Judge Philosophies

Aaron Alford -- Appalachian State University

Aaron Alford

Appalachian State

  1. I competed in NPDA debate for 4 years at Cedarville University, I coached there for a year, an am now assisting the Appalachian State Debate team.
  2. I utilized kritikal and policy strategies roughly equally my junior and senior year. 
  3. I like kritiks. I am familiar with most of the major literature bases for kritiks, however I do believe debate is an educational activity which requires inclusion, so it is important that your kritikal argument is clear to the opposing team even if they havenâ??t read your lit base.
    1. If you read a kritik, I prefer grounded impacts and concrete solvency over depictions of an ideal world or other abstract alternative solvency mechanisms for the kritik.
    2. The permutation is always a test of competition and not an advocacy.
    3. The affirmative should engage with the framework debate to gain access to their 1AC by either responding with a competing framework, or demonstrating how their 1AC operates within the Kritik framework.
    4. I like Capitalism critiques, I like arguments about ethics, and I like kritiks of debate itself.  If you have a critique you want to try, I might be a good judge to try it in front of.
  4. I like policy affs with strong impacts.  I like impact frameworks that explain why I should prefer your impacts.  Magnitude is not necessarily where I will vote, if a compelling argument is presented to prefer another method of weighing the impacts.
  5. I like Advantage-Counterplans.  I think advantage counterplans are a smart strategy for the negative team. I am open to condo bad and other counterplan theory arguments from the MG.
  6. I prefer speed debate, so long as both teams are able to participate in the round.  If the other team asks you to slow down, you should.  If continued exclusion on the basis of speeds occurs, I am willing to vote for an abuse procedural
  7. Debate is not a game, but we do play it like one more or less. I am a tabula rasa judge.  I will judge the arguments as presented, it is the job of the debaters to present the necessary information and identify good arguments from bad arguments in the round. 
  8. I think the affirmative should defend the resolution with an advocacy, however I do like affirmatives that are out of the ordinary, and am willing to entertain innovative frameworks and interpretations of the topic.
  9. I spent a lot of time reading procedurals as a debater.  I think procedural debate can present some of the most technical and rewarding rounds, but it is important to articulate abuse or tell me why your procedural is a voting issue if you expect me to vote for it. 
  10. Topicality bis a voting issue.
  11. Specs are not compelling unless you articulate abuse.
  12. I default to the competing interpretations in procedural and framework debates.
  13. Specific positions are generally more compelling to me than generic arguments.  I will listen to your politics position, but I will not be happy about it and I might make unhappy faces.
    1. Policy arguments should include a specific interrogation of the uniqueness, this should not be blipped through, please read warrants with your claims.  I would rather you read one good position with excellent warrants and analysis, than two meh positions.
  14. I generally think Identity/non-topical arguments should cede the ballot, unless there is a compelling reason why their performance must win to create the change they seek.
  15. Please do not read any advocacy which supports mass death or suffering as good.  I don't like the advocacy of suicide, dehumanization, or justifying the reduction in the value of human life.
  16. Don't make stuff up, ethics are good.

Adam Testerman -- Texas Tech University


Hi there!

My background as a competitor involved a couple years reading primarily policy strategies and a couple years reading primarily old-white-man criticisms (Baudrillard, Marx, Lacan, etc). As a coach, my teams have dipped their toes into nearly every kind of argument. I love it all, when it is done well. I can hate it all, when it ain't.

I feel comfortable judging any “genre” of argument and have no real argument preference beyond the desire to see clash.

I coached for three years at Lewis & Clark College; this is my fourth year as Director of Forensics at TTU.

General Issues

Parliamentary debate is the most fun and the most educational when a variety of argumentative styles, people, knowledge bases, and strategies are given room to thrive. I feel lucky to have judged a vast array of different arguments in my judging career. One of my main goals as a judge is to allow teams to run the arguments they feel are most compelling in front of me. I’ve picked up teams reading structural indictments of debate about as many times as I’ve picked up teams reading policy affirmatives and defending incrementalism.

It is my goal to involve myself in the debate round as little as possible. I have no preference for any particular kind of argument and generally feel that almost every debate issue can be resolved in the round. I will vote for arguments with warrants. I will try my best to synthesize your arguments, but I also believe that to be a central skill of effective debaters.

Parli debates should be slower than policy debates. Your theoretical top speed is too fast for parli, in my opinion (we don't flash documents, and we don't have enough predictable CX time to clarify key issues). I don't think I've been unable to keep up with even the fastest parli debaters the past several years, however, when in doubt... slow down just a bit.

I will vote for arguments I think are stupid 10 out of 10 times if they are won in the round.

I rely on my flow to decide the round. I attempt to flow performances and I do my best to write down what you’re saying as close to verbatim as my fingers allow me. If there is an expectation that I not decide the round based on the way I understand argument interaction on my flow, that should be stated explicitly and it would be a good idea to tell me how I am intended to evaluate the debate round.

Emphasize explanation early… don’t let your argument make sense for the first time in the LOR or PMR etc.

All constructive speeches should take a question if asked, and it’s strategic to ask questions (unless there is flex, then I'm agnostic on this question).

Theory interpretations and advocacy statements should be read slowly and read twice.

Points of Order should be called, but I will also do my best to protect new arguments… don’t be excessive with them though [I’ll be vague about what that means, but be an adult]

RVI’s have never been good arguments, read them at your own risk.


I cut my teeth on procedural arguments in college, and I am still a huge fan. To vote on a procedural, I need an interpretation explaining how the debate should be evaluated, a violation detailing specifically why the other team does not fit within that interpretation, standards that explain why the interpretation is good, and a voter that outlines why I should vote on the argument. PLEASE read your interpretation/definition slowly and probably repeat it. It is good to have an interpretation that makes some sense.


DAs and Advs. require uniqueness arguments that explain why the situation the affirmative causes is not happening in the status quo. Defensive arguments are useful, but they often serve to make offensive arguments more impactful or serve as risk mitigation, as opposed to terminal takeouts.

I ran politics in a majority of my negative rounds and I coach my teams to read the position as well. So, I will totally vote on politics every time it is won. That being said, I’m finding the position to be one my least favorite and least compelling these days. The obscene nature of congress make the position even more laughable than it was in the past [and it’s always been sketchy at best, without cards (and with?)]. Read the DA if you’re a politics team, but there are almost always better arguments out there.


Critique debates can be fun to watch, but only when the position is clear at the thesis level. If your shell argues that the K is a prior question or something like that, spend some meaningful time explaining why that’s the case instead of “shadow” extending an argument from the shell. I am familiar with a lot of the literature, but you should argue the position as if I am not. Critiques are totally dope, but only because they have the potential to advance compelling arguments… not because they are obtuse.

Framework debates (on the top of critique... i.e.: epistemology comes first) are a waste of time a vast majority of the time. I do not understand why teams spend any substantive amount of time on framework. The question of whether the affirmative methodology/epistemology/whatever vague term you want to use, is good or bad should be determined in the links and impacts of the criticism. I see almost no world where framework matters independent of the rest of the shell. So… the only K framework questions that tend to make sense to me are arguments about why it is a prior question. It makes sense that if the critique wins that the affirmative impacts are threat constructions that I’m not going to weigh the affirmative impacts against the position. That’s not a framework debate though, that’s a question determined by winning the thesis of the position.

Critical affirmatives can be cool, but they also put me in a weird position as a judge sometimes. If your affirmative is positioned to critique DAs, then I still want to see specific applications of those arguments to the DAs. I need to see how the DA demonstrates your argument to be true in some specific way. By that I mean, if the negative outright wins a DA, I would need to see why that would mean the affirmative shouldn’t lose early, often, and specifically. The same is true of any set/genre of negative positions.

Performance/Non-Topical Affirmatives/Alternative Approaches to Debate

I tend to not have super strong feelings in favor or in opposition to “performance” style arguments. Several of the teams I have coached have run non-traditional arguments and I have seen those be incredibly beneficial for the debaters and have a positive effect on education garnered from their rounds. I have also seen people really struggle with performance-style arguments on an interpersonal level, in both advocating their positions and responding to others doing so. I defer to the debaters to wade through the various issues related to alternative approaches to debate.

I will vote for framework as answer to these arguments if the other team “wins” the position. However, I also think most non-topical affirmatives are written with 5 minutes of impact turns to framework. Affirmatives must explicitly extend those kinds of arguments to answer framework (don't assume I understand how that's happening just by you extending the affirmative) and teams going for framework should not assume the "a priori" nature of theory means I reject the aff out-of-hand.

I tend to think arguments about the collapse of debate due to alternative approaches to debate, are frequently poorly warranted. Which doesn't mean those warrants don't exist... I just need them to be made explicitly. Debate can look like many things, and still be interesting/educational/productive, in my mind. However, I also believe compelling arguments about "topical versions of the affirmative" can be very compelling. If there is a way to read your criticism as a nuanced way to affirm the resolution, you've probably landed close to my ideal version of critically framed affirmatives. Affirmatives seeking to indict structural conditions of debate can also be very compelling, too. I hope to put my personal desires for a particular model/instantiation of debate to the side in any particular round I'm judging.


In general, the CP/DA debate is probably what I feel most comfortable judging accurately and I think CPs that solve the affirmative are very strategic. There are probably enough arguments on both sides to justify different interpretations of how permutation or CP theory in general should go down, that I don’t have strong opinions about many CP related issues.

I tend to think objections to conditionality are rooted in some very valid arguments, however I find myself concluding conditionality is probably more good than bad in my mind. That only means the conditionality debate is totally fair game and I probably have voted conditionality bad as many times as I have voted it is good.

Cheater CPs are cool with me, so feel free to deploy delay, conditions, consult, whatever. I tend to think the theory arguments read in answer to those positions are more persuasive than the answers when argued perfectly, but that in no way makes me more predisposed to reject any kind of CP strategy.

Aly Fiebrantz -- Washburn University

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

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

Pet Peeves that may result in lower speaker points

1) Longer than 20 second overviews on ANYTHING ever.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best speech I've ever seen. 29.8-30

Alyson Escalante -- Concordia University Irvine

The basics money-mouth :

I competed for four years in NPDA/NPTE debate, as well as 2 years in NFA-LD. This is my second year coaching national circuit NPDA debate. In general: I prefer topical affirmatives, I enjoy diverse negative strategies and find one-off critique debate to be a bit stale. You can certainly do whatever you want in front of me, those are just the debates I enjoy watching most.

Theory wink :

If you do not specify or win an alternative framing, I will evaluate all theory through the lens of competing interpretations. For me, this means that you must have a competitive counter interpretation which frames your offense and from which you derive your counter standards. If you do read a reasonability argument you need to clearly establish what reasonability means as well as how I evaluate a theory shit through the lens of reasonability.

I have a relatively low threshold for theory, I do not see it as a question of “real” or “articulated” abuse, but as a debate about the ideal practice within debate. I enjoy theory debate and am more than happy to judge it. I guess my sympathies on theoretical issues are as follows: conditionality is good, the affirmative should be topical, specification is bad, dispositionality is meaningless, pics are good, consult is probably normal means. None of that means that reading those arguments means you win, but I want to be transparent about my own sympathies.

Critiques surprised :

Critique debate is fun or whatever. I mostly read 2 off critique and topicality as a competitor so its definitely one of the forms of debate I’m most used to judging and seeing. Most of my knowledge of critical literature is related to marxism, structuralist criticism, radical feminism, and phenomenology. I am also relatively familiar with poststructural and postmodern criticism, but find that this theory is generally not well suited to parliamentary debate and I have a pretty high threshold in terms of explanation with these arguments. In general, if you have a thesis sheet that explains your general ontological/epistemological/metaphysical theory then I will probably have a better grasp on what you are saying.

Disads sealed :

I really enjoy hegemony, business confidence, and politics disadvantages that do the extra work of making these generic arguments specific to a given resolution. The genericness is not a problem as far as I am concerned, and I find that the repetitive nature of these disadvantages forces a really useful sort of strategic decision making and adaptation. I enjoy good disad debate much more than good critique debate and a well crafted and deployed disadvantage will likely be rewarded with better speaker points.

Non-topical Affirmatives cool :

I think that the affirmative should be topical. If they’re not, that's not the end of the debate (I vote against one-off framework a lot) but you will have to have an actually competitive counter-interpretation, and counter standards that are actually derived from your counter interpretation. “The affirmative should reject the resolution if it is fascist/bad/evil/biopolitical/whatever” is not a competitive counter interpretation and won’t get you far against framework in front of me. In general, you should try to argue more than “the states bad and the resolution uses the state” as a justification for rejecting the topic. Why is the topic uniquely bad, or why is your theory uniquely more important than the topic? Answer those questions and you will probably beat framework in front of me.

Amanda Ozaki-Laughon -- Concordia University Irvine


I am the Director of Debate at Concordia University Irvine. I competed both nationally and locally at PSCFA and NPTE/NPDA tournaments during my 4 years of competition, and this is my 4th year coaching and judging. 

I tend to prefer policy debate, and am sympathetic to trichotomy arguments that say policymaking includes the educational facets of value and fact debate. Value and fact debates are often lacking in the very basic structure of claim+data+warrant, and rarely use terminalized impacts. These shortcomings are much easier to logically rectify if policymaking is used. "should" is not necessary to test whether or not the resolution is true. 

Theory comes first in debate, since it is a debate about the rules. I default to competing interpretations and am unlikely to vote for your counter interpretation if it has no counter standards for that reason. MOs should choose whether to go for topicality or the substance debate and collapse to one OR the other, not both. Likewise, PMRs should choose whether to collapse to MG theory arguments OR the substance debate, not both. 

Kritiks should explain why they turn the AFF and have terminalized impacts. The framework should be utilized as offense to frame out the method of the AFF, and prioritize the impacts of the K. The Alt should explain why they solve for the AFF, and avoid the disadvantages of the link story. I prefer critiques that do not make essentialized claims without warrants about how the AFF's method in particular needs to be rejected. I prefer critical affirmatives be topical in their advocacy statement or policy option. 

Disadvantages should explain why they turn the AFF and have terminalized impacts. Uniqueness claims should be descriptive of the status quo, with a predictive claim about what direction the status quo is heading. Politics disadvantages should have well-warranted link stories that explain why the plan uniquely causes losers/win, winners to lose, etc. 

Counterplans should solve for at least one of the advantages of the AFF. Plan-inclusive counterplans are core negative ground, though perhaps less so on resolutions with 1 topical affirmative (resolutions that require the AFF to pass a bill, for example). I usually default to counterplans competing based on net benefits, and thus permutation arguments need to explain why the perm shields the link to the disadvantage(s). 

Andrea Brown -- Saint Mary's College

  Policy philosophy

I had some college policy years ago but I'm mainly out of experience and have been in parli debate which has different set of norms so walk me through how I should be judging/understanding the round. I don't have policy speed so slow down on your tag and cite then go as fast as you want through the card.

parli philosophy

The shortest description of my philosophy is: It’s your time; you do what you want. 

Partner talk- see above although I only flow what the designated speaker says.

T, theory, C/P, DA, framework, etc.- See above.

I enjoy well run kritiks and critical affs and most likely will boost your speaker points if you go that route. I find it a little too easy to vote for the K perm, I would suggest you put your preempts in LOC. (This does not apply to counterplans)

I will also give you give you better speaker points if you pleasantly surprise me with an argument. You can win with your international relations DA but it’s unlikely to impress me.

Unless you tell me otherwise, all decisions will be based on in-round discourse with preference going to the better warrants and impacts and offense over defense. (But you can still win with only defensive arguments)

I generally do not protect against new arguments but very big, completely new arguments in the PMR might be protected against. This line is mainly so I don't end up stuck making annoying decisions in novice or JV rounds, if in doubt or in open, call the PoO.

I have been working on pushing my speaker point range up. I currently generally give points in the 27-28 range I am fine with speed. I am also open to speed bad arguments.

I need detailed roadmaps before each speech begins (except the PMC).

Ashley Nuckels Cuevas -- San Diego State University

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

TW: Suicide, Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Rape

Overview/ TLDR: I am a flow critic and debate is a game but we should be doing all that we can to make the space accessible to all participants. Clearly state how I should evaluate arguments and I will do that; I do default to competing interpretations and prefer high Probability, low Magnitude and Proximity impacts to high Magnitude and low Probability.  All advocacy, criteria/ROB, and procedural texts should be repeated for clarity in the round. 

Speed: I can keep up and will let you know to be more clear if I need it. If your opponents are unable to engage in speed please be accommodating. 

Procedurals: I really like procedural debate. I enjoy specific interpretations and counterinterps (please repeat these since they are usually pretty important). I need articulated abuse if using an abuse paradigm but I default to a competing interpretations paradigm if not otherwise instructed. 

K's: Run them, have fun, and give me a clear FW, ROB, ALT, and ALT solvency. I prefer K's that have specific link scenarios to the debate round instead of just generic ones. Perms should be repeated so that I can get them down correctly. 

Theory: Like I said before, this is your game, tell me how to evaluate the round and I will operate within those parameters. I generally believe that Conditional Arguments are good but I will not do the work for you on the warrant level.

Pet Peeves: Citing a theory or theorist and expecting everyone to know what you are talking about. 

Ashley Givens (Hired) -- University of Utah

I was active in competing and coaching NPDA from about 2008-2014, but have been out of the circuit for a few years. This means a few things for me:

  1. I do not like spreading and will ask you to slow down if needed- not slowing down will cause me to stop flowing and potentially miss your argument. (closing arguments (last two speeches) should NEVER be speed through) 
  2. Do not assume I know the â??Kâ? or the theories you are presenting. I have not been in the back of the room all year and have not heard your arguments beforeâ?¦
  3. Although I am not be a lay judge and know plenty about debate, I am also not an expert, so donâ??t expect me to be one.
  4. â??Flex timeâ? if available is not flowedâ?¦ any arguments or clarifications that happen during this time will not go on my flow. If you want it in the debate, say it during the debate. 
  5. Just be nice and already have your advocacy written out for the other team. Time will not be given for any team to do this (unless there is flex time and you can use it for this)


Baker Weilert -- Whitman College

Experience: 4 years policy debate in Kansas, 4 years parliamentary debate at Louisiana Tech University, and Arkansas State University. 2 years Assistant Debate Coach at Arkansas State University. Currently Assistant Director of Debate at Whitman College. I was predominantly a one off K debater, if that tells you anything about my preferences. Paradigm: Tab, but I will default flow (in the most literal since of the word, which means you probably wonâ??t like my RFD) so, PLEASE give me the lens you want to be applied so that can be avoided. Speed: You can fly like the wind, with the caveat that I truly believe the best debate occurs at a moderate rate of speed. That being said use whatever strategy you deem necessary, speak as fast as youâ??d like. Positions: I will listen to anything, as long as it has clear structure, and you articulate why/how I should evaluate the position. Abuse: Must show articulated abuse, for example: throw out a crappy DA and point to the No Link as reason why abuse has occurred, or any other creative way you can show me abuse. In Round Behavior: DO NOT BE MEAN, I will tank speaks. Totally fine to be witty, and slightly confrontational, but avoid personal attacks, I would much rather hear you actually debate. Generics: I donâ??t mind generic canned positions, but please take the prep time to make the link level specific. Overall: I believe debate is a creative space, so feel free to run literally anything you want. Enjoy and respect the debate space, and we should be all good. Donâ??t hesitate to ask for clarification on any of the above.

Ben Mann -- University of Utah

They/them or he/him (gender non-binary).

tl;dr for prep time: I evaluate comparative access to comparative impacts. In other words, I will vote for the team that demonstrates to me that they best access the most important impacts in the round. Feel free to read whatever arguments you feel most comfortable with in front of me, including advantages/disadvantages, counterplans, theory, Ks, performance-centered arguments, or any other arrangement inclusive or outside of these categories. I can efficiently flow fast debates, but will say â??SLOWâ? if youâ??re speaking too quickly (generally not an issue) or â??CLEARâ? if I cannot understand your words, regardless of your rate of delivery. I take my role as a critic very seriously and my goal in RFDs is to clearly explain how I reached my decision and offer suggestions in the role of an educator. I will disclose speaker points after my RFD if you ask me to, because I want to be held accountable for why I assign the speaker points that I do. If you have additional questions, feel free to contact me at� benwmann@gmail.com

Everything below is more extensive and substantially less important.


Experience: this is my ninth year involved in NPDA debate (fifth year out of competing) and tenth year involved in forensics. I competed in NPDA debate on the national circuit for four years at Lewis & Clark College, coached NPDA for two years at University of the Pacific where I received my Masterâ??s degree in Communication, and am currently in my third year coaching NPDA at the University of Utah, where I am a primary NPDA coach and a Ph.D. student in Communication.

Things I like:

1.� � � � Strategic decision-making and collapse in the back half of debates.

2.� � � � Clear impact and warrant comparison in rebuttals.

3.� � � � Specific, well-developed link arguments.

Things I donâ??t like:

1.� � � � Blips in constructive speeches that suddenly metamorphize into well-developed arguments in rebuttals.

2.� � � � Using speed and esoteric postmodern jargon for the purposes of excluding other teams.

3.� � � � Treating other teams/competitors poorly,� especiallyif said competitors come from community/junior college programs and/or programs with limited resources.

Other notes:

1.� � � � My average speaker points are 27.5, and will go up or down from there.

2.� � � � Parli is not a textual event. I do not want copies of your advocacies. I� dowant you to slow and/or repeat your advocacies or theory interps.

3.� � � � Call points of order if theyâ??re close. Iâ??ll protect against blatantly new arguments.

4.� � � � MG theory is more in vogue these days, and Iâ??m fine with these arguments. I am, however, sympathetic to neg arguments telling me I should evaluate MG theory differently than other theory arguments because the block is the only chance to respond.

5.� � � � I prefer advocacy-based debates on policy resolutions, but I will listen to debaters/programs who want to engage in trichot-based rounds. If you engage in those debates, I would prefer that you give some sort of stable advocacy statement.

6.� � � � I think conditional Ks are often poorly executed, especially on the framework level. I am not opposed to you reading these arguments, but I am persuaded, for example, by two white people kicking a conditional Wilderson K probably being a link to anti-blackness.

7.� � � � My research areas pertain to disability rhetoric and disabilityâ??s relationship to gender identity/expression. I do not see this being expressly relevant to evaluating debates, but I will call out ableism and disrespect for gender identity/expression.

8.� � � � Iâ??m autistic. I have next-to-no awareness of my affect, including my facial expressions, and I will probably give you little-to-no eye contact. Nothing personal.

9.� � � � I really, really do not care about the impact of my decisions on â??the communityâ? for many reasons, in part because it would compromise my integrity as a critic, and in part because there is no debate community (Jordan & Stewart, 2017).

Bob Becker -- Northwest College

  As a critic, I believe my task is to weigh the issues presented in the round. I don't enjoy intervening, and try not to do so. To prevent my intervention, debaters need to use rebuttals to provide a clear explanation of the issues. Otherwise, if left on my own, I will pick the issues I think are important. All of that said, I am not an information processor. I am a human being and so are you. If you want me to consider an issue in the round, make sure you emphasize it and explain its importance.

When weighing issues, I always look to jurisdictional issues first. I will give the affirmative some leeway on topicality, but if they can't explain why their case is topical, they will lose. Although some arguments are more easily defeated than others, I am willing to listen to most positions. In reality I probably have a somewhat high threshold for topicality, but if you want to win, you need to spend some time on it and not give the aff any way out of it. In-round abuse is not necessary, but if that argument is made against you, then you need to explain why topicality is important (jurisdiction, aff always wins, etc.) I don’t require competing interpretations.

I am fine with critical arguments, but you need to explain how they impact the round. I have found few students can explain how I should evaluate real-world impacts in a debate world, or how I should evaluate and compare real world and debate world impacts. I’m fine with critical affs, but you better have some good justification for it. “We don’t like the resolution” doesn’t cut it with me. If your critical arguments conflict with your disad, you better have some “contradictory arguments good” answers.

Performance based argument need to be sufficiently explained as to how they prove the resolution true or false. Or, I need to know how to evaluate it. If you don’t tell me, I will evaluate it as I would an interp round.

As with everything else, it depends on how the impacts are explained to me. If one team says “one million deaths” and the other says “dehume,” but doesn’t explain why dehume is worse than deaths, I’ll vote for death. If the other team says dehume is worse because it can be repeated and becomes a living death, etc., then I’ll vote for dehume. I think I’m telling you that abstract impacts need to be made concrete, but more importantly, explain what the issue is and why I should consider it to be important.

I don't mind speed, but sometimes I physically can't flow that fast. I will tell you if I can't understand you. Remember, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure I understand what you are saying. Above all, be professional. This activity is fun. That’s why I’m here, and I hope that is the reason you are here as well.

Braden Hooton (Hired) -- University of Utah

Theory: I like it. I ran it a lot as a competitor.

Ks: Run if you want but they are not preferable for me. I have little to no knowledge of the lit.

Speed: Fine with speed but I have been away from debate so I may be rusty. I will clear you.

CP/DA/Perms: I like these strats. I prefer case debates.

Background: I competed for 3 years at the University of Utah in NPDA and IEs. I graduated last year and have not been around Parli since 2017 NPDA/NPTE. I will not be well read in K lit because of my degree and occupation so please do not assume I will know any authors or theories. Pronouns: He or Him.


General Information:

Theory: Please feel free to run when I am a critic. Make sure your theory arguments are flushed out and have impacts for me to weigh.  I refuse to do any extra work for debaters because I believe it harms fairness in the round. I will vote for winning theory shells.

Framework: Very important. Please tell me how you want me to view the round and why it is important. I default to weighing the round through a lens of timeframe/probability/magnitude.

K Debates: I ran kritiks during my collegiate career and understand their importance for debate. However, I am not well read on the literature because of my time away from debate, field of study, and occupation. Assume I do not know anything about your K or the lit you are referencing in the round. As a result, I will favor case debates. I am fine with all topic areas but that does not mean your opponent is comfortable with the discussion or that I will vote for it. Be fair and kind to your competition.

Speed: I am fine with most speeds. I value clarity over everything else. If I cannot understand you, I will say clear. Again, I am returning to debate at this tournament so I may be rusty in terms of flowing.

