Novice Round Up

2018 — Dallas, TX/US

Bill Batterman Paradigm

2 rounds

Bill Batterman
Associate Director of Debate — Woodward Academy (2010-present)
Director of Debate — Marquette University High School (2006-2010)
Assistant Debate Coach — Marquette, Appleton East, Nicolet, etc. (2000-2006)
Last Updated 12/11/2019

Twitter version: Debate like an adult. Show me the evidence. Attend to the details. Don't dodge; clash. Great research and informed comparisons win debates.

My promise: I will pay close attention to every debate, carefully and completely scrutinize every argument, and provide honest feedback so that students are continuously challenged to improve as debaters.

Perspective: During the 2010s (my second full decade of judging/coaching debate), I coached and/or judged at 189 tournaments and taught slightly more than 16 months of summer debate institutes. I don't judge as many rounds as I used to, but I still enjoy it and I still coach as actively as ever.

Pre-round: Please add to the email chain. Respect your opponents by sending the same documents to the email chain that you use to deliver your speeches. If you create separate versions of your speech documents (typically by deleting headings and analytical arguments) before sharing them, I will assume that you do not respect your opponents. I like debaters that respect their opponents.

1. I care most about clarity, clash, and argument comparison.

I will be more impressed by students that demonstrate topic knowledge, line-by-line organization skills (supported by careful flowing), and intelligent cross-examinations than by those that rely on superfast speaking, obfuscation, jargon, backfile recycling, and/or tricks. I've been doing this for 20 years, and I'm still not bored by strong fundamental skills and execution of basic, core-of-the-topic arguments.

To impress me, invite clash and show off what you have learned this season. I will want to vote for the team that (a) is more prepared and more knowledgeable about the assigned topic and that (b) better invites clash and provides their opponents with a productive opportunity for an in-depth debate.

Aff cases that lack solvency advocates and claim multiple contrived advantages do not invite a productive debate. Neither do whipsaw/scattershot 1NCs chock-full of incomplete, contradictory, and contrived off-case positions. Debates are best when the aff reads a plan with a high-quality solvency advocate and one or two well-supported advantages and the neg responds with a limited number of complete, consistent, and well-supported positions (including, usually, thorough case answers).

I would unapologetically prefer not to judge debates between students that do not want to invite a productive, clash-heavy debate.

2. I'm a critic of argument, not a blank slate.

My most important "judge preference" is that I value debating: "a direct and sustained confrontation of rival positions through the dialectic of assertion, critique, response and counter-critique" (Gutting 2013). I make decisions based on "the essential quality of debate: upon the strength of arguments" (Balthrop 1989).

Philosophically, I value "debate as argument-judgment" more than "debate as information production" (Cram 2012). That means that I want to hear debates between students that are invested in debating scholarly arguments based on rigorous preparation, expert evidence, deep content knowledge, and strategic thinking. While I will do my best to maintain fidelity to the debate that has taken place when forming my decision, I am more comfortable than most judges with evaluating and scrutinizing students' arguments. I care much more about evidence and argument quality and am far less tolerant of trickery and obfuscation than the median judge. This has two primary implications for students seeking to adapt to my judging:

a. What a card "says" is not as important as what a card proves. When deciding debates, I spend more time on questions like "what argument does this expert make and is the argument right?" than on questions like "what words has this debate team highlighted in this card and have these words been dropped by the other team?." As a critic of argument, I place "greater emphasis upon evaluating quality of argument" and assume "an active role in the debate process on the basis of [my] expertise, or knowledge of practices and standards within the community." Because I emphasize "the giving of reasons as the essential quality of argument, evidence which provides those reasons in support of claims will inevitably receive greater credibility than a number of pieces of evidence, each presenting only the conclusion of someone's reasoning process. It is, in crudest terms, a preference for quality of evidence over quantity" (Balthrop 1989).

b. The burden of proof precedes the burden of rejoinder. As presented, the risk of many advantages and disadvantages is zero because of missing internal links or a lack of grounding for important claims. "I know this argument doesn't make sense, but they dropped it!" will not convince me; reasons will.

When I disagree with other judges about the outcome of a debate, my most common criticism of their decision is that it gives too much credit to bad arguments or arguments that don't make sense. Their most common criticism of my decision is that it is "too interventionist" and that while they agree with my assessment of the arguments/evidence, they think that something else that happened in the debate (often a "technical concession") should be more determinative. I respect many judges that disagree with me in these situations; I'm glad there are both "tech-leaning" and "truth-leaning" judges in our activity. In the vast majority of debates, we come to the same conclusion. But at the margins, this is the major point of disagreement between us — it's much more important than any particular argument or theory preference.

3. I am most persuaded by arguments about the assigned topic.

One of the primary reasons I continue to love coaching debate is that "being a coach is to be enrolled in a continuing graduate course in public policy" (Fleissner 1995). Learning about a new topic area each year enriches my life in profound ways. After 20 years in "The Academy of Debate" (Fleissner 1995), I have developed a deep and enduring belief in the importance of public policy. It matters. This has two practical implications for how I tend to judge debates:

a. Kritiks that demonstrate concern for good policymaking can be very persuasive, but kritiks that ignore the topic or disavow policy analysis entirely will be tough to win. My self-perception is that I am much more receptive to well-developed kritiks than many "policy" judges, but I am as unpersuaded (if not more so) by kritiks that rely on tricks, obfuscation, and conditionality as I am by those styles of policy arguments.

b. I almost always find kritiks of topicality unpersuasive. An unlimited topic would not facilitate the in-depth clash over core-of-the-topic arguments that I most value about debate. The combination of "topical version of the aff" and "argue this kritik on the neg" is difficult to defeat when coupled with a fairness or topic education impact. Topical kritik affirmatives are much more likely to persuade me than kritiks of topicality.

4. I have greatly enjoyed judging debates on the arms sales topic.

I expected this would be a good topic: it's an interesting subject area with strong aff and neg ground, and it's timely enough to remain dynamic without the core arguments being constantly upended by the Trump administration's erraticism. This has indeed been the case; the quality of the debates I've judged has been generally excellent, and this is by far my favorite of the Trump era topics.

I don't think the initial opinions I shared about the topic at the end of the summer have changed all that much — you can still review those at After the first semester, there are my major topic-specific opinions that might influence your debating:

a. I know a lot about the topic. It is a good controversy, and you should debate it. You don't need tricks, at least not when debating the major cases (you can go for T against the other cases — see below). As long as you keep your materials reasonably up-to-date, I think the core advantages and disadvantages are both quite strong. Have those debates. I will enjoy them, and you will get some well-informed feedback out of it.

b. Topicality "substantially reduce" is a winnable negative option in many circumstances. I think the negative's 2.7% (or even 1%) interpretations of substantially are persuasive against specific country and weapons cases (even though they're "arbitrary"). The Pearson interpretation is less persuasive, but I have voted for it; the smaller the case, the more persuadable I feel. Topicality arguments against large/major cases — Saudi Arabia/UAE, Taiwan, Human Rights/Thrall, Militarism (whole resolution-style), etc. — will be very tough for the negative. I'll listen, but I'd much rather hear a DA/CP/case debate.

c. I'm very bad for the neg on "circumvention," at least against major cases. "Trump will give the weapons away for free outside of DCS/FMS to circumvent the plan" would only make sense in very limited circumstances; general descriptive evidence that "security assistance includes many programs that export weapons" isn't (nearly) enough. More fundamentally, it will be hard to ever persuade me that inherency disproves solvency; this contradicts my most basic understanding of fiat and its role in argumentation. If the negative wants to convince me that endorsing policy proposals that have no chance of being implemented is bad, they should make that argument explicitly — I think I disagree with it, but it's something I think about a lot and feel very persuadable about. Most circumvention arguments don't come close to meeting this burden.

d. I'm extremely bad for "war good" impact turns. This includes "war with Iran good," "war with China good," etc. It also includes what the current cohort of debaters calls "Spark," but which older folks would understand as a hodgepodge of (very bad and often internally inconsistent) Spark, Wipeout, Nuclear Malthus, and De-Dev arguments. Debaters who specialize in these arguments should avoid me. If our paths cross, your best chance is to explicitly defend misanthropy or nihilism rather than rely on silly x-risk extremism framings; you have a better chance of convincing me "humans are awful" or "nothing matters" than "nearly all humans should die so other humans can live #bostrom."

e. There are two major problems with the most common plan-contingent/process counterplans on the topic (in addition to more general gripes with those genres of counterplan). First, delivery is part of Foreign Military Sales and Direct Commercial Sales. Counterplans that claim to compete by ending "deliveries" but not "sales" do not make sense to me. Second, the way "durable" fiat and condition counterplans are typically understood doesn't contextualize well to this topic. Condition (leverage) counterplans make the most sense when the neg argues that they allow the U.S. to maintain sales while getting a concession from the purchasing country by threatening to end the sales. Because this still requires the neg to (separately) beat the case, it is not nearly as "strategic" if the goal is to avoid clash. The attempts I have seen by neg teams to remedy this "problem" by crafting counterplans that also end sales but claim a procedural net-benefit have not been persuasive. It will be hard to convince me that these counterplans are competitive or that these net-benefits outweigh even the smallest risk of a solvency deficit.

Works Cited
Balthrop 1989 = V. William Balthrop, "The Debate Judge as 'Critic of Argument'," Advanced Debate: Readings in Theory Practice & Teaching (Third Edition).
Cram 2012 =
Gutting 2013 =
Fleissner 1995 =

Maggie Berthiaume Paradigm

2 rounds

Maggie Berthiaume Woodward Academy

Current Coach — Woodward Academy (2011-present)
Former Coach — Lexington High School (2006-2008), Chattahoochee High School (2008-2011)
College Debater — Dartmouth College (2001-2005)
High School Debater — Blake (1997-2001) and for email chains, please.

Meta Comments

1. Please be nice. If you don't want to be kind to others (the other team, your partner, me, the novice flowing the debate in the back of the room), please don’t prefer me.

2. I'm a high school teacher and believe that debates should be something I could enthusiastically show to my younger students, their parents, or my principal. What does that mean? If your high school teachers would find your presentation inappropriate, I am likely to as well.

3. Please be clear. I will call "clear" if I can't understand you, but debate is primarily a communication activity. Do your best to connect on meaningful arguments.

4. Conduct your own CX as much as possible. CX is an important time for judge impression formation, and if one partner does all asking and answering for the team, it is very difficult to evaluate both debaters. Certainly the partner not involved in CX can get involved in an emergency, but that should be brief and rare if both debaters want good points.

5. If you like to be trolly with your speech docs (read on paper to prevent sharing, remove analyticals, etc.), please don't. See "speech documents" below for a longer justification and explanation.

6. I’ve coached and judged for a long time now, and the reason I keep doing it is that I think debate is valuable. Students who demonstrate that they appreciate the opportunity to debate and are passionate and excited about the issues they are discussing are a joy to watch — they give judges a reason to listen even when we’re sick or tired or judging the 5th debate of the day on the 4th weekend that month. Be that student!

What does a good debate look like?

Everyone wants to judge “good debates.” To me, that means two excellently-prepared teams who clash on fundamental issues related to the policy presented by the affirmative. The best debates allow four students to demonstrate that they have researched a topic and know a lot about it — they are debates over issues that experts in the field would understand and appreciate. The worst debates involve obfuscation and tangents. Good debates usually come down to a small number of issues that are well-explained by both sides. The best final rebuttals have clearly explained ballot and a response to the best reason to vote for the opposing team.

I have not decided to implement the Shunta Jordan "no more than 5 off" rule, but I understand why she has it, and I agree with the sentiment. I'm not establishing a specific number, but I would like to encourage negative teams to read fully developed positions in the 1NC (with internal links and solvency advocates as needed). (Here's what she says: "There is no world where the Negative needs to read more than 5 off case arguments. SO if you say 6+, I'm only flowing 5 and you get to choose which you want me to flow.") If you're thinking "nbd, we'll just read the other four DAs on the case," I think you're missing the point. :)

Do you read evidence?

Yes, in nearly every debate. I will certainly read evidence that is contested by both sides to resolve who is correct in their characterizations. The more you explain your evidence, the more likely I am to read it. For me, the team that tells the better story that seems to incorporate both sets of evidence will almost always win. This means that instead of reading yet another card, you should take the time to explain why the context of the evidence means that your position is better than that of the other team. This is particularly true in close uniqueness and case debates.

Do I have to be topical?

Yes. Affirmatives are certainly welcome to defend the resolution in interesting and creative ways, but that defense should be tied to a topical plan to ensure that both sides have the opportunity to prepare for a topic that is announced in advance. Affirmatives certainly do not need to “role play” or “pretend to be the USFG” to suggest that the USFG should change a policy, however.

I enjoy topicality debates more than the average judge as long as they are detailed and well-researched. Examples of this include “intelligence gathering” on Surveillance, “health care” on Social Services, and “economic engagement” on Latin America. Debaters who do a good job of describing what debates would look like under their interpretation (aff or neg) are likely to win. I've judged several "substantial" debates this year that I've greatly enjoyed.

Can I read [X ridiculous counterplan]?

If you have a solvency advocate, by all means. If not, consider a little longer. See: “what does as good debate look like?” above. Affs should not be afraid to go for theory against contrived counterplans that lack a solvency advocate. On the flip side, if the aff is reading non-intrinsic advantages, the "logical" counterplan or one that uses aff solvency evidence for the CP is much appreciated.

What about my generic critique?

Topic or plan specific critiques are absolutely an important component of “excellently prepared teams who clash on fundamental issues.” Critiques that can be read in every debate, regardless of the topic or affirmative plan, are usually not.

