2017 Hunsaker Invitational
Judging Philosophy Book

Mark Bentley - Appalachian State University

Saved Philosophy:

Mark Bentley, Appalachian State University

Section 1: General Information

I approach debate as an academic exercise with critical rhetorical implications. I vote on arguments, not people. I will not vote for a team based upon personal characteristics they were born with or somehow acquired. I do not consider myself capable of judging the merits of an individual's narrative, and I am not generally disposed to personal narratives (that I cannot verify, and am not willing to dismiss) used as competitive leverage to win a ballot. I believe the debate space should be about critiquing ideas, not attacking people.

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 tell me why.

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 (also, as a general rule, answer at least some questions). Generally, the Neg gets 1 conditional advocacy and the status quo. I am willing to vote on conditionality with multiple conditional advocacies. However, even if an argument is kicked, its rhetoric 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 POOs called when whoevers giving the rebuttal thinks theyre getting away with sneaking new arguments in.  I tend to protect the PMR against arguments suddenly blown up in 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 for really bad speeches a/o abusive individuals.

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

I definitely prefer critical arguments that are grounded in the specificity 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 get bored with highly generic kritiks. I will also vote on topicality for nontopical Aff Ks (again, if the issue is that important, it's also embedded in the resolution). That said, I really like critical arguments when theyre not generic and the ideas are clearly articulated. Explain your ideas instead of just throwing terms around. Sure, I may know what the terms mean, but I need to know how you are using them to determine the functionality of the argument. I also think its important to not only tell me the importance of (or need for) the interrogation or deconstruction the 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, dont drop or omit solvency of the criticism. Also, dont give blanket blips of alt solves all because, no, it doesnt. I understand that argument as a game piece, but if your advocacy is worth voting for you need to have more 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

I dont tend to find "performance based arguments" particularly persuasive, and arent really my thing. Unfortunately, I think the structure (meaning actual structure like speech times, speech order, ballots, win/loss, number of judges, etc.; not white, sexist, cis-centric, etc. structures) of the debate space and inherent competitive nature of the exercise is too constricting and self-defined to allow for "performance" solvency. 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 dont buy arguments that your in-round "performance" solved for more than what it might have in the immediate context (if you advocate for suspending the illusion of the debate world). I also hold that 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 extra unique. I do think "performance" as critical metaphor can have access to rhetorical solvency, but it's harder for me to access literal solvency.

For "projects": I have and will vote for "projects" that engage with the topic of the resolution and the other teams arguments. I will not vote for a team based upon personal characteristics they were born with or obtained. Avoid debates about the personal characteristics of the people in the room. This leads to bad things for lots of reasons. As I've said, I am not in a position to be the arbiter of personal narrative validity, and really dislike being in that position. There is so much we don't know about everybody involved in this activity, I have no right to decide what somebody is/isn't and I don't think you do either. By all means, PLEASE indict rhetoric, but not individuals in the round. If you place me in a position to judge the validity of an individual's personal narrative, at best I will ignore your arguments putting me in that position.

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), but a clear we meet by the Aff can also be sufficient if its obvious. I prefer specific ground abuse stories when voting on topicality, though they dont have to always be articulated in-round 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 dont 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 am open to voting for a PIC bad argument. Neg should also give CP status.

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

Yeah, I dont really care what you share...but that also doesnt mean you dont have to flow and just use the other teams 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 havent, this usually tells me you havent done your job. I usually evaluate Ks and Ts, then impact calculus. As stated above, I default to weighing probability over 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 havent done your job and I wont be real happy, and you probably wont be happy with my decision. I dont automatically weigh death more than dehumanization, but can go either way based on the context and arguments. Well warranted impacts are always preferred over poorly warranted ones.

Question 1 : Please enter your judging philosophy.

Michael Gray - Arkansas State University stAte

Saved Philosophy:

This pertains mostly to Parli.

Debated for A-State from 2007-2011; mostly Parli, but some IPDA and Worlds. Assistant coach for A-State from 2011-2013 and Director of Debate for A-State from 2016-present. 

I'll listen to anything, but I do not evaluate blippy claims that lack warrants and/or logical impact scenarios. So, if you blip out a turn that doesn't make any sense and they don't respond to it, I don't care. I don't need them to respond because you didn't make an argument. Debate jargon is useful, but it is not some magic trick that replaces argumentation. Don't take short-cuts and expect me to fill in the blanks for you. That's called intervention.

Speaker Points: These exist to reward good speakers. What is a good speaker? For me, a good speaker has nothing to do with who won the round. I have been known to give out more than a few low-point wins. Speed doesn't make you good. Knowing lots of stuff doesn't make you good. Winning an argument doesn't make you good. It's that other thing - a certain qualia or affect - that makes you good. Do that, whatever it is, and you'll get the speaker points. Make sense?

Case: The Aff has the burden of proof & the burden of rejoinder. It is your job to fairly limit the round and present a clear case that upholds the resolution. If you can convince me otherwise, do it. I'll vote on an Aff K if it makes sense and wins. 

T: I love a well-run topicality. It's especially nice if your opponent is actually not topical. Potential abuse is sometimes enough, if potential harms are articulated and impacted out. Look at it this way: President Blank bans certain travelers because he BELIEVES there is a potential harm in allowing them into the country. THAT is why un-articulated potential abuse is often not enough; you should clearly articulate the abuse, potential or actual. T is not a debate trick. T is a debate nuclear bomb and, if you use it correctly and at the appropriate time, you'll probably win (pay attention, Aff). 

Other Procedurals: run them correctly, tell me how to evaluate them and where they belong in order of evaluation, and you're good to go. 

K: Yes, please. However, represent. Let's avoid any blatant misreadings or misapplications of theory and philosophy (please listen to this... please). I won't get mad at you about it or yell or anything, but you will have a difficult time winning my ballot if you're (intentionally or not) misrepresenting the nature of another person's rhetoric or using well-established theory in a way that it was not intended (unless you make the argument for WHY you are re-appropriating theory). Their words mattered when they wrote them and they still matter today; some even gave their lives for their beliefs. Respect. 

DA/CP/Condi: structure, structure, structure. My default stance is that all Neg arguments are conditional. If, however, the debate turns to theory, Aff can win CondiBad - don't worry. I'll listen. I need CLEAR ARTICULATION of theory arguments, not just blippy responses that require me to intervene to fill in the blanks. It's your job to do the work, not mine. I can't "grade" work that isn't there.

Performance & Breaking the Rules: I will NOT break the rules of debate. I will not "call it a draw" and write "debate is terrible" on my ballot. I love debate. I feed my family with debate. I will not participate in any functional or metaphorical overthrow of the establishment or deconstruction of the rules of the activity. Don't even bother asking your opponent to concede the round and embrace some anti-debate standpoint - that has no functional place here. If you must advocate for something like that, do it in IEs. I'm not an IE performer - never did them - but I love IEs and I believe they should make fun of debate as often as possible.

So, I'm a rule-keeper. Got it? However, I'm not opposed to participants adapting creative ways to engage the debate space. Have fun. Do cool stuff. Entertain me. Keep it classy and excellent. 

Speed and Speed K: I prefer upbeat debate and a good pace. If you've clocked yourself, I am comfortable with a clear rate of speech around 275-325wmp. I can flow faster, but I've rarely seen a real need for anyone to argue that fast. In all honesty, parli is at its best when highly-trained, charismatic debaters engage in argumentation at about 225-250wpm. Anything faster and you're probably repeating yourself too much or missing good arguments for the sake saying more words. If I or your opponent calls clear and you do not respond appropriately, you will receive the lowest speaker points you've ever gotten. I promise. You may well win the round, but you will have done so unethically and I cannot award high speaks to unethical debaters who intentionally ignore a legit request like "clear." I will vote on a speed K... IF it is run correctly, makes sense, and defended appropriately. I will not vote on "they talk fast and it's not fair."

Rebuttals: By the time we get to the rebuttals, I've heard enough line-by-line. I'd appreciate a bit more here, but if your rebuttal sounds exactly like your previous speech (pay attention, Neg), I'm already bored. Come on, this is your chance to really secure those speaker points. Show me that you can tend to the line-by-line and cover the flow and still give me a clear summarization of advocacy and impact analysis at the bottom. 

Timer Beeps: I prefer you time one another. If you are unable, I'll start my timer when you start debating. When my timer beeps, I stop flowing. I've had more sentence fragments at the bottom of a flow than I can count. Look... just time your arguments. It's not difficult to just be done talking 1 second before the timer goes... it's impressive and judges notice it. Be impressive.

At the end of the day, I believe that debate is an educational game and that education does not have to be at odds with gameplay. It's both, so do both. Make it interesting and competitive and you'll receive what you earn.

Question 1 : Please enter your judging philosophy.

Baker Weilert - Arkansas State University stAte

Saved Philosophy:

Experience: 4 years policy debate in Kansas, 4 years parliamentary debate at Louisiana Tech University, and Arkansas State University. Currently Assistant Debate Coach at Arkansas State University. 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 wont 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 youd 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 dont 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. Dont hesitate to ask for clarification on any of the above.

Question 1 : Please enter your judging philosophy.

Jennifer Clauson - Cedarville University

Saved Philosophy: n/a

I am a novice judge with experience judging only one tournament.   I have more of a background in rhetoric and public speaking than parliamentary debate, but I am seeking to learn and apply the rules of parliamentary style.  I value a speakers connection to the judge, persuasive and logical arguments, and clear, understandable diction.  Given my inexperience, please define jargon exclusive to parliamentary debate, and do not speak too quickly.

Question 1 : Please enter your judging philosophy.

Brent Nicholson - McKendree University

Saved Philosophy:

Big Picture

Debate is, first and foremost, a rhetorical and social game. That doesn't mean it isn't important or that it doesn't affect the real world. All that means is that it's a construct with a set of rules that allows us to do a structured activity where one team wins and the other loses. My favorite thing to see in a debate round is people who are passionate (or appear to be passionate) about their advocacy (or lack thereoflet the squo work for you). Basically, if you play hard and engage the debate to the best of your ability I'm going to appreciate you for that.