Case/CP/DA/etc: Totally fine with this strat. Probably the primary strat I ran when I competed. Please provide copies of the CP in the round. I cannot describe how much I love a great econ DA/advantage. Please warrant out links and internal links.

Perms: Cool with me. However, be prepared to defend your perm in the round. I do not see perms as advocacies unless told otherwise.

Brent Nicholson -- University of Missouri - Columbia

**An argument consists of both a claim and a warrant. If you make claims without providing evidence which explains why that claim is true, I will not vote for that argument. Saying that a study concluded that your claim is true or that a news source claims it is not enough. You need to explain what that study did to conclude that or explain the reasoning of the news source which you reference.**

This philosophy should give you a look into the way I think, but I believe that it will be totally sufficient given my outlook on debate. In the past, Iâ??ve tried to be comprehensive, but I think that that lead to folks misinterpreting my thoughts on debate. Do not take my brevity to mean that I donâ??t have thoughts about debate, but rather that I think my own opinions ought not matter to you as a debater â?? this is, after all, your activity.

My goal as a judge is to adapt to the round that the debaters have. This may seem to be empty to yâ??all, and thatâ??s fine, but my goal as a coach and judge is to facilitate debate rounds that debaters want to have. I feel capable of judging any debate and would encourage you to do you when I am your judge.

With that said, youâ??ll probably want a few things that I start off with to keep in mind.

- I assume all negative advocacies are conditional unless stated otherwise.

- I think timeframe and probability are more important than magnitude, but no one ever does the work, so I end up voting for extinction impacts.

- Give your opponentsâ?? arguments the benefit of the doubt. Theyâ??re probably better than you give them credit for and underestimating them will hurt your own chances of winning.

- Role of the ballot arguments do not make sense to me: if you have to win that the aff/neg does something good to meet the role of the ballot, it seems like youâ??ve already won the regular-old impact debate. Keep trying! But be aware that I was probably already voting for you if you won an impact.

Brett Delaney (Hired) -- University of Utah

I have been around the debate community since 2003. I participated in CX in HS , Parli for my college years, and have maintained a loose coaching and judging relationship with Parli since. I am okay with any argument. I try to be as blank slate as possible, but want to hear impact analysis in the rebuttals, with attention to magnitude, timeframe, and probability. I also like to hear how I privilege those three weightings and how your best arguments fit. In other words, youâ??ll be doing yourself a favor by telling me how your opponents arguments fit within those parameters as well as your own, which gives me a more objective way (i.e. based on your argumentation, not my predispositions) to determine where on my flow I look to make my decision. Iâ??m comfortable with role of the ballot argumentation, a core component of procedurals, and am also willing to hear Kritiks, performance, etc. I only ask that you do the work to explain the jargon at the impact and advocacy level so everyone knows the stakes and access to the ballot. I donâ??t like cheap tricks like spreading for the sake of extending that blipped Topicality Voter that no one cares about. But.. if Iâ??m told early that debate is a game where drops play some competitive role, Iâ??ll do my best to remove said preferences from my decision.  Lastly, to address the age-old question that comes up before rounds: I think intelligent argument selection and articulation is more effective than speed alone in rhetoric. We gravitate to the arguments you slow down for and put some ethos behind, so try not to forget your audience. That said, be nice and have fun!

Brigette Mora -- Illinois Institute of Technology

Overall,K's and T's pushes me to intervene in the debate. So please don't put me into that situation unless NEEDED.  I am not a fan of K's, so run them at your own risk because I do not buy K's that often. In my opinion it can take away ground for Neg, so if you do run a K and Neg runs a ground loss argument.. you're are screwed because I will agree with ground loss arguments.

Topicality is fine when needed. If it is being thrown around as a time suck, and if it is pointed out by AFF...I will know, and will not push it through voters on my end. T should be Structured with explicit impacts. Again, run T when it is necessary and show me the ground loss. 

I believe in heavy clash, dropped arguments can count against you if they are called out by the other team. Turn impacts when possible. Also, I don't do sheets system, I flow everything horizontally on a flow pad. I am lenient on definitions, if they are contextual and or derived from the dictionary. Partner communication is ok with me but not while your partner is mid-speech (you can pass notes during speech). I value authenticity, so a conversational tone (this doesn't mean slow speaking, IMP/EXT tempo) is the best way to get high speaks with me. I like having fun rounds and not everything has to be political. Humor in debate is a plus. Please time each other and keep each other accountable. Overall just be nice to each other as debaters.  ALSO, please call point of orders when necessary.

Just so you know

4 year debate experience
2 year judging experience - Parli, IPDA, LD, and Policy

Brigitte Tripp -- University of Minnesota

General: I debated at Lewis and Clark from 2012-2015 and was MG/LO. I also did four years of policy debate in high school. I am new ish to judging (Nats '18, LC '18 and Washburn '18). What should be taken from my philosophy is that while I have preferences y'all should just do you. I would rather see the debate that you are best at/most excited about rather than an attempt at catering to me. Also, if it helps my style of judging is very techy and flow based.

I am most knowledgeable about international politics, the environment and issues concerning animal rights (anthropocentrism). I further, am quite familiar with Lacan and Baudrillard. Outside of these areas it would be wise to assume that I have not read your literature base.

Topicality: I LOVE T and am such a T hack. Weird, wonky T's are highly encouraged. I will always evaluate a T and feel very comfortable judging this debate. In order for me to vote on T it needs to have all of the proper components ie interp, violation, standards, voters and an evaluation mechanism. Violations need to be articulated saying that the aff violates is insufficient (explain how they violate). Also I think limits is the best standard and ground is the worst (but do you). I tend to default to competing interpretations unless given a mechanism to evaluate what "reasonable" is and a reason to prefer it as such. Additionally, I do not need proven in round abuse to vote on topicality though proving abuse will certainly strengthen your case. Also say the interp twice please. Oh and if you're the aff and plan was rez unless the words extra of effects topicality are in the LOC shell feel free to spend very little time on the topicality as long as you say point out both of these things. However, I will vote on a T even if plan is rez if the aff does not use this argument to get out of a topicality. I will not vote on rvis.

Theory: I'll listen to it, do you but I won't love listening to disclosure or no neg fiat. However, I will still vote on both of those things if that's what you're into saying. I will default to competing interpretations unless told otherwise.

Counterplans: Don't have a lot of strong opinions on CPs. Down to hear theory both ways but generally tend to think that condo is good and cheater cps are bad but again I will still evaluate why delay is good or condo is bad.

Advantages/Disads: Please say them I love a good policy debate.

The K: I am not well versed in K literature which means at some point you should explain the thesis of your K, preferably as if I was five. In terms of running the K links should be specific and there should be a clear framework or role of the ballot argument so I understand how you would like me to evaluate the K against the aff and the text of the alt should be said twice. When answering the K I prefer to hear link or impact turns but am willing to vote on theory that the neg shouldn't be allowed to read a K. I'm also down to hear the K aff just make it clear whether or not you are defending fiat and have a clear advocacy text.

As a final note I am currently undergoing various medical treatments for chronic migraine and a thorasic disc disruption. Point being, one of my new medications causes my hands to shake very slightly. While I have not found this to impede my ability to flow it is extremely difficult for me to get down texts word for word. I ask that debaters please provide me with written copies of alternative or counterplan texts as well as any theory interpretations.

Brittany Hubble -- El Camino College



I competed in debate for El Camino College for 2 years from 2013-2015 and I have been coaching parli for El Camino since. While I attended many CC tournaments, I also competed at several 4-year tournaments including NPDA and NPTE. My partner and I ran all types of arguments in debate (policy, critical affs, kritiks, etc.), but typically leaned towards policy debate. However, you are welcome to debate any way you like, but you should be prepared to justify your strategy if it is called into question. I tend to favor the strategy that is the smartest, most warranted and best for winning that round. 


You should have them! I believe it is your job to tell me which impacts should carry the most weight in the round and why. I have no problem voting on a nuclear war or economic collapse scenario as long as you have a clear warranted story to explain how you get there. I am also not opposed to you asking me to prefer systemic impacts. It is really up to you, but I will usually default to net benefits and evaluate the impacts using timeframe, probability and magnitude unless I am told otherwise. I really really like impact calc and think it is a necessary component to winning a debate. 

Case Debate:

I really enjoy the case debate and I really dislike debates where the aff is never discussed. You should engage with the aff no matter what you are running on the neg. Case turns and offense on case are awesome. I am not opposed to voting on 8 minutes of case out of the LO…in fact this is a great strategy for refuting both policy and critical affs when done well. 


Love them. Case specific disads with nuanced internal link stories are great. Please make sure they are not linear, as I will have a low threshold for voting on the aff outweighing on probability. 


Another excellent negative strategy. There should be a net benefit to the CP, competitiveness and it should solve the aff. Topical counterplans are fine. PICs are fine but I am also open to hearing why PICs or other types of counterplans are bad. Again, you just need to justify your strategy and win why it is a good idea. 


I am not a fan of multiple conditional advocacies but you can read them if you want. In general, I prefer unconditional advocacies and have no problem voting on condo bad. However, if you win the condo debate I will still vote for you and wont punish you for it. 


I think there are a lot of rounds where the K is the best and sometimes only good negative strategy. However, I prefer case/topic specific links and arguments other than “they used the state.” I am not saying this can’t be a link, but you should probably have more compelling ones. I also really like well-warranted solvency that is specific to your method/alternative. You should be well versed in the lit supporting your arguments. I don’t like people blurting out tags and then having no idea how to explain them. I think you should call people out on this and use it as offense against them. You should also not assume that I have read the lit on your K and know all of the terms you are using. You are not doing yourself any good by confusing both your opponents and me. Most of this applies to the K on the aff as well. I prefer critical affs that defend the topic or use the topic as a springboard for discussion. I will vote on affs that do not depend the topic, but I will also entertain arguments that say you should. 

Identity Arguments:

With the increase in identity arguments being proposed in debate, there is something you should know. While I understand their purpose and ability to be an avenue for individuals to promote advocacy, I find them difficult to evaluate and I am probably not the judge for you. Past experiences debating them have produced triggering memories and force me to include a bias when deciding rounds. I have been in a round where debate became an unsafe space and I would hate to have to adjudicate a round that would recreate that for another individual. 


I think theory is a great tool for both the aff and neg to secure ground in the debate and explain why certain arguments should be excluded from a debate. Your argument should have impacts! Don’t just say it is bad for education or fairness then move on. You should also have counterinterps, reasons to prefer, offense, etc. against theory to win. 


Speed is fine but please be clear. I don’t see how it is beneficial for making arguments that only your partner can hear and understand. I also believe the round should be accessible and you should respect a clear. There is nothing impressive about being a bully and spreading someone out of a round after they have repeatedly asked you to slow down. You should probably be able to win without it. Otherwise, I should have no problem flowing you and think speed should be used as a tool to make a lot of good arguments. 

Defending the Topic:

Whether or not you choose to defend the topic is up to you. I think you should provide substantial justifications for why you should be required to defend the topic. I will not drop a team for choosing not defend the topics, as I feel the debate space is yours to decide how to manage. However, I believe there are valid arguments to be made why defending the topic is important and how abandoning the topic can be bad. I find it best when negative teams engage with the affirmative in addition to justifying why they should defend the topic. I have both voted for and against teams on framework as well. You really just need to win the argument. 

Speaker Points:

If you can do the above well, you will probably receive good speaker points from me. Being new to judging and understanding that speaker points can impact you in a tournament in ways other than speaker awards, I would say that I am currently on the more generous side of awarding speaker points. That is not to say I just hand out 30s or will not tank your points for being a jerk. I have a very low tolerance for offensive rhetoric or rudeness in rounds. 


Be organized and sign post. Don’t assume you want me to apply arguments in specific places without being told to. I have pretty apparent nonverbals and you can usually tell if I think your argument is bad. You should probably use that to your advantage and move on. Read plan texts, advocacies, interpretations, counterinterps, role of the ballots, etc. twice and give a copy to your opponents if they want one. I prefer policy debate over value debate and think you can discuss the same arguments in a policy round more effectively. Overall, I think you should have fun with the debate and make it fun for everyone. I am open to answering questions to clarify anything or regarding specifics that may relate to your round. 

As flex time has been introduced, I am not particularly receptive to you asking for a copy of every interp, plan, ROB, etc. during speeches. This also means that you don't get to wait to start your flex until you get copies of whatever you want a copy of. Your flex starts immediately after the previous speech. I also don't think it is a particularly strong theoretical argument to claim that you should be handed these texts during the speech. This is parli not policy and you should be flowing these things. That is not to say I will not vote on theory that claims you should be granted these luxuries, but I believe making case arguments are a much better use of your time. 

I also don't really believe in RVIs especially on theory. 

Caitlin Smith -- University of Minnesota

Experience/General Stuff:

I debated 4 years of NPDA/NPTE parli in college for Wheaton (graduated May 2017) and 4 years of LD in high school. I coach parli and policy at the University of Minnesota and LD at Apple Valley High School. I care deeply about debate, about equity in it, access to it, and very much believe in the power it has to change lives. I believe that debate is simultaneously a game and the real world, so I refuse to check my status as a moral agent at the door. Iâ??m fine with speed and will clear you if you pass my threshold (which is unlikely). Please say all plans/CPâ??s/T-interps/alts/etc. slowly and twice and take at least one question in your speech (if flex time/CX isnâ??t happening). Please be respectful of your opponents and partner.

Overall Note:

I believe that the technical aspects of debate are tools we use to allow us to understand and engage with the substance of arguments more deeply. I therefore do not think that tech is a substitute for substantive engagement. I value more highly arguments that engage with the opposing positions substantively than ones that merely do so technically (while to do both is truly masterful debate).

AD/DA/CP Debate:

I never got deep into complicated economic or political AD/DA debate as a competitor, so I will be largely limited to my understanding of what you put out in a given round. If youâ??re clear, there shouldnâ??t be a problem, just donâ??t expect me to know what various terms or abbreviations mean off the bat or grant you internal warrants without clear explanations.


Please do it. This will make my job a lot easier, and also make it a lot more likely that I see the round the way that you would like me to. I will evaluate the round as you tell me to but, that said, I default to probability first and will have a substantially lower threshold than most parli judges to vote on systemic/materialized/highly probable impacts (given any arguments being made that I should prefer them). This does not mean I will not vote on nuclear, disaster, etc. scenarios, just that I will not accept prima facie an unwarranted claim that those impacts outweigh all other things if your opponents are making arguments to the contrary.


Win the debate on whatever layer you would like. My threshold to vote on theory is determined by the extent to which a clear impact on the shell is articulated and weighed. I also believe that standards should be contextualized to your opponentsâ?? position. I find great problems in reading generic reasons why policy is good against non-T affs because I very much believe that theory should be about bringing questions of how debate ought function into the conversation, rather than forcing certain ideas out. This doesnâ??t mean donâ??t read theory in those situations, but that, if youâ??re going to, I will hold you to a high standard.


I debated lots of Kâ??s in my time in parli and I love them. The biggest thing I need is clear alt texts and alt solvency. Tell me the (presumably very good) reasons your K matters in this round/against this case/whatever and give me a clear picture of what your alt is going to look like, and I will be happy. I really hate chicken-and-egg style root cause debates and would much prefer to hear substantive debate about the issues in the K. Please donâ??t assume I know your literature. I will vote on what is said in the round, not my prior knowledge of your particular author.


Debate is both a game and the real world. Bringing real world issues to the forefront within debate rounds is simultaneously extremely important and extremely difficult. It definitely creates change in our community and, as such, is something I take very seriously. I will attempt to evaluate every round as fairly as I can, while recognizing I do not check my status as a moral agent at the door. The one thing I like to be clear in these debates, therefore, is the role of the judge. I donâ??t mean that you have to include me in your movement, make me feel comfortable, or anything like that; I mean expecting me to evaluate what Iâ??m supposed to do at the end of a debate round, with many moral issues on the table and no framework to deal with them, has the potential to give me a major panic attack. I donâ??t say this because I anticipate any such problem, but simply because it is a very real concern for my mental health.

Speaker Points:

26-30, unless you do something very rude or exclusionary.

Caitlyn Burford -- Northern Arizona University

Burford, Caitlyn (Northern Arizona University)

She/her are my pronouns.

Update: K's with bomb links are my love language.  K's with horrible links make me want to cry.

Update #2: I like learning new things.  If I can learn something new about how the world works after leaving a debate I am stooooooooked!



This is my ninth year judging and coaching debate, and I spent four years competing in college. Please feel free to ask me specific questions before the round.


Specific Inquiries



1.         General Overview 

I think debate is a unique competitive forum to discuss issues within our rhetoric about the state, power, race, gender, etc. in a space that allows us to rethink and critically assess topics.  This can come through a net benefit analysis of a proposed government plan, through a micro political action or statement, through a critique, or through some other newfangled performance you come up with.  In that sense, I think debate is a rhetorical act that can be used creatively and effectively. Running a policy case about passing a piece of legislation has just as many implications about state power and authority as a critique of the state.  The differences between the two types just have to do with what the debaters choose to discuss in each particular round. There are critical implications to every speech act.  Affirmative cases, topicalities, procedurals, kritiks, and performances can all be critically analyzed if the teams take the debate there.  Thus, framework is imperative.  I’ll get there shortly.  You can run whatever you want as long as a) you have a theoretical justification for running the position, and b) you realize that it is still a competitive debate round so I need a reason to vote for something at some point.  (a.k.a Give me a framework with your poetry!). 


2.        Framework 

This often ends up as the most important part of a lot of debates. If both teams are running with net benefits, great, but I still think there is area to weigh those arguments differently based on timeframe, magnitude, structural weight, etc.  This kind of framework can make your rebuttal a breeze.  In a debate that goes beyond a net benefits paradigm, your framework is key to how I interpret different impacts in the round.  Choose your frameworks strategically and use them to your advantage.  If the whole point of your framework is to ignore the case debate, then ignore the case debate.  If the whole point of your framework is to leverage your case against the critique, then tell me what the rhetorical implications (different than impacts) are to your case.


3.         Theory

            It’s important to note that theory positions are impact debates, too.  Procedural positions, topicalities, etc. are only important to the debate if you have impacts built into them.  If a topicality is just about “fairness” or “abuse” without any articulation as to what that does, most of these debates become a “wash”.  So, view your theory as a mini-debate, with a framework, argument, and impacts built into it.


4.         Counterplan Debate

            This is your game. I don’t think I have a concrete position as to how I feel about PICS, or intrinsicness, or textual/functional competition.  That is for you to set up and decide in the debate.   I have voted on PICS good, PICS bad, so on and so forth. That means that it all has to do with the context of the specific debate. Just make your arguments and warrant them well.  Unless I am told otherwise, I will assume the CP is unconditional and my role as a judge it to vote for the best advocacy.


5.         Round Evaluation

            Again, framework is important.  Procedurals, case debate, and critique debate should all have frameworks that prioritize what I look at in the round. In the rare case that neither team does any framing on any of the arguments, I will typically look at the critique, then topicality/procedurals, then the case. Because the critique usually has to do with some sort of education affecting everyone in the room, it will usually come before a procedural that affects the “fairness” of one team. (Again, this is only absent any sort of weighing mechanism for any of the arguments.)  If there is a topicality/procedural run without any voters, I won’t put them in for you and it will be weighed against the case.  I will not weigh the case against the critique unless I am told how and why it can be weighed equally.  

            A concrete argument is always going to have a bit more weight than an abstract argument.  A clear story with a calculated impact will probably outweigh an uncalculated potential impact.  (i.e. “15,000 without food” vs. a “decrease in the quality of life”). But, if you calculate them out and do the work for me, awesome.  If I have to weigh two vague abstract arguments against each other, i.e. loss of identity vs. loss of freedom, then I will probably revert to the more warranted link story.


6.         Speed, Answering Questions, and Other General Performance Things

            I’m fine with speed.  Don’t use it as a tool to exclude your other competitors if they ask you to slow down, please do.  It’s your round!  Do what you want!

Chris Miles -- Saint Mary's College

  Mid-season change for NPDA/NPTE I am really annoyed by the amount of theory arguments that I have been judging. I will be massively increasing my threshold on these arguments and will generally default to reasonability for most arguments besides topicality. I will also probably cap your speaker points at like 27.

TOO LONG DIDN’T READ: You do you. If you bring me chai I will give block 30’s. If you have questions then ask me.

I am a former debater for FOHS, KCKCC, and Missouri Western State University. I have been involved in HS policy, NPDA/NPTE, and CEDA/NDT for 10 years. I debated many styles. People never read these, but here is a tldr.

The K if it’s your thing then do it. I don’t care that much about FW in the LOC/1NC. Have overviews and link package. I hate R.O.B comes first claims. Explain things to me.

Theory Slow down for the interp. Proven abuse is better. Simple interps are good. Multiple violations bad. If reading multiple theory positions put them on different sheets. read standards and voters.

Topicality (see above) I prefer pseudo topical to not topical.

DA/ CP Read them. Good advantage cp’s are nice.

Perms are test of competition. I think external net-benefits to permutations are the worst, don’t do them. read 1 and explain it. I treat them like text, so I prefer you slow down and read them twice.

Offense vs. Defense Read both. Will vote on terminal defense.

Aff’s have one. don’t say try or die 200 times. read internal link arguments. Be inherent. Be consistent.

Method/Performance I like knowing what the method is to a performance argument is and think that both are equally important and should be defended. I think that these arguments in general should have a method that is helpful for more than just the reader.

Connor Golden -- United States Air Force Academy

               I value a team that is able to present both a logical and persuasive argument. Further, I do not flow at fast speeds so spreading your case to me is unwise. Though I will not vote down K’s as a whole, I will vote down any K’s that have impacts solely in the pre-fiat world thereby not having engagement with the resolution. This includes but is not limited to identity K’s.


Dalton Richardson -- University of Oregon

If you have questions, feel free to email me at drichard@uoregon.edu or find the Oregon prep room.

I’ve been involved in debate in some capacity, either as a competitor or a coach/critic, for the past eight years. Across my time with debate, I’ve read and judged nearly every genre of argument and feel comfortable evaluating any type or style of debate. I find tech to be the easiest mechanism through which I can evaluate arguments, but this does not mean that truth is absent from my decision calculus. Speed isn’t an issue, but clarity feels increasingly rare in debate. Furthermore, you shouldn’t make any assumptions about my personal knowledge – I won’t backfill warrants you don’t read nor will I automatically vote for you because you read an argument that stems from an ideology I occupy. Finally, I best understand debate as a game where arguments act as pieces with which debaters can make various moves in an attempt to capture my ballot.

I need pen time. Read texts/interps twice, and if you want me to get them down word for word then give me a copy. Just because we have flex time doesn’t absolve you from having to write texts/interps for your opponents – I’m tired of flex time starting after minutes of writing texts that could have easily been written prior to the round. Your perm should identify what the non-competitive portions of the counterplan/alternative are if the negative has failed to do so, and they are not advocacies.


Absent an alternative, I default to a net benefits framework operationalized under an offense/defense paradigm. Framing is particularly important as it helps me to better understand which impacts I should prioritize or resolve with my ballot; as a result, role of the ballot claims often feel unnecessary when they are just intertwined with framework. If you like going for role of the ballot arguments as part of your strategy then don’t let me stop you, but they rarely seem to develop into anything substantive beyond the constructives (but I’d love to be proven wrong about this, as I think there are interesting debates to be had about the purpose of the ballot). I have yet to see many debates that center on AFC, but my gut reaction is that being affirmative doesn’t mean your framework choice is incontestable.

Framework and topicality are most persuasive to me when they answer the question “Should this particular affirmative have been read?” rather than nebulous justifications for the way debates ought occur. Therefore, comparative analysis is necessary – compare the world of the negative’s interpretation with that of the affirmative’s interpretation with regard to the impacts of the position. Specifically, show me how the standards of your interpretation best resolve the impacts of fairness and/or education. On the flip side, conditionality bad and other forms of theory feel more designed to punish actions that have occurred in the round with the intent to stop those actions from occurring in the future. Overall, I don’t have any strong feelings regarding conditionality, so I can be equally persuaded to vote either way. I’m much more hesitant to vote on other types of theory, such as “you must give us your interp within X minutes” or “you cannot read two theory positions” as they often end up unnecessarily convoluted and seem to skirt the overall substance of debate.


Disads are great. I read them a lot as a debater, and I enjoy specific link level analysis as well as impact interaction that begins in the first neg speech. Tell me how your impact scenario complicates the aff’s scenarios and what that means for the progression of the debate. Offense is often underutilized on disadvantages, likely because it’s easier to think of defense rather than offense; as a result, accurate offense read on disads will be rewarded with higher speaker points.


I assume all counterplans to be conditional unless otherwise stated. I have a special place in my heart for advantage counterplans and PICs. I have a high threshold for "cheating" counterplans, such as delay, veto, plan is a secret, and other positions like that. I believe multiple contradictory counterplans to be abusive but I can be persuaded otherwise.


I enjoy good kritik debate, as those were the debates I most often found myself in as a debater. I also feel that these types of debates often suffer greatly from shadow extensions and a general lack of warrants, particularly when comparing the world of the alternative to the world of the aff's advocacy. Specific link analysis is your best friend in this debate, as I believe there are situations in which the link to the K is tenuous at best or nonexistent at worst. K vs K debates often come down to root cause claims, so ensure that you have a robust defense of your impact controlling the root cause debate and explain how your impacts frame other impacts. Finally, if you enjoy framing your opponent out, tell me why your framing means I don't even evaluate the aff/K beyond just mentioning that it does. I find that debaters often rely on claiming they've framed out their opponents without actually telling me how they do or what it means for my evaluation of the debate.

I am most familiar with Marxism, CRT (specifically afropessimism), queer theory, biopolitics, and anthro literature, but have some knowledge of postmodern theorists like Deleuze and Guattari, Foucault, and others. I hate hate hate psychoanalysis for a litany of reasons. I enjoy innovate and non-traditional kritikal strategies and arguments. Even though I am open to arguments about the harmful nature of flow-centric debate, I find it hard to separate my decision from the flow and need very well impacted out justifications for ignoring the flow.