Given that the aff usually has specific solvency evidence, I think the neg needs to win that the aff makes things worse (not just “doesn’t solve” or “is a mask for X”). Neg – Please spend the time to make specific links to the aff — the best links are often not more evidence but examples from the 1AC or aff evidence.

What about offense/defense?

I do believe there is absolute defense and vote for it often.

Do you take prep for emailing/flashing?

Once the doc is saved, your prep time ends.

I have some questions about speech documents...

One speech document per speech (before the speech). Any additional cards added to the end of the speech should be sent out as soon as feasible.

Teams that remove analytical arguments like permutation texts, counter-interpretations, etc. from their speech documents before sending to the other team should be aware that they are also removing them from the version I will read at the end of the debate — this means that I will be unable to verify the wording of their arguments and will have to rely on the short-hand version on my flow. This rarely if ever benefits the team making those arguments.

Speech documents should be provided to the other team as the speech begins. The only exception to this is a team who debates entirely off paper. Teams should not use paper to circumvent norms of argument-sharing.

I will not consider any evidence that did not include a tag in the document provided to the other team.

Ayush Bhansali Paradigm

7 rounds

Ayush Bhansali

LASA ‘18

UTD '22

Speaker position: 1A/2N.

Last updated: 4/2018

Debate is, at heart, a speaking activity. Make the arguments you want to make in a way which is persuasive and not just technically sufficient, and use evidence to support your claims.

Top Level:

  • I will read evidence during the debate if I am told— please put me on the email chain:
  • I’m probably more “tech” over “truth” — I evaluate arguments the way they are told to me, which means I will read evidence, but only if I'm asked to. Simply saying "Their Tonneson evidence concludes the other way" isn't enough, say "Read the Tonneson evidence, it concludes the other way."

  • I am not a good judge for arguments that do not defend policy action. — I’m probably fairly unwilling to vote on these arguments on the outset, but only because I don't want to be in a position where I don't know what you're talking about. The reading of these arguments is often done with jargon and signifiers that have broader significance unknown to me. Being in a position where I'm listening to something and I don't know what you mean is one where you won't get the ballot. I also feel that my ballot has 0 effect on subjectivity nor do any of the arguments made in the debate space and will be skeptical to those arguments. "K-tricks" are not smart in front of me.
  • Cross-x is a speech and I will flow it.
  • Disadvantage and Counterplan debates are where I am the best for you. Specifically politics disads in which evidence is well explained and there is ample contextual link work.
  • Debate is supposed to be fun. Be lighthearted and don't get too worked up.

Ethics Issues:

  • Clipping: Clipping, to me, is reading so unclearly that I cannot make out every single word that is highlighted or otherwise indicated as the words you are going to read in the debate. This is because absolute clarity is the only way I can fairly adjudicate whether or not something is or is not clipping. Feel free to make an accusation supported by an audio recording if you believe that evidence is being clipped.


To win topicality in front of me, prove that the way they have interpreted the topic is bad in both the context of the resolution and debatability. First, you need to tell my why the education your interpretation of the topic provides is the best type of education in the context of the topic. Tell me why your interpretation of the topic provides better education in the same realm or subject area as the intent of the resolution originally aimed to provide. Next, tell me why the way you have interpreted the topic is better in the context of debate. Tell me why your interpretation of the resolution provide for better debates than theirs, and what the larger significance of that is. Functional limits arguments are very persuasive to me if explained at length, as are similar arguments that are supported by caselists or topical versions of the affirmative.

Theory arguments that tell me to wholly throw out any type of argument are going to make me very skeptical. Instead, tailor this argument specific to the debate and tell me why I should weigh the argument less in the context of the entire debate.

Framework makes the game work, and topical versions of the affirmative are very persuasive to me.


  • I am best for disadvantage debates as long as they are organized. Please make sure to separate uniqueness, link, and the impact.
  • Please keep the overview to the story of the disad only. I do not want impact work done here, that's for the impact section of the disad proper. This means that you should not start your disad flow with "DISAD OUTWEIGHS AND TURNS CASE!!!!11!1!!!"
  • Creative turns case arguments are good, and should be answered in a line-by-line format
  • I really like good link spin and will give credence to a politics link that is spun a certain way in the block. I think that unless link evidence or link spin is really persuasive, uniqueness probably controls the direction of the link
  • Presumption/zero risk — I default to 1% risk of any disad and go up from there in a debate. Tell me why disad's should have 0% risk if you want.


  • Solvency advocates don't matter that much to me. I enjoy counterplan competition debates, and will be skeptical of any "reject the cp because there's no solvency advocate" claim.
  • I love counterplan competition debates and enjoy counterplan competition analysis.
  • States CP:
    • Narrowly tailor your counterplan text to solve the affirmative. Counterplan texts that are written based on a solvency advocate and solve for all of the aff are persuasive.
    • I'm skeptical about theory -- if you're going to go for it, spend 5 minutes on it.
  • Permutations can't be intrinsic or severance, I'll be very skeptical of intrinsic/severance perms good. Timeframe perms may be a different story.
  • My default is to judge kick

Speaker points:

  • Things that help you: Disclosure, Clash, Clever Negative Strategy, Nuance within your arguments, Case Specific Counterplans. The opposite things hurt you. If you do all of the good things, you will get somewhere around a 29.7. If you do some bad things, and some good things, you'll probably get somewhere around a 28.7

Brett Bricker Paradigm

3 rounds

Associate Director of Debate @ KU

Last Updated: Pre-GSU 2016

Quick pre-round notes:

I would prefer speech docs while I judge. Please email them to

The affirmative should read and defend a topical example of the resolution and the negative should negate the affirmative's example.

I reward teams that demonstrate a robust knowledge of the topic and literature concerning the topic.

More info:

1. The word "interpretation" matters more to me than some. You must counterdefine words, or you will likely lose. You must meet your theory interpretation, or you will likely lose.
2. The words "voting issue" matter more to me than some. I am not searching for cheap shots, nor do I especially enjoy theory debates. However, I feel that I would be intervening if I applied "reject the argument not the team" to arguments that debaters did not explicitly apply the impact takeout to. That said, proliferation of empty voting issues will not only hurt your speaker points, but can be grouped and pretty easily disposed of by opponents.
3. "Turns the case" matters more to me than some. Is it offense? Does the link to the advantage/fiat outweigh or prevent turning the case? Does it mean the aff doesn't solve? Questions that should be answered by the 1ar.

I believe that debaters work hard, and I will work hard for them. The more debaters can show they have worked hard: good case debates, specific strategies, etc. the more likely it is I will reward debaters with speaker points and higher effort. In the same vain, debaters who make clear that they don’t work outside of debates won’t receive high speaker points.

Argument issues:

Topicality – It is a voting issue and not a reverse voting issue. I have not yet been persuaded by arguments in favor of reasonability; however, the reason for this usually lies with the fact that affirmatives fail to question the conventional wisdom that limits are good.

Kritiks – It will be difficult to convince me that I should completely disregard my conceptions of rationality, pragmatism and my aversion to unnecessary death. As a general rule, I think of Kritiks like a counterplan with net-benefits. The more aff specific the better.

Counterplans – I am up in the air about textual vs. functional competition – they both have their time and place, and are probably not universal rules. The cross-ex answer “for your DAs but not your counterplans” has always made negative sense to me. I understand that there are MANDATES of the plan and EFFECTS of the plan; I find this distinction more understandable than the usual c-x answer.

Rundown of general thoughts about counterplans:

Conditionality – it's feeling like a little bit much at the moment
PICs – Good, especially if they PIC out of a part of the plan
Consult/Condition – Up in the air and context specific. Solvency advocates, aff stances, etc. can change my feelings.
Delay – Aff leaning, but might be more competitive based on the structure of the affirmative, or a cross-ex answer. For example, if the affirmative has an advantage that takes the position the advantage can only be solved if it happens before "X" date, then the counterplan to do it after that date seems competitive.
Word PICs – Aff leaning
Alternate non-USFG actors – Aff leaning

Demeanor issues:

Be respectful of your opponent, partner and judge. All types of discrimination are prohibited. Don’t clip cards, don’t cut cards out of context, etc. Don't misclose.

Finally, our community relies on host tournaments with classroom space - don't steal, defame or destroy it.

Any questions, ask.

Elizabeth Clayton Paradigm

7 rounds

updated march '20

senior at crossings, 7th year debating policy

yes email chain:

they/them, he/him

I'll listen to anything. I see debate as an activity where both sides and the judge should learn something during the debate. That can be as big as learning a new K or as small as learning the definition of hegemony. Whatever it's about, don't do weird things just to confuse everyone, do weird things so we can all learn something cool


CX: open. Email/Flash: not prep. Speed: yes, but please be clear. Performance: sure.

K- Dislike -----------------------------------------X Like

CP- Dislike ---------------------------X-------------- Like

DA- Dislike -------------------------------------X---- Like

T- Dislike ------------X----------------------------- Like

FW- Dislike -----------------------------------X------ Like

Theory- Dislike ---X-------------------------------------- Like

Case Neg- Dislike -------------------------------------X---- Like

Tech------X----------------------------------- Truth



Case specific links, impact framing, and lots of articulation on the alt is where I primarily make my decisions off of.

For specific K's, I usually read afropessimism or settler colonialism. Death and high theory K's are cool. I like hearing unconventional stuff because it's an interesting side of debate that you usually don't get.

Just because the aff links doesn't mean they automatically lose. Links are reasons why the aff is bad, but that also has to be impacted out. The alt is also incredibly important because it's a good idea to have a way to solve whatever issue the K is about.

Role of the ballots shouldn't be something like "vote for the team that best rejects/solves [K issue]." It's self-serving and hard for the aff to access- it doesn't set up the framing of the debate well for either side because the neg then has to prove the alt is the BEST way to solve X issue.

Perms are tests of competition, not competing advocacies.


Read any kind of them. Can't go wrong with a good politics DA. Generic links are okay. Case specific links are preferable.

Impacts should have diversity. 3 DA's with the same impact is honestly really boring, and there's a burden on the neg to prove which one happens first, how do the others interact with it, and it really comes down to pointless semantics.


Advantage CP's are my favorite. Multi-plank CP's are decent. If you read 3 or more, I'll probably lean aff on the condo debate if they address that unless you have a really good reason. Word PICs aren't my favorite either.


T is a voting issue and never a reverse voting issue. Extra T and effects T are convincing if articulated well by the neg because they're often dropped on the 2AC. Aff DA's on T are cool- more clash is better. I'll probably lean aff on reasonability if the neg reads the definition of "the" or "to" or something.

Impact analysis on T will go far with me if you explain how it changes the debate. Impact comparison is super important.


If there's no clash or both teams just read their blocks with no specific round articulation then it won't be a flow I'll write my ballot on.


I think that framework is sometimes underutilized in debate. It shapes the round by telling me what the role of the judge or role of the ballot is.


If you have an overview, don't read it as fast as a card, I want to hear the process of the aff.

Policy Affs

Tell me what your scenarios are. Affs mostly talk about what the impacts and results are, but not how they get there. Explain the internal links and use impact comparison to your advantage.

K Affs

Make a clear indication of what the aff actually does, whether it's a thought experiment or whatever. Having really good solvency evidence is important because if the mechanism of the aff doesn't solve for anything then any risk of the neg outweighs.

Jared Demunbrun Paradigm

7 rounds

Liberty University - Freshman - 2n



I debated 4 years in high school and am currently debating in college.

I will judge anything and listen to anything as long as it is explained well. Debate is a game of constant clash and argumentation. I want to hear debates between students that are invested in debating one another's arguments based on rigorous preparation, scholarly evidence, deep content knowledge, and strategic thinking. I do like forms of strategy and trickery as long as they are executed well.

T - I tend to default to competing interpretations but will buy reasonability if it is explained well with reasons it should be preferred over competing interpretations. I love a good T debate as long as there are clear standards in the end of the debate and reasons I should vote for a team on topicality.

Framework - I am a 2n in college and think that framework is a very viable option. There should be clear impacts in the rebuttals and treat the impacts just as you treat them on a DA.

DA - I like a good DA debate. At the end of the debate, there should be good link analysis and good impact calculus so that I don't have to insert myself into the debate. I think that all DA debates should have a focus on the IL to impacts of the affirmative – this means make arguments like we access or we turn their impact.

CP - Love a good CP debate - the more specific the better - good CP's should have a good net-benefit. I tend to lean more towards the negative side when it comes to theory (conditionality). With that said if the neg reads 4 conditional advocacies I will lean towards the affirmative side as long as the standards are flushed out and explained.

K - I am well versed in most forms of K literature. I debated the K as a freshman and sophomore (psychoanalysis, Baudrillard, Settler Colonialism) and am a 2A so I know most K's. I also love a classic Cap K or security K as long as the links are contextualized to the aff. Debate like you know how!!!

Giovanni Ferrer-Falto Paradigm

2 rounds

Debated for Jesuit for 4 years

TL;DR – I’m cool with anything as long as it's explained well, please call me Gio and put me on the email chain using, I haven’t judged many debates on this topic so clear explanations are super important

General thoughts –

- Just be nice to each other, snark costs speaker points

- Don’t read stuff like Death Good and suicide arguments, you know what I mean

- Clarity and Clash = Money

- I’m pretty expressive in debates, you’ll be able to see what I think about your argument easily

- Evidence Quality really matters, point garbage evidence out and highlight your actual good cards

- Specificity > Generic 100% of the time

- Please don’t just do 9-off, fully develop your 1NC’s

Case Args –

- Please make use of it on the aff instead of just case outweighs, leverage internal links and uniqueness tricks

- Murder it on the neg, it’s usually pretty easy with some time investment and then the aff’s got no game

- Smart Analytics kill affs too

Theory –

- Slow down please

- Making one specific theory arg > 5 generic theory args (Multiplank Condo PIC’s with No Solvency Advocates are probably worse than just condo)

- Don’t read new affs bad or no neg fiat and stuff like that, waste of time

Topicality/Framework –

- Specific internal link and impact work is super important, buzzwords are lame

- Caselists, TVA’s, Switch Side, and other ways to access education are great args

- Please emphasize predictability when discussing interps, even though interpretations may inevitably be arbitrary, there are certainly some that are just contrived and make the topic undebatable

- I think Fairness/Competitive Equity is an impact and an internal link to things like clash and education. Same with education.