            I'm not sure I've ever seen a form or style of debate that isn't valuable in some way. Most of the problems I have with debate activities and styles of debate stem from the way people handle them. That blame almost always falls on coaches, not competitors. I think that value and fact debate could be and sometimes are good styles of debate. I feel the same way about performative and non-traditional arguments. I've seen excellent debates from all camps and I'm really okay with and interested in almost anything at this point.

            However, I really like it when prep matters. I like that we have a resolution that both teams get and they talk about that. When one team talks about anything that is not the resolution (or the aff), it can have a negative effect on the round. I hate debates that prioritize the element of surprise as opposed to quality argument as a means of winning. I know it's easy and I was guilty of it too, but at some point, it says a lot about you as a competitor if you're willing to publicly own your strategies and just be better than the competition.


Quick Points

-Deploy the strategy that will best help you win, even if I don't enjoy it, your chances are better with whatever you feel comfortable with.

-Jokes and personalities are nice. They make me like listening to and judging you. Debate isn't a robot activity, be yourself and see what happens.
-Condo is good

-Ks are fine, they're better with specific references to the aff.
-Theory is wildly underutilized. I have a high threshold for voting on MG theory.

-Performance debate is awesome but it should still have some grounding in the topic. Framework to answer performative arguments isn't the best strat, but it is a strat.
-Give your opponents the benefit of the doubt. Their arguments are likely better than you think they are.
-Please, answer each others' arguments. If neither team engages with the substance of the other team's strategy, I will be an unhappy camper.


Aff Teams

I wholeheartedly believe that the affirmative team should defend the fiated implementation of a topical plan text if it improves their chances of winning the debate. In other words, do whatever you think benefits you most in the PMC. Please, stake out your ground and be defend it. The affirmative should be cohesive, but diverse enough to allow a wide range of answers in the MG. I love affs with hidden tricks and arguments that appear useless until extended. Read two advantage to policy affs or be prepared to answer counterplans with some good offense. I'm fine with almost every aff strategy I have seen that has been related, in some way, to the topic. If you read a fiated plan text and claim other impacts based on the performative aspect of the aff, your aff is likely conditional. I don't think that is good for neg ground and you should likely avoid doing this in front of me.


Neg Teams

I think wide LOCs featuring multiple unique strategies are in the best interest of the negative team. Unless you say otherwise, Ill assume any negative advocacy is conditional. With that said, I prefer deep, case focused debate when possible regardless of the type of aff it is. My favorite debates to participate in and watch have always been about the case and its intricacies. I dont expect you to answer case exclusively, but you should have some meaningful answers and some of them should be offense. Defense does not win debates, but it does mitigate the risk of impacts and give you a better chance to win the round. A diverse LOC will make for better debates and increase your chances of winning.


None of this has changed since I started judging, except that I've recently switched back to flowing on paper. So, if you've had me as a judge before, you shouldn't really need this info. It's really only for the people who are having me judge them for the first time.  

            I flow on paper because I feel like it gives me an idea of what the competitors can flow and keeps me engaged in the debate. One significant difference that has led me to make different decisions than other judges I have been on panels with is that I think the distinction between pages in a debate is totally arbitrary. I am open to the idea that arguments implicitly interact with each other. The extent of that interaction is something I will still evaluate if that interaction happens in the LOR/PMR. I won't, however, exclude heg arguments from solving another war scenario (for example), simply because the MG doesn't explicitly cross-apply them.

            In terms of my actually flowing, I start at the top left and flow arguments straight down, separated by dashes and lines. It has never failed me. That does mean I don't number arguments, but if you extend your #6, I can go back and find that after the round. However, a good extension would also explain that argument and why it matters, making the number irrelevant. I flow answers the same way, starting next to the most recent speech and straight down. Even if you say you will answer links, then impacts, then uniqueness. I will flow it all straight down.

            I flow criticisms on one page in the order the argument is read. I flow every answer to a criticism in a straight line starting at the top of the page. I don't jump from Alt to Links to Impacts if that's what the MG or MO does. If you want me to flow theory objections separately (this goes for counterplan answers too), you should make that very clear. My instinct is to flow theory on the page it answers like I flow everything else.



Impact Calculus

I always vote on numbers-based magnitude claims absent impact calculus by debaters. This seems to me to be the only way I can make a decision that is not biased by my own thoughts about timeframe or probability, because it is based entirely on a quantitative claim as opposed to qualitative ones. I would prefer debates that are about probable impacts, especially ones that will happen quickly as a result of the plan. However, I understand the strategic importance of high magnitude impacts and would encourage you to deploy a mixture of impacts in your strategies.

            Debaters tend to believe that I prefer magnitude claims for some personal reason. In reality, I think probability and timeframe (in that order) are the most important forms of impact calc. My problems largely come when debaters fail to discuss in comparative detail the probability or timeframes of the impacts in the debate. Impact calculus should always be comparative, but going for probability or timeframe forces you to do more comparison.



I view all theory as a matter of competing interpretations. I don't need proven abuse to vote on theory. I don't need counter-interps in all instances. If the aff team says conditionality is bad, I see no reason the neg team should have to read a counter-interp to impact turn that argument. Condo good and defense is likely sufficient. That is not true in all instances, if you don't have robust answers to theory, a counter-interp can do well to solve some or all of your opponents offense.

            I will vote for theory before I vote for substantive issues. On that note, I have a lot of concerns about the way that non-topical critical aff teams answer theory. I have trouble imagining a round where I would allow the aff to say the PMC (by itself) outweighs theory. If the theory argument objects to the reading of the PMC, then the neg winning theory seems to me to preclude the PMC from being evaluated. Obviously, this is up for debate and I think dealing with these concerns in a round would probably yield a great theory debate. That does not preclude the aff team from reading other critiques of T, I just think it means the aff itself may not a DA to T on face.

            The likelihood that I will vote for generic spec arguments is negligible. You'd be better off to just use cross-ex or points of information to get a link than to waste your time on that. And, if your link is tenuous enough that you need to read spec to protect it, you may want to reconsider that link argument in prep.



I have a few specific thoughts on topicality that are unique from the rest of my thoughts on theory. Topicality is, to me, a question of what the debate should be about, whereas other theory is typically a question of how the debate should be done. I have no issue with teams reading topicality as part of an LOC that answers a critical/non-policy aff, but I do think that the aff has some ability to interpret the topic. As long as the aff has a defense of how their argument is about and/or in the same direction as the topic, then I am unlikely to vote on T against those affs.

            A topicality interpretation should allow some aff ground. If there is not a topical aff and the MG points that out, I'm unlikely to vote neg on T. I don't think reasonability is a good weighing mechanism for parli debates. It seems absurd that I should be concerned about the outcomes of future debates with this topic when there will be none or very few and far between.
            At topic area tournaments, I am far more likely to vote on topicality. That does not mean that you can't be untopical, it just means you need good answers. I am also open to sketchier T interps if they make sense. For instance, if you say that the aff must be effectually topical, I may vote for this argument. Keep in mind, however, that these arguments run the risk of your opponent answering them well and you gaining nothing and looking silly.


Speaker Points

I will give you speaker points for strategies and arguments I like. I will take away speaker points for strategies and arguments I don't like. If you do well, even if I don't like your strategy, you'll get better than average points (about 27.7). Use the Quick Points to get an idea what I like. LO points will be weighted in favor of the LOR, PM points in favor of the PMR. If you don't collapse in the block or PMR, that will not go well for your points.

            If you want to argue with my decision, go ahead. If you're wrong and you keep pushing, I'm going to tank your speaker points. If you're right, I'm going to feel really bad and think about what I've done. You can decide if that's worth it to you.

Question 1 : Please enter your judging philosophy.

Zach Schneider - McKendree University

Saved Philosophy:

Hi! Im Zach. I debated for 5 years of NPDA/NPTE parli (4 at Cedarville University and 1 at SIU) and this is my third year coaching/judging. I aim to remove my argumentative preferences from the debate as much as possible and allow you to advance whatever strategy you think is best. Im involved in debate because I love the activity and I want to judge you regardless of what style you prefer. With that said, I wouldn't be in debate if I didn't have opinions, so hopefully this philosophy helps you figure out if mine align with yours.

2017-18 Addendum

         I felt the need to add this after Jewell, since it seems to be a popular trend and might meaningfully implicate your aff strategy. I am perfectly fine with "traditional" MG theory (condo, PICs bad, etc -- see below for more specifics) but I take a very dim view of MGs that have started reading 2-3 "theoretical objections" which are usually just recycled bad arguments tagged with an interp and framed as a (warrantless) reason to reject the team. My threshold for these positions is similar to my threshold for RVIs or spec, i.e. it's almost certainly a waste of your time to even read it. On this issue and in general, you will get higher speaks and be more likely to win my ballot if you resist the temptation to run away from the substance of the debate.

Quick Hits

         As a competitor, I debated a variety of strategies, about 2/3 policy and 1/3 critical. On the critical side of things, Ive spent a lot of time in debates reading Nietzsche, DNG, Wilderson, and disability based positions.

         As a judge, I've watched a ton of K debates. I haven't figured out whether this is because parli has shifted substantially leftwards or because something in my philosophy screams K hack. In case it's the latter, I figured I'd explicitly note that I'm super down for case debate, disads and counterplans, impact turning the kritik, etc. At most tournaments last year I found myself pining for some sound basics rather than yet another mediocre K shell.

         Im fairly predisposed to believe that the affirmative should defend the resolution (not necessarily fiat) via a topical plan or advocacy. I also think most teams aren't great at going for framework and I'm often uncompelled and/or bored by generic framework arguments. Do with that what you will.

         I cannot evaluate arguments that I don't flow (literally; I have ADHD and I've long forgotten them by the end of the debate). I'm happy to listen to your speech in whatever form it takes, but if you don't want it flowed and you also care about competitive success, it's in both of our best interests that you strike me.

