yell clear and call for evidence after the round if need be. I don't need very long extensions in the 1AR or 2AR. But if you want me to vote on the offense you need to make very clear what the argument is doing for you in the round. So please weigh and tell me why I should want to endorse your world over your opponent's world.

Theory: I evaluate theory based on competing interpretations. I don't give more weight to cards on theory than I do to smart analytics. I want to hear a comparison of internal warrants and weighing between standards/interpretations.

Frameworks: I'm open to whatever framework you want to read as long as you can explain how I use it to evaluate offense. Just make it sure it is coherent for the resolution and the agent in the resolution.

MicroPol: I've voted for it and I've voted against it. I tend to prefer narrative arguments where the impact is to either affirm or negate the resolution. But I have heard very good positions that just look to issues of race in debate at large. At the end of the day I treat it like any other argument: tell me how I should evaluate the round and why you win under that evaluation. If that means your ballot story doesn't look to the resolution, then justify it and win that position. I honestly think the best round of debate I've seen was the Northwestern v. Emporia final round of NDT.

Speaker Points:I reward coherence and clarity above all else. The way to get a 30 is for your last rebuttal to say exactly what my RFD on the ballot says. That means you explain how each argument interacts and why the way everything falls means I vote for you. This approach especially rewards good comparison of evidence and internal warrants.

As an aside, I firmly believe debaters should disclose positions, but don't feel that I have the jurisdiction to vote on disclosure theory bc it's conduct that occurred outside of the debate round. I can be persuaded to vote for disclosure theory, but I really dislike it and feel like it's a cop-out. I'd much rather hear an argument about why you should receive benefit of the doubt on resolving arguments in your favor bc you disclosed and your opponent didn't.

Anything else, feel free to ask me prior to the round!

Nick Montecalvo Paradigm

7 rounds

I am a fifth year debate teacher and coach for the nationally ranked Cypress Bay High School debate team. I am a lover of the written and spoken word who fell hard for forensics. I received my BA in English from Florida Atlantic University, and have judged local and national debate tournaments including out-rounds at Harvard, The Glenbrooks, Emory, The Tradition, Bronx, Sunvite and The Cal Invitational (Mostly LD, but also scores of speech and other debate event rounds).

General Paradigm
I am open to whatever kind of position you would like to run, but clarity and weighing is essential in fleshing-out arguments and my decision-making process. That being said, I do appreciate when debaters explain complex theory arguments. I grasp and enjoy K debate. I also do not retain details of all the obscure literature I've heard about. Just because it is a commonly used concept in competitive debate, don't assume that I understand how it interacts with your position. Explain stuff!!!

I can follow most speeds.
I flow. Please slow down on authors and tags.

Speaker Points
I think that speaker points are unnecessarily arbitrary; I also know that giving every debater in a round 30s skews results. As such, I use speaker points as a rank. If you are the best debater in the round, you will get 29 points(30 will be reserved for a truly stunning performance), second best, 28.5 points, etc. I will only give you below a 26 in a round if I am offended about an argument or action in the round.


Policy Debate: I have only judged a handful of national policy tournaments. I understand the structure and basic principles, but much of the jargon is foreign to me, and explanation may be necessary to obtain my ballot.


Ari Mostow Paradigm

7 rounds

I debated for Oakwood (CA), doing Lincoln Douglas debate on the national circuit level for 4 years. I don't care which arguments you read. I award speaker points based on how easy you make it for me to vote for you. That said, go easy on the a prioris.

Defaults (The following are merely defaults in the absence of any arguments for or against)

1. Drop the debater and no RVIs

2. Presume neg

3. Competing interps

If you have any other questions, I encourage you to ask me before the round or email me at

Sampath Narayanan Paradigm

4 rounds

I am a parent judge. Please talk slowly and clearly. Read definitions, your value, your value criterion, and then your contentions. When you explain arguments and analysis to me, please do so in layman's terms and make the round as clear as you can.

Nicholas Newton-Cheh Paradigm

7 rounds

Nicholas Newton-Cheh

Lexington High School '18 UChicago '22


Please include me in an email chain


- Most common args I ran were Affro-pessimism, K affs, policy affs with TJFs, spec, T. Favorite arg was Affropess, but that doesn't mean I'm more likely to vote for it.

- Speed is fine. I'll yell clear but too many times and I'll dock speaks.

- Tech>Truth

- Manage your own prep, compiling speech docs is prep, emailing/flashing isn’t.

- Comfort level: (most comfortable) Kritikal debates (K vs Policy aff, K vs. K aff, K vs. Phil) > LARP and theory/T debates >phil/tricks (least comfortable).

- Debaters who want to read dense phil or nail bomb, spike-laden affs should pref me lower.


- Love good K debates, hate bad ones. I have a high threshold - know your literature, execute effective strategy

- Reasonably familiar with most K's

- K debate should be technical

- The more dense the K lit, the more explanation required

- Prefer specific links over generics

- Clear articulation of the alt is key - Alt's tend to be the weakest part of the K and w/o them most K's are non-unique disads


- Pay more than lip service to framing

- Pls do evidence and impact comparison

- Give me a good overview and collapse effectively - Make it easy for me to evaluate the round


- Default to competing interps, no rvi, drop the arg, text>spirit, meta-theory>theory, fairness and education are voters.

- Defaults are stupid

- Read that interp nice and slow. Also be extra clear with standards + warrants as I can only flow so fast. The blippier the arg, the clearer and slower it should be read.

-Give good overviews in last speech.

- Do good weighing - same idea as my larp section, make it easy for me to vote eval the round/vote for you.


- I dislike tricks. As a result, I have a low threshold to answering blippy tricks args. You can read tricky args and still engage in a somewhat substantive debate (e.g. I'll vote off a floating PIK) but if your case is 20+ hidden spikes in a 90% analytic phil FW, I'll be annoyed.

-I will vote on tricks but I am less likely to give you a lot of leeway.


- I wasn't really a phil debater in HS - only really read Kant NC's in phil debates.

- Do a good job explaining and ideally don't just read a bunch of preclusion args the I have to wade through.

- Plagiarizing a friend's paradigm, assume that "my understanding [of your FW] will solely depend on your ability to explain it."


- Speaks average a 28 (I'm pretty generous with speaks) - I don't disclose speaks

- Clipping means intentionally or blatantly claiming to have read something you didn't (be it an analytic in a speech doc or the second half of a card that you didn't mark). It doesn't mean stumbling over a few words. The penalty for misrepresenting evidence or clipping is a loss with 0 speaks. If you initiate an evidence ethics challenge and are wrong the penalty shall be applied to you instead.

- Default to ethical confidence (you can argue ethical modesty tho), presume neg, risk of offense, CX is binding. Defaults will be overridden by in round args.

- Low threshold for extensions. A nice overview at the top of a rebuttal is sufficient. But if you expect to win off an impact and don't mention it at all in your speech, it probably won't be evaluated.

Deserea Niemann Paradigm

3 rounds

I am the Head Coach at Lakeville North High School and Lakeville South High School in Minnesota. My debaters include multiple state champions as well as TOC and Nationals Qualifiers.

I am also a history teacher so know your evidence. This also means the value of education in debate is important to me.

I encourage you to speak at whatever speed allows you to clearly present your case. I do not mind speaking quickly, but spreading is not necessary. I will tell you to clear if you are speaking too quickly. One sure way to lose my vote is to disregard my request to slow down. I vote heavily on your ability to verbalize the links between your evidence and the resolution. If I cannot hear/understand what you are saying because you are speaking too quickly, I cannot vote for you.

Claim. Warrant. Impact. I expect you to not only explain the links, but also impact your argument. I am impressed by debaters who can explain why I should care about a few key pieces of important evidence rather than doing a card dump.

If you plan to run off case that's fine just make sure that you articulate and sign post it well. Don't use narratives or identity arguments unless you actually care about/identify with the issue.

Be respectful of your opponent and your judge. Please take the time to learn your opponent's preferred pronouns. I expect you to take your RFD graciously-the debate is over after the 2AR not after the disclosure.

Megan Nubel Paradigm

6 rounds

I am a special education teacher and coach debate for New Trier Township High School (IL). I debated Lincoln Douglas and some PF at Valley High School 2008-2013.

Long story short: Debate the way you know how in the best way you can. Clearly explain your arguments, impacts, and interactions in the round. Articulate what my reason for the decision should be. Here's how I evaluate the round once it ends: (1) Look at the 2ar, decide whether there's anything the aff can win on, (2) if yes, consider neg interaction with that/those argument(s) and consider comparable neg offense then decide what wins, (3) if no, look at the NR and decide if there's anything that the neg can win on, (4) if still no, ???

General/neither here nor there:

-Sit wherever makes sense. I don't care which side sits in which place in the room, and feel free to sit or stand at any point in the debate.

-Flash before your speech but you don't need to use prep time to do so. Please flash analytics.

-I think brackets are fine in evidence if they are used *properly.* Please line down cards honestly and include full citations.

-The value is not particularly important to me; the value-criterion is how I evaluate the framework if it’s relevant in the round.

-I judge on the national circuit a few times tournaments year, so please don't expect me to know the general happenings or stock arguments.

-I don't flow off of speech docs but I will look at cards after the round (sometimes prompted, sometimes unprompted)

-Please disclose. There are some exceptions to this that are more lenient (local debater and you're not sure what that means, wiki down, etc) but if your opponent asks what the aff is, don’t leave them on read. You probably don’t have to disclose >30 min before the round but I’m open to hearing otherwise.


-I don't default to anything on theory or T, I just sit there very confused when things aren't explicit and justified. If you justify the argument once and it's dropped, then it becomes my default.

-I'm familiar with most types of arguments (traditional, disads, advantages, plans, theory, topicality, critical, types of counter-plans, types of perms). I have heard of and judged most frameworks used in debate but I'm not deeply knowledgeable about any.

-Sometimes I’ll get questions like “are you ok with...” or “will you listen to...” and the answer is yes. There are no arguments I feel so strongly about that I’ll reject them outright. I don’t even really have arguments I prefer. It’s my job to judge the debate so I do.

-Complete extensions are a must. Claim, warrant, and impact. Please do your impact analysis for me and address all aspects of the debate in your crystallization. If I don't clearly understand your side and ballot story, you might not get my vote because of confusion or misinterpretation on my end. Pre-correct for my potential judging errors in your speeches.


-I have high-frequency hearing loss so my ears ring. If you anticipate your speech will include very loud noises or high-frequency pitches from music, etc, please let me know.

-I'm not going to flow what I don't hear or understand. Sometimes I say clear or slow or louder if necessary. I don't always look at my keyboard or computer when I'm typing, so if I'm looking at you it doesn't necessarily mean I'm not flowing. I can type very fast so sometimes I’ll just flow extensions verbatim to sort them out later.

-If I'm flowing on paper you probably need to go about 60% of your top speed. If I am flowing on a computer it’s all good, just work up to your top speed and slow down on tags, transitions between offs, etc. If I miss the author name I just write “CARD/“ on my flow.

Please feel free to ask me about anything not mentioned here that might be pertinent to your debate. I can't say I have many strong opinions in any direction way when it comes to debate styles, arguments, etc.

Nelson Okunlola Paradigm

7 rounds

*Glenbrooks Update - I’ll probably be flowing on paper - do with this what you wish*

I still know nothing about the topic.

Earl Warren '17

Northwestern '21

Email: [Add me to the chain]

I did LD and Policy in high school and was a 2N at Northwestern

I haven't read the topic lit. Don't assume I know the acronyms or that I know what's "common sense" in the literature

I generally evaluate LD and Policy the same, correcting for obvious activity discrepancies. If something is specific to one event, ill label it as such.

Do what YOU want and do it well. If something isn't clear here, contact me or ask before the round


- Tech > Truth

- Add me to the chain. Prep time ends when the doc has been saved and is ready to be sent. If you "cease prep" and aren't ready to give your speech within 30 seconds, I'm starting the time again. Get better at compiling docs.

- Ill vote on pretty much anything that's warranted and impacted both generally and to my ballot. I don't give credence to one lit base over another. Reading something just because you think i'd like it is probably not the way to go but do you I guess.

- Debate can be whatever you want it to be, whether that's a game, a liberation strategy, or an activity you do just cause.

- Decision Calculus = "who's winning framing" "who's winning offense under that framing". I’ll evaluate “layers” and all that jazz but thats work you have to do. If your strategy requires a different evaluative mechanism just make that clear

- Absent framing I'll presume util=trutil

- Don't assume I've read your lit

- I'll call for evidence judiciously

Evidence Ethics

- Don't do it, if you do its an L0

- If you make a false accusation, its an L0

- I think brackets are only germane for questionable language, given that the word or phrase you change is not omitted from the text.


- Speed is chill but keep in mind I've never been the best at flowing

- Do not start at full speed, 8/10 times I'll miss the first 3 words

- ******Slow down considerably on tags/texts/analytics. You can speed through anything else

- Some speeds are just incomprehensible for me to flow so I will yell slow and/or clear. I won't dock speaks if you're too fast for me because that's not your fault, but if you are unclear it is my jurisdiction to dock speaks.

- The longer you take to adapt the angrier I get and that affects speaks

[LD] Pref shortcuts

K: 1

"LARP": 1

Theory: 2-3

Framework/Phil: 3

Tricks: 4

[LD] Framework

- Tell me how to evaluate the round. Absent framing, I'll assume util is true and adjudicate accordingly. You don't want me to do that.

- I'm not an analytic/dense phil guy. If this is what you do thats fine just please don't assume I've read your lit.


- CP theory is fair game

- Competition should be clear


- Impact framing and weighing is important and the lack thereof make these debates hard to evaluate


- I need to know what your alt and my ballot means/does

- Don't assume I've read your lit

- Make framing arguments, I don't like intervening

- Go all out, but warrant your arguments/practices

Kritikal Affs/Performance/Micropolitical/T - Resolution

- Warrant and defend your practice/speech act/performance

- Been on both sides of this debate, enjoy both sides of this debate. I'm just as willing to vote on T as I am to vote aff in these debates

- The negative could usually benefit from saying something about the case proper in these debates


- Do it well

- I need to hear your interpretation

- Slow down on the standard/impact names (Limits, Ground etc)

- Ngl I enjoy a good topicality debate

[LD] this isn't policy and there are no stock issues. T is probably not an intrinsic affirmative burden. You probably need a voter.


- I would much rather evaluate substance but theory is fair game. However, just like every other argument, the more bullshit it is, the lower my threshold for responses are but at the same time I won't make those responses for you

- Slow down on the interpretation and the standard/impact names (Predictability, Time Skew etc)

- Reasonability is very underutilized and can be compelling but deploy it effectively

[LD] If theory is your pre-meditated A strat, don't pref me. No one likes frivolous theory, it will make me sad and you'll be sad when you see your speaks

[LD] I shouldn't have to default on any theory paradigms, it's your job to have that debate but without contestation, I'll default competing interpretations and no RVI's. All this means is that if these aren't contested in the round, that's how i'm evaluating theory.

[LD] Theory does not have to be in "shell" format

[LD] Skep

- It's an argument. It can be worthwhile if read well, therefore if you plan on reading this do it well and defend your practice.

- 1 off skep probably won't get you too far but I'll evaluate it I guess

[LD] Tricks

- If your A-strat are tricks then I'm not the judge for you. I honestly don't really know how most of the shits function so you probably dont want me judging you anyways

- Ill still evaluate it, just err on the side of explanation of the utility of your argument.

Speaker points

- This changes depending on the caliber of the tournament

- I see speaks as a tiebreaker for seeding and I evaluate it accordingly

- General criteria: should you clear? strategy, in round persona, "are you good or bad at debate"

- Speech impediments won't factor into my evaluation of speaks

- I'll reward innovation by giving more speaks to debaters that teach me something new

- 29.6-30: You can win this tournament or be in late elims

- 29-29.5: Better than the majority of the pool

- 28-29: You'll probably clear

- 27-28: You'll probably not clear

- 26-27: Lots of room for improvement

- < 26: .........


- Content warnings are valuable

- Lay debate is chill, but I prefer faster debates over slower ones.

PF Paradigms Update 3/27 for TOC

- Everything in the Policy/LD section generally apply, I suggest reading that especially the TLDR/General section

- I prefer faster debates over slower ones

- The only hard and fast/objective rules that constrain me are those of the tournaments/whatever rule guidelines said the tournament is following. Everything else is up for debate (i.e theoretical arguments)

- I don't care what you read/how you read it (see note above)

- Don't assume I've read the topic lit

- I'm fine with "progressive" style arguments but if your opponents ask for clarification you better do some explaining.

Himanshu Pandya Paradigm

3 rounds


Rodrigo Paramo Paradigm

3 rounds

i debated ld and policy in high school, i coach ld @ greenhill.

toss me on the email chain:

[current/past affiliations: woodlands ('14-'15), dulles ('15-'16), edgemont ('16-'18), westwood ('14-'18), greenhill ('18-now)]

I am most comfortable evaluating critical and policy debates, but find myself thoroughly enjoying 6 minutes of topicality or framework [like, T-framework against k affs, not kant] if it is delivered at a speed i can flow. I will make it clear if you are going too fast - i am very expressive so if i am lost you should be able to tell. I am a bad judge for tricks debates, and am not a great judge for denser "phil" debates - i do not coach or think about analytic philosophy outside of tournaments, so I need these debates to happen at a much slower pace in order for me to process and understand all the moving parts - notably, this is also true for whoever is answering these positions.

Thoughts I have

0) Miscellaneous New Thoughts I Have Had Recently:

  • i think the word "unsafe" means something and get uncomfortable when it is deployed cavalierly - it is a meaningful accusation to suggest that an opponent has made a space unsafe (vs uncomfortable), and i think students/coaches/judges should be mindful of that distinction
  • i find the insistence on labeling non-independent voters as independent voters exhausting and off-putting
  • there is no chance you get me to exclude/disregard a speech from the debate- i will evaluate every portion of the debate after the 2ar, with relevant content from the 2ar taken into consideration.

1) Evidence Ethics: In previous years, I have seen a lot of miscut evidence. I think that evidence ethics matters regardless of whether an argument/ethics challenge is raised in the debate. If I notice that a piece of evidence is miscut, I will vote against the debater who reads the miscut evidence.

I think that a piece of evidence is miscut if:

  • it starts and/or ends in the middle of a sentence or paragraph.
  • text is missing from the middle of the card (replacing that text with an ellipsis does not make it okay),
  • the next paragraph or another part of the article explicitly contradicts the argument/claim made in the card,
  • the card is highlighted in a way that modifies or does not accurately represent the author’s claim - i think students & coaches both are far too comfortable highlighting only parts of words/sentences in a way that drastically changes the meaning of a card, and i think this is bad. [Be careful with brackets - I don’t think they always mean a card is miscut, but I’ve seen that they very often do. I think that brackets, more often than not, are bad - if a bracket changes the strength of a claim made by the author, or in some other way changes the *meaning* of the evidence, it is miscut],
  • if a cite lists the wrong author, article title, etc. (I hope to decide 0 debates this year on citations - I’ll only decide debates on them without challenges in the most egregious cases).
  • if a card does not have a citation at all and the debater is asked for it, but cannot provide it, i think this means you do not get that argument. i do not think it would be super hard to convince me that this is a voting issue, but i will not presume that.

If I decide a debate on evidence ethics, I will let the debate finish as normal. If the debate is a prelim, I will decide speaks based on the content of the debate and subtract two speaker points from the debater that I vote against. If the debate is an elim, I will submit my ballot and won’t say anything about my decision until the debate is announced.

If both sides read miscut evidence, I will vote against the debater who read miscut evidence first. (I really don’t love this as a way to evaluate these debates, but the only comparable scenario that I can think of is clipping, and that’s how I would resolve those debates.)

I do not plan to go out of my way looking for miscut evidence or checking to see whether every card is cut correctly. If I do notice that something is miscut, I will vote against the debater who reads it regardless of whether a challenge is made.

Please do not hesitate to ask questions about this before the debate.

Evidence Ethics Procedures: the phrase "evidence ethics" means something - if someone says it and their opponent clarifies "is this an evidence ethics challenge," i understand this to mean that the debate ends - whoever has made the accusation wins if i believe the evidence ethics violation is correct, they lose if i believe the accused did not commit an evidence ethics violation - i will not independently end the round if the accused does not ask for this - if they do, i am happy to - words matter and evidence ethics matters - see the relevant section on bennett eckert's paradigm for more of my thoughts on this question. i also believe that debaters should think carefully before accusing their opponents of academic dishonesty, plagiarism, etc. - heavy claims.

2) Clipping: i have a good ear for when clipping is occurring - if i suspect it is, i will follow along in the speech doc - if i determine i am correct, the person clipping will lose. to be very clear, this does not necessitate the opponent making a clipping accusation - i feel very comfortable making this adjudication on my own.