A Final Note

Debate has been incredibly important to me, and I take my job as a critic very seriously. I enjoy educating students and helping them become better debaters. If you have questions, ask and I will try my best to explain my response in a way that is accessible to you. Simultaneously, I do not respond well (read, at all) to abrasive or intentionally inflammatory communication post round.

If you made it this far in my philosophy, make a cool reference about sharks, Nintendo, or Pokémon and I'll add an extra point to your speaks.

Daniel Armbrust -- University of Nevada, Reno


TL;DR- I don't care what you read, just give me a reason to vote for you.

DISCLAIMER- AN important note before you keep reading, discussion of mental health is important, but I have discovered that in the past few years I cannot really handle those discussions very well in debate. Please avoid those arguments as much as possible for my sake. IF the topic asks you to run arguments discussing mental health, that cannot be avoided and is fine. I appreciate a warning in advance if you plan on running arguments discussing mental health. Thank you!

Section 1: General Info

I debated for the University of Nevada from 2012-2017. My final year I was 8th speaker at the NPDA and 2nd seed out of prelims. As a debater I ran anything from spec to high theory criticisms. The only argument I refused to read because I think it is cheating unless you can use cards is Delay Counterplans. That being said I have voted for a disgusting number of Delay counterplans. Run what you want, I don't really care as long as you give me a reason to vote for you.Ã? 

Section 2: Specific Questions

1. Speaker points

As of right now I range from approximately 26-30. I think speaker points are arbitrary and often tend to be higher if you know the people in the room so I usually trend higher in order to off balance my inherent bias.

2. How do you approach critically framed arguments? can affs run critical arguments? Can critical arguments be "contradictory" with other neg positions?Ã? 
Let me put it like this, in the last two years of debate, I ran a K every neg round I could. In the 2015-16 season I only had 3 rounds the entire year that did not involve a criticism. I think critically framed arguments are not only good but on occasion necessary. For affs, its a bit of a different story, Framework I think is a convincing argument in some situations but leaves a bad taste in others. FOR ALL CRITICISMS AFF OR NEG, all i really need is a thesis of some kind (I haven't read a bunch of different authors so I need something to like understand) and a reason to vote for you.Ã? 

3. Performance arguments

Some of the best affs I have ever seen were performance based. Shout out to Quintin Brown (from Washburn if you don't know him) for reading some of the best and most persuasive performance arguments I have ever seen. Just be prepared to answer Framework.Ã? 

4. Topicality- For the aff, to avoid T, all you have to do is be topical. I prefer nuanced and educational T debates, not just throw away debates that are really there as a time suck. I am almost never persuaded by an RVI. AND if you decide to go for an RVI, it better be the ENTIRE PMR. For T to be persuasive, it needs an interp, violation, standards, voters.Ã? 

5. Counterplans- Pics good or bad? should opp identify the status of CP? perms-- text comp ok? functional comp?Ã? 

uhh, PICs are good as long as they are able to be theoretically defended. Theory against CPs is something I did as an MG all the time, it just might not be a great strat if there is an easy DA against the CP. I think that most people should run CPs that functionally competitive unless you have a REALLY good reason why your text comp needs to happen in this instance (for example a word PIC that changes the word run with a reason why that specific word is bad). Just clarify the status when you read it.Ã? 

6. Is it acceptable for teams to share their flowed arguments with each other during the round?

Dont care.

7. How do you weight arguments when they are not explicitly weighed by the debaters or when weighing claims are diametrically opposed how do you compare abstract impacts against concrete impacts?Ã? 

If i have to do this, I will be angry with you. You do the weighing and it will not be a problem :)

Random thoughts:Ã? 
I love the Bee Movie, Conspiracy theories, and really wonky arguments.

David Hansen -- Texas Tech University

  Hey there! I competed for 2 years at Snow College and 3 years at William Jewell College. I am a second year graduate teaching assistant at Texas Tech University. My preferred pronouns are he/him/his.

General Notes

I believe that NPDA is a unique and amazing format. Making your critical, framework, and theory arguments specific to NPDA is a great way to win more debates.

Interpretations and advocacies should at least be read twice and slowly. Ideally you provide the judge(s) and competitors with a copy.

Pretty much nothing in my philosophy is absolute.

I tend to believe that the way we discuss the world has real impacts outside of the debate round.

If debaters are debating ethically, I tend to believe that framework arguments are more persuasive than the arguments against it. However, I will vote based on how the debate plays out. If you win that defending the topic is bad and you reject the topic, you will likely win the debate.

An argument without a warrant isn’t an argument.

I tend to believe that recording, sharing, and watching rounds is good for debate.

Theory and Framework

I love a great theory or framework shell. I am happy to vote here. I think debaters need to step outside our normal buzzwords and discuss how our interpretations alter the debate game and our education.

Counter Plans

I’m uncertain about conditionality. I am sympathetic to arguments about the MG being key and difficult. However, I also believe the negative should have some flexibility. Feel free to run your shell. Feel free to be conditional. I will vote depending on how condo plays out.

PIC’s are usually abusive in NPDA debate, but often strategic and occasionally justified – especially if the topic provides aff flex.

Delay is almost always bad, so are process CP’s.


These are fine. I read them a lot, went for them occasionally. Please provide early thesis-level analysis. I think most K shells I’ve seen are incredibly inefficient and vulnerable to impact turns. Teams should likely cut major portions of their FW page and instead develop solvency and internal links to the case.

MG’s should be more willing to go hard right (or left) to answer K’s. The aff probably links to Cap, but there is SUBSTANTIAL lit in favor of cap.


I think performance arguments can be amazing. However, they are easy to do inefficiently and hard to do well. An aff that is rejecting the motion needs to justify why: 1. Your thing matters more than the topic 2. Why you can’t discuss your thing on this topic OR 3. Why your thing is a prior question to the topic.

On the neg, you need to prove that you are an opportunity cost to the aff. Maybe it’s as simple as you need to keep debating, but you need a reason.


David Worth -- Rice University

David Worth – Rice

D.O.F., Rice University

Parli Judging Philosophy

Note: If you read nothing else in this, read the last paragraph.

I’ll judge based on given criteria/framework. I can think in more than one way. This means that the mechanisms for deciding the round are up for debate as far as I’m concerned. My decision is based mostly on how the debaters argue I should decide the round but I will intervene if the round demands it. There are many cases where this might be necessary: If asked to use my ballot politically for example, or if both sides fail to give me a clear mechanism for voting, or if I know something to factually incorrect (if someone is lying). In these cases, I try to stay out of the decision as much as I can but I don’t believe in the idea that any living person is really a blank slate or a sort of argument calculator.

I prefer debates that are related to the topic.

I will not vote for an argument that I don’t understand. If I can’t figure it out from what you’ve said in the round, I can’t vote on it.

I will admit that I am tired of debates that are mostly logic puzzles. I am tired of moving symbols around on paper. Alts and plan texts that are empty phrases don’t do it for me anymore. The novelty of postmodern critique that verges on--or actually takes the leap into--nihilism has worn off. I don’t think there’s much value anymore in affirming what we all know: That things can be deconstructed and that they contain contradictory concepts. It is time for us to move beyond this recognition into something else. Debate can be a game with meaning.

Warrants: I will not vote for assertions that don’t at least have some warrant behind them. You can’t say “algae blooms,” and assume I will fill in the internals and the subsequent impacts for you. You don’t get to just say that some counter-intuitive thing will happen. You need a reason that that lovely regionally based sustainable market will just magically appear after the conveniently bloodless collapse of capitalism. I’m not saying I won’t vote for that. I’m just saying you have to make an argument for why it would happen. NOTE: I need a good warrant for an "Independent Voting Issue" that isn't an implication of a longer argument, procedural, or somehow otherwise developed. Just throwing something in as a “voter” will not get the ballot. I reserve the right to gut-check these. If there is not warrant or if the warrant makes no sense to me, I won't vote on it.

Defense can win, too. That doesn’t mean that a weaker offensive argument with risk can’t outweigh defense, it simply means that just saying, “oh that’s just defense,” won’t make the argument go away for me. Debate is not football. There’s no presumption in the NFL, so that analogy is wrong.

You need to deal with all the line-by-line stuff but should not fail to frame things (do the big picture work) for me as well. It’s pretty rare that I vote on one response but it’s equally rare that I will vote on the most general level of the ideas. In a bind, I will vote for what’s easier to believe and/or more intuitive.

Speed is fine as long as you are clear. There are days when I need you to slow down a tad. I have battled carpal/cubital tunnel off and on for a few years and sometimes my hand just does not work quite as well. I’ll tell you if you need to clear up and/or slow down, but not more than a couple of times. After that, it’s on you.

Please slow down for the alt texts, plans, advocacies, etc., and give me a copy too. If I don’t have it, I can’t vote for it.

Strong Viewpoints: I haven’t yet found "the" issue that I can’t try to see all sides of.

Points of Order: Call them—but judiciously. I’ll probably know whether the argument is new and not calling them does not change their status as new. Also, if you’re clearly winning bigtime don’t call a ridiculous number of them. Just let the other team get out of the round with some dignity. If you don’t, your speaker points will suffer. It’ll be obvious when I think you are calling too many.

If the round is obviously lopsided and you are obliterating the other team then be nice. I will lower your speaker points if you aren’t respectful or if you simply pile it on for the heck of it. If it’s egregious enough, you might even lose the debate.

You don’t need to repeat yourself just to fill time. If you’re finished, then sit down and get us all to lunch, the end of the day, or the next round early.

Theory: I’m not going to weigh in on the great theoretical controversies of the day. Those are up to you to demonstrate in the round. T can be more than one thing depending on the round. I’m not going to tell you what to do. Debate is always in flux. Actually, I’ve learned or at least been encouraged to think differently about theory issues from debaters in rounds far more often than from anyone else. If I had pontificated about The Truth As I Knew It before those rounds, the debaters would have simply argued what I said I liked and I wouldn’t have learned, so it’s in my interest as well as yours for me not to hand you a sushi menu with the items I’d like to see checked off. PICS, Framework, Competing Interp, in-round abuse, etc. are all interpretable in the debate. I will say that I probably most naturally think in terms of competing interpretations, but, again, I can think in more than one way.

My “Debate Background:” I did CEDA/NDT in college. I coached policy for years, and also coached parli from the days of metaphor all the way into the NPTE/NPDA modern era. I have also coached NFA-LD.

Finally, I ask that you consider that everyone in the room has sacrificed something to be there. A lot of resources, time, and effort went in to bringing us all there. Be sure to show some respect for that. I am serious about this and it has come to occupy a significant portion of my thinking about debate these days. In fact, I think it’s time for the in-round bullying to stop. I see too many rounds where one team’s strategy is simply to intimidate the other team. I find it strange that an activity that talks so much about the violence of language often does so in such a needlessly aggressive and violent manner. In some rounds every interaction is barbed. Flex/CX is often just needlessly aggressive and sometimes even useless (when, for example, someone simply refuses to answer questions or just keeps purposely avoiding the question when it’s obvious that they understand the question, opting instead for aggression sometimes verging on ad hominem). I see too many other rounds where everyone is just awful to each other, including the judges afterward. You can be intense and competitive without this. We are now a smaller circuit. It’s strange that we would choose to spend so much time together yet be so horrible to each other.

Deven Cooper -- Saint Mary's College

High school debate: Baltimore Urban Debate League

College debate: Univ of Louisville then Towson Univ

Grad work: Cal State Fullerton

Current: Director of Debate at Long Beach State (CSULB)

Email: Devenc325@gmail.com

Speaker Scale

29.5-30: one of the best speakers I expect to see this year and has a high grade of Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, Talent, and Swag is on 100.

29.1 - 29.5: very good speaker has a middle grade of Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, Talent, and mid-range swag. 
29: quite good speaker; low range of Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, Talent, and mid-range swag.

28.4 - 28.9: good speaker; may have some above average range/ parts of the C.U.N.T.S acronym but must work on a few of them and may have some issues to work out.

28 - 28.3: solid speaker; needs some work; probably has average range/ parts of the C.U.N.T.S acronym but must work on a few of them and may have some issues to work out.

27.1 - 27.5: okay speaker; needs significant work on the C.U.N.T.S acronym.

< 27: you have done something deeply problematic in this debate like clipping cards or violence.

Judging Proper

I am willing to hear any arguments that are well explained and impacted and relate to how your strategy is going to produce scholarship or policy action. I will refer to an educator framework unless told otherwise..This means I will evaluate the round based on how you tell me you want it to be framed and I will offer comments on how you could make your argument better after the round. Comparison, Framing, OFFENSE is key for me.

I avoid the privileging of certain teams or styles over others because that makes debate more unfair, uneducational, and makes people not feel valued or wanted in this community.

I judge debates according to the systematic connection of arguments rather than solely line by line…BUT doesn’t mean if the other team drops turns or other arguments that I won’t evaluate that. They must be impacted and explained. PLEASE always point out reason why the opposing team is bad and have contextualized reasons for why they have created a bad impact. I DO vote on framework and theory arguments….I’ve been known to vote on Condo

Don’t try to adapt to how I used to debate if you genuinely don’t believe in doing so or just want to win a ballot. If you are doing a performance I will hold you to the level that it is practiced, you have a reason for doing so, and relates to the overall argument you are making…Don’t think “oh! I did a performance in front of Deven I win.” You are sadly mistaken if so.

Overall I would like to see a good debate where people are confident in their arguments and feel comfortable being themselves and arguing how they feel is best. I am not here to exclude you or make you fell worthless or that you are a "lazy" intellectual as some debaters may call others, but I do like to see you defend your side to the best of your ability

A few issues that should be clarified:

Paperless: Prep time ends when the flash is out of your computer. Any malfunctioning means your prep has begun again. If the opponent you are facing doesn't have a laptop you must have a viewing one or give up yours....do not be classist GOSH...

Framework and Theory: I love smart arguments in this area. I am not inclined to just vote on debate will be destroyed or traditional framework will lead to genocide unless explained very well and impacted. There must be a concrete connection to the impacts articulated on these and most be weighed. I will not vote on conditionality good alone…You better point out the contradictions in the 2AC/1AR. I am persuaded by the deliberation arguments and topical version of the Aff.

Performance: It must be linked to an argument that is able to defend the performance and be able to explain the overall impact on debate or the world itself. Please don’t do a performance to just do it…you MUST have a purpose and connect it to arguments. Plus debate is a place of politics and args about debate are not absent politics sometimes they are even a pre-req to “real” politics, but I can be persuaded otherwise. You must have a role of the ballot or framework to defend yourself or on the other side say why the role of the ballot is bad. I also think those critics who believe this style of debate is anti-intellectual or not political are oversimplifying the nuance of each team that does performance. Take your role as an educator and stop being an intellectual coward.

Topic/Resolution: I will vote on reasons why or why not to go by the topic...unlike some closed minded judges who are detached from the reality that the topics chosen may not allow for one to embrace their subjectivity or social location. This doesn’t mean I think talking about puppies and candy should win, for those who dumb down debate in their framework args in that way. You should have a concrete and material basis why you chose not to engage the topic and linked to some affirmation against racism/sexism/homophobia/classism/elitism/white supremacy and produces politics that are progressive.

High Theory K: i.e Hiediggar, Zizek, D&G, Butler, Arant, and their colleagues…this must be explained to me in a way that can make some material sense to me as in a clear link to what the aff has done or an explanation of the resolution…I feel that a lot of times teams that do these types of arguments assume a world of abstract that doesn’t relate fully to how to address the needs of the oppressed that isn’t a privileged one. However, I do enjoy Nietzsche args that are well explained and contextualized. Offense is key with running these args and answering them.

Disadvantages: I’m cool with them just be well explained and have a link/link wall that can paint the story…you can get away with a generic link with me if you run politics disads. Disads on case should be impacted and have a clear link to what the aff has done to create/perpetuate the disad. If you are a K team and you kick the alt that solves for the disads…that is problematic for me.

Counterplans: They have to solve at least part of the case and address some of the fundamental issues dealing with the aff’s advantages especially if it’s a performance or critical aff…I’m cool with perm theory with a voter attached.

Race/ Identity arguments: LOVE these especially from the black/Lantinx perspective, but this doesn’t mean you will win just because you run them like that. I like to see the linkage between what the aff does wrong or what the aff has perpetuated. I’m NOT likely to vote on a link of omission.

Case Args: Only go for case turns…they are the best and are offensive , however case defense may work. If you run a K or performance you need to have some interaction with the aff to say why it is bad.

Duncan Stewart (Hired) -- University of Utah



Judging philosophy 2019



I competed at the University of Utah in NPDA for four years, I coached Lewis and Clark NPDA for two years, and I coached Utah debate for one year. 


I will evaluate the debate on a comparison of offense and defense. 

I will evaluate the debate as strictly to a flow as I can, unless given a warranted reason not to.

Please ensure your interpretations are clear (written down or repeated twice). 

I am uncompelled by speed if it is unclear or used to exclude other competitors.

 I likely want to see plan debate more than you think I do. 

Debate should be fun, so do it in a way that makes it so to you! 

I will flow on a computer. 

I donâ??t hold any standardized disciplinary ideas about debate except for enforcing the rules of time (prep, speeches, flex). 


Geoffrey Klinger -- DePauw University

Background: Policy and LD debater for four years in high school (1980-84).  NDT and CEDA debater for DePauw University (1984-88).  M.A./Ph.D. in Communication at the University of Iowa.  Director of Forensics at Hanover College (1995-99) (NEDA debate). Director of Forensics at the University of Utah (1999-2003) (NPDA & CEDA debate). Director of Forensics at DePauw University (2003-Current)(NPDA & BP Debate).


To be sure, parliamentary debate has evolved fairly significantly over the last several years.  I celebrate the various forms and manifestations of parliamentary debate.  The strongest debaters are those who blend elements of argument with performance.  These days, I hesitate to be too prescriptive in terms of the debate I like to see.  It is up to individual debaters to find a style that best suits them.  Nevertheless . . .


I like debates where there is a certain amount of 'resolutional fidelity.'  I like teams to argue the resolution, not morph it beyond recognition in order to run an easier argument, or canned case.  I like all types of arguments and am drawn to those that are more unique, sophisticated, and intellectually engaging (e.g. a well-developed kritik is often more compelling than a generic political disad with weak links).  I especially like arguments that seem authentic and sincere.  Final arguments that engage in comparative analysis (recognizing that both teams have ground upon which I can vote and explaining to me why your arguments are preferable) are always nice.


I do not have a fixed judging "paradigm" per se (any good rhetorician knows that all arguments/frames are inherently contingent, and can/should adapt to the uniqueness of each rhetorical situation).  I am moved by persuasive arguments that are supported with compelling warrants.  I am generally open to all forms and types of arguments, both substantive and procedural, as long as you provide solid analysis to back up your position.  I believe that parliamentary debate is supposed to engender arguments designed to persuade a parliament, or public audience, not a panel of technocrats.  As such, speaking rate should be intelligible, and arguments should not be overly technical.


Above all, I hope that you enjoy and treasure this activity (and each other) as I have for almost 40 years.



Jackson De Vight -- Texas Tech University

  Background: I have been debating for 10 years. I started in high school with LD, policy, and parli, and did parli in SoCal for 4 years. I’m now a graduate coach at TTU.



- PLEASE READ: I am hard of hearing and have wrist issues so please emphasize clarity and word economy over speed. I'll get to argument preferences later, but TBH just understand that I prefer depth and organization way more than speed. If you're one of the faster teams, go about 2/3s your full speed for maximum comprehension. I will clear and speed-check you, but if I drop my pen, that's the final signal that you've lost me. I vote on my flow…so don’t lose my flowing.


- Read all plan texts, counterplan texts, advocacy texts, alternative text, and interp/role of the ballot arguments slowly, twice, and clearly. 


- I don’t time speeches myself.


- I may want a copy of all texts, interps, and ROBs beyond specifically what I flow, so be prepared.


- Topical debates are by far my preferred mode.


- I generally dislike Condo, mostly because it's generally deployed pretty poorly. You can use it, but I'm pretty sympathetic to Condo Bad when warranted well. 


- Ideologically I’m fairly open to most arguments but do realize that my social location and political perspective are probably irrevocably intertwined in the way I evaluate rounds. Like, I’m pretty moderate, so warranted arguments about the wonders of the free market or the necessity of social purging aren’t likely to do well in front of me if your opponent knows what they’re doing.


- For the K: 


TL; DR – unless it’s a pretty well-structured criticism that links well and specifically, I’m probably just not the judge you want in the back of the room. Ultimately, I'm compelled to vote for well-warranted, smart arguments regardless of the form they take.  Because of my experience/background, I'm less compelled out-of-hand by approaches that do not seek to engage the core of the topic (and that goes for aff and neg), but see previous sentence for how you should to debate in front of me.  I want to hear your best arguments, and I'll vote on what's won.


Assume I don’t read your lit base. Most of my issues following those arguments have to do with the use of phrases I’m not familiar with. If you have me in the back of the room, consider simplifying the terminology and I should be fine. However, I am not the best critic for your arguments. I think about public policy frequently. This is less true for critical arguments.  Also, if you go one off and 5 minutes of case and the one off is a disad, you’ll probably have my heart forever.


I very much believe that debate is a game that you are trying to win. Utilizing debate rounds as personal platform ventures into a realm I am deeply uncomfortable assessing. You are free to engage in debate in a manner you see fit, but realize that I likely do not possess the capacity to properly assess the role of personal history as part of a critical debate. You will do much better here if you have a solidly built framework and well articulate ROB.


   * I cordially dislike almost every affirmative criticism that does not uphold the burden of the affirmative in relation to the resolution. 


   ** For criticisms that utilize personal experience, please avoid using arguments about mental health issues or sexual violence.


   *** Performance-oriented criticisms will need to do serious work to justify a performance as something I should vote on.


   **** When I ran critical arguments, they were mostly economic, ablism, or ecological in nature.


Arguments:Overall, you’re going to get a lot more mileage from me by going for fewer, more well-articulated, and more warrant-heavy argumentation. As indicated above, speed is not your friend when I’m in the back of the room so just go for depth over breadth.


Counterplans: I prefer that you provide a copy for the other team.  Make sure you have a written text. I like advantage counterplans, PICs, and actor counterplans. Consult less so, but I’m open to it. For the affirmative: I’m open to PICs bad but don’t default that way. Well utilized CP strats are beautiful.


Permutations: Permutations are tests of competition, not advocacies. Multiple perms aren’t unfair, but they’re a little silly unless you explicate why you want more than one. I will not reject a permutation outright unless you give me a reason of why it shouldn’t be evaluated. HAVE A PERM TEXT


Theory: All theory positions should have an interpretation, a violation, standards, and voting issues. Please read your interpretations more than once. I am pretty willing to vote on well warranted theory arguments.


Topicality:  My threshold for T is maybe lower than some. If you win your interpretation, violation, and your standards outweigh I will vote for you.


Speaker Points: Be smart and concise and your speaker points will range between 26-30. Utilization of racist, sexist, etc. rhetoric will sink your points pretty quick, as will parroting to your partner. Like, win the round, but don’t parrot if you can help it.


Voting/Rebuttals/POO:Have clear voting issues either through distinct voters, two world analysis, or some other format. YOU MUST DO IMPACT CALCULUS IF YOU WANT IT CONSIDERED. Call POOs if you hear them. I try to protect, but you should call them all the same. 



Feel free to ask questions. I can give you my professional email if you’d like it. Debate is great. 


Modified on 8/31/2017


Jason Jordan -- University of Utah

*I have fairly significant hearing loss. This is almost never a problem when judging debates. This also doesn't mean you should yell at me during your speech, that won't help. If I can't understand the words you're saying, I will give a clear verbal prompt to let you know what you need to change for me to understand you (ex: 'clear,' 'louder,' 'slow down,' or 'hey aff stop talking so loud so that I can hear the MO please'). If I don't prompt you to the contrary, I can understand the words you're saying just fine. � 

*make arguments, tell me how to evaluate these arguments, and compare these arguments to the other teams arguments and methods of evaluating arguments. I am comfortable voting for just about any winning argument within any framework you want to place me within. I have very few, if any, normative beliefs about what debate should look like and/or â??be.â??� 

*Unless I am told to do otherwise, on all portions of the debate I tend to use the heuristics of offense/defense, timeframe/probability/magnitude, and uniqueness/link/impact to evaluate and compare arguments.

Jennifer Baney -- University of the Pacific

                                                                         All I care about are impacts. Stop wasting prep.

Jesse Hedin (Hired) -- University of Utah

â??Former debater, not actively involved in debate - which means do whatever you want but Iâ??m a bit rusty so make sure to thoroughly explain arguments and speak as clearly as you can. One of my biggest things is be kind, I donâ??t tolerate debaters being unkind to newer debaters or purposefully skewing them out of the round, that doesnâ??t mean donâ??t make good args against new debaters, just make sure they have a chance to learn. Other than that, I like proven abuse on theory but will vote on potential abuse if youâ??re pretty ahead on it. Neg has fiat - not sure if that meme is still floating around. Donâ??t just give taglines with no substance on your K, explain yourself, I havenâ??t read all the lit that youâ??re talking about. Basically just Debate well and do whatever you do best to win my ballot. Feel free to ask specifics before the round if you need to know anything.â?

Joe Blasdel -- McKendree University

Joe Blasdel

McKendree University

Section 1: General Information

  1. I competed in parliamentary debate and individual events from 1996 to 2000 for McKendree University.  After a three years studying political science at Syracuse University, I returned to coach at McKendree (NPDA, LD, and IEs) and have been doing so ever since.
  1. In a typical policy debate, I tend to evaluate arguments in a comparative advantage framework (rather than stock issues).  I am unlikely to vote on inherency or purely defensive arguments.
  1. On trichotomy, I tend to think the government has the right to run what type of case they want as long as they can defend that their interpretation is topical.  While I don’t see a lot of good fact/value debates, I am open to people choosing to do so.  I’m also okay with people turning fact or value resolutions into policy debates. For me, these sorts of arguments are always better handled as questions of topicality.
  1. If there are new arguments in rebuttals, I will discount them, even if no point of order is raised.  The rules permit you to raise POOs, but you should use them with discretion.  If you’re calling multiple irrelevant POOs, I will probably not be pleased.
  1. I’m not a fan of making warrantless assertions in the LOC/MG and then explaining/warranting them in the MO/PMR.  I tend to give the PMR a good deal of latitude in answering these ‘new’ arguments and tend to protect the opposition from these ‘new’ PMR arguments.

