David Airne – Montana

Debated NDT 3 years and 1 year LD in college

Coached NDT/CEDA, LD, and Parli for +10 years

The quick overview to my judging is really simple.  I judge things on what happens in the context of the round and it is up to those in the round to write that ballot for me.  If you do not write it for me then you leave it up to me and I do not really want to intervene in the round, so write the ballot for me.  So use the rebuttals to write my ballot.  Asking me what arguments I like is silly, run what you want and if you are winning it then I vote on it.  If you run things I happen to not like that just means you might have a higher threshold needed to win it, but if you are winning it then I vote for it.  I typically default into a policy maker, but I am happy to vote wherever the round takes me.  Finally, I will openly admit I do not give the highest of speaker points (25-28 is pretty typical) but good debate warrants higher speaks when it occurs.  Any specific issues you want to know about continue reading or just ask me since I am happy to tell you.

T:  I have voted on it.  I do see it as a voter, but explain why it is a voter.

SPECS:  Never been a fan, but they can be useful in specific instances 

Critical Stuff:  Never have had any problem with it other than I do not like them run poorly and I am not a fan of running them in the 1NC with other contradictory positions so that you can pick which arguments are your winners.  It does need to be well developed and explained, especially since there is no evidence that I get to read after the round.  Otherwise, feel free to run whatever critical arguments you want but be sure you explain how it compares to the AFF or NEG so I see how it operates in the world then critical arguments are always great to hear.

CP:  I have no issue with them at all.  When it comes to PICs I tend to prefer agent CPs since there is usually a better solvency debate that can occur and it is much more interesting to me than other PICs.  They should be either net ben or mutually exclusive but do not need to both. 

Perms:  I make this separate from the Critical and CPs since they impact both of them, but in different ways.  On CPs I have no issue of perms and I see them as tests of competition not an actual advocacy.  However, “Perm do both” is not really a perm since it is only 3 words with no explaination.  Perms on Critical arguments are a different thing since I am not sure how they can really interact to the critical alternative.  I only say this because when people make prefiat claims and are critical of the discourse used, then I am not sure how a Perm can actually function since the language has occurred in the round.  If it is prefiat then I am not sure I understand how a policy action, which bound by fiat, can exist in the prefiat world.  None of this means I would not listen to perms, but it just is something that has me thinking about the relationship with Critical arguments.

DA:  Go for it but give me some way to evaluate the impact and show me how it relates to the case and the CP if you have one.    

Case Arguments:  Minimization is a fine way to go if you are running a CP and/or a DA.  However, only telling me the harms of case are not as bad just tells me there is still a harm that the case solves which means they are still better than the status quo, not as good as they were in the first speech but still better.  So do not expect to win on the so-called “terminal defense.”

Framework:  If you have a framework be sure you explain how it functions for me in the round.  Remember, I default to policy maker so without a clear explanation of it I will use that lens in the framework.  So you have to tell me how the AFF/NEG views compete with each other.

Points of order:  You can call them but I they are all under consideration.  



Joe Allen – Oregon

Generic information: I do not wish to impose my views on the activity through my ballot. What I mean by this is that I think you certainly ought to debate in front of me in a fashion consistent with what you're best at--and allow me to adapt to you. I fundamentally believe that nearly all aspects of debate are negotiable, and certainly a multitude of different kinds of strategies can be fun to watch and fun to do. I believe those who insist on debate conforming to their view of the activity are narcissistic and don't get the point. I also think that the notion of the inevitability of intervention does not remove the responsibility to evaluate issues in a fair and honest fashion--in fact it strengthens this obligation. I will do my best to make decisions which are not informed by my predispositions but rather a serious evaluation of the issues as they were debated. My burden of striving for non-intervention will not prevent me from passing judgment. This ought not be confused. I will make a decision based on judgments I make (clearly) but I will not be dishonest about the objective flow of the debate in order to cater to my own debate ideals. I am a debate nihilist (you might say), I begin with the assumption that what you can do in debate is only limited by your imaginative capacity to justify your argumentative choices. There is no strategy that I didn't try as a debater--who would I be to tell you that you can't do the same? Specific information: Despite my strong belief that our predispositions should have no effect on the outcome of our judging, I must admit that I obviously do have predispositions about this activity. I've spent enough time doing it, and even more time thinking about it, that I am not a clean slate. I'll put my slate away for the sake of fair deliberation, but here's a glimpse of what my slate looks like. Topicality: Unless argued persuasively otherwise, I default to assuming that topicality is both a voting issue and an issue of competing interpretations. I went for topicality a fair amount in debate. I truly believe that affirmatives who make a good faith effort to support the topic (even if for a very abstract or nuanced reason) are the most strategic. Even some of the most strategic critical affirmatives I've ever seen affirmed the topic. I suppose a good general rule is that if you're not trying to be topical, you should have a good reason why. I have never heard a definition of reasonability in my entire life that made more sense to me than competing interpretations (doesn't mean I'm not open to the possibility). I believe that the specificity of the standards and how effectively they are compared (T debates are impact debates like everything else) is often the decider. Counterplans: I tend to assume that counterplans are a very useful strategy available to the negative. I am not predisposed against conditional counterplans, and frankly I'm also not predisposed against multiple conditional counterplans. Surprisingly perhaps, I also am not strongly against counterplans which don't compete textually (particularly if they are authentically within the scope of the topic). The reason I think textual competition is usually a good limit is precisely because most counterplans which textual competition limits out are those which detract from topic education. If yours doesn't and you can justify your counterplan you're fine. If you say there's a textually competitive version of the counterplan I will know if you're lying (just so you know). It's really all about what you can justify. The quality of your solvency evidence is generally a great indicator of how smart your counterplan is. The kritik: We shouldn't be afraid to have kritik debates because they serve as a way of making sure that our assumptions can be justified. That being said, our assumptions can be justified, and I appreciate people who do in fact engage critical teams and make an effort to defend the perspectives which inform their arguments. A few uphill battles critical debaters might find with me are that I often think critical framework arguments do not particularly limit the affirmative very much. For example, the reason it doesn't make sense to me to say that representational debating is object fiat or utopian fiat is that disads and cases are also representational. There is no part of debate that isn't already a performance, and there is no part of debate that isn't already representational. It's about the desirability of those representations. Another roadblock critical debaters might find with me is that I have no problem signing off on topicality or evaluating the framework debate against the kritik. I did this plenty against kritik teams, and I'm not opposed to framework if you cannot justify the way your kritik is framed. If they're responsible for their representations why aren't you? I don't like the fact that kritik debaters uniquely have to have a sheet of paper justifying the existence of their argument right out of the gates, but if you cannot win that your argument should exist I think you should find a different argument. I also am a sucker for sophisticated and clever permutation arguments. Perhaps this is why I think the best kritiks are topic specific and turn the case. Theory: I think theory serves a vital role in regulating debate trends, like a filter. Sometimes a strategy is a winning one precisely because it's not crafted in a fashion that is fair. Sometimes a strategy is antithetical to education to a degree that merits its total exclusion. Again, these questions are answered best through a framework of competing interpretations where sophisticated impact calculus happens at the level of the standards debate. If you can justify it, you can do it. Theory debates are one of the best tests of whether or not you can justify your given strategy. For this reason, I take it seriously and think it should be evaluated first. I will not evaluate it first only in the circumstance where you lose the priority debate (which sometimes happens). My default assumption is that fairness and education are both good, and keep the activity alive. This does not, however, remove the obligation to demonstrate why something is theoretically objectionable to a degree that merits the ballot. I also tend to fall further on the potential abuse side of the spectrum than the real abuse side. Just because you don't perform abuse (in the sense of how much of their strategy has in-round utility) does not automatically mean the way your strategy is positioned is suddenly educational or fair. Disads: A well argued disad can be a beautiful thing. If you can't outweigh the case, read a counterplan that pairs well with your disad. If you want, read two. You could also surprise me and debate the case effectively (I will appreciate this). I do not dislike politics disads, but those which do not have any real link specificity annoy me a bit. Sometimes the politics disad is the right choice, sometimes it's not. Depends on the topic. The greater the specificity and applicability the happier I'll be. I love a well crafted topic disad. If your disad authentically turns the case, then I'll probably be inclined to thinking it's a good disad. Be prepared to debate all levels of disad uniqueness (not just top level) including link uniqueness, internal link uniqueness, and impact uniqueness. Things that really annoy me: 1) Process disads. If your disad relies on the process of the plan passing, rather than the outcome of the plan, I will not like your disad. If you say things like "the plan will be horse-traded for x" or "the plan will move x off the docket" I will be utterly dissatisfied with your lazy and bankrupt disad. To be clear, it is the job of the aff to identify how absurd your disad is. I will not hesitate to vote for shitty process disads if the aff fails to correctly answer them, but it'll make me feel bad about myself and the state of debate. 2) Theory debates which begin in the PMR. Sometimes really egregious things happen in the block. In this case, I may very well vote for theory which begins in the PMR. Example: the negative splits the block. However, I am more often than not wildly uncomfortable with theory debates in which the negative has no opportunity to contest your argument. The best example I can think of here is that the MOC should take a question. My intuition is that you get the last word, and so you should have the upper hand in dealing with these situations without putting me in an awkward position. This is one of my least favorite debate arguments. 3) Spec arguments or T arguments which have no resolutional basis. If your spec argument has no basis in the topic, or requires the aff to be extra-topical in order to meet your interpretation, I will think it's a bad argument. E-spec is a good example of such an argument. This is especially egregious in instances in which T arguments have no basis in the topic since T is supposed to be explicitly premised on the language of the topic. 4) Floating pics. Alternatives should not include anything resembling the plan. They should especially not literally include the plan text. If they do, and you do not win the debate on perm: do the alternative with appropriate theory arguments about how nonsense it is for the alt to include the plan I will be pretty pissed. The negative should have to make alt solvency arguments in order to demonstrate why the alt solves the aff, and the aff should be entitled to argue that the aff is a disad to the alt. If the alternative does not enable this debate to occur, it's more than likely theoretically bankrupt. I would hope that the aff would identify this. 5) Incorrect permutation strategies. For every silly nonsense counterplan which shouldn't exist, there is a solid permutation text which makes such counterplan look pretty silly. I really appreciate it when the aff correctly identifies the appropriate permutation, and conversely, I really don't like it when the aff fails to problematize bad counterplans with the appropriate permutation. 6) Failure to offer impact comparison. Clearly I have no desire to intervene. It is up to you to ensure that the debate is resolvable in a way that doesn't require me to compare things myself. I will always decide debates based on what occurs in your own words. I will not put the pieces together for you. I will not assume your position to be a priority if you fail to demonstrate this for me. Impact calculus is the centerpiece of how you can accomplish this. 7) Failure to identify things which are theoretically bankrupt. What bothers me the most about asinine strategies is when I'm put in a position to have to endorse them with my ballot, and I absolutely will if you fail to allow me to do otherwise. It is your responsibility to filter out irresponsible debate trends with sound objections to them. Take your responsibility seriously so that I don't have to make decisions which I know endorse things which are not good for the activity. Summary observations: I suppose my views on the ideal strategy are almost always informed by the topic. The best K's turn the case and are topic specific, and the same can be said for the best disads. The best counterplans have very quality solvency evidence and a sensible net benefit.The best critical affs affirm the topic and discuss issues pertinent to the topic literature. There's always a good strategic option for a given topic, and it's up to you to find it. I will not be a hindrance to that process. Whatever you think is situationally best given the strengths of yourself and your opponent should be what you go with. I'll adapt to you. You'll probably debate better when you do what you're best at. Almost all debate is fun, it should be a question of what's the most situationally strategic option. One last thing: I am a very expressive judge. 9 times out of 10 you will know what I think of your argument. I will shake my head at you if you say something really absurd, and I will nod for arguments that I agree with. I can't really control this very well (I've tried). On very very rare occasions I will verbally declare an argument to be stupid during the debate. Do not take me too seriously. I vote for stupid arguments when I would be intervening otherwise, and not all smart arguments are round winners. If it's very difficult for you to deal with non-verbal reactions to your arguments or this is very distracting for you, don't pref me. I literally could not possibly be less interested where I end up on your pref sheet.