3) Online Debate:

  • slow down.
  • here is the procedure i will follow if a student drops off a call, or i drop off a call: students are expected to maintain local recordings of their speeches - if they drop off, they should complete the speech and immediately email their recording upon completing it. i will not allow students to restart speeches / attempt to figure out how much time they had left, particularly in elimination rounds.
  • more to come

4) Comparative Worlds/Truth-Testing:

  • i will default to a comparative worlds paradigm unless the 1ac/nc justifies otherwise - later speeches cannot shift to truth-testing without an indication of that interpretive claim in the constructives.

5) Politics Disads:

  • i follow domestic politics prettttty closely. this means i will be thrilled to reward smart analytics made on politics scenarios and will be impressed if you know your stuff. that said, this means my bs meter is pretty high on some ptx scenarios - for instance, i am not going to vote on an impeachment impact unless you tell me how we get from a 53-47 gop senate to a successful vote to remove trump from office - absent that warrant, i will not grant you "impeachment proceedings remove trump from office" [of course, the opposing side must be able to explain why a 53-47 gop senate is unlikely to cast that votes
  • i think we are quickly approaching the time when i will see elections disads - if you read one, make sure your evidence is *recent,* *high-quality,* and that you understand the playing field well so you can make intelligent analytic arguments - this election will be the thing i think about most between now and november - i will thoroughly love a good politics debate

6) miscellaneous thoughts on Theory/topicality:

  • slow down on it - will say slow twice. after that, i will miss your arguments and that will be the RFD. this is similarly true for perm texts etc - dont super care what the doc said if i didnt flow the text near verbatim in the 1ar. if i say "slow" i have almost certainly already missed an argument - do with that what you will.
  • defaults: dtd, no rvi, c.i.
  • im pretty receptive to text of the interp/text of the rotb/plan flaw args - i generally think that when issues arise in those 3 things, they are a result of students not giving much thought to them which is a shame bc all 3 are pretty important in my view - well crafted interps, as well as cxes that isolate plan flaws/interp issues will be rewarded (this does not mean i like /bad/ plan flaw args). i am also fairly willing to check in on semantic i meets against frivolous theory.
  • you should always flash or have written down interp/counter-interp texts readily available for both your opponents and your judges
  • i will likely be easily compelled by a "debaters should not bracket evidence" argument *if* you can execute it well - i have grown sympathetic to this argument as abuses become increasingly egregious
  • theory and topicality are different and i think this implicates what the 1ar is expected to do to respond to each. it also implicates what topicality vs theory interpretations (and counter interpretations) are expected to include
  • my reluctance to vote on bad theory arguments is not because they are bad but because i sincerely dont understand the abuse story on many many shells. some examples: spec status; spec standard; rotb spec; cant concede the aff framework; must concede the aff framework. i am not interested in judging these debates and do not think the feedback i give in these debates is that helpful for anyone involved. good theory debates can be great, but i will feel comfortable saying "i did not understand the abuse story so i did not vote on this shell" (this also applies to framework v k affs)
  • "in the interest of disclosing my own bias, i think the best debates happen when both teams are able to reasonably predict what arguments will be read (with the exception of new affs + unbroken neg positions). i am unsympathetic to arguments about disclosure that do not contest this point. even if you cannot post broken positions on the wiki for whatever reason, it is my belief that you should be willing to provide them, in good faith, to your opponent upon request in some way." - anna (weird to quote a former student on here!)
  • Nebel: in the past i have made clear that the nebel argument did not make a lot of sense to me. in many ways, i am still receptive to the "pragmatics first" school of thought. however, nebel 19 (the second one) is compelling. i intuitively believe that a world where debate has plans is a better one, but jake has convinced me that our topic wordings do not often justify that world. i will obviously still judge these debates based only on what happens in the round, but i am newly receptive to the nebel argument (this is primarily true for the semantic claims. given that, please slow down on it if you read it - portions of the grammar stuff still confuses me at the speed of a debate round, so please slow down)

7) miscellaneous thoughts on T-Framework

  • i spent... a lot of time last summer thinking about framework against k affs - im into it if done well - im not as into the procedural fairness version of it - get creative.
  • i do not think i have ever been convinced by the claim that judges have a jurisdictional constraint to only vote for topical affs - i do not foresee that changing [really, *any* jurisdictional constraint is unlikely to be compelling to me bc it is a claim that just kind of is incapable of a particularly good warrant]
  • I think the best framework shells will be written to pre-empt semantic I meets, and will do more than just define three words in the resolution - they will provide a model for what topical affs must defend, they will have standards level offense that has explanatory power for why debate has rules, what the role of the ballot is, etc. - I suppose in short, the claim behind a good framework shell is stronger than just “the resolution determines the division of aff and neg ground.”
  • your shell should define a word in the resolution besides just "Resolved:"
  • pretty close to 50/50 voting record in clash debates

8) miscellaneous thoughts on permutations:

  • i do not understand why the aff would not get perms in a method debate - i have never seen a compelling warrant and can't really think of one - thus, the default assumption on my part is that the aff does get perms and it is a fairly uphill battle to convince me otherwise
  • i will not grant you the perm if i am uncertain about the perm text bc the articulation between 1ar and 2ar was different
  • perm texts should be more than "perm do both" - *especially* in the 2ar
  • you should always flash or have written down perm texts readily available for both your opponents and the judges

9) miscellaneous thoughts on the Kritik

  • i am so deeply deeply unreceptive to and uninterested in this trend of explaining new identity categories with the same form and language of antiblackness literature. if you do not have a psychoanalytic warrant, dont claim you do! if you do not have evidence identifying a structural antagonism, i do not know why you are using that language! sigh.
  • kritiks i have spent a lot of time thinking about: deleuzean scholarship, queer theory (a lot of authors fall under this second category), borderlands
  • kritiks I judge a lot: afropessimism, settler colonialism
  • kritiks I don't really get: baudrillard [i am far far more receptive to baudrillard on the negative than on the affirmative, but i think it is a kinda uphill battle against identity affs in front of me]
  • i think that the best k affs will have a defense of why *debating the aff* is good - not just why *the aff* as an object is good - why is the process of reading it in an environment where the neg must respond to it good? (in other words, the affirmative should answer the question of why it is good to read non-t affs on the aff, not just in debate)
  • i really enjoy a good performance debate
    • i think that people often attempt to go for performative offense when all they have done is read cards that are formatted in a normative way, at a conventional speed, and where later speeches revert to a hyper technical style of debate - i am *very, very* skeptical of the level of offense that these performances access - to get access to a "we change debate" claim, you should... do something I haven't seen before. a performance debate should not be indistinguishable from a policy debate, and these days almost all of the ones i judge are. that is a real shame.
  • my threshold for "debate bad" is fairly high - my presumption is that there is a lot of value in debate, and that is why I have stuck around for so long.

10) miscellaneous thoughts (strategy):

  • Evidence quality is directly correlated to the amount of credibility I will grant an argument - if the card is underhighlighted, the claim is likely underwarranted. The 1ac/nc should have evidence of high quality, and the 1ar/2nr/2ar should have explanation of that evidence of a similarly high quality
  • if the 2nr is split that is rarely a great sign for speaker points - it also is liable to implicate your ability to win the debate - any 2nr with 2 shells is deeply deeply perplexing to me and a shell + a cp/da is even harder for me to understand!!!
  • i will not vote for a position i do not understand - this includes poorly explained kritiks, sloppy link scenarios on a disad, dense ncs that i probably wont get, and theory shells whose abuse story i can not adequately explain back to the debaters
  • I'll say clear/slow twice - speaks will be deducted after that
    • given how clear it is to me that no one could flow a debate round as it is delivered, i am cool w debaters tossing out a "slow" at their opponents if they can't flow them at top speed
  • clarity is important for high speaks but more important than how you sound is making strategic decisions in the 2AR/NR collapse in the 2nr/2ar
  • if any of your 1nc positions are too short to sustain a 6 minute 2nr on it i think that likely means the 1nc arg is underdeveloped. that issue should be resolved pre round, not by relying on 2nr cards/new args - i think this is particularly true of very short topicality arguments - a sentence or two of standards will likely not be enough to beat a 1ar thats just like "hold the line"
  • I love a robust debate on the case line by line - I do not love a case debate that is just three disads read on the case page, or that dumps generic case turns on the page with no signposting / interacting with cards from the ac - this is particularly true when you read all the generic turns and then do the line by line.

11) miscellaneous thoughts (rules of debate):

  • i can't think of any instances where a debate round would be better if it includes personal invectives against specific debaters/institutions/etc - i can think of many when it is worse for it.
  • on flashing: i think if you send a doc with a lot of analytics that you do not get through, you cannot just refuse to tell your opponent what analytics you did/did not read
  • i mark cards at the timer and stop flowing at the timer.
  • flex prep means asking questions during prep time - in no world does unused CX time become prep time
  • speech times dont change presumption how wild (and neither do other random theoretical warrants - i will presume negative if the negative defends the status quo, and affirmative if the negative does something to flip presumption (read: defends more change from the status quo)) - people should deploy presumption more against affirmatives that do not defend anything!
  • i generally do not believe you can merely "insert" a list of what the aff defends - I think this is functionally equivalent to not reading it.
  • my average speaks so far this year:
    • grapevine: 28.32
    • greenhill rr: 28.63
    • greenhill: 28.43
    • marks: 28.72
    • apple valley:28.3
    • glenbrooks + glenbrooks rr: 28.71
    • ut: 28.18
    • blake: 28.9
    • first semester average: 28.52
    • churchill: 28.38
    • emory: 28.75
    • colleyville: 28.23
    • stanford: 28.65
    • cal: 28.58
    • tfa state: 28.45
    • isidore rr: 28.45
    • e-toc: 28.48
    • second semester average: 28.50

11) on trigger warnings:

The onus is on debaters planning to read positions about potentially triggering issues to ask those in the room for permission to read the position. Spectators may leave, but judges and opponents do not have that option, meaning there is an expectation that if one of them objects to the triggering position, the position will not be read. If a debater does not adjust their strategy after being asked to, they will start the round with a 25. If you do not ask before round, but someone is triggered, speaks will similarly be docked. If there is no trigger warning but no one is triggered, the round will continue as normal.

The question for what necessitates a trigger warning is difficult to objectively delineate - if you have a reasonable suspicion someone could be negatively impacted by your position, ask before you read it - explicit narratives are probably a good starting point here. Trigger warnings are contentious in debate but I've seen students negatively impacted in rounds because they were not present and have engaged in conversations with other coaches that lead me to conclude something along these lines is necessary.

This (admittedly strangely) probably means I'm not the judge for "must read a trigger warning" shells.

This article is very good at articulating my views on the importance of trigger warnings
It is not up for debate that if someone was triggered on account of your failure to adequately make use of trigger warnings, you'll be punished through speaks and/or the ballot

JP Philips Paradigm

3 rounds

My background is in progressive politics and nonprofit work. #tugatmyheartstrings

Former debate coach, current history teacher. Familiar in policy, congressional, and parli. Have also judged PF and LD.

As a judge, I’m looking forward to hearing your arguments, not watching theatrics. Debate decorum is important to me; meaning: stand up when you speak, speak loud and clear, spread if you must but enunciate, and most importantly be respectful to all persons in the room. I am fine with open cross-x so long as all debaters agree to it.

I enjoy CP's and DisAds for a Neg.

T: I don't usually make my decision on this unless there is very little else to decide upon. But pull it out if you want, I DEF have decided rounds solely on T before. But if you are using T AND a CP AND DisAds, that's nonsense bc you have lost no ground. Always debate strategically AND wisely.

Kritiks: Make sure it links or I won't vote for it. Know your lit. Bc if it is evident that you don't know it, I can't vote for you.

Watch me. If I am not flowing, it is probably because:

1) I have decided that particular issue is a non-voter

2) I can't follow you

3) I have already made up my mind because of an egregious error

Good luck, debaters!

Scott Phillips Paradigm

Scott Phillips- for email chains please use iblamebricker@gmail in policy, and for LD
Coach@ Harvard Westlake/Dartmouth

2018 Updates

My general philosophy is tech/line by line focused- I try to intervene as little as possible in terms of rejecting arguments/interpreting evidence. As long as an argument has a claim/warrant I can explain to your opponent in the RFD I will vote for it. If only one side tries to resolve an issue I will defer to that argument even if it seems illogical/wrong to me- i.e. if you drop "warming outweighs-timeframe" and have no competing impact calc its GG even though that arg is terrible. 90% of the time I'm being postrounded it is because a debater wanted me to intervene in some way on their behalf either because that's the trend/what some people do or because they personally thought an argument was bad.

Old Stuff
Rounds Judged on the topic- a lot
My Ideal affirmative- 2 well constructed advantages
My Ideal 1NC- 5 off and case

Cliffs Notes-Top 10 Things you should know

1. I vote on arguments commonly considered "bad" frequently because a team mishandles them, it is my belief belief that most bad arguments can be defeated by making a thumbs down motion, so if you fail to meet that minimum threshold I will be qualmless voting against you. The overarching principle of my judging is "least intervention"-Much like Harrison Ford in Ender's Game under no circumstances will I help you with bad arguments, I believe in self help.

2. I vote on kritiks a lot because the team answering them reads a lot of bad generic answers instead of making analytic arguments based on the specific arguments they have made in that debate. To clarify this sentence - what I mean is an analytic based on your 1AC- ie "tradable permits empirically don't cause commodification and extinction since we already have them for SO2". In general I think most debaters have no idea what they are saying when reading a K and that affirmatives SHOULD win about 80-90% of the debates in which the negative goes for one.

3. No plan affs- 100% of the time when I vote against you on framework its because the other team won theory was a trump card over issues like education/K impacts and you didn't advance theory offense for your interpretation. I end up voting for no plan args frequently because the neg collapses/has no idea what to do.

4. Theory needs to come back with a vengeance

A. Entirely plan inclusive counterplans- I have never heard a theory argument to defend them that passes the minimum threshold explained above. That being said, winning a solvency deficit against them is basically impossible.

B. More than 2 conditional counterplans is just you being a chazzer

C. K frameworks/roles of the ballot that stack the deck absurdly are worse than entirely plan inclusive counterplans

D. Reject argument not team produces terrible debates with very bad strategies. Voting on theory doesn't fix this, but it improves it substantially.

5. I believe you have a choice
A. Clearly articulate your ground/say as much in CX
B. Because your position is vague you are susceptible to a reduced credibility modifier that taints many of your arguments. Plan vagueness affects plan solvency, alternative vagueness affects.... etc.

6. IMO there are, in fact, risks of things. Debaters should be aware of this and make arguments about how I should resolve risk. The plan may be popular with 5 people and unpopular with 6, should I place more emphasis on the number of people or maybe are those 5 more important? Very few link cards establish such a clear threshold that you can say with certainty (when contested) yes definite link. (this point is largely irrelevant now as the tides of history have turned and no risk people have been successfully marginalized)

7. I will always defer to debater argument resolution if one side does it and the other doesn't-no matter how bad or illogical I think the argument is. This is to me, the most important part of debate.

8. I try really hard to flow well. Teams who willfully ignore line by line/structure - I will not do work for you to figure things out if the other team does line by line barring some argument why I should.

9. I often call for lots of evidence after a debate, most of the time this is just out of curiosity. When making my decision evidence is only a factor when it is a point of contest or someone has made an argument for why it should be a part of the decision. I am not a judge who reads every card from both sides and makes a decision based on the evidence.

10. Evidence quality in debate is in terminal decline. If you have good evidence and you make an issue of it in the debate (talk about quals, or recency for uniqueness) you will most likely crush.

Making a decision:
Everything is debatable but speech times: The role of the ballot, whether evidence or analytic arguments are more important, is it acceptable for the other team to read off their computers, who gets presumption and why etc. If neither team makes an argument on the issue, the following are my defaults:

1. Evidence and analytic arguments are treated equally- I will look at the total sum of explanation offered for an argument, from any form. So if a well explained analytical will beat a poorly written piece of evidence. If one teams reads qualifications and the other doesn't, the team who read quals will receive a slight bump in the level of quality I assess to their explanation (assuming all other factors are equal). Treating them as equal until told otherwise is my way of encouraging debate.

2. Presumption, in the case of a tie or too close to call resolution of an argument, goes to the team advocating the least change. I would use presumption in the instance where each team had an advocacy and an offensive argument, and each team dropped a terminal defense argument to their own offense such that the net risk in either direction of presented offense was exactly zero. In that instance the "hidden disad" of change makes sense as a decision making tool. In no other circumstance I can think of would I use presumption unless explicitly instructed by the debaters.

3. If an argument is unresolveable (or tough to resolve) I will use a "needs" test- the burden of explanation will be assessed to the team who NEEDS the argument to win. So for example
-on a CP permutation, if the neg would win the debate without the permutation, then the aff needs it to win- so the burden of explanation is on them
-for CP solvency, if the neg would lose if the CP did not solve the case, then the neg needs to win solvency- so the burden of explanation is on them

4. Concession= truth. If you drop epistemology comes first/is a side constraint, then it is. You can drop that framing issue and still win as long as you beat the link (that your epistemology is flawed), but you will not be allowed new answers to the impact. I use a reasonable person standard- if I was unaware that the 1NC presented a epistemology first argument (based on what was said in the 1NC, not my prior knowledge of the negative team), then if the aff says "they didn't say this, therefore our answers aren't new" I would allow it. But remember, everything is debatable. If the 2NR comes back and asserts it was clearly stated when they said XYZ, the aff has to disprove that.

5. The threshold for how good a response to an argument has to be is directly related to the quality of the initial argument. Saying "RANT" is sufficient to beat a lot of voting issues. If the other team answers RANT in their 2NC sever perms are a VI block, and thats all you say, you will be in trouble. Similarly, many counterplans (consult, recommendation, delay, lopez) are easily defeated by theory arguments but almost impossible to beat on substance. A well rounded debater should avoid trying to ice skate uphill.

6. I spend a lot of time on debate. Other than eating and playing video games, basically all of my time is spent cutting cards, coaching, writing and reading about debate. A lot of judges say "I'm not a very good flow". I'm a very good flow, I may even go as far as to say probably one of the best. All that being said, it is very possible that you could say a string of words, or utter a quote from an article I have written that fully conveys your argument to me, but would leave a less experienced/judge with a life with no idea what you were saying/what your argument was. I try to temper this fact by using a "reasonable person" standard for what makes a complete argument. I feel this is essential because otherwise any student who was in my lab, had emailed me a question, or had just read a lot of the 3NR would have an absurdly unfair advantage vs a similarly skilled student. So if I made a joke in lab about saying "purple monkey dishwasher" and that meaning "we do the whole plan minus the reps", so you say that in a debate and expect me to vote on it, I won't. Unless you are debating someone else from the lab who had equal access to that information. Similarly, even if I flowed an argument/got the jist of what you were saying, but feel that the other team is being reasonable when they say your argument was poorly explained/did not constitute an argument I will be open to that and you need to respond.

Speaker points:

1. I like fast debate. That being said, some people give fast debate a bad name. You can be fast only after you are clear and efficient. I should be able to understand every word you say, not just the tags. If you are stammering (or displaying other verbal missteps) excessively you are going faster than you are capable of going imo.

2. Points are determined by how well you perform your function, which depends on what speeches you give. A 1AC should be perfectly smooth because you can practice it as much as you want. A 2NC assembled on the fly vs a new case can be excused a few missteps on the other hand. I think auto giving the 1N low points because they could be replaced by a robot in most debates is a bit unfair- a blazing fast 1NC and devastating 1NR can be game changing. That being said, rarely do people perform up to that level.

3. Points are assessed relative to the field in which you are competing. The same speech can be a 29 at a local, but a 27.5 at St Marks.


What is your threshold for T?
The threshold is established by the other teams answers- if they make good defensive arguments and argue reasonability well than my threshold will be high. If they don't it will be very low.

What are you favorite kinds of debate?
Ones in which there are clash, since that is not really a thing anymore its usually impact turn debates- heg bad, de-dev, CO2 ag and warming good- loved to go for these when I debated and love to see them debated now. CO2 ag is the upper limit of stupid I think is acceptable.

Did you run kritiks when you debated?
Not as much as Bricker would want you to believe. My senior year in HS and my senior year in college I went for K's about 30% of the time, in the other years of my debate less than 5%.

Did you ever read a critical aff?
By today's standards no- I always had a plan, though sometimes the advantages were not nuke war.

You bash the politics disad a lot, will you still vote for it?
Yes, almost always because the affirmative never does anything of the things that highlight the problem with politics.

Are you OK with speed?
Yes, if anything I dislike slow debate. However this is a double edged sword- if you do fast debate terribly I will punish you for it.

Is Fem IR beatable?

What race do you play in SC2?
Usually random, but if I pick -zerg.

If you were in Game of Thrones, which house would you belong to?

Random Gripes

A note on jumping:

I want to see good debates. I'm not interested in charging you 10 seconds of prep to jump your speeches. If, however, you show total technical incompetence at jumping/severely delay the round your speaks will suffer. A good jump is like a good road map- its not hard, so get it over with quickly.