Section 2: Specific Inquiries  

  1. Speaker points (what is your typical speaker point range or average speaker points given).

Typically, my range of speaker points is 27-29, unless something extraordinary happens (good or bad).

  1. How do you approach critically framed arguments? Can affirmatives run critical arguments? Can critical arguments be “contradictory” with other negative positions?

I’m open to Ks but I probably have a higher threshold for voting for them than your average judge. I approach the K as a sort of ideological counterplan.  As a result, it’s important to me that you have a clear, competitive, and solvent alternative.  I think critical affirmatives are fine so long as they are topical.  If they are not topical, it’s likely to be an uphill battle. As for whether Ks can contradict other arguments in the round, it depends on the context/nature of the K.

  1. Performance based arguments…

Same as above.

  1. Topicality. What do you require to vote on topicality? Is in-round abuse necessary? Do you require competing interpretations?

Having a specific abuse story is important to winning topicality, but not always necessary.  A specific abuse story does not necessarily mean linking out of a position that’s run; it means identifying a particular argument that the affirmative excludes AND why that argument should be negative ground.  I view topicality through a competing interpretations framework – I’m not sure what a reasonable interpretation is. On topicality, I have an ‘average’ threshold.  I don’t vote on RVIs. On spec/non-T theory, I have a ‘high’ threshold.  Unless it is seriously mishandled, I’m probably not going to vote on these types of arguments.

  1. Counterplans -- PICs good or bad? Should opp identify the status of the counterplan? Perms -- textual competition ok? Functional competition?

All things being equal, I have tended to err negative in most CP theory debates (except for delay). I think CPs should be functionally competitive. Unless specified otherwise, I understand counterplans to be conditional. I don’t have a particularly strong position on the legitimacy of conditionality. I think advantage CPs are smart and underutilized.

  1. In the absence of debaters' clearly won arguments to the contrary, what is the order of evaluation that you will use in coming to a decision (e.g. do procedural issues like topicality precede kritiks which in turn precede cost-benefit analysis of advantages/disadvantages, or do you use some other ordering?)?

All things being equal, I evaluate procedural issues first. After that, I evaluate everything through a comparative advantage framework.

  1.  How do you weight arguments when they are not explicitly weighed by the debaters or when weighting claims are diametrically opposed? How do you compare abstract impacts (i.e. "dehumanization") against concrete impacts (i.e. "one million deaths")?

I tend to prefer concrete impacts over abstract impacts absent a reason to do otherwise.  If there are competing stories comparing impacts (and there probably should be), I accept the more warranted story. I also have a tendency to focus more heavily on probability than magnitude.

Joe Provencher -- Texas Tech University

  The allegory of the cornbread:

Debate is like a delicately constructed thanksgiving dinner. Often, if you take time to make sure you don’t serve anyone anything they’re allergic to, we can all grit it and bear it even if we really didn’t want to have marshmallows on our sweet potatoes. Mashed potatoes and gravy are just as good as cranberry relish if you make it right. Remember, If you’ve been invited to a thanksgiving dinner you should show up unconditionally unless you have a damn good excuse or your grandma got hit by a reindeer because we’re here to eat around a point of commonality unless your great uncle happens to be super racist. Then don’t go to thanksgiving. I’ll eat anything as long as you’re willing to tell me what’s in it and how to cook it. Remember, you don’t prepare stuffing by making stuffing, that’s not a recipe that’s a tautology. I eat a lot, I’m good at eating, and I’d love to help you learn how to eat and cook too. 

PS: And why thanksgiving? Because you’re other options are Christmas featuring a man way too old to be doing that job asking if you’ve been naughty or nice at the hotel lobby, the Easter bunny which is just a man way older than you’d think he is in a suite offering kids his definitely-not-sketchy candy (who maybe aren’t really even old enough to be eating all that candy), or Labor Day where everyone realizes they can’t wear their hoods and be fashionable at the same time.

Jon Agnew -- Boise State University

Saved Philosophy:

Last updated: 24-March-2018

I have been involved in competitive forensics for 13 years. I am cool with speed as long as tags for claims are not cumbersome and difficult to flow. I’m cool with just about any argument as long as it is well warranted. I won’t want to hear “genocide good” “rape good” or similar arguments. Moreover, I’m not sure of all the preconceived biases I have about judging debate. I know I am more inclined to prefer probability and timeframe arguments over magnitude. But overall, the game of debate is however you want to play it. Just play it well and play it by the rules. Last thing, as a critic at the end of the round I prioritize arguments that have been denoted in the debate via jargon or argumentation as most important. I always try and work through these arguments before working through the rest of the debate. What I mean by this is questions of: a priori, decision rule, RVI, framework, role of the ballot, role of the critic, theory sheets….I try and resolve these kinds of questions before resolving other substantive issues in the debate.

Question 1 : What is your judging philosophy?

Background: I debated 4 years in at Hillcrest High School in IF, Idaho. I did 3 years of LD, 1 Year of CX/PF, and speech. I debated Parli/IPDA for 4 years at Boise State and I.E.s. I have been an assistant coach at Boise State since 2013. And this will be my 13th year involved in competitive forensics.

Other Background:

·       I will default Net-Benefits/Policymaker unless told otherwise.

·       I try to be as Tabula Rasa as possible. I don’t want to involve myself in your debate. I don’t have any preconceived biases about what arguments or strategies should or should not be deployed in any given round.

·       I will vote for arguments I do not ideologically agree with every time IF they are won in the round. 

·       I am relatively okay with speed. I have difficulty flowing overly cumbersome or wordy taglines. Plan texts, Interpretations, CP Texts, K alts, perms, T vios need to be read slowly twice OR I/your opponents need to be given a copy. I find it difficult to judge textual questions in a debate round when I don’t have the text proper written down word for word.

·       I am lenient to “no warrant” or “gut check” arguments. I don’t want to do the work in your round. I do not want to fill in the blanks for your scenarios. In saying such I will always evaluate a developed warranted impact scenario over a generic one, IF the arguments are won in the round.

·       I think offense and defense are necessary to win debate rounds. I am also relatively lenient on terminal defense. If you win the argument that there is absolutely no risk of a link or impact I will evaluate it strongly. I want to hear intelligent, sound, strategic arguments in every debate round. The aforementioned claim strongly influences my speaker points.

·       My high school coach used to always say “debate is a game you play with your friends”. I identify strongly with the statement. In saying such, please do not put me in the situation where debate is not fun, where any individual (partner, opponents, myself) feels berated, and please do not deploy obscene/vulgar arguments.

·       POO’s: please call them. I usually reply “under consideration”. I’m not lenient on new argumentation in the rebuttals. Honestly, I feel this is important. I tend to flow everything in the debate round. Even if the argument is new in the rebuttal. I feel it is important to call these arguments. I don’t know how well my paradigm works with multiple judges. But ya, POO are ok and encouraged to call.

·       POI’s: please do not get excessive. Teams should probably always answer a question or two. I will give weight to in-round argumentation regarding “you should have taken a question” on any sheet of paper.

·       Speaker points: I tend to give between 26-29.5 at tournaments. 30s definitely occur. So do speaker points below 26. I tend to evaluate these via sound, strategic, intelligent arguments. Delivery/style is not the most important factor for speaker points. I have never looked but I feel like I give higher speaker points than most.


Case: I’m cool with any type of affirmative strategy (mini-affs, K affs, performance, comp-ad). However, I want to know how your case functions in the round. Framework/RAs are very important. Advantages must have uniqueness, link and an impact. Aff’s should solve for something. Plan texts should be read twice or I/opponents should be given a copy. If you are running performance or a critical affirmative I need to know how it engages the round and resolution. For example, if you are criticizing—topicality, language, semiotics—I need to know how to evaluate these arguments with your opponents. I find these types of debate engaging/fun to judge, but I have often been put into a position where I do not have a clean and accessible framework to evaluate the rhetoric and argumentation in round. Additionally, I have always felt somewhat icky inside when my personal identity or the competitors has been attached to the ballot. If this is important to the round. Framework is everyone’s friend. I want to be as much as a blank slate as possible.


T/Procedurals: I ran a lot of procedurals arguments in college. I feel in order for me to vote on this position I need a clear interpretation explaining how the debate should occur, a violation explaining specifically why your opponents do not meet your interpretation, I need standard(s) to detailing why your interpretation is good and/or why your opponents do not garner/violate them, and a voter(s) demonstrating why I should vote for the argument. Again, please read your interpretation/violation slowly twice or give myself/opponents a copy. I really really enjoy watching good T debate. And vote on T relatively often.

Kritiks: my partner and I ran a lot of kritiks in college. I need a clear and accessible thesis. Arguments that tend to be stuffed into kritiks (no value to life, K Alt solves aff, X is root cause of violence) should be well developed. Please engage these arguments on the case debate as well. I am familiar with a lot of the K literature (POMO, Frankfurt School, Lacan). However, I’M NOT AN EXPERT. I think a kritik needs a framework, link, implications, alternative. I am a fan of good kritik debate. I am persuaded by well warranted impact turns to K’s or compelling arguments regarding how the K engages the assumptions that inform the PMC. Please do not prove the “K’s are for cheaters” club by deploying confusing/absurd, and blippy arguments.

CP’s: I am not very familiar with the ins and outs of CP’s. Functional CP vs. textual CP debates are usually educational for me. I say that because, I again, am not nearly as familiar with CP debates then K debates. I am not biased on any type of CP theory. I will listen to all types of CPs (consult, agent, delay, multi-actor, multiple, PICS). In saying such, some of these types of CPs are subject to very compelling theoretical arguments about their fairness and educational merit. I think solvency is very important for CP vs Case debates. I like to hear arguments regarding how the CP/Case solves or does not solve each advantage or net/benefit debate. Therefore, if the debate comes down to case vs. CP/NB/DA…solvency is very important for weighing impacts.

DA’s: need uniqueness, link, impact to be evaluated. Please explain why the status quo changes post the affirmative plan. I enjoy listening to strategic DA debates. Well-developed impact and link turn arguments make for lovely debate rounds. Defense and offense is usually important to deploy in any DA debates. I find the interaction of these arguments critical in deciding the round. Please explain these relationships in regards to impact calculus. Like I said earlier I tend to evaluate probable scenarios over their magnitude. Politics debates are fun to listen to. I like well warranted scenarios. Additionally, I’m not a fan of perceptual IR DAs (they tend to be under-developed and lack warrants) but nevertheless I will definitely listen to them.

If you have any other questions please ask. My email is jonagnew@u.boisestate.edu

Jonathan Veal -- Point Loma Nazarene University

  • Be cool to your opponents.

  • Provide a plan/CP/interp/perm text if asked.

  • I evaluate theory.

  • Policy is cool I guess.

  • K’s are great if the alt/advocacy has some sort of methodology/solvency.

  • I tend to hack out for uniqueness evaluation and warrants.

  • Speed is fine as long as your opponents and I can understand you and are able to participate.

  • Meh, have fun.

Jordan Terry -- William Jewell College

I competed in parli for 3 years. This is my first year judging. Speed is generally fine but the faster you go the more arguments I’ll miss so spread at your own risk. I prefer policy affs but feel free to do whatever you’re comfortable with. I will vote on impacts unless you give me something else to vote on. Ks are fine but if I’m not familiar with the literature (which is probably most of the time) you need to explain it very clearly. If I don’t understand it, I won’t vote on it. I believe the debate space ought to be safe and accessible for everyone so be kind and be inclusive. I'm very generous with speaker points so expect high speaks as long as you treat everyone with respect.

Joseph Evans -- El Camino College

  About me:I have been involved in forensics for over 13 years including 7 years of coaching. I have debated in High School, College and I am now currently a full-time professor and Director of Debate at El Camino College. I view debate as a game of argument and impact prioritization. Thus, I believe that any method of debate is viable when used as a strategic ploy to win. I will try to list my views on the major themes within debate. Please feel free to ask me for clarification before the round!.   

Framework/Role of the Ballot:  I will evaluate and weigh the round through any framework that the Aff or Neg presents to me. I have no predisposition towards one specific FW because all frameworks can either be strategic or not depending on how it’s debated. In terms of evaluating competing FWs, I will only make my decision on how each are warranted and impacted out in round and will never insert my own beliefs. In terms of the ROB, I will weigh the ROB through the FW presented and if it’s not contested, this will frame how I evaluate the rest of the round.  If no one tells me how to frame the round, I tend to fall back to evaluating the round through the lens of utilitarianism (net benefits). When impacting out why you win a policy debate, please frame your impacts through lenses like timeframe, magnitude, probability, reversibility. 

TLDR: Framework is important! You win the framework if you provide me clear warranted arguments for your position, and impact out why your framework is best.        

Theory: I will evaluate theoretical positions the same as others. The interpretation will frame how I evaluate the position. You must have a clear description of how the debate round should have been constructed. Additionally, I will evaluate the interp/counter-interp debate based on the standards/impacts presented.  I don’t have any preference in regards reasonability vs. competing interps you must justify why I should frame theory through either. If a teams decides to kick out of the position, I usually don't hold it against them (unless there is conceded offense). 

Counter Plans/Alts/Perms: I view counterplans or alternatives as a test of competition against the affirmative’s advocacy. I believe that counterplans/alts can compete based on impact prioritization, functional competition, or (sigh) textual competitiveness. I have no predisposition towards one type of competition. Teams must justify why I should vote on the competitiveness or lack of in the CP or Alt debate. In terms of the perm debate, perms also tests of the competitiveness of the counter advocacy. In order to win the perm debate you need to justify and impact out why it outweighs the CP or alt. I am also open to theoretical reasons why the CP/ALT or Perm should be rejected in the round. 

Speed: Go as fast as you want but please be clear! I have judged NPTE/NPDA finals and/or semi-finals the last 3 of 4 years so I will be able to keep up. However, if you are unclear, I will give you non-verbals or yell “clear”. My priority is getting everything you say on my flow so sacrificing clarity for speed is not advisable. Additionally, I have voted on speed arguments a few times when teams use speed as a bullying or ableist technique. So be conscious of how you use speed within the round. If you can beat a team without going fast, it’s a win-win for both teams. You get the W and the other team has an educational/ teaching moment.  

Kritical Arguments: I believe that any augment that is present is a viable way to win. Kritical arguments fall into that category. I am well versed in most critical arguments, but I am not by any means an expert on critical theory. Therefore, if you are running something new or obscure, don’t assume I understand the literature.  Regardless of the K, I will listen how your frame, impact and weight the FW and Alt/Alt solvency. Additionally, 

Josh Vannoy -- Grand Canyon University

Joshua Vannoy â?? Grand Canyon University

Experience: 4 years of NPDA Debate at Concordia University Irvine. I competed at the NPTE and NPDA all four years of college. Kevin Calderwood has heavily influenced my views regarding debate.


Debate is a game. There are arguments I personally will lean towards, but ultimately you should make the argument you want to make. I am the current director of debate at GCU and this is my third year as a judge.

- One question should be answered during each constructive.

- If you read my favorite Ks (Marx/Symbolism) I will have a higher threshold regarding them, since I ran them so much. (That means I will want to see more specific arguments and a deeper level of understanding and without either I will have a less likely chance of voting for you)

- Partner communication is fine, but do not puppet your partner or talk louder then the other team.

- Be friendly!


Theory ran properly can win my ballot. I would avoid V/A/E/F specs/specs in general, unless the abuse is really clear. All interps should be read slowly twice, or I wonâ??t be able to flow it. I do not need articulated abuse. Competing interps is my go unless you have something else. I most likely will not vote for â??you must discloseâ? arguments.


If your PMC lacks warrants/impacts the ballot should be pretty easy for the Neg. If the entire PMC is dropped, it should be a pretty easy ballot for the Aff. I will not do work for any impacts, if you just say â??povertyâ? without terminalizing the impact, I will not terminalize it for you.


So I personally enjoyed performative debate, it was fresh and interesting. If you decide to have a performance argument/framework you need a justification and a true performance. If you say performance is key in the FW and then do not â??performâ? anywhere else I will wonder why it was argued in the first place. I will need performance specific Solvency/Impacts if you take this route. In your performance never do harm to yourself or another competitor or I will have to intervene for the safety of everyone in the room.

The K:

When I first started debating at CUI I was afraid of the K, towards the end of my career I loved it. All Kâ??s should have a FW, Thesis, Links, Impacts and an Alt with Solvency arguments. If one of these pieces is missing it is going to be difficult for me to evaluate the criticism. Sometimes people skip the thesis, that is ok so long as you describe the thesis somewhere else in the K (Earlier the better). The closer your K is to the topic the easier it is for me to vote for it. Reject alts are ok, but I find ivory tower arguments to be very compelling in these debates. Like I said above I ran Mark/Symbolism the most but am open to any other type of K. I probably have not read your author so please be very clear on what the Thesis of your argument is; name-dropping means nothing to me unless you explain the idea.

Non-topical Affirmatives:

After two years of seeing many non-topical debates as a judge I have become more open to hearing them without much justification needed to reject the topic. With that being said I am still compelled and convinced by FW if ran effectively on the negative.

CP Theory:

Is condo bad? Probablyâ?¦ Having debated under Kevin Calderwood for three years this is the argument that stuck with me the most. If a condo bad shell is run properly and executed well I will probably vote for it. Although I am open to a conditional advocacy (that means one) if you can justify it in responding to condo bad arguments (Multiple conflicting advocacies make it really easy for the aff to win the condo debate)

Never run delay.

50/States/Consult/Courts need a DA/Net Ben/Justification for doing so.

Pics are awesome if done well (Does not mean PICS bad is also not a good argument), and please read all CP texts (Just like All Alt/Plan texts) slowly twice. If you do not provide a written copy for me and I do not hear it well enough to write it down, things will not look good when I make a decision.


I am not a fan of the multiple perm trend, 1 â?? 2 perms should be enough, I am open to Neg multi perm theory arguments when teams run 3 â?? 8 perms. If your perm does not solve links to the DAâ??s/Offense it would probably be better to just respond to those arguments instead of making a perm, considering a perm is just a test of competition.

Speaker Points:

I have found that I have a pretty routine pattern of speaker points; I generally give out 26 â?? 29.5 depending on how well the debaters perform. With the 26-27 range being debates that usually are more learning experiences for the debaters, while the 28-29 range is usually for the debaters who do not have as much technical work and have very competitive performances. Jokes and making debate fun is always a safe way to get higher speaks in general. I also have found that the more hyper masculine a performance is, especially directed towards the other team, the lower my speaker points go for that individual.

Kara Sutton -- San Diego State University

Hi all, I have competed in forensics for the past 7 years and taught it for 5 years. I did policy, parli, and IPDA, but parli was by far my favorite. I put as much of my prior knowledge out the window as I can when I am judging - I want you to tell me where to vote and why. I will not vote off of anything that does not have voters/impacts. I usually vote more on probable impacts over big impacts but will listen to how you frame them in the round. Unless told otherwise by either team, I always default to net ben as the criteria for the round. I’m fine with speed. Basically I will listen to any argument and can vote on any argument as long as you argue and defend it well. I am equally okay with the K (aff or neg) and traditional cases. Please be nice to your opponents and respect them as individuals and fellow debaters.

Katelyn Johnson -- Texas Tech University

  Hey there! I competed for 2 years at Snow College and 3 years at William Jewell College. I am a second year graduate teaching assistant at Texas Tech University. My preferred pronouns are she/her. You’ll notice that my judging philosophy is similar to David Hansen’s. If you want the fast guide to how I debate, treat me like you would David. Except, I am more willing to have non traditional affs run in front of me than David is. 

General Notes

I believe that NPDA is a unique and amazing format. Making your critical, framework, and theory arguments specific to NPDA is a great way to win more debates.

Interpretations and advocacies should at least be read twice and slowly. Ideally you provide the judge(s) and competitors with a copy.

Pretty much nothing in my philosophy is absolute.

I tend to believe that the way we discuss the world has real impacts outside of the debate round.

If debaters are debating ethically, I tend to believe that framework arguments are more persuasive than the arguments against it. However, I will vote based on how the debate plays out. If you win that defending the topic is bad and you reject the topic, you will likely win the debate.

An argument without a warrant isn’t an argument.

I tend to believe that recording, sharing, and watching rounds is good for debate.

Theory and Framework

I love a great theory or framework shell. I am happy to vote here. I think debaters need to step outside our normal buzzwords and discuss how our interpretations alter the debate game and our education.

Spec arguments- I’m putting this section in here because it seems like people can not longer develop plan texts. I use to hate spec, but have found it to be an extremely persuasive argument with how much plan texts are run. I don’t think you should have to specifcy where the money comes from, what branch of gov your acting through, etc, thsse things are answered via normal means. I do think some things need to be specified with a vague resolution that hs multiple possible affirmatives. 

Counter Plans

I’m uncertain about conditionality. I am sympathetic to arguments about the MG being key and difficult. However, I also believe the negative should have some flexibility. Feel free to run your shell. Feel free to be conditional. I will vote depending on how condo plays out.

PIC’s are usually abusive in NPDA debate, but often strategic and occasionally justified – especially if the topic provides aff flex.

Delay is almost always bad, so are process CP’s.


These are fine. I read them a lot, went for them occasionally. Please provide early thesis-level analysis. I think most K shells I’ve seen are incredibly inefficient and vulnerable to impact turns. Teams should likely cut major portions of their FW page and instead develop solvency and internal links to the case.

MG’s should be more willing to go hard right (or left) to answer K’s. The aff probably links to Cap, but there is SUBSTANTIAL lit in favor of cap.


I think performance arguments can be amazing. However, they are easy to do inefficiently and hard to do well. An aff that is rejecting the motion needs to justify why: 1. Your thing matters more than the topic 2. Why you can’t discuss your thing on this topic OR 3. Why your thing is a prior question to the topic.

On the neg, you need to prove that you are an opportunity cost to the aff. Maybe it’s as simple as you need to keep debating, but you need a reason.

Katie Kohler -- United States Air Force Academy

This is my sixth year of debate. I’ve done NPDA for 3 years. Overall, I like to see the following things in a round:

  1. 1)      Respect. Please be kind to your opponents. I will dock speaker points for disrespect in the round.
  2. 2)      I am a flow debater. I will tell you to slow down or clear if I cannot understand you or if you are going too fast.
  3. 3)      I enjoy counter plans and theory, however, I am not a fan of kritiks. If you plan on running one, make it very clear and have the kritik connect to the resolution.

Thanks and good luck!


Kevin Oleary -- Washburn University

Kevin M. O’Leary / Washburn University (KS)

MY BACKGROUND: I started debate in 1982 and was very fortunate to debate with Alan Coverstone for all four years in high school in Illinois.  After high school, I ended up at SIUC under Jeff Bile and debated in CEDA, pre merger, for four years.  I went to graduate school at SLU and started coaching CEDA.   I took some time off from coaching once back at SIUC (for the doctoral program) and after that I started coaching again fulltime in CEDA/NDT, post merger.  That lasted for four years.  Then in 2003, I came to Washburn as the DoF where we dabbled in policy during my first year before moving over to NFA LD as well as NPDA parliamentary debate.  For the last several years, Washburn has been exclusively focused on NPTE/NPDA parliamentary debate, which has certainly evolved to something that looks a lot more like policy debate than when it started.  That’s where we remain today.

“The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here. . .”  Too true.

“He held the keys to the Kingdom and the world couldn’t do him any harm.”  Interpret the resolution and/or activity as you wish.  Do what you want to do.  Be happy with that and care (a little) less about the win.  If you do, you have already won.  Maybe have a politics, but definitely have an ethic.  Be straightforward with your opponent in terms of what ground they have under your interpretations and doings.

Advice doesn’t get any better than Scott Deatherage’s, does it?  The key to winning a debate will always be locating and developing your relationship to the tipping point for the round (the arena of conflict that ultimately decides the round), which is always a matter of choice and highlighting on your part.  Highlight the support you have for the claims that matter the most in terms of the tipping point that you have identified.  Explain why the tipping point you have identified is the one that matters most.  Directly clash with the arguments and support from your opponent that could upset your central claims there.  Refrain from editorializing—just debate already, and debate from the position of giving your opponent’s arguments their full due.  Invest in impact comparison and calculation so I can do something with your winning arguments that decidedly favors you at the end of the debate.

I don’t wish to reconstruct the round after the fact, so I don’t anticipate calling for evidence after the round.  There will always be exceptions, I suppose.

“You’re not a punk, and I’m telling everyone.  Save your breath, I never was one.”  I have no strong leanings in terms of genres of argument.  They all have their place, and that highlights, in my opinion, a central point.  Make your arguments context specific, which requires you to think about the context or setting that we’re in, articulate a vision of that, and then make arguments for why your arguments are the most appropriate given the context or setting.  That is the key for procedurals, K’s, on down the line, and, seemingly, winning the NDT in 2013.  Hats off, Emporia!

“Are you having fun yet?”  Please be kind to and take care of one another as well as our host’s space and the activity.  Best of luck!

Kinny Torre -- Western Washington University

TL;DR Do your shit but not at the expense of excluding your opponents*   Hello!   Background Info: been doing this for too long I debated for 3 years doing policy in Washington State (lol) and 4 years of parli at Western. Iâ??m starting my 3rd year of coaching at Western but Iâ??ve coached policy, LD, and PF.   

*Iâ??ll start of by saying that I stayed in this activity because I found this activity to be both fun and educational. Itâ??s therefore important to recognize find that diversity can be dangerous if it allows for people to advance an agenda that hurts marginalized individuals. Like obvi you shouldnâ??t be a nazi but itâ??s more than just that; speed and frivolous theory should not be a weapon used against novices because of its exclusionary nature. You donâ??t need to go to many tournaments to understand that this format is dying so perhaps we should take measures to prevent its death. 