Bob Becker – Northwest College


Austin Brittenham – Puget Sound

~I am a first year out college debater~
I debated policy debate for 3 years in high school and 4 years in college. I went to the NDT in '15 and '16  debating arguments about embodiment (parli seems to call this performance), transness, and queerness. That being said my high school debate experience was primarily flex debating. I have a strong respect for the cp/ptx da combo. I mean to say no argument is a non-starter in front of me (I have voted on T, FW, terminal case defense, cp's, da's, k's, and theory). Please read your best arguments and I will invest myself in adjudicating what you have presented. To win my ballot just frame your offense and compare it to the other teams, generally. I think that's the core of debate no matter how you think about debate ideologically.

Really, debate however you want and be prepared to debate your opponents. If you have a speed k, read it. You want to read one hege advantage with a lot of ethos, go for it. If you have 5 off and case, do you. You want to play a guitar and talk about Deleuze--cool. 

My impulses as an educator
~Msc Theory~ **

I think that critical affs should either normatively defend something that isn't the squo or have a reason why their speech act/performance generates offense that is unique to each round.

I think try-or-die is really vote aff on presumption which seems silly. Either the aff wins their impacts or they don't, try-or-die seems like a concession that the aff has lost the impact defense but should be voter for anyway for some reason.

I think (logically limitted) conditionality is fine and am not generally inclined to vote on conditionality unless there is an in round impact or a team is significantly out debating another team on condo. It might be harder to convince me that one conditional cp/alt (especially if it isn’t kicked) is abusive. However, you can certainly go for this argument using a “model of debate” interp (i.e. their model of debate—condo good—produces bad debates because…). 
I think that "methods" debates don't necessarily mean that the affirmative doesn't get a permutation. Methods seem permutable to me. I think there are other theoretical arguments which warrant the affirmative not getting a permutation in particular kinds of debates. 

**These are just how I enter into a debate. Please obviously debate and win the arg and I will vote against my feelings. If this isn't helpful please ask me questions before the round. 


Taylor Bruun – Boise State

I did 4 years policy/pf in high school, 4 years parli at Boise State.

Generally, you can run/do whatever you want so long as you don’t break the tournament rules and are reasonably courteous. I answer some common questions below, but highly encourage you to clarify anything left unclear/unaddressed if you think it might be important.

I default to net benefits, but am happy to view the round through any lens you can articulate and defend. By the end of the round it is critical that you make it clear how you think things should be evaluated, and why I should agree with you.

Speed is usually fine, but make sure things like plan/CP text, K alt, or T interps are understood. I strongly encourage slowing down and reading these twice or providing written copies to everyone, particularly if they are complex/long. Short, clear tag lines are very helpful, particularly if you get the impression that I may be unfamiliar with your argument.

I find the distinction between “in round” and “potential” abuse somewhat arbitrary. What you probably want to know is that I have voted on potential abuse. So long as you explain why what your opponents could have done matters, it can be every bit as effective as in round abuse.

Theory/T/Procedurals should probably have a full shell if you want me to vote on them. This means a clear interpretation of how the issue should be handled, a violation of that interpretation made by your opponents, standards that explain why your interpretation is appropriate/best, and voters telling me why this argument matters.

A good rebuttal should be focused, and deal with depth over breadth. I want to hear why your story of the round needs to be prioritized, and how you won that story.

You should probably take some points of information. If your advocacy is unclear and you take 0 questions, I am likely to be sympathetic to the theory argument your opponents are about to employ.

Regarding points of order: I do my best to protect against new arguments in rebuttals, but you can feel free to call them if you like. Just be polite and don’t get excessive. Do note though, that I almost always respond “under consideration” so it is up to the speaker to decide if they should move on, explain better how their argument isn’t new, or proceed as normal because everything is fine.



Nick Budak – Lewis & Clark

I competed in Parli for four years at Whitman (RIP). I currently work at L&C. My degree is in Asian Studies, with some Politics experience. I am receptive to and can be expected to know critiques like Orientalism and those that deal with IR theory, plus a grab bag of things that the average MG would have learned to answer. Be nice, especially to your partner. People who interrupt others are difficult for me to watch. Humor is a lost art and may yet be the salvation of our awful little community. Theory Theory serves an important role as in-round immune system of the community - it allows us to excise toxic elements (and playtest new and exciting ones). There are no theory arguments I will outright ignore, though I may visibly react if you unironically read spec (Carlton). Counterplans are important and useful, including conditional ones. However, I side with Zach “Harvard Law” Tschida: despite my opinion that condo is theoretically justified, one ought not deploy it so as to detract from thoughtful debate. If you keep a conditional advocacy in the block, I will evaluate it and not the status quo. I adhere to the community norm of looking down upon delay/consult CPs. If you’re reading one, it should be because it has special relevance to the topic and because you can answer theory on it. Textual/functional competition and the legitimacy of a given permutation are issues that should be decided in the round. If you can relate your competition theory back to the topic in a specific way, more speaks for you. All theory questions are weighed on competing interpretations; reasonability is a pipe dream. Kritiks As Zizek says, “Nowadays, you can do anything that you want—anal, oral, fisting—but you need to be wearing gloves, condoms, protection.” Words to live by.


Kyle Cheesewright – The College of Idaho

Competitive experience: 2 years of NPDA (college parli), 1 year of CEDA (college policy)

Coaching/Judging experience: 6 years of NPDA coaching with 45-60 rounds judged per year, 2 years coaching high school policy


I’m into philosophy. It was my major for my decade-long undergrad, so that won’t change anytime soon.

Although I have run topical affirmatives with a plan in the past, I have generally moved towards the critical as I have continued (From a Heg and Econ National Security Courts aff to Lovecraft performance and high theory).

In CEDA, I have gone for the Cap K with a Historical Materialism alt in every one of my 2NRs. This does not mean that I will automatically pick you up if you run it, but I will be familiar with most of the arguments and authors involved in that debate.

I have come to grips with the fact that I am not very good at evaluating Framework. This does NOT mean you shouldn't run it in front of me or go for it. I think Framework is a valuable debate to be had in most rounds and I encourage people to look at varying forms of this argument in debate. You should be aware, however, that I am not going to be able to fully appreciate the nuances of Framework arguments. It's really not you, it's me.

I hold a high regard for creativity in debate, both in strategy and style. In my mind, creativity is the reason debate is such a fantastic activity. I particularly like arguments that are novel, strange, or Weird. 

I am also pretty expressive in round. If you notice me nodding my head or or making a face that suggests "Hey, that sounds reasonable" then that probably means I'm thinking that. If I look up in disgust or confusion, then that means I am probably experiencing one of those things.

All that being said, I am open to most any position or style so long as you can articulate why your arguments are preferable.


Also, feel free to find me outside of rounds and ask me about a round (please bring your flow or be specific about what went on in the round, I can only remember so much on demand) or about general arguments and strategies or whatever. 