- Debate is a game first and foremost to me but discussing the nature and goal of that game is still significant. Defend your vision of this game.

- Default to Competing Interps

Disadvantages –

- Usually contrived nowadays, especially politics, please exploit that on the aff. Don’t be caught lacking on the Neg.

- Zero Risk of a DA is a thing

- Turns Case analysis should be aff specific, don’t just read your overview

- Apply framing args to DA’s specifically, don’t just assume I’ll crossapply everything perfectly

Counterplans –

- Solvency advocates should definitely be a thing unless their evidence is the solvency advocate, if so tell me which card and possibly send a rehighlighting

- Solvency Deficits need actual impacts that outweigh the net benefit

- Sufficiency framing is dope

- CP’s with internal net benefits that aren’t DA’s to the aff get permed hard

Kritiks –

- Framework usually doesn’t matter, make it matter by impacting it out while putting defense on theirs

- C l a r i t y i s k e y

- Articulating link narratives and internal links without relying on clunky jargon is crucial, don’t be lazy with simple overviews.

- Examples are super helpful, feel free to drop them.

- Fully explain the world of the alt, nuance here is particularly helpful since the alt’s usually weak and boosting it helps deal with tons of args. Same with the perm, helps deal with links and “DA’s” that they drop.

Bryan Gaston Paradigm

7 rounds

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

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

Quick Version:

1. Debate is a competitive game.

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

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

4. Neg conditionality is mostly good.

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

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

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

8. Email Chain access please:

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

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

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

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

Long Version...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have fun debating!

Jack Griffiths Paradigm

7 rounds

Jack Griffiths

Debater for Jesuit from 2015 to 2019 (surveillance topic to immigration topic, always a 1N/2A)

Current Assistant at Jesuit

Please add me to the email chain: jgriff22 AT nd DOT edu

General Stuff:

- Clarity outweighs speed. This is especially true with virtual debates.

- I don't definitively believe tech always comes before truth or vice versa because I think my preferences can change depending on arguments made in round (i.e. if you're behind on the tech of an argument, explain why truth matters more).

- I will only evaluate arguments made by the person who is supposed to be speaking during that speech.

- I prefer closed CXs. If you absolutely must do open CX then I won't stop you, but it will probably result in less speaker points than if you tried to keep it as closed as possible.

- Feel free to email me after the round if you still have questions.

K Affs and Framework/T-USfg

- I haven't judged too many of these debates yet. But at the moment I don't think I have a substantial bias towards either side.

- I'll be more friendly to K Affs that have clear advocacy statements and engage the resolution in some way.

- I have virtually no background knowledge for high-theory debates so I would prefer not to judge those types of K Affs.

- People reading Framework/T-USfg should articulate impacts to fairness beyond simply stating "debate is a game" over and over again. Saying "debate is a game" isn't helpful until you also explain why viewing debate as a game is valuable.

- Also, negatives shouldn't forget to address the case page(s).

- No long overviews for either side, please.

Topicality (just normal T debates)

- Please articulate specific internal links to your impacts. I want you to say something beyond just "Aff destroys limits, limits are good" in the 1NC.

- Reasonability to me pertains to the counter-interpretation (i.e. if the counter-interpretation is "good enough" I shouldn't vote the affirmative down).


- Not a really big fan of these debates but I understand people do shady stuff sometimes.

- Please don't speed through pre-written blocks.

- More specific and pointed theory arguments are better. For example, "conditional consult counterplans without solvency advocates are bad" is more persuasive to me than "conditionality bad."

- I'm not voting on new affs bad, but I think that negative teams get more flexibility on other theory issues when debating against a new aff.


- See above note about high theory debates.

- Otherwise, I like these debates. I'm most familiar with cap/neoliberalism, security, biopower/biopolitics type arguments, and settler colonialism. I also debated against some gender nihilism and afropessimism type arguments in high school.

- I think framework debates are more useful when you concede parts of the other side and still explain why you win. For example, instead of trying to win "the affirmative doesn't get to weigh their impacts," say something like "even if the affirmative's impacts are true, x is a prior question because..."

- Don't really like Floating PIKs (especially if the negative is shady about it).


- Not a huge fan of Consult, Conditions, Offsets, Process, etc.

- CPs probably need a solvency advocate.

- If you want me to judge kick you need to say so in the 2NR.

- Zero risk is possible. If a disad is just that bad I can vote on defense alone.

David Heidt Paradigm

3 rounds

David Heidt

Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart

NDT 2019 notes:

I have no rounds on the topic and have not done topic research, so please keep that in mind.

Some education topic specific thoughts:

1. I'm ambivalent about the states counterplan. I could easily see myself voting against it on theory, but I think there's a debate to be had and I could also easily see myself voting for it as well. I'm a lot more likely to vote against it the further it gets away from topic literature or a respectable solvency advocate, and a lot less likely to vote against it if the evidence defending it is of high quality.

2. I think critiques are decent on this topic largely because I see critiques as competing strategies for social change, and I think there's pretty good education-topic literature that supports criticism from this perspective and *defends alternatives*. If you can't go for a critique without making it a critique of fiat or saying the word Baudrillard, then I'm unlikely to be the judge for you. But if you research critiques of education policy and defend an alternative method, then I'm very likely to be receptive. My view of critiques depends heavily upon evidence quality, and there were several that were turned out at camps this year that I think were pretty good. How specific is your argument to education reform? If it's about the topic and you have an alternative, you're probably good to go. If it's about cybernetics, you're probably not.

3. While I would like to see a good federalism DA, I have yet to hear one that I did not start at 0% risk and I don't think the 2ac even requires evidence to answer it. It seems pretty bad on this topic, despite being one of the core objections to federal education policy. I don't think this DA is even runnable in the 1nc; at least not the versions I've heard.

4. I like the education topic quite a bit - I think the federal education reform literature is outstanding and I think affirmative teams should defend it. I'm aff-leaning towards my view of the topic as a whole - the literature is pretty heavily aff-biased and the quality of negative generics is much lower than in previous years. But that has two pretty important implications.

First, I'm pretty unsympathetic to aff claims along the lines of "this topic is terrible for the aff; we need an expansive topicality interpretation to be creative". Broad topics are the enemy of education. Broad topics mean the neg goes for garbage like consult. That's not what I want my students to get from debate.

Second, if you're reading an aff without solvency evidence or with internal links that you just made up by mistagging evidence - I'm probably going to think that you haven't met your burden of proof and I'm likely discount it entirely. I think that the risk of both advantages and disadvantages can be - and frequently is - zero. I don't think the judging philosophy that says there's always a small risk of something is very well thought out. Presumably, it would mean that if I carded my own judging philosophy, and flagrantly mistagged the cards to represent an education tradeoff DA, someone subscribing to the 'any risk' view would assign the DA some risk and vote neg on it if it was read as a net benefit to a CP that solved the whole case. While this example might seem absurd, it's not more absurd than some of the aff advantages that were broken at Greenhill this year. It's not more absurd than some politics DAs. Mistagged cards from this very paragraph would probably be of higher quality and represent the source material more accurately than some of the things that people have called advantages and disadvantages over the years.

I don't know why judges assume there's a risk of anything - the whole point of the burden of proof is that it's a BURDEN and the judge needs to be convinced that you're right - we don't just give you the benefit of the doubt. If the standard is merely "they presented some words verbally so there's a risk because the neg didn't have offense", then we've all really failed at our jobs. If you're going to win a risk of an advantage or disadvantage, the minimal burden is (1) it has to make sense, and (2) it must be supported with evidence reflects expertise, data or logic, and does not misrepresent the author.


Generally I try to evaluate arguments fairly and based upon the debaters' explanations of arguments, rather than injecting my own opinions. What follows are my opinions regarding several bad practices currently in debate, but just agreeing with me isn't sufficient to win a debate - you actually have to win the arguments relative to what your opponents said. There are some things I'll intervene about - death good, behavior meant to intimidate or harass your opponents, or any other practice that I think is negative for a high school student classroom setting - but just use some common sense.

Thoughts about critical affs and critiques:

Good debates require two prepared teams. Allowing the affirmative team to not advocate the resolution creates bad debates. There's a disconnect in a frighteningly large number of judging philosophies I've read where judges say their favorite debates are when the negative has a specific strategy against an affirmative, and yet they don't think the affirmative has to defend a plan. This does not seem very well thought out, and the consequence is that the quality of debates in the last few years has declined greatly as judges increasingly reward teams for not engaging the topic.

Fairness is the most important impact. Other judging philosophies that say it's just an internal link are poorly reasoned. In a competitive activity involving two teams, assuring fairness is one of the primary roles of the judge. The fundamental expectation is that judges evaluate the debate fairly; asking them to ignore fairness in that evaluation eliminates the condition that makes debate possible. If every debate came down to whoever the judge liked better, there would be no value to participating in this activity. The ballot doesn't do much other than create a win or a loss, but it can definitely remedy the harms of a fairness violation. The vast majority of other impacts in debate are by definition less important because they never depend upon the ballot to remedy the harm.

Fairness is also an internal link - but it's an internal link to establishing every other impact. Saying fairness is an internal link to other values is like saying nuclear war is an internal link to death impacts. A loss of fairness implies a significant, negative impact on the activity and judges that require a more formal elaboration of the impact are being pedantic.

Arguments along the lines of 'but policy debate is valueless' are a complete nonstarter in a voluntary activity, especially given the existence of multiple alternative forms of speech and debate. Policy debate is valuable to some people, even if you don't personally share those values. If your expectation is that you need a platform to talk about whatever personally matters to you rather than the assigned topic, I encourage you to try out a more effective form of speech activity, such as original oratory. Debate is probably not the right activity for you if the condition of your participation is that you need to avoid debating a prepared opponent.

The phrase "fiat double-bind" demonstrates a complete ignorance about the meaning of fiat, which, unfortunately, appears to be shared by some judges. Fiat is merely the statement that the government should do something, not that they would. The affirmative burden of proof in a debate is solely to demonstrate the government should take a topical action at a particular time. That the government would not actually take that action is not relevant to any judge's decision.

Framework arguments typically made by the negative for critiques are clash-avoidance devices, and therefore are counterproductive to education. There is no merit whatsoever in arguing that the affirmative does not get to weigh their plan. Critiques of representations can be relevant, but only in relation to evaluating the desirability of a policy action. Representations cannot be separated from the plan - the plan is also a part of the affirmative's representations. For example, the argument that apocalyptic representations of insecurity are used to justify militaristic solutions is asinine, given the plan includes a representation of a non-militaristic solution. The plan determines the context of representations included to justify it.

Thoughts about topicality:

Limited topics make for better topics. Enormous topics mean that it's much harder to be prepared, and that creates lower quality debates. The best debates are those that involve extensive topic research and preparation from both sides. Large topics undermine preparation and discourage cultivating expertise. Aff creativity and topic innovation are just appeals to avoid genuine debate.

Thoughts about evidence:

Evidence quality matters. A lot of evidence read by teams this year is underlined in such a way that it's out of context, and a lot of evidence is either badly mistagged or very unqualified. On the one hand, I want the other team to say this when it's true. On the other hand, if I'm genuinely shocked at how bad your evidence is, I will probably discount it.

Charles Jackson Paradigm

3 rounds

I am a current student at the University of Texas at Austin. I am a Economics major and business minor. During my time in college I have taken two debate classes, where I have had the opportunity to judge two debates. I have experience in Lincoln-Douglas, Public Forum, and Policy Debates.

Ethan Jackson Paradigm

7 rounds

Updated for 2018-2019 Season

Hi, my name is Ethan Jackson. I have debated at Jesuit College Prep for 3 years as a 2A/1N. I am currently a senior and a 2N/1A; I have debated 18 rounds on this topic, so it is very likely I know what you're talking about a good amount of the time. However, explaining things is still key to winning debates.

Add me on the email chain at

General Notes/Comments

Truth vs. Tech - I think that tech > truth in most instances, but view this distinction more as an impetus to base your arguments in logic and current events rather than to try to get away with something sketchy.

Read any aff you want - big impacts, structural violence, K affs, advocacy statements, no plan text or advocacy statements are all fine - be able to defend them though, because I can be persuaded by impacted T or framework arguments.

Speaker points - I'm not going to claim to start my scale anywhere specific, but if you want good speaks, you should do the following to get good speaks: be kind to me and the other team, ask good cx questions, make strategic decisions/talk to your partner, be clear if you're going to be spreading, make me laugh, or indicate in your speeches that you understand my paradigm.

Be nice and have fun - that's pretty important - one of the reasons I love debate is because of the positive interactions I have with fellow debaters, coaches, and judges. Let's keep it that way. Please don't be discriminatory in your language OR arguments. Advocating for the death of people, whether worldwide or of specific groups, is a no-no. It pretty much goes without saying that there are some certain toxic arguments that aren't acceptable in debate.


T is good, T curriculum is useless - it's the end of the year, so I will be more willing to vote on reasonability. With that said, I will still default to competing interpretations unless reasonability is a debate that is had. You should read a case-list and distinguish your impacts in the block, especially if you want me to vote on it. T is most persuasive in the 2nr if it is 4-5 minutes.