         Tech > truth. Debate is a competitive game composed of moving argumentative pieces that are only occasionally indicative of reality. It's your job to identify the faulty (factually incorrect) pieces and tell me to disregard them.

         Generally, speed is good. Don't use speed to make people hate the activity and/or to punish novices for being novices. Enunciate; if I clear you, you probably need to be clearer, not slower.

         I keep stats on all the rounds I judge in a Google doc10 to provide some data on how I actually tend to vote in different kinds of debates.

         Per the Google doc, my speaker points average just a shade under 28, with a standard deviation of about 0.6 points (aka about 68% of the time you'll get between a 27.4 and 28.6) and a range between the high 26's and low 29's.


         Offense wins championships, but smart defense is underutilized. I am quite willing to assess terminal defense/no risk of something. I generally evaluate defense as either probability (arguments that the impact is unlikely - e.g. MAD checks) or possibility (it is structurally impossible for the impact to happen - e.g. Brazil cannot launch a nuclear first strike because they do not have nuclear weapons). If you concede your impact is impossible, I will assess 0 risk of it. If you concede your impact is improbable, I will compare the strength of the two claims and decide how much risk to assess (or, ideally, you do this comparison for me in a rebuttal).


         Intrinsic, specific, well-sourced, big-stick disads are beautiful to watch. I've never been mad at a heg debate. Use words like timeframe, magnitude, and probability in the rebuttal to contextualize your disad to the affirmative.

         "Extend the defense" is not an argument, please take the five seconds to say "extend MAD checks nuclear war" or whatever. I am often enamored of affirmatives that exploit lazy kicking of disads.

         Compelling politics disads require a robust description of the status quo (both the bill/process that the disad is centered around, and the motivations that hold the status quo together) as well as a coherent link to the affirmative. I find that the best politics disads are top-heavy, while the ones that give politics a bad reputation have few/blippy uniqueness/link arguments stuck on top of a big impact.


         Counterplans can be a useful component of a negative strategy, but you should definitely let the squo work for you early and often.

         PICs are good unless the topic is a whole bill or (maybe) permits only one topical affirmative. Agent CPs are good. Consult is fine if accompanied by a compelling argument that consult is not normal means.

         Delay, veto cheato, object/utopian fiat, and whatever other obviously cheater CPs people come up with are bad (which isn't to say I won't vote for them if the aff doesn't answer it correctly/read theory).

         Text comp is an artificial standard that has never made much sense to me. You're better off reading PICs bad or other, more specific theory.


         I default to evaluating the debate through competing interpretations. Feel free to advance another framework, but I think Ive yet to hear a credible justification (or even definition) for reasonability.

         The affirmative should lose every debate if they fail to read either a "we meet" or a competitive counterinterpretation to T. I do not require "in-round abuse" to vote on T.

         T is always a voting issue and never a reverse voting issue; the aff does not get to win because they were topical.

Other theory

         To quote Cory Freivogel: "[Spec] arguments are really not my cup of tea. This is mostly because I dont like giant pieces of shit in my tea."

         One condo advocacy is probably fine. My threshold for voting on condo drops substantially for 2+ condo advocacies and/or if you read arguments that double turn each other (e.g. conditional cap K and econ disad).

The K

         I love the K debate. I went for the K in about a third of my negative rounds and occasionally on the aff as well. A knowledgeable, deep MO going for a specific K with strong, intrinsic links to the affirmative is one of my favorite speeches to watch.

         I dont automatically let the aff weigh their aff. The aff should defend why the aff should be weighed, which usually involves defenses of consequentialism, threat response, scenario planning, and/or empiricism.

         Im often suspicious of alternative solvency, particularly "alt solves the aff" claims -- but many affirmatives lose debates simply because they dont answer arguments. Tags like ____ comes first/is a prior question, no value to life, root cause of violence, or alt solves the aff should be setting off alarm bells if youre giving the MG.

         The permutation is always a test of competition and never an advocacy. You get a perm in a "methods debate." Specific permutation net benefits are always more compelling than your memorized generic block.

Identity based/performance/not-about-the-topic positions

         As I mentioned at the top, I am fairly predisposed to believe the affirmative should defend the topic. Even if you read the same position in every round, adapting it to the specific context of the topic will help you a lot in front of me.

         When reading or answering framework, comparative impact analysis of the standards and counterstandards is important to me; for that reason, I think the best framework shells function as disads to the method of the 1AC and/or net benefits to policymaking. As a debater, I essentially thought of framework as a counterplan/countermethod of policymaking, contrasted with the method/advocacy of the 1AC; I thus often find arguments that "there's a topical version of the aff with a net benefit" (topic education, policymaking good, etc.) to be compelling.

         Outside of framework, I think reading a countermethod, a PIC out of some portion of the affirmative's advocacy, or even just case turns can all be effective strategies. I think reading your memorized panic K is often a less effective strategy.

Question 1 : Please enter your judging philosophy.

Lance Allen - McKendree University

Saved Philosophy:

I competed in Parli and IEs for 4 years at Mckendree and have now coached for 4 years. That means I have a diverse background and have seen a large variety of positions.  As a coach, I have watched rounds at traditional tournaments in parli to LD out rounds at nationals. While I am competent in a K debate, I am most comfortable in the case/DA/CP debates. This means that the K needs to be well explained, whether a critical Neg or Aff. For me, in-round abuse is not necessary on T. All CP types are fine, just beat the procedural. I evaluate procedurals first and then move to rest. I tend to weigh the magnitude and probability first in impact calc. You should feel comfortable running most any position in front of me as long as it is well explained and defended.  

Question 1 : Please enter your judging philosophy.

Cory Freivogel - McKendree University

Saved Philosophy:


Hi! My name is Cory Freivogel. I did four years of policy debate in high school in the Chicago area. After that, I spent four years doing Lincoln Douglas and Parliamentary debate at McKendree University. Im currently the assistant coach there.

I will preface this philosophy in the way that most people do - I think you should debate however you debate best in front of me. That being said, I obviously have certain biases and I think you should be familiar with them.

Some general notes.

1. I think debate is first and foremost a game. I think you should do whatever it takes to win that game, and I respect people who play the game with a lot of heart and lot of intensity.

2. I like people who do work. This doesnt mean that I wont vote for lazy, trite strategies - I have no problem doing that. It just means I respect people who put in extra effort to develop or update sweet arguments.

3. I like people that talk pretty. I certainly dont think you should ever sacrifice strategy and execution for eloquence, but if you can give a smart speech thats funny and engaging it will bode well for you. Also, dont try to be funny if youre not.

4. Dont dismiss defensive arguments. Of course I think you should be making a wide variety of offensive arguments, but do not assume youll be fine by saying that 9 smart, defensive answers to your affirmative are just defense.


I like these arguments a lot. Running well-researched disadvantages with a diverse set of link arguments and huge probable impacts is the easiest way into my heart. Generic disadvantages like politics, business confidence, etc. are fine as well so long as theyre specifically tailored to the affirmative and properly executed.

Similarly, I think smart negatives (and affirmatives as well) will do a great deal of work comparing impacts. If you do not do this I will make my own determination about the probability and magnitude of a disadvantages impact. I am also probably more concerned about probability than some other judges may be. I am not often impressed by massive impacts that are highly improbable and under-explained. Phrases like even a 1% risk of our impact outweighs the entire risk of the aff are typically code for our impact is absurd and our disadvantage barely links.


These arguments are sweet as well. I typically err negative on arguments like PICs bad, conditionality bad, etc. I will vote on these arguments, but it will be an uphill battle. The argument that I should reject the argument rather than the team is usually a winner. I think condition, consultation and other silly process counter plans are of questionable legitimacy and I can definitely be more persuaded to drop teams on theory if theyre extending these arguments. That being said I like counter plans of all shapes and sizes and think that if you arent reading one or straight turning the affirmative, then youre probably in trouble.


I am not as hostile to these arguments as most people probably think I am. I am, however, probably as unlikely to understand these arguments as most people think I am. I have not and probably will not ever read any traditional or post-modern philosophy unless someone requires me to do so. Im not trying to dog on anyone that does, but its just not my thang. This is mainly meant as a word of caution. If you run the kritik I will listen, flow and do my best to make a fair decision. But, I am not the best critic for you. If you somehow find me in the back of the room and you have nothing but your criticism, it will serve you well to slow down and eliminate all the jargon you imagine I may be familiar with.

That being said, if youre an affirmative answering these arguments do not assume I will let you get away with answering kritiks poorly. If you mischaracterize the criticism, concede framework arguments, or rely on defense then Ill probably notice and youll lose.


I like good topicality debates a lot. If you are affirmative, then you need to meet the interpretation or you need a counter interpretation. Absent one of those things, you will probably lose. If you are going for or answering topicality you should be comparing standards and voting issues in the same way that you compare impacts. If you do not compare standards, it will make it very difficult for me to make a good decision and it will be bad for everyone. I am also more persuaded by arguments about ground than limits. I could care less if your interpretation explodes the topic given that the topic will only exist once and you dont have to do any research in the future.


These arguments are really not my cup of tea. This is mostly because I dont like giant pieces of shit in my tea. I understand the strategic utility of introducing these arguments in the LOC, but I cannot understand why one would choose to extend them in the MO unless there was some incredible example of abuse. It is difficult for me to imagine giving any higher than a 27 to even the most persuasive extension of a generic specification argument.


People forget about the case all the time. That makes me sad because I love a good case debate. If youre the LOC and you dont have an incredible counter plan, then you should be putting a lot of offense on the case. Similarly, the MG should be extending and utilizing the case throughout his or her speech. It frustrates me to no end when affirmative teams assume they can entirely ignore the case until the PMR when it suddenly becomes the focus of the debate. Personally, I think you should have to extend the affirmative throughout the debate.


I keep a pretty decent flow and think I can detect new arguments on my own. That being said, they are allowed by the rules and if you think there is a particularly egregious example of an abusive new argument feel free to call it. However, if I know an argument is new I will protect the opposite team regardless of whether or not you say it's new. If you call a bunch of unnecessary points of order on teams just to disrupt their speech or be funny or whatever I will be very unhappy. I hated when teams did that when I debated and I imagine I will hate it even more as a judge. Don't do it.