Clarity: I flow all speeches in the debate and I stick to that flow when making my decision. I will call clear if I can’t understand you. If you are still not understandable to me after I call clear twice, I will stop flowing what I cannot understand.



Norell Conroy – Boise State

I've been involved in forensics/parli for five years.

I prefer real-world probability over magnitude in impact calculus, even when faced with systemic v. hypothetical if the arguments are well-warrented.  I think the k debate can be super interesting.  I will probably only vote on t if you demonstrate actual in-round abuse--most t debates are less interesting/important than others.

Call points of order.

Speed is fine, but to a point.  If I can't understand you, I will make it clear.  At that point, if you do not slow down so I can understand you, that is bad for you because I vote based on what is on my flow.  Also, if you don't say something, I won't write it for you--that is, I will (to the best of my ability) not intervene--however, I will hold you accountable if you make offensive claims for the sake of winning (i.e. anything advocating for things like genocide, rape, etc. because you think such an argument functions in a compelling way--in front of me, it doesn't)  

Courtesy and civility are vital to this activity. You will lose if you are outwardly rude or uncivil.  Sass and humor are swell, being purposefully mean-spirited is not.



Roger Copenhaver – CSU Pueblo


This year will be my 10th year in the activity. I debated for 3 years in high school at Puyallup High School (2006-2009) and 4 in college at Idaho State University/The University of Oregon (2009-2013). I only did parli at like 4 tournaments during my year at Oregon. I have coached parli for multiple schools since then.

How I decide debates: I believe that a balance between tech and truth is important in debate. I tend to see and evaluate debates holistically. I am also very flow oriented. I try my best to keep a good flow of the debate. You should frame the end of the debate around important central questions to get my ballot.

Framework: My views on framework seem to have changed every year since I finished my college career. I will try to clarify my views since I ended up in more clash debates last year than in the past. While I believe that the topic is the stasis point for discussion and while I belive that can mean a variety of things for different people, I do believe that framework is a viable negative strategy and an essential part of the negative toolbox. I don't think framework is the only strategy, but I do think it is one of many. [important to note … major 2015-2016 change] I don't plan on telling you how to read framework, however, more recently, I have come to the conclusion that framework arguments centered around questions of fairness, predictably, limits, etc... are much more persuasive than framework arguments that are a question of methods for political activism. I think it is easy for AFF teams to talk about why they have very particular ways for engaging in politics that are much more persuasive than general arguments about debate and decision making. The last tip for winning framework debates in front of me, is to make sure that you win impacts to your args and don’t have just a bunch of internal links.

Counterplans: What is theoretically legitimate is open for debate. I try to enter the debate without any biases for what debaters should be allowed to talk about. With that being said, I probably still think that counterplans should compete in some capacity and provide and opportunity cost to the affirmative. I typically lean neg on questions of theory. Truthfully most “cheating” counterplans are bad and should be easy to beat because they are bad. Lastly, I think judge kick is stupid. I will do it if I am told to, but I am persuaded that 2N’s should have to think strategically and should be held accountable to their 2NR choice. I do think that AFF’s should exploit the difference between the CP and the AFF.

Disadvantages: While I find a lot of the intricacies of the politics debate interesting, I think the politics DA is stale. That is not to say that I won’t vote for it. Obviously politics is an essential component of the negatives toolbox. However, I think topic DA’s and DA’s specific to the AFF are way more interesting to listen to, and often times a much better strategy entering the debate.

K/Performance Debate: Controlling meta level questions for the debate is necessary. This is the type of debate that I have the most experience with. I rather see a debate where people are willing to defend something specific and generate offensive arguments from it rather then saying they are everything and nothing. You should be able to justify what you do. AFF’s should get permutations regardless of the type of debate that is happening. Debate is a competition and negative teams have the burden of meeting some standard for competition. I don’t think the alt has to solve the AFF. I think the alt needs to at least resolve a substantial amount of the link to the AFF. It makes much more sense to me to conceptualize the link debate as mini DA’s to the AFF and the impact section of the debate as impact framing.

Other miscellaneous things:

Flowing and good line by line debate is a lost art. You will be greatly rewarded if you do good line by line debate.

Bad embedded clash is almost impossible to follow and I probably won't get arguments where they should be.

Most of the time I keep a pretty good flow and I have typically found that my flow reflects the quality of the debate in terms of efficiency and debate technique. 
Framework vs. framing – to me, framework is what should be allowed in the debate, and framing is what impacts should come first. I think these two things often times become conflated. To me, unless otherwise stated, the role of the ballot, judge, etc.. are all just impact framing issues.

Aff framework vs. the K is silly and neither team is going to generate traction in front of me spending substantial time here.

Debate is fun. I hope that you debate because you love this activity. I also like judging debates when debaters are intelligent, witty, funny, and engaged. I have zero tolerance for people that destroy the pedagogical values of this activity or that make this activity an unsafe, violent, or unpleasant space for other participants.

Parli Things:

K's are one argument and I will flow them on one piece of paper. It makes zero sense to compartmentalize the debate into small sections that don't assume each other.

Conditionality is good. Bad arguments should lose debates. Competition also sets a standard for what is legitimate. And there is only a limited number of good counterplans especially considering you have limited prep. This is not to say I won't vote on conditionality bad, but if that is your A strat - 1. you are not really making strategic decisions 2. you obviously don't care about the substance of the debate and 3. I will probably be annoyed because it is almost always the worse option to go all in on theory.

Point of orders are silly. I can flow and will evaluate the debate based off of my flow. I understand they have some strategic utility, but tbh, I would prefer you not call them


Keith Corley – William Jewell

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


Blaine Denton – Hired Critic

participated in Parliamentary debate for 3 years in High School, 4 years in college for Lewis and Clark with Ray Utech and Meredith Price, among others. Since then I have judged a tournament or two per year, went to law school, and now work for The Man. I really like debate. It is a fun game. It is no longer my game to play, it is yours. Do what you do well. Play the game. Run critiques, run complicated plans, permutations, etc. I probably haven't heard the tag lines for newer arguments. Therefore, use warrants. I like theory. I like impact calculus. I understand jargon. I read the news. My pen speed is probably out of practice, but I can flow just fine.

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

PAN COOKIE VARIATION: Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars.

dough as above. Divide in half; wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Shape each half into 15-inch log; wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.* Preheat oven to 375° F. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Have fun, be nice and make jokes for good speaks.



Jackson De Vight – Texas Tech

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



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


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


- I don’t time speeches myself.


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


- Topical debates are by far my preferred mode.


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


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


- For the K:


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



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


Modified on 8/31/2017



Alyson Escalante – Oregon

I competed in NPDA/NPTE parli debate for four years, two at El Camino College and two at the University of Oregon. As such, I've debate both on communication centric local circuits as well as national level competative circuit debate. The round is yours, and you are free to do what you wish with it. I will do my best to accomodate the type of round the teams involved decide to have. I do have some preferances but I will attempt to minimize the impact they have. This paradigm is meant to provide transparency for how I understand and aproach debate so that you can understand the biases and preferences which inform my evaluation of a round. Theory: I generally have a middle of the line threshold on most theory positions and I don't have particularly strong opinions on most of the debates about ideal pedagogy, except in relation to topicality. In general my threashold is lowest for questions of topicality and I tend to prefer that the affirmative team defend the resolution. I am willing to judge rounds where that is not the case, but the affirmative should have ample justifications for their decision and I tend to be sympathetic to topicality/framework. In terms of theoretical questions regarding counterplan status, I default towards understanding conditionality to be positive, but I am more than happy to vote on a condo bad shell which is not properly adressed. Critiques: I'm fairly comfortable with most literature bases for the main popular critiques on the national circuit. While I enjoy critique debate, I generally find that it massively simplifies incredibly complex literature. As such, I will reward debaters clearly well versed in, and understanding the nuance of their literature, with speaker points. In general I have a better understanding of more traditional political critiques of capitalism, the state, or other objective political institutions. I am also fairly comfortable with my understanding of criticisms grounded in broader continental philosophy. I am less well read in the fields of critical race theory and critical legal studies so if you want to read positions grounded in this literature please be sure to explain terminology and concepts so I can understand their function in the round. "Identity politics": I don't really like the term identity politics but it seems to be the term the circuit has settled on so here we are. Anyway, I generally find these rounds dificult to judge when not provided with a clear framework for how I am supposed to engage the round. If you want to read these kinds of arguments you should answer a few questions for me. What is my role in this round? Am I here as an objective observer flowing the round or should my social location and identity effect my interaction with the arguments being made? Should I stick to a logocentric understanding of the flow as an objective measure of the round, or should I evaluate without emphasizing the flow? If you address these sorts of questions you will have a significantly easier time winning my ballot. If you do not give me a paradigm to evaluate the round I will default to the flow, which I often find is insufficient for evaluating the affective and personal aspects of these rounds. Just tell me what you prefer. Disads: I probably prefer plan versus disad debate the most. I'm not particularly opposed to any particular disadvantages and I generally find that the more generic disads such as politics, hegemony, business confidence, or other generics are a really interesting debate when a team goes above and beyond in researching these positions and understanding the nuances of the story they are telling. If you have any questions not addressed here please feel free to ask me before round.


Maxwell Evans – Hired Critic

I competed in parli for  three years at WWU, I also have a degree in philosophy & economics.

1. I default to a Framework of net-benefits, unless otherwise stated. You must also be sure to argue your reasons (Reasons to prefer) if you desire the debate to be judged through another framework.