Theory is lit, but I think that the aff typically under-utilizes it. If the neg has a sketchy CP or K alt, they should be called out on it and the aff needs to distinguish why the neg's use of the CP is bad for debate. I don't really have a bias in these debates because I honestly think that these are debates to be had. I will vote on most theory arguments if they are debated well, and I won't vote on these arguments if the neg is sufficiently able to defend that they aren't dirty cheaters. Things I will be looking for on the aff for theory (and the neg should neutralize these aspects) include: a reason why the specific neg argument is an example of the theory violation, an interpretation, and impacted out warrants as to why this argument is unjustifiable/makes it extremely difficult for the aff to debate. Also, saying that there's an aff bias on this topic isn't an argument, but making a well-warranted claim for why your CP or K is core neg ground that is key to check the aff is.


CP's are good, and they're even better with a net benefit. I think that lots of good CPs can be creative and aff-specific, and these CP debates are enjoyable to watch, especially PICs. However, if the neg wants to go for a sketchy CP, they need to be prepared for the theory debate. If you want me to vote on your CP, you need a net benefit, a warranted answer to the permutation, and the ability to capture aff offense. It would also be better for you if you had a quality solvency advocate. Against CPs that don't compete or have no net benefit, I will be persuaded easily by the permutation unless you can give a really good reason why the world of the perm would be especially bad.


DA's are also good. I will vote on unique DA's that can articulate a specific link, internal link chain, and an impact that outweighs and/or turns the case. Don't be afraid to go all in on the DA in the 2nr without a CP because you can win that the DA neutralizes all of their offense by itself. If you are spinning the link as a generic link to education reform, it makes it more difficult for me to vote for you if it comes down to evidence, but even if you don't have the evidence to specifically link to the aff, you should be making and going for analytic link arguments, which ARE persuasive.

Aff - if you are going to win a link turn, you should be winning reasons why the link turn outweighs a risk of the link. Similar with impact turns - you should win that the turn outweighs their impact, including reading impact defense vs. their terminal impact. Straight turns are fun debates, and you should take advantage of this in the 2ac especially if they read 7+ off. However, you should keep in mind the amount of damage the neg block can do to your offense. If you are going for a straight turn in the 2ar don't be afraid to go all in.

There is such thing as winning no risk of the DA - don't be afraid to weigh complete defense vs. the DA. This year, winning no risk is a particularly persuasive vs. less specific DAs like politics and federalism. That being said, the neg should still read federalism and politics, but should be wary about the gaps in the internal link chains.


Read your K, any K. I genuinely enjoy the structure of a K debate, and 1 off debates are fine too. However, given that I am still only a 3rd year debater, you should be able to explain your argument to me so I don't have issues with voting neg. Links should be tailored to the aff as well as the status quo, and there should be multiple links to the aff articulated in the block. I view these debates like a combination of a DA + CP except for in content, so you should read your link/impact turns, permutations, and solvency deficits/offense to the alt. Framework should lay out how I as a judge should view the debate, for both teams. For the aff I need something more specific than "we get to weigh our impacts" or you'd better have a good strategic reason why that's how I should view the debate.

Multiple unconditional Ks are probably bad, but the aff needs to contest this strategy with warrants.

Logan Kim Paradigm

3 rounds

Affiliation - Dallas Jesuit '19


-Email chains > flash drives - add me -

Update Thing before St. Marks

I hate incomplete off case shells. E.g. If your kritik doesn't have a framework argument or a reason to prefer it, it's a non-unique DA. If your DA doesn't have an internal link, uniqueness, link, or impact, it's not a complete argument. Highlighting an argument in a card without a warrant makes it an incomplete argument. A CP without a net benefit is usually not a complete argument unless there's a justification - i.e. delay, consult, etc. In case there is something like this, say something like "this doesn't have ..., we'll answer when they make a complete argument" and move on. At that point, the neg must/should fully explain every part of the argument or else it gets pretty abusive.

General Topics

-If you have questions ask

-I'll prob be keeping track of prep

-Line by line = fun. 6 minutes of an overview and saying "onto the line by line" isn't. I will prob stop flowing an overview after 2 minutes and you will see me doing something else

-Tech>truth unless an arg is dumb

-Turns = good unless morally offensive

-Clipping/cheating = Bad. Don't.

-I'm pretty expressive

-Spin is usually good until someone points out it's not warranted

-Warrants = good. I won't vote for stuff I don't understand/think there's enough explanation even if I have background information (k debates)

-Passionate = fine. Mean = no

-Clarity > Speed. Efficiency = good. I'll say clear until I think you're ignoring me

-Talking to your partner = prep

-Taking out analytics = prep

-Emailing isn't prep unless it gets ridiculous

-If you're reading straight blocks don't expect above a 28.3 w/o line by line



-Generally neg sided on condo except 7 contradictory, conditional worlds or something abusive. Everything else is viable

-Dropped theory usually = ballot

-If an arg doesn't link I'm not gonna vote on it even if it's unanswered



-Treat it like a DA

-T.VA's and case lists are really cool

-Ev comparison on interpretations is kinda important

-Reasonability - Make it a substance crowdout and a reason why the counter-interpretation is good enough even if it's not as good as the interp

-Limits can be a standalone but should prob just be an internal link


-It's important

-Case in the block for some time is kinda hard to answer in the 1AR and makes life hell

-Do Ross Extensions b/c they sound cool -

-Circumvention = good

-I have a lower threshold for presumption but it should be an emergency scenario


-Dropped DA's are usually true DA's unless they were incomplete in the 1nc

-Incomplete DA's are not worth taking full time to answer in the 2AC(they don't have X, this isn't a complete arg - we get new answers when they make a complete one)

-Defense doesn't usually take out 100% risk of DA

-Specific links are good - generics not so much but tech and spin is good

-Turns case/DA and solves case/DA is really good

-Impact calc isn't time frame is now, probability 100%, and magnitude is extinction - it's comparitive

-Cross applying stuff usually saves time and is cool

-Convoluted internal link chains are not my favorite and probably not true but go ahead


-They're cool

-They usually access a lot of the case

-Sufficiency framing is kinda good except when it is morally bad from the aff

-Should always have a net benefit

-Process CP's are very abusive

-PICs are generally fine when they have a solvency advocate but are kinda abusive

-Block CP's are kinda abusive but you do you

-I'm not gonna judge kick unless you tell me to but even then I'm aff bias esp on perms

K Affs

-I get it's strategic but don't read overviews

-Framework makes the game work

-K v. K debates are fine but clash please for the love of all that is good

-Debate is a game that has pedagogical benefits/disadvantages that can be about

-You need an offensive reason you don't defend the res

-Not reading T-USFG and instead going for T-(the topic) is a good strat most of the time

-Being shifty on permutation debates probably prove loss of ground

-T.VA's are really good and any solvency deficits prove debatability

-The resolution is a stasis point which everyone should probably follow

-Reasonability/we meet generally isn't the A strat

*Special Note for K's of the debate space - I get that it's strategic but I'm prob not your judge. Debate is a voluntary activity that you are willingly go into. If your only reason why the debate space is key is the ballot is an endorsement, that's definitely not enough. The only time I've seen it go well is with North Broward increase participation. I honestly don't see why a book club or creating another debate space like communities of care external to debate doesn't solve all your offensive. Also these usually don't have a tie to the topic and topic education usually outweighs any education in my opinion but that's debatable. I also just don't see why the debate space is uniquely good or is necessary for change.


-You'll have to explain well. I don't connect the dots/do fill in the blanks (that means having a terminal impact and/or extending an impact is important)

-Empirics and examples are really good to have in a K debate

-Somehow everything becomes a link without evidence and that's probably not ok

-Alt explanation is really good - think

-I think you kinda need an alt b/c a question of method v. method to solve. I understand the strategic use of if link, vote neg, but it's real abusive especially if the impact is inevitable. I can be persuaded otherwise though.

-Links of omission aren't persuasive

-Re-characterizing the aff is a good idea

-Pointing to specific lines/advantages/instances is really good and serves as evidence

-FIAT isn't real is dumb unless it's impacted

-Specific links are really cool

Jack Madden Paradigm

4 rounds

Hello, I'm Jack Madden and I am currently a freshman at the University of Oklahoma. I am studying philosophy, economics and international relations. I am no longer currently debating, but I debated for 4 years at Jesuit Dallas. My speaker position in high school 2n/1a, but I also spent time as a 2a/1n (if that helps shed some light on some of my argument preferences). In general, apart from arguments like racism/sexism/etc good, I will evaluate everything if it is argued well, but below are some of my predispositions and biases. (and if you are pressed on time, read just the general information and the short version at the bottom).

General Information

- Read what you are most comfortable with-excluding things like -isms good, I will listen to basically anything and while some arguments frustrate me more than others, I still think that people should read what they are most comfortable with running in debate.

- I will keep time for both sides and I don't count flashing/emailing as prep

--CX is open, but try and let the person whose CX it is speak

-- Prompting is allowed, but try and keep it at a minimum

--Please please please flow and base your arguments off of the flow...It makes the debate much more organized and easier to follow. In fact, if you show me your flows after the debate and I can observe that you did a good job with utilizing them to give your speeches and basing your speeches off of the clash in the debate (not the speech docs), I will add an additional .5 speaker points to your total.

--I generally default to tech over truth, but that doesn't excuse running "throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks" strategies (i.e. the generic 9-off strategies, affs with 20 impacts and shoddy internal links). I will say, however, that I am probably more truth level than most people and will prioritize 5 smart arguments over 25 nonsensical argument.

--Clarity > speed

--Evidence quality is very important--so important that it can be a deciding factor between two relatively evenly matched teams. This means that one well-warranted card can easily defeat several under qualified/out of date/poorly highlighted cards. However, in most cases, you need to initiate the comparisons yourself -- that way it'll be clearer precisely which pieces of evidence I need to take a closer look at after the debate, as I don't enjoy intervening too much.

--Don't resort to offensive language or hostility towards your opponents or others. There is a line between being persuasive and being malignant. I understand that people get passionate, but I also think that debate is a game (that has a few educational benefits) and you should maintain a certain level of decorum. I will drop you a lot of speaks if you are abusive, since I think that's far more important than whatever you are arguing about.

--Call me whatever you want to, but I would prefer you don't call me judge because it makes me feel like I am an authority figure, which I definitely am not.

--I prefer email chains (flash drives and pocketbox take too long to execute/set up); my email is

-- Be yourself and we will all be great

-- Also, if you are funny (like actually funny), make some jokes (if you can make me laugh, I will give you +.5 speaks)

-- Finally, if you can make some movie references in your speech that are not forced, I will also give you +.5 speaks


I'd probably be hard pressed to reject the team unless the argument goes completely conceded or if the other team reads something that is extremely abusive, but I will evaluate it on a case by case basis. Slowing down and doing comparison rather than perpetually reading your blocks is key.

Debates I'm willing to hear: multiple conditional (contradictory) worlds, PICs bad, process CPs bad, Consult CPs bad, Conditions CPs bad, 50 states, solvency advocate theory (for both affs and CPs)

Please don't run in front of me: new affs bad, whole rez, disclosure/wiki theory, uncondo bad, no aff/neg fiat. I'll really only vote on these arguments if they're never answered, but even so you will not make me happy, which will definitely impact your speaker points. All the other team in my mind needs to do is say "that's silly."

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT STEALING EVIDENCE: If a team copies and pastes evidence cut by another school that was acquired in a previous debate round into their own speech docs in a later debate, your speaks will be heavily cut, and it constitutes a theory argument that the other team can win on if you stole their cards (unless the other team says it's ok). To be clear, I'm not saying you can't re-cut articles that other teams read because you think the articles could be useful, or read cards that were cut and open-sourced during summer camps by other people, but there's a difference between that and straight up copying and pasting other teams' evidence into your speech docs.


I love DAs and try and reward good policy debates, since that is what I enjoy the most. However, I find politics DAs that are a mismatch of out of context paragraphs from random articles that never actually mention the aff outside of the tags to be extremely frustrating and if you chose to read one, know that I will probably give the other side leeway with their answers. So, to basically make my thoughts clear, I love DAs, feel like I am typically well versed with what they are talking about and they are what I typically go for used to go for before politics became nonsense, but I also think that you should read a specific link (or at the very least make good link contextualization) and do good impact calculus. (and if you are good at DAs, go for them because you will be rewarded).


I will listen to them, will vote for them, find them fun to watch for the most part and even probably agree with a lot of them on a thesis level. However, I feel like most K teams have a couple of issues. First, I feel like they rely on big words that don't actually mean anything just to sound smart. I totally understand that complex issues require a complex vocabulary, but please, for the love of god, DO NOT JUST THROW OUT A BUNCH OF BIG WORDS THAT YOU NEVER EXPLAIN. I am a big believer in the idea that the best and smartest arguments are those that can be explained to anyone, so while I don't think that you need to provide a list of definitions, I do think that you shouldn't just use a bunch of obfuscating language to spook the other team. I think that their second issue is that they are increasing looking for academic niches that only one person writes about so that they have something that no one else has heard of. This issue is more of just an observation and won't really affect my vote, but I just thought I should note that. Third, I think that too many K teams rely on generic links basically amount to aff is bad. I think that if you are going for a K in front of me, you should try and read a specific link and if you don't have one, you should try your best to contextualize the link to the aff. Fourth, I think that a lot of K teams have issues with the alt level as well. I need you to explain the alt to me besides just the tag line because I am not an aff links= aff loses guy and I need a competing option to vote for. Finally, I don't think that it is a link just because someone gave you an answer to an extremely vague CX question (think "What is death?" or "What is structural violence?").