I think as a general rule you should probably accept two of these per speech. I could pretty easily be persuaded to pull the trigger on a "they didn't take any questions" type of procedural. Also, no means no. If someone won't take your question don't yell that question or jump around waving your hands like an idiot or yelling "Please!! Just one!!" The only exceptions to this are in instances when you need to know the status of a counterplan or to have a text repeated / handed to you. I don't think you should have to raise your hand to ask for those things. Maybe there is no legitimate justification for that, but that just happens to be what I think.

COVERAGE - I wanted to make a point of discussing this because at some point late last season I found myself voting on weak impact prioritization arguments and extinction claims that others chose to disregard. Ive found myself doing this more and more. I believe that Claim + Warrant = An Argument. Whether that warrant is fantastic, idiotic or just okay is not for me to decide. Conceded arguments are true arguments - no matter how stupid or abhorrent they might be (Im looking at you Dehumanization outweighs everything!). If you ignore a potentially round-changing argument because you thought it was dumb or you just missed it, youre probably going to lose. 

Some judges dont vote on these types of arguments because they are not thoroughly explained, they arent fleshed out or they arent given priority in the rebuttals. I understand and respect that philosophy, I just dont share it. I am constantly pushing myself to keep a flow that is as organized and detailed as humanly possible. In the context of debate, I find few things more resplendently beautiful than an immaculate flow. There are no computers, blocks or prep time in this game. As such, It is impossible to become a great debater without first mastering the art of the flow. I refuse to reward debaters that do not excel at the fundamentals. Perhaps it is unfair of me to push my dorky fetishization of the flow onto you, but I'm going to do it anyways. You should be aware of that. 

DISCLAIMER: I love good, smart debates with dope strategies on both sides. Please DO NOT use this philosophy to justify ruining the debate with a whole mess of garbage arguments. Ill probably give you a 17 or have Ben Reid wring out his sweat-soiled clothes on you.

Question 1 : Please enter your judging philosophy.

Amanda (Ataiyan) Stauder - McKendree University

Saved Philosophy:

Section 1: General Information

I debated policy and public forum in high school for four years, debated four years for McKendree doing Parli and some LD. I coached at McKendree for three years before beginning coaching at a local high school last year.

Speed I am competent at flowing debates but admit that I am a little less in the know about current issues and slower in terms of speed than I was when I was still debating. If I cant understand you or youre going too fast I will let you know. If Im confused about a position I will look confused. On critical arguments go slower.

I generally protect the PMR but just in case I miss something you should call points of order if you think the argument will matter in the decision for the round. Points of order and of inquiry are not your speech time and not a time to make an argument-- they are for question asking or to challenge whether an argument is new. If someone says no to a question do not just talk loudly over them and ask anyway/comment on the round.

Disadvantages- do the impact calculus work in the rebuttals and make sure that the rebuttals include explicit extensions of the position you want me to vote on. Politics- I do not follow domestic politics closely if at all. I do not know which senator is from where and what they think. I did debate in college and have a political science degree so you dont have to dumb things down, just make sure to clearly explain your story and why points matter on politics disadvantages.

Section 2: Specific Inquiries

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

I try to give the median of speaker points. Higher if you really impress me, lower if you are really offensive or particularly bad at speaking. Stuttering, disorganization, and a lack of understanding about how positions interact will also not be good for your speaker points.

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

I didnt read critiques when I debated but I think I am more critical argument friendly than I was a few years ago, though they are not my favorite. I do not understand nor do I have a background in post-modern literature and the jargon does not make sense to me. Say critical things and use regular words and I should be more than able to follow along. Explain a voting rational for critical arguments over the others in the debate to help me construct a decision for one. Critical affirmatives I like less- I think you should affirm the resolution. I am likely to not vote for performance affs and really critical affirmatives- it will be an uphill battle for you and probably not bode well for your speaker points.

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

I view topicality in terms of competing interpretations- standards claims with impacts to education or ground I find much more compelling that abuse claims and reverse voters, though Im sure most people feel this way. In-round abuse not necessary but you do need to articulate what, as the negative, what you do not get access to in the world of your interpretation and then why I should care (ie how it affects debate, education, ground, etc). For affs, you have to have a

clear and supported counter interp and your own counterstandards if you want me to not vote negative.

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

PICS are okay, specify the status of the CP so were all on the same page from the beginning, not voting for the CP means just that- I can still vote negative on other arguments in the debate. Reading CP with Ks is okay but you should not go for a combination of those. You can run a K and a CP but you need to pick one in the MO and adequately kick the other which means you have to answer the offense first of course.

CP theory I understand but am not particularly opinionated about. Keeping theory arguments to a minimum is probably best thought sometimes they are warranted when youre caught off guard or the CP is actually really abusive. Theory arguments are okay but I am more reluctant to vote on them.

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?)?

Topicality is first, then kritiks, then CP/DA/Aff. The order of priority is also up for debate. Framework arguments indicate how to evaluate the kritik verses the aff.

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")?

When not explicitly weighted by the debaters- people dying outweighs human rights abuses. Human rights abuses are the root to all violence ever without examples and as a blanketed claim will not get you far with me. Concrete impacts are preferable but some topics lend themselves more readily to arguments about human rights. Which is more important is up for debate and dependent on the context, and resolution, those arguments are made in.

Question 1 : Please enter your judging philosophy.

Amanda Walker - McKendree University

Saved Philosophy:

General I debated in Parli and LD for 2.5 years at McKendree. I graduated in 2014 and have been judging since then. Debate is a competitive academic activity, and you should pursue strategies that you feel are best for you. However, your strategy should reasonably relate to the topic. Im not a fan of strategies that rely heavily on surprise or are overly gamey (not that I wont vote for them, but your speaker points will suffer.) In general, if you are going to read a critical or performative strategy in front of me, you should be sure to slow down a bit and explain it thoroughly-basically ELI5. Performative advocacies are not something that I have a lot of experience with and I have not been super comfortable evaluating the few I have watched. Not to say that you shouldnt read them in front of me, but you should be prepared to thoroughly explain how I should evaluate them. I believe the affirmative team should defend a topical plan text/advocacy. I believe this strategy is often best for education and access to the round. Critical affirmatives are fine, as long as they relate to the topic. I really like topic specific disads and counterplans. If you read a K, it should have specific links. While I view debate as a competition, that doesnt mean you should be overly aggressive, confrontational, or just plain mean to each other. I enjoy a good joke and some sass, but there is definitely a line. Specific Positions I like a good topicality debate. I dont need in-round abuse to vote for T. I generally think condo is good and PICs are bad, but Im not opposed to a theory debate. If you can convince me otherwise and there is a decent substantive debate about it, thats great. Unless the other team is clearly abusive, I think spec arguments, in general, are not very compelling. 

Question 1 : Please enter your judging philosophy.

Rodney McBride - McKendree University

Saved Philosophy:

I debated for McKendree from 2013-2016, qualifying for NPTE in my last two years of competition.

If I have to, I will roll my eyes, sigh, shrug, and vote for your critical Aff, but please dont lie to me about it. Make coherent arguments. Dont make me make arguments for you, I make weird arguments. I dont care about the inherency of the transparency of your jargony bargaining. Say smart things, not purposefully confusing things. I am not bothered by your speed, but be polite. Win your argument.

Question 1 : Please enter your judging philosophy.

Sarah DeBruyckere - McKendree University

Saved Philosophy:

I did parli debate for 4 years at McKendree University (2010-2014). I've been out for a few years, so keep that in mind. If you want to have a K debate, have a K debate. However, slow down in those instances a little because K's were never my thing. I'm fine with speed. I'm fine with conditionality. It would be hard to win a round on condo bad, but not unattainable. Not a big fan of generic politics unless it actually has solid links.

Question 1 : Please enter your judging philosophy.

Joe Blasdel - McKendree University

Saved Philosophy:

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 year hiatus studying political science at Syracuse University, I returned to coach at McKendree (NPDA, LD, and IEs) and have been doing so for the last eleven years.

2. 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.

3. 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 the topicality of their choice.  While I dont see a lot of good fact/value debate, I am open to people choosing to do so.  Im 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.

4. 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 youre calling multiple POOs, I will probably not be pleased.

5. I do not think the rules permit splitting the block.  Any responses in the LOR to MG arguments that were dropped by the MO will be considered new.  Additionally, it is rare that I will vote on MO arguments that are not extended in the LOR.

6. Im 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.

7. I think people should take questions at least one and preferably two per speech.  If you dont take questions, I will reduce your speaker points and may be inclined to vote on a procedural if one is run.

8. There is no prep time in parliamentary debate.  You can get your papers in order, but you cannot strategize with your partner after the previous speech has ended.  If you steal prep, I will start your speech time.

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 25-30, with an average of 27.5.

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

Im open to Ks but I tend to vote against them more than I vote for them.  I look at Ks as a sort of ideological counterplan.  As a result, its 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, I will likely be voting on topicality. As for whether Ks can contradict other arguments in the round, it depends on the context/nature of the K.

3. Performance based arguments

Same as above.  Id be hesitant to run them with me as your critic.

4. 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 thats 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 Im not sure what a reasonable interpretation is. On topicality, I have an average threshold.  I dont vote on RVIs.

On spec, I have a high threshold.  Unless there is in-round ground abuse, Im probably not going to vote on spec.  I would only run spec arguments in front of me if youre using it as link insurance for another position and the affirmative refuses to answer your questions.

5. 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), but am growing more frustrated with tiny PICs and other arguably abusive CPs so this trend may change.  I think CPs should be functionally competitive (though Ive voted on must be textually competitive on a couple of occasions). Unless specified otherwise, I understand counterplans to be conditional. I dont have a particularly strong position on the legitimacy of conditionality. I think advantage CPs are smart and underutilized.

6. 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.