Beyond that, run whatever argument you want at whatever speed or method you wish. The only exception is that there must be a winner/loser at the end of the debate AND the debate must follow speech times and order. Iâ??ll do my best to evaluate the debate as fairly as possible. This means that Iâ??ll entertain framework arguments against nontopical affs. Delays CPs with tix DAs are cool. Same with floating PICs and Consult nature CPs.  Please run all of the weird and untraditional arguments as well as the Heg DA in front of meâ??I just want a good debate!!! The important part is that you tell me what the key issues are and how to I prioritize them.   Some random particularism: 

â?¢ Itâ??s probably not a good idea to run frivolous theory shells in front of me. Especially MG theory since I donâ??t understand how to judge a theory shell that always gets golden responses. Since the MO needs to deploy offense against the interp or at the very least a net-benefit to their own, then the PMR would always win with the impact-turn. Like I get why MG theory is strategically viable and even a necessity sometimes; however, the more silly or ubiquitous the shell(s) become, the higher a chance that Iâ??ll default Neg. 

â?¢ Donâ??t start at your full speed. I know that youâ??re fast and that you want to awe your judge and overwhelm your opponents with your sicknasty blocks but you should give me like 10 seconds to adjust your voice.

â?¢ Repeat interp texts twice or pass a text to your opponents. 

â?¢ Give a perm text.  â??Perm Do Bothâ? on rejection alts as well as â??all noncompetitive parts of the alternativeâ? ARE NOT PERM TEXTS.

â?¢ Donâ??t Point of Order more than 3 times; I promise I'm flowing and is usually unnecessary. 

Korry Harvey -- Western Washington University


I debated a lot (CEDA, NDT), and have coached and judged even more (CEDA, NDT, NPDA, NPTE, Worlds). I teach courses in argument theory, diversity, and civil dialogue, and I am heavily involved in community service. While my debate background comes primarily from a â??policyâ? paradigm, I have no problem with either good â??criticalâ? debates or â??persuasive communicationâ?, and am willing to listen to any framework a team feels is justifiably appropriate for the debate.


I think that debate is simultaneously a challenging educational exercise, a competitive game of strategy, and a wonderfully odd and unique community â?? all of which work together to make it fun. I think debaters, judges, and coaches, should actively try to actually enjoy the activity. Debate should be both fun and congenial. Finally, while a written ballot is informative, I feel that post-round oral critiques are one of the most valuable educational tools we as coaches and judges have to offer, and I will always be willing to disclose and discuss my decisions, even if that may involve walking and talking in order to help the tournament staff expedite an efficient schedule for all of us.


Unique consideration

I am hearing impaired. No joke â?? I wear hearing aids in both ears, and am largely deaf without them. I think most would agree that I keep a pretty good flow, but I can only write down what I understand. I work as hard as just about any of your critics to understand and assess your arguments, and I appreciate it when you help me out a little. Unfortunately, a good deal of my hearing loss is in the range of the human voice â?? go figure. As such, clarity and a somewhat orderly structure are particularly important for me. For some, a notch or two up on the volume scale doesnâ??t hurt, either. However, please note that vocal projection is not the same as shouting-- which often just causes an echo effect, making it even harder for me to hear. Also, excessive chatter and knocking for your partner can make it difficult for me to hear the speaker. I really want to hear you, and I can only assume that you want to be heard as well. Thanks for working with me a little on this one.


Approach of the critic to decision-making (for example, adherence to the trichotomy, stock-issues, policymaker, tabula rasa, etc.)

Although I don't see absolute objectivity as easily attainable, I do try to let the debaters themselves determine what is and is not best for the debate process. Debaters should clarify what framework/criteria they are utilizing, and how things should be evaluated (a weighing mechanism or decision calculus). I see my role as a theoretically â??neutral observerâ? evaluating and comparing the validity of your arguments according to their probability, significance, magnitude, etc. I very much like to hear warrants behind your claims, as too many debates in parli are based on unsubstantiated assertions. As such, while a â??dropped argumentâ? has considerable weight, it will be evaluated within the context of the overall debate and is not necessarily an automatic â??round-winnerâ?.


Relative importance of presentation/communication skills to the critic in decision-making

As noted, clarity and structure are very important to me. It should be clear to me where you are and what argument you are answering or extending. Bear in mind that what you address as â??their next argumentâ? may not necessarily be the same thing I identify as â??their next argumentâ?. I see the flow as a â??mapâ? of the debate round, and you provide the content for that map. I like my maps to make sense.


That said, good content still weighs more heavily to me than slick presentation. Have something good to say, rather than simply being good at saying things.


Additionally, 1) although I think most people speak better when standing, thatâ??s your choice; 2) I wonâ??t flow the things your partner says during your speech time; 3) Please time yourselves and keep track of protected time.


Relative importance of on-case argumentation to the critic in decision-making

I find that good case debate is a very effective strategy. It usually provides the most direct and relevant clash. Unfortunately, it is rarely practiced. I can understand that at times counterplans and kritiks make a case debate irrelevant or even unhelpful. Nevertheless, I can't tell you the number of times I have seen an Opposition team get themselves in trouble because they failed to make some rather simple and intuitive arguments on the case.


Openness to critical/performative styles of debating

See above. No problem, as long as it is well executed â?? which really makes it no different than traditional "net-benefits" or "stock issues" debates. To me, no particular style of debating is inherently â??badâ?. Iâ??d much rather hear â??goodâ? critical/performative debate than â??badâ? traditional/policy debate, and vice versa.



While I try to keep an open mind here, I must admit Iâ??m not particularly fond of heavy theory debates. I think most debaters would be surprised by just how much less interesting they are as a judge than as a competitor. I realize they have their place and will vote on them if validated. However, screaming â??abuseâ? or â??unfairâ? is insufficient for me. Iâ??m far more concerned about educational integrity, stable advocacy and an equitable division of ground. Just because a team doesnâ??t like their ground doesnâ??t necessarily mean they donâ??t have any. Likewise, my threshold for â??reverse votersâ? is also on the somewhat higher end â?? I will vote on them, but not without some consideration. Basically, I greatly prefer substantive debates over procedural ones. They seem to be both more educational and interesting.


Parliamentary procedure

While I have no problem with them, I tend not to follow much of the traditional stylizations or formal elements of parliamentary practice: 1) I will likely just â??take into considerationâ? points of order that identify â??newâ? arguments in rebuttals, but you are more than welcome to make them if you feel they are warranted; 3) Just because I am not rapping on the table doesnâ??t mean I donâ??t like you or dig your arguments; 4) You donâ??t need to do the little tea pot dance to ask a question, just stand or raise your hand; 5) I donâ??t give the whole speaker of the house rap about recognizing speakers for a speech; you know the order, go ahead and speak; 6) I will include â??thank yousâ? in speech time, but I do appreciate a clear, concise and non-timed roadmap beforehand.


I lean toward thinking that â??splitting the blockâ?, while perhaps theoretically defensible, is somewhat problematic in an activity with only two rebuttals and often only makes a round more messy.

Kyle Cheesewright -- The College of Idaho

This is my most recent judging philosopy. If you want to see a collection of them, with information that is more or less relevant, Net Benefits has an interesting archive.

“All that you touch
You Change.
All that you Change
Changes you.
The only lasting truth
Is Change.
God Is Change.”
–Octavia Butler, “Parable of the Sower.”

Debate is a game. Debate is a strange, beautiful game that we play. Debate is a strange beautiful game that we play with each other.

I love debate. It’s the only game that exists where the rules are up for contestation by each side. There are some rules that aren’t up for discussion, as far as I can tell, these are them:

1/ Each debate will have a team that wins, and a team that looses. Say whatever you want, I am structurally constrained at the end of debate to award one team a win, and the other team will receive a loss. That’s what I got.

2/ Time limits. I think that a discussion should have equal time allotment for each side, and those times should probably alternate. I have yet to see a fair way for this question to be resolved in a debate, other than through arbitrary enforcement. The only exception is that if both teams decide on something else, you have about 45 minutes from the start of the round, to when I have to render a decision.

Pretty much everything else is open to contestation. At this point, I don’t really have any serious, uncontestable beliefs about debate. This means that the discussion is open to you. I do tend to find that I find debates to be more engaging when they are about substantive clash over a narrow set of established issues. This means, I tend to prefer debates that are specific and deep. Good examples, and comparative discussion of those examples is the easiest way to win my ballot. Generally speaking, I look for comparative impact work. I find that I tend to align more quickly with highly probable and proximate impacts, though magnitude is just so easy.

I tend to prefer LOC strategies that are deep, well explained explorations of a coherent world. The strategy of firing off a bunch of underdeveloped arguments, and trying to develop the strategy that is mishandled by the MG is often successful in front of me, but I almost always think that the round would have been better with a more coherent LOC strategy—for both sides of the debate.

At the end of the debate, when it is time for me to resolve the discussion, I start by identifying what I believe the weighing mechanism should be, based on the arguments made in the debate. Once I have determined the weighing mechanism, I start to wade through the arguments that prove the world will be better or worse, based on the decision mechanism. I always attempt to default to explicit arguments that debaters make about these issues.

Examples are the evidence of Parliamentary debate. Control the examples, and you will control the debate.

On specific issues: I don’t particularly care what you discuss, or how you discuss it. I prefer that you discuss it in a way that gives me access to the discussion. I try not to backfill lots of arguments based on buzzwords. For example, if you say “Topicality is a matter of competing interpretations,” I think I know what that means. But I am not going to default to evaluating every argument on Topicality through an offense/defense paradigm unless you explain to me that I should, and probably try to explicate what kinds of answers would be offensive, and what kinds of answers would be defensive. Similarly, if you say “Topicality should be evaluated through the lens of reasonability,” I think I know what that means. But if you want me to stop evaluating Topicality if you are winning that there is a legitimate counter-interpretation that is supported by a standard, then you should probably say that.

I try to flow debates as specifically as possible. I feel like I have a pretty good written record of most debates.

Rebuttals are times to focus a debate, and go comprehensively for a limited set of arguments. You should have a clear argument for why you are winning the debate as a whole, based on a series of specific extensions from the Member speech. The more time you dedicate to an issue in a debate, the more time I will dedicate to that issue when I am resolving the debate. Unless it just doesn’t matter. Watch out for arguments that don’t matter, they’re tricksy and almost everyone spends too much time on them.

Before I make my decision, I try to force myself to explain what the strongest argument for each side would be if they were winning the debate. I then ask myself how the other team is dealing with those arguments. I try to make sure that each team gets equal time in my final evaluation of a debate.

This is a radical departure from my traditional judging philosophy. I’ll see how it works out for me. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. For the record, I have strong opinions on just about everything that occurs in a debate round—but those strong opinions are for down time and odd rants during practice rounds. I work to keep them out of the debate, and at this point, I think I can say that I do a pretty good job on that account.

I just thought of a third rule. Speaker points are mine. I use them to indicate how good I thought speeches are. If you tell me what speaker points I should give you, I will listen, and promptly discard what you say. Probably.

For the sake of transparency: My personal gig is critical-cultural theory. It’s where my heart is. This does not mean that you should use critical theory that you don’t understand or feel comfortable with it. Make the choices in debate that are the best, most strategic, or most ethical for you. If your interested in my personal opinons about your choices, I’m more than happy to share. But I’ll do that after the debate is over, the ballot submitted, and we’re just two humans chatting. The debate will be decided based on the arguments made in the debate.

“[Y]ou can’t escape language: language is everything and everywhere; it’s what lets us have anything to do with one another; it’s what separates us from animals; Genesis 11:7-10 and so on.”
-David Foster Wallace, “Authority and American Usage.”

Kyle Bligen -- Mercer University

Overall Philosophy:

Let's debate. Whatever style, whatever case. Let's hear it. If you deem it worthy of your time and competition, let's hear it. I want to hear ethics, morality, history, proposition, all in the name of competition.�??� 


Make sure before the term "perm" comes out of your mouth, you know it's denotative and connotative power.


If they talk about the resolution, with breadth and depth, regardless of your performative preference, save your time. If you like topicality, and want to flex your muscles, run it.


Listen, I've worked in Congress (shameless plug). If your policy actually is bad policy, get ready to be exposed. If it's good, let's hear it. The time for good policy making is NOW.

Performance Debate is Bad:

Congratulations, you played yourself (DJ Khaled voice).

Performance Debate is Good:

Congratulations, as I'm sure you're quickly finding out. Debate is real life to some and a game to others. If you're running a performance, come with that fire.

***My actual paradigm***

  1. Start by bringing water to a boil in a large pot. Add salt to the water to season the pasta. Once it is boiling, add pasta and cook according to package instructions.
  2. Saute the garlic and butter together� until softened about 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add heavy cream� and let simmer over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes to thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add half of the parmesan cheese to the mixture and whisk well until smooth.
  4. Save some pasta water. The pasta water is full of flavor and can be used to thin out the sauce.
  5. Toss alfredo sauce with fettuccine pasta� and add half of the parmesan cheese. Once it is tossed, garnish with the remaining parmesan cheese. Add a little pasta water if it needs to be thinned out.
  6. Garnish with Italian parsley, if so desired.

Lauren Knoth -- Washburn University

Currently at Penn State working on my PhD in Quantitative Criminology with an emphasis on actuarial risk assessments at sentencing and victimization.

Currently judging for: Washburn University

 Debate is a game.  Each team will play it differently and ultimately you should stick to what you’re comfortable with. I will try my best to be a robot that judges strictly based off a technical evaluation of the flow, checking my biases and rendering a purely objective decision based on the arguments made in the round. The below information is largely irrelevant in that framework, but I present to you, as transparently as possible, any personal preferences I have that would make the round more enjoyable for me (but again, whether or not I enjoy the round is largely irrelevant and will not affect my decision). This philosophy is to make you aware of how I see the round in general, since no debate ever addresses every question necessary to render an RFD, I tend to think it important for you to know my starting points and how I will evaluate the round absent a world where I’m persuasively told otherwise. The bottom line is if you win the offense in the round and can clearly explain this using warrants and interacting with the opponents positions, you’ll win my ballot.  I also prefer debates to be civil and without any ad hominem arguments.  If this occurs, it will be reflected in your speaker points.

 Preface on speed:  this should be no problem; however if you are ridiculously fast, you may want to knock down to your mach 7 or 8 speed instead of mach 10.  Clarity is most important, and if I can’t understand or follow you, I won’t hesitate to say clear.  Developed, warranted arguments are also more important than a million unwarranted blippy arguments.

 Advocacies/Interpretations: two options – (1) provide me with a written copy of the text (preferred) or (2) slow down when you read the plan/cp/alt and read it at least twice.  This is also important in theory debates.  Too often a team has lost because they didn’t understand their opponents original interpretation OR the judge didn’t catch the entirety of the interpretation (Just ask Joe Allen).  Really I do think the proliferation of texts is a good thing.

 Topicality: I need a framework for evaluating this argument, and without one I am likely to default to competing interpretations.  Any other framework (i.e. reasonability) needs to be explained well.  Other than that, I enjoy a good T debate and when done well I think it can be strategic.

 Theory: Overall I think there needs to be a discussion of the different interpretations, and like T I need a framework for evaluating the argument.  It is up to the debaters to tell me if the particular theory argument is a voting issue, or a reason to reject the argument.  One important distinction – thanks to my years being coached by DD, I do think there is an intimate relationship between aff and neg flex that often is ignored.  Theory should be used to justify why you get to read specific arguments, not just reasons those arguments may be good or bad in general.  For example, situations with large aff flex (insert whatever reason why) may justify the use of multiple conditional strategies (read: neg flex) for the negative.  Including discussions of these critical issues is more likely to persuade me one way or another on a theory position.  **One theory argument I am particularly compelled by is multiple worlds.  I dislike when teams read multiple conditional strategies that contradict each other.  At a minimum, if I’m not voting on this theory argument, I think it does justify severance perms from the aff (again read: aff flex).  For example, if the neg reads a war with NK disad and a security K based on the representations of a war with China Adv, I think the aff should be able to “perm: pass the plan without the security representations in the adv.”  If the neg is able to severe out of their discourse and reps with the NK disad, why shouldn’t the aff be allowed to do the same thing?  Multiple conditional strategies can be deployed without these large contradictions.**

 Disads – yes please. Particularly if they are intrinsic.  I understand the strategic choice to read politics in some instances (ask Calvin Coker); however, with topic areas and specific resolutions (i.e. pass X policy) I am more likely to be persuaded by a topic specific, intrinsic disad.

 CPs  - Love them.  I don’t care if they’re delay, consult, enforcement pics, adv cps, etc .  I think each can be strategic and justified through NB.  I am more persuaded by functional competition than textual competition.  You can have this theory debate if you want, but I think your time is better spent beating the CP and NB. 

 Ks – also fine.  The biggest problem I have with K’s is the common assumption that everyone in the community is familiar with X author and everything they’ve ever written ever.  This is certainly not the case for me.  Criminal theorists I can get behind since I am immersed in this literature frequently; however other authors I am likely to need additional explanation for.  This may be as simple as a clear concise abstract or thesis at the beginning of your K.  This is also important if you are using author specific language that isn’t common knowledge.  It may be strategic to slow down in the beginning and make sure that important terms or concepts are made clear early.  Intrinsic k’s are preferred to the always linkable cap etc., but I am willing to listen to any of them. See the intro to this philosophy about identity based/performance K’s.

***Important*** I need to have a clear explanation of what the alternative does, and what the post-alt world looks like.  Stringing together post-modern terms and calling it an alternative is not enough for me if I have no idea what the heck that means.  I prefer to know exactly what action is advocated by the alternative, and what the world looks like after passage of the alternative.  I think this is also necessary to establish stable solvency/alternative ground for the opposing team to argue against and overall provides for a better debate.  Good theory is nothing without a good mechanism with which to implement it, and I'm tired of this being overlooked.

 Identity based criticisms – I’m honestly probably not the best judge for these arguments in the sense that I am distal from the literature and don’t know how to evaluate claims of personal identity. Often when I've seen these arguments, they replicate the types of violence they are attempting to solve for and they make far too many assumptions about the people in the room. If you read these arguments that is okay with me, but please try to avoid these issues. If you do not personally know me or the people you are debating, please refrain from ascribing labels to them or to me as well. I am generally persuaded by framework arguments against these positions, however simply saying “framework” will not win my ballot. All I am saying here is that my threshold for framework may be lower than critical leaning judges, in a similar way that people have different thresholds for topicality and spec arguments. Let me be clear that I am not saying I will not listen to or ever vote for these arguments.  My general preference is for a debate that embraces the topic. This does not preclude criticisms, but suggests that I would prefer topic specific criticisms. My preference would be for a debate that interrogates the critical literature you are reading through a defense of or application to marginalized populations addressed in the resolution, rather than having to evaluate fact or value claims about individual’s identities in the room. I will need a thorough framework of how to evaluate these claims. As stated above, I will try to be a robot and vote explicitly on the flow. Also, all of my above statements about criticisms in general (see the need for a clear post alt world) also apply to these types of criticisms.

 Perms (CPs/Ks) As may be obvious by some rounds I’ve debated in, I love a solid perm debate.  Perm texts need to be clearly articulated – slow down a bit and perhaps read them twice especially if it’s more complicated than “do both.”  Do both is fine for me as a perm text, but you should explain what that means or how that happens.

One last thing – IMPACT CALC.  The last thing I want is to evaluate a round where I have no idea what should be prioritized over what, how disads interact with case advantages, and I just have a bunch of arguments randomly on the flow with no story or explanation.  Rebuttals should serve to write my ballot, and if you’re lucky my RFD may be a quote from the LOR or PMR.  I think impact calc is undervalued, particularly by negative teams.  Probability, Magnitude, and Timeframe are all strategic tools that should explain why I’m voting for you at the end of the round.  These also serve to clarify the offense in the round and provide a succinct explanation for your overall strategy.

 My process during evaluations of CP/K debates: As a quantitative criminologist, formulas are easier ways of organizing my thoughts. Thus, I evaluate every CP/K debate the same way:

 Does the CP/Alt solve the aff?

  1. Does the aff solve (link turn or otherwise) the offense of the CP/Alt?

  2. Is there a Net-Benefit to the CP/Alt?

  3. Is there a disad to the CP/Alt?

  4. Is there a permutation to the CP/Alt?

    1. Does it solve the offense to the CP/Alt?

    2. Does it solve the aff?

    3. Is there an external net benefit to the permutation?

  5. Impact weighing:

    1. If the answer to 5 is yes, does it outweigh the answer to 1 and 3?

    2. If the answer to 5 is no, does the answer to 2 and 4 outweigh the answer to 1 and 3?

Lenora Popken -- University of Notre Dame

I debated in various formats throughout high school and college, and now I am in graduate school. This is my first year coaching at the collegiate level. I believe that debate rounds are for the competitors, not me. I already had my turn; now it is yours- you run the show. If you want to debate theory, go for it- or if you prefer classic persuasive arguments using common knowledge examples that is fine too! I am going to vote based upon my flow using whatever criterion you convince me is proper. I am comfortable with speed, however, the faster you speak the better your enunciation has to be. If you full on "spread" I will not be able to understand you.

A few things to keep in mind about my take on judging.
 I will not do the work for you: 
1. Tell me why something is important 
2. Explain the link between your argument and impact 
3. Sign-post so I don't have to stop and figure out where you are on the flow
4. In the rebuttal speeches you should basically write my RFD for me, tell me why you won. 
5. I am going to generally accept what you say as true unless I am given a reason to think otherwise. However, it is never a good idea to make statements that are obviously inaccurate. 

Li-Ren Chang (Hired) -- University of Utah

Last edited 3/8/19

Debated for CSU Long Beach from 2014-2016. Coached for San Marino High School 2015-2017.

5~ years of judging high school, 3~ years of judging college.


- I like warrants, theory, and K's.

- I don't like politics, Kant, and non-explanatory rebuttals.

speaker points:

30-29: You read warrants, explained the implications of your arguments, controlled the direction of the debate in a favorable way.

29-28: You sometimes read warrants, and have been known to explain the implications of arguments.

28-27: Reserved for people who had very low to non-existent warrant strength.

27>: Anything from stealing prep time to reading "Cap Epistemology K BF".

Longer Version:


(stolen from Brandon Fletcher)

I want to watch a competitive debate where both teams are arguing the issues theyâ??re best at, and I would prefer that the debaters spend more time thinking how to be strategic and have fun, than thinking about what particular style of debate or strategy that I want to see.


Important things to know:

- I will vote on RVI's if there is an interpretation read in the PMC that justifies topicality being a reciprocal voting issue. I still need the MG to read the rest of the shell.

- I have a very low threshold for voting on theory read in the LOC. This means I typically find potential abuse sufficient and that I am skeptical of generic reasonability arguments i.e. judge intervention causing x terminal impact.

- I will not vote on new off's in the PMR.

- If you want to go super fast but you see me on my laptop tell me before the PMC to switch to paper please.

- There is 1 scenario where I think you should call a point of order once and that is when the PMR is shadow extending arguments and backfilling warrants. Have a statement that explains what the argument originally was in the PMC and how it is distinct from the PMR.

If you have any questions you should ask via facebook or by email. chng.lrn@gmail.com



I think that my ideal kind of debate to judge on the aff would be a well warranted 1ac that either (in no particular order):

1) Defends a hyper-specific topical fiated policy option with 1-3 advantages and a theory/framework underview. 

2) Is a critical justification for affirming the resolution through a methodology that is contextualized to the top.

3) A rejection of the resolution along side a falsifiable critique.

TBH if your strategy on the aff doesn't fit under these 3 categories I'd probably think it is just underdeveloped and needs to rethink on what terms does the 1ac want to engage the other team. The only kind of 1ac's that I feel uncomfortable judging are very personal arguments where people are offended or hurt. During rounds where this happens I tend to make decisions that are based on my feelings.


Ultimately, I think that the LOC gets to read whatever they want. I would certainly prefer that generic files are made specific to at least the topic. In particular for criticisms, I am skeptical of generic alt solves the aff/links turn the aff arguments and generally don't consider these warranted unless it is explicitly explained in the LOC. If you are rolling into the tournament with 6 politics scenarios and hyper specific reasons why your PIC won't trigger the links then I am not the judge for you.

I think that the LOC tends to be the most underwarrented speech in Parli. I am typically very vigilant if there is a warrant in the LOC/MG. If there is not I have no problems saying I didn't get it.




The only acceptable time for the MO to not collapse to a single sheet is when its theory and case. The MO should prioritize explaining the implications of arguments rather than the arguments themselves. The Block should be filled with arguments that demand an answer from the PMR. An ideal MO collapses to a conceded piece of offense which is used to frame the PMR out of the round. The LOR should contain an explanation for why the negative wins the round, what the substance of the round means, and what arguments the PMR needs to answer as well as how they can't answer them. If a significant portion of the LOR is not dedicated to impact calculus or if each impact does not have framing attached to it then you're gonna have a bad time.


The fastest route to my ballot is a explanation of the affirmative strategy, why it controls the most important arguments in the round. I think framing heavy PMR's are usually more effective for me than line-by-line heavy PMR's. I approached the PMR from the win at any costs perspective. Assuming you are also a responsible person then it should work out for you too.


Lindsay VanLuvanee -- Concordia University Irvine

I debated throughout high school and then at Idaho State University for 5 years. I then coached at Idaho State University for 2 years, and am now in my first year with Weber State University.


I am a firm believer that debate is for debaters. I've had my time to make others listen to whatever (and I mean absolutely whatever) I wanted to say, and it's my turn to listen to and evaluate your arguments, whatever they may be. While I'm sure I have my limitations, make me adapt to you instead of the other way around.


I try my damnedest to line up all the arguments on my flow. I am, however, open to alternate flowing styles. I really do prefer when debaters make specific reference of which argument(s) they are answering at a given time regardless of flowing style. I also flow the text of cards.


I prefer not to call for evidence (although I would like to be on your email chain... misslindsayv@gmail.com). This means explain, explain, explain! Tell me what the card says; tell me why I should care and how I should apply it. That being said, I do not think that cards are always better than analytics.


Be prepared to defend all aspects of your argument.


Everything is open to (re)interpretation. For example, some questions that may be relevant to my ballot include: What is the purpose of debate? How does this affect the way that impacts are evaluated? These kinds of top-level framing issues are the most important to me.


This means things like framework and T (fun little-known fact: I've always found topicality in general super interesting--I love the nit-picky semantics of language) can be viable options against K affs. However, you are better off if you have a substantive response to the aff included as well.