I also think that I should note a couple of things. First, very few things in debate get me more frustrated and less likely to vote for you than if you read "death good", read suicide as your alt or endorse school shootings or anything of the like. I find these arguments to be extremely toxic for the debate community, to be mocking the suffering of others for the ballot and that people who read them think that they are a lot smarter and more edgy than they actually are. If you do decide to read one of these in front of me, I will evaluate it, but I will probably not be giving super high speaker points. Next, while I do think that debate is a valid form of expression and narratives about personal experience are good and cool, I do not think that teams reading things like D & G or Baudrillard should be saying that it is violent for your K to be excluded. Third, I'm not the biggest fan of ontology focused debates. I think that a smart way to beat this is just have some counter-examples, so if you do that, you will be rewarded. Finally, if you skipped the rest of this and just want to know what Ks that I really like, here is a mostly complete list: Berlant, discourse-based Ks, Cap, fun post-modernism, not Bifo, really wild stuff like Posadism or the dolphin K, etc.


Also something that I really like, to the point where they are probably my second favorite part of being negative. I really like the specific counterplans that have unified solvency advocates. I am not as big of a fan of the multi-plank disjointed CPs, but I still think that if they are well explained, then they are fine. I think one thing that the aff does not utilize as much as they should is solvency specific deficits to the CPs. I do think that there are some dumb CPs that should not be read (think consult Jesus, Ashtar) and while I will laugh when you read these, I will also probably not evaluate them.


Topicality is about competing interpretations for me, unless you tell me otherwise. There should be a specific explanation in the 1NC of what word or phrase the affirmative violates. Negatives should explain what allowing the affirmative in the topic would allow— ie what other affirmatives would be allowed and what specific ground or arguments you have lost out on. Affirmatives should, in addition to making counter-interpretations, explain why those counter-interpretations are good for the topic and/or better than the Negatives. Case lists are underutilized in these debates – both about what they exclude and realistically justify on both sides of the topic. Topical version of the aff is an important but not a must have – especially if you are partially trying to say that they are SOOOO bad I shouldn’t want them to be a part of the topic. I believe that limits and fairness are really the only impacts, but I will vote on education. Finally, please, for the love of God, EXPLAIN WHY YOUR IMPACTS MATTER. Do not just say, they dropped it, explain why it matters.

Other stuff:

More seriously, I get that debate causes anxiety for some people and if it gets to be too much, I'm chill with you stopping your speech and taking a breather. Your personal mental health is far more important than this game.

Speaker Point Scale

I start at 28.5 and will adjust accordingly depending on how I feel you did ; more than decent gets more points. You can gain more points by having proper line by line, clash, good evidence with warrants, good impact comparison. You can lose points by not doing those aforementioned things AND if you are snarky, condescending, etc.

Short Version:

I love clash, line by line and good evidence that has warrants. I honestly prefer DAs and CPs to Ks, but will listen to almost everything. Rule #1 is to have a good time because at the end of the day, debate is a game where you learn useful information, but are not changing the world. Just enjoy your rounds, be yourself, read what you are best at, try your best and don't be a jerk and everyone will be great.

Alex Martel Paradigm

7 rounds

Hey I did speech and policy in high school. Started off with the straight-up style but got to college and saw the rest. I'm better suited for K-style feedback but go with your heart on w.e you want.

I'll evaluate every argument. The debate room can be a fun place so feel free to throw some humor into your speeches. Videos and dank memes are cool.
On an unrelated note, bringing granola bars or some snackage would be appreciated. I don't care much for soft drinks though. In other words please feed me nice food because in-round picnics make everyone's day. <--

What you care about:
Please don't make judges do the work for you on the flow. If you don't do the line-by-line or clearly address an argument, don't get upset if I reach an unfavorable conclusion. Reading me cards without providing sufficient analysis leaves the purpose a bit unclear.

Aff- reasonabilty probably has my vote but I can be persuaded to vote for creative and convincing non-topic-related cases.

Neg- Get some substance on the flow. T should not be a go-to-argument. I hate arguments dealing with "should", "USFG", etc and you should too. Impact out the violation. Simply stating that the team is non-topical and attaching some poorly explained standards will not fly or garner support. On K affs remember you can always go further left as an option.

Theory- Typically a pretty boring discussion but if it's creative I'll approve. If you notice yourself thinking "I wish I were reading something else" then it's a clear sign I wish you were too. Remember to slow down on those analytics though- hands cramp.

Being able to cite authors and point to specific cards = speaks. (same for neg)

Throw some case defense at the end of your 1nc after you do your off-case arguments. Aff has to answer them but you already know that. Reading through aff evidence and showing power tags or misuse is great.

Aff- if you can turn this in some way then you'll be fine. Point out flaws in the Link story when you can. Figuring out a solid internal link story might be a good idea.

Internal links will only help you. Let's avoid generic stuff.

You need to show that it's noncompetitive and you can perm or that their argument just sucks.

Show a net benefit and how you solve the impacts. Furthermore show how your cp is awesome.

Explain: how case doesn't link, perm, or alt doesn't solve or do anything. Weigh your impacts if appropriate. If the neg is misinterpreting an author and you sufficiently illustrate his/her message, then you'll be doing well in the round.

I like K's a lot. Hopefully will know what's up. Just explain your story clearly (seriously). Stunt on em.

Side note for everyone: In round actions are easy performative solvency to weigh btw

It's going to come down to how well you can explain the impact you are addressing with your performance and the solvency story under framework.

I suppose you can do framework or T if you have nothing else but try and interact because the aff team will be prepared. Or if you want to go down this route it's cool. Swayed by creativity though.

Ben Miller Paradigm

7 rounds

General Thoughts

- I'd like to be on the email chain, here's my email:

- Cross-x is open

- Flashing is not prep

- If it is not said in the debate then it is not in the debate (this means you shouldn't pic out of quals or read a kritik of quals if the other team did not say them)

- Be kind to each other, being sassy is cool but there is a difference between being sassy and being a jerk.

- Clarity and Clash are key, I can't evaluate an argument if I don't understand it and how it interacts with anything else. I'm pretty emotive during debates, so if you are paying attention to my facial expression (as you probably should be) you will be able to tell if I don't understand something or am not really persuaded by what you are saying.

- Evidence quality matters. I won't read every card after the debate but on particularly important issues I'll look over cards. Calling other people's horrible evidence out (quals, highlighting, etc.) and pushing yours is an easy way to beat a bad DA, CP, Advantage, etc. Y'all need to make these arguments though, even if the other teams evidence is garbage, if you don't call it out I'm not intervening. Also if I have to compare the warrants between evidence I will only use the warrants that are highlighted.

- Specificity will be rewarded. I know that the topic isn't great for the neg but a tailored strategy will probably win more than your generic Cap K or States and Politics debate. Both teams should always call out generic answers in front of me since I'll err to specifics 99% of the time as long as it makes sense, speaker points may also be raised if you go for a really specific strategy on the neg.

- If you read a K aff it should be related to the topic, otherwise you will have a hard time getting me to believe that you should be able to read it.

Case Arguments

- Both sides don't use this to their advantage enough, a robust case debate on the neg makes most anything easier - if an advantage has no defense at the end of the debate it will probably be harder for me to vote neg

- If an advantage is pretty contrived the neg only needs a couple of smart analytics and cards to beat it, I can probably tell it's silly so exploit that.

- If you run a framing contention don't expect that'll nullify a DA, apply it to the DA scenario to show why that war won't happen or why their util calc there is flawed.


- Please slow down. No really, I'm serious. You can't win a theory debate if I didn't catch your offense.

- I am not a fan of the states CP. If you do not have a specific solvency advocate I would NOT read it in front of me. That being said if the aff wants to win that 50 states is bad they have to have reasons how the neg will deal with small squirly affs.

- Probably ok: Condo, PIC's, Multiplank, Multiple Conditional Worlds

- Probably not so ok: Conditions, Process, Multiple Contradictory Worlds, Consult, Floating PIK, Word PIC's


- Debate T like a DA, make specific links as to why the aff's bad for the topic and be concrete in your impacts, don't just say they "explode limits" or that they "hurt topic education," show why they do and give some examples. Affs, if y'all are impact turning framework make sure the link's pretty clear, don't just say framework is microfascist or antiblack and think you can get away with that.

- To help with the impact debate, I think caselists, TVA's, SSD, and places where they can access their education and stuff are really, really, REALLY helpful. Framework debates shouldn't be the only places where these are things and can go a long way for the neg, and the aff focusing on why that vision of the topic is bad with specific impacts can clench close debates.

- I think that predictability should be heavily emphasized in these debates, if one sides interp is pretty contrived and doesn't create great debates because of the literature base's focus that makes me lean towards the other easily. That also means that if it comes down to the precision of a definition vs. the debatability of a topic with that definition, debatability wins most times.

- Fairness/Competitive Equity is an impact and an internal link into things like clash and education since fair debates create the conditions for deep education and dialogue. Education's also an impact in itself, and both sides should be very clear on which should come first (if they're only going for one, that is.)

- I think that debate is fundamentally a game, however what the goal of that game is is up for debate. What I mean is that more critical affs can say that debate is a training ground for advocacy or testing methods which, for me, means that the aff is a net benefit to their counter-interp and can be weighed against Framework (since their counter-interp allows for this new methodology while the neg's doesn't)... or it can't, since Framework's a procedural argument and comes before the aff's content. IDK, I'm just saying there's a debate there and I'm fine judging it.

- I usually default to competing interpretations instead of reasonability, but I can be persuaded otherwise.


- I think that while there's usually a risk of a DA, I definitely think there's zero risk of a DA and on bad politics DA's, among others, it will be pretty easy for me to be convinced that way.

- I'm not a fan of ptx DA's this year, so aff teams should take advantage of that and poke tons of holes in them with smart analytics; that being said, you do you, just make sure your story's clear and don't just read your uniqueness wall at me.

- Turns case analysis is super useful, even better is explaining how and why the DA impacts interact with the case (ex: don't just say "econ collapse = bad," say "econ collapse happens faster than the aff, controls the uniqueness for the aff and shortcircuits their solvency," that's worlds more persuasive).


- Should have solvency advocates, though not always (ex: if the aff proves solvency for the CP with their ev), highlight that for me so I don't think you made it up.

- Impacting solvency deficits out is important, even if you win the CP results in states losing resources or funding getting lost, unless I know why that's a reason the CP should be rejected or why that's substantially worse than the aff IDK why it matters. Similarly, I think the neg should make use of sufficiency framing coupled with a risk of a net benefit outweighing the impact to the solvency deficit to help out in these debates.

- CP's with internal net benefits that aren't DA's to the aff mean I give the aff more leeway on otherwise objectionable perms.


- Framework usually doesn't end up mattering much in these debates, the aff can usually weigh their impacts and the neg gets K's. To make it matter, comparative clash and impacts to your framework are key (ex: weighing the aff and it's use of institutions is good for competitive equity for XYZ reason and institutions are good for XYZ, don't weigh the aff because XYZ and that matters because XYZ, etc.). Defense to their framework is also helpful, and make sure to call out frameworks if their super self-serving, those usually won't win in front of me (ex: the ROJ is to reject capitalism, our interp is no K's allowed, etc.)

- Clear link narratives and internal link/alt explanations are key, I like K debates a lot but I will not understand all the nuances of your specific high theory author's view on whatever their talking about and how that relates to the aff. I hate jargon and that's just lazy, just like a 2 minute overview, which will dock your speaker points and muddle the debate up. Good K debates should involve clear explanations about what the aff specifically does which causes your impacts, what the alt does to remedy that, and examples of how the alt would look like for me to wrap my head around it. Getting quotes from the aff and reading super specific links is also super dope and will be rewarded.

- no but actually. Your overview should not be more than 30 seconds.

Jack Moore Paradigm

7 rounds

Jack Moore

Updated: 7/18/20

Affiliation: 4 years at Jesuit Dallas, currently at Trinity University


Top Level Stuffs:

- At the end of the day, I don’t really care what kind of argument you run so long as it’s well warranted, and you clash with the other teams’ arguments.

- Flowing, line by line, and organization is really important. I would prefer that you number arguments (at least case args in the 1NC and off case args in the 2AC) If you are consistently messing up the line by line, I will assume you don’t respect the flow and you get lower points.

- Me being able to comprehend and flow you is also really important. I write a lot when I flow so please give me pen time, especially on topicality, theory, or any argument that has a lot of compressed analytics. This doesn’t mean don’t go fast, I regularly judge and enjoy high speed technical debating.

- Respect your opponents. This means be nice to each other. It also means send analytics, especially in an online format where connectivity issues may prevent others from hearing everything you say.

- Evidence quality > quantity. Part of this includes highlighting full sentences/making your cards comprehensible. If I look at cards, I only look at the highlighting and will discount incomprehensible highlighting.

- Inserting Evidence: If it’s part of the text that the other team put into the debate, I’m fine with it because that, to me, just seems like an analytical argument about their evidence. If the highlighting is from a different part of the article, you must read it out loud. If you find this confusing, your presumption should be to read the card.

- Tech over Truth.


- It's underutilized - specific internal link and solvency arguments go a long way in front of me. Strategically, a good case press in the block and 2nr makes all substantive arguments better

- The aff should use the case more. 1AC ev usually has a lot of answers to neg args that people just forget about.


- CJR specific – you are wrong if you believe the USFG abolishing the criminal justice system isn’t topical. Don’t waste our time by going for T. If the abolish aff doesn’t have a plan/USFG actor, that’s a different story and I’ll be more willing to vote on T/Framework

- I evaluate Topicality like a CP and DA. You must do impact calc and have offense and defense to the other team’s stuff.

- I care about predictable limits, topic education, precision, ground more than I care about jurisdiction, grammar

- T substantial is more persuasive to me than I think it is for the rest of the community.


- CJR Specific: I’m sorry neg teams that most DAs on this topic are really bad. If you win the bad DA, I’ll still vote for you so don’t be discouraged. However, I think this is a great opportunity to engage in some critical arguments because this seems like a bad topic to stick to the hard-core policy style of debate. One way to make me less skeptical of your DA is to recognize that not every DA is going to end in extinction or great power war.