7. 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.

Question 1 : Please enter your judging philosophy.

Miranda Kang - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Saved Philosophy: n/a

Question 1 : Please enter your judging philosophy.
Affiliations: Niles West '14 - 3 years of policy University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign '18 - 2 years of parli/LD Email: kanganador@gmail.com Yes, add me to the email chain, and feel free to email me questions after round. Short, 2 minute before round start paradigm: I try to consider myself tabula rasa, so feel free to read anything in front of me. If an argument is well warranted and impacted, then I’ll be willing to vote for it. I’m also lazy, which means I like organized debates that are easier to flow. That’s honestly what the rest of this paradigm boils down to, rephrased a bunch of times along with some debate pet peeves. Prep time stops when the flash drive leaves your computer/you hit send, with an exception for novice debate. Tag team cross-ex is fine. Feel free to ask me any more questions that you find relevant (but I’ll be annoyed if it was already answered here). Full paradigm: Read the short version too. It’s useful, but this part has more specifics. If you find my educational/argumentative background relevant, I considered myself a flex debater for my first two years of policy, and had a very kritikal argument style for my third year. I am currently a junior at UIUC, majoring in computer science, and minoring in Informatics. Topic Specific Comment: (yes this applies to the 2016-2017 topic) Treat me like I know nothing about this topic. Because I know nothing about the topic. CX: Tag team is fine, but don’t stomp all over your partner. Use this time strategically. Ask actual questions. I zone out if your questions don’t have any strategy behind them/will be irrelevant to the round. Remember you’re persuading me, not the opponent. Pro-tip: if your opponent won’t concede X point, then 99% of the time, re-asking the same question won’t make them concede it. Topicality: Explain your violation if you go for it. I would rather see time spent on your own analysis than reading 20 more definitions. For those of you who had the honor of listening to Ken Strange’s famous topicality lecture, it has made a huge impact on how I view these debates. You’re not screwed if you haven’t heard it, but if you have, make those applications for brownie points. I will default to competing interpretations unless told otherwise. Case: I feel as though so many debaters underestimate case debates. Solid internal link take-outs can destroy an aff case. Presumption is not a clever strategy, but it’s a legit strategy. DA’s: Good impact calc + Organization = Ideal DA CP’s: Make sure it competes. I won’t vote on a CP without a net benefit. No, solvency is not a net benefit. Don't lose sight of what the CP actually does in the line by line. Yes, process/multi-plank/timeframe/plan-inclusive/consult/no-shoes CP's are legitimate if you can make them legitimate. Theory: I vote on the line by line, not my preference. If you are trying to win on a theory blip that you hid 5 words of in your 2AC hoping the other team didn’t flow it, I probably didn’t flow it either. Well-developed theory debates are fun. RVI’s are terrible arguments unless stated otherwise, and even then, you better have an incredible reason why I should be voting on it. If you want any theory to be a voter, tell me why, and what I should be rejecting as a result of the violation. Do not go full speed on theory; my ability to flow the warrants of your theory block is so much more important than the 10 seconds you’ll save. Framework: I recognize when a team loses to framework. It’s not my favorite argument, but I can vote on it. You should be going for framework if it’s strategic, not because it’s generic. There is a fine line between the strategic type of offensive and the rude type of offensive, and the latter of the two happens way too often. When in doubt, treat this like a T debate. Kritiks: [judge adaptation rant because this happens] If you’re planning on going for the k, fine, do whatever. If you are going for the k for the sole purpose of ‘adapting to the judge,’ then that’s a stupid idea. If you’re trying to win, do what you’re good at, because I’ll still vote on it. [actual content about the K] I love explanations. Tell me what’s going on and why it’s worth my ballot. Links should never be generic. One misconception regarding K's is that if a judge knows one kritik well, they'll know the rest of them well. Plot twist: I really only know a few K's in depth. I won't tell you which ones so feel obligated to give thorough explanations for everything. I’m down for the floating PIK, but stop reading an impact card that is similar to the aff impacts then whining in the post round for how I didn’t catch your floating PIK. Performance: Go for it. It’s nice to hear a justification or explanation for the performance, but you do you. Miscellaneous: I don’t like the idea of calling up cards. The bottom of ballot states to vote for the team that ‘did the better debating,’ not who has the better evidence. If a card you have is that good and you want me to read it, tell me so and warrant the card, since tag line extensions will not cut it for me. Bad card with incredible explanation > great card that is not explained or warranted. Clarity is nice. I will yell "clear" twice before I stop flowing you. Ethos is a highly underestimated skill with debaters. Debate is a persuasion game, so regardless of substance, always remember that you're trying to persuade the judge, and that includes your presentation. Line by line. Seriously. Average speaker points are a 27.9, and I will consequently go up or down. In case it wasn't made evident already, I really like developed explanations. Be nice. Don’t be rude/offensive. It baffles me that debaters need to be told this explicitly. Humor is appreciated. An argument is an argument, although I’ll nuke your speaks if you read racism good.

Caitlin Smith - University of Minnesota

Saved Philosophy: n/a

Question 1 : Please enter your judging philosophy.
Experience/General Stuff: I debated 4 years of NPDA/NPTE parli in college for Wheaton (graduated in May) and 4 years of LD in high school. I’m currently coaching parli at the University of Minnesota and LD at Apple Valley high school. I care a lot about debate, about equity in it, access to it, and very much believe in the power it has to change lives. I try to evaluate rounds as on-the-flow as I can, though, of course, none of us are unbiased. That said, debate is a game and the real world at the same time, so I will not check my status as a moral agent at the door. I’m fine with speed and will clear you if you pass my threshold (which is unlikely). Please say all plans/CP’s/T-interps/alts/etc. slowly and twice and take at least one question in your speech (if flex time/CX isn’t happening). Finally, please be respectful of your opponents and partner. AD/DA/CP Debate: I’ll be honest, I never did well at complicated economic or political AD/DA debate, so I will be largely limited to my understanding of what you put out in a given round. If you’re clear, there shouldn’t be a problem, just don’t expect me to know what various terms or abbreviations mean off the bat. Weighing: 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. Theory: Win the debate on whatever layer you would like, I have no problem voting on theory. I like debates that are contextualized to the way that arguments interact; if you can do the nuances of a theory debate, and/or if your opponent is clearly abusive, I will be happy to vote on that position. I default to competing interpretations. Kritiks: I debated lots of K’s in my time in parli and I love them. The biggest thing I need is a clear alt text 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 don’t assume I know your literature. I will vote on what is said in the round, not my prior knowledge of your particular author. Performance: 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 don’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 I’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, is very likely to give me an anxiety attack. I don’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.

Tyler Gillete - University of Minnesota

Saved Philosophy: n/a

Question 1 : Please enter your judging philosophy.
I debated for 3 years at KCKCC I read a lot of different types of arguments when I debated and am willing to listen to almost anything. Just what you do best and if you are clear on why that means you win I will vote for it. Parli specific: The only additions I have for parli are, I think you should be willing to answer a reasonable amount of POIs and I have everything on the flow and will protect the MO, so excessive POOs are just a waste of time. Theory- Just like any argument you need a clear link and impact in theory debates. With most theory args I believe it is usually a reason to reject the argument not the team. Condo: I am probably ok with conditionality, but, the more conditional arguments that are read the more sympathetic I am to the affirmative team. It will also be much easier to win if you can prove the conditional positions are contradictory to each other. CP theory: PICs are usually ok and the aff should have a defense on why whatever the negative PICs out of is important to the aff. PIC theory is way more winnable against ridiculous than it is against a PIC grounded in topic lit. . CPs- Are a very winnable strategy in front of me. Make sure the net benefit is clear. The only 2 types of CPs I think may be iffy are consult and ridiculous word PICs out words such as "should" and "the". If you have literature grounded in the topic on reason consult is good you can probably win the argument, I just find that is rarely the case. Some word PICs are ok, if you have reason the world they said is offensive or bad for what they are trying to achieve you have a shot, but i should be substantive not just a PIC out of "should" "and" or "the". That does not mean I won vote on those types of arguments, I just think PICs out of minor words are harder to win and probably more theoretically questionable. Topicality/Framework- There needs to be a clear impact to these types of arguments, just saying it isn't fair or is bad for education is not an impact if you don't have reasons why those are true of the affirmative you are debating against. I am more than willing to vote on these arguments is they are well warranted and impacted it just may be harder to get me to vote here than it is other people. On topicality, I believe reasonability is the best way to evaluate it, I can be persuaded otherwise, but, that is my general starting point. On framework, it is hard for me to believe we should exclude certain styles of debate, I tend to find the impact turns to framework far more believable than the impacts to framework. The most important thing to win if you want me to vote on framework is probably topical version of the aff. Disads-If you have them read them. I am totally ok with almost all disads, politics is one of my least favorite arguments in debate, the links and internal links on politics are usually questionable. Offense is always a preferable strategy, but, I am willing to say a disad has 0 risk if the aff can prove it. Case debate- I like to see good case debate and think the neg should in someway interact with the aff case. Just like disads offense is a better strat but if the neg can prove it I will vote on 0 risk of solvency. Kritikal affs- I am open to any type of aff you want to read as long as you can justify why what you do means you win. If your method is clear and you impact your arguments you should have no problem. When negating these affs it is usually better to engage the argument instead of just reading framework, it wil be a hard sale to get me to believe we should exclude any style of debate. Kritiks- I read a far amount of kritiks, but don't assume that means I know as much about the lit you are reading as you do. Kritiks are my favorite type of arguments and a usually a viable strategy, just be sure you are explaining how your argument interacts with the aff and means you win. I think that covers everything if you have any questions feel free to ask before round or email me tyler.gillette1@gmail.com