2. In regards to procedurals:

a. I would say I have a high thresh-hold on T, really important to show proven abuse.

b. Fine with conditionality, but also fine with procedurals on condi as well.

c. I'm fine with procedurals on perm-functionality

3. Speed is fine, be sure to sign post. also do not spread teams that it is clear you have an advantage over. Debate nice, and let them engage.


4. No Splitting the Block.

5. I am fine with projects & Kritiks. But please run them well...



Steve Farias – University of the Pacific



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


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


Section 1: General Information-


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


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


Section 2: Specific Arguments


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


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


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


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


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




Section 1 – General Information


Experience: Rounds this year: >50 between LD and Parli. 8 years competitive experience (4 years high school, 4 years collegiate NPDA/NPTE and 2 years LD) 6 years coaching experience (3 years NPDA/NPTE and LD at Pacific and 3 years NPDA/NPTE at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale) 


General Info: I am okay with whatever you choose to read in the debate because I care more about your justifications and what you as the debaters decide in round; however, theory I generally have a high threshold for voting on except CONDO Bad, in which case the threshold is lower. CPs/Alts are generally good ideas because I believe affirmatives usually solve harms in the world and permutations are not advocacies. While I thoroughly enjoy in-depth critical and/or hegemony debates, ultimately, the arguments you want to make are the arguments I expect you to defend and WEIGH. I often find myself less compelled by nuclear war and would appreciate if you were more resourceful with impacts on your advantage/disad. I think probability means more than just a blipped or conceded link. The link arguments must be compared with the arguments of your opponents. 


Section 2 – Specific Inquiries

1. How do you adjudicate speed?  What do you feel your responsibilities are regarding speed?


I can handle top speed and am not frustrated by debaters who choose to speak at a conversational rate. With that said, I believe the issue of speed is a rules based issue open for debate like any other rule of the event. If you cannot handle a debater’s lack of clarity you will say “clear” (I will if I have to) and if you cannot handle a debater’s excessive speed, I expect you to say “speed.” In general, I will wait for you to step in and say something before I do. Finally, I believe the rules are draconian and ridiculously panoptic, as you are supposedly allowed to “report” me to the tournament. If you want me to protect you, you should make that known through a position or rules violation debated effectively. 


2. Are there any arguments you would prefer not to hear or any arguments that you don’t find yourself voting for very often?


I will not tolerate homophobia, racism, sexism, transphobia, disablism, or any other form of social injustice. This means that arguments that blatantly legitimize offensive policies and positions should be avoided. I do not anticipate this being an issue and rarely (meaning only twice ever) has this been a direct problem for me as a judge. Still, I will do my best to ensure the round is as accessible as possible for every competitor. Please do the same. Anything else is up to you. I will vote on anything I simply expect it to be compared to the alternative world/framing of the aff or neg. 


3. General Approach to Evaluating Rounds:


Evaluating rounds- I evaluate rounds sequentially against the Affirmative. This means I first look to see if the affirmative has lost a position that should lose them the round (T’s and Specs). Then I look for counter advocacies and weigh competing advocacies (K’s and Alts or CP’s and Disads). Finally, I look to see if the affirmative has won their case and if the impacts of the case outweigh the off case. I do not assume I am a policy maker. Instead I will believe myself to be an intellectual who votes for the best worldview that is most likely achieveable at the end of the debate. 


4. Whether or not you believe topicality should be a voting issue


Yes, it is because the rules say so. I will listen to reasons i should ignore the rules, but I think T and generally all therory arguments are voting issues. 


5. Does the negative have to demonstrate ground loss in order for you to vote negative on topicality? 


Generally yes, but I will vote on reasons the negative has a better definition for the resolution. To win that debate there should be a comparison of the debate being had and the debate that the competitors could be having. 


6. Do you have a close understanding of NFA rules/Have you read the NFA rules in the last 6 months




7. How strictly you as a judge enforce NFA LD rules?


I only enforce them if a position is won that says I should enforce them. I will not arbitrarily enforce a rule without it being made an issue. 


8. Does the negative need to win a disadvantage in order for you to vote negative?


No. I am more likely to vote if the negative wins offense. But terminal case defense that goes conceded or is more explanatory to the aff will win my ballot too.


9. What is your policy on dropped arguments?


You should do your best not to drop arguments. If you do, I will weigh them the way you tell me too. So if it is a conceded blipped response with no warrant, I do not think that is an answer but instead a comparison of the quality of the argument. Also, new warrants after a blip I believe can and should be responded to. 


10. Are you familiar with Kritiks (or critiques) and do you see them as a valid negative strategy in NFA-LD?


My background is in critical theory, so yes and yes they are valid negative strats.


Feel free to ask me direct questions before the round or at any other time during the tournament. I do not mind clarifying. Also, if you want to email me, feel free (sfarias@pacific.edu). If you have any questions about this or anything I did not mention, feel free to ask me any time. Thanks!



Mike Fitzgerald- Boise State

Debate/Education Experience:

I spent one year debating at Spokane Falls Community College (2009-2010) before transferring to Boise State for three more years of NPDA debate experience (2010-2013). I’ve spent the last four years coaching debate in South Korea. Now I am entering my first year of grad school (political science) at Portland State University.


Guiding Philosophy:

I think my fundamental approach to debate is best expressed in the words of another judge’s philosophy which I found too late in my career: “Debate eligibility is finite; you should…use it how you want. IT ENDS! When it ends you never get it back. Make sure that you do you.”


Other points that I consider most salient are bolded for those desiring a quick read.


General Procedures:

1. Above all, I believe debate should be an activity characterized by inclusivity and educational opportunity. Identities, histories, and futures do not detach themselves from our bodies and wait in the hallway while you debate and I adjudicate. To the extent allowable by tournament rules, I will deduct speaker points and/or assign the loss for outwardly offensive, intimidating, dehumanizing, or marginalizing remarks or behaviors which are deleterious to these ends.


2. In order for me to consider an argument in my decision, it should meet the following criteria:

a. Have a claim;

b. Have a warrant;

c. Have an explanation about how this argument interacts with others in the debate and what that means for my decision. In other words, tell me why I care and what to do about it.

d. If you are reading something where the text is of critical importance (e.g. role of the ballot, plan text, topicality interpretation, alternative, etc) please slow down and read it twice. Copies for your opponents and for me are appreciated and can be substituted for the second reading.


3. I would advise debaters who I judge—and who care about persuading me—to approach the round with the understanding that:

a. You are likely more knowledgeable of the argument you’re making than I am;

b. You are likely to possess a capacity for speaking faster than I can flow;

c. You will probably earn higher speaker points and a better chance at my ballot if you take care to teach me. I will not vote for a position which I cannot understand.


4. However, I will do my best to comprehend your argument and flow it with the greatest accuracy and completeness I can achieve. I will strive to minimize my intervention into the debate, and to make my decision based on the arguments presented and extended in-round.


5. Please call points of order on what you believe to be new arguments in the rebuttals.


6. Please keep your own time.


Specific Arguments/Strategies:

I appreciate explicitly defined frameworks which present and defend a specific role for my ballot. In absence of this, I’ll default to net-benefits. I’ll vote on theory/procedurals which successfully defend an interpretation, violation, standard, and voting issue. I am predisposed to valuing education over fairness but can certainly be convinced otherwise.


Most of my experience is with plan vs counterplan, advantage vs disadvantage debates, but I welcome critical debate. I believe that all debate, regardless of style, is performance. Affirmative kritiks are fine with me. Regardless of your advocacy and how you choose to introduce and advance it, I need to know (and so do your opponents) how it functions in the debate. The take-away is this: strategically and stylistically you can do whatever you want, as long as you have some justification for it.


Impact comparison is good, and good impact calculus is better. I tend to prefer probability over magnitude, and like to see time-frame deployed in strategic and thoughtful ways. I give significant weight to structural impacts; one-off impacts will have a serious uphill battle against well-articulated structural consequences. Terminalization (of offense and defense) is good. Uniqueness and links are good and necessary. (I’ve occasionally encountered a ‘link of omission’ response to kritiks, and while you would do well to have framed your link story in terms of ‘commission’, I am unlikely to out-of-hand reject a kritik due to such an undeveloped answer.) Blippy args, planned back-filling of warrants to gain a strategic advantage, and excessive pen clicking annoy me; speaker points beware. (Also, I don’t expect it will be a problem at this tournament, but knocking or proclaiming ‘hear hear’, and other disruptive behaviors characteristic of “traditional” parliamentary debate will lead me to soothe my anger in a bath of your speaks).


Before the round begins, please feel free to ask any questions you have of me which this philosophy failed to answer with sufficient clarity and depth. However, my lack of explanation on some particular issue may or may not have been intended. In the intentional case, I will answer to the best of my ability but ultimately in deference to the principle of ‘this is your round, not mine.’


Chris Fryefield – Hired Critic

I am an experienced debater and judge, comfortable with many types of arguments. I try to be as tabula rasa as possible but I do expect debaters to justify their argument choices - if you don't tell me why you have won the round I will have to decide for myself which arguments I think are best and most convincing. On the other hand I also will not turn off my own brain for a round, so arguments that are on face illogical or offensive will not be voted up. Critical positions are fine with the above caveats. I'm cool with moderate speed as long as debaters are clear, lack of clarity will be reflected in speaker points and a lack of developed argumentation on the flow - if I can't understand what you said I am not going to be able to vote on your argument. I love debate and I hope you love it too, so let's have fun with the activity and a collegial debate environment. 