Standards for sharing should be reciprocal, and as such are established by the team willing to do the least. If Team A doesnt jump speeches as a policy that is fine by me, but then Team B is under no obligation to let Team A see any of their evidence. If Team A doesn't jump analytics, Team B doesn't have to etc.

A note on quality:

I generally believe that there are certain "norms" in debate- don't steal prep time, don't clip cards etc. These norms are not rules, and as such as a judge I don't think its my job to enforce them. In fact, I think it SHOULD be the burden of a good team to be on top of is the other team stealing prep, are they clipping cards etc. Encouraging students to take responsibility for this is the best model imo. However, there are debates where there is a huge mismatch in terms of the quality of the teams involved. I no longer think it reasonable to expect novices entered in their first varsity tournament to check to see if the Baker Award winning team they are debating is stealing prep. I also don't really care to argue with you about whether or not you are stealing prep. So my solution is that for all things that could be considered a violation of good sportsmanship I will severely jack your points if it is a debate where I subjectively decide the other team should not be responsible for checking you.SO

-If I think you are clipping cards/stealing prep/misquoting evidence/lying in cx in the finals of the TOC vs another excellent team I would expect the other team to catch you
-If I think you are clipping cards/stealing prep/misquoting evidence/lying in cx during a preset vs a vastly inferior team I will severely dock your speaker points

Stephen Pipkin Paradigm

Not Submitted

Nina Potischman Paradigm

6 rounds

I debated LD for Hunter College High School for four years and currently attend Pomona. My email is -- put me on the email chain!

I’ll vote on anything as long as it is warranted. Although i debated a certain way, I would much rather see you do what you do best than try to adapt to what you think I want. I’ll try to evaluate the round in the way I think the debaters see it, so I’ll do my best to avoid defaulting either way on any particular issue. That said, here are my preferences:

Because you're here, don't be part of the Impact debate prep squad going forward! Please please don't be coached by any of those people either!



  • Please please please do not be late :(
  • Full disclosure: if you send me your Aff, I'm probably just gonna back flow it later and zone out during the AC . So if you're exempting things in the aff (idrk why people do this...if ur opponent will have a hard time flowing, I will too) give me a heads up
  • The biggest reason people lose in front of me is because they do not explicitly weigh. WEIGH WEIGH WEIGH WEIGH WEIGH, PLEASE, OR ELSE I WILL HAVE TO INTERVENE. And then we will all be sad. If you do not weigh in your speech, and then you lose, that is on you.
  • Prep time ends when your flash drive leaves your computer or when you email your opponent
  • I have a high threshold for extensions if your arguments are contested or if you're doing any interaction between the arguments you're extending and your opponents. It’s not enough to say “extend the aff” or “extend advantage one” — you need to articulate some warrant so I know what specifically you’re extending. If you don’t explicitly extend offense in the last speech, I won’t vote for you.
  • I reserve the right to vote for arguments that I don’t understand/that are not warranted. Your opponent shouldn’t lose for dropping an incoherent sentence with no justification
  • I won’t vote for any responses to arguments that are new in later speeches, even if your opponent doesn’t point it out
  • I’ll vote you down if you say anything actively racist/sexist/homophobic etc.
  • I’ll time your speech — if you go over time (besides if you finish a sentence), I’ll discount your arguments even if your opponent doesn’t point it out
  • I think embedded clash is good — you can make arguments that say otherwise and I’ll evaluate them, but that’s my default


  • If paradigm issues are conceded, you don’t have to extend them
  • I strongly dislike offensive spikes, but I’ll vote on them if there’s a warrant and the argument is conceded
  • Slow down for interps/counterinterps
  • If someone reads theory in the 1a/1nc without an implication it’s enough to say “don’t vote on it — there’s no implication” and I won't — you can't then read voters in the next speech. However, if there's no voter and no one points that out and acts like theory is drop the debater, I'll vote on it


  • I prefer well justified syllogisms to super blippy fw preclusion arguments
  • Please weigh


  • I think people think I don't like Ks?? This is not true. Kritiks, run well, are one of my favorite kinds of arguments. I'm pretty familiar with most K lit, with the exception of POMO stuff, so please go slower if you’re reading something super dense. If I have no idea what you’re talking about, I won’t vote for you. Concrete examples are always good.
  • My defaults for kritiks are the same as other positions, which is: please weigh, and please be explicit with interactions. Don't expect me to know what arguments your position takes out without an explicit implication. (I.e. you have to say, this takes out theory, without expecting me to know what that means).


Things that will get you high speaks

  • Innovative and interesting arguments that you’re clearly knowledgeable about
  • Good strategies
  • Using CX effectively
  • High argument quality
  • Generally being smart
  • Being funny (but please don’t try to be if you’re not)
  • Good overviews/crystallization
  • Good case debate — so many people just drop the Aff which doesn’t make sense to me

Things that will get you low speaks:

  • not disclosing
  • tricks
  • being shifty
  • lots of spikes/blippy arguments
  • super generic dumps (especially on K v theory debates)
  • clearly not understanding your own positions
  • being mean to a novice/someone clearly worse than you. You don’t have to debate down, just don’t be rude and go slower so that the round is educational for everyone
  • academic dishonesty
  • excessive inefficiency. (Also randomly rly irks me when people say "in the first place")


  • PF is a completely different format than LD, so don't use my technical preferences as a guideline (i.e. I do not care about disclosure in PF if you're not spreading).
  • I would highly recommend against reading circuit LD arguments in front of me. I do not think you have the time to execute this arguments effectively in the format. If you want to read a K or theory, you should probably not be doing PF. I reserve the right to intervene against debaters who spread, or read circuit LD/policy arguments if I think you are engaging in practices that are bad for the format.
  • Make good arguments.
  • I won't vote for arguments that I don't understand

Alaina Rafferty Paradigm

5 rounds

My name is Alaina Rafferty. I have judged at this tournament for the past few years. I am constantly impressed by your ability to communicate, perform, and education. I expect to learn how great you adapt in each of my debates. Speed: I believe that debate is a communication event. You should not spread in front of me. I understand that you have a lot to cover, but you can focus on being effective instead of being fast. If I am not taking notes, it is because I don't understand you. Look at me as a traditional judge. I look at the criterion as a thesis. Your offense/contentions should link back into your criterion. Explain why your arguments matter. Explain WHY your opponents don't. Don't be rude. In essence, I want you to have fun. Be clear, be conversational, and warrant your arguments. I look forward to seeing your rounds.

Ethan Rahman Paradigm

7 rounds

I debated for Barrington High School for four years primarily on the national circuit. Currently I debate NFA-LD for the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

Pref Shortcut:
K debaters: 1
LARPers: 1
Theory/ T debaters: 2-3
Tricks: 4-strike
Framework debaters: 2-3 (you should be fine as long as it's not too complicated)
Generic circuit: 2-3

Speaker Point Distribution:

30: You can break at TOC

30 to 29.5: You can win the tournament

29.5 to 28.5: You can break at the tournament

28.5 to 28: No major flaws, maybe some minor issues

28 to 27: Some major mistakes or you made the round horribly unclear

27 and under: Lots of major mistakes or you did something that offended me.

Short: I consider myself to be pretty tab. I'm fine with any arguments as long as they're properly warranted. If you get me as a judge I have two pieces of advice for you. 1) Be entertaining. I love creative arguments and generally good speaking skills. keep me engaged in the debate. 2) Make me do as little work as possible. If you force me to do weighing for you or you make no attempt at clashing with your opponent's case you can expect lower speaks at a minimum.

As long as you're clear, speed is fine (I will say "clear" 3 times before I just stop flowing). Please please slow down for tags, author names, and any plan/ cp texts.

Kritiks: I primarily debated Ks in high school. I prefer Ks with actual policy alternatives but I'm cool with anything. I expect to see a ROTB or at least some kind of framework to evaluate the round. Err on the side of over explaining arguments. If you have some sorta wacky kritikal position, I personally love those. I dislike so called "high theory kritiks".

Policy Arguments: These types of debates have become my favorite to evaluate. Impact calculus is extremely important to me. I didn't LARP much in highschool but in college I've done it a ton.

Theory: I really love creative interps, even if they're wacky. If I've never heard your interp before, then that's probably a good sign. I like unconventional voters other than fairness or education. That being said, I probably wont like you very much if you read your generic theory backfile that was written four years ago.

I default to competing interps. Offensive counter interps require an RVI. You need to explicitly justify why your voter is a reason to drop the debater or I'll default to drop the arg. Also for the love of god don't be a dick and combine completely unrelated planks into a single interp. That's just annoying and makes things difficult to evaluate.

Topicality: I love a good T debate, and generally think that T debates are of higher quality than most theory debates. I have a slightly higher threshold for RVIs on T. When justifying RVI's, please make arguments that are specific to T. I will find these arguments much more persuasive than generic RVI arguments.

Framework: I was a framework debater in the earlier parts of my career. I'm mostly familiar with Kantian philosophers, but I should be able to evaluate most philosophies as long as it's not super complicated. I think that the risk of your framework being true should factored into the impact calc debate.

Tricks/ Spikes: I strongly dislike this debate style. If you really really must read these types of cases in front of me, you have to go slow and explicitly number each argument.

General Notes:

  • Theory vs K: I think these arguments are hard to evaluate. I'm slightly biased in favor of the K in this debate.
  • Disclosure: I think disclosure is a good practice and I'm willing to vote on disclosure theory.
  • Cross Examination: If you get a dope concession in CX, please indicate that by saying something like "Yo Ethan, that last part was important please remember that during the next speech". That would be greatly helpful.
  • Malthus isn't a real economist.

If you have any questions, the best way to contact me is through facebook. If that doesn't work for you, try emailing me at I'd be happy to answer any questions.

Chris Randall Paradigm

2 rounds

Debate for me first and foremost is an educational tool for the epistemological, social, and political growth of students. With that said, I believe to quote someone very close to me I believe that it is "educational malpractice" for adults and students connected to this activity to not read.

Argument specifics

T/ and framework are the same thing for me I will listen. I believe that affirmative teams should be at the very least tangentially connected to the topic and should be able to rigorously show that connection.

DA'S- Have a clear uniqueness story and flesh out the impact clearly

CP's- Must be clearly competitive with the aff and must have a clear solvency story, for the aff the permutation is your friend but you must be able to isolate a net-benefit

K- I am familiar with most of the k literature

CP'S, AND K'S- I am willing to listen and vote on all of these arguments feel free to run any of them do what you are good at

In the spirit of Shannon Sharpe on the sports show "Undisputed" and in the spirit of Director of Debate at both Stanford and Edgemont Brian Manuel theory of the TKO I want to say there are a few ways with me that can ensure that you get a hot dub (win), or a hot l (a loss).

First let me explain how to get a Hot L:

So first of all saying anything blatantly racist things ex. (none of these are exaggerations and have occurred in real life) "black people should go to jail, black death/racism has no impact, etc" anything like this will get you a HOT L


Next way to get a HOT L is if your argumentation is dies early in the debate like during the cx following your first speech ex. I judged an LD debate this year where following the 1nc the cx from the affirmative went as follows " AFF: you have read just two off NEG: YES AFF: OK onto your Disad your own evidence seems to indicate multiple other polices that should have triggered your impact so your disad seems to then have zero uniqueness do you agree with this assessment? Neg: yes Aff: OK onto your cp ALL of the procedures that the cp would put into place are happening in the squo so your cp is the squo NEG RESPONDS: YES In a case like this or something similar this would seem to be a HOT L I have isolated an extreme case in order to illustrate what I mean

Last way to the HOT L is if you have no knowledge of a key concept to your argument let me give a few examples

I judged a debate where a team read an aff about food stamps and you have no idea what an EBT card this can equal a HOT L, in a debate about the intersection between Islamaphobia and Anti-Blackness not knowing who Louis Farrakhan is, etc etc

I believe this gives a good clear idea of who I am as judge happy debating

Edward Rastgoo Paradigm

6 rounds

Short Version

-I debated at The Meadows for 4 years (both LD and Policy)

-I am probably best for you if you enjoy substance debate

-I like race, cap/neolib, and fem ks the best, other ks are meh

-I am good with theory but if it is straight wacky then don't do it (see below for details)

-Topicality is a-okay

-Don’t read Kant (I just don’t vibe with it)

-Read any DA/CPs you like (including PICs)

-I love Impact Turns (LOVE)

-Go as fast as you want (I will yell clear 3 times if I can’t understand you)

-If flashing takes too long I will take prep

-Yes I want to be added to the email chain,

Longer Version

About me

Hi my name is Eddy Rastgoo and I am a Sophomore at GW studying Middle East Studies and Security Policy. Please just call me Eddy and not "judge" and don't be scared to ask me any questions. I read many arguments when I debated, from race ks to impact turns, so I am familiar with pretty much everything and I am open to whatever you want to read, unless explicitly mentioned below (like bad theory). Good luck!


You can read any and every DA and CP that you like, I really like the substance debate, I will vote on every DA/CP doesn't matter how outrageous they sound (I read a Radiation Good DA my senior year) just make sure u link

I actually think that PICs are very strategic so run them if you want, but also believe that they can lose to theory if you don't cover their arguments well enough


I know the most and am most read on Race (from Lat Crit to Afro pessimism) and Cap/Neolib and am somewhat knowledgeable on Fem ks, however I will admit I am probably not the best judge for you if you are reading Kritiks other than those listed above, simply because I don’t know much about the literature.

I have read a lot about neolib/cap and race arguments and have actively researched these topics for a few years now and I feel very comfortable voting for these kind of arguments.

If you cannot explain your Alternative, don't read the Kritik (this is my rule of thumb)


I am ok with you reading theory (although I am not the biggest fan of shifting through the theory debate) but I will never vote on frivolous theory (if you are wondering what I consider “Frivolous” please refer to Tim Alderete’s “Bad Theory” list on his paradigm)

Topicality – You can read any topicality argument u feel like

RVI’s – If you respond to an RVI with “RVI’s are stupid, don’t vote for it” I will not vote for the RVI, but if you do not respond to the RVI at all and they extend it, I have no choice but to vote for it, please don’t make me do that

I default to competing interps

Impact Turns

Run these - I love impact turns

I will even reward you with extra speaker points

Speaker Points

If you are a bad speaker I will give you less than 28.5, if you are meh probably something around 28.5, if you are a good speaker I will give you above a 28.5 and if you're a great speaker I will give you above a 29

I am ok with any sort of speed, go as fast as you want

I will say clear 3 times if I cannot understand you

These following things will get you extra speaker points:

-Clarity of tags

-Bring me some sort of food (Most popular and effective method)

-Bring me lemonade (Second most popular and effective method)

-Wear Lakers gear (or somehow prove that you are a Lakers fan)

-Give me your flow at the end of the round (If its good I will give you extra points)

-Don't be a dick

Did I miss something? LMK! Email me any questions at

Cherish Recera Paradigm

3 rounds

Cherish Recera

I was a Lincoln-Douglas Debater for all 4 years at Carl Sandburg High School (Class of 2017). I occasionally did Public Forum and Congress as well.

I am coaching Parliamentary debaters at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Class of 2021). From time to time, I'll compete in Lincoln-Douglas, but, at the moment, I am mostly judging, mentoring, and handling public relations.

Please put me on the email chain:

November/December 2019 NSDA LD Resolution: The United States ought to eliminate subsidies for fossil fuels.

1. Explain Evidence Thoroughly

Cards are just cards if a debater does not provide insight as to how these pieces of evidence mean anything for their case or even for the resolution at large. Explain why the evidence brought up matters. For me, content is what counts. I am more likely to weigh evidence if the content is thoroughly covered and does have a fair impact in the round.

2. Topicality

Do not expect me to vote on T if it is done wrong. T is a question of "is the Affirmation topical." Read cards on it. Do not use T as a time skew. If you choose to run T, make sure that you have a version of the Affirmation that is topical.

3. CP/DA

I will vote on these if they are convincing and if compelling evidence is explained to back up the argument. Simply make sure that they are actually competitive against the Affirmation, and tell me why I should vote on it. As for the Affirmative side, please explain why I should vote accordingly with your own evidence and reasoning.

4. K

Generally speaking, I am not a fan of the Kritik. If you use K, explain it as clearly as possible since K should never be used to (A) make yourself, as a debater, sound more like a genius or (B) to force your opponent to respond to it, even if it isn't topical (that's just abusive argumentation).

5. Theory

If run well, I will weigh it in the round. "Reject the argument, not the team" is generally sufficient, but I am familiar with most theory if others are used. That being said, still explain the reason why the theory argument applies; do not leave it underdeveloped.

6. The Standard Framework (Value and Value Criterion)

Your framework exists for a reason, so I expect you to clearly connect your contentions back to your value criterion and then to your value (think of it as a linking chain). Contentions contain smaller arguments for why your V/VC is the most ideal/most pertinent/most important etc. Make your lines of reasoning explicit. I may have an idea as to where you're going with your thoughts, but I can't write down these said ideas if you don't fully elaborate on them yourself.

Other Notes:

I'm generally okay with speed. If you're going too fast, I will put down my pen so you know that you have to slow down in order for me to follow your points.

Anything you say after the time is up will not be written down on the flow.

Speak up, but don't yell.

Follow your roadmaps. If you have to divert, be clear about where you are going on the flow. However, I do appreciate when debaters "write the flow for me," especially towards the end of the round.

I'm open to any argument as long as it is not obtuse or offensive. Trigger warnings should be given for sensitive content. If you do not explicitly say "Trigger warning" before such content, expect to lose speaker points.

As always, be respectful towards your opponent. If you have any questions about your case, debate in general, or want to talk about college life, feel free to find me at the tournament or email me.

Edward Sayre Paradigm

3 rounds

I am a parent judge with limited experience on the national circuit. I did CX in high school and college in the 90s. I have experience with policy style argumentation, so that is probably your best route. I will evaluate all arguments but will have a hard time understanding you if you use an excessive amount of buzzwords without explaining your arguments. For a broader explanation of the abuse of buzzwords, read this article. I usually have trouble hearing people at their top speeds. If you go a bit slower, it will help a lot. You should be clear.

Mike Shackelford Paradigm

4 rounds

Mike Shackelford
Head Coach of Rowland Hall

Do what you do best. I’m comfortable with all arguments. Practice what you preach and debate how you would teach. Strive to make it the best debate possible.

Key Preferences & Beliefs
Debate is a game.
Literature determines fairness.
It’s better to engage than exclude.
Critique is a verb.
Defense is undervalued.

Judging Style
I work hard to be objective.
I flow on my computer. If you want a copy of my flow, just ask.
I think CX is very important.
I reward self-awareness, clash, good research, humor, and bold decisions.
Add me to the email chain: mikeshackelford(at)rowlandhall(dot)org

Feel free to ask.

Want something more specific? More absurd?

Debate in front of me as if this was your 9 judge panel:

Ian Beier, Maggie Berthiaume, Daryl Burch, Yao Yao Chen, Malcom Gordon, Jyleesa Hampton, Nicholas Miller, Christina Philips, jon sharp

If both teams agree, I will adopt the philosophy and personally impersonate any of my former students:

Andrew Arsht, Madison Barker, David Bernstein, Madeline Brague, Julia Goldman, Emily Gordon, Elliot Kovnick, Will Matheson, Ben McGraw, James Steiner, Corinne Sugino, Caitlin Walrath, Sydney Young (these are the former debaters with paradigms... you can also throw it back to any of my old school students).

LD Paradigm

Most of what is above will apply here below in terms of my expectations and preferences. I spend most of my time at tournaments judging policy debate rounds, however I do teach LD and judge practice debates in class. I try to keep on top of the arguments and developments in LD and likely am familiar with your arguments to some extent.

Theory: I'm unlikely to vote here. Most theory debates aren't impacted well and often put out on the silliest of points and used as a way to avoid substantive discussion of the topic. It has a time and a place. That time and place is the rare instance where your opponent has done something that makes it literally impossible for you to win. I would strongly prefer you go for substance over theory. Speaker points will reflect this preference.

Speed: Clarity > Speed. That should be a no-brainer. That being said, I'm sure I can flow you at whatever speed you feel is appropriate to convey your arguments.

Disclosure: I think it's uniformly good for large and small schools. I think it makes debate better. If you feel you have done a particularly good job disclosing arguments (for example, full case citations, tags, parameters, changes) and you point that out during the round I will likely give you an extra half of a point if I agree.

Krithika Shamanna Paradigm

4 rounds


Bushra Shams Paradigm

7 rounds

I competed Lincoln Douglas all through high school at Fremd and have judged Congress and Lincoln Douglas on the regional and national level for the past 7 years. Paradigm is pretty straight forward for LD -- win Value and value criterion debate based on framework, take down contention level debate, and flow through your voters based on impacts. Be clear in sign posting, extending arguments, pointing out drops, and giving voters, and I will flow the round pretty transparently. That is the basis of how to win a round.