- Links are also important – put specific ones in the 1NC if you have them

- I will vote on defense against a DA if it’s just that bad – same with advantages

- Politics/Elections: despite my previous thoughts on these arguments, I think it might be one of the only real DAs on the topic and I’ll be less willing to outright reject it than I have in the past. Prioritizing high quality evidence and explanation of arguments will be an easier way to get my ballot than reading 30+ cards in the block (That means highlighting actual sentences)


- CP should have a solvency advocate - what that constitutes one is debatable.

- I think the Net benefit should be a DA to the plan and not just an advantage to the CP

- CP that compete off certainty and immediacy with artificial net benefits are a hard sell. However, I understand these strats often become necessary for the neg. If you're going for one of these CPs, prioritize winning the competition debate and give me a lot of judge instruction on how to evaluate different definitions or competition standards.

- 2NC CPs are legit for dealing with Add ons and Solvency Stuff the 2AC reclarifies. They are less legit for amending the CP text because you messed up and dealing with strategy things like the aff straight turned a DA that you didn't want to go for.


- I don't think I lean aff or neg because I haven't participated in or judged a lot of debates that came down to theory. If you articulate an impact to why what they’ve done is bad and provide an interpretation of what debate should look like instead, you’ll be good.

Conditionality is debatable – probably more good than bad, but I’m not sure. If you’re aff and crushing the conditionality is evil debate, just go for it. Interpretations based on number of advocacies don’t make sense to me because the aff always says one less than the number the neg did and the neg says we get what they did. I would be more easily convinced of dispositionality as an interpretation.

- Slow down!!! I need pen time.

- New affs bad is a silly argument and I won't vote on it - don't waste my time or your time. Negs get more leeway against new affs in terms of theory and ev specificity.

- My default is to reject the argument for all things except conditionality, but I could be convinced to reject the team for other things as well.


- The majority of my 2NRs my senior year were on the K and I think it's one of the more strategic types of arguments in debate.

- Links should be specific to the aff and more in-dpeth than the state is bad or debate is bad. If I could look at your speech in isolation and not know what aff you’re debating, you won’t be in a good spot. Gut check – if you could read the same link extension in every debate, we’re going to have a problem.

- I'm most familiar with a good amount of critical literature but err on the side of explanation. Explain your argument simply and without buzzwords.

- I think these debates should be slightly slower so I can understand and flow your theory that usually relies on bigger words that I don’t always have abbreviations or symbols for.

- Most of the time, I think of alts like framework and think that alts that prioritize rejecting the aff or critiquing assumptions/representations/discourse/etc are better than alts that call for revolutions or specific courses of action. There are just too many feasibility questions that the neg opens themselves up to by defending material action. This means I basically think the burden of the alt is usually never to solve the aff or the links, but simply provide a critique of the problems the K identifies in the 1AC

- I'm beginning to have a strong bias against alternatives. Given Ks don't rely on fiat, there are too many definition and feasibility questions that negs open themselves up to. I'm much better for alts that are really FW like the process of critique or rethinking things than I am for revolution. This means that aff teams should correctly make fun of the alt if it advocates anything beyond the scope of debate

- Framework - the aff probably gets the aff and the neg gets the K but that's up to debate. Framework comes down to what impacts I should prioritize, so make sure you’re winning an impact before investing so much time in framework. Both teams must tell me what to do with framework.

- Overviews aren’t necessary and shouldn't be longer than 45 seconds to explain something important that can’t be done on the line by line.

- Winning some theory of how the world operates doesn't mean anything unless you apply it to the aff. I don't care if somethings ontological if you don't have a link to the aff.

K affs:

- Go for it. They should have some connection to the topic and some statement of advocacy. If you can read your aff on every topic without changing cards or tags, I’ll enjoy the debate less. If you can’t find an aspect of critical literature that talks about criminal justice, that’s on you.

Framework/T USFG:

- Like T, impact calc is extremely important. These debate through competing come down to who has the better vision of debate/the topic. Describe in great detail what those visions look like and how a debate would go down or how the season goes down.

- While I will vote on procedural fairness, I prefer arguments about substantive engagement and clash. I think clash based impacts still have the benefit of focusing on the competitiveness of the activity, but also have better inroads to educations claims the aff usually makes. If you do say procedural fairness, you should only say procedural fairness.

- Topical versions are less important to me. I find them super defensive and often create trouble for the neg (because they’re not actually topical or because if the neg can prepare for the TVA, they usually could prepare for the original aff). If you do read TVA, don't treat it like a CP. Explain the types of debates that would go down (what would aff’s look like, what would negs say, how would debates evolve over the season) and why those debate access the education or telos of the aff

- Overviews aren’t necessary and shouldn't be longer than 45 seconds to explain something important that can’t be done on the line by line.

Olivia Panchal Paradigm

7 rounds

High School Debate: Heritage Hall School (OK)
College Debate: University of Southern California (2017)

The following are just MY thoughts on policy debate. In general, you should do what you are comfortable with– this will make the debate better for both of us.

–you must have a counter-interpretation
–you must have terminal impacts like you would for any DA (your standards are not your impacts, they are internal links to greater skills that are integral to debate)
–I will typically default to competing interpretations over reasonability

–case-specific links will only help you
–strong/creative DA turns case/case turns DA arguments are most convincing to me
–impact calculus is very important, but it's more than just magnitude and probability. I am much more convinced by arguments that prove how the DA impacts interact with the case (see above point)

–I will kick the cp for you if told to do so
–you must have a solvency advocate
–CP's that compete off the mandate of the plan and use the same actor are legitimate
–I am not opposed to questionably legitimate CP's, in fact, I kind of like them. However, the aff can easily beat them with a WELL-DEVELOPED AND IMPACTED theory argument

–I am not the best person to read high-theory, obscure K's in front of. I am not well versed in the literature and you'll have to do an exceptional job explaining your argument. However, that does not mean I will never vote on the K.
–The K does need a specific link to the aff and more importantly, the neg needs to talk about the aff in terms of the K. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT.

Other thoughts:
–dropped arguments are true arguments
–I don't take prep for flashing
–the last 2 rebuttals should not be a reiteration of the debate so far, but rather you should be telling me what you need to win to win this round and CLOSING DOORS. too often the final rebuttals are just two ships passing in the night, which means I have to resolve things on my own. this will not make you or me happy
–over everything... have fun, be nice, and learn stuff

If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask. Fight on!

Dana Randall Paradigm

3 rounds

My name is Dana Randall ( and I am the Director of Debate at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart. I have been an active member of the policy debate community since 1996.

As a competitor and coach of policy teams at regional and national levels I feel comfortable assessing debates that are quick and complex.

I have instructed novice, jv, and varsity teams who've enjoyed tremendous success. I credit that success to the fact that I've had the privilege of working with some of the brightest and most dedicated students in the activity. Witnessing their steadfast commitment inspires me to take my judging responsibilities very seriously. I will strive to keep a meticulous flow and render my decision based on what transpires in the debate round as opposed to my personal predispositions.

I will ask to be included on the speech thread. I do this to prevent teams from debating students that succumb to pressure of competition by representing that they have read words in a speech document which they have not audibly read. Debate is a very difficult activity without compelling students debating to also follow along with every word read by their opponent.

I believe that fairness is a terminal impact – that is why I flow both teams, listen to both teams, enforce reciprocal time limits, have teams affirm or negate the resolution based on the pairing provided by the tournament and I have no idea what an alternative metric for reaching a conclusion as to which team did the better debating.

Samir Ratakonda Paradigm

4 rounds



Be clear, don't go fast if you're not fast

I debate for St. Mark's so I'm quite policy

Read a plan

Attempt some form of line by line


Go for T if you want, fine with me

I default to reasonability


Love disad debates, this is the debate I prefer to be judging

Impact calc wins debates

If you're not going for a CP you probably should spend some time on framing


2 condo/less is fine, any more and you're probably pushing the boundary

I won't judge kick until told to do so

Have a clear net benefit

I love multiplank CP's

I default neg on most theory questions, but I will vote aff if something is either egregious or explained well


Not familiar with the K lit

Explain arguments well

Do specific link work

Malachi Robinson Paradigm

7 rounds

Woodward 19’

Email chain:


Respect your opponents. Passion and enthusiastic argumentation do not require aggression or insult.

Strategies dependent on confusion or evasion are much less persuasive than those that engage with and defeat the other team’s arguments. That said, don't drop arguments. If you do early on, explain why those concessions don't matter

There is frequently zero risk of both advantages and disadvantages.

T: I am a pretty big fan of T on this topic, especially T substantial. If you want to win my ballot, paint a picture of what your vision of the topic is and what happens in debates on it, which matters much more to me than conceeded generic blips and buzzwords.

CPs: Almost all are legitimate if there is a solvency advocate as specific as the affirmative’s. Evidence-Based PICs are good. Conditionality is good absent contradictions. If the affirmative is new, i'm much more lenient when evaluating neg schenanigans

FW: I believe that the affirmative should defend a topical plan. The most important question for me in these debates is the role of the negative and neg ground. Therefore, some anti-topical affirmatives that don’t permute defenses of the resolution are potentially persuasive.

Ks: Well impacted case-specific link analysis always beats broad claims or tricks. Going for less is more. Defend an alternative unless you can either win the plan is worse than the status quo or actually does not solve, and I mean with case defense. I am most familiar with critiques of capitalism and settler colonialism, but also understand most other generic Ks decently, escpecially critiques of anti-blackness. I do not like high theory. If you read deleuze you will likely lose.

Dain Ross Paradigm

7 rounds

Updated: 10/9/19

I currently debate for the University of Oklahoma and have been involved in policy debate for 6 years now.

One of my biggest things is being flexible ideologically, so I don't have a preference on K vs. Plan debate. I like both formats. Do what you do, and do it well.

------ Note for K teams: I would much rather listen to a K Aff with cards that are all contextual to arms sales than a K Aff with generic impacts and one card that ties into the topic.

For the Arms Sales topic: I have only seen a few debates on this resolution, so please don't assume I know what acronyms (besides FMS and DCS) and specific terms-of-art mean on the fly.

Please add me to the email chain unless you are using paper ( Feel free to email me with questions after the round.

Some judges whose judging styles I have most appreciated and try to emulate include Mason Marriott-Voss, Stuart Crichton, and Calum Matheson.




TL:DR - If you choose to make the argument that your opponent(s) themselves have said something inherently discriminatory (not just an evidence indict), I will treat it as an ethics issue and expect you to defend it or at least resolve the conversation about it. Rhetoric matters, and I think those debates are too-often sidelined in the overview rather than directly addressed.

Otherwise, I'll vote on any argument whether it's five minutes of heg bad (or good) in the 1NR or a well executed framing argument in the last ten seconds of the 2AR. Write the ballot for me and explain what you think the nexus question of the debate is, and why you best answer that question.




My own reservations concerning specific arguments:

Framework: Ideally, the Affirmative should try to clearly win a clear terminal impact and weigh that against the negative's model of debate. Recently, many skilled K teams have developed comprehensive counter-interpretations that work very well against typical framework arguments, while still allowing them to go for impact turns. You should use these to your advantage.

For the negative, I suggest figuring out what the Aff actually does as soon as possible and tailoring your offense to produce the best strategy by the 2NR. Some K Affs sound a lot like feasible plans when you consider what their authors are actually supporting. Other K Affs are more nebulous. Choose which framework tricks to go for accordingly.

K's: I enjoy running and listening to critiques, and I am familiar with a fair portion of the library.

For the negative, don't include massive overviews unless there is a clear thesis claim or worldview you need to establish for the debate (i.e. the reasons why global warming is irreversible or why anti-blackness is ontological). Offense should be distributed throughout the flow, although short impact overviews at the top are fine. For the link debate, please please please find lines in the Aff's evidence or tags that prove your link claims. This is often the easiest way to answer permutations and win case turns. If you don't win a link, you will lose the K. Make good 2NR choices.

For the Affirmative, win and leverage your key points of offense that are ideally already set up in the 1AC. Round-specific framework arguments for why the case matters are much more persuasive than the same copy-paste "plan comes first" block. Remember, offense, offense, offense.

CP's: Well-thought out counterplan strategies are awesome. Innovative, multi-plank counterplans or cheating steal-the-case strategies will win you speaker points, but the same one-card process counterplan that never makes it into the block just wastes flow paper.

Affirmative teams should answer cheating CP's with cheating permutations that are justified with theory / competition arguments. Solvency deficits are always good.

DA's: Well-structured disads are great and should be contextualized to the Affirmative. If you are going for one alone in the 2NR, you should have reasons they don't get to weigh the case. The best policy debaters are able to paint pictures of the status quo and the world of the plan, comparing both and weighing their impacts. Bob Ross jokes will win you additional speaker points. Read paradigms :)

For the Aff, straight turn the DA if you can and use your scenarios to take out parts of the DA (i.e. a war with China is inevitable if arms sales to Taiwan continue, so the Plan is key)

T: T is T. Don't drop it. Negs should use T shells to force the Aff to link to arguments on other flows, or to go all out on fairness in the 2NR.

Affs should be heavily prepared for T shells that they potentially violate, as well as ones they obviously don't. I think RVIs are extremely silly because debaters tend to spend more time talking about the RVI than the original T argument.

Theory: Theory should usually be gone for as a reason to reject the argument, which takes out the Negative's primary source of offense resulting in "rejecting the argument" and "rejecting the team" to functionally become the same thing.

Condo: I like condo debates. Knowing the history of the argument (like that the condo/ hypo-testing debate used to be as common as framework debates are now) will help you out. Make sure to weigh offense via each interpretation by making comparisons and explaining how either team's view would affect debate. There's no magic number of conditional advocacies I will tolerate, because that should be decided by the debaters.