Trevor Greenan – Berkeley


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


General Issues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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

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



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

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

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

·       I default to fiat being durable.



·       Please give me specific texts.

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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


Mike Harvey – US Air Force Academy


Korry Harvey – Western Washington


 I debated a lot (CEDA, NDT), and have coached and judged even more (CEDA, NDT, NPDA, NPTE, Worlds). I teach courses in argument theory, diversity, and civil dialogue, and I am heavily involved in community activism. While my debate background comes primarily from a “policy” paradigm, I have no problem with either good “critical” debates or “persuasive communication”, and am willing to listen to any framework a team feels is justifiably appropriate for the debate so long as it is clearly explained.

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

Unique consideration

I am hearing impaired. No joke – I wear hearing aids in both ears, and am largely deaf without them. I think most would agree that I keep a pretty good flow, but I can only write down what I understand. I work as hard as just about any of your critics to understand and assess your arguments, and I appreciate it when you help me out a little. Unfortunately, a good deal of my hearing loss is in the range of the human voice – go figure. As such, clarity and a somewhat orderly structure are particularly important for me—this means clearly identifying/articulating interpretations, plan texts, etc. If you are amongst the top 10-15 fastest speakers in the country you might want to consider slowing down for me-- at least on taglines. For some, a notch or two up on the volume scale doesn’t hurt, either. However, please note that vocal projection is not the same as shouting-- which often just causes an echo effect, making it even harder for me to hear. Also, excessive chatter and knocking for your partner can make it difficult for me to hear the speaker. I really want to hear you, and I can only assume that you want to be heard as well. Thanks for working with me a little on this one.

Approach of the critic to decision-making

Although I don't see absolute objectivity as easily attainable, I do try to let the debaters themselves determine what is and is not best for the debate process. I strive to make my decisions based on the actual arguments made in the round. Debaters should clarify what framework/criteria they are utilizing, and how things should be evaluated (a weighing mechanism or decision calculus). In the absence of such, I will default to a policy-making/net-benefits approach. I see my role as a theoretically “neutral observer” evaluating and comparing the validity of your arguments according to their probability, significance, magnitude, etc. I very much like to hear warrants behind your claims, as too many debates in parli are based on unsubstantiated assertions. As such, while a “dropped argument” certainly has weight, it will be evaluated within the context of the overall debate and is not necessarily an automatic “round-winner”. I have, and will, vote on arguments that I personally disagree with and even arguments that I think are factually inaccurate (I will identify either my personal opposition or what I believe to be the factually accurate reality after making my decision). In my opinion, it is the debaters’ jobs to do the debating.

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

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

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

Additionally, 1) although I think most people speak better when standing, that’s your choice; 2) I will not flow the things your partner says during your speech time; 3) Please time yourselves and keep track of protected time.

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

I find that good case debate is often a very effective strategy. It usually provides the most direct and relevant clash. Unfortunately, it is rarely practiced (simply running your DisAds and a CP on-case instead of off-case isn’t really “case debate). I can understand that at times counterplans and kritiks make a case debate irrelevant or even problematic. Nevertheless, I can't tell you the number of times I have seen a Negative team get themselves in trouble because they failed to make some rather simple and intuitive arguments on the case (even just defensive ones).

Openness to critical/performative styles of debating

To me, no particular style of debating is inherently “bad”. I’d much rather hear “good” critical/performative debate than “bad” traditional/policy debate, and vice versa. I don’t mind either critical or performative debates (on the Aff or Neg) as long as they are well executed – which really makes them no different than traditional "net-benefits" or "stock issues" debates. That said, don’t automatically assume that I know as much about your critical frame as you do, and don’t become so over-reliant upon esoteric multisyllabic words that you forget to actually explain what you’re talking about. I often find that debaters assume I am far more intimately familiar with the critical literature base than I actually am. I am not a philosopher, nor have I ever taken a philosophy class. As with Politics or Relations DAs, I find that the more simplified and basic the argument is made, the more persuasive it becomes. I’m not likely to vote on things I don’t understand.

Also like Politics or Relations DAs, I appreciate a reasonable connection to the Plan or Topic being debated. As I said, this is an educational activity first and foremost, and one of the things I like most about parli is the changing resolutions. I like debates that are reasonably relevant to the topic.

Finally, I am a little unlikely to consider my ballot “a personal endorsement” of your critical project. My ballot indicates which team I thought debated better, not my personal views on the world. As with the Affirmative, I think a critical project bears a reasonable solvency burden (and if you can defend “reject” as a reasonable solvency mechanism, so be it).

Procedurals & Debate Theory

While I try to keep an open mind here, I must admit I’m not particularly fond of heavy theory debates. I think most debaters would be surprised by just how much less interesting they are as a judge than as a competitor. I realize they have their place and will vote on them if validated. However, simply screaming “abuse” or “unfair” is insufficient for me. I’m far more concerned about educational integrity, stable advocacy and an equitable division of ground. Just because a team doesn’t like their ground doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have any. Likewise, my threshold for “reverse voters” is also on the somewhat higher end – I may vote on them, but not without some serious consideration. Basically, I greatly prefer substantive debates over procedural ones. They seem to be both more educational and interesting. Also, as a debater, I very much liked running cases that some would consider on the “fringe” of the topic, so I may have a little bit of a built in sympathy for being reasonable on procedural issues.

Although I am open to hearing arguments on all sides of the condo debate, my gut reaction is to generally prefer a somewhat stable advocacy in the interests of education and competitive equity. Although it is not always the case, multiple conditional advocacies seem to make a debate messy and difficult to evaluate. That should not be taken to mean that you can’t or shouldn’t run conditional positions, just that doing so needs to be reasonably defended.

Parliamentary procedure/Misc.

While I have no problem with them, I tend not to follow much of the traditional stylizations or formal elements of parliamentary practice: 1) I will likely just “take into consideration” points of order that identify “new” arguments in rebuttals, but you are more than welcome to make them if you feel they are warranted; 2) Just because I am not rapping on the table doesn’t mean I don’t like you or dig your arguments; 3) You don’t need to do the little tea pot dance to ask a question, just stand or raise your hand; 4) I don’t give the whole speaker of the house rap about recognizing speakers for a speech; you know the order, go ahead and speak; 5) I will include “thank yous” in speech time, but I do appreciate a clear, concise and non-timed roadmap beforehand.

I definitely lean toward thinking that “splitting the block”, while perhaps theoretically defensible, is rather problematic in an activity with only two rebuttals and often only makes a round more messy, not less so. If you plan on splitting the block you should offer a justification in the LOC, otherwise I’m likely to be much more sympathetic to new PMR offense than usual.



Alice Hoover – Lewis & Clark

TLDR; Be nice or your speaker points perish, a good pun gets you 30 speaks (no, puns do not counteract being mean). Do what you want; I’ll weigh the round how you tell me and all positions are pretty equal in my mind as long as they are probably. I’m more likely to vote on a probable conventional war scenario that kills 50 people than a nuke war scenario. Speed: I’m decent on speed, but don’t stress, I will clear or slow you if I can’t keep up. While I don’t mind if you go fast, don’t be a jerk to the other team, slow down at least a bit. Also, don’t abuse clears. Use them when needed and I’ll do my best to protect both teams. For example, if one team is all speed and the other is a fair bit slower, y’all should try and meet in the middle so we can have a good debate. DA’s/Plans/AD’s: Keep them organized and well explained and I’ll be happy. I don’t have a huge preference for the style; I’m just as likely to vote on a kritical advantage and I am to vote on a heg disad. My one qualm is, if you’re reading politics, make sure the link is clear and the specific scenario is explained well in your first speech. I dislike when I don’t know who the lynchpin of the politics scenario is until the member speech and dislike when the reason X politician will dislike something is “just cuz†. K’s: I like K’s but prefer them to be well explained. Don’t just throw out a name, explain the line of analysis. For K aff’s I prefer if you either are topical or just reject the topic; no point trying to shoehorn arguments about why you’re kinda upholding the res if you aren’t. For a neg K, make sure the links are solid and unique to whatever the aff team reads. Don’t just say, you use the USFG and so bleh!-give reasons that their plan is uniquely problematic. Theory/Fw: Condo is bad, that’s just the truth. I like theory and Framework, but I don’t like pointless theory. So if you read a theory on no neg fiat, it won’t have much weight for me. However, if the theory position seems like it does have some bearing in the debate, I’m willing to weigh it how y’all debate it. Framework can be a good way to answer the K and does not always have to be prison guarding. I prefer if the framework shell you read has some weighing comparison to the K framework. Speaker points: Simple rules, I will try to be very gracious in my speaker points, but if you are rude or mean to the other team or your partner, I won’t hesitate to give you 11 speaker points. A little bit of sas is fine and all, but the animosity in debate rounds usually gets out of hand and devolves into pettiness. Debate should be enjoyable, we’re all smart people and can win arguments without being buttheads about it. I also love puns, so if you make a pun, you almost guarantee yourself 30 speaker points (and no, being a jerk, then making puns does not make your speaker points better). If you have any questions, feel free to ask.


Jeannie Hunt – Northwest College


Brian Lain – North Texas

University of North Texas_

Judging 20+ years.


I have judged at 5 NPDA tournaments this year, been judging national circuit NPDA for the last 3 years.  I have been judging CEDA/NDT for the last 20 years and have judged.  I am familiar with current theory on race/performance, kritik/framework theory. Couterplan/disposition theory.  I could not say that I have a predisposition on any of these issues I try as much as possible to let debaters work things out. That being said.  I default to looking for offense and defense. Those are the ways I decide my ballot. 