I'm still kind of deciding how I feel about how competition functions in method debates. I think the most accurate depiction of what I think about it now is this (and it all obviously depends on what's happening in the debate/on the flow, but in general): I'll probably err that the affirmative on-face gets a permutation to determine if the methods are mutually exclusive, and so that means the best strategy for the negative in this world is to generate their links to the aff's method itself to prove that mutual exclusivity.


I'd really appreciate it if you could warn me in advance if there will be graphic descriptions of sexual violence.


Mackenzie Moss -- Boise State University

Mackenzie Moss- Judging Philosophy

I did NPDA for 4 years at Boise State University and just graduated in May of 2018. I like all different kinds of arguments, and think I'm okay with hearing whatever you want to read. I like the rebuttal speeches to paint a pretty clear picture of what each team thinks I should be voting on. I encourage watching my facials/demeanor for recognition throughout the debate. I do pretty well with speed, but I’ll say something if I can’t understand. It should be pretty obvious if there comes a point where I'm not following. I think the only thing I really care to see in a round is people being nice to each other. I am likely to drop someone treating someone else not well. I like debate a lot, and am excited to be judging.

More specifically —

FW: I will assume NB unless told otherwise. I get kind of frustrated when the framework debate isn’t clear. My decision usually starts with what FW I’m supposed to be using to evaluate the rest of the arguments in the debate, so it’s a lot better for both teams if there is either a clear consensus on how I’m evaluating, or if the argumentation regarding FW is clearly outlined throughout the debate. This heavily impacts how I know how to see the potentially more substantive parts of the debate.

T: I need a pretty slow reading of the interp. I also need the debate to slow down a bit when it comes to counter-standards and cross applications of the standards debate on T. And I also need the debate to slow down if T is going to be a big part of the rebuttals.

Case: I think my bias is to like realistic impact scenarios over hypothetical, but I’ll listen to whatever you have to say. Clear impact calc helps avoid any of the intervention that could come from that bias.

K: Read whatever you want. Again clear FW is important because it’s likely I haven’t read what you’re telling me about.

Project: I’ll listen to your project.

Speed: I’ll ask for speed or clarity if I need to. And I appreciate when the speed is accessible for all the debaters in the round, but I’ll vote based on the arguments made.

Feel free to ask if there’s anything else you want to know.

Margaret Rockey -- Western Washington University

Background: Parli coach at WWU for one year. Competed in parli at Whitman for three years and one year independently (sco Sweets!). I have no idea if I am or if people perceive me as a K- or policy-oriented judge. I guess I read a lot of disads, topical K affs, disads, and always read, but never went for politics, but I strongly preferred being a double member because I gave no shits about what our strategy was and would defend whatever. So I have no strong preferences regarding argumentative content. 

Iâ??ve tried writing a philosophy four or five times this year, and every attempt has ended with one sentence rejecting the proposition of writing in a philosophy in the first place. The short version, and what you probably want to know, is that you can read whatever you want, and should give me a reason why you win and a reason why the other team loses. In the event that the reason you win is also the reason they lose, you should explain how it is so. What follows is not a syncretic philosophy but a disorganized and unenclosed series of thoughts on debate, some arbitrary biases and thresholds, and judging tendencies Iâ??ve noticed in myself. It may or may not be helpful.

Judging Generally

I find I feel much less certain about my decisions as a judge than I did about my predictions as a competitor and observer. Actually doing the work of making and justifying a decision almost always necessitates getting my hands dirty in some form or other. Most of my decisions require intervention to vote for any one team, either because certain core questions have not been resolved, or some resolved questions have not been contextualized to one another, or some combination of the two. Recognizing the frequent inevitability of dirty hands in decision-making, I try to stick to both a general principle and practice when judging. In principle, I try to have a justification for every decision I make. In practice, I find I try to limit my intervention to extrapolating from arguments made to resolve unanswered issues; if a certain team is winning a certain part of the flow; what does that mean for this part where no one is clearly ahead but where someone must be to decide the round? This is also means that an easy way to get ahead is doing that work for me--provide the summary and application of an argument in addition to making it. 


In general I think framework either tells me how to prioritize impacts or understand solvency, and in particular how to situate solvency in relation to debate as a practice. Most framework arguments I see in-round seem to be made out of a precautious fear of leaving the something crucial open on the line-by-line, but with little understanding of the argumentâ??s application to interpreting the rest of the round. At least, thatâ??s what I felt like when I extended framework arguments for awhile. I donâ??t understand the argument that fiat is illusory. The advocacy actually being implemented has never been a reason to vote aff, as far as I can tell. The purpose of fiat is to force a â??shouldâ? and not â??willâ? debate. Framework arguments that dictate and defend a certain standard for the negativeâ??s burden to argue that the advocacy â??should notâ? happen are ideal. Iâ??m open to arguments proposing a different understanding of solvency than what a policymaking framework supplies.

My only other observation about framework debates is that every interpretation seems to get slotted into some â??critical non fiat â??ologyâ? slot or â??policy fiat roleplayingâ? slot. This is a false binary but its frequent assumption means many non-competitive framework (and advocacies!) are set against each other as if theyâ??re competitive. Policymaking and roleplaying are not the same thing; epistemology and ontology being distinct doesnâ??t mean theyâ??re inherently competitive, for a couple examples.

 This is also the major flaw of most non-topical K v. K debates I seeâ??the advocacies are not competitive. They feel like I.E. speeches forced into the debate format when the content and structure of that content just donâ??t clashâ??I mean, itâ??s like the aff showing up and saying dogs are cool and the neg firing back that cats are cool. Itâ??s just not quite debate as weâ??re used to, and demands reconceptualizing competition. This is also why I donâ??t think â??no perms in a method debateâ? makes any sense but I agree with the object of that argument. The topic creates sidesâ??youâ??re either for or against it. In rounds where each team is just going to propose distinct ways of apprehending the world, whatever that looks like, I see no reason to award noncompetitiveness to either team. (Oh, this should not be used as a justification for negative counterperms. How counterperms being leveraged against perms represents anything less than the death of debate is a mystery to me) Iâ??m not saying donâ??t have nontopical KvK rounds, please do, just please also read offense against each otherâ??s arguments (cats are cool and dogs are bad). In those rounds, your reason to win is not the same reason the other team loses, which is the case for advocacies which are opportunity costs to each other. For the record, I think critical literature is arguably the most important education debate offers. I just think debate is structured for competition oriented around policy advocacies and the ways that kritikal arguments tend to engage each other challenge that structure in ways we have yet to explore in parli (at least, writ large).


Donâ??t have anything in particular to say about this other than that I have a high threshold for evaluating anything other than plan text in a vacuum in determining interp violations. Everything else seems a solvency question to me, but make the arguments you want to and can defend.

Independent Voters

Iâ??ve noticed that I have a pretty high threshold on independent voters. I voted for an independent voter once when the block went for it. Arguments about discursive issues serve an important purpose. But for arguments read flippantly or as a gotcha or, more often, that lack any substantive impact, I always feel a little guilty voting there and jettisoning the rest of the debate, like feeling bad for picking one spoon over another when youâ??re a kid. I think a lot of judges want the simple way to vote but I donâ??t, as far as I can tell. They donâ??t necessarily have to be complicated, but I like thorough ways to vote, which do often involve a lot of nuance or at least word dancing (I believe debate is fundamentally competitive bullshitting, which I do not mean derisively in the slightest).

Mark Bentley -- Appalachian State University

Mark Bentley, Appalachian State University

**I have made some modifications to my judging philosophy to better reflect my view of debate**

Section 1: General Information

I approach debate primarily as an educational activity with interwoven game elements. Our in-round discourse has critical, real world rhetorical implications and the debate space functions best when critiquing ideas and power structures, whether through policy implementation or critical framework. While I am very receptive to advocacies of violence against the state or other power structures, I am very opposed to violence targeting individuals in the debate space. This doesnâ??t refer to a couterplan or procedural run against you that you donâ??t like, but that our praxis, even in competition, should be kindness towards each other, directing violence towards oppression, power structures and discourses of power and domination. Please give trigger warnings when appropriate.    

I really like specific, well run critical debates. They are my favorite, but I'm also totally good with non-critical arguments. So, if critical arguments are not your thing, don't feel like you have to run them in front of me or I won't vote for you. I vote for plenty of non-critical arguments. Likewise, just because you run a critical argument doesn't mean I'm automatically going to vote for you.

I evaluate arguments in whatever framework I am presented with, as long as it's warranted (don't just tell me something is important, tell me why it's important). I usually do not vote on defense alone, and prefer offensive arguments on positions rather than just defensive. When weighing arguments, I default to weighing probability over magnitude and timeframe, but I will weigh them differently if you explain why I should.

I have a rather high threshold for spec arguments and need to see clearly articulated in-round abuse, or I will not vote on them. This usually manifests itself as obvious underspecified, groundshift-ready plan situations. Spec arguments generally function best for me as link insurance for other positions. Asking questions are a must when running spec arguments. I tend to think conditionality, and PICs are bad, but a procedural needs to be run and won to get my vote. However, even if an argument is kicked, the rhetoric of the position has already been introduced into the round and I still consider valid link access to that rhetoric.

I tend to protect against new arguments in the rebuttals, but like POOâ??s called when whoeverâ??s giving the rebuttal thinks theyâ??re getting away with sneaking new arguments in.  I tend to grant the PMR access to new articulations to existing arguments from the MO, and the opposition from arguments suddenly blown up in the PMR.

Section 2: Specific Inquiries  

Please describe your approach to the following.

1. Speaker points (what is your typical speaker point range or average speaker points given)?

      25-30. 27-30 is my typical range, 25 and below is typically for abusive individuals.

2.  How do you approach critically framed arguments? Can affirmatives run critical arguments? Can critical arguments be â??contradictoryâ? with other negative positions?

I definitely prefer critical arguments that are â??grounded in the specificityâ? of the resolution, over generic, over-run kritiks (if your criticism is as important as you say, you can certainly link to and specifically engage with any res/arguments the other team runs). I will vote on permutations and theoretical objections. I also give weight to performative contradiction arguments as deficits to solvency (or however else you would like to use them). I tend to get bored with highly generic kritiks. I do not prefer non-topical Affirmative kritiks, because they unnecessarily exclude the Negative and  if the issue is as important as you claim, it definitely has specific topical application that can allow for equitable engagement by the Negative. Failure to apply your criticism to the topic puts the kiritik at a rhetorical disadvantage and opens the Affirmative up for methodological criticism by the Neg. I also prefer methodological challenges to non-topical Aff Kâ??s rather than topicality procedurals, as the method debate tends to engage more with the substance of the kritik and doesnâ??t link into replications of structural oppression as readily.

Explain your ideas instead of just throwing terms around. Sure, I may know what the terms mean, but I need to know what you mean by them and how you are using them to determine the functionality of the argument. I also think itâ??s important to not only tell me the importance of (or need for) the interrogation or deconstruction a criticism engages in, but also why should we engage with THIS specific interrogation/deconstruction and what, if anything, it seeks to solve, resolve, change, etc. In other words, donâ??t drop or omit solvency of the criticism. Also, donâ??t give blanket blips of â??alt solves allâ? because, no, it doesnâ??t. I understand that argument as a game piece, but if your advocacy is worth voting for you need to have more substantial analysis than that. Use solvency as a way to justify the need for the criticism through analysis of what it actually does.

3.   Projects and performance based arguments�

â??Performance based argumentsâ? are hard to run well, but definitely possible. The act of debating, criticizing, and advocating itself is a performance, and so you will need to do extra work to justify how and why yours is uniquely important. The way "performative arguments" are often run makes it too easy for the other team to non-unique the "performance" with links to existing power structures/discourses/performances. I tend to evaluate â??performance argumentsâ? within the proximal space of debate, and apply solvency accordingly, but also acknowledge the real world rhetorical impacts of the arguments. As with non-topical Affrimative kritiks, â??performance based argumentsâ? should have specific topic application and allow for equitable engagement for both sides.

For "projects" I have and will vote for "projects" that engage with the topic and the other teamâ??s arguments. â??Projectâ? arguments absolutely must not replicate the oppressive structures they seek to critique against the individuals in the room. Violence should be directed at systems and people of power and oppression, not towards individuals in the round. I strongly advocate for avoiding debates that would pressure individuals in the round to disclose personal details not otherwise known or they are unwilling to discuss in a debate round. Indict rhetoric and ideas, but not individuals in the round. Practice kindness towards others, and violence towards oppression.

4.   Topicality. What do you require to vote on topicality? Is in-round abuse necessary? Do you require competing interpretations?

I tend to weigh topicality through competing interpretations (make them clear what they are). Itâ??s much easier for me to vote on â??articulated in-roundâ? abuse, than potential abuse.

5. Counterplans -- PICs good or bad? Should opp identify the status of the counterplan? Perms -- textual competition ok? functional competition?

I tend to view most counterplans as theoretically legitimate and like to leave it up to the debaters to determine what is or is not legitimate in the given round. I donâ??t like delay counterplans, and will not be likely to vote on a PIC when the resolution calls for a specific plan action on the part of the affirmative. I donâ??t prefer conditional advocacies. I am open to voting for a PIC/Condo bad procedural. Neg should give CP status. CPâ??s and perms can be either textual or functionally competitive, as long as there is a net-benefit or demonstration of non-competition.

6.   Is it acceptable for teams to share their flowed arguments with each other during the round (not just their plans)

Yeah, I donâ??t really care what you share...but that also doesnâ??t mean you donâ??t have to flow and just use the other teamâ??s flows. Also, I don't think teams are necessarily under any sort of obligation to share their flows with the other team, but this can also be contextually dependent.

7.   In the absence of debaters' clearly won arguments to the contrary, what is the order of evaluation that you will use in coming to a decision (e.g. do procedural issues like topicality precede kritiks which in turn precede cost-benefit analysis of advantages/disadvantages, or do you use some other ordering?)?

First off, you should definitely tell me which order I should evaluate and why. If you havenâ??t, this usually tells me you havenâ??t done your job. I usually evaluate Kâ??s and procedurals first, then advantage/disadvantage impact calculus, probability before magnitude and timeframe.

8.   How do you weigh arguments when they are not explicitly weighed by the debaters or when weighting claims are diametrically opposed? How do you compare abstract impacts (i.e. "dehumanization") against concrete impacts (i.e. "one million deaths")?

Again, if it gets to this point, you havenâ??t done your job and I wonâ??t be real happy, and you probably wonâ??t be happy with my decision. I donâ??t automatically weigh death more than dehumanization, but can go either way based on the context and arguments. Dehumanization is a terminal impact. Well warranted impacts are always preferred over poorly warranted ones. I greatly prefer systemic impacts over low probability, high magnitude impacts, but will evaluate impacts on whichever framework wins out in the round.

Matt Parnell -- Texas Tech University


Section 1: General information

I debated four years of high school policy and then another five in parli at Washburn. I believe that offense will win you most debate rounds as long as it’s packaged well enough. As a debater, I read a lot of different positions but there is a soft spot in my heart for politics + counterplan debate. I can hang with most positions however if you’re reading something new, you might wanna go a bit slower so I can jive with what you’re reading. I will say that theory is my jam. I won’t vote for silly theory (I mean I might if you win it) but I do love really good and deep theory debates. Overall, I’ll vote on the framework that you present. I’ll default to an offense vs. defense paradigm but if you want me to evaluate the round differently, you gotta let me know.

Identity/Performance/Critical Arguments: I view these arguments very similarly as I do Ks. Provide a clear advocacy, or at least some form of tangible action and tell me why that action is key to resolve your links. Provide a clear way for me to weight the debate through impacts. At the core, I believe your argument should have some sort of linkage to the topic. I’m not asking you to be topical, but I am asking for at least a little time in the PM/LO dedicated to a discussion of the topic.

Flowing: I need like a second of pen time between positions. If you have any particular questions about my flow, just ask. Essentially I will vote based on what I have on my flow. I’m a big fan of debaters who organize well.

Texts and Interps: Slow down when you read plan/cp/alt texts. I think texts are pretty important to the round and I want to ensure that I understand what the text of your arg is.

Procedurals/Theory/T: I love theory. That doesn’t mean I like really silly theory but a really intense and deep theory debate is fantastic. I need interps to be said slowly. I think that if you collapse to theory you need to be doing the work on the voter level. So many times, debaters blip out fairness and education and call it good however if you go for theory, give me actual, termialized impacts to those claims. I will vote on potential abuse but you need to tell me why I am doing so. It makes me happy to see debaters having an in depth theory debate. Generally, I think condo is bad however I am not rigid in that interpretation. I will vote on condo strats and condo good if you’ve won the flow.

DAs: Read them. The more specific the link story the better. I was a politics debater so I enjoy a good politics debate. I do have a high threshold when it comes to the uniqueness question of a politics disad so give actual details i.e. who is voting for what, vote counts, etc.

CPs: Also read them. I really like creative counterplans. If you read a counterplan, make sure you have a net benefit attached.



Ks: These are also fine. Please explain what the alternative does however. I’m willing to pull the trigger on any K however I need an explanation of how the alternative resolves the links page. Also try not to slam a bunch of postmodern terms together and call it good. The alt advocates a particular action so please, tell me what that action is. I’m at least baseline familiar with most lit bases however if you’re breaking something completely new, give a small thesis at the top of the shell.

Perms: Perms are fine and you should be making them. You don’t have to read the entire perm text for me. Just say Perm do X and here are the net benefits. Perms are a test of competition but if you want me to treat it as an advocacy, you better make that argument.

Speaker points: I’ll start at 28 and go up or down. If you give a good speech with solid arguments, you’ll be rewarded. If I can’t understand you, you will be punished. I’ll really only give less than a 26 for things such as hate speech, hyper aggression, etc.

This is your space so you do what you want. I will judge what you want me to judge. I only ask that you be considerate of the other people in the room.


Matthew Swanson -- Saint Mary's College

I have been doing this for ~18 years. I debated trad and not and now I coach the same. It is fair to say that I am more familiar and comfortable with traditional arguments but I do like kritiks. I just do not know as much about your literature base as you probably want me to, especially for the more complicated ones. To be honest, I do not understand some of the arguments my students run and I do not know why they win but i am glad that other coaches vote for them. In the end, I don't care what you do (fiat the USFG to do something, tell me a story/narrative, framework, etc.) just have fun and be yourselves. My debate career is over so I really don't care what you read but I have one exception: Don't read RVIs.

Unless directed otherwise, I will adhere to the flow as closely as possible. I will prioritize weighing arguments as the debaters instruct me or I will tend to default to these preferences: an unwarranted systemic impact over an unwarranted nuclear war impact and will probably default to ordering impact calculus as probability, magnitude, and time frame. I am not familiar with cards/authors and I am a little hard of hearing so I can't keep up with full speed and need you to speak up.

email chain: mjs17 at stmarys-ca.edu

Speak well and make good choices.

Michael Middleton -- University of Utah

A Quotation:

â??The present situation is highly discouragingâ? â??Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari

A Haiku:

Debate is Awesome

Judging Makes Me Cry Softly

Do I weep in vain?

Some things to consider (when debating in front of me):

10.� � I DO NOT support speed as a tool of exclusion

9.� � � � I DO NOT like deciding for myself what is the most important thing in the round or how to evaluate the competing arguments; You should do this for me.� � You will like it less if you donâ??t. On the other hand, I will like it more.

8.� � � � I DO like well-structured debates. I also like interesting structures.

7.� � � � I DO like creative interpretations; I DO NOT like when you donâ??t explain/provide a rationale for why I your interpretation makes for a productive/rewarding/interesting/good debate.

6.� � � � I DO NOT like nor understand potential abuse arguments; I DO like and reward teams that demonstrate compellingly that the quality of the debate has been compromised by an interpretive choice made by the other team.� 

5.� � � � I DO NOT vote for any given argument or against any given type of argument.� � Run whatever strategy you like; Be clear about your strategy.

4.� � � � I am a participant in the round also.� � While I make my best effort to vote on who is winning and losing the debate based on the arguments, I use speaker points to evaluate and highlight both excellent and poor behaviors, i.e. if you create a hostile environment, you get massively low speaker points.

3.� � � � Jargon does not equal argument. Nor does it equal a good time.

2.� � � Cross-application does not equal new argument. It doesnâ??t really equal anything.

1.� � � � Debate is not life.� � Losing a ballot will not steal your humanity.� � I tend to prefer rounds that demonstrate everyone in the room knows this.� 

0. Have Fun

Michael Harvey -- United States Air Force Academy

    The most important thing to me is a debate where both teams treat each other with respect. I will try and flow everything, but if you're going really fast and see me put down my pen, take that as a sign! I am not fond of Ks but will judge them on how they are presented. Answer (at least briefly) all things on the flow and don't make me fill in the blanks on incomplete arguments. Good luck!

Michael Portal -- Rice University

Hello! I have been involved in competitive debate for (roughly) 10 years. I competed on behalf of Rice University for four years.

I remain uncertain of the utility of longwinded paradigms. Here, instead, I will list my views concerning debate so as to provide some insight into how I will evaluate most (NPDA/NPTE) rounds. These insights are presented in no particular order of importance.

1. I appreciate having a written version of all texts, advocacies, etc. The language we use matters.

2. I appreciate teams that are respectful and courteous (not to me, but to their opponents and partners).

3. I appreciate when teams are creative. Boring debate is bad debate.

4. I appreciate clash. Offense wins rounds.

5. I appreciate well warranted and clear arguments, with an emphasis on presenting tangible or real-world examples. Explanations should come in constructive speeches, I should not be waiting until the end of the round to understand the argument.

6. I appreciate debaters who ask good (or strategic) questions.

7. I appreciate debaters who have good round vision and collapse only to the round’s most essential arguments.

8. I will always evaluate “stupid” arguments (RVIs, etc.) if given a good reason. I will listen to all arguments barring dangerous or violent ones. (This means I do not have a high threshold for theory, etc.)

9. I will do my best to not involve myself in the round and rely heavily on the flow (unless told otherwise). In instances where I do not understand something (e.g. one is speaking too quickly) I will make this clear.

10. I dislike when debaters deliberately exclude their opponents (by using speed, unnecessary jargon, etc.).

11. I dislike debaters who lie and cheat.

12. I dislike debaters who are rude, make the debate space more inhospitable than it already is, etc. Debate is best served when we all are (or aim to be) safe, kind, and having a good time.

13. I dislike having to do work. I will always prefer debaters who weigh arguments early and often, who explain the relationships between pages, and who have a clear narrative at the end of the round.

14. I dislike having one partner excessively use their other partner as a puppet or mouthpiece.

15. I am (currently) not well versed in argument theory. You should not assume I understand the complex relationships between the two-plank dispositional CP and x, y, or z argument. Explain your arguments well.

I strive to judge rounds as well as Adam Testerman.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask me before the beginning of the round.


- 29 September 2018: I do not care about speaker points. If you win, you receive 30s. If you lose, you receive 29s.

Nadia Steck -- Lewis & Clark College

Nadia here, I am currently the Coach for Lewis and Clark’s debate team I graduated from Concordia University Irvine where I debated for 2 years, before that I debated for Moorpark College for 3 years. I’m gonna give you a TL:DR for the sake of prep time/pre-round strategizing, I want my personal opinions to come into play as little as possible in the debate round. I want the debate to be about what the debaters tell me it should be about, be it the topic or something totally unrelated. I am fairly familiar with theory, policy, and critical debate. I don’t have a strong preference for any one of the three, all I want you to do is not be lazy and expect me to backfill warrants from my personal knowledge of arguments for you. If you don’t say it, it doesn’t end up on my flow, and thus it doesn’t get evaluated. There aren’t really any arguments I won’t listen to, and I will give the best feedback I have the ability to give after each round.

For out of round thinking or pre tournament pref sheets here are a few of the major things I think are important about my judging philosophy and history as a debater

•I hate lazy debate; I spent a lot of time doing research and learning specific contextualized warrants for most of the arguments I read. It will benefit you and your speaks to be as specific as possible when it comes to your warrants.

•I did read the K a lot during my time as a debater but that doesn’t mean I don’t also deeply enjoy a good topical debate

•I did read arguments tethered to my identity occasionally; if you want to read these sorts of arguments I am sympathetic to them, but I believe you should be ready to answer the framework debate well.

•As far as framework and theory arguments go, I am open to listening to any theory argument in round with the exception of Spec args, I honestly feel like a POI is enough of a check back for a spec arg. I have yet to meet a spec arg that was justified much beyond a time suck. If you’re In front of me, I give these arguments little credence so you should respond accordingly.

•As far as the actual voting issue of theory, I by default assume they are all Apriori, as theory is a meta discussion about debate and therefore comes as a prior question to whatever K/CP/DA is being read. When it comes to evaluating the impacts of theory, please please please do not be lazy and just say that fairness and/or education is the voter without justification. These are nebulous terms that could mean a thousand things, if you want to make me really happy as a judge please read more specific voters with a solid justification for them. This way I have a more concrete idea of what you mean instead of me having to insert my own ideas about fairness or education into the debate space.

•As far as policy debates go, I default net bens, and will tend to prefer probable impacts over big impacts. That being said, I am a sucker for a good nuke war or resource wars scenario. My favorite policy debates were always econ debates because of the technical nuance.

•Go as fast as you want, just make sure if your opponent calls clear or slow you listen because if they read theory or a K because you didn’t slow down or speak more clearly I will most likely vote you down.

•I am not a point fairy, I tend to be in the lower end of average speaks given, that being said, do a great job, make me chuckle, or reference the mountain goats and I’ll give you and your partner 30s

Paul Villa -- University of the Pacific

TLDR: I prefer you not reject the topic. Don't go top speed, I have carpal tunnel and value my wrists health over having your 9th warrant on my flow. I have a lower threshold for framework, condo, and T than most judges. I demand you attempt to be accommodating of the other team's needs. If you have any questions about my philosophy feel free to email me at paulyycat@gmail as I will always try to check my email during the lead up to rounds as well as my Facebook so feel free to add me.

I debated on the collegiate circuit starting in 2013. I have extensive experience in Parli and LD competing at the University of the Pacific and briefly competed in Policy at SFSU.