Secondly, I am open to counter plans and other out of traditional scope options of debating for National level tournaments. For counter-plans I will weigh impacts and which side is winning value and value criterion debate based on framework.

Lastly, if a debater is using observations or anything else in the round that ends up getting decided as the basis of how to debate/go forward, I am open to weighing those measures, given it is mutual between the two debaters and I have a clear basis on how the round/voters will be weighed. --- In a nut shell, if you ask clear and direct questions on any given theory you may be unsure debating about, I am pretty flexible to judge accordingly to the situation at hand. Otherwise default to the first half of this paradigm where I explain line by line how to win a round. I don't care about speed (spreading), long as I can still flow. Stand during your cross examinations, speeches, rebuttals etc (if possible). Professionalism is important.

Thanks -- Ask questions for anything you are unsure of.

-- Bushra Shams

Elena Shanbaum Paradigm

3 rounds

Hi everyone,

I am a history teacher from Bronx Science, and I have limited experience judging Novice/JV LD and PF.

I am a lay judge, which means NO SPREADING!

I am not familiar with progressive arguments, such as Ks, complex frameworks and philosophies, CP’s, DA’s, theory/T, or anything else of the sort. If you still want run it, please explain the concept as clear as possible.

This is my first tournament on this topic, so please explain your arguments clearly. If I do not understand your arguments, that will impact how i evaluate the round.

Give a clear overview, sign post well, make clear extensions with tags and author names, and do not use jargon!

Please keep CX respectful and I will not tolerate any form of bigotry or -isms.

Jharick Shields Paradigm

7 rounds

Hello! My name is Jharick Shields and I am the assistant debate coach at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Mississippi. I enjoy listening to/voting for functionally all forms of argumentation, provided that it is clearly explained, implicated, and weighed. Speed is fine, people usually have problems with clarity however. I will say clear twice and then you should watch for me to put my pen down. I am a huge fan of non-verbal cues, so you should watch for those as well. They can give you key insight into how well you’re doing. I am a fan of explanation and thoroughness. People should not expect me to “check in” for certain types of analysis, but should expect to get my ballot if they tell me why they won. Claim. Warrant. Impact. Easy as pie. I am not a fan of blippy analysis and the weight i give each argument will be based on how much work went into it. You shouldn’t expect me to understand words that you do not explain. The rule of thumb is that if you had to read multiple articles to understand it, you should not just throw it at me and then complain indignantly when I tell you I didn’t understand it. I like impact analysis and this part of the debate is important. I get that your impacts are important. Weigh long term v short term. Weigh probability and magnitude. Tell me what my ballot does and tell me why it goes to you. I am not a fan of under-explained theory arguments – theory and topicality are functionally the “death penalty” so just saying the words “the neg skewed my strategy because it’s hard to respond’ doesn’t constitute an adequate reason for me to drop the debater. However, don’t interpret this as “this judge won’t vote for theory, I can’t go for condo in this debate even if it’s the right option” as some have previously. Speaker points start at a 28. They can go up or down from there based on strategy, execution, clarity, and persuasiveness. I like games, so here’s an interesting one: for every correctly identified conceded argument, you get +.1 speaks and for every incorrectly identified conceded argument, you get -.2 speaks. I look forward to judging your debates!

Also, unless you are a peer of mine or graduated, please call me Mr. Shields. K, thx.

Advik Shreekumar Paradigm

5 rounds

I debated LD for 4 years at Brookfield East High School (WI), and judge a couple of times a year these days.

My Ballot

  • Set a rule for me to use and weigh through it. You can set a V/VC, standard, or some other kind of weighing mechanism. Define it well so I know how to use it. I'm not voting on who sets the criterion. I'm voting on whose impacts are the most relevant through that criterion.
  • I default to using my ballot to evaluate who best accessed the criterion. I'm willing to use my ballot as a tool if and only if I get a clear ballot story from you. Don't expect me to be convinced by a shallow critical argument about how affirming or negating have out-of-round impacts, especially when .

Your Arguments

  • Show me something interesting, or an argument you're proud of! That doesn't mean the weirdest case -- a well-warranted stock case is an achievement too. Run whatever case you want, but remember to give some sort of standard and be ready to justify your approach. I'm open to arguments that your US-spec case doesn't normatively affirm or negate. If you run an atypical case (e.g. a PIC) without telling me how to adapt I'll have a hard time squaring your advocacy with my baseline conception of affirming and negating.
  • I'll flow speed, but I can't flow spread. It's been some time since I was active. I'm also not a fan of speed used to obfuscate your arguments or spike your way to victory. If you get too fast, I'll drop my pen and stare at you. I won't shout 'clear' or 'slow'. It's on you to notice and adjust.
  • I'll vote on theory, but only reluctantly. My experience with theory is that it represents a barrier for debaters who want to enter the circuit, and is often used to sidestep substantive debate. If you want to run theory in front of me (especially if I’m supposed to vote on it), there had better be an egregious violation that you’re criticizing. Articulate theory clearly. I'm only loosely familiar with the formal structure of a T-Shell, so it's not in your advantage to shout "Interpretation!" and blaze onward. Tell me (1) what sort of debating norm I should be endorsing, (2) why, (3) where the violation happened, and (4) what that implies for the round or my ballot. I am extremely unlikely to vote on the risk of offense coming from a T-Shell. Strong defense on a T-Shell can be enough for me to disregard it; I'm also very open to dropping arguments instead of debaters; you'll need to convince me that your opponent is doing something so wrong that I need to reject not just that practice, but them as a debater.

Bo Slade Paradigm

7 rounds

Unfortunately, I have heard that the link below does not work, that's unfortunate, I will try my best to summarize my judge philosophy.

First, it's been a while since I judged so please be slow and clear. Try to avoid heavy jargon in regards to discussion of the topic.

As a background of me: I debated three years for Loyola in LD, qual'ed to TOC. Then debated one year of college policy at Indiana University.

I will vote on anything so long as two conditions are met: 1) I understand the argument. If the argument being made is too confusing for even me to understand, it is likely that you are not explaining the argument well enough or you are trying to intentionally confuse your opponent, I am a fan of neither. 2) The argument has a warrant. Saying "our world is a simulation, vote neg to reject" isn't a warrant, it's a tagline. Saying "our world is a simulation because xyz, and voting neg implies a rejection of the assumptions embedded in the AC."

I have no problem with any form or style of argument so long as it meets those conditions above. So all your theory args, K's, CP's, 'wacky' AC's and DA's are fair game. (Yes, I will vote on disclosure theory)

Things that I like/will get you high speaks:

-You run a K and you do it well (seriously, I mean like really well)

-If you run a race K without a Wilderson/antiblackness alt

-You engage in a good LARP debate

-A lot of 1AR efficiency and prep

Things I don't like/will get you low speaks:

-Entirely frivolous theory (for example, the neg must specify the status of the CP/alt in their NC)

-Personal insults & racist/sexist/generally offensive comments

-NC's that do nothing to engage with the 1AC

Nick Smith Paradigm

4 rounds

Updated 3/16/19.

Email for speech docs: Make sure there’s parity in document access during the round.

My background: I did LD for 3 years. I was the director of debate at Hopkins for 4 years, coached at St. Thomas Academy & Visitation for 2 years, and am now the head coach at Apple Valley. I’ve worked at VBI since 2012 and I’m currently the director of instructional design and curriculum.

TLDR: Good debate involves well developed arguments and genuine interaction/clash with the other debater’s arguments. Quality >>>>>> quantity of arguments. Speed is ok. Yay Ks, yay policy, yay stock, eh phil, and theory/T as needed. Trying to avoid engagement/clash makes it more difficult for you to show that you’re the better debater. Parity in document access is important.

An important note for progressive debaters: if you’re debating someone that is a traditional debater or significantly less experienced than you then you should adjust what you do so that there can be an actual debate. Don’t read a non-topical Baudrillard AC at 450 wpm against a new novice. Don’t have your 1NC be skep and a PIC against a traditional debater who hasn't had the opportunity to learn about the mechanics of such arguments. Slow down and/or read arguments that your opponent can actually understand. Use your best judgement. If I think that you knowingly made choices that functionally preclude your opponent from engaging then I may murder your speaker points and/or drop you.

I care deeply about inclusion and accessibility within debate. I’m more than happy to vote against debaters who engage in practices that promote exclusion or inaccessibility, even if they’re winning on the flow. I also think that super tricky arguments/strategies designed primarily to avoid substantive engagement don’t offer great evidence of a debater doing the better debating and I might not vote for them even if they’re ahead on the flow. I’ll be a tab judge until you give me a good reason not to be.

I’m fine with speed and will yell clear or slow once or twice; after that it is up to you to pick up on non-verbal cues. I expect you to make serious alterations to your delivery if I’m forced to yell. I won’t vote on an argument, even if it is in the speech doc, if I didn’t flow it or understand when it was initially read in the round. I place a very high premium on quality argument development. I think that I’m a trashcan judge to have in the back of the room when the rebuttals are filled with hundreds of 1 sentence arguments (especially for T/Theory debates) without real clash, impact analysis, and framing.

I almost never vote on presumption/permissibility/skepticism since there’s usually a risk of offense. I default to comparative worlds and need some convincing to adopt truth testing.

One thing that makes me sad about circuit LD is how the same literature and positions get recycled so frequently without regards to how well the argument applies to the given topic. Explore and try something new!

Critical: I’m probably most familiar with critical debate. I dislike overly simplistic root cause debates that ignore the intricacies of how oppression operates. I’ll listen to non-topical and “in the direction of the topic” affs (let’s be honest, the model of debate that most of these affs operate under is no more limiting than non-topical ACs), but I’ll also listen to framework against them. A well-executed “there’s a topical version of the aff and this is what it looks like” is pretty persuasive to me. If your aff is super amorphous, designed to avoid substantive engagement, or a truism then you shouldn’t pref me super high. I loathe Ks that sandbag until the 2N, if I don’t know exactly how your link evidence applies specifically to the aff until the 2N then it is too late.

Policy: I love a good policy round, ‘nuff said. I’m inclined to think that core-to-the-topic-lit plan affs that parameterize the resolution are probably good, but I can be convinced otherwise. I dislike that so many policy style positions narrowly focus on extinction impacts and think that they crowd out positions that are much more reasonable & grounded in what anyone outside of a debate round would find persuasive. If we’re debating important environmental policy or nuclear weapons, then go for it pedal-to-the-metal. I’ll still vote on contrived extinction scenarios if they’re cleanly won and you’ve done a good job articulating the meaningful change in the probability of extinction.

Philosophy: I enjoy philosophy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m the best judge to have in the back of the room for a phil round. Phil debate often ends up being blippy, so I’m going to need to hear and understand the warrant for an argument to consider it in my evaluation. I’m not a giant fan of most of the lit that has become circuit LD philosophy canon, but I’ll vote on it if it is adequately explained and won. Modesty is a pretty cool argument.

Theory/Topicality: I think that theory & T are way too commonplace in circuit LD, but I also understand that they’re necessary tools given current norms and practices. If I think the theory interp or abuse story are BS then I’m going to gut check theory. If there’s an actual theory debate to be had then I’ll be as tab as possible. I default competing interpretations, don’t have a default for RVIs (the more abusive/bad/unnecessary the initial shell is the more receptive I am to RVI good arguments), and will err very heavily in favor of the debater that has weighing and/or has done interaction to determine who is winning the various arguments on the theory/T flow.

Speaker Points: The factors I focus on for determining speaker points are: strategic choices, execution, and how persuasive I found your argumentation. My normal range is 25-30, with 20-24 being reserved for rough or problematic debating. My speaker points are relative to the strength of the pool: 30 for champion level performance, ~28.5 for a performance worth of elims, and I aim for ~27.5 as an average performance.

Kaija Snyder Paradigm

6 rounds

jan 13 20

TL;DR: Do whatever you're in for. Don't care if or where you sit/stand. I'm good with speed. I like everything but I pref more progressive stuff and I'm bored of theory (which is maybe a product of inexperience/a lack of complete understanding: I didn't go to camp and my circuit experience is generally ~3 tournaments/year). I default to offense/defense/util. Magnitude of impacts should be adjusted to the standard (assuming it's not some variation of util) but if you don't do that work understand that I won't either. Put me on the email chain ( Don't read graphic depictions of sex abuse in front of me and don't be an asshole. I'm not going to time you. She/her/hers.


Experience: I graduated from Neenah (WI) in 2016. My freshman and sophomore years, I debated v e r y sporadically in PF, and transitioned to LD as a junior to compete much more seriously and competitively in and out of WI for the rest of my career. I started coaching Neenah post graduation and am now one of three coaches there. I coach all of Neenah's LDers. I occasionally work with our policy kids & PFers.

My prefs: I am in for anything that isn't fucked-up (as in, offensive/discriminatory--I'm cool to vote for debate bad and death good). I'll flow it all and I'll yell clear (although I don’t especially like to) if nec. You do you however you do you best. I don't feel especially warm (or cold) towards any particular argument. I pref progressive rounds; I'd rather judge a kritical round than a traditional one but it isn't like I'm less apt to vote for traditional constructives.

The only thing I'd really rather not have to vote on is theory, simply because I'm bored of it and tired of evaluating rounds on arguments I feel educate no one and waste everyone's time (par consequence I'm pretty receptive to RVIs).

I was not super progressive as a debater, namely because that change didn’t reach my judging pool when I was in high school, but I do appreciate that style more as a judge/coach. In that effect, I am not well-read on k literature. If what you’re reading isn’t relatively common, please explain maybe 10% more clearly (I do still encourage you to read it).

I’m good with speed. I would like to be on email chains ( I would generally consider myself a hyper-specific 9.1/10 on the speed scale.

I'm not about to rank arguments/styles BECAUSE I want that to be your decision and I am not into confining or shrinking your education in this space. I mean it when I say I'm good for it all.

Your prefs: I suggest preffing me high if you fall somewhere in the middle of the scale that is proper and progressive debate, pref me somewhere in the middle if you’re running something incredibly dense that requires extensive background knowledge, and strike me if you’re running something you don’t understand yourself or if your general strat includes being an asshole to your opponents (I am R E A L L Y not about that; be nice).

Et cetera, et cetera:

-I am neither ungenerous nor generous with speaks. I think I do a decent job of donning what you deserve.

-That said, if you’re an asshole I will substantially dock your speaks. If you can’t control your round without being condescending there is something wrong.

-I didn't go to camp, my students don't go to camp, my teammates didn't go to camp, and no one who coached me went to camp. I don't have a terribly strong grasp on more nuanced mechanics, particularly those surrounding theory. If I'm judging you in elims/a bubble round, dumb those arguments down for me a little & spend the last 30 seconds or so writing my ballot for me PLEASE

-If you are an experienced debater and you choose to make it unnecessarily difficult for a novice or someone who clearly has less experience to learn something from the round, I will dock your speaks. Win the round without discouraging novices to continue debating or going completely over their head with material and inhibiting them from taking anything away from the round. That's hard to watch and I am not about it.

-I flow CX.

-I'm down w flex prep.

-I do not care if you sit or stand during speeches. Stop asking :).

-I'll obviously tank your speaks if you're offensive or MEAN (like, I'm not kidding)

-I think I'm marginally more receptive to 1% solvency/probability arguments than other judges

-It weirds me out when you try to shake my hand before/after a round

-Please stop twisting around in your seat to look at me during your opponent's speech: it's annoying & weirds me out


-Probably the only contentious part of this paradigm: If you don't give a trigger warning for something that obviously deserves a trigger warning AND give your opponent (& me) the chance to respond (like, don't give it after the AC starts, ya?), I will probably automatically drop you, whether your opponent brings this up or not. I'm a giant proponent of making this space more inclusive and that is not the way we do that. I'm not about to facilitate a round in which you give people panic attacks against their will.

-Which means: Do not read anything that includes graphic depictions of sexual abuse OF ANY KIND in front of me (like, I'm talking more performance-y stuff). I won't flow you, I'll drop you, you'll get a 20 (or less). I cannot impartially evaluate those arguments. Don't be that person. If you wanna challenge me/that & have a chat about it, okay, cool, but do it well before the round starts.

-Please understand whatever you’re running before you run it in front of me. It crushes my soul to see people run things I know well poorly.

-I enjoy dense fwks and wish LDers (& all events) would interact with them more.

-Impact calc please :)

-I'm late to a lot of shit, please feel free to head into the room well before I arrive

-On disclosure theory: Should you disclose? Yes. Is it probably sketchy to not disclose? Yes. Will I be marginally peeved and probably give you marginally lower speaks if I learn you did not disclose? Yes. Do I want to listen to disclosure theory? not even a little bit. Will I vote for it? Yes, though unhappily.

-I really really hate timing rounds and I've found I'm extremely irresponsible when I do try to. Please time yourselves and hold your opponent accountable so that I don't have to. I'm terrible at it. (That is a means to say: assume I am not timing you. I'm going to be annoyed if you look at me half way through prep and ask how much time you have left.)

-Pretty into any and all args that outline how much debate sucks, hit me with those.

Email me w/ Qs:

Elizabeth Sperti Paradigm

5 rounds

Hi! I’m Elizabeth, and I’m a sophomore at Northwestern University majoring in history or philosophy or legal studies or something else :) I did LD at Evanston Township for 3 years and have coached there since last spring.

To summarize:

· Performance and Ks>CPs/DAs>>>>theory that isn’t tricks*>>>>>>Phil.

· If you run tricks strike me.

· I did traditional LD as well as nat circuit (or "progressive") so I’d happily judge a traditional LD round if that’s what you’re here for!

Additional things you may find helpful:

I spent my junior year running various race/queer/colonialism K’s. I spent over half of my senior year running a performance aff so I’m 100% open (and excited!) to hearing anything performative. With that said, please ~try~ to read something other than framework if one of these cases is run against you. Of course, if that’s all you have, and you warrant/impact the argument well, I will be inclined to vote for it.

I very much agree with my high school debate coach, Jeff Hannan, on this:

“I will make decisions that are good if:

you explain things to me; you establish a clear standard, role of the ballot, value, or other mechanism and explain to me how I can use that to make my decision; you compare or weigh offense linked to a standard.

I will make decisions that are bad if:

you expect me to do work for you on the flow or among your arguments; you assume I know more than I do.”

This probably means that if you want to run a bunch of blippy offs, I am not the judge for you. We will probably end up in a situation where you feel like I've missed something, and then everyone is sad. I would much prefer a deep analysis on one or two offs. But either way, the more you try to write my ballot for me the better things will go for you. Like please just give me a weighing mechanism and explain how you win under it at least pls pls pls or I will not know what to do with your impacts.

If the way you do debate is to try to spread your opponent out I’m probs not the judge for you.

Stuff on Ks specifically:

I love a good K debate! Familiar with settler colonialism, afropess, and queer stuff (esp!).

If you can explain the rhizome stuff to me and actually make it interesting then you can go ahead and try but you will have to explain VERY well and slowly.

I really enjoy any K stuff that relates specifically to education and discourse.

If you kick a K about an identity group you're not a part of (especially for frivolous theory omg) I'm going to definitelyyyy doc your speaks at least.

Stuff on theory specifically:

Really convinced by reasonability because it often feels like theory is in fact frivolous or a waste of my time.

RVIs are fine I guess but if the debate is coming down to that it’s already making me sad.

If there’s legit abuse then by all means call it out.

*The more genuine and not-blippy your theory shell is the more I will like it. My favorite kind of debate that I ever did was debate about the debate space so I actually think theory is very cool ~in theory~ but in practice people use it to waste their opponent’s time or just cuz and that annoys me.

Additional additional stuff:

Not to be a stickler but I'm not a huge fan of LDers saying "we." I won't knock down your speaks but I will internally sigh and wonder why you want to be in policy.

Please put me on the email chain ( Even in my debating days I didn’t have a great ear for speed. But I can understand spreading, please just be clear. I’ll say “clear” if I’m not understanding you. So don’t stress too much about being too fast just...try to be clear?

If your opponent can’t understand you, I see that as a failure on your part, not theirs. If you can’t understand your opponent, please feel free to say “clear.” I have no idea why that’s not seen as “acceptable” in the debate space. That kind of just seems like a basic right a debater should have in the round.

For traditional LD specifically:

If there's clash on framework then talk about it. Weigh your impacts back to your framework or at least back to something. I've noticed debaters doing this thing where they say a bunch of impacts but don't compare them (weigh them) and then I have to do all the work myself which can leave debaters disgruntled with my decision. Truly all I would like you to do is weigh the impacts in the round to your framework and it will take you a long way.

For everyone:

Please be respectful to each other, and please try to have an illuminating debate.

Jennifer St. Clair Paradigm

6 rounds

Speech judging paradigm: be bold, original, and thought provoking. Cursing and singing are fine with me. Be respectful of other competitors while observing or having your team/family observe you.