Doug Addleman - University of Minnesota

Saved Philosophy: n/a

Question 1 : Please enter your judging philosophy.
Doug Addleman - NPDA 2017 Hired Saved Philosophy: n/a Question 1 : Judging philosophy required for all judges. Please enter yours. Summary: I like to see good debates, which for me means that it’s more important that you debate how you debate best not in the stylistic way you think I want to see. Be aware that, while I have no problem comprehending speed, I’m not the quickest flow so I probably need slightly more pen time than average if you’re going fast. Background: I did 4 years of NPDA/NPTE debate (2011-2015) at Wheaton. Since then I’ve judged a few tournaments—grad school and distance keeps me from traveling often. I still have a strong grasp of debate-style argumentation, jargon, and many key positions, but might not be up on the most recent trends of the last 2 years. Preferences: I belong to the ‘debate is a game’ school of thought, but I also recognize that it has implications on individuals outside of the game aspects. I do my best to be sensitive to those implications and am willing to listen to any arguments about them. I expect everyone to be respectful of the personhood of the people they’re engaging. Since debate is a game where you set the rules, I try to be as flow-centric as possible for the purpose of my ballot unless you’re winning arguments that tell me to do otherwise. Speed: I tend to think that speed is overall good for the debate, but really don’t enjoy it being used as a crutch by teams to win debates against slower teams. Please go as fast as you want as long as it’s accessible to everyone in the room. I am, however, a slower flow than I used to be, so recognize that if you’re quite fast you may want to slow down a bit if you want me to reliably flow your warrants and not just vague tags. Specific Positions: Feel free to run any positions you want (critical affs, advantages, case turns, DAs, Ks, theory, etc.). I ran a variety of arguments, but tended to rely mostly on case debate, critical affs, and Ks in the last couple years of my career. I’ll listen to whatever you want to debate—I’d rather see a good in-depth economics debate or T debate (though those weren’t my typical strategies) than a bad critical debate, and vice-versa. Theory: I might have a slightly lower threshold on theory (T, condo, MG theory, whatever) than some, in part because I’ve never bought that proven abuse is really necessary (though go ahead to argue that it is, you can win it). Performance: I don’t like thinking of ‘performance’ debate (for lack of a better term, since all debate is performative) as a fundamentally different type of debate. Please make the role of the ballot very clear if you care about it (this doesn’t have to be structured in any specific way though). I am receptive to arguments that there are reasons an aff doesn’t defend the topic and to arguments that they should. Speaker points: Range: usually I give the top speaker in a round between 28.5 and 30 (with 30 being rare) and then down from there (rarely below 27). Average overall is probably around 28. While I vote on the flow, I really enjoy watching creative debate and that may show up in my speaker points. I value unconventional interpretations of topics (though I also don’t mind T debates either), enjoy theory debates—including weird, atypical ones—and find the most enjoyable debates to be tricky, technical ones that involve in-round divergent thinking. If your position or how you use it in the later constructives surprises me, that may bode well for your speaks.

Kaitlyn Bull - Washburn University

Saved Philosophy:

My background: I debated for 5 years on the NPTE/NPDA circuit (2 years at the University of Texas at Tyler and 3 years at Washburn University). I competed in policy debate in high school for 4 years. I have my BA in Political Science with a minor in Women and Gender Studies and Im currently in my first year of coaching and judging for Washburn University.

Highlights: I think that debate is a game in which you should make use of all the tools that you can creatively deploy. 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. I would prefer that you read advocacies unconditionally, but I will not vote you down without the other team winning the condo bad theory. Im most familiar with the following arguments: Politics, T, Hegemony, Feminism, Black Feminism, Queerness, Anthropocentrism, and most other identity or state based criticisms. I protect from new arguments in rebuttals, but if you feel the need then still call them if you must. 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).

Identity/Performance/Critical Arguments: 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. Im willing to listen to framework debates and many times Ryan and I would elect to 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.

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. 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 youre 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.

Procedurals/Theory/T: I enjoy a good T debate and I default to competing interpretations, but this does not mean that I wont 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 RVIs. I understand the utility of these arguments, but they likely arent 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.

Disads: I enjoy topic specific disads. However, I was a politics debater and 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.

CPs: I love counter-plans and I regret my under-utilization of them 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..

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.).

Im going to borrow a bit about alternatives directly from Lauren Knoths philosophy as it describes my feelings regarding complicated alternatives perfectly.

***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.

Perms: I really enjoy perm debates. 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 dont 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. IE: the alternative is to vote negative to recognize the dehumanizing struggle of indigenous populations. The perm in this case could be to do the plan and recognize the struggle of indigenous populations (thus picking out of the word dehumanizing and reading net benefits/disads to the use of that word). I think that perms serve as tests of competition.



Question 1 : Please enter your judging philosophy.

Steve Doubledee - Washburn University

Saved Philosophy:

Debate is a game of strategy and persuasion. Those who can strike the perfect balance between these two will always win my ballot.

Things I prefer...
1.I prefer debaters embrace the topic... Topic specific Aff, DA, K, CP, Politics-(specific links), Case, T, Specs etc...are all appreciated. I also understand sometimes you have to run a critical aff via poor ground for the Aff.If you like running identity based arguments I am probably not the judge for you but I will listen.
2.I prefer debaters give impact analysis via timeframe, probability, and magnitude. I will always privilege high probability small impacts over low probability big impacts.
3.I prefer debaters not attempt to speak at a rate they cannot handle.

Things I demand...
1.I want a written copy of all texts Plan, CP, Alts, Perms etc... if overly complicated...if plan is the rez then no need.
2.Be kind to each other. If you are rude it will hurt your speaker points. I am not a big fan of cursing in debate rounds.

Theory thoughts...All theory arguments are fine. Below is my only "theory pet peeve".

Conditional strategies are fine but should be justified through the lens of Aff/Neg flex. So many times debaters want to list off all the advantages of conditional strats but fail to justify why they deserve the right to conditionality in the first place---Aff/Neg flex is how you do so. If the Aff has high flex--(meaning a lot of possible Affs, bidirectional resolution etc...) then the Neg probably has some good justifications for why they need the reciprocal right of conditionality to counter the Aff's use of parametrics.. If the Aff has low flex--(meaning one possible Aff) then the Neg probably will have a harder time justifying why they should have the right to conditionality....Seems like a PIC would be better in this instance.




Question 1 : Please enter your judging philosophy.

Keith Corley - William Jewell College

Saved Philosophy:

My name is Keith Corley and I currently am the Assistant Debate Coach at William Jewell College. My experience in the activity is 2 years at Moorpark College and 3 years at Concordia University Irvine. My goal with this philosophy is to try and be as honest as possible with those who read it as it is my experience that quite a few individuals tend to mislead in order to be part of the in group.

KvsPolicy: During my debate career I spent a majority of it debating policy and case debate. That being said my final year in the activity I debated the K more than 70% of the time. As far as policy debate goes, I expect warrants for arguments. I know that all judges says this but I want to make it extremely clear that you need specific warrants to back up your claims. If you do not have it, often times I will accept the other team to just articulate a lack of warrants in order to refute the argument. Other than that I feel like I view policy in the same way that almost every other person does.

Theory: When I was debating I was really into theory debate, it was something that I really enjoyed winning on. While I am more than willing to listen to you read these, I think it should be pointed out that I really dislike listening to theory that is not strategic or meaningful, aka something that is meant just to waste the other team's time. More often than not I think that the questions that theory is asking is important and as such in this aspect of the debate I do not like gamesmanship.

 Conditionality I was coached by Kevin Calderwood and while I buy into his thoughts in regards to conditionality I want to make it clear that I do not think that one conditional advocacy is necessarily bad. That being said I will definitely listen to a condo bad shell for a variety of reasons. Specifically, I suggest you not run an argument such as whiteness or fem conditionally as I believe that is ethically bankrupt. However, I will not vote anyone down for this if the other team does not win a condo bad theory position.

The K: Like I said, I ran these quite a bit during my last year, however, I do not want you to think that I am up on every single bit of critical literature. I prefer a very explained out thesis for K's that arent cap or something basic. Additionally, you need to explain to me in a very clear way what the alt text does. I truly dislike utopian alternatives with no explanation as to how they function. As far as K's on the aff go I am fine with them, but I would prefer you to make it resolutional. I do not need you to make it topical or use fiat (though that can and should be argued by the neg if they so choose) but I would prefer if the resolution was incorporated somewhere.

Miscellaneous If you only read one part of my philosophy please read this part: Debate was my home and identity for a long time. However, I realize that they type of debate and the space in which I engage in it are not home for many people that do not have my privilege. I want everyone to be able to run the type of arguments that make them feel most at home. That being said, I think that on some occasion in an effort to run arguments that they feel most comfortable with debaters will do so at the expense of the team that they are facing. What I mean by this is that I believe there is a way to run arguments that do not make your opponent feel like shitty people. I understand that some arguments can get real. I think those arguments are fantastic. However, I do not think that it is beneficial for anyone involved to traumatize someone in order to win a ballot. I believe that this space is a place for us to grow an think and learn a bunch of new and different types of education that aren't offered anywhere else whether that be upper level international relations or very critical queer theory. My belief is that our community is at our best when people can experience these hard truths without being brought to tears because the round made them feel like shit. My last note is that most of the fastest speakers in the community often times were not clear enough for me to flow at full speed. If you believe you are in this group please drop to 80% of your speed or wait for me to clear you, whatever you prefer.



1.     Do not make the other team want to leave the activity

2.     No matter what you are running, please make sure that you have a solvency that explains how your plan, alt, advocacy, etc. function


4.     Please for the love of god somebody do impact calculus

5.     Totally down with theory, just not as a time suck

6.     If you make a good Hamilton reference, 30 speaks



Question 1 : Please enter your judging philosophy.

Bobby Swetz - Hired McK 2017

Saved Philosophy:

About Me: My name is Bobby Swetz. I debated at Homewood Flossmoor High School. I mainly ran critical arguments such as Deleuze. I received 4 bids to the TOC. I have debated for two different colleges. At Southern Illinois, I debated solely in parli. I was in late elims of every major national tournament, I won the largest parli tournament, and was in finals of the NPDA Nationals. I coached and judged at the 2016 TOC. At KCKCC, I returned to debating in policy.