I work very hard in debates. I concentrate. I teach courses about argumentation and rhetoric at both grad and undergrad level. This greatly influences my thinking in debates. I do not feel that debates are necessarily won by ushering forth the truth. Debates are won by doing the best communicating in an argumentatively competitive setting. I am not a slow thinker, However, I do encounter several debates where speakers are so unclear that I cannot follow critical points in the debate. This happens at the peril of those speaking. I am a critic of argument and as such try to listen and compare arguments as the debate is going on.

I am not a fan of voting on theory, however, I'll do it if you are behind or if its very in-round. Predispositions: counterplans have to be a reason to reject the Aff. Plan- Inclusive Counterplans are ok, Dispositional counterplans are  OK. I think the Aff has a small burden that they must overcome in terms of presumption, then the Neg must usher forth arguments in order to disprove the affirmative.

I try to be as objective as possible, with the above predisposition included. In general, I prefer arguments which contain good reasons and strategies which make logical sense. I am less likely to be tricked by the use of big words and I often like to hear justifications.


Rob Layne – Hired Critic

As an overview, I have been competing in and judging debate rounds since 1993.  I competed in policy debate, was in deep outrounds at NPDA, and was competitive in NFA-LD. I have been a primary prep coach for all of the teams that I have directed or assisted with including Willamette University (before they cut their NPDA program), Texas Tech University, and the University of Utah. With over 20 years of experience in debate, I have watched debate formats change, transition, replicate, and reform.  I’d like to think that I am a critic of argument, where the rules of the game matter.  That doesn’t mean that appeals to authority are sufficient, but feel free to assess these conceptions of debate as part of your audience analysis.


Some general notes:

(As a competitor, I always hated reading a book for a judge philosophy so here are the bulletpoints).


  1. Compare warrants between contrasting arguments.
  2. Compare impacts using words like “irreversibility,” “magnitude,” “timeframe,” “severity,” and “probability.”
  3. Use warrants in all of your arguments.  This means grounding arguments in specific examples. 
  4. Make sure your permutations contain a text and an explanation as to what I do with the permutation.  My default with permutations is that they are simply tests of competition.  I don’t typically believe that permutations get you out of a disad (shielding the links) or that you capture a counterplan win you when the perm.  If you have a different conception, make an argument to convince me how your permutation should work.
  5. Use internal and external structure like Subpoint A 1. a. i. instead of saying “next” or stringing arguments together without breaks.  I try to keep a careful flow, help me do that.
  6. Be cordial to one another. There’s no need to be mean or spikey.  I get that it’s an event that pits a team against another and debate can feel personal…but there’s no need to spout hate.
  7. I take a careful flow…if you’re unclear or not giving me enough pen time don’t be upset when I ask you to clear up or slow down a touch.  Let me have time to flip the page.
  8. Allow me to choose a winner at the end of the round.  I don’t award double wins or double losses.
  9. Have voters and standards attached to procedural arguments if you want me to take them seriously.  “We meets” and counter-interpretation extensions are your friends.
  10. I will protect you from new arguments in the rebuttals. There’s little need to call superfluous Points of Order.  If you call them, I’ll take it under consideration.
  11. Have an alternative attached to your criticism or at least explain why you don’t need one.
  12. Be on time to the round. Already have used to the restroom, gotten your water, found your room, etc.  I will follow the tournament instructions on lateness, regardless of prelim or outround. Please don't come to the round and then go to the bathroom, please relieve yourself before prep begins or during prep.  
  13.  Compare standards if there are competing interpretations present.
  14. Connect the dots between different arguments to illustrate how those arguments interact.
  15. Kick arguments in the opp block to go deeper on selected arguments.  Going for everything tends to mean that you’re going for nothing.
  16. Know the difference between offensive and defensive arguments. I still think arguments can be terminally defensive as long as it’s explained.
  17. Avoid extending answers through ink. Answer opposing arguments before making key extensions.
  18. Extend arguments/case via the member speeches to have access to them in the rebuttals.
  19. Not everything can be a turn. Please avoid making everything a turn.
  20. I do think that you can cross-apply arguments from other sheets of paper in the rebuttal.  It’s not like paper is sacrosanct.  If the argument was made in a prior speech, then it’s fair game.
  21. Enjoy the debate round. I’m not going to force fun on you, but not everything has to be so serious.



Speaker points:

I typically give speaker points from 25-30. My average is a 27. 30’s from me are rare, but they are occasionally given. You likely won’t see more than one 30 from me at an invitational tournament. At NPTE, I’ve typically given out 3-4 30’s. I expect that most debaters at the NPTE will likely be in the 27-29 range.


Critical Arguments:


I tend to enjoy critical arguments as long as they’re well explained. Framework your argument (Role of the ballot/judge and/or interpretation about what you get access to) and provide an alternative (tell me what the world post-alt looks like and have solvency grounded in examples). Affirmatives can run critical arguments. If you’re running arguments that are incongruent with other arguments, you should likely have an explained justification for doing so.


Performance based arguments:

Please don’t ask me to sit in a circle…have a discussion…rip up my ballot…get naked…or do anything that most folks would find mildly inappropriate. I think that debate is a performance. Some performances are better than others. Some performances are justified better than others. If you prefer a framework of a certain type of performance, make sure your framework is well articulated and warranted.




I require an interpretation, a violation, and a voter. You should probably have standards for why your interpretation is better than other interpretations. I don’t require competing interpretations, but it can be a useful tool. I don’t require in-round abuse, though it will help to prove why your interpretation is preferable.  I have a low threshold on procedurals.  Folks do wanky stuff…explain why your version of debate is preferable and why that means I should vote for you.  I am skeptical of MG theory arguments and will hold them to a higher standard than I would LOC theory.



I think folks should tell me why they get access to their counterplan in the LOC. I might have a very different conception of a PIC than you do (for example, PIC’s are plan inclusive counterplans, which mean they include the entirety of the text of the plan). I think opp’s should identify a CP’s status to avoid procedural args like conditionality. Permutations should be explained. I want to know how you think they function in the round. My default status for a won permutation is that I just stop looking at the CP. If you have a different interpretation as to what I should do with a permutation, you should articulate my options.


Sean McKean – Oregon

Quick in prep version: I am a first year out (take that as you will) debating for Oregon for 4 years. In general I am down with just about anything, however I would much rather hear a good disad than some only tag lines and a bad alternative kritik. Theory was my jam when I was debating, so if you want to read it go ahead, however, I’m not going to vote for you just because you read it, while my threshold is probably lower than most judges I like to pretend I’m not a hack. Longer (probably unnecessary) version General Overveiw: My ideal debate is a strategic topical aff v some CPs and a DA or a topic K. That being said, I tend to be down with anything you want to read in front of me, I believe that it is my job to adapt to you and the arguments you want to read not your job to adapt to me. I am not going to tell you what to or not to read in front of me or reject your arguments on face. I tend to prefer more technical debates where you explain to me how all of the relevant arguments interact at the end of the round over just extending them and making me try to figure it out myself at the end. I want to be able to write my RFD at the end of the round by sticking as much as possible to the flow without having to insert my own analysis, this means I want you to write my RFD for me, tell me why I should vote a particular way at the end of the round. Impact framing is a lost art, it’s not helpful to just inform me that both teams do, in fact, have impacts. I want to hear how I should evaluate those impacts against each other, ie. Do I care more about fairness or education on the theory flow, is timeframe or magnitude more important, can I even evaluate arguments rooted in some kind of epistemology? More specific stuff: Theory/ T: I read a lot of theory when I was debating so I am pretty much able to follow what is going on in complex theory debates, although I would prefer that you slow down a bit when spreading theory since it is more condensed and harder to flow. I evaluate theory just like any other argument, which means I am probably more likley to vote on it than most judges if you go for it correctly. In order to win theory in front of me you are going to need to impact it out and explain what it means for the round. (IE just because they dropped your Consult CP's are illegit argument doesn't mean you insta-win if you don't give me some reason why that theory argument results in a ballot, not just me dropping the CP). Framework: Framework was my go-to when debating the K aff. That doesn’t mean that you necessarily shouldn’t or can’t read a K aff in front of me, just be aware than I’m not going to be one of those judges that just ignores the argument for some vague political reason. K affs: I would prefer that if you are going to read an aff that isn’t topical that you have some good justification for doing so, I am not really interested in your “I read a cool book and here is my book report” project. Ks: I am down with the K, however there are some recent trends in the kritik that I feel need some addressing here. First, Marx was my bread and butter and I am fairly deep in that literature, but outside of that and maybe Heidegger you should not assume that I am incredibly well read in your lit base. That doesn’t mean that you can’t read your K in front of me, it just means that you are going to need to do some more explaining. Second, there has been a tendency of K’s becoming just a list of tag lines, that then get extended as arguments later in the debate. If your K sounds like this I am probably going to give the other team a lot more leeway in reading new arguments when your K finally becomes something in the block.


Matt Mudd – College of Western Idaho

I did 3 years of Policy Debate in high school as well as 4 years of Parli in College, both for the College of Western Idaho and Boise State University. I think the purpose of debate comes down to three things. 1.) Education, 2.) Fun, 3.) Creating a safe space for students to have a voice and a platform to say what they feel is important. If those three things are being embraced in round you will have a happy judge. 

That being said I am truly a tabs judge. I will listen to any argument. It is up to you to tell me why it matters to the debate. 