Debate judging paradigm: I have the most experience with LD and competed in this event during my years in high school. I love and have judges all forms of debate, including Big Questions and World Schools. I value dignity, civility, and respect, in addition to being a flow judge. If you drop arguments or introduce new evidence in a round, I will notice and weigh that in my decision. I appreciate good, strong clash, as well as a clear understanding of one's case and evidence, so that debaters not only READ a card at me but can actually paraphrase it and link its impact. I DO pay attention during CX, and weigh the nature of questions and responses as a deciding factor in close rounds. Thank you for competing.

James Stage Paradigm

3 rounds


Former Competitor: 2008 - 2011

Coach - 2011 - Present

Speed - Go for it, I am not the best with speed but if you go for it, it isn't going to lose you points. I won't say clear or give you any indication that I am missing things though so you are taking a slight risk.

Weighing - Do it. Seriously, If I am given any clear weighing analysis in the round I will go for it. My resume and background reads like a moderate Republican's fantasy. You probably don't want me making personal decisions about how I think we should craft policy or evaluate vague concepts.

Signposting - Clearly tell me where you are going in the round. If I get confused I get disinterested and if I get disinterested I get onto Netflix and watch West Wing with the subtitles on.

Off-time Roadmaps - Do them. If you say you are going to read an overview or a framework, tell me where to put it or I will put in in my computer's trash file and empty it after your speech.

Crossfire - I might look like I am not paying attention to your crossfires. That's because I am not. Thats for you to clarify the round and for me to add detailed comments to the ballot. If something interesting happens, let me know in a speech. If you are going to start hitting someone, let me know and I will get out a camera.

Extending Defense - Meh. You don't really have to do this in my opinion but obviously if your opponents go through ink you might want to remind me of that fact, especially if it is on something you really want me to care about.

Weighing Pt.2 - Please do this. I am begging you.


If I had a PF team that had the capacity to come this wouldn't be necessary but, for now, here we are. Doomed to dance this dance until my obligation of a minimum of three ballots are up and I have left your hopes and dreams broken at my feet.

Let's start this off on the right note. I know enough about LD and all of its components to be dangerous. In clearer terms, when you tell me what you are going to try to do I will conceptually understand what you are going for but I will lack the experience or wherewithal to implement your vision on my flow. See? Dangerous.

Don't take this to mean I don't care about the event or that I don't look forward to these rounds. Do take it to mean that if you are planning on taking any risks or doing anything tricky, that your opponent stands to benefit from my ignorance as much as you.

Speed (Preface): Good luck. Seriously, good luck. Speed is an excellent tool to put more arguments out there on the flow but maybe we want to make sure I understand the basic ones you are dropping first? Just a suggestion. And no, I won't do that "Clear" business. Adapt or die. This is forensic darwinism.

Technical Debate: Solid meh. You can. I won't drop you for it and I get that the adaptations I am asking for will mean that you need to adjust in ways that will force you to use it.

Defaults: Let's return to that dangerous thing. I don't really have any default preferences that I have developed over my lackluster experience judging. You can read my paradigm below for PF to see if you glean any information from that but otherwise, I am tabula rasa to a fault and will stick to what I am given in the round despite any personal beliefs or pre-existing knowledge.

Disclosure: Unless you are disclosing who wins the round before I need to judge it, it's not something I really care about. I buy why disclosure is a good thing and I also get how it can be abused given enough resources. If it becomes an issue I will evaluate it based on the arguments in the round and not the ones in my head.

I hope this helps although it undoubtedly will leave you in a state of fear akin to the people of Pompeii as the ash cloud descended on their once-idyllic town.

For email chains my email is

Tony Stauber Paradigm

6 rounds

I’ve coached LD, PF and Congress for 8 years at Chanhassen High School in Minnesota. I am an attorney.

Updated 11/9/19

Lincoln Douglas

My entire career has been coaching at a school that does traditional-ish LD. If you want a judge with more experience in/sympathy for national-circuit-style debate, I would put me as a low pref--for no better reason than you might be disappointed with how I evaluate the round. If you are reading this, chances are rounds have already been paired and you are stuck with me. Sorry. I'll do the best I can.

If you only have a few minutes before the round and don't want to spend that time listening to my rambling I'd sum it up as follows:

Research, evidence, truth.

What I value about the activity of debate is the research and argument-creating process. I am aware of the variety of resources from which debaters can draw arguments and evidence, and I am not insensitive to the reasons why many choose to do so. However, I really disfavor debates that center around arguments and cases that I am well-aware you did not write. Stock K's, generic constructives, and canned CPs disappoint me as a coach and as an educator.

What disappoints me even more than running things that you did not research and write is when you run things that you do not understand. It doesn't take talent or care to write a punchy frontline and cut a card from Baudrillard's gibberish. I want to leave the round feeling like we have all come closer to understanding the truth, not running a race to the most obscure and convoluted.

I want to see good evidence. Please cite the author and the publication. Not all sources are equal. I expect your warrant to literally support the conclusion you state as your frontline. Sources aren't important just because somebody said them; credibility and persuasiveness rests upon credentials and, more importantly the author's logic. If you can't explain why author reaches conclusion X, you haven't created a complete warrant. If you are moving from an evidence warrant to an analytic warrant, you need to make that distinction; don't tell me the card supports your conclusion when it only does half the work. This goes for framework too. Your card doesn't say "the role of the ballot is rejecting oppression." The card says oppression is bad. You are saying that, therefore, the role of the ballot is to XYZ.

I will always be skeptical of cards about debate or written by debaters. I don't find forum or blog posts written by coaches, judges, or former debaters to be the kind of credible, disinterested evidence that we should be using in this activity.

Here is a more concrete list of the things that I do and do not want to see.

1. I don't read the wiki, I will not read your case as you run it, and making your case public ahead of the round does not give you license to run something abusive. Please don't run disclosure theory; I won't evaluate it.

2. I prefer quick and articulate over fast. I'm not adept at discerning spreading, and I will more likely let things fall through the cracks that remind you every 15 seconds to slow down or speak clearly. Your call though.

3. I like kritiks and think they are a good expression of what you can do in this activity, but not all kritiks link to the resolution, and I'm not going to go for bad links. This probably means that you'll need to do more work than just pulling up your camp backfiles and reading your stock will-to-power K.

4. I think formalized theory arguments dumb down debate.

5. I don't think plans are actually affirming, but I'd entertain somebody who wanted to change that perspective

6. Counterplans are cool.

7. Do not argue with me after the round. You're debating your opponent, you accept that I'm the expert. I assume that the losing team is going to say that I'm wrong.

8. I don't like performance or narrative. I'd prefer substance debate.

I'm not as grumpy as this paradigm makes me seem, and I am a qualified and experienced judge.

Public Forum
I coach IE as well as debate, and I specialize in Oratory and Extemp Speaking. My ideal PF round would have the content and argumentation of Extemp with the oratory skills of OO. That is my 30. Unfortunately, I know that a lot of teams sacrifice oratory skills to get in more information, and that is fine with me. Speak fast, but don’t get into LD/Policy territory.

I’m all about weighing. Rarely can a team eliminate all offense from their opponents, so this requires some sort of weighing metric. Magnitude = Probability x Scope. That how I teach my kids, but you can weigh however you’d like, just make sure you do it.
Things I hate in PF: 1) Supercharged impacts. I know that thermonuclear holocaust is a bigger impact than a loss in GDP, but that doesn’t mean that you can find a link from Public Subsidies to nuclear war. If it is a stretch, I will do my best to find a way to vote against it. 2) Complicated framework. Cost/Benefit is the default framework for PF. If you want to argue deontology, you are in the wrong event. That being said, I understand that different resolutions require certain limits on the debate. Be fair and don’t try to rule out arguments rather than debate them. 3) Assuming the judge will intervene. I’ve seen this run rampant in my local circuit—teams trying to refute their opponents by reading a card and then moving onto the next argument. I need you to tell me what to do with your arguments. I will do everything I can to stay completely out of the debate. If you need me to do your work for you, we’ll have a rough round.
Besides that, I am a straight-forward PF judge. Debate the issues in the resolution, don’t try any semantic hocus pocus.

Jasmine Stidham Paradigm

-Pronouns: she/her. I will default to using they/them if I don't know you.

-Yes, put me on the chain.

-I coach/teach at the Harvard-Westlake school, I'm an assistant coach for Dartmouth, and I work at UM 7 Week in one of the seniors labs. I debated at the University of Central Oklahoma for 4 years and graduated in 2018- qualified to the NDT 4x, NDT octafinalist 2x, 1st round recipient, etc.

-LD skip down to the bottom.

Tldr: Flexibility

-No judge will ever like all of the arguments you make, but I will always attempt to evaluate them fairly. I appreciate judges who are willing to listen to positions from every angle, so I try to be one of those judges. I have coached strictly policy teams, strictly K teams, and everything in between because I enjoy all aspects of the game. Debate should be fun and you should debate in the way that makes it valuable for you, not me. My predispositions about debate are not so much ideological as much as they are systematic, i.e. I don't care which set of arguments you go for, but I believe every argument must have a claim, warrant, impact, and a distinct application. Tech and truth both matter. Evidence quality matters a lot to me. Stop reading cards that don't have a complete sentence and get off my lawn. I strive to be as non-interventionist as possible. Impact framing/judge instruction will get you far. The predispositions I have listed below are my general heuristics I use when making a decision, but I will ultimately vote for the team who wins their argument, even if it strays from these conventions. I appreciate debaters who do their thing and do it well.

-Don't base your strategy off of your (probably incorrect) assumptions about my own debate career.

-For everyone: Stop being afraid of debate. Cowardice is annoying. Don't run away from controversy just because you don't like linking to things. If you don't like defending arguments, or explaining what your argument actually means, please consider joining the marching band.

-I am growing increasingly annoyed at teams who try to proliferate as many incomplete arguments as possible in the 1NC. If your strategy is to read 5 disads in the 1NC that are missing UQ, or internal links, I will give the aff almost infinite leeway in the 1AR to answer your inevitable sandbagging. I would much rather see well-highlighted, complete positions than the poor excuse of neg arguments that I'm seeing lately. No one likes cards that could be read as fortune cookies.

-I don't mind being post-rounded or being asked a lot of questions. I did plenty of post-rounding as a debater and I recognize that it doesn't always stem from anger or disrespect. That being said, don't be a butthead. I appreciate passionate debaters who care about their arguments and I am always willing to meet you halfway in the RFD.

-I'm grumpy, but I promise I care a lot.

Topicality: Everyone needs to have evidence that has the intent to define whatever word/phrase is being contested. Evidence that offhandedly mentions how one rando decided to define 'substantial CJR' doesn't cut the mustard. *Predictable* limits outweighs limits merely for the sake of limits.

Framework: I vote for framework and I vote against it. I judge a lot of "clash" debates and I'm probably even in terms of my voting record. In my ideal world, affs would defend a clear, controversial advocacy that has predictable neg ground against it, but I understand that debate isn't about me. Affs should have a counter interpretation/model of debate that they think is desirable. I am less likely to vote aff solely on impact turns because I really need to know what the aff's 'vision of debate' looks like compared to the neg. I understand that going HAM on impact turns is sometimes more strategic, so if that's really your style you should stick to it, but you must contextualize those impact turns to whatever DAs the neg is going for and do comparative impact work. I find myself voting neg a lot just by virtue of the aff never doing impact calculus. Unpersuaded by the argument that topical versions should have to solve literally everything ever in a 9 minute speech. Judge instruction is extremely important- please tell me what to evaluate first. I'm fine with any 'flavor' of framework- procedural fairness, skillz, deliberative democracy, etc. Do your thing. The neg needs to explain how the TVAs access the aff's general theory/scholarship, what those affs look like, and how it (could) resolve the aff's impact turns.

Critical affirmatives (no plan): Beyond what I have said about framework, there are a couple things you can do to make sure we're on the same page. First, I need you to answer the question of "but what do you doooo tho?!" even though that question seems obsolete. I don't need a 5 minute overview explaining every part of the aff. I really just need to know what I am voting for and why that thing is good, which seems really simple, but in many debates I am left wondering what I'm supposed to vote for. Second, I am often persuaded by presumption if the neg invests a decent amount of time going for it properly. To counter this, make sure you do the minimum of answering the BWDYDT?! question above, and perhaps give me a different way of thinking about presumption as it applies to critical affirmatives. Third, you need to have a solid relationship to/critique of the resolution. If you read 9 minutes of structural claims about the world and say virtually nothing about the resolutional mechanism, we're not going to be on the same page.

Disads: I will reiterate an important component: do not hand me a stack of cards at the end of a debate that do not have complete sentences. I would rather read 5, solid, well-highlighted UQ cards than 10 poopy cards that say "it'll pass but it's clooooose!" without ever highlighting anything beyond that sentence. Uniqueness controls the direction of uniqueness and the link controls the direction of the link- not sure why that's controversial.

Counterplans: My only predisposition is that I tend to think conditionality is probably good, in most circumstances. Some teams try to get away with murder, though. Yes, I have voted on 'condo bad'. I lean neg when the CP is based in the literature/there's a reasonable solvency advocate. I lean aff when the CP meets neither of those conditions. When the neg does not have a solvency advocate for their 567 analytic planks, I am persuaded by smart aff arguments about enforcement, implementation, circumvention, etc. Judge kick: will only judge kick if told to do so, assuming the aff hasn't made any theoretical objections.

Kritiks: For everyone, please focus on argument development and application in these debates rather than reading 15 poopy backfile cards that probably won't get you anything.

-Stop with the mega overviews. I am not one who will particularly like the style of 6 minute overviews, and then answering the line by line with "ya that was the overview"-- just say those things on the line by line!

-Roles of the ballot are usually arbitrary. My role is to tell tab who won. Just win your impact framing argument instead.

-Really hate it when the first question of 1AC CX is, "why vote aff?"

-1 card Ks in the 1NC can sufficiently be responded to with a thumbs down + fart noise. No, but seriously.

-If your strategy involves going for some version of "all debate is bad, this activity is meaningless and only produces bad people" please consider who your audience is. Of course you can make arguments about flaws in specific debate practices, but you should also recognize that the "debate is irredeemable" position is a tough sell to someone who has dedicated her life to the activity and tries to make it better.

-Floating PIKs: if the neg makes a PIK that clearly ~floats~ and it's flagged as such, it's up to the aff to call it out- I won't do the theory work for you. If you can't identify it/flush it out in CX, you deserve to lose.

-Examples are incredibly helpful in these debates, especially when making structural claims about the world.

Evidence: Evidence quality correlates with a higher chance of winning. Good evidence does not, however, substitute for good debating. You should be doing evidence comparison. Basic logic will always beat a terrible card without a warrant.

-If you clip, you will lose the round and receive 0 speaks. I will vote against you for clipping EVEN IF the other team does not call you on it. I know what clipping is and feel 100% comfortable calling it. Mark your ev and have a marked copy available.

-Shady disclosure practices result in you catching the L. Stop being a coward.

-If I say "clear" more than two times I will stop flowing. I say clear more than most judges because debaters are getting away with murder in terms of clarity.

-If you are a jerk to novices/inexperienced debaters your max for speaker points is a 25.

-Biggest pet peeve: debaters being unnecessarily difficult in cross-ex. This includes asking absurdly vague/irrelevant questions and debaters refusing to answer questions. This also includes cutting people off, and giving excessively drawn out answers to questions that can be answered efficiently. Please recognize that cross-ex is a mutual part of the debate.

-Be respectful to each other, which includes your partner. Pettiness/sarcasm is appreciated, but recognize that there is a line and you shouldn't cross it. You should never, ever make any jokes about someone else's appearance or how they sound.

-If there are any access requirements, just let me know.

-At no point will I allow outside participation in the round.

-Hot take: I strongly believe that the community is beginning to use arguments about trigger warnings in counterproductive ways. Trigger warnings are not designed to be used whenever someone says the words "gender violence" or when a team describes some form of structural violence. I find deployments of trigger warnings in these situations to be disingenuous and harmful. This is not to say that you can never make arguments about trigger/content warnings (sometimes they definitely make sense), but I urge you to consider whether or not the content in question actually requires such warning.

LD Specific:

Updated October 2019 to reflect efficiency and a few changes.

Tldr; I come from an exclusively policy background. I had zero experience in LD before I started coaching HW last year. That means everything you do is largely filtered through my experience in policy debate, and I have outlined my thoughts on those specific arguments in the above sections. This is why I am a horrible judge for LD shenanigans and will not tolerate them. So many acceptable LD arguments would be nonstarters in policy, and I will not vote for incomprehensible arguments just because other judges will. I don't say this to disparage someone's preferred form of debate, but I really can't vote for arguments that do not pass the 'makes sense' test. I care deeply about the educational aspects of debate, and will always try to help you improve. However, I am going to hold the line when ridiculous arguments are involved. See the FAQ below to determine if you should pref me.


Q: I read a bunch of tricks/meta-theory/a prioris/paradoxes, should I pref you?

A: Absolutely not.

Q: I read phil, should I pref you?

A: I'm not ideologically opposed to phil arguments like I am with tricks. I do not judge many phil debates because most of the time tricks are involved.

Q: I really like Nebel T, should I pref you?

A: No, you shouldn't. I'm sure he's a nice and smart guy, but cutting evidence from debate blogs is such a meme. If you'd like to make a similar argument, just find non-Nebel articles and I'll be fine. This applies to most debate coach ev. To be clear, you can read T:whole rez in front of me- just not Nebel cards.

Q: I like to make theory arguments like 'must spec status' or 'must include round reports for every debate' or 'new affs bad,' should I pref you?

A: Absolutely not.

Q: Will you ever vote for an RVI?

A: Nope. Never.

Q: Will you vote for any theory arguments?

A: Of course. I am good for more policy-oriented theory arguments like condo good/bad, PICs good/bad, process CPs good/bad, etc.

Q: Will you vote for Ks?

A: Of course. Love em. See policy section.

Any other questions can be asked before the round or email me.

Christopher Sun Paradigm

4 rounds

Glenbrooks Update: I’m not that familiar with this topic, so if you have an in-depth substance debate you’ll have to explain yourself more than you usually would.

I debated for Millburn High School in NJ for four years and got four TOC bids.

I’ll vote for any argument I understand that has a warrant that coherently justifies the claim/impact. Debate is your activity and I don’t care about what arguments you make, but I’m probably better at evaluating theory, tricks, and framework than a K or LARP debate. I’m not going to pretend that I’m equally capable of evaluating every argument out there, although I’ll certainly try my best. That said, if I'm judging you, read whatever is most strategic/what you’re comfortable with and certainly don’t change what you normally read – I actually don't care at all what you read, I'm just letting you know this for your prefs.

Misc Comments:

- Repeating the claim of an argument is enough for an extension. For important arguments, spend more time explaining their impacts.

⁃ Like I mentioned above, I’m not the best judge for a K/LARP debate. I’m reasonably familiar with the gist of most Ks and read a decent number of critical positions when I debated, so just slow down and explain more than usual.

⁃ I’d prefer if you’re honest in the round and answer straightforwardly in CX – e.g. if someone asks you if there are presumption triggers are in the AC, just tell them.

⁃ Compiling the speech doc counts as prep, flashing doesn’t

Defaults: if no arguments are made on these issues, I’ll use these defaults:

⁃ Truth testing

⁃ Fairness is a voter, theory is drop the argument, T is drop the debater

⁃ Competing interps, won’t gut check for reasonability

⁃ No RVIs, only counterinterps trigger RVIs

- I’ll evaluate embedded clash if explicit clash is irresolvable

Speaker Points: I’ll try to average a 28.5 and vary them based on strategy, efficiency, and to a much lesser degree, argument quality and how enjoyable you make the round to judge. I won't change them based on what debate style you prefer - when I debated, I didn't like reading what I was uncomfortable with because I thought a specific judge would otherwise give me lower speaks. I’ll say clear/slow/loud as many times as necessary. Don’t be mean or rude, e.g. don’t spread or read tricks/theory/Ks against novices.

Have fun! Debate is a great activity, and it’s better when everyone is relaxed and has a good time. Feel free to ask me questions before the round if I’m missing anything here.

Cort Sylvester Paradigm

3 rounds

Head coach, Rosemount, MN. Do both policy & LD, and I don’t approach them very differently.

I’m a chubby, gray-haired, middle-aged white dude, no ink, usually wearing a golf shirt or an Iron Maiden shirt. If that makes you think I’m kind of old-school and lean toward soft-left policy stuff rather than transgressive reimaginations of debate, you ain’t wrong. Also, I’m a lawyer, so I understand the background of legal topics and issues better than most debaters and judges. (And I can tell when you don’t, which is most of the time.)

I was a decent college debater in the last half of the 1980s (never a first-round, but cleared at NDT), and I’ve been coaching for over 25 years. So I’m not a lay judge, and I’m mostly down with a “circuit” style—speed doesn’t offend me, I focus on the flow and not on presentation, theory doesn’t automatically seem like cheating, etc. However, by paradigm, I'm an old-school policymaker. The round is a thought experiment about whether the plan is a good idea (or, in LD, whether the resolution is true).