China Topic: I have been coaching a bit this season so I have a decent knowledge of the topic. With that being said, I would still avoid hyper-specific acronyms.

Overall Thesis: Debate is what you make of it. As with every judge in policy, I have obvious pre-dispositions. Outside of any inevitable bias, I will attempt to adjudicate the debate to the best of my ability as a non-partisan educator. You may feel free to read whatever arguments you want, whether it be T QPQ or Bataille or Dedev.

Policy Debate: The affirmative case, I believe, is the most important point of any debate. Either team can win or lose on the case debate. If the negative does not sufficiently answer the case, it is an easy aff ballot because they can simply weigh their case against the negative's disads. Topicality, in a policy lens where there is no critique of topicality, is always a voting issue. Theory, unless it is something like condo, is almost always a reason to reject the argument, and not the team. I can be persuaded otherwise though.

Critical Debate: The question of education and pedagogy is perhaps the most important consideration for kritikal debate. Whether you're reading a critique, or you are reading framework against an non-topical affirmative, the framework and lens through which you may view the debate should be the focal point of said debate.

Afterword: This philosophy has been intentionally vague. I really do not care what you read. I, just as you are, am still learning and want to be taught just as much as I want to teach you.

Question 1 : Please enter your judging philosophy.

Lauran Schaefer - Hired McK 2017

Saved Philosophy:

Please begin by explaining what you think is the relevant information about your approach to judging that will best assist the debaters you are judge debate in front of you. Please be specific and clear. Judges who write philosophies that are not clear will be asked to rewrite them. Judges who do not rewrite them may be fined or not allowed to judge/cover teams at the NPTE.

Do what you do best.

Couple of side notes: 

I likely have a higher threshold on theory debates than some judges, but that also doesnt mean you should shy away from it. 

Extinction probably wont happen, so you need to have really good link stories if thats your style. Probability > Magnitude.

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

According to Rob Layne, Im a point fairy. Basically, the way it shakes down is I give the top speaker in the round a 30/29 and then rank everyone. Dont be an insufferable and rude human, I will dock your points.

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

Im sure Ive been called a K-hack at some point, but this is false. While I ran a lot of critical arguments, they werent particularly good. With that being said, Id prefer a straight up debate, but am by no means to opposed to good critical arguments. My advice for critical arguments.

1)    1) Name dropping/jargon are not substitutes for an argument. Example- That creates a simulacrum. Thats a tagline. Tell me how / why.

2)    2) Rejection doesnt solve. Ive been rejecting patriarchy for years, but that doesnt mean sexist people in debate stopped saying I vote with my emotions, that I just dont get their arguments, or Im not very smart. Point being--Tell us how to reject. Do we burn the shit down by creating chaos? What alternative system can we use? Are there organizations that seek to dismantle the same system youre critiquing? How does this function within realism?

4)    4) Explain your solvency, and tell us what the world looks like in the post alternative world.

5)    5) Your framework should do more than attempt to exclude your opponents from the round. It should also tell me how to evaluate your position.

Affirmatives can run critical arguments, but I think they need a clear framework with an interpretation and standards.
Couch your argument in the topic someway, even if that means you explain why the topic is rooted in an ism, and justify why that is aff ground and not neg. No, the topic is not just a springboard for you to talk about whatever you want. The cool thing about debate is you get to develop an argument/justification for doing/saying what you want, so do that. Additionally, dont exclude your opponents from going for a policy with your framework. If youre really frustrated with the ism that is occurring in the topic, your goal should not be to prevent the neg from participating. As far as projects (I hesitate to call them that because of the negative connotations), Im down, but again, please tell me why the topic shouldnt be discussed. If your argument is that debate is ableist, sexist, racist, etc, if possible, explain why the topic is also rooted in that ism and then use that to discuss the debate space. That way your opponents may have some more ground.

Performance based arguments

Im fine with them, but I need to know how to evaluate them.

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

Again, higher threshold. I prefer proven abuse. Competing interpretations is probably your best bet.

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

PICs are a good strategy. The opp should identify the status IF they are asked to, otherwise its fair game. Perms should be functional in my ideal debate world. If youre going to go textual comp youll probably want to run more theory than you would with functional telling me why I should prefer it. I love CP theory so read it.

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

I think as a courtesy, you should always give a copy of any plan text or counterplan text, especially if asked. I dont care if teams want to share anything other than that.

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?)?

Procedurals. Framework, if necessary. Then the substance. I default to the impact debate. 

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")?

I look to probability, first. Then magnitude. Finally, timeframe. If you want me to vote on huge impacts that are incredibly unrealistic, you should warrant exactly how these impacts will occur. Not some x country is pissed, the US gets involved, boom, big explosion because some random action causes a war in which rational actors would absolutely have to use nuclear weapons and it would cause a dust cloud that covers the sun. Although I did this, its because I had no idea if what I was saying was actually true.

Other Things

Have fun, make me laugh, be nice. Care about what you do, your words matter.

Question 1 : Please enter your judging philosophy.

Sarah Neubaum - Hired McK 2017

Saved Philosophy:


I debated 4 years of NPDA/NPTE parli for Wheaton College up through 2017 nationals. I majored in economics and political science for my undergraduate degrees and now I am a Lieutenant in the Army.


I evaluate the debate the debaters have. I am open to policy, kritiks, performance, theory, etc. just tell me why I should prefer it. If you want to mix policy and critical arguments, go for it. That is almost exclusively how I debated and I love critical impacts. Just make sure not to contradict yourself, or go for too much. Weigh. Please. Everyone is happier at the end of the round if there is clear weighing.

AD/DA/CP Debate:

I will vote on post-fiat impact stories if you win the policy debate and win the importance of those impacts. Make sure you have clear links. If your opponent points out massive holes in your link story, I am inclined to listen. The burden is on you to keep your link story in tact, especially if you have high magnitude impacts. I generally default to probability and prefer systemic impacts, but ultimately, I will weigh however I am told to weigh, with the most compelling reasons.


I will vote on the K if you win the K, and that the K has the most important sheets in the round. Make sure you have a clear alternative and alt solvency. Be prepared to provide an alternative text to your opponents if they ask for it. If your alternative is especially long and complicated, providing a text to me would probably be in your favor. I just got out of high level debate last year, so I am following most of the lingo and will understand most literature references, but please dont assume I know your author, or that your opponents do. If you are new to debate and dont understand what your opponents are talking about, ask questions. If you feel your opponents are excluding you from the round by failing to answer your questions clearly, invoking terms and authors you dont know, etc, point it out.


I will vote on theory if you win the theory debate. I ran a wide variety of theory arguments -- common ones and occasionally ventured into new territory. Make sure you have a clear interpretation and be ready to provide a text if your opponents request one.


I will vote for a performance debate if the performing team wins the role of the ballot and/or the role of the judge and/or wins arguments about why the performance comes first. I appreciate the way performance debates bring real world issues to the forefront of debate rounds and confront them head on. I have gained appreciation for performance debates over the years, and believe them to be extremely valuable to our community and beyond. I do not need to be made comfortable or included or added to your movement to vote for you, but I do appreciate clarity, especially in performance debates, about how you want me to evaluate the round. If you are opposing a performance, I would highly encourage you to engage the arguments as best you can. I will vote on framework, if framework arguments are made and properly explained to be the most important.


I expect all debaters to be cordial and respectful of one another. If you are asked to make accommodations for a disability, I expect you to comply to the best of your ability. I think that sexism is unfortunately pervasive in our community and challenge male presenting debaters to be conscious of this in your rhetoric and argumentation. I will vote on theory arguments or kritiks that demonstrate exclusion if they are well warranted, and am more lenient about structure in these instances if there is demonstrated abuse. Debate is a game, but it is also the real world. Dont forget that you are talking to and about real people, and that I am a real person in the back of the room.

Speaker Points:

27-30, unless you do something incredibly rude or exclusionary.

If you have questions after the round, I would be more than happy to try to answer them. If you would like to talk in person, you are free to come find me, and if you would like to contact me to talk later, ask me to put my email on the ballot.

Question 1 : Please enter your judging philosophy.

Shawn Briscoe - Hired McK 2017

Saved Philosophy:

The first thing debaters seem to ask: what is your debate backround: 
- HS:  Debated (policy) for Nevada HS on the lay judge circuits of Missouri in the early 90s. 
- College: 4 years of CEDA at the US Airr Force Academy during the CEDA/NDT re-merger.  
- Coaching: Was a volunteer coach back iin MO for a couple of years right after college.  Entered the professional world of coaching in 2003 at Ft Walton Beach HS (national circuit), from 2007-2012 at the University of Alaska Anchorage (worlds-debating circuit), from 2006-2013 in at South Anchorage HS (primarily lay/traditional circuit of Alaska with brief ventures onto the nat circuit... continued as a volunteer through 2015), and from 2013-present as the Program Director of the St Louis Urban Debate League.

Cliff Notes Version (expanded explanations below): 
- Default Paradigm: Policymaker  - Speed: Fine... but not necessary. p;Slow & smart can easily beat fast & mediocre. 
- Clarity: A Must... If I can't understaand you, it doesn't make my flow. Not on my flow, it can't impact my decision. 
- Cards/Analytics are more important to me than tags & sources of them. 
- Please signpost clearly. 
- Ks: Run at your own risk. Good criticaal teams can easily win my ballot, but many run them as non-unique DAs and/or don't understand what they are reading.
- PICs (of the topical & non-comp vaariety): Ditto previous comment. Strategically, I don't really 
understand why the Neg would choose to affirm the rez. 
- Theory: I'm game. 
- Multiple Worlds: Weird. Lazy. Strategiically Awkward. Confusing. 
- Performance: I'm an advocate with caveeats...
- Generic DAs: Useful & appropriate.. (Specific links, obviously, make them better.) 
- CPs: Can be great if the round warrantts it. (Conditionality? Dispositionality? See Theory.) 
- Defense: A solid defense can beat an ooffensive position. However, offense wins rounds.