Advice: Use constructive speeches to set up what you want to go for in the 2NR / 2AR. This might sound obvious, but it will help you save speech time and shell out more offense. If there is a card in your 1AC that isn't mentioned for the rest of the debate, take it out. Every piece of evidence should have its own purpose and strategy. The same thing goes for 1NCs. Don't just throw shells in a doc to take up speech time. You should use off case to pressure the Affirmative to spend time on their worst arguments, while you go for your best in the 2NR.

Debate is War, so you can, and probably should, do whatever you can to get a W

Dennis Savill Paradigm

7 rounds

Current Coach of Crossings Christian School in Oklahoma since 2011. We have a 6th grade - 12th grade debate program and our varsity team debates on the national TOC circuit. I debated in high school under Martin Glendinning.

Things you need to know for prefs:

Kritiks: Oklahoma is very heavy with kritiks and non-topical affs so I am very familiar with them. I like kritiks and K affs and can vote for them.

Policy: I am familiar with policy debates and can judge those. My squad has a mix of K teams and policy teams so I am good with either.

Speed: I can handle any kind of speed as long as you are clear.

Theory/FW/T: Only if the team is blatantly non-topical will I consider voting neg or if the aff screws up. On FW heavy debates, I am not such a fan so if you are neg and hit a non-topical aff I will entertain FW but that shouldn't be your only offcase. I am a fan of seeing actual abuse in the round so you should run a generic DA to get the "no link" argument. Also, root causing with a K is a good strat for me.

Performance/non-traditional debate: Despite what some would think coming from a Christian school, I actually like these kinds of debates and have voted up many teams including LGBTQ affs and wipeout-type arguments.

I try to be a tab judge but I know I tend to vote on more technical prowess. I believe debate should be a fun and respectful activity and I try to have a good time judging the round. I think debaters are among the smartest students in the nation and I always find it a privilege to judge a round and give feedback.

I would like to be on the email chain:

Wheeler Sears Paradigm

5 rounds

Wheeler Sears

St. Mark's '19

Last updated 5/3/2019

Email chain:

Two minutes before the debate:

- tech > truth

- read a plan

- evidence + pre-prepared strategies win debates

- be clear

- prefer policy debates but K's are fine I guess (specifics down below)

- theory questions are all down below

Immigration Specific:

- parole + nonenforcement are awesome, utilize them

- I won't vote aff on "this disad is racist so you should reject it"--just beat the disad


- The more specific the better

- Evidence quality matters

- UQ can control the link and vice versa, it depends on the debating

- Smart turns case arguments are good--this is more along the lines of "our internal link turns theirs" rather than "our impact means we can't do their impact"--the latter typically requires winning a large risk of the disad as well as a large risk of your impact

- 2AR's that sit on one or two issues are typically much better than the the 2AR's that try to win every issue and spend less time on each

- politics is good


- A well-researched counterplan with a clear net benefit is awesome and typically where I can tell you've done research and will reward you with better speaks

- 2AR deficits should consist of two things--1. what the aff does that the counterplan doesn't and 2. why that matters--#2 seems like the argument that many 2AR's seem to forget

- won't judge kick unless told otherwise


All of the below theory preferences are purely preferences and can change depending on debating or the quality of evidence but they are preferences nonetheless that effect how I will evaluate a debate

Condo is the only reason to reject the team

- Counterplans that compete off of immediacy/certainty and/or could result in the plan (process, consult, conditions etc.) are probably bad

- States theory is 50/50--I probably lean neg but it's really up for debate

- Multi actor fiat is fine unless you fiat multiple levels of government (ie fiatting multiple government agencies is legit but fiatting a government agency + the states is abusive)

- Lack of solvency advocate is a question of solvency, not theory

- international fiat is fine

- PICs are good

- New 2NC CP's and CP Amendments are typically fine

- Aff leaning on condo but it's close--honestly probably would like to see one of these debates more than most judges


- I'm familiar with the "policy" K's like neolib/security but beyond that you're going to need to explain your arguments a good amount--If I don't understand your argument, I will vote aff

- link specificity matters--links that are highly contextualized to the aff are much better than buzzwords that don't mean anything

- I'm much more likely to be receptive to K's that clash with the substance of the 1AC

- F/W is a non-starter

- Overall I'm probably just terrible for the K so you'd be better off going for something else

K affs:

I will vote neg—you’re cheating


- if possible, don't go for T--it's boring

- Reasonability = yes


If you make smart arguments and have a well prepared strategy with good evidence you should be fine

Being unclear will definitely hurt your speaks

Richard Shen Paradigm

5 rounds

General Tips

- I will vote on almost anything if you debate it well enough. Read what you feel comfortable with.

- A dropped argument is a true argument, but you still need to explain why that argument is important.

- Clarity comes first. If I can't understand what you're saying, I won't write it down. If my pen stops moving during your speech it's a bad sign.

- Everything results in extinction anyways, so make sure you're doing good impact comparison probability-wise.

- Please be polite and professional. I will dock speaks for rudeness and disorganization.

- Good evidence is good, but spin is more fun :) Just don't flat-out lie because I will catch you.

- Humor gets you points for style but won't affect my decision.


Underrated imo. Debate the case like you would any other flow. That means making good arguments and responding to your opponents. A well-debate case can swing the round either way. The aff will usually have better solvency evidence but the neg can beat it with smart analytics. Take out the weakest internal links!

I don't care much for philosophical framing debates. Just tell me why structural violence should outweigh a small chance of a disad or why extinction comes first.


Good as a tool for taking down tricky, borderline-topical affs. Bad as an A-strat. That said, reasonability will not always save you.

K Affs- Debate 👏 is 👏 a 👏 game. I think deliberately avoiding the topic is unfair. That's not a free win for the negative, though. Both sides need to fully explain the value of their position.


My personal favorite part of debate.

Every disad is different so I can't say much other than UQ, L, I. You're gonna want to win all three. In the end, the 2nr will have to tell a story, so specificity and coherence tend to beat sweeping aff args.


My second favorite part of debate. A clever counterplan that solves the case will win my ballot. The affirmative will need to win that the risk of a solvency deficit outweighs the risk of the net benefit to beat any counterplan.

Solvency advocate theory's a loser, but not having evidence makes solvency deficits more enticing.

50 state fiat theory's not great. I will allow it but whether the negative gets uniformity is up for debate.

I will judge kick if you tell me to.

Good: smart and creative PICs

Bad: Multi-actor, future fiat, consult

PS- speak boost to whomever first compliments my Supreme sticker; gotta do your pre-round prep, kids.


I understand most kritics, but the negative should still slow down in the overview to explain the thesis. Random buzz words and K-tricks will not cut it.

Specific links will beat the perm. Co-option disads won't.

I will usually lean aff on framework. "Vote for whichever team best heuristically examines capitalistic epistemology" is not fair.

Chris Thiele Paradigm

7 rounds

2018 update: College policy debaters should look to who I judged at my last college judging spree (69th National Debate Tournament in Iowa) to get a feeling of who will and will not pref me. I also like Buntin's new judge philosophy (agree roughly 90%).

It's Fall 2015. I judge all types of debate, from policy-v-policy to non-policy-v-non-policy. I think what separates me as a judge is style, not substance.

I debated for Texas for 5 years (2003-2008), 4 years in Texas during high school (1999-2003). I was twice a top 20 speaker at the NDT. I've coached on and off for highschool and college teams during that time and since. I've ran or coached an extremely wide diversity of arguments. Some favorite memories include "china is evil and that outweighs the security k", to "human extinction is good", to "predictions must specify strong data", to "let's consult the chinese, china is awesome", to "housing discrimination based on race causes school segregation based on race", to "factory farms are biopolitical murder", to “free trade good performance”, to "let's reg. neg. the plan to make businesses confident", to “CO2 fertilization, SO2 Screw, or Ice Age DAs”, to "let the Makah whale", etc. Basically, I've been around.

After it was pointed out that I don't do a great job delineating debatable versus non-debatable preferences, I've decided to style-code bold all parts of my philosophy that are not up for debate. Everything else is merely a preference, and can be debated.

Style/Big Picture:

  • I strongly prefer to let the debaters do the debating, and I'll reward depth (the "author+claim + warrant + data+impact" model) over breadth (the "author+claim + impact" model) any day.

  • When evaluating probabilistic predictions, I start from the assumption everyone begins at 0%, and you persuade me to increase that number (w/ claims + warrants + data). Rarely do teams get me past 5%. A conceeded claim (or even claim + another claim disguised as the warrant) will not start at 100%, but remains at 0%.

  • Combining those first two essential stylistic criteria means, in practice, many times I discount entirely even conceded, well impacted claims because the debaters failed to provide a warrant and/or data to support their claim. It's analogous to failing a basic "laugh" test. I may not be perfect at this rubric yet, but I still think it's better than the alternative (e.g. rebuttals filled with 20+ uses of the word “conceded” and a stack of 60 cards).

  • I'll try to minimize the amount of evidence I read to only evidence that is either (A) up for dispute/interpretation between the teams or (B) required to render a decision (due to lack of clash amongst the debaters). In short: don't let the evidence do the debating for you.

  • Humor is also well rewarded, and it is hard (but not impossible) to offend me.

  • I'd also strongly prefer if teams would slow down 15-20% so that I can hear and understand every word you say (including cards read). While I won't explicitly punish you if you don't, it does go a mile to have me already understand the evidence while you're debating so I don't have to sort through it at the end (especially since I likely won't call for that card anyway).

  • Defense can win a debate (there is such as thing as a 100% no link), but offense helps more times than not.
  • I'm a big believer in open disclosure practices, and would vote on reasoned arguments about poor disclosure practices. In the perfect world, everything would be open-source (including highlighting and analytics, including 2NR/2AR blocks), and all teams would ultimately share one evidence set. You could cut new evidence, but once read, everyone would have it. We're nowhere near that world. Some performance teams think a few half-citations work when it makes up at best 45 seconds of a 9 minute speech. Some policy teams think offering cards without highlighting for only the first constructive works. I don't think either model works, and would be happy to vote to encourage more open disclosure practices. It's hard to be angry that the other side doesn't engage you when, pre-round, you didn't offer them anything to engage.

  • You (or your partner) must physically mark cards if you do not finish them. Orally saying "mark here" (and expecting your opponents or the judge to do it for you) doesn't count. After your speech (and before cross-ex), you should resend a marked copy to the other team. If pointed out by the other team, failure to do means you must mark prior to cross-ex. I will count it as prep time times two to deter sloppy debate.

  • By default, I will not “follow along” and read evidence during a debate. I find that it incentivizes unclear and shallow debates. However, I realize that some people are better visual than auditory learners and I would classify myself as strongly visual. If both teams would prefer and communicate to me that preference before the round, I will “follow along” and read evidence during the debate speeches, cross-exs, and maybe even prep.


  • I like competing interpretations, the more evidence the better, and clearly delineated and impacted/weighed standards on topicality.

  • Abuse makes it all the better, but is not required (doesn't unpredictability inherently abuse?).

  • Treat it like a disad, and go from there. In my opinion, topicality is a dying art, so I'll be sure to reward debaters that show talent.

  • For the aff – think offense/defense and weigh the standards you're winning against what you're losing rather than say "at least we're reasonable". You'll sound way better.


  • The exception to the above is the "framework debate". I find it to be an uphill battle for the neg in these debates (usually because that's the only thing the aff has blocked out for 5 minutes, and they debate it 3 out of 4 aff rounds).

  • If you want to win framework in front of me, spent time delineating your interpretation of debate in a way that doesn't make it seem arbitrary. For example "they're not policy debate" begs the question what exactly policy debate is. I'm not Justice Steward, and this isn't pornography. I don't know when I've seen it. I'm old school in that I conceptualize framework along “predictability”; "topic education", “policymaking education”, and “aff education” (topical version, switch sides, etc) lines.

  • “We're in the direction of the topic” or “we discuss the topic rather than a topical discussion” is a pretty laughable counter-interpretation.

  • For the aff, "we agree with the neg's interp of framework but still get to weigh our case" borders on incomprehensible if the framework is the least bit not arbitrary.

Case Debate

  • Depth in explanation over breadth in coverage. One well explained warrant will do more damage to the 1AR than 5 cards that say the same claim.

  • Well-developed impact calculus must begin no later than the 1AR for the Aff and Negative Block for the Neg.

  • I enjoy large indepth case debates. I was 2A who wrote my own community unique affs usually with only 1 advantage and no external add-ons. These type of debates, if properly researched and executed, can be quite fun for all parties.


  • Intrinsic perms are silly. Normal means arguments are less so.

  • From an offense/defense paradigm, conceded uniqueness can control the direction of the link. Conceded links can control the direction of uniqueness. The in round application of "why" is important.

  • A story / spin is usually more important (and harder for the 1AR to deal with) than 5 cards that say the same thing.

Counterplan Competition:

  • I generally prefer functionally competitive counterplans with solvency advocates delineating the counterplan versus the plan (or close) (as opposed to the counterplan versus the topic), but a good case for textual competition can be made with a language K netbenefit.

  • Conditionality (1 CP, SQ, and 1 K) is a fact of life, and anything less is the negative feeling sorry for you (or themselves). However, I do not like 2NR conditionality (i.e., “judge kick”) ever. Make a decision.

  • Perms and theory always remain a test of competition (and not a voter) until proven otherwise by the negative by argument (see above), a near impossible standard for arguments that don't interfere substantially with other parts of the debate (e.g. conditionality).

  • Perm "do the aff" is not a perm. Debatable perms are "do both" and "do cp/alt"(and "do aff and part of the CP" for multi-plank CPs). Others are usually intrinsic.


  • I think of the critique as a (usually linear) disad and the alt as a cp.