I try to minimize intervention. I'm more likely to default to "theoretical" preferences (how arguments interact to produce a decision) than "substantive" or "ideological" preferences (the merits or “truth” of a position). I don't usually reject arguments as repugnant, but if you run white supremacist positions or crap like that, I might. I'm a lot less politically "lefty" than most circuit types (my real job is defending corporations in court, after all). I distrust conspiracy theories, nonscientific medicine, etc.

I detest the K. I don't understand most philosophy and don't much care to, so most K literature is unintelligible junk to me. (I think Sokal did the world a great service.) I'll listen and process (nonintervention, you know), but I can't guarantee that my understanding of it at the end of the round is going to match yours. I'm especially vulnerable to “no voter” arguments. I’m also predisposed to think that I should vote for an option that actually DOES something to solve a problem. Links are also critical, and “you’re roleplaying as the state” doesn’t seem like a link to me. (It’s a thought experiment, remember.) I’m profoundly uncomfortable with performance debates. I tend not to see how they force a decision. I'll listen, and perhaps be entertained, but need to know why I must vote for it.

T is cool and is usually a limitations issue. I don't require specific in-round abuse--an excessively broad resolution is inherently abusive to negs. K or performance affs are not excused from the burden of being topical. Moreover, why the case is topical probably needs to be explained in traditional debate language--I have a hard time understanding how a dance move or interpretive reading proves T. Ks of T start out at a disadvantage. Some K arguments might justify particular interpretations of the topic, but I have a harder time seeing why they would make T go away. You aren’t topical simply because you’ve identified some great injustice in the world.

Counterplans are cool. Competition is the most important element of the CP debate, and is virtually always an issue of net benefits. Perms are a good test of competition. I don't have really strong theoretical biases on most CP issues. I do prefer that CPs be nontopical, but am easily persuaded it doesn't matter. Perms probably don't need to be topical, and are usually just a test of competitiveness. I think PICs are seldom competitive and might be abusive. All of these things are highly debatable.

Some LD-specific stuff:

Framework is usually unimportant to me. If it needs to be important to you, it’s your burden to tell me how it affects my decision. The whole “philosophy is gibberish” thing still applies in LD. Dense, auto-voter frameworks usually lose me. If you argue some interpretation of the topic that says you automatically win, I’m very susceptible to the response that that makes it a stupid interp I should reject.

LD theory usually comes across as bastardized policy theory. It often doesn’t make sense to me in the context of LD. Disclosure theory seems to me like an elitist demand that the rest of the world conform to circuit norms.

I am more likely to be happy with a disad/counterplan type of LD debate than with an intensely philosophical or critical one. I’ll default to util if I can’t really comprehend how I’m supposed to operate in a different framework.

Feel free to ask about specific issues. I'm happy to provide further explanation of these things or talk about any issues not in this statement.

Nigel Taylor-Ward Paradigm

7 rounds


Have the email chain setup. There is no reason you should be fumbling with an email chain 10 minutes past start time. It makes me seem late(big image guy) and leads to tab (understandably) sending runners to annoy me...and that annoys me. Put differently: Even if Im late, have the email chain set up and ready to send upon my arrival or speaks will decline by no LESS than 2 whole points...try me! {npiredebate at G mail}

TOC additions:

Paradigmatic additions: FWK/T and Ks are arguments that have been in debate for a while now...get over it and win the debate. If you expect a judge to stop the round after a debater reads a Shapiro or Patterson card...I'm not the judge for you and will probably laugh at you.


I go in to rounds as a blank slate, you should tell me how you want arguments treated/used("filter the debate through permutation etc.) This makes framing HUGE

I love a good T vs policy aff debate

I'm capitalist but think the Cap K is one of the most underrated and strategic positions.]

About me: Existentialist and Capitalist majoring in Finance, Intl Business and Arabic.

Don't be lay. Don't be boring. Don't be anti-semitic. Facts>Feelings. Tech>Truth (default).

"The infants in the graveyard smile widely without teeth, Carefully sewn in columns and rows, rotting little seeds...Raking tears from upturned eyes"

Aaron Timmons Paradigm

4 rounds

Aaron Timmons

Director of Debate – Greenhill School

Updated – April 2019

Please put me on the email chain –

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

Lincoln - Douglas Philosophy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alex Tisher Paradigm

7 rounds

I debated for four years at Hopkins high school in Minnesota (2008-2012) and coached/judged through college.

I am willing to listen to any argument and vote on any argument, but there are certain things that you could do that will make it much harder to win in front of me. If you run a position that is wrong (using a philosophy incorrectly, contrary to empirical fact, etc), I will vote for you if you win it, but your speaks will suffer. Similarly, offensive arguments (if not argued against) can win, but won't gain you many speaks. These arguments can and will lose with even the most basic rebuttal, but if they are dropped, I won't intervene to not vote for them.

That being said, I have a few preferences for other arguments:

I am willing to vote on theory, and will decide it based on how you tell me to in the round, but I have a very low threshold for arguments against what would generally be considered unnecessary theory. Try to limit your usage to when there's actual abuse happening in the round. You won't lose because you run unnecessary theory, but your opponent won't need to do a lot to refute it.

I'm not terribly convinced by out of round impacts, but if you can win it in round, you'll win my ballot. Again, I just have a somewhat lower threshold for responses because I don't think it's particularly compelling.

Don't assume I've heard whatever complicated moral theory/new debate fad/anything crazy you want to run. If you think you can explain it well enough in round for someone who has never heard it before to understand, go for it. If not, consider running something else or adding more explanation. It's not the case that I necessarily won't have heard of it, but a) I think it's extremely unfair to debaters who aren't more familiar with whatever random philosophy/fad you've chosen and b) there certainly is a chance that I won't know it.

Speed: I debated on the circuit, so I'm pretty competent at flowing high pace rounds. That being said, if you're one of the faster debaters, you may not be able to go your full speed since I haven't had a ton of practice lately. I'll say "clear" or "slow" two times, depending on what's necessary, but after that you will lose speaks if you don't change the speed or clarity of your speech. I will also stop flowing if I can't understand you. Likely, this won't be an issue.

Speaker points: If you make intelligent arguments, weigh early and often, and generally make the round easier to adjudicate, you should find yourself pleased with your speaks. On the other hand, making the round messier or making illogical arguments will result in lower points.

Feel free to ask other questions, but please make them specific rather than simply asking "is there anything you do or don't like?"

Angel Toro Paradigm

5 rounds

For Glenbrooks:

Background: I debated LD for 4 years; Senior and Junior year in the national circuit. I'm currently a freshman at the University of Chicago studying Computer Science and debating Parliamentary style debate. I mostly read K args towards the end of high school.

Let me know before round if you have any questions, or would like me to say "slower" "clear" or anything else that will make you more comfortable. Wear whatever you want in front of me, I literally wore a hoodie to all my rounds senior year.

You don't have to use prep to flash, but if you take more than a minute doing it or I see you compiling the file I will be annoyed and speaks will go down.

Email: This won't be super specific so email me with any specific questions if you have any. Oh and put me in the email chain because my hearing is less than ideal.

K debate: I love K debate that is specific to the topic. This does not mean that I will not evaluate other non-t K's. I just have a low-threshold for TVAs and other arguments towards why it's not fair. This is specifically true if you don't disclose...Please disclose if you're reading a non-T aff; It seems pretty clear that it is just a Strat to win a round (like most things in debate) otherwise and it will just make me sad. Also, if you're negating and your opponent does this I will be pretty lenient with case-proper responses.

Please have an alternative for K's that means something. It doesn't have to be concrete, It can be a mindset shift if that's the solution to the problem but please explain it right. And don't just simply rely on repeating tag lines from your author that mean nothing without hours of analysis and reading.

Larp: I honestly love clean larp debate. It can get so messy though so be ready to weigh. If by the end of the round I just have conceded DA's and conceded advantages I will have to weigh by myself. And that will lead to an arbitrary decision that one of you will be unhappy with.


I lean to believing T gets an RVI as well. But I get both sides of this so just debate it.

I am open to listening to any theory debate. Just a PSA again, my hearing is not amazing and I might miss technical things if you're just flying through it while you extempt a shell and I'll be sorry but I simply can't vote for things I didn't hear, so I'll get over it.


I was never big on Phil debate. Yet, I really like philosophy and love reading it, watching videos on it, talking about it. I feel my issue usually was that people are so sketchy when explaining Phil positions, I get that sometimes you need to use dense vocabulary to explain it, but I need to be able to comprehend all the pages that you read to decide on this case in a matter of 6 minutes; so your explanations must be very good.

Overall, read whatever you want. As long as it's not exclusionary to any group or person I'm here for it.

Speaks: First time judging so we'll see, I think my average will be around a 28.

I am down to talk after rounds about decisions. But if you are just trying to find a reason why I'm wrong, instead of actually learning I will just leave after a while. Not because I think it's not possible for me to have made a mistake, but because even if I did there's nothing that, that will do.

I'm probably missing a lot of stuff, so just email me or facebook message me, it's just my name. (Add me if you do message me, since I usually don't see the requested messages page.)

Adam Torson Paradigm

2 rounds

UPDATED: 9/12/2018

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

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

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

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

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


General Preferences and Decision Calculus

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

Tricks and Triggers

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

Counterplan Status, Judge Kick, and Floating PIKs

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

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

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


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


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


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


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

Speaker Points

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rude or Unethical Actions

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

Card Clipping

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

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


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

Kate Totz Paradigm

7 rounds

Not Submitted

Becca Traber Paradigm

3 rounds

My email is beccatraber (at) gmail (dot) com. I want to be on the email chain. I don't disclose speaks.

I debated on the national circuit for the Kinkaid School, graduated 2008. I've been coaching and teaching on the national circuit since. I am finishing my dissertation at Yale University in Political Theory and continuing to help coach Lake Highland Prep and Success when I can.

I try to be as tab as possible, but we all know, a truly tabula rasa judge is impossible. Just know that everything I'm about to say is simply a preference and not a rule; given a warranted argument, I will shift off of just about any position that I already have or that your opponent gave me. The following are thoughts on specific issues of interest to many debaters, in only the vaguest order.

Speed: I have no problem with spreading -- all I ask is that you are still clear enough to follow. What this means is that you need to have vocal variation and emphasis on important parts of your case, like card names and key arguments.

Threshold for Extensions: If I am able to understand the argument and the function of it in the context of the individual speech, it is extended. I do appreciate explicit citation of card names, for flowing purposes.

ROB/LD FW: I prefer an explicit ROB and/or standard defended as a framework for evaluating the round. I do not have a preference as to what the ROB is, as long as it capable of filtering offense. I am willing and able to judge tricks debate or k debate. When civilizations clash, I regularly vote in both directions.

Policy FW/T-Must-Be-Topical: I regularly vote both that affs must be topical and that they don't have to be. I regularly coach in both directions. I think the question is very interesting and honestly one of my favorite parts of debate--when done interestingly and with specific interaction with the content of the aff.

Disclosure: Is by now a pretty solid norm and I recognize that. I have voted many times on particular disclosure interps, but in my heart of hearts think the ways that most people handle disclosure competing interps tends to lead to regress.

CX: CX is really important to me, please use it. You have very little chance of fantastic speaker points without a really good cross-x. I would prefer if y'all don't use CX as prep, although I have no problems with questions being asked during prep time (Talk for at least three minutes: feel free to talk the rest of the time, too). If you are getting a concession you want to make absolutely sure that I write down, get eye-contact and repeat to me what you view the concession as.

Do not be unnecessarily mean. It is not very persuasive. It will drop your speaks. Be mindful of various power-dynamics at play in the room. Something I am particularly bothered by is the insistence that a marginalized debater does not understand their case, particularly when it is framed like: [male coach] wrote this for you, right [female debater]? Or isn't there a TVA, [Black debater], you could have used [white debater's] advocacy. Feel free to mention specific cases that are topical, best not to name drop. I can't think of an occasion when it is appropriate to explicitly challenge the authorship or understanding of a particular argument.

When debating someone significantly less experienced: your speaks will benefit from explaining your arguments as straightforwardly as you can. I won't penalize you for the first speeches, but in whatever speech happens after the differences in experience level becomes clear, you should treat them almost as a pedagogical exercise. Win the round, but do so in a way where you aren't only trying to tell me why you win the round, but you're trying to make sure your opponent also understands what is happening.

Theory: I'm willing to listen to either reasonability or competing interpretations. I don't assume either fairness or jurisdiction as axiomatic voting issues, so feel free to engage on that level of the theory debate. I do really enjoy a well-developed theory argument, just make sure you are holding to the same standards of warranting here that I demand anywhere. Internal links between the standards and the interpretation, and the standards and the voter, are both key. Make sure you have a robust interpretation that isn't simply the same thing as the violation, particularly if you are going under competing interpretations paradigm. I love a good counter interp that is more than defending the violation--those result in strategic and fun rounds.

"Don't Evaluate After The 1ar": Feel free to run these arguments if you want, but know that my threshold is extremely high for "evaluate debate after [speech that is not the 2ar]." It is very difficult to persuade me to meaningfully do this. A better way to make this argument would be to tell me what sort of responses I shouldn't permit and why. For instance, new paradigm issues bad, cross-apps bad, no embedded clash, no new reasons for [specific argument] -- all fine and plausible. I just don't know what it means to actually stop evaluating later speeches. Paradigmatically, speech times are speech times and it makes no sense to me why I should obviate some of your opponent's time for any in round reason. If you have a specific version of this argument you want to check with me, feel free to do so before round.

K&Phil Debate: Kritikal debate, phil/framework debate, and high theory debate are all my favorites. I don't see them as different as all that, on the whole, and enjoy judging them all. I am familiar with a wide variety of critical literature.

Accessibility note for performances: If you don't flash the exact text of your speech, please do not play any additional sounds underneath your speaking. If there is sound underneath your speaking, please flash the exact text of what you are reading. I do not want to undermine the performance you want to engage in and whichever option you prefer is fine for me. It is fine to have part of your speech be on paper with music underneath and then turn the music off when you go off paper. I struggle to understand what is being said over noise and I'm uncomfortable being unable to know what is being said with precision.

Presumption: I don't default any particular way. I am willing to listen to presumption arguments which would then make me default, given the particular way the round shakes down, but my normal response to a round where no one meets their burden is to lower my standards until one person does meet their burden. Now, I hate doing this and it makes me grumpy, so expect lower speaker points in a situation where nobody meets their burden and nobody makes an argument about why I should presume any which way. This just points to the need to clearly outline my role and the role of my ballot, and be precise as to how you are meeting it.

Nathaniel Tran Paradigm

2 rounds

I want to be in the email chain. My email is if you have questions.

Debate is a game. No embedded clash. I ran some policy args and mainly K's (Cap). Feel free to ask me questions before the round.

I've debated four years VLD for Loyola High School in Los Angeles.

Read anything. Tech over Truth.

First, I look at framing. If you didn't frame the round, you will make it easier for me to intervene.

Next, I look at the link chain. Your arguments must be valid. If every single premise of your argument is true, it must mean that I must vote for you.

Third, I look at the truth of the premises. Your premises must be shown true; that means it must have a claim and a warrant. Whatever is true is based on what both debaters agree on in-round. Agreements can be drawn from implicit assumptions from arguments, conceded arguments, and cross-examination.

If you have failed to do any of these, you are sure to not surpass a 28.5 in speaks. I operate on a 27-30 30 point scale.

I dislike bad arguments, especially ones that are invalid.

For Framing, here are my defaults if you do not specify. These are not warrants for your arguments:



Jack Wareham Paradigm

5 rounds

I debated LD at Oakwood School in Los Angeles for four years and graduated in 2017. I am now a second-year student at UC Berkeley.

I am not very good at understanding spreading anymore, so please slow down a bit and enunciate clearly. I don't have a problem calling "Clear" but if I have to do it a lot and you don't fix your clarity I might be a little annoyed.

I like kritiks! But if you are just recycling old policy cards you don't understand, I would prefer you did not read one.

I attempt to be objective, however, like every judge, I have certain biases. It might benefit you to align your arguments with my biases, but I'll still be happy if you persuasively convince me to depart from them. Here is a short list of some things I believe:

-terminal defense is rarely a thing

-the negative should prove the proactive desirability of a competitive option to the aff

-jurisdiction isn't a real theory standard

-disclosure is good

-fairness is a voting issue

Things I will probably raise your speaker points for:

-talking at a fast conversational pace instead of spreading (!!!!)

-clear knowledge and passion for a specific issue

-creative arguments

-really good tech

-tasteful film references

Things I will probably lower your speaker points for:

-not disclosing

-being unnecessarily rude (although occasional sarcasm is appreciated)

-strategies designed to minimize clash (tricks, spikes, blips)

Debate can be really fun and I hope you are having fun doing it! It will make me happy if it seems like you are enjoying yourself.

Zoe Wasserman Paradigm

7 rounds


I debated at Marlborough School for four years and I now attend UChicago. Please be nice to your opponent. I do not like framing arguments that would indicate that the holocaust or any other atrocity is good. Please explain to me the implications of your arguments and signpost! If you keep speaking after time is up, I will stop flowing. I like a good plan v. cp debate; however, I also like ks, DAs, etc. Whatever you decide to run, please make sure you have clear extensions and weigh the debate for me. If you are emailing cases, please put me on the chain. Feel free to ask me questions before the round.

Marna Weston Paradigm

4 rounds

Marna Weston (coached by Dale McCall at Twin Lakes High, WPB, FL)
State Champion, Lincoln Douglas Debate & NFL District Champion, Policy Debate (Florida)


Condo is probably bad. I don't like tricks and rude stuff. I don't like people beating their opponents down in a disrespectful manner. True champions find a way to win with style, finesse, and some measure of grace. Basically, "say what you mean, and mean what you say" in front of me. Kick outs and shifts are not received well. I am comfortable with crystal clear debaters and crystal clear rebuttals. I've been focused on my policy teams this year, so I'm not familiar with the LD topic. I think there is still such a thing as an LD topic, although I keep hearing the same positions regardless of the topic a lot, and I guess that's ok. I am open to a lot of different types of discussions, and I'm excited to listen to what you bring to the debate space.

TOC Haiku:

Sacred space except

The room where we exchange thoughts

is not for condo

Full Paradigm:
Lincoln Douglas Paradigm (Scroll down to see my policy paradigm):

I guess the best statement I can make about typing a philosophy for a mutual judge preference list in Lincoln Douglas Debate is “I do not understand why this is needed.” My high school coach, Mrs. Dale McCall of Twin Lakes High in West Palm Beach, Florida and others contributed their ideas toward a new style of debate in the early 80’s where “superior speaking to lay audiences on a proposition of value” was envisioned. Any reasonable person without specialized knowledge of any kind would be a fitting judge or audience member in such a forum. That event was called Lincoln Douglas Debate. As a participant when LD was still an experimental event and the topics were chosen through individual tournament invitation, I debated in the final round of the Inaugural Lincoln Douglas Debate at the Barkley Forum in March 1983. In October 1981 a fellow teammate and I closed out the New York City Invitational at the Bronx High School of Science. My paradigm is and always has been, “be a high school Lincoln Douglas Debater”. Offer reasonable definitions (required), a value (required), and criteria as appropriate (probably optional, definitely debatable). Debate as if before a community group, and do not perform in such a way that would alienate reasonably intelligent people who have come to be both informed and entertained.

A good standard would be the “my principal” paradigm. If the principal of my school watched you debate and from your performance came to me on the Monday after your performance and said, “Mr. Weston, I am concerned that debate is confusing, exclusionary, and not an activity that is building critical thinking or communication skills for our students based on what I saw last weekend”, then you can be sure that you will have lost my ballot. Such a performance could endanger the existence of my program. My ballot acts as a defense from such examples gaining popularity. I believe enough loses might cause such practices to cease.

The “role of the ballot” and RFD when I am the critic will ideally be to honor the historic intent of the Lincoln Douglas event and those who worked so hard to bridge the debate world for general audiences, and not to exclude such persons. A rude debater can expect to lose “on face” absent any consideration of arguments withstanding in the round. The activity is about life and how one carries oneself.

Additionally, I shall not reward debaters with high speakers for “rolling over” opponents. One to six big ideas is probably the most I should hear in constructive speeches and these then boiled down to one to four critical voters at the end of the debate. “Drops” in LD are evaluated qualitatively, not quantitatively. It is certainly possible that “one big idea” could make many more ideas irrelevant to a decision, if argued effectively. A superior debater should be able to win the round with class while respecting the dignity of the opposition, in every instance. In short, any person coming into the round should be able to evaluate the round, and every person in the round must be treated in a dignified manner, either as a participant, observer, or critic.

Thank you for your interest in my thoughts.