If you would like a more detailed philosophy, enjoy It's getting lengthy, but I find really good teams want to know as much as possible about their judges' starting point.

I call myself a "modern policymaker." I prefer hearing debate in a policymaker framework; thus, that is my default paradigm. I do not hold pre-conceived notions over the acceptability of substantive arguments (unless it's offensive). It is possible to mold me into a different paradigm. However, it is the responsibility of the debaters to explain why my "view" is being shifted, along with "how" I am supposed to evaluate the round. If you don't explain, I will evaluate them within the context of my own understanding (using the policymaker perspective).

Speed: Sure. I enjoy (prefer?) fast rounds. However, clarity is key. If you try to speak more quickly than you are capable, many judges cannot flow you. It is extremely rare for a debater to speak faster than I can flow; however, many debaters do not speak clearly enough for me to understand them.  (I've sat behind many judges who do not ask you to be clear, but also aren't flowing your speeches. It is in your best interest to be clear.) Also, I don't believe that debate rounds have to be fast. I also don't think that a fast team necessarily beats a slow team. The quality of argumentation/engagement/framing is far more important than speed/delivery.

Evidence:  It takes many forms. A quotation does not always beat a debater's analysis. Quite often, debaters quote evidence that makes additional unsubstantiated claims, authors who fail to develop a logical point, is horribly overtagged or mistagged, etc.  Thus, a high school student is certainly capable of providing superior analysis as compared to that of his/her opponent's card.

Signposting: Please. I would prefer that you use a hard count numbering system (or lettering system) it's quick, it's easy, it's organized. Signposting with "next," "second," "in addition," gets very confusing. Often, I don't realize when you have moved on to the next piece of ev until it's too late; thus, my flow gets muddled. Also, please don't signpost by referencing "my Smith in '04" card. Which Smith in '04 card? Often times, debaters have read multiple cards from the same author. Furthermore, my first two priorities in flowing are the tag line and analysis within the card I rarely note the author unless it stands out for some reason.

Kritiks: I think most K debates are poorly understood and misapplied to the debate round. Many Neg teams seem to run them as nonunique disads in disguise. Therefore, policy responses seem compelling to me. It is possible to win my ballot with a critical Aff or Neg (and many have), but you should take the time to explain what your kritik means, how I am supposed to evaluate it in context with your opponent's debating efforts, what role I play in the world/debate/etc. Please dont assume that I am familiar with your critical rhetoric (I probably am not) that should go for all arguments.  (It is a debater's responsibility to fill in gaps, not the judge's.) Please don't tell me that the "alternative" is the opposite viewpoint of the Aff and that I should reject the Aff (or Neg) in every instance because they represent the "evil" in the system. (Exception: a true moral/ethical position can ask me to reject every instance of something evil... racism, sexism, for example. Even then, your link and alt/framework must be clear.) You need to develop the advocacy of the alternative (and whether it operates pre- or post-fiat) so that I know what my ballot signifies and it's relationship to the teams/cases in the round.

PICs (of the topical, and non-competitive variety): I think they make rounds confusing... both teams share the same advocacy??? Where is the conflict, the controversy, the debate? Affs have a lot of room to claim that the PIC is the plan, that the CP proves the resolution true, etc. That said, you are welcome to debate the theory (see next section).

Theory :  Whatever you want.  I think it's great that debaters get to debate and define the rules of this activity.  Just make sure you are debating each other and not engaged in a war of blip responses.  (This may mean that you need to slow down and engage in lots of analysis.)  If no one engages in a discussion of theory, I will be informed by "traditional debate theory" as viewed through the eyes of a modern policymaker. If you want to turn me into a pure stock issues judge, you need to do some significant work to tell me what that means and how the arguments are to be evaluated. On the flip side, if Aff wants me to reject the Neg explanation that competitiveness on a CP is irrelevant or that Topical CPs are legit, the Aff will have to do more than just say the CP is not competitive/the CP is topical they'll have to explain why that matters.  (If neither team provides analysis, I'll default to my "traditional debate theory in a modern policy context," and agree with the Aff that the CP is non-comp./topical and should be rejected.) 
For some, this may lead you to ask, what are some of those traditional debate theory ideas? 
- Affs have 5 stock issues. (I'm sure yoou all know them.) 
- CPs have 4 stock issues (non-T, comp.,, solve Aff harm, & a net benefit) 
- Function of the stock issues in a modeern policymaker context: They form the building blocks of arguments.  If one is absent, the argument is deemed irrelevant to the outcome of the debate. In short, it's like proving that a DA lacks a link, lacks an impact, or is non-unique Thus, it ceases to be weighed in the decision calculus. 
- Am I tied to these stock issues && functions? Absolutely not, you can mold me/change my perspective, but you must explain/provide analysis.

Multiple Worlds: I think this strategy makes the round confusing. What does the Neg advocate? Personally, I think smart debaters should be able to point out contradictions and use that to their own strategic advantage. At the same time, I'm open to hearing the theory debate (see section above). After all, I am interested in seeing if you are doing it because there is a strategically sound explanation for it, because you can defend its legitimacy, or because you were lazy & didn't realize that you were contradicting yourself. (Oh, btw, if the Neg can have multiple worlds, I think an Aff could potentially argue the same.)

Performance:  I don't believe there is a "right way to debate." For years, I thought performance was destroying debate, was abusive, etc. Then, debaters opened my eyes to the role of performance in debate, and I became intrigued by the idea. I've had several lengthy discussions with "performance" debaters and seen some exceptional use of performance (or non-traditional approaches) to the activity. In other words, debaters opened my eyes and educated me. If you continue to do that, I'm completely down with performance-based approaches. However, some caveats or insights (into my brain) follow...
1) Getting me to vote on the Framework team X is bad because they debate one way or present (yes, I mean that in multiple contexts) a certain way is probably a tough sell for either team. (Exception: If their approach to the debate is clearly giving you a link, that's different.)
2) If your performance -- whether it be line-by-line, poetry, music, narrative, spoken word, etc. -- is more compelling and persuasive when examining the issues, you will likely win.

Politics: There is a time & place... poltical backlash, elections, etc. However, it seems that most Poltics DAs run today are rooted in political capital (as it relates to congress); this seems odd to me since fiat would get the Aff past this reality. That's why the resolution is about what the USFG should do. Of course, fiat doesn't get you past individual actors or voting blocks in congress. Thus, a story hinging on a certain subcommitte, committee chair, majority leader, or Tea Party block (for example) are ripe for the picking. (Again, I'm open to debate on the theory about how fiat effects the link story.)

Defense: Why can't defense beat a bad card/argument?  For that matter, why can't great defense beat a really, really good card/argument?


Pre-written Position Overviews:  Please don't read them, unless there is a very good reason to do so.  I won't flow them, unless it's obvious that it was necessary or I'm in the minority on a panel. I am not referring to a 10-20 second conceptualization of the argument or a brief explanation of how it fits into the round. I am referring to the practice of reading 1-3 minute overviews with multiple cards. Generally, they don't have anything to do with the responses of your opponents. Often, they reference (cross apply) ev that may or may not have been read in this particular round. Almost never do debaters use them effectively by cross-applying them to specific responses of their opponents or developing the internal link story or impact scenarios of their own positions, which makes the round messy.

CX: Is a time for debaters to seek clarification from one another in an effort to achieve "gooder debate."  As long as you don't get rude, I don't care what you do in CX. I don't flow CX, but I do keep an open ear, because I think you should be held to your answer; a shifting target is not representative of "gooder debate."  (Note: That doesn't mean that I'm opposed to a good disco.)

2NRs/2ARs:  Write the RFD.  Don't leave it up to me.  You should spell out the round. Compare the arguments. Compare the relative efforts between the two sides. Engage in impact comparisons. (But, don't neglect the line-by-line.  Much of these comparisons can be inherently obvious as you work your way down the line-by-line, but an excellent 2NR/2AR saves the last 45-60 seconds to write the RFD for the judge.)

Most importantly, Have Fun!

Question 1 : Please enter your judging philosophy.

Cameron Smith - Hired McK 2017

Saved Philosophy:


Much of the same things apply to my paradigm on CX and LD. No Rape or racism good arguments. Im fine with performance or k debate. I am fine with any way you chose to interpret the topic, its the other team's job to demonstrate if it was abusive and why. I view Tri-cot the same way as topicality with a slightly lower threshold, but dont just use it as a time skew.  


In LD I like to see well warranted arguments. I also like to see more discourse and in detail analysis and examination of opponents arguments and rhetoric. If you are going for philosophical arguments be sure to explain more than just what it is but its application in the round and why and how it needs to be evaluated by me. I am ok with speed, however, know that this is LD and speed isnt its intent. I am open to any argumentation that you like to read. I will not vote on Rape good, Racism good, etc arguments. 


I will not restrict what you choose to run. I am open to any line of argumentation.


I enjoy the K when ran properly. You have to actually win the K for me to vote. Just because it may be compelling to listen to, I wont vote solely because you are doing performance debate. If you choose to kick the alternative I will be skeptical of your authenticity to the position. That doesnt mean I wont vote for you. Reading a critical position isnt enough. Be sure that you know the arguments that you are reading thoroughly. On negative, I think you have to win links to the rez or links to the aff proper. Dont run critics just to run it. If its K vs K round, I will look for the easiest place to vote on the flow, if nothing else is presented or the rest of the flow is muddled.

I have a very high threshold on topicality because it is typically read as an abusive position to skew time. If the resolution is new I understand the need for T. If you go for topicality, be sure that you are actually going for that position at the end of the speech. I have voted on dropped RVIs.  

I am fine with speed, dont let that hurt clarity. I can understand speed. However, know I am not as pen fast as I was years ago, so be sure you are sign posting well. Dont steal prep! I do not evaluate CX unless it is brought up in the next speech.  I like clash. Impact calculus will take teams a long way. I will not do work for you to make the decision, if I do, it will be reflected in speaker points. I will not vote on "rape good" Racism good" claims EVER. 

Question 1 : Please enter your judging philosophy.