Things to know up front: I am going to be completely honest, I can hang but I don't want to. I spent years having to listen to people ignore the topic and run nonsense kritiks spread at me at the speed of light and in my old age have decided I am no longer interested in doing so whether that be on the aff or the neg. It is my belief that one of the most fundamental parts of debate is being given a topic and being arbitrarily assigned to affirm or negate that topic, I ran topicality or framework in 80% of neg rounds. That is not to say you can't spread at top speed in front of me but I am much more likely to have your arguments on the flow if you go 85% of your top speed. Can you reject the topic in front of me? Absolutely, but you do so at your own peril, I would much prefer you just read the res as an advocacy and then do your K thing. I don't think the negative reading framework or T is silencing your voice, I think it is just them saying you don't get to say what you said and still win the round. I don't flow shadow extensions and do my best to protect in the rebuttals. Also, I think conditional strategies are cheating and am easily persuaded to vote a team down for employing one. Honestly I am still not clear on why the negative team should get an advocacy at all. Other than that the best advice I can give you is be accommodating and have fun.

For K debaters ready to risk it all: I want to be clear. I don't hate kritiks. I ran kritiks in probably 50% of my neg rounds my senior year. I just think a lot of them don't make sense. I think a lot of them utilize literature I don't understand. I think more importantly that a lot them are deployed as fast as possible and with an assumption that I know what is going on. I don't. If you read a kritik on the negative in front of me and it links to the topic, has a clear and concise thesis, and has a solvency mechanism that makes sense to me and solves for both the Aff and/or kritik I will happily vote for you.

If I was going to make a checklist for winning the kritik in front of me it would be as follows.

1. Don't go top speed.

2. Have a thesis statement somewhere.

3. Actually link to the aff, I can't stress this enough. Saying they used the USFG or this seems capitalist is not going to win my ballot I need nuanced reasons why the aff is incompatible with the kritik, otherwise I am almost certainly going to vote on the perm.

4. Has to actually have a solvency mechanism that resolves the aff/kritik. To be clear, if your K doesn't solve the aff then I think the opportunity cost of the aff is a disad to K, so you need to win a net benefit that outweighs that.

5. Be able to explain why the aff is the point of no return, IE, why the K can solve every other instance of X but not this instance of the aff.

Bonus: 6. An author so I can look it up next time/know whether your specific version matters.

Here is a list of kritiks I used to run/understand/enjoyed.

1. Death Denialism (Ernest Becker)

2. Ableism/Disableism/Malady Discourse (Various, this includes being very in favor of teams reading speed kritiks if they really need the access)

3. Neoliberalism (from a psycho analytical framework, Lacan, etc.)

4. Hip-Hop (Going to be honest, I will judge you for having trash taste in hip-hop, bonus points for Wu-Tang)

Here is a list of kritiks you have essentially no shot of winning in front of me

1. Cap/Marx

2. Kritiks that use the word cybernetic

3. Kritiks that use the word liberalism with no explanation as to how that is different than neoliberalism

4. Identity Politics kritiks (I am very uncomfortable judging on the basis of you or anyone else's identity)

5. Pretty much anything D&G related.

How I reach my decision: I usually make my decision incredibly fast, especially if it is a prelim and not one of the national tournaments. My process for judging is very formulaic. I ask myself who is winning the debate at the end of every speech and make a note of it, if the negative is not decisively winning by the end of the block, they are probably not going to pick up my ballot. If at the end of the PMR I do not have a clear cut decision I then go back and work my way through the debate. I begin by identifying who has won the framing issues of the debate and use that as a lens to evaluate the rest of the round, particularly who has gained access to what impact and how that impact has been compared to competing impact claims.

Random things not mentioned above:

1. I expect people to answer at least one question in the debate if they are asked to do so. With that said you don't have to but just know that a) it will hurt your speaks and b) if they run a procedural on it I will be very persuaded.

2. You and your partner can communicate all you want but make sure it does not disturb the other team if they are speaking. Assume that you get 2 prompts on your partner, if it goes beyond that I will likely affect both of your speaks as nobody likes to see puppeting. If the speaking partner asks you for something that is a completely different story and you can do whatever.

3. I don't care if you sit or stand during your speech.

4. I am not here to debate you. If you ask for feedback or disclosure during the round (and the tournament permits that) then I will give you that feedback to the best of my ability. I am not going to argue with you about how I came to my decision and you trying to do so will either affect your speaker points or result in me talking to your coach.

5. I do everything possible to not do work for debaters. I look for the easy way out so whichever team makes my job easiest will usually win.

Paxton Attridge -- California State University, Los Angeles

In NPDA, I find clear warranting in-case and impact calculus very helpful, particularly direct comparison between the world each side's impacts create. I am more than fine following quick speed in delivery, though clarity is still appreciated in both delivery and argumentation (the latter particularly within rebuttal). Argumentative consistency helps me in adjudicating, and so clear disclaimer regarding which arguments within cases are being addressed or rebutted is very useful. In line with this organization's values, I value more critically-directed debate, though this approach does not necessarily require argumentative structures idiosyncratic to NPDA or other forms of debate. I believe that the debate space should be safe for protected populations, and behavior that threatens these populations will be at the very least remarked upon on the ballot, and may impact my judging decision if egregious. My familiarity in debate is more philosophically and policy-directed, though arguments making other appeals will still receive full consideration.

Philip Sharp -- University of Nevada, Reno


Phil Sharp- University of Nevada-Reno

General Information

I will attempt to adjudicate the round based on the flow, however if the original argument is not complete, I will not vote for it. Please donâ??t expect me to do the work for you or simply accept your premise without explaining why it is true.

Specific Issues

1. Speaker points

In open division I tend to use a 27-29 scale. You need to stand out to receive less or more than this. The largest factor in my assignment of speaker points is clarity of argument. If you are explaining yourself and giving good warrants, you will do much better than blippy debate with confusing claims. I have not been watching as many debates the last few years, so Iâ??d prefer that debaters not go too fast.

2. Critically framed arguments and performance

I hope that the aff will choose to make the connection between the topic and their argumentation clear.  I have a low threshold for procedurals which task the aff with engaging with the topic in the affirmative direction of the resolution. I also would like the negative to have unique links and an alternative that creates uniqueness. I am not generally persuaded to vote for masking impacts and/or root cause argumentation when the negative attempts to compete through these strategies. I also tend to believe that aff does not get perms in method v method or performance v performace debates, but the negative needs to make this argument. I hope that debaters will explain the critical perspective (literature base) that their argument relies upon so that their opponents and I can engage with the argument. To be honest, most of the Ks I hear fail to sufficiently explain the concept before jumping into links and impacts and then are vague about the Alt and Alt-Solvency. This leaves me very unsure of what I am endorsing with my ballot and why.

3. Framework

I prefer a policy debate. However, critical debates should make the criteria for the debate (and role of the ballot clear). I am open to arguments about the division of ground that a particular framework creates. I think good critical debate provides both teams an avenue to the ballot.

4. Topicality

In the event that a team chooses to defend the topic (which I prefer), I give them a fair amount of leeway in their interpretation. I think competing interpretations is a poor approach to framing topicality and am persuaded by right to reasonably define answers.

5. Counterplans

I like good counterplan debate. I am ok with conditionality (but generally do not prefer multi-condo or a CP and an Alt). I donâ??t think textual comp is a good argument.  

6.     Decision Making

The rebuttals should guide me to a decision and tell me exactly how they want me to vote. If the teams do not give me a clear way to vote, I will try to do the least work to vote for one team or the other. I like debates with clear clash and comparison of argument in the last two speeches so that I know how I am supposed to pick one team over the other.

Note: I do not like arguments which weaponize identity of debaters and employ rhetorical violence against people rather than issues, systems, and arguments. I have seen plenty of good critical debates that refrain from this, but i have seen some teams choosing to debate this way and I do not prefer it. If you feel your only option to exist within debate is to do this, then I would ask that you not have me as the judge for that round.

Philip-Izac Enguancho -- Ohlone College


Please treat me as the layest of lay judges. Although I've been in the forensics community for a while now, my debate experience is pretty much non-existent. Let's try and fix that!

Few things to consider:

1.) I'm an interp cat so performative arguments and flashy stuff will absolutely make me fall in love with you. If someone goes up there and raps their arguments while their partner beatboxes in the background I will surrender every speaker point I have ever accumulated in my life to y'all.

2.) Gently walk me through the debates! Treat me like a clumsy dog that just gained the ability to comprehend the English language, verbally put a leash on me and give me all the outlines and roadmaps and google earths's's of your speeches. Use any and all opportunities to feed me treats (i.e. tell me why I should vote for you).

3.) Feel free to run whatever type of debates y'all want (topicalidums, krattacks, dish ads, etc). I can't guarantee that I'll be able to understand anythi- every little intricacy thrown out but I'll genuinely try my best to understand. That said, I will undoubtedly gravitate towards simple, effective, and clearly articulated arguments.

4.) I absolutely love learning and (respectfully) getting schooled. Don't be afraid to flex your knowledge and bust out some obscure ish. Obviously it should relate directly to whatever arguments you're making. Or not, whatever... would that be considered off-off-case? is that a thing? help

In all seriousness, this'll be a learning experience for the both of us. All I ask is for everyone involved to be respectful towards your peers and to make the rounds as fun and as educational as possible.

Sarah Dweik -- Texas Tech University

  My background: I debated for 4 years on the NPTE/NPDA circuit (2.5 years at the University of Missouri and 1.5 years at Washburn). I have helped coach policy, public forum, and parli debate, finished my undergraduate degree at Washburn, and am now pursuing my Master's degree at Texas Tech. I’m currently judging for Texas Tech. Starting off at a student-run program has helped me learn debate from a variety of different people and from learning from watching rounds online. I have also largely been shaped by people like Doubledee, Ryan Kelly, and Calvin Coker.

Highlights: I think that debate is a space where we can all engage with each other to different degrees. Personally for me, debate became a place where I could feel more comfortable to express myself and engage with others in-depth over a variety of topics that exist or aren’t discussed outside of this space. I am fine with whatever arguments you decide to read in front of me, but I cannot claim to fully understand every argument that is read in front of me. I do have an expansive knowledge regarding a lot of different K's, but that doesn't mean that I know everything that you will talk about in the round. I am here to learn just as much as you are. The round is yours and you should do what you are comfortable with, have fun, be respectful, and compete.

I prefer debates that engage the topic and, in an ideal situation, utilize fiat to do so, but I will definitely listen to arguments that interpret the topic differently or if you decide to reject it. I would prefer that you read advocacies unconditionally, but I will not vote you down without the other team winning the condo bad theory. I’m most familiar with the following arguments: Politics, T, Hegemony, Feminism, Black Feminism, Queerness, Orientalism, and most other identity or state based criticisms. I will try and protect from new arguments in rebuttals, but please still call them out if you think they are new so I am not intervening as much. I will vote for who wins the round, regardless of my personal views, as long as you can clearly explain your offense and how to weigh the impacts of your strategy. And finally, impact calculus is the most important thing to me as a judge. I want the rebuttal speeches to help me craft my ballot through the lenses of timeframe, probability, and magnitude (not necessarily in that order). I enjoy rebuttals that reflect as much of the RFD as possible, so framing in the LOR and PMR is critical.

Identity/Performance/Critical Arguments: I totally think that debate is a performance, but make the round for you. I judge these arguments similarly to other criticisms. Therefore, I need a clear advocacy; it does not need to be an alternative, but make your advocacy clear (whether it be a poem, metaphor, alt, etc.). I still think you need to have very strong solvency for your argument and I need some type of way to weigh the debate through impacts or a mechanism that you make clear to me. I’m willing to listen to framework debates and many times would use framework as an answer to critical affirmatives. I do think that if you are rejecting the resolution then you need some sort of justification for doing so or some kind of explanation or link to the resolution because I think this fosters creativity and gives context within the round of why the debating the resolution, in this case, is bad.

Flowing: I flow on my laptop because I can type a lot more quickly and clearly than I can write. This means that I would prefer if you just gave me enough time to switch tabs on my laptop when you switch sheets, and please flag when you're moving on so I can make sure your arguments go where you want them to be. If I think you are too quiet, unclear, or fast I will let you know immediately. I keep a good and fast flow as long as you’re clear.

Texts and Interpretations: You can either provide me with a written copy of the text or slow down when you read the plan/cp/alt and repeat it. I think this is very important during theory debates and framework debates. I would like you to either repeat it twice and slowly to make sure that I have a copy of it or make sure that you give me a copy. If I don't get your text or interp, I will make sure I have the correct wording in my flow when the round ends.

Procedurals/Theory/T: I enjoy a good T debate and I default to competing interpretations, but this does not mean that I won’t listen to other frameworks for evaluating T. I think that all procedurals can have a role depending on the round. I am not a fan of RVI’s. I understand the utility of these arguments, but they likely aren’t going to win my ballot. I do not need real in round abuse, but an abuse story needs to exist even if it is potential abuse. I need procedurals to have clearly articulated interpretations, violations, standards, and voters not just blips in the LOC of, “vote for us for fairness and education”. I view topicality similarly to a disad in that I view standards as being the internal links to the voters (impacts). When it comes to theory concerning advocacies, I find multiple worlds bad theory to be quite compelling because I find that inherent contradictions in strategies for the sake of winning take away from the in round education. I am not a huge fan of multiple new theory sheets in the MG. I can see the utility of MG theory arguments, but reading them to simply shotgun the other team hyper-expands the debate into a jumbled mess. If you are going to read multiple theories, please collapse :D

Disads: I enjoy topic specific disads. However, I also loved reading politics, so I understand the utility of reading politics on a variety of different topics. However, I have higher standards for voting on politics than most others because I ran the argument so often. I need specifics such as vote counts, those whipping the votes, sponsors of the bill, procedural information regarding passage, etc. All disads are great in my book and I will always love hearing them in round.

CPs: I love counter-plans and I regret not reading them as much while I was a competitor. I am not prone to vote against any type of counter-plan. I prefer functional competition over textual competition because it is easier to weigh and more tangible to me, but if you want to go for textual competition, just show me how to weigh and vote on it.

Ks: I enjoy criticisms and I believe that they can offer a very unique and creative form of education to the debate space. If your criticism is complicated, then I would like a thesis page or an explanation of what the alternative does. I really enjoy a good perm debate on the K and am not opposed listening to theory regarding the alternative/perms (floating PICs, severance, etc.). When reading a K, please give me a clear explanation of what the alternative does and what the post-alt world looks like. Just a bunch of fancy words pushed together doesn't mean that I understand what your K is doing. With the alt, there should also be a stable and clear solvency/alternative ground that allows the other team to have some space to argue against it.

Perms: I really enjoy perm debates. As a PMR, trust me, I really love the perm debate. I think that the text of the perm is critical and must be clear in the debate. Slow down, read them twice, and/or give me a copy of the text. You don’t have to read the entire plan text in K debates and instead it is sufficient to say, “do the plan and x”. My definition of a legitimate perm would be that they are all of the plan and all or parts of the CP/Alt. I think that perms are in between a test of competition and an advocacy (because you’re really achieving both, ya know).

Speaker Points: I usually start at 28 and will go up or down depending on how everything goes. I do think speaker points are totally random, with no real scale for all of us to follow, but I will try my best to reward you on how well you do. I highly value the argumentation that is made to earn speaker points, although if I can’t understand your arguments, then we might have a problem. I do love quotes from RuPaul's Drag Race, after all "Facts are facts, America!"

Basically, I want you to come into a round and not think that I would keep you from reading what you want to read. I understand that I won't get every argument read in front of me, but I want to make sure that I am not preventing you from expressing yourself the ways that you want to in this space. This space for me is something extremely important, so I want to make sure that I can at least help it continue to be important for you.


Sean McKean -- University of Oregon

Experience: 4 years policy debate at Tualatin High School, 4 years NPDA/NPTE experience at the University of Oregon. 3 years high school coaching experience at Thurston High School. Current NPDA/NPTE coach at Oregon.

Quick in prep version: In general I am down with just about anything, however I would much rather hear a good disad than some only tag lines and a bad alternative kritik. Theory was my jam when I was debating, so if you want to read it go ahead, however, I’m not going to vote for you just because you read it, while my threshold is probably lower than most judges I like to pretend I’m not a hack wink.

Longer (probably unnecessary) version

General Overveiw:

My ideal debate is a strategic topical aff v some CPs and a DA or a topic K. That being said, I tend to be down with anything you want to read in front of me, I believe that it is my job to adapt to you and the arguments you want to read not your job to adapt to me. I am not going to tell you what to or not to read in front of me or reject your arguments on face. I tend to prefer more technical debates where you explain to me how all of the relevant arguments interact at the end of the round over just extending them and making me try to figure it out myself at the end. I want to be able to write my RFD at the end of the round by sticking as much as possible to the flow without having to insert my own analysis, this means I want you to write my RFD for me, tell me why I should vote a particular way at the end of the round.

Impact framing is a lost art, it’s not helpful to just inform me that both teams do, in fact, have impacts. I want to hear how I should evaluate those impacts against each other, ie. Do I care more about fairness or education on the theory flow, is timeframe or magnitude more important, can I even evaluate arguments rooted in some kind of epistemology?

More specific stuff:

Theory/ T cool: I read a lot of theory when I was debating so I am pretty much able to follow what is going on in complex theory debates, although I would prefer that you slow down a bit when spreading theory since it is more condensed and harder to flow. I evaluate theory just like any other argument, which means I am probably more likley to vote on it than most judges if you go for it correctly. In order to win theory in front of me you are going to need to impact it out and explain what it means for the round. (IE just because they dropped your Consult CP's are illegit argument doesn't mean you insta-win if you don't give me some reason why that theory argument results in a ballot, not just me dropping the CP). I find myself voting a lot this year on teams forgetting to read a counter interp. If I am judging in a competing interps paradigm, which is usually how these things shake out, and there is not either an interp or a counter-interp that you meet I will vote against you regardless of the rest of the flow, as there is not an interp for me to stick your offense to. I think that this is a pretty common way of evaluating theory but I feel it is worth flagging explicitly in my philosophy given that I find myself voting on this a lot.

Framework money-mouth: Framework was my go-to when debating the K aff. That doesn’t mean that you necessarily shouldn’t or can’t read a K aff in front of me, just be aware than I’m not going to be one of those judges that just ignores the argument for some vague political reason.

K affs cry: I would prefer that if you are going to read an aff that isn’t topical that you have some good justification for doing so, I am not really interested in your “I read a cool book and here is my book report” project.

Ks undecided: I am down with the K, however there are some recent trends in the kritik that I feel need some addressing here. First, Marx was my bread and butter and I am fairly deep in that literature, but outside of that and maybe Heidegger you should not assume that I am incredibly well read in your lit base. That doesn’t mean that you can’t read your K in front of me, it just means that you are going to need to do some more explaining. Second, there has been a tendency of K’s becoming just a list of tag lines, that then get extended as arguments later in the debate. If your K sounds like this I am probably going to give the other team a lot more leeway in reading new arguments when your K finally becomes something in the block.

CP/ DA laughing: Ayyyyyyyyy

Sean Thai -- University of Nevada, Reno

I'm Open to most debate.


I default to competing interpretations, unless reasonability is won hard. Spec is good. What are RVI's? "We meet" your counter-interps. Voters are cool.


I am most familiar with this type of debate. I almost exclusively went for extinction. I will always use judging criterion and impact framing explicated in the debate, but as a last resort, I will evaluate impacts independently - this isn't to say that I will always vote for highÃ? mag/lowÃ? prob, but that I am more open to these than other judges.

Don't delay. Don't Object. Don'tÃ? cheatoÃ? veto.Don't cheat. I have a low threshold.Ã? It'snorcal, so I'll mention this: topical CP's are fine.


I appreciate and think ID politics and CRT have done more good than harm for both the real world and debate; but I do believe that sometimes itÃ? weaponizesÃ? identities and that debate is the wrong forum for it. I believe that K's need to clearly explicate how the alt works, the world post alt, and good links. I'm willing to buy a K that doesn't do any of these, but if these get indicted by procedurals or arguments will be damning.Ã? AffÃ? K's that reject the topic are definitely more susceptible to theory, especially when theÃ? negreads "topical version of theÃ? Affsolves/exists." Simple reject alternatives are not too welcomed, but, are acceptable.

General Debate:

Condo is good.Ã? Multi-condo not so much.Don't try to understand my non-verbals, because I don't understand them. Sometimes I'mÃ? veryexpressive, sometimes I'm not.

Flex time questions are binding.

Novice Debates:Ã? iÃ? am more inclined to default to more ofÃ? a reasonability/articulated abuse lens of debate. I supposeÃ? itsÃ? just an arbitrary decision to decide this way, but it's just a gut feeling.


Serena Fitzgerald -- University of Oregon

Overview: I did LD in high school and debated for Western Washington in NPDA (graduated 2018).

TL;DR: Have fun and be yourself. I evaluate warrants over taglines. This shouldn’t be treated as a comprehensive guide to how I view debate; it highlights where I might diverge from (what I see as) national circuit norms. Feel free to message me on facebook or email me with questions at serena.e.fitzgerald@gmail.com.


Speaker points – I raise them for keeping me awake and reading particularly innovative arguments, even if they aren’t necessarily strategically flawless. It should go without saying, but I heavily deduct points for being racist/sexist/ableist etc or fueling systems of oppression in round.

Perms – In general, I’m more hesitant to vote on perms in K debates than many other judges seem to be; since the alternative only has to generate uniqueness, I don’t accept “the perm shields the links” as a one-shot kill to get out of the link debate. I need specific warrants for why the permutation would resolve each of the links the other team reads – otherwise I just treat it as an unwarranted tagline. Since the links are typically a question of the desirability of the permutation, rather than just its possibility, simply stating that the permutation could happen is not sufficient to wipe out the offense from the criticism. In terms of counterplans, I think that PICS and delay counterplans can justify “perm do the CP.”

Theory – I came from LD so I like “weird” arguments; I've read my fair share of what opponents have called "dogshit theory." Frankly, I prefer creative or even bizarre theory debates to the standard issues of PICS and T (though of course I will listen to whatever). I don't think theory is inherently a priori, and I have a comparatively low threshold for dismissing it in favor of substance if you’re winning framework arguments that say epistemology or ontology come first, but I will default to treating it as a priori absent arguments to the contrary and I won’t make those cross applications for you. I default to competing interpretations. I’m open to RVIs, particularly on MG theory or NIBs.

Kritiks – I’m cool with performance, nontopical K affs, etc. I did a lot of K debate in college and I think good K debates are some of the most fun to watch and have a lot of room for interesting innovation within debate, but I am also likely to judge mediocre Ks more harshly. Although I spent a lot of time calling T fascist when I read K affs as a debater, I do think that it’s a perfectly legitimate response to an untopical critical aff – and often a very strategic one, especially if it is specifically tailored to respond to the thesis of the case framework. That said, if you try to use T as a way to get out of engaging the case thesis at all, you will probably be fighting an uphill battle. A minor pet peeve of mine is “ivory tower” disads to critiques that

Advantages/Disads – I have a soft spot for good econ debates. Nuanced brink analysis that matches your links will definitely impress me and earn you higher speaks; however, because I majored in econ/poli sci, I’ll also probably know if your link story is nonsense or your uniqueness claims are just wrong, and I’ll be more prone to believe arguments against them. I’m probably give more weight than many judges to solid defense, and typically default to evaluating probability somewhat more heavily than magnitude absent impact calc telling me otherwise.

Shannon LaBove -- Rice University

Shannon LaBove MA, JD

ADOF Rice University

Judging Philosophy


Background of the critic (including formats coached/competed in, years of coaching/competing, # of rounds judged this year, etc.)

I started debating at age ten when I could not see over the podiums in Junior High LD and loved it...still do.  I competed LD in High School, Parli in college (I was in NPDA-90’s style with hands on the head questions) and have coached a combination of  Parli, IPDA and NFA-LD for 12 or so years for a combination of NPDA, PRP and PKD. Needless to say I understand that there are many styles of debate and consider myself a Tab/Flow judge who likes to evaluate the round presented. I am very keep it simple and give me a place to vote. 

Approach of the critic to decision-making (for example, adherence to the trichotomy, stock-issues, policymaker, tabula rasa, etc.)

I do have what many call an “old school” debate preference which includes the following:

Don’t Like:

  • I don’t do flow work for debaters. If you want it flow it through.

  • I don’t like bad law. If you don’t know it don’t get complicated with it.

  • I don't like performance. This is not to say I don't see it as a valid mechanism this is to say it is not my preference in a round to watch. 

Do Like

  • Clash-don’t just dismiss and assume I know the position. I like link and clash work.

  • Easy decisions-tell me where and how you want me to vote.

  • Run what you would like-I try not to be interventionist 

  • Aff to define round-Will buy a trichotomy/framework issue if it is blatant and abusive.

Relative importance of presentation/communication skills to the critic in decision-making

I don’t mind speed but am a stickler for organization and clarity.

Relative importance of on-case argumentation to the critic in decision-making

I like Clean case/off-case structure and for things to be run correctly.  For me the Aff has Burden of Proof and the Opp to refute. Clash on case is great and preferred but will vote off/critical.

Preferences on procedural arguments, counterplans, and kritiks

No real preference here but you have to link up to round. Generic without clear link does not fly well with me.

Preferences on calling Points of Order.

If you see it call it.

Anything else feel free to ask. I look forward to watching great debate!

Steve Doubledee -- Washburn University



CEDA late 80's early 90's.

Basic Phil

Slow and smart beats fast and stupid.

I prefer you embrace the topic.

HEG & Politics debates are fun.

All CPs are fun...even Delay and Consult.

Topic specific K debates are fun.

Impacts = time frame/probability/magnitude.

Topicality viewed through competing interpretations.

Theory-Do what you can justify.

PICs Good.

Policy = Condo Good.

Parli = Condo Bad

Be polite to each other.

Debate is a game.


Steven Farias -- University of the Pacific


Updates: My threshold to vote on theory has decreased. Proven abuse is not a necessity on T, though it is preferred. Also, my thoughts on role of the ballot has changed under my section for K's.