Policy Paradigm

Updated 8/14/16

Overview: I firmly believe that policy debate is first and foremost a communication activity. Consequently, oral presentation plays a larger factor in my adjudication process than in most decisions in recent years. I focus on the “story” of the debate, but line-byline refutation can be a component of that. Know your order before you announce it. Don't change the order after you announce it. Clearly articulated arguments at any speed can be evaluated. Inarticulate utterings that cannot be understood cannot be evaluated. Be quick, but don't hurry. I will not tolerate rudeness. Cross X is binding.

My paradigm is one of few dispositions; the rest is up to the debaters. They are as follows:

1. I agree that conditionality is "probably" bad. So its "probably" not a bad idea to speak to this and support reasons why I might or might not vote on this.

2. Topical Counterplans are not OK. If at the end of the round I haave been effectiely persuaded there are two Affirmative teams, I'll probably vote Affirmative.

3. I prefer not to judge topicality debates. If you're ahead on it, explain to me why its important to care about this, or I might not understand why to vote on it.

4. I enjoy case debates. Solidly clear and irrefuably presented and reasonably current inherency evidence could really win a debate. No, really.

5. Kritikal arguments on both AFF and NEG are fine, but pay close attention to the way you communicate your position (clear and concise!).

6. The topic should be debated, but how you approach the resolution, and how you approach debate generally (content, style, etc.), should be left up to the debaters.

7. If you're Negative, show me how your approach is specific to this Affirmative. Be thoughtful in explaining what a vote for your side means and why I should endorse it.Ask meto vote for your side. Dont complete on-face grant the 1AC in favor of pre-set tangentially related points and expect me to get why that means the Negaative wins the debate. Be paricularly clear on fairness and why ground is or isnt lost and warrants a decision.These are usually not presented clearly and powerfully.

8. I will appreciate teams who competently deploy arguments from the earlier days of CEDA, such as Justification, Hasty G, etc. I also appreciate when the AFF and NEG teams sit on the correct sides of the room with respect to the judge. Otherwise, I might vote for someone but accidentally vote for the wrong team. "Sort of kidding" but I know this has happened to teams and that in my career in the activity, more than one judge thought they voted for a team, when they hadn't. If you're not on the proper side of the room, at least say in your speech which team you represent and why you think your side should win the debate. That is taken for granted a lot.:)

Public Forum Paradigm

Updated 8/14/16

To be truthful, it all goes by a little quickly for me in a PF round. I never competed in PF. The speeches are really short. I do appreciate the skills developed through the practice of concisely presenting so many arguments in a limited space of time. On a personal note, I thought the whole idea of yet another "policy is too fast and there is too much research" debate event, was that PF would remain slow for lay audiences. I have observed this is not the case, but good debates are still where you find them in PF--- as in Congress, Policy, LD, and Worlds. As such, please watch me closely and clearly indicate why as a judge I should prefer your way of evaluating the round over your opponents. I'm always pretty much up to speed on current events through working on Policy & Extemp each week of the season, so I'll probably be up to date on your issue. The key will be to express reasons to prefer your interpretation of what is important-------over what your opponent is saying. Whoever does that most effectively will likely win my ballot.


Marna Weston

Mark Woodhead Paradigm

6 rounds

Pronouns: He/ Him. Will respect whatever your preferred pronouns are.

Role/ Experience: circuit policy/ coach @ Logan, parli debater @ UC Davis, currently head debate coach for Archbishop Mitty High School.

Evidence: Put me on the chain: However, I try to avoid reading speech docs for substantive issues- you have to make the arguments, interps, weighing clear to me in your verbalized speech. I will try to intervene/ "do work" for the debater as little as possible, so don't expect that I will buy all of the fire analysis of your card if you aren't extending or explaining any of it. Prep stops when you send out the doc. Don't burgle. Don't clip cards. Mark your docs if you end early.

Decorum: Be respectful of all in the round. Ad hominem attacks (about a person's immutable identity/ characteristics/ background) are never OK and will cost you speaker points at the very least. If you cross the line, expect the L and a talk with your coach. Attack arguments and their justifications, not the person.


  • "Open" to any argument. I would say that I default policymaker but am certainly open to critical arguments/ affirmatives. When attempting to change my default-paradigm, debaters must overcome my skepticism by clearly explaining the role of the ballot and demonstrating some level of competitive fairness in their framework. I want to know what I am voting for, not simply that the other side was thoroughly confused.
  • Speed is fine, but slow down on tags, blippy analytics, interps, and texts. Pause after cites. Introduce acronyms. I'll yell clear if necessary. Avoid other distracting behaviors like loud tapping, pen-dropping, super-double breadths. Non-speaking teams should limit their decibel level and overt facial indignation.
  • T, theory, Ks, etc. are fine. But, as with any argument, if you would like for me to vote for these, you need to give me a clear reason. I am not as well-versed in the some K Affs or high theory Ks, but am certainly open to evaluating them if you can make them make sense. I am more comfortable adjudicating T, CP, DA/ case debates, but I am open to voting for arguments of all types (Ks, K Affs, etc...). I will vote for non-conventional argument forms (songs, dance & poetry, etc...), but will be very acutely focused on education and fairness implications of these alternative styles. I will give you more leeway on unconventional arguments, on the aff, if they bear some relation to the topic. Topic education is valuable.
  • I leave my assessment of the round largely in the hands of the team that presents me with the best explanation of how to frame the major issues in the round, and why that favors their side. If that work is done thoughtfully and clearly, then my decision about which way the round should go becomes much easier. Oh yeah, it typically helps when you win the actual arguments too (warrants, evidence, links, impacts, & all that micro stuff).
  • On theory, I usually will only pull the trigger if I can see demonstrable abuse or unfairness. The "potential for abuse argument" alone doesn't usually cut it with me (unless it's cold-conceded). Show me what specific limitations their interp caused and why that's bad for debate. Condo bad may be a good time trade-off for the aff, but probably won't convince me without some demonstrable in-round fairness/ education loss.
  • I appreciate strategy, creativity and maybe a little humor. Speaks typically range from 26-29.5. I am not impressed by shouting, bullying or obstruction- these will cost you points!! Most importantly, have fun! If you have questions, you can ask me before the round.


Years Judging Public Forum: 6
Number of Years Judging Other Forensic Activities: 18
Number of Years Competing in Other Forensic Activities: 6
If you are a coach, what events do you coach? Policy, PF, Parli, LD, Congress, Extemp, Impromptu
What is your current occupation? Debate Coach

Speed of Delivery: moderately fast, I would say full speed, but since people throw 8 "cards" up in 20 seconds in PF, you're better off at like 70% of full speed.

Format of Summary Speeches (line by line? big picture?): Line by line with some framing/ voters if it helps to clarify the round.

Role of the Final Focus: Establish voters, demonstrate offense, and weighing.

Extension of Arguments into later speeches: do it, please don't shadow extend everything, I won't do the work for you.

Topicality: cool
Plans: fine/ unless impossibly narrow
Kritiks: if it links, sure
Flowing/note-taking: Do it, I will.

Do you value argument over style? Style over argument? Argument and style equally? Arguments matter more. But, as a member of the human species, style and conviction impact the level to which I am persuaded. Still, I prefer a style that oriented to a calm and reasoned discussion of the real facts and issues, so I think they go hand in hand.

If a team plans to win the debate on an argument, in your opinion does that argument have to be extended in the rebuttal or summary speeches? Typically, yes, especially in the summary. The rebuttal may not necessarily have to extend defensive elements of the case.

If a team is second speaking, do you require that the team cover the opponents’ case as well as answers to its opponents’ rebuttal in the rebuttal speech? Opponents case only.

Do you vote for arguments that are first raised in the grand crossfire or final focus? Not unless something unique prompted the response for the first time in the immediately prior speech/ grand-cross.

If you have anything else you'd like to add to better inform students of your expectations and/or experience, please do so here. Be civil, succinct, and provide plenty of examples (either common knowledge or your evidence).


(Please see my policy paradigm above as this is where I draw most of my experience and perspective from. The gist is that I default as a policymaker, but this can be upended if you convince me your framework/ ethical system is good or preferable)

Speed: Fine with me. Slow down on tags, blippy analytics, interps, and texts. Pause after cites. Avoid other distracting behaviors like loud tapping, pen-dropping, super-double breadths.

Prep: Prep stops when you send out the doc. Don't burgle.

Evidence: Don't clip cards, it's cheating and you will lose. Mark cards when you don't finish them. Evidence must be properly cut (whole paragraphs are a minimum/ no distortions of author's intent).

Cross: Speaking over or past your opponent goes nowhere fast. If you ask a question, allow them an answer. If you want to move on, kindly ask to move on, don't shout them down.

Plans: I love them since they impart a clearer sense of your advocacy and one concrete comparative world. Still, you will be held to that plan. Shifting advocacies, vagueness on key functions of the plan, inserting extra-topical provisions to deck case neg offense are likely to get you in trouble. Spec args and funding questions need to be reasonable. Aff can, and probably should, defend normal means in these instances, but clarify what that probably looks like.

Whole Res: This style of debate is fine, but it makes affs vulnerable to a large set of topical, but terrible, ideas. It is each debater's job to weigh for me the preponderance of the evidence. So, even if you prove one idea is the res could cause nuke war, I need to weigh that eventuality's probability versus the rest of the aff's probabilities of doing good. This is a daunting task given the limited speech times, so make your examples as clearly defined, relevant, and probable. I am often persuaded by the most salient example.

Theory: I am far more receptive to theory arguments that pertain to choices by the opponent. Attacking structural differences of the the aff/ neg in LD as a justification for some unfair strategy choice is not likely to persuade me and often ends us as a wash. Tell me what arguments their interp specifically limits and why that's bad in this round or for debate in general.

Other things: I do not favor whimsical theory arguments that avoid debating the topic or avoid normative questions of public policy in general. So, save your font size theory for another judge.

Cyndy Woodhouse Paradigm

7 rounds

Debate is educational. It's meant to be a means to learn communication and persuasive techniques to help you in the future, as well as to serve you competitively for now. To that end, I have some specific preferences with regards to presentation, argumentation, and humanity.


* Stand while you speak. I don't want to stare at the top of your head or the back of a laptop. If your case/flow/arguments are on your computer, learn how to hold it so you can speak TO me, not AT me.

* Speak in a conversational way. I will not try to muddle through speed and work harder to figure out what you're saying than I do in a general interaction. Your purpose is to articulate and persuade, not throw out as much information as possible to see what sticks.

* I do not allow flex prep. If you're doing cross-examination, you're asking questions. If you're preparing for a speech, focus on that. If you disregard this, I will take ALL (questioning and prep time) out of the allotted prep time, not a combination of questioning and prep.

* Do NOT "roadmap" your speeches. There isn't so much information being discussed that you need to start by saying "I'll start with the NC and then move on to the AC." When you start speaking, I start the timer and my timer is the law of the round. Don't waste it. Start your speech with a landmark "Let's begin with the negative case's flaws."

* Make eye contact with me as though I'm your audience. Because I'm a person...and your audience.


* Remember that I am a living, breathing, thinking, rational individual. I am not a computer into which you feed arguments and expect a decision to be spit out. I have opinions, beliefs, and biases. I try my best to overcome those while adjudicating a debate, however, control over the subconscious only goes so far. Anyone who tells you that they are a blank slate is in denial. I have voted for arguments with which I do not directly agree because they were well-reasoned and insufficiently challenged.

* Debate the topic. If you're uninterested in the subject area you have been given, believe that the Wording Committee has made an egregious error in wording, or think that even discussing the topic focus will somehow marginalize certain groups, take that up with the NSDA or the tournament. This means DO NOT RUN KRITIKS IN FRONT OF ME BECAUSE I WILL DO EVERYTHING IN MY POWER NOT TO VOTE FOR THEM.

* Use strategy, not spewing. I do not keep a traditional flow, so talking about specific places on the paper where you're making arguments will not be helpful. Instead, feel free to start a speech by telling me what you believe the underlying conflict between the two positions to be, where they overlap, and what you need to do to resolve that conflict in your favor. Then, talk about how you do that.

* I'm still a fan of the value/criterion structure when they mean something. Don't just give them at the start of the case and then never refer to them again. The purpose of the V/C is to establish a way to filter arguments. This should be an easy way to show me how your arguments not only matter, but relate back to the resolution.

* Please don't refer to arguments by the names of authors whose evidence you use. I will not call for cards at the end of a debate and I focus on the substance and logic of the things you're saying, not the logical fallacy of the "authority" your evidence brings to the debate. Use the evidence to support what you're saying, not to make the argument for you.


* Treat one another with respect. You might be adversaries in a debate round, but that's not forever, and you're still people. Not only is your reputation on the line, but you're representing your school and community. Be kind. Be civil. Rudeness and condescension will not only lose you speaker points (for which I am famous for being stingy), but could cost you the round.

* Treat me with respect. Please don't refer to me as "judge." Make eye contact with me to indicate that you're ready to begin. Speak with me during the round through your arguments. Please do not try to shake my hand at the end of the debate because it intrudes on my personal space and seems like you're trying to take a look at my ballot.

* At the end of the debate, if you're given an oral critique, take notes. I will not disclose (unless it's elims) because the point of a critique is to offer feedback for subsequent rounds, not to give you a decision. If you're not interested in comments and suggestions, just a decision, I would prefer that you simply excuse yourself after the debate and leave the room, rather than sitting there with your arms crossed, looking bored because you won't find out if you won or lost.

* Your argumentation reflects the kind of person you are. I'm not super-sensitive about arguments, but be conscious of how you say things or to whom you direct them.

* Demeanor in a debate should be like you're a guest in the Congressional gallery or preparing for an important interview. Act formally. Speak formally. Interact generously with the other humans in the room. The better you act, the better your first impression.

I'm excited to be back in an activity I love and value, and I can't wait to see what you can do with it!


I am a former LD debater from Bettendorf, IA. I coached LD all through college and have been coaching since graduation. I have coached programs at Bettendorf HS, Vestavia Hills HS, and Iowa City West HS. I am currently teaching and coaching at Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, IA. I have been judging since I graduated high school (1998)

I would like to see debaters develop solidly organized and reasoned cases around one central theme. I would prefer to see contentions focusing on single arguments and better developing the theories behind the arguments instead of trying to fill the contention with a series of blips.

I would also like to see debaters use a more philosophical approach to the debate instead of merely pragmatic applications of arguments. Given the context of the resolution to the abstract, I would like to see debaters give some thought to the philosophical underpinnings of the concepts of the resolution as opposed to every day application. I like to see philosophy-based cases and well-thought out arguments.

I believe the value and criterion ought to be the central focus of the arguments within the debate. I would prefer that in addition to impacting back to initial claims, debaters spend time relating arguments back to the criterion as a way to achieve the value. Values and criteria ought not be after-thoughts in the debate, nor should they be things that the debater just tries to “win.” I prefer to see direct relationships drawn.

I appreciate evidence used to support arguments, however, I do not want debaters to extend “cards” because most pieces of evidence are not the crux of the argument being made. Instead, I would prefer to see debaters focus on the argumentation as a whole, including the evidence, but to discuss their own claims and warrants first. Evidence is not a good enough reason for me to accept or reject an argument.

I will listen to most arguments and try not to allow my personal perceptions enter into my decisions, however, I will reject a position which would require me to endorse a particularly repugnant argument (i.e. it’s ok to commit genocide in the name of organized religion if that’s what the people want). I don’t particularly like kritiks and probably subconsciously look for a reason to not vote for them.

I don't like theory unless there's a HUGE abuse in-round, and even then, the abuse argument should not be the primary response.

I don’t like external roadmapping. This means that at the beginning of each speech, I start keeping time when the debater starts talking, so if the first thing the debater says is “I’ll start with the neg and then go aff,” that’s all being timed. Instead, I would prefer contextual roadmaps. This means that the debaters will begin the speech by saying something like “Before looking at the affirmative case, let’s look at the value/criterion clash.”

At the start of each speech, I find it much more persuasive and helpful to begin by saying
o What the opponent’s position says
o What the debater’s own position says
o Where the conflict is between the two
o What the debater believes s/he has to prove to resolve that conflict in his/her favor.

I would prefer to see debaters engage in strategically planned rebuttals and refutation instead of trying to go for everything on the flow. I don’t like to have to resolve a bunch of stuff for myself at the end of the round, so I would like to see debaters make an attempt to resolve substantive issues in summary of the round.

I am not a fan of crystallization down the flow in the NR. I would rather hear coverage of important issues and then focus on specific voting issues. In rebuttals, it would be most helpful to begin by resolving the value/criterion clash and then giving a little overview which explains how the clash between the two positions will be resolved in terms of the value and criterion of the side speaking.

I don’t just vote on drops on face, so extending arguments isn’t enough for me to vote on them/for you to win. I would like to hear specific impacts and weighing as to:
o Why the drops are significant
o How they apply to the overall position of the debater
o How they will affect the rest of the round
o How they weight against the drops/arguments of the opponent

I do not like speed. I don’t think it’s necessary. In general, I think that debate has become less persuasive and strategic and has sort of become about throwing a bunch of stuff at the judge to see what sticks. I give higher speaker points to individuals who attempt to adapt and focus on strategy and positional debate as opposed to a flowing contest. I do use the entire speaker point scale when allowed by the tab room, so please do not expect the 27-30/46-50 unless you are nearly or completely flawless. I will consider JV and novices on a different scale. I have not given a 30/50 in several years.

I don't typically flow anymore. When I do, it's not a rigorous flow and is mostly just notes about key arguments and clash.

I think the communicative aspect of this activity is important and appreciate good engagement of argumentation done clearly. I prefer not to flow most of the debate and will spend a majority of the time writing on the ballot or simply watching and listening. Make eye contact with me. Keep it simple and clear. Debate with some humanity and generosity for your opponent and yourself. Debate isn't just about what comes out of your mouth, but what goes into the ears of your audience and they're not always the same things.

Good luck and feel free to ask specific questions before the debate!

Garth Woodson Paradigm

3 rounds

LD, Congress, and General Speech coach for 5 years.

Impromptu Speaking 4th in the state of Ohio 2012

Bachelors degree in philosophy

3L University of Akron School of Law

Speed doesn't matter as long as I can understand.

I put a lot of emphasis on logic. If you're running a K, make sure it is LOGICAL. I am not a huge fan of LX of omission but will vote on it if you convince me there is no reason that they should have left out the specific area you are covering with your K.

Philosophy is important, framework is important but neither is necessary.

Be classy, but be stern.

CX is the most important individual section. Win the CX and it certainly helps your chances to win the round

I am a traditional LD judge. I also judge policy so K's are fine as well, but be clear about LX.

Ask me any question that you need, I have been around speech and debate for 10+ years.

Maya Xia Paradigm

5 rounds

Maya Xia
Preferred pronouns: She/her
Debated at Katy Taylor and TAMS. TOC qualled my senior year.
Currently a sophomore at Vanderbilt and assistant coach in LD at Harker. Worked at VBI summer 2018 all sessions.
Email chain: (Please add me to the email chain!!)

Please stop mistaking me for your opponent :'(

Tl;dr: I like LARP style debates. Your speech should write the ballot for me- I want to be able to pick out a sentence or two word for word that I can write on my ballot to justify why I’m voting for you.

I’m only judging at a few tournaments this year. That means please go at 75-80% speed of what you normally go at so I can follow along effectively. If I didn’t hear it because you’re too fast or unclear, then I won’t flow it.

My personal preference for arguments goes as follows:


2. Theory

3. K’s

4. Philosophy

5. Tricks


I like good LARP debates with in-depth topic research and strong evidence comparison. Good debaters should be able to properly collapse and explain the scenario in both the big picture and the line-by-line fashion. Super specific plans probably need to be topical and have solvency advocates, so if you don’t meet both qualifications, I can be pretty persuaded by theory. Conditionality is probably bad in LD, but I can be persuaded either way.


I’m not as familiar with most K literature, so if you’re reading a kritik, please don’t just use buzzwords to explain your argument. You should be able to coherently explain the thesis of the kritik using the vocabulary of a kindergartner so that I can effectively understand and evaluate the round. Your 2NR should not be 100% prescripted because in those cases, debaters tend to lose anyways. I also need a clear articulation of the alternative does- if I don't know exactly what happens and what happens after the alt, then I can't vote on it.


I default competing interpretations, no RVIs, and drop the debater, but you need to justify them. Please don’t blaze through the shell. Slow down for the interp and pause between standards. Have interps/counter-interps pre-written and sent before the speech starts. Weighing standards is super important. I like smart theory debates where the interp solves for most abuse in the shell and has clear offense. 1AR theory is smart, and you should go for it if there’s clear abuse. Please do top level theory weighing (1ar theory first, topicality outweighs, fairness first, which shell comes first, etc.).

I’ve never read or debated tricks, so you’ll probably confuse me a lot if you go for tricks.