Speed: Obviously its fine. But, I think it stands to reason that, if I can not understand what you’re saying it makes it hard for me to judge you. So you can be quick. But be articulate. Slow down on your tags if you need to. If you are not good at speed, don’t try, run less. Its ok.

Ks: I enjoy the K debate. I think it is an effective way to clash with the affirmative. I do not however enjoy Ks that are designed to confuse everyone. What I mean by this, is if you come into the round and read a K, that you can not explain to me effectively, my likelihood to vote for it is very low. I want your framework and thesis as well as your Role of the Ballot argument (where applicable) to be very clear I will listen to anything, but make sure it makes sense to you before you read the argument. I am also very particular about alternatives. I think 90% of them are absolutely useless. If you are going to read this type of argument in front of me, make sure you do adequate work on the alternative and make it something that is viable.

K-affs: I really like critical affirmatives as well as critical advantages and disads under a policy framework. But, do not reject the resolution just to reject the resolution. That is annoying. Though there are many resolutions that need to be rejected. If we come across one of those and you do not do that though, be prepared for me to ask you why.

Framework: I think framework is important on both sides of the debate. I think your framework needs to be carefully crafted. From what I have seen, as time goes on it is becoming a more important part of the debate. If I am voting on framework though, I will advise you to strengthen the framework. Framework isn't typically a major piece of offense, but it can be strategically used. 

Counterplans: I love the CP debate. I am open to all types of CPs as long as you aren’t being abusive. I also want counterplans to be specific and detailed. You need to show me that you have a solid alternative to the Aff. If done right, CPs and DAs make the best clash for Affs in my opinion.

Theory/Topicality/Procedurals: Use them if necessary. That’s what they are there for. However, I am not the kind of judge you want to run these arguments as a waste of time in front of. I understand from a strategic standpoint winning some sort of time tradeoff can be effective. But, if you come in with a pre-prepped T-shell that you slightly taylor to the Aff in 2 minutes, the Aff will have a pretty easy time convincing me to disregard it. I think largely these types of arguments are misused and my likelihood to vote on them is pretty small. However, if you do run one. You must show me some sort of In Round Abuse that has taken place. I never vote on potential abuse.

Speaker Points: I think they are mostly arbitrary. But, they have their uses. I start every debater in the round at 30 speaker points. They are yours to lose from there. Mostly they will be lost if you are disrespectful to me or your opponent. 

Be creative, have fun, I’m pretty laid back and very tabs oriented. I do my best to not intervene. This is about persuasion, not me coming in and shoving my agenda or opinions on anyone. So ultimately the round belongs to the debaters not to me. Just do your best to make sure everyone gets something out of it besides a W or an L next to their name, you only have so much time in this activity, make the most of it.



Amanda Ozaki-Laughon – Concordia


I am the Director of Debate at Concordia University Irvine. I competed both nationally and locally at PSCFA and NPTE/NPDA tournaments during my 4 years of competition, and this is my 3rd year coaching and judging. 

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

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

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

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

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




Tony Penders- Bellevue

I would describe myself as a policy maker; that was my background, and I certainly default to that reflexively, even now, but I am very happy to vote for critiques when possible and generally enjoy unique approaches to the activity. I debated for Gonzaga, I coached at Seattle and then for Bill Shanahan at Fort Hays State U. I have a deep background in debate but my lack of recent exposure to rounds means that while I am open-minded and will consider all forms of argument, you will be forced to adapt to the fact that if you rely on contemporary jargon and a lot of speed, you are likely to lose me. Explain things to me, and I am likely to figure it out. I used to be a good judge :-)

Some basics are pretty much all that I can help you with; I do not object to procedurals, have voted on varying forms of them.  I will weigh impacts, unless there is a reason not to; I allow the latitude to debaters to use this forum to advance whatever agenda they so choose.  I tend to think of the time constraints as being the only absolutes as they have to be upheld or the tournament falls into chaos.  Beyond that, have fun, be polite, and even nice to each other.  


Joe Provencher – Texas Tech

The Quick hits for Prep time:


Unless told otherwise, I default to net-bens/policy making.


If you want me to evaluate topicality via competing interpretations, slow down a bit through your interpretations so I have the text exactly as you intend it. You should also probably take a question on your definition/interp if it's particularly long/nuanced/complex/crazy.


I used to tell teams I believed all advocacies in round should be unconditional. However, a lot of the conditionallity debates I saw were really terrible, and probably had PMRs going for the theory without really understanding it, and then expecting me to vote every time for the aff as a result of my philosophy. So I'll try my best to explain it more below, but for your quick evaluation of me now, know that I don't really think conditionality is necessary (maybe not even good), but will do my absolute best to be open to the theory arguments made in round.


I think that counter-plans must compete via net-benefits or mutual exclusivity. Other CP theory arguments are going to be an uphill battle for my ballot.


I don't think I'm biased one way or another on the kritik. I think good K debate is good, and bad K debate is bad (and good theory debate is good, bad theory debate is bad, etc, etc). Just get small in the rebuttals, one way or the other, and pick your winning argument. Like any argument, if you suspect I may not be 100% familiar with the literature you are using, then make the tag line very clear so you can read your warrants as fast as you want.


Take some points of information. Be cordial.

Call as many points of order as you want, but it should be limited to the individual calling the point of order, and a response from the opposing individual making the argument. There should never be a debate, or any back and forth, about whether an argument is new. Make your point, respond to it. 



Some further reading for your strikes:


On conditionality: I would never explicitly tell a team not to run a certain argument in front of me. However, out of all the reading I've done, and rounds I've seen, I can't imagine a world in which the MG puts out a good Condo bad shell, the PMR goes for it sufficiently, and I do not vote for it. Maybe the reading I've done is insufficient, but I'm not convinced yet, and the limited condo debates I've seen have been bad ones that only reinforce that opinion. However, I'm trying to stay open to furthering my education in the activity and would encourage anyone to come find me and talk (maybe outside of round) so we can keep the discussion going.


On topicality: I believe that T is a discussion to find the best definition of a word in the resolution. The standards debate is a debate about why a particular definition is very good. A lot of times, especially with teams yelling about ground to DAs they're supposed to have, I think that focus gets lost. If a plan doesn't link to your DA, it might not be because they have mis-defined a word. It might just be that the DA is not good. Consequently, the claim that NEG can read DAs is not a reason your definition is good. That just means they can run DAs. Most debaters are good enough to come up with some kind of offense on the spot.


In general: Good debate gets small at the end of the rounds. Rebuttal speeches should be deep and specific, and focussed around why I must prioritize a single given story. Do that, you win.


Ben Reid – Hired Critic

You can generally do as you please so long as you have a compelling reason for it. I have no hard argumentative preference. I am probably slightly more likely to vote negative on T/Framework against K affs than I have been in the past, but don’t think of it as a surefire win. I err negative on most theory arguments, though I am sympathetic to aff’s who want to disallow conditionality (again, though, I do not take a hard position on the issue). As a debater, my emphasis was on big-stick impact debates, generally trying to race to as many IR arguments as I could. As a judge and coach I spent a lot of time watching critique debates, and as a graduate student and coach, I spent a fair bit of time in that literature base. Now I just tend to read the news a lot. I haven’t judged in about a year, and may need time to readjust to your rate of speech, so please bear with me.


I find that most debates are about who wins the framing issues, so debaters, rebuttalists especially, need to be on top of their game in the framing debates. A few minutes of the rebuttal spent comparing impacts and logic chains is what tends to make the difference in most debates, so focus on emphasizing points of conflict and essential wedge issues. The line by line is often less important than you think, and these kinds of filtering issues are generally more important than you think.


Work hard, have fun, and be nice to each other (if you can help it)



Margaret Rockey – Western Washington

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

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

Judging Generally

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


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

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

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


Don’t have anything in particular to say about this other than that I have a high threshold for evaluating anything other than plan text in a vacuum in determining interp violations. Everything else seems a solvency question to me, but make the arguments you want to and can defend.