TLDR Version: I am okay with whatever you choose to read in the debate, I care more about your justifications and what you as the debaters decide in round; however, theory I generally have a high threshold for voting on except CONDO Bad, in which case the threshold is lower. CPs/Alts are generally good ideas because I believe affirmatives usually solve harms in the world and permutations are not advocacies. Finally, pet peeve but I rule on points of order when I can. I generally think it is educational and important for the LOR/PMR strategy to know if I think an argument is new or not. I protect the block as well, but if you call a point of order I will always have an answer (not well taken/well taken/under consideration) so please do not just call it and then agree its automatically under consideration.

Section 1: General Information-

While I thoroughly enjoy in-depth critical and/or hegemony debates, ultimately, the arguments you want to make are the arguments I expect you to defend and WEIGH. I often find myself less compelled by nuclear war these days when the topic is about education, a singular SCOTUS decision, immigration, etc. BE RESOURCEFUL WITH YOUR IMPACTS- ethnic conflict, mass exodus, refugee camps, poverty, and many more things could all occur as a result of/in a world without the plan. I think debaters would be much better served trying to win my ballot with topically intuitive impact scenarios rather than racing to nuclear war, ESPECIALLY IF PROBABILITY MEANS ANYTHING BESIDES A DROPPED, BLIPPED INTERNAL LINKâ??which I think it does.

I do my best to keep up with the debate and flow every argument. However, I also will not stress if your 5 uniqueness blips donâ??t ALL get on my flow. I am unafraid to miss them and just say â??I didnâ??t get thatâ?. So please do your best to use words like â??becauseâ? followed by a strong logical basis for your claim and I will do my best to follow every argument. Also, if you stress your tag I will be able to follow your warrants more too.

Section 2: Specific Arguments

â??The Kâ?- I do not mind critical affirmatives but be prepared to defend topicality with more than just generic links back to the K. Moreover, I feel that this can even be avoided if the affirmative team simply frames the critical arguments they are going to make while still offering, at the very least, the resolution as a policy text for the opposition. On the negatiave, I think that Kâ??s without alternatives are just non-unique disads. I think that reject and embrace are not alternatives in and of themselves, I must reject or embrace something and then you must explain how that solves. NEW: In terms of ballot claims, I do not believe the ballot has any role other than to determine a winner and a loser. I would rather be provied a role that I should perform as the adjudicator and a method for performing that role. This should also jive with your framework arguments. Whoever wins a discussion of my role in the debate and how should perform that role will be ahead on Framework. For performance based arguments, please explain to me how to evaluate the performance and how I should vote and what voting for it means or I am likely to intervene in a way you are unhappy with. Also, please do not make myself or your competitors uncomfortable. If they ask you to stop your position because it emotionally disturbs them, please listen. I am not unabashed to vote against you if you do not. I believe you should be able to run your argument, but not at the expense of othersâ?? engagement with the activity. I will consider your narrative or performance actually read even if you stop or at the least shorten and synthesize it. Finally, I also consider all speech acts as performative so please justify this SPECIFIC performance.

Topicality/Theory- I believe T is about definitions and not interpretations, but not everybody feels the same way. This means that all topicality is competeing definitions and a question of abuse in my book. Not either or. As a result, while I have a hard time voting against an aff who was not abusive, if the negative has a better definition that would operate better in terms of ground or limits, then I will vote on T. To win, I also think you must either pick theory OR the case debate. If you go for both your topicality and your K/DA/CP I will probably not vote on either. Caveat- I think that negative teams should remember that a contextual definition IS A DEFINITION and I consider multiple, contradictory definitions from an affirmative abusive (so make Aff doesnâ??t meet its own interp arguments).

In terms of other theory, I evaluate theory based on interpretations and I think more specific and precise interpretations are better. Contextualized interpretations to parli are best. I also think theory is generally just a good strategic idea. However, I will only do what you tell me to do: i.e.- reject the argument v. reject the team. I also do not vote for theory immediately even if your position (read: multiple conditional advocacies, a conditional advocacy, usage of the f-word) is a position I generally agree with. You will have to go for the argument, answer the other teams responses, and outweigh their theoretical justifications by prioritizing the arguments. Yes, I have a lower threshold on conditionality than most other judges, but I do not reject you just because you are conditional. The other team must do the things above to win my ballot on theory.

Counterplans- CPâ??s are the best strategy, IMHO, for any neg team (or at least some alternative advocacy). It is the best way to force an affirmative to defend their case. PICs, Consult, Conditions, etc. whatever you want to run I am okay with. I do not think that â??We Bite Lessâ? is a compelling argument, just do not link to your own disad. In terms of perms, if you do not in the end prove that the Perm is preferential to the plan or cp, then I will simply view it as an argument not used. This means if you go for the perm in the PMR, it must be as a reason the CP should be rejected as an offensive voting position in the context of a disad that does not link to the CP. Finally, CP perms are not advocacies- it is merely to demonstrate the ability for both plans to happen at the same time, and then the government team should offer reasons the perm would resolve the disads or be better than the CP uniquely. K perms can be advocacies, particularly if the Alt. is a floating PIC, but it needs to be explained, with a text, how the permutation solves the residual links.

Evaluating rounds- I evaluate rounds as a PMR. That means to me that I first look to see if the affirmative has lost a position that should lose them the round (Tâ??s and Specs). Then I look for counter advocacies and weigh competing advocacies (Kâ??s and Alts or CPâ??s and Disads). Finally, I look to see if the affirmative has won their case and if the impacts of the case outweigh the off case. If you are really asking how I weigh after the explanation in the general information, then you more than likely have a specific impact calculus you want to know how I would consider. Feel free to ask me direct questions before the round or at any other time during the tournament. I do not mind clarifying. Also, if you want to email me, feel free (sfarias@pacific.edu). If you have any questions about this or anything I did not mention, feel free to ask me any time. Thanks.

Teddy Albiniak -- San Francisco State University

 I try to make decisions based on criteria established by debaters in the debate. If none are offered, I will rely on my knowledge of convention and style to guide me. What the means - I am equally likely to vote for a good thought experiment, critical intervention, or performance as I am more mimetic interpretation of the topic. 

History matters to me. Warrants matter to me. Clash and organization matter to me. Embodiment matters to me. Strategic thinking matters to me. Excitement and enjoyment matter to me. 

We are all always learning, thats hopefully why we are here. 

Teja Vepa -- California Lutheran University

You do you: I've been involved in judging debate for over 10 years, so please just do whatever you would like to do with the round. I am familiar with the literature base of most postmodern K authors, but I have not recently studied classical /enlightenment philosophers.

It's okay to read Disads: I'm very happy to judge a debate involving a plan, DAs and counter-plans with no Ks involved as well. Just because I coach at a school that runs the K a lot doesn't mean that's the only type of argument I like / respect / am interested in.

Framework: I am open to "traditional" and "non-traditional" frameworks. Whether your want the round to be whole res, plan focused, or performative is fine with me. If there's a plan, I default to being a policymaker unless told otherwise.

Theory: I get it - you don't have a 2AC so sometimes it's all or nothing. I don't like resolving these debates. You won't like me resolving these debates. If you must go for theory, please make sure you are creating the right interpretation/violation. I find many debaters correctly identify that cheating has occurred, but are unable to identify in what way. I tend to lean education over fairness if they're not weighed by the debaters.

Travis Cram -- Western Washington University

  Travis Cram

Director of Debate, Western Washington University

Years Judging: several

Email chain/contact: traviscram@gmail.com

Big picture for NPDA/NPTE folks: Below is my policy paradigm. Even if it doesn't translate perfectly, it is pretty accurate. Do your thing, argue well, have a great debate, chances are I'll follow along.

Despite the frustration I often have with debate, Iâ??m still fundamentally a fan of the game. I encourage anyone down on debate to try teaching. And I donâ??t mean â??be an educator.â? Get in front of a classroom and work with a group of students and realize how lucky we are to have so many students who care at all to find their voice and make an argument. However, although my perspective or method of judging hasnâ??t changed, two things related to â??debate about debateâ? have been on my mind.

First, every debate Iâ??ve judged contains a set of assumptions about what the activity we are involved in IS and what that activity is capable of accomplishing. When those assumptions are the terms of the debate, I find many arguments made to be unpersuasive. So let me foreground my own assumptions to help make your arguments more compelling. This quote from Rowland (1987) has always resonated with me: â??Academic debate is a poor means of making policy or testing science, but a very good means of teaching the argument skills necessary to perform in those fields.â? Of course, that statement needs updating. Academic debate is also a poor means of academic research. Our various filters and constraints distort too much and leave too much out. Our â??scholarshipâ? is oftentimes a wordy literature review. It is also a very poor means of evaluating policy or understanding risk. Cases and disadvantages say little about the collective action dilemmas, institutional cultures, resource limits, or contextual constraints that inhere in decision-making. Despite the limitations, debate is an excellent means of cultivating the faculties necessary to excel in any of these endeavors. Rowland again: â??Through dialectical interchange, debate teaches students to discover, build, test, and refute arguments.â? What is the upshot of all of this? I think debate matters a lot. And I think the reason it matters is because it teaches students how to argue. Thus, I prioritize â??debate frameworksâ? that seek to teach students how to argue well.

Second, I am troubled by debateâ??s recent â??substantialistâ? turn wherein the threshold for argumentative engagement is to read specific evidence against an opponentâ??s argument while topicality or theory arguments are dismissed as â??dodgingâ? the debate. Placing procedural arguments beyond the pale makes little sense to me. Debate is a game of arguments. Arguments consist of a claim, grounds for believing it, and the reasoning that connects those two. A well-reasoned explanation about what debate practices should be, when supported with plausible examples, makes a helluva lot more sense than â??substantive engagementâ? with evidence that bears zero relationship to competitive debate other than at the level of basic vocabulary. Moreover, if debate is a game best left to the students, it seems fairly obvious that that should also entail giving students the freedom to argue over the gameâ??s procedure. The upshot? Topicality makes more sense to me than framework. Debate theory matters, and it can matter a lot if done well.

My previous philosophy follows:

Big picture things:

- Thereâ??s not a â??right wayâ?? to debate other than to communicate or argue well. That said, in terms of that whole K/policy divide thing (if it is a thing), I think there is a major educational benefit to finding a way to affirm a topic that doesnâ??t devolve into just impact-turning framework. Basically, the following two statements are equally unpersuasive: â??It is unethical to affirm the topic.â? â??Policy-making is the only relevant consideration.â?

- Debate is a lot of things to me, but I privilege its communication and argumentation aspects ahead of others. That has pretty big implications depending on your interpretation of â??I said thatâ??...

- Specificity is my god-term in debate. The more specific at every level, the more likely I am to be persuaded by it.

- Debaters make arguments using evidence; evidence does not make arguments. The claims or verbiage of a card are less important to me than the reasons provided by you or the author for believing it.

- I donâ??t have a formula or an algorithm; last rebuttals should articulate the world they are going for. Saying something is 'logically possible' is not the same as defending the status quo as a policy, or actually making a floating pic.

- The affirmative has the Burden of Proof to overcome presumption. The team advancing an individual argument has the burden of proof to advance a complete argument. If the significance of that distinction is unclear to you, ask and I can happily explain.

- High speaker points: demonstrating specific knowledge, identifying crux questions, dynamic warrant comparisons (even if, because), explanatory clarity (esp. in 2nr/2ar), humor and civility, clarity, and proficiency at line-by-line execution. I also have soft-spots for teams that are risk-takers, scrappy, or willing to impact turn some stuff.


- All interpretations must be reasonable. Negatives need to win a real impact to T, not just that debate could be better or simply go for â??our violation is more preciseâ??. Affirmatives need to have a real impact to excluding their plan that doesnâ??t rely on impact turning T as genocidal or calculative.

Theory & Counterplan competition:

- Theory arguments are best when the link and impact are both things the negative did, not necessarily what they justified. Elaboration and pen-time can make these arguments very viable.

- I am generally suspicious of any CP that either: logically allows for the entire affâ??s mandate to occur in some world; doesnâ??t compete off of an explicit stance taken in the plan or 1ac; does not contain a solvency advocate that assumes every level of fiat/mandate the CP engages in.

- I am highly unlikely to reject any counterplan that has ALL of the following: a comprehensive solvency advocate; excludes part of the affimativeâ??s explicit mandate; uses the same actor as the plan.

- Conditionality as it concerns counterplans that donâ??t do the plan in anyway is good. Conditionality as it concerns the negative doing any and everything under the sun is very questionable.


- I love them. I love them even more when the cards are good and the link is strong. Still not signing up for the cult of uniqueness. The phrase â??uniqueness determines the direction of the linkâ?? is at best nonsense and at worse an excuse for having a crappy disadvantage.

- This is the area where evidence quality and specificity are often the most important. This is also the area where these questions are often the least debated.

- Most 'turns the case' arguments are not turns but are solvency take-outs or mitigators. If you have all of the components of a turn, by all means argue it like a turn. If you don't, I think you'd be better off arguing that it is a solvency take-out, which should prompt you to find some external offense or the aff will likely win a classic try or die frame to their advantage.


- I find sanctimonious indignation annoying, no matter who it comes from. Yes, they read a K. Get over it. Yes, they impact turned your K. Get over it.

- The following two statements are equally absurd: â??the ethical/methodological underpinnings of the aff are irrelevant.â? â??the consequences/outcomes of enacting the aff are irrelevant.â?

- I think that a specific critique of the affirmative is a negative response that has its place in debate. Topicality creates bigger barriers to whether philosophical approaches have their place on the aff side of the topic.

- â??Method/ontology/ethics firstâ?? type arguments only raise the level of play to encompass those considerations as relevant variables; it still invites another set of debating by both sides to either defend or indict specific methodologies as broken or valuable. Thus, â??they concede method firstâ?? doesnâ??t create a side constraint on my flow like it may for other judges.

- I find assertions about what the role of the ballot is or should be to be pretty silly and arbitrary, frankly. I think instead you should interpret what DEBATE is (what type of activity is it and what is its function) in an empirical sense as a way of framing arguments.

- Critical debate is where the likelihood that I will not vote on an argument simply because I donâ??t understand it is the highest.

Miscellaneous- hereâ??s some random crap you may or may not find interesting:

- Negotiated impact turn debates are awesome. Try it sometime.

- Have a timer and donâ??t steal prep.

- Levity is a virtue. At the end of the day, debate is absurd and it makes little sense to let its pressures rule your emotions or behavior. Be willing and able to laugh at yourself above all else and keep a healthy dose of perspective even when the round gets heated. Let me underscore that. Donâ??t be a jerk. Being good at debate doesnâ??t excuse you from being a terrible human being.

Trevor Greenan -- Parliamentary Debate at Berkeley


I came from a high school parli background, but most of my relevant experience is from the last 3 years with the Parli at Berkeley NPDA team. I competed on-and-off for 3 years, and now exclusively coach/run the program. As a debater I was probably most comfortable with the kritikal debate, but I’ve had a good amount of exposure to most everything in my time coaching the team. A lot of my understanding of debate has come from working with the Cal Parli team, so I tend to err more flow-centric in my round evaluations; that being said, I really appreciate innovative/novel arguments, and did a good amount of performance-based debating as a competitor. I’m generally open to just about any argument, as long as there’s good clash.


General Issues

  • I try to keep my evaluation of the round as flow-centric as possible. This means that I’ll try to limit my involvement in the round as much as possible, and I’ll pick up the worse argument if it’s won on the flow. That being said, I recognize that there’s a certain degree of intervention that’s inevitable in at least some portion of rounds, and in those cases my aim is to be able to find the least interventionist justification within the round for my decision. For me, this means prioritizing (roughly in this order): conceded arguments, arguments with warranted/substantive analysis, arguments with in-round weighing/framing, arguments with implicit clash/framing, and, worst case, the arguments I can better understand the interactions of.

  • In-round framing and explanation of arguments are pretty important for me. While I will vote for blippier/less developed arguments if they’re won, I definitely have a higher threshold for winning arguments if I feel that they weren’t sufficiently understandable in first reading, and will be more open to new-ish responses in rebuttals as necessary. Also worth noting, I tend to have a lower threshold for accepting framing arguments in the PMR.

  • The LOR’s a tricky speech. For complicated rounds, I enjoy it as a way to break down the layers of the debate and explain any win conditions for the negative. I don’t need arguments to be made in the LOR to vote on them, however, so I generally think preemption of the PMR is a safer bet. I prefer to not flow it on one sheet, but if you strongly prefer that format I’d rather have you do that than throw off your speech for the sake of adapting.

  • I have no preferences on conditionality. Perfectly fine with however many conditional advocacies, but also more than happy to vote on condo bad if it’s read well.

  • Please read advocacy/interp texts slowly/twice. Written texts are always nice.

  • I will do my best to protect against new arguments in the rebuttals, but it’s always better to call the POO just to be safe.

  • I’m open to alternate/less-flow-centric methods of evaluating the round, but I have a very hard time understanding what these alternate methods can be. So, please just try to be as clear as possible if you ask me to evaluate the round in some distinct way.

  • I evaluate shadow-extensions as new arguments. What this means for me is that any arguments that a team wants to win on/leverage in either the PMR or LOR must be extended in the MG/MO to be considered. I'll grant offense to and vote on positions that are blanket extended ("extend the impacts, the advantage is conceded", etc.), but if you want to cross-apply or otherwise leverage a specific argument against other arguments in the round, I do need an explicit extension of that argument.



  • I think the framework debate is often one of the most undeveloped parts of the K debate, and love seeing interesting/well-developed/tricksy frameworks. That being said, absent substantial argumentation either way, I’ll usually defer to each side being able to leverage their advocacy/offence against the other.

  • I have a pretty high threshold for voting on presumption. I find it difficult to buy that either side has actually won terminal defense, absent a good amount of work in the round. That being said, I default to presumption flowing negative.

  • Prior question arguments in framework are fine/good, just make sure that there’s sufficient explanation of these arguments and application to the rest of the round. I’m not very likely to vote on a dropped prior question/independent voter argument if there isn’t interaction done with the rest of the arguments in the round.



  • I generally feel very comfortable evaluating the theory debate, and am more than happy to vote on procedurals/topicality/framework/etc. I’m perfectly fine with frivolous theory. Please just make sure to provide a clear/stable interp text.

  • I default to competing interpretations and drop the team on theory, absent other arguments. Competing interpretations for me means that I evaluate the theory layer through a risk of offense model, and I will evaluate potential abuse. I don’t think this necessarily means the other team needs to provide a counter-interpretation, although I think it definitely makes adjudication easier to provide one.

  • I have a hard time evaluating reasonability without a brightline. I don’t know how I should interpret what makes an argument reasonable or not absent a specific explanation of what that should mean without being interventionist, and so absent a brightline I’ll usually just end up evaluating through competing interpretations regardless.

  • I have a very high threshold on RVIs. If extremely well-developed and extremely mishandled by the other team I could imagine myself voting on one, but I would hope to never have to.



  • Uniqueness determines the direction of the link (absent explanation otherwise), so please make sure you’re reading uniqueness in the right direction.

  • I have a pretty high threshold for terminal defense, and will more often than not assume there’s at least some risk of offense, so don’t rely on just reading defensive arguments.

  • Perfectly fine with generic advantages/disads, and I’m generally a fan of the politics DA. That being said, the more you can contextualize your argument to the round the greater weight that I will give it. Specific and substantial case debates are great.

  • I default to fiat being durable.



  • Please give me specific texts.

  • Fine with cheater CPs, but also more than happy to vote on CP theory.

  • I default that perms are tests of competition and not advocacies.

  • I generally won’t buy textual competition absent arguments in the round telling me why I should.



  • I really enjoy the K debate, and this was probably where I had the most fun as a debater. I have a pretty good understanding of most foundational critical literature, and I have a decent understanding of postmodern theory (particularly Foucauldian/Deleuzian/Derridean). That being said, please make the thesis-level of your criticism as clear as possible; I will do my best to not just vote for an argument I understand absent explanation in-round, and there’s definitely a good amount of literature I won’t know of.

  • I’m perfectly happy to vote on kritikal affirmatives, but I will also gladly vote on framework. On that note, I’m also happy to vote on impact turns to fairness/education, but will probably default to evaluating the fairness level first absent other argumentation.

  • Same with CPs, I default to perms being a test of competition and not an advocacy. I’m also fine with severance perms, but am also open to theoretical arguments against them; just make them in-round, and be sure to provide a clear voter/impact.

  • I default to evaluating the link debate via strength of link, but please do the comparative analysis for me. Open to other evaluative methods, just be clear in-round.

  • I have a decent understanding of performance theory and am happy to vote on performance arguments, but I need a good explanation of how I should evaluate performative elements of the round in comparison to other arguments on the flow.

  • Regarding identity/narrative based arguments, I think they can be very important in debate, and they’ve been very significant/valuable to people on the Cal Parli team who have run them in the past. That being said, I also understand that they can be difficult and oftentimes triggering for people in-round, and I have a very hard time resolving this. I’ll usually defer to viewing debate as a competitive activity and will do my best to evaluate these arguments within the context of the framing arguments made in the round, so please just do your best to make the evaluative method for the round as clear as possible.

Vasile Stanescu -- Mercer University

Many judges say they are "tableau rasa" (i.e. open to any way you want to debate); I am not sure if they are. I try to be. As long as it does not literally break the rules of the NPDA (or...the law?)--I'm open to it. You're in charge. I don't tell my debater how to debate --I'm certainly not going to tell you. Truly. Run whatever you want---however you want.

If you care: Here is what I tell my team when they have suggestions about what to run (note: you don't have to follow any of these): 1. Start with simple true statements of what you actually believe in 2. Don't argue for something you don't actually believe in. 3. Yes, debate is a game. However, how you play games matters. How you do everything...matters. 4. Debate is a special space. It is about the only space where you get to speak for eight minutes and people can't interrupt you and they have to listen to you. Don't waste it. 5. If you could use that time to tell people anything you would actually want them to know--do it. 6. Winning is never the most important thing. I've known lots and lots of people who have won in debate and lost at life. That isn't winning; that's losing. 7. Debate is only a means to an end.  7. The only "trophy" I ever care about is you: Your success--not in debate, but in life-- and the difference you make in the world and to others. 8. In essence, if it hadn't become almost too cliche to write, be the change you want to see in the world.

Even if you 100% ignore everything here: I won't penalize you in the round for it.

I'm never in charge of a debate round. You are.

Zac Kuykendal -- Grand Canyon University


My name is Zachary Kuykendall and I competed in NPDA and IPDA for 4 years at Grand Canyon University from 2013 to 2017. During my time there my views on NPDA debate were shaped by a variety of coaches, including Nick Stump, George Talevera, Emma Hong, Jason Hong, and Josh Vannoy, where my views on IPDA were shaped predominantly by Barry Regan. In general, Iâ??d like to see you run whatever argument you are most comfortable with rather than feeling like having me in the back boxes you in to a certain strategy. That being said I very much believe in nuanced and well researched solutions above most other things.  


How to get my ballot:

I will vote on almost any argument, but not unless you tell me to. The best way to get my ballot is to articulate clear framing of the round, followed by analysis between the impacts of the negative and the affirmative. I canâ??t vote on an argument if itâ??s not clearly weighed. Solvency and link differentials are also important.


Please read all interpretations on theory and texts of plan/cp/alts twice or slow down significantly, Iâ??m also cool if you just want to write me a copy.


How to lose my ballot:

There are very few things that will make me drop you outside the context of what team is or isnâ??t winning arguments in the round, some examples of these things are: making offensive arguments (that are blatantly sexist, racist, and the like), personally attack the other team, personally attack the judge, threaten harm to another debater, etc. I will also drop you if you ignore trigger words that another debater or team has informed you and the judge of before the round.


Section 2: Specifics

Please describe your approach to the following.


1. Speaker points

First be articulate, have strong evidence, and present arguments that make sense. Second, if you can work in some jokes / clever references Iâ??m not complaining, but if youâ??re gonna do it make it organic, donâ??t force it.


2. Kâ??s

I enjoyed the K debate during my time as a debater and I donâ??t mind if you run a criticism on either side of the resolution. I prefer criticisms with topic specific links and alternatives, even better if your entire criticism is topic specific. Either way Iâ??ll still listen to anything, just understand that my threshold for generic / reject Ks is likely higher than specific ones. I also very much enjoy specific / clever alternatives to reject or reject and endorse. That being said, itâ??s much harder to pick up my ballot running the K poorly than it is running a traditional strategy well or sorta well, do what youâ??re most comfortable with. 


3.  Performance based arguments

I am ok with performance based arguments, but donâ??t assume I understand the lit or thesis behind your argument (same with all Ks). Help me understand why your performance is important to how the round is framed.


4.  Theory:

I enjoy theory. That doesnâ??t mean run 5 theory positions, but itâ??s an integral piece of debate strategy that I believe is underutilized to a degree in high level NPDA. If you chose to run theory please use your standards to set up the impact scenarios in your voters. I also like terminalized impacts on the voter level. Please provide a lens in which to view your theory position whether itâ??s reasonability or competing interpretations, I need to know how youâ??re framing your sheet.


I donâ??t have strong predispositions on many theory positions and will evaluated based on how the positions are argued within the context of the round. I have a higher threshold for arguments that do not prove abuse, especially with SPECS.


Conditionality: I am fine with both condo good and bad arguments. However I have a high threshold for Condo bad in a round where only one negative advocacy is presented throughout the course of the debate. I also have a sky high threshold for condo good if your multiple advocacies contradict or are offensive.


5. Counter plans/DA 

I love a good plan vs counterplan debate, as well as a disad advantage debate, but hell if you want to go 8 mins on case turns Iâ??m fine with that too. Just make sure you have clear structure and format and clearly explain brink scenarios to your impacts. Also PLEASE terminalize your impacts, that goes for everything.


6. Permutations

I think perms function best when paired with reasons to prefer the permutation over the counterplan, but you do you. I also think itâ??s smart to address the mutual exclusivity debate.  I view perms as a test of competition unless you tell me otherwise.


7. Speed

Clarity > speed every day of the week. I need to know what youâ??re articulating.


Speed is a tool in debate, but not one meant to frame debaters with different skill sets out of the round. If the other team is going too fast for you to keep up, say â??slowâ? loud enough for the room to hear until they slow down to a pace you can keep up with. If they proceed to use speed as an exclusionary tool, please run a speed procedural as a check against the abuse. As a judge I can keep up with most speed, Iâ??ll let you know if youâ??re spreading me out / unclear.