I didn’t debate much philosophy/framework, so if you’re reading a phil AC/NC, please, again, explain it to me as you would explain it to a kindergartner. I default to comparative worlds, so if you’re truth-testing, please justify it, although I’m more convinced that comparative worlds is the better model of debate.

Non-T Affs:

I was essentially 100% topical my entire debate career, so I tend to lean against non-T affs and believe that T-Framework is true. If you can beat T or whatever arguments they read, I’m fine with non-T affs. If you’re reading T, don’t drop thesis level arguments in the aff that can take out T because I’m not going to grant you leeway for answering these args in the 2NR.

Other Stuff:

PLEASE EXTEND ARGUMENTS. I have a lower threshold for extensions in the 1AR, but they still need to be there. I won’t vote on any morally repugnant arguments. Flex prep is fine with me. I think disclosure is EXTREMELY important. I was the only debater from my school and I always disclosed, so I probably won’t be convinced if you go for disclosure bad.

Jason Yang Paradigm

4 rounds

Jason Yang

Debated for Kinkaid for 3 years with Eric Emerson and Akhil Gandra as coaches, Katy Taylor for 1 year with Gay Hollis, Eric Beane, and Neel Yerneni as coaches.

I haven't judged for a while, so please do emphasize clarity/slowing down both in speaking style and generally framing the round so that someone not as familiar with all the new lingo/debate trends are will be able to understand.

As a debater I always liked the more detailed philosophies, so I’ve done that. However, if you do not have enough time, the sparknotes should be plenty of information.

Sparknotes (in order of importance):

  • Speed- please go 65% speed because I’m bad at flowing and am a few years out of the activity. Esp important for analytics
  • Advocacy texts and interpretations of any kind must be conversational speed.
  • tags should be read slowly (close to conversational speed)
  • There is such a thing as zero risk
  • if theory is your strategy please read the theory section
  • Please explain phil
  • I like policy arguments and K’s that I can understand
  • I will vote on disclosure theory but will not hack for it.
  • I probably will not vote on new 2AR theory, kritiks, etc. But I might.
  • Extensions only need to be as detailed as needed. For example, if you’re explaining why the case outweighs a DA, probably need more detail. But if the neg only contests Aff framework, you probably don’t have to explain the contention much.
  • Will not vote for morally reprehensible arguments regardless of circumstance.

Hard and Fast Rules

  • You must transport evidence you read to your opponent by some means (flash, email, pass pages) if they request it. Giving them your case during prep time or only let them read over the shoulder it does NOT count.
  • You get 30 seconds to transport the documents to your opponent. In total. Afterwards it comes out of either prep time or speech time. Ideally, the flashing time for the 1AC is zero. If you can’t press save as + drag to USB/email within this time, you need to practice it. If your flashing requires more than save as + drag, then you have not completed compiling the speech doc which means you need more prep time.
  • I won’t vote on args I didn’t catch or don’t understand by the end of the debate.
  • Speech times are set- 6-3-7-3-4-6-3
  • for those who wish to add me to the speech doc chain.
  • I vote for one debater.

Terms and Definitions

I’ve lost some debates because I had a different definition of what a term meant than a judge. So I’ll put down what I think a certain term means. Of course, you can alter the definitions in the debate- just make sure I know what they are instead of throwing out the jargon. If you don’t define the term for me, I will default to this definition. This list is not exhaustive, but these are definitions that come to mind that have caused misunderstandings.

  • RVI: Reverse Voting Issue, if the responder to theory has net offense that links to a competitive counter interpretation, the responder of theory should win the debate. This necessitates that theory is drop the debater (or effectually drop the debater).
  • Permutation as Test of Competition: Negative advocacies test the opportunity cost of the aff, and permutations means the advocacy goes away and the negative now defends something else (either another advocacy or the status quo).
  • Permutation as Advocacy: If the affirmative proves the negative advocacy is not competitive (through a permutation), then the permutation becomes the new affirmative advocacy. This means that any internal net benefits to the counterplan (offense that the counterplan resolves) are now aff offense that can be weighed against other neg offense.
  • Conditional: The negative may “kick” (not advocate for) the advocacy under any circumstance.
  • Dispositional: The negative may “kick” the advocacy under a given condition.
  • Unconditional: The negative cannot “kick” the advocacy under any conditions. This will be their advocacy for the rest of the debate unless it is proven to be not competitive to the aff.
  • Truth Testing Paradigm: The affirmative’s burden is to prove that the resolution (or plan text) a true statement, while the negative tries to prove that the resolution (or aff plan text) a false statement.
  • Comparative Worlds Paradigm: The affirmative defends an advocacy, the negative defends an advocacy (advocacies). Whichever advocacy has more net offense wins. The affirmative advocacy should be an example of the resolution.
  • Severance: When the affirmative no longer advocates the plan specified at the beginning of the round.
  • Reasonability: Negative can win on theory with defense. I think Arjun Tambe’s conception of reasonability (that he got from Christian Tarsney) is pretty good: “presumably, if it would be bad to let someone get away with abuse, it would be about equally bad to punish them when they weren’t abusive, so if it’s less than 50 percent likely that they abused you, my default assumption is that theory is not a sufficient path to the ballot.” This definition is probably the most prone to change in the debate since there are so many different conceptions of reasonability.


  • Debate is comparative- this means both debaters should weigh in addition to winning individual arguments. This is true for every kind of debate- phil, theory, substantive, etc.
  • Debates are also won and lost on the top level framing- isolate the key issues and use the speech to explain why you’ve won them. Line by line is excellent at winning arguments in isolation, but that’s rarely sufficient to win the whole debate because you’re probably not winning every single arg.
  • Cx as prep isn’t a thing for me.
  • I will evaluate embedded clash when I recognize it, but you would be best served to make the connections explicit for those that are less obvious and/or crucial for winning the debate.

Policy Arguments

  • PLANS: Great. That said, I am not afraid of voting on “plans bad” or “Nebel/Generics T”.
  • Counterplans: Go for it. I have less experience with complicated process counterplans or whatever. Regardless, you should explain what it does and why it solves the case. A good 2nr overview is say “Here is the advantage, here is why the CP solves it”
  • Disadvantages: Sure. The affirmative would benefit a lot from proving why the internal links are bad with analytics, because they usually are. I think Disad+Case debates are the most interesting type of policy debates.
  • Lots of people are reading Da’s that are like 30s and none of the cards have warrants… Affirmatives should point this out
  • Turns case arguments are really awesome esp when specific to the plan
  • Solvency advocate theory doesn’t make much sense to me on its own, they just seem like solvency arguments. However, a solvency advocate can be a litmus test to determine whether or not a process counterplan or a PIC was predictable.


“K affs”

  • Pretty predisposed to vote on framework if your affirmative has nothing to do with the topic. You don’t necessarily have to defend USFG, but please talk about the resolution. Otherwise I have no predisposition as to whether your aff is an instrumental/100% defense of the resolution or not.
  • Creative approaches to the topic do count as talking about the resolution.
  • Against debaters that are establishing violations for policy framework please do not be evasive.


  • Contextualize the link to the aff- don’t just read the state link every single time and just reread the tag from your policy backfiles in the 2NR. I think the strongest links have good evidence and include quotes from the 1AC speech, CX, etc. that demonstrate the link.


  • I feel people underutilize impact turns. Obvi do not say stuff like racism good, but cap good, heg/militarism good, is great.


  • Negatives should do comparison- how do the DA’s to the perm outweigh the net benefits?
  • What does the alt look like, and how does it solve the links? That’ll make it a lot easier to vote for it. Even if your aff is just plain old rejection- questions like who rejects the aff, what distinguishes this from the status quo, etc. are all still relevant. If I have to ask myself what the alternative is or does at the end of the debate, you lost.


  • The presumption that kritiks are always “pre fiat” and therefore excludes the aff doesn’t make sense to me. This distinction should be explained not only generally, but also in the context of the affirmative.
  • Theory vs K is kind of a wack debate. To make it less so, you should try to make your warrants as specific as possible.
  • I am usually very confused when people kick the alt and claim that the K independently turns the aff. To my understanding, the alt generates uniqueness for the link/impact. If you do decide to pursue this strategy, explain to me why you don’t actually need an alt.

Ethical Framework

  • I’m not going to pretend to be the best judge for these kinds of debates. You can fix my lack of understanding by explaining the phil like I’m a child. This includes even common frameworks like Ripstein equal outer freedom, Rawls Veil, etc.
  • I will default to being “epistemically confident”, simply because that’s the norm at the time. This means that I will only use the winning framework to evaluate offense. I can be easily persuaded to use epistemic modesty.
  • Lots of frameworks are impact justified- point that out and explain why that’s bad.
  • I have no idea why RoB arguments should preclude a standard just because it has the words Role of the Ballot in front of it. This should be explained.
  • Reasons to prefer a framework should be weighed against eachother: for example, the affirmative FW is better for actor specificity, while the negative FW is better bc it links to a superior meta ethic. Which moral theory is more likely to be true?


I’ll vote on them (unhappily). Innovative spikes are a plus.


  • Defaults:
    • Competing Interpretations
    • Drop the Argument on Theory
    • No RVI
  • I don’t really care if your theory argument is shell format as a “new off” or just “x is a voting issue” tagged as an argument against the counterplan etc.
  • If your theory is clearly trying to abuse competing interpretations, the threshold for responses goes way down. For those that read this kind of theory, remember your opponent can win on zero risk of the interp under competing interpretations.
  • Theory debates need tons of weighing, and not just “ground outweighs predictability because we need ground before we can predict it”, but weighing that accounts for your strength of link to the standards. For example: perhaps lambos are worth more than a ford focus, but the same cannot be said for the driving wheel of a Lambo.
  • Competing Interpretations means offense defense paradigm. Other shenanagins like the answerer has to write down the CI, has to have a CI, should be justified.
  • If the answerer does not have a counter interpretation, I will assume that it means the opposite of the interpretation.
  • Unsure what drop the argument means on theory arguments concerned with advocacy like spec- it can mean drop solvency, drop the whole 1AC flow (so the aff can still win on link turns to the NC), re-evaluate the plan under the new interpretation, etc.
  • I think conditionality is good but that contradictions are bad.
  • Unsure what drop the argument means on theory arguments concerned with advocacy- it can mean drop solvency, drop the whole 1AC flow (so the aff can still win on link turns to the NC), re-evaluate the plan under the new interpretation, etc.
  • I am somewhat persuaded by the argument that goes something along the lines of “It would have been just as hard to give the 1AR if I replaced the CP with a DA or a few case turns. Condo bad devolves to multiple arguments bad.”


  • I think that topicality is more than just tech, it requires a vision of what the topic should look like through your interpretation.
  • It would be cool if your interp/counter interp was very specific to the topic for example, providing caselists, evidence when appropriate from the topic literature to quantify limits or ground arguments, etc.
  • Semantics vs pragmatics I do not really have a default here.
  • But debaters should make clear the implications of what it means if you win semantics vs pragmatics: does semantics first mean the affirmative must have a counter definition? Does it mean the definitions debate always comes first?
  • Drop the arg doesn’t make much sense here and should be specified- does this mean we drop the 1AC piece of paper? Does it mean we re-evaluate the interp? Can the aff read a new advocacy? Drop the debater?
  • Just like for theory, reasonability should have a brightline that is clearly explained.
  • Again, a caselist would be great.
  • Random pet peeve - try not to call theory topicality and vice versa.


  • 28.0 is average
  • Speaks will be awarded for good debating (strategy, technical ability, persuasiveness, good CX, etc). I do realize it’s kind of arbitrary, sorry about that.
  • Lower limit is a 27.0, less than that means you did something severely unsettling.


  • Not speaking incomprehensibly quickly
  • Good CX
  • Good overviews
  • Using less prep time (if more prep = better speech, that will probably result in better points than the time you save)
  • Using less speech time (same stipulation as above)
  • Unique arguments
  • Good disclosure practices (I will check wikis before or during the debate)
  • Fast speech doc transfers

Yan Yuan Paradigm

3 rounds

I'm a parent judge who's been judging for 3 years on the nat circuit

Please don't spread - add me to the email chain:

I try my best to make decisions off the flow, not based on rhetoric, although speaker points will obviously reflect a mix of both

That being said, please make my decision as easy as possible - I protect the 2NR from shifty 2AR's, and weighing + clear ballot stories are a beautiful thing

Feel free to run any relatively stock positions like CP + DA, etc. - substantive debate should be fine if adequately explained

I've voted on progressive arguments before, including one off K's, performance affs, etc - but these are always a tossup and I don't trust myself to evaluate them very well

I understand basic util/deont (Kant mostly) syllogisms but don't hit me with the a. action theory b. bindingness stuff - just explain it thoroughly and make interacts

Speaks average out to a 28.5 and I'll try to keep it reasonable

Adam Yusen Paradigm

3 rounds

I debated high school policy at Niles North and college parliamentary and speech at the University of Illinois. I'm fine with speed, but I will be a stickler for clarity. I tend to read evidence if its content is contested or to resolve head-to-head disputes that lack analysis. I'd prefer you take care of evidence characterization yourselves, though. I like to see close engagement with the other team's arguments so if it seems like you are dodging clash, you will be at a disadvantage. Please feel free to ask me for any clarifications on this page before the round starts.

This is my first tournament on this topic and I'm not familiar with the camp research, so please keep that in mind when using jargon.

I would like to be on the email chain/Dropbox/current equivalent. My email is

Things I Like a Lot
-Environmental/systemic impacts
-Close policy analysis
-Plan-specific links, disads, and CPs
-Impact comparison that isn't just about magnitude

Things I Dislike a Lot

-Accidental racism, sexism, etc. that isn't corrected with an appropriate apology
-Men talking over female debaters
-Climate denialism
-Affs that aren't topical
-ASPEC, OSPEC, and the ASPEC-OSPEC Double-bind
-Counterplans that compete off of process
-Stealing prep (prep time ends when the flash drive leaves the computer)
-Both debaters speaking during the same speech outside of prompting

Things That Will Cause You To Lose
-Any kind of harassment or intentional 'isms'
-Clipping cards, manufacturing evidence, or otherwise cheating

Policy debate can come across as very conservative because few debaters are willing to challenge the probability of nuclear war impacts, so I like to see teams refocus the debate on impacts of environmental collapse or systemic violence. The best way to do this is by challenging the probability of war.

I default to competing interpretations, and I expect that both teams will list topical affs/neg ground that their interpretation provides. Topicality is a discussion of what debate should look like, so I want solid examples of the world you're advocating. 'We meet' can be a sufficient answer to T as long as you can prove that you meet.

I believe that the aff has a burden to be topical, so if you plan on eschewing the USFG or the resolution, you should probably strike me. Having participated in both policy debate and speech events, I've found that the structure and rules of speech (and there are many) do not impede the events' capacity for education or radical activism, so I find arguments that the resolution is inherently bad for discussion to be unconvincing. Furthermore, decoupling the aff from the resolution removes the only constraint guaranteeing that the plan will create some kind of negative ground. Because debate is a zero-sum competition and not only a space for advocacy, I can't justify delimiting the aff like this.

Make sure not to have any 'black box' internal link chains - for example, 'the plan helps the tech sector; tech is key to solve global warming.' There are different kinds of tech, and I want to know why the plan's effects matter.

The counterplan should be a disadvantage to the plan by way of its being an opportunity cost - in other words, if the neg proves that the plan precludes a betterpolicy option, then I will be convinced that the plan should not be enacted.

The more specific the counterplan is to the aff, the better. I also like to hear good advantage counnterplans, but again, beware of the black box internal link chain mentioned above. I lean very heavily against Consult, Conditions, and any other counterplans that solve by implementing the plan. PICing out of a substantive part of the plan (as opposed to immediacy or certainty) is a perfectly legitimate strategy that I like to see executed well.

I'm usually fine with 2 conditional counterplans or fewer, but more than that starts to get worrisome and CPs with independently conditional planks are pretty dangerous.

If you read an advantage counterplan, the planks should not be individually conditional. This isn't a judge preference so much as a mathematical fact that some debaters seem not to understand. Each conditional plank you add multiplicatively increases the number of conditional worlds that could exist in the 2NR. 1 advantage counterplan with 5 conditional planks gives you 2^5, or 32, conditional worlds. 8 planks gives you 256. These numbers far outstrip the realm of any condo interp that a judge would vote on if it were phrased as a number instead of 'the planks are conditional,' and all the aff needs to do to close that gap is to point it out.

I will not judge-kick the counterplan for you. If you have not explicitly kicked it yourself, I will assume that the CP is still being advocated in the 2NR, which leads me to:

The aff's job is to prove that the plan should happen. In an imaginary world where there is zero risk of any advantages or disadvantages to the plan, I will default neg because the status quo has not killed us yet. If the neg advocates a counterplan instead of the status quo, this logic no longer applies because both teams are advocating change, so the aff will win in the same world of no advantages/disadvantages.


Overview: I'm a policy hack, and I generally agree that the role of the ballot is to decide between policy options. If your strategy is normally to go for the K, you should probably strike me. I'm outside of the norm in this way, so if you have me on a panel, adapt to the other judges first. You'll probably have my ballot if the other team is the reason the round turned kritikal.

Pre-fiat/representations-based Ks: I think these only really make sense against non-policy affs where the neg wants additional off case on top of T. As stated above, I'm a big consequentialist, so I won't be convinced that the existence of bad justifications for a good plan is a reason to reject that plan. Other than that, I probably won't evaluate them.

Post-fiat Ks: This should just be a disadvantage with uniqueness or a policy counterplan that solves. If it's not, perm-all-other-instances probably solves it.

Discourse Ks: If a team is being truly problematic in the round, I will likely handle it with tanked speaks and/or a loss if necessary. I'm not a big fan of these issues being handled as 'flow' arguments because don't see the use of isms in round as a competitive question. I don't think I can catch everything, so if the other team does something problematic, just call them out and ask them to stop. If they double down instead of apologizing, I'll handle it appropriately. If the link to your Discourse K is something like apocalyptic rhetoric or threat construction, I won't find it very convincing.

Kritikal/Anti-Topical Affs: As mentioned above, these really aren't my thing. The aff should defend the theoretical enactment of a topical plan and garner advantages only off of that enactment. I'm not a fan of pre-fiat impacts as a reason to vote for the plan out of the gate.

Again, case-specific links are preferred. I was a Politics hack myself, but I do realize that there are some weekends when Politics is just not a good disad. I am willing to vote aff on zero risk of the disad, but be warned that it doing so will likely require that the negative fully drops a section of the argument.

Speed and Clarity

I'm fine with speed. Please slow down or substantially change your tone for taglines and analytics, there is a difference between "I need to get through this" fast and "I'd like you to flow every word of this" fast. I will shout 'clear' a lot if needed.


I'm originally Policy, so I'd prefer to have any procedural jargon explained to me. I'm aware that LD is philosophy-heavy by design, so I'm a lot more lenient with K's here. I do not want to hear your font size theory.

Public Forum

Most of the above applies where relevant; one thing I do think is important is that voters in the FF speeches be tied into a broader explanation of "Why We Win if We Win What We Win." Too often I see voters just brought up as independent sentences with not enough relation to each other.


Most of the above applies where relevant. Do not use pre-prepared arguments. If I catch you using canned material, I will probably drop you and tank your speaks.

Please take Points of Information. If the tournament uses Flex Time rules, I will treat Flex as if it were Cross-Ex + prep. Flex is a supplement for POIs, not a substitute. I understand limiting POIs to prevent abuse, however, if you take less than three per speech, it will cost you speaker points.

Parli is not designed to handle the K due to limited prep. Reading Kritiks or other pre-prepared arguments in Parli is a transparent tactic to create a prep skew and I'm not sure why this isn't more widely recognized. If you read a K in front of me, I will probably drop you and give you low speaks to disincentivize this behavior.


Most judges don't have paradigms for speech, but I like to include one just in case. In the same sense that debaters are expected to adapt to speech judges, I think speechies should be able to adapt to debate judges, particularly in LP events. I put argumentation and analysis over performance for LPs and most PAs, though both are important for ADS. Interps will be a more even mix, since they are clearly intended to be performance-focused. That said, you need to make sure your argument is coherent, sourced, and relevant to society, with a clear tie-in to your piece. Competitors who are able to do this well will score significantly better with me.

Cheating/Ethics Violations

I understand that the risk of a forfeit can often deter ethics challenges, so I will not hesitate to enforce the rules if I catch someone cheating myself. If I find out that you are cheating, I will drop you, give you zero speaker points, report you to Tab, and attempt to warn your opponents in future rounds at the tournament. Please follow the rules.

Lawrence Zhou Paradigm

6 rounds

Last updated for VBI Debate Camp

Do whatever you want, it's camp... Put me on the chain, email below.

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


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

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

Full Paradigm here.

Answers to Common Questions

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Preference of seating?
A: Nope.

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

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

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

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

Q: What about kritiks?
A: I suppose.

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

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

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

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

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

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