  • Be sure to clearly impact your critique in the context of what it means/does to the aff case (does the alt solve it, does the critique turn it, make harms inevitable, does it disprove their solvency). Latch on to an external impact (be it "ethics", or biopower causes super-viruses), and weigh it against case.

  • Use your alternative to either "fiat uniqueness" or create a rubric by which I don't evaluate uniqueness, and to solve case in other ways.

  • I will say upfront the two types of critique routes I find least persuasive are simplistic versions of "economics", "science", and "militarism" bad (mostly because I have an econ degree and am part of an extensive military family). While good critiques exist out there of both, most of what debaters use are not that, so plan accordingly.

  • For the aff, figure out how to solve your case absent fiat (education about aff good?), and weigh it against the alternative, which you should reduce to as close as the status quo as possible. Make uniqueness indicts to control the direction of link, and question the timeframe/inevitability/plausability of their impacts.

  • Perms generally check clearly uncompetitive alternative jive, but don't work too well against "vote neg". A good link turn generally does way more than “perm solves the link”.

  • Aff Framework doesn't ever make the critique disappear, it just changes how I evaluate/weigh the alternative.

  • Role of the Ballot - I vote for the team that did the better debating. What is "better" is based on my stylistic criteria. End of story. Don't let "Role of the Ballot" be used as an excuse to avoid impact calculus.

Performance (the other critique):

  • Empirically, I do judge these debate and end up about 50-50 on them. I neither bandwagon around nor discount the validity of arguments critical of the pedagogy of debate. I'll let you make the case or defense (preferably with data). The team that usually wins my ballot is the team that made an effort to intelligently clash with the other team (whether it's aff or neg) and meet my stylistic criteria. To me, it's just another form of debate.

  • However, I do have some trouble in some of these debates in that I feel most of what is said is usually non-falsifiable, a little too personal for comfort, and devolves 2 out of 3 times into a chest-beating contest with competition limited to some archaic version of "plan-plan". I do recognize that this isn't always the case, but if you find yourselves banking on "the counterplan/critique doesn't solve" because "you did it first", or "it's not genuine", or "their skin is white"; you're already on the path to a loss.

  • If you are debating performance teams, the two main takeaways are that you'll probably lose framework unless you win topical version, and I hate judging "X" identity outweighs "Y" identity debates. I suggest, empirically, a critique of their identity politics coupled with some specific case cards is more likely to get my ballot than a strategy based around "Framework" and the "Rev". Not saying it's the only way, just offering some empirical observations of how I vote.

David Vallejo Paradigm

5 rounds

St. Mark’s '19 (Senior-2a)

Put me on the email chain:

General Comments


I will read evidence if a team asks me to after the round, but I will default to in-round explanation over my own interpretation of the evidence

If I can't explain what I'm voting for, I won't vote for it

Clarity is important -- I will yell "clear" if I cannot understand your speech

An argument consists of a claim and warrant - arguments that become complete later (or blippy 1nc shells/aff advantages that become developed later) are new arguments that merit new answers

Things I will intervene on: death good, behavior meant to harass opponents, violation of tournament rules

Below are some debate things I generally think are true. My biases and preferences become less relevant the more you out-execute your opponents.

Debating Planless Affs

I find myself very persuaded by topicality - whenever I debate a planless aff, my strategy is 1-off topicality.

Fairness is obviously an impact, and it is the most important impact.

The ballot doesn't do anything besides determine a winner and loser, but it can remedy the harms of a fairness violation

Debate is a game and breaking it would be quite bad. Reading a planless aff makes debate really easy for one side. The aff would be better served going for impact turns than trying to take a "reasonability" approach. To be clear, that means saying debating the resolution is bad for XYZ reason, not that unfairness is good.

FYI: I find myself highly illiterate in high-theory kritiks

Topicality v affs that read a plan

I like these debates when they are grounded in evidence with intent to define.

A more limited topic isn't always the best thing ever.

Impact calculus is especially important in these debates - debate T like you would a disadvantage.

I default to competing interpretations unless told otherwise.


Great. Turns case is helpful and wins debates. Zero risk is definitely a thing.

Politics disads - most are pretty weak this year, but I have gone for them pretty much every debate anyway.

I tend to think uniqueness controls the direction of the link, but can be persuaded otherwise


Counterplans that have a specific solvency advocate (or one that's as good as/better than the aff's) can bypass theory questions pretty easily.

PICs out of the plan are good, executive self-restraint is good, and most other stuff (consult, delay, word pics, and miscellaneous process stuff) is probably bad.

If the 2nc/1nr adds a plank or otherwise amends the counterplan in a way that drastically changes what the counterplan does, the 1ar gets new answers.

I will not kick the counterplan for you unless I'm told to do so explicitly

For this topic, a counterplan should almost always be in the 2nr if going for a policy strategy, especially vs. soft-left/inequality affs.


Specificity is a must.

The more you talk about the 1ac (and preferably the plan), the better. Links should prove the plan is bad, not that the plan is imperfect. I think that the aff team should get to weigh their impacts.

The threshold for winning a sweeping ontological or pessimist theory is high on the side that advances the argument (both as a reason to reject the aff/law and as a reason to reject the topic)

FYI: I find myself highly illiterate in high-theory kritiks.

Debating the Case

Many negative teams forget to debate the aff's advantages. This makes the debate much harder to win.

Please do not insert more offcase at the expense of case defense. The best debates always have a large pushback on case.

Aff teams should be wary of using "framing" as a crutch

Other stuff

I'm a fan of "inserting" the opposing team's evidence into the debate, because it punishes teams for reading trash evidence. If you re-highlight a card and explain what that re-highlighting says, then that is enough for me (you don't have to explicitly re-read it).

There are impacts besides extinction that matter. That said, I would much rather you debate the specifics of a disad rather than use your framing contention as a crutch. I really don't like the Cohn card + the "insert your own skepticism about disads into the debate" framing. Think of framing as a way to enhance your no-link argument, not as a replacement for it.

Conditionality is good, to a point -- your odds of winning conditionality bad increase as the negative does more of the following: introducing contradictory arguments into the debate, making explicit cross-applications off of contradictory arguments, 3+ condo

I really, really don't like aff vagueness. At the very least, defend your stuff in CX.

CX is binding for both the affirmative and negative. If you say you fiat something in CX, I'll hold you to it, even if your plan or counterplan text doesn't explicitly say it.

I will not, under any circumstances, evaluate something that happened outside of the debate round when making my decision

If you intentionally interrupt your opponent's speech, I will tank your speaks the first time, and if you do it again you will lose

Zero tolerance for any attacks on your opponent's character, appearance, or anything else - I don't care who you are or what your argument is

Ethics challenge ends the debate - default to tournament rules for clipping, etc

Kate Wang Paradigm

7 rounds

Hey there, my name is Kat Wang and I am a policy debater from LASA HS in Austin, TX.

Please put me on email chain. My email is (katewang08 at gmail dot com).

I'm a high schooler - good luck. Don't be mean.

Curtis Wang Paradigm

7 rounds

I debated for Loyola High School for 4 years (policy), Wake Forest University for a semester (policy), and El Camino College for two years (parli). I now coach PF at the Harker School.

I've debated both traditional and nontraditional forms of debate. There really isn't an argument that I won't hear. I have a higher threshold for theory, and rarely vote on potential abuse. But beyond that I do not have any serious predisposition to any arguments you read. Or at least I shouldn't... Blatantly offensive arguments, like impact turning racism or etc, probably will lose you the round though. Just be smart.

Speaker point break down - I'm pretty fair about speaker points (though I don't think there will be a judge who will tell you they aren't fair about speaker points) but I'm quick to catch on to things on general impoliteness vs sass (love sass). Just be a good person and speak well etc etc. Y'all should be mature enough to know what that means.

PF -- "paraphrasing" your evidence is not evidence and will result in a loss.

Abe Wickelgren Paradigm

7 rounds

I debated (policy) for four years in high school, for South Eugene High School in Eugene, OR and for a year at Harvard (NDT). But, all of this was close to 30 years ago. My daughter has now started debating, so I am just getting back into it. This has three relevant implications: (1) I’m not at typical parent/lay judge—I once knew what I was doing, and remember much of it, at least to some degree; (2) I’m rusty—I don’t (at least, for now) flow quite as fast as I use to, nor is my ear for spreading as good as it once was; (3) my debate knowledge is mostly from the 1980s—I know what a kritik is, but I’m not experienced with them, and there may be other terminology that has changed and I’m not aware of.
General Judging Philosophy
I try to be (what we use to call) tabula rasa as much as I can be. We all have biases in the way we interpret arguments, but I will do my best to listen to any argument you make and evaluate it solely on the merits of your arguments and the responses even if I think it is crazy (or obviously correct). So, you should feel free to make any argument and should not think you can simply call an argument stupid and win on that (to take what I understand to be an extreme example today, I am open to RVI arguments on T, but also to the claim that making an RVI argument should be a VI against as well).
While my objective is to be tabula rasa, I will say that I would prefer a policy focused debate to a kritik focused one. I will try not to let that influence my evaluation of the arguments as best I can, however. In some of the few recent debates I’ve seen, some kritiks (like cap) ended up looking (to me) very similar to some of the cps we ran in my day (like socialism or anarchy). That would constitute a policy debate in my book.
Tactical Considerations
Spreading—I have no bias against it (I was quite fast long ago). But since I am rusty, you want to make sure the argument gets on my flow. Remember not only am I a bit rusty, but I haven’t heard many of these cards or arguments before (or not for a long time), and that also makes it a little harder to flow. Some ways to make sure my flow has on it what you want on it:

  • Be extra clear on the tag line and cite.
  • If there is particularly important language in a card, emphasize it for me.
  • Number all your arguments. That makes it really clear when a new argument that needs to flowed separately starts.
  • When you refer to your opponent’s argument, don’t just give me the name and date of their card, I might not have gotten it down. Refer to it by substance
  • Go a little slower on the analytics than on the cards. I can call for the card after the round, but not the analytic.

Evidence comparison—I’m very receptive to critiques of the sources, evidence in the card, or the interpretation of the card. This can often be a much faster way to defeat an argument than to read 5 more of your own cards. It is far from inconceivable that you could convince me that your one card (potentially even no cards, just analytics) are more compelling than their 5 or 10 cards.

Kritiks—If it is a more novel kritik (e.g., not cap) that might not be similar to anything that anyone ran 30 years ago, you will have to spend a little more time explaining it to me than someone who has been judging debates recently. I won’t know the jargon and won’t have heard the argument before. Make sure I understand it.

What makes a good debate for me
Explain to me why, despite all the cards and arguments your opponent read, your arguments should prevail. The more you can create a (convincing) story that takes into account what the opponent says and still suggests you should win, the better off you'll be. This is true for individual arguments and for the debate as a whole. For an individual argument, ways you might do this include (but are not limited to):

  • Evidence quality comparison--some possible examples: (i) our evidence is from peer-reviewed journals or more respected scholars, theirs is from unreviewed blogs or unknown people; (ii) our evidence is based on well-done empirical studies or is historically validated, theirs is just unsupported opinion; (iii) our evidence is more recent and (this is the critical step) the conditions have changed in some important way since theirs was written; (iv) our evidence explains why its conclusions are true, theirs just asserts it.
  • Evidence relevance comparison: (i) Their cards don't really say what the tag says; (ii) The unhighlighed part of the card suggests the a somewhat different claim; (iii) Their cards are referring to a somewhat different situation or set of conditions; (iv) their cards don't consider some aspect of our plan or counterplan that undermines the argument.
  • Evidence aggregation: I just made this term up (I think). What it means to me is that you can tell a story that says even if their cards are right, you have an explanation for why you win this argument anyway because of some other factor that their cards don't properly take into account but that you show is very important. This could be a time frame argument, a different mechanism or actor deals with this issue argument, a probability argument.

For the whole debate, ways you might do this are:

  • We are winning argument X, this trumps every other argument because of Y.
  • The impacts on the arguments we are winning are bigger
  • Our extinction scenario happens first
  • We have many different extinction scenarios that are independent, even if each one is less likely than their one, the probability that none of them will occur is way smaller
  • Our impacts are supported by stronger arguments/better evidence than theirs, so you should view them as more plausible

The main point of all this is to say, feed me the explanation that you want me to give after the debate when I say why I voted the way I did. I'm going to have to give a good reason for why I voted for you despite the fact that your opponents made a number of good arguments. Don't make me come up with that myself because I might not aggregate the issues and evidence the way you want me to unless you explain to me how to do it in a sensible way in your favor.

Harris Wilson Paradigm

5 rounds

--- Updated for 2020 tournaments and brevity. Read the whole thing, it'll take 2 minutes.

Put me on the email chain:

Things you should know:

- Assume no topic knowledge -- I don't follow the HS topic; explain acronyms, don't depend on the "community opinion" of an argument, over-explain complex args and do good high-lvl framing

- Tech is top priority, but good evidence is right below that -- cards need to meet a basic threshold of quality for them to mean anything anyway

- Link/overall strategy specificity matters a lot, but is obviously difficult on every topic -- again, technical superiority almost always wins debates, but specific strategies lower the bar

I went to St. Mark's and primarily was a DA/CP debater. For better or worse, I believe the following are important: fairness, speech clarity, case debating, and explanation

Thoughts on specific arguments:

Counterplans: great, specificity is better, advantage/states are fine, process is yucky, condo is fine without ideological inconsistencies

Disads: link magnitude is mort important, good 2nr framing wins debates, turns case args are lovely

T and Theory: when it's clearly an issue / abusive, go for it; otherwise, I'm pretty lenient

Kritiks: Not my favorite -- please thoroughly explain link/impact arguments, minimize the use of sweeping assertions, explain alternatives, use good high-level framing

Framework: makes the game work