Independent Voters

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


Tom Schally- Hired Critic

I've always believed having someone else write your judging philosophy yields better insights and nobody knows me better than James Stevenson, so I present to you: Tom Schally, ​written ​ by James Stevenson: “First, the highlights. Tom’s generally interested in all types of arguments – policy, K, whatever. He’s got a very technical mind and a clean flow, but tends to vote for arguments which demonstrate superior nuance and contextual specificity. Explanation is a big deal to Tom, and he won’t necessarily consider an argument dropped if it’s blippy and undeveloped. He understands debate as both a game that is fun (sometimes even when it stretches what is ‘true’) and as an educational endeavor that should probably teach us something valuable. He also considers the communicative aspect to be a central component of debate, so rhetorical skill, drawing connections in CX and late rebuttals, and humor/self-awareness will take you far. Clash and argumentative comparison, as with most judges, are key. I’m not sure the stuff I below will actually be helpful, but here’s the bottom line. Tom’s a smart person with a lot of debate experience and know-how who takes judging very seriously. He doesn’t decide debates lightly, and will take his time to give a clear, sound explanation and good feedback. --- As a background, Tom just started a job at a political communications firm or something, and studied public policy and administration in grad school. He has like seven years of experience coaching college debate, mostly in NPTE/NPDA parliamentary, but has been at least partially involved in policy for the last few. He did a year of college policy at Macalester before transferring to Western Kentucky University, where he was ridiculously successful in parli and NFA-LD. I hesitate to mention this because CEDA/NDT folks can be super elitist about their style of debate, but debate is debate, and Tom’s good at it. He can also speak much faster than I ever could, so as long as you retain clarity, speed is probably not an issue. In his personal life, Tom is probably a pragmatist more than anything else, but in a very broad sense. What he sees as the ‘pragmatic’ move is largely context-dependent, particularly in debate – I think he likes to see teams draw direct linkages between where we are, what we should do, and why we should do it, especially in a reflexive and self-aware manner. This is, once again, largely a function of good explanation and strategic/argumentative nuance, rather than ideological location – he picks between “trying or dying” or “reflecting/resisting” based on who better outlines the relevance of their method, the validity of their knowledge claims, and the implications of their arguments. He’s pretty knowledgeable about public policy subjects, and also is pretty well-read on K stuff like Marxism, postcolonialism, and critical IR, but is fairly detached from what the debate argument flavor of the month is, so don’t assume he’s familiar your specific jargon or ideology. In “policy” debates, Tom is willing and able to defer to traditional debate risk analysis tools like “try or die” or “uniqueness outweighs the link,” but I think he gives more credibility to good defense (even if it’s uncarded) than other judges do. Card quality matters to him, and he’ll definitely read evidence after a round and consider it significant if its quality is put into question during the debate. In particular, evidentiary specificity is probably a big deal on aff and CP solvency debates. Additionally, he prefers counterplans that compete with the substance of the plan over those premised off “normal means” or process. Tom will vote on T. As with other kinds of debates, I think he values comparison of offense over an enumeration of many possible lines of offense. Keep in mind, Tom does some topic research but isn’t stalking the caselist 24/7, so throwaway references to particular schools or affs might not make sense to him. As for theory, he’ll probably reject the argument instead of the team without some substantial work. Conditionality could be a voting issue, but not necessarily. As with T, comparison and argumentative interaction are paramount. Tom likes the K and other nontraditional argument styles, and this has been more and more of what he’s coached over the last few years. That said, he still expects clarity and rigor on the basics – what the ballot does, how decisions should be made, what kinds of stuff should be prioritized, and so on. If you are defending alternate styles of argument competition or analysis, this kind of explanation would be especially important. Buzzwords and mystification will not impress him. I think that on framework/clash of civs debates, smart and well-placed defense (on either side) would go a long way. Clever references to Twin Peaks would probably make him laugh."


Mack Sermon – College of Western Idaho

I have 35 years experience in competition, judging and coaching, mostly in the Great Northwest. I have heavy experience with IEs, NDT, CEDA, NPDA, IPDA and NFC-LD. 

Debates should focus on Aristotle’s big 3: ethos, pathos and logos- and keeping it fun and educational.

-Your character, ethos, is established in and out of the debate by your behavior with opponents, teammates and me. Be on your best behavior and treat everyone with respect.

-Emotion, or pathos, is demonstrated by the conviction and selection of your arguments, fairness to your opponents. Your delivery should make me believe that you really care about the issue.

-To me, logos is most important. A case must be logical. This requires that you make a claim, provide proof of some sort, develop a warrant, then pull it all together for a case. Please, please, do not simply make claims and expect me to accept them as truth.

-Speed: Sure I could talk as fast as any of them, but I think the most educational pace is only modestly faster than conversational but definitely not spewing- I will give one warning.

Novelties: I’m fine with counterplans if you admit and meet the requirements of a counterplan—but I’m bored by agent change, study, delay counterplans. I will listen to Topicality or structured definition arguments but since you are basically accusing your opponents of cheating, presumption is with the AFF. I’m not opposed to the concept of the Kritik but I only voted for them about 25% in true policy-- Far, far less in NPDA and IPDA. There just isn’t enough time in the shorter forms, without substantial evidence, to perform the type of dialectic discussion that Aristotle advocates, so a Kritik is just too complex to work.



Nadia Steck – Lewis & Clark

Nadia here, I am currently the Coach for Lewis and Clark’s debate team I just graduated from Concordia University Irvine where I debater for 2 years, before that I debated for Moorpark College for 3 years. I’m gonna give you a TL:DR for the sake of prep time/pre-round strategizing, I want my personal opinions to come into play as little as possible in the debate round. I want the debate to be about what the debaters tell me it should be about, be it the topic or something totally unrelated. I am fairly familiar with Kritiks and a decent amount of the literature behind them, but please do not take that as an excuse to be lazy and just expect me to backfill warrants or arguments for you. If you don’t say it, it doesn’t end up on my flow, and thus it doesn’t get evaluated. There aren’t really any arguments I won’t listen to, and I will give the best feedback I have the ability to give after each round. For out of round thinking or pre tournament pref sheets here are a few of the major things I think are important about my judging philosophy and history as a debater •I hate lazy debate; I spent a lot of time doing research and learning specific contextualized warrants for most of the arguments I read. It will benefit you and your speaks to be as specific as possible when it comes to your warrants. •I spent most of my last two years reading the K. I am most familiar with French Postmodernism and Queer theory, that being said I am willing and ready to listen to anything at least once. •I did read arguments tethered to my identity occasionally; that being said, I never read my personal story in debate, nor did I leverage my particular experience as an argument. If you want to do that, go ahead, but as a warning I do not need a lot to be persuaded by framework. This doesn’t mean I am discrediting your existence as a person, it means I believe debate is only a good space for advocacy if everyone has a form of access and not everyone is comfortable or ready to share their lived experiences in round and, as such, should not be punished for that. If you want to read your personal narrative anyway, I am more than happy to listen and give any feedback I am capable of giving. •As far as framework and theory arguments go, I am open to listening to any theory argument in round with the exception of Spec args, I honestly feel like a POI is enough of a check back for a spec arg. I have yet to meet a spec arg that was justified much beyond a time suck. If you’re In front of me, I give these arguments little credence so you should respond accordingly. •As far as the actual voting issue of theory, I by default assume they are all Apriori, as theory is a meta discussion about debate and therefore comes as a prior question to whatever K/CP/DA is being read. When it comes to evaluating the impacts of theory, please please please do not be lazy and just say that fairness and/or education is the voter without justification. These are nebulous terms that could mean a thousand things, if you want to make me really happy as a judge please read more specific voters with a solid justification for them. This way I have a more concrete idea of what you mean instead of me having to insert my own ideas about fairness or education into the debate space. •As far as policy debates go, I default net bens, and will tend to prefer probable impacts over big impacts. That being said, I am a sucker for a good nuke war or resource wars scenario. My favorite policy debates were always econ debates because of the technical nuance. •Go as fast as you want, just make sure if your opponent calls clear or slow you listen because if they read theory or a K because you didn’t slow down or speak more clearly I will most likely vote you down. •I am not a point fairy, I tend to hover in the 26-28 range, if you want to get a 30, either deliver a great performance or be able to make me laugh in round, I will reward good humor highly.


James Stevenson – Hired Critic

The rap sheet 

-          My favorite parli judge is Tom Schally.  My goal in parli is to judge like Tom, but in half the time.

-          Debate well.  Impact comparison, clash, etc. Read Schally’s novel/”philosophy” if you don’t know how to do that already. I don't care what kinds of arguments as long as they're tailored well for the topic and the opposing arguments.  I love it all.

-          Tech over truth in general, but truth matters. True impact defense especially.

-          Offense/defense mostly, but not absolutely. I’m totally a hack for defense sometimes.

-          Specificity matters.  This is true in strategic terms (greater specificity inversely correlates with the responsiveness of your opponents’ args) but it’s also basically my guiding principle for resolving points of clash.  The argument that is more assumptive of the other argument tends to win. 

-          Work and scholarly/academic merit matter.  

-         "Net benefits" is not a framework interp. "Perm: do both" is a legit perm. "The USFG will do something" is not a correctly written plan text; "The USFG should do something" is.





Nick Stump – San Diego State University

My name is Nick Stump I competed 4 years at Northern Arizona University in NPDA
and LD and three years directly coaching HS/college. I think the biggest thing I
wanted as a competitor was a judge that would be open minded and intent on listening
and letting the debaters have the round they want to have. I want to see what makes
you the best you rather than feeling pinned to having a particular format. I try to be
approachable about questions and am willing to see anything from traditional policy-
oriented debates to performance; the round is yours to debate.
What wins rounds:
I will vote on almost any argument, tabula rasa, but what wins is framing and
comparative analysis of impacts, solvency, and link differentials. Weighing is
wonderful, I prefer weighing material impacts than nebulous claims. Please read all
interpretations on theory and texts of plan/cp/alts twice OR SLOW DOWN. Decorum:
I don’t care if you sit or stand when debating. I am not here to criticize your clothes.
I’m here to evaluate arguments.
Section 2: Specifics.
1. Speaker points: I like humor, but prefer people being real.
2. K’s:
YES! I mostly read K’s in debate, both sides of the rez. I extremely prefer topic
specific criticisms and critical impact framing to generics plug-in or rejecting topics
outright. I think the weakest point of a criticism is the alternative/solvency, and
generally think it’s better to just engage than shy away from answering them. If you
read jumble-word- salad k’s that morph in the block, please strike me. I don’t like
when people read multiple contradicting strategies or kick out of the alternative.
3. Performance-based arguments:
Not my favorite, but explain what your performance is and why that
necessarily/important to framing the debate round.
4. Theory:
I enjoy theory when it is done right, but bad theory just sounds like whining. I don’t
know how to quantify education, do that for me. Tell me what ground you should
have had. Contextualizing theory to the round and what your opponents have done
especially goes a long way. Tell me whether it is reasonability framing or competition
interpretations. I don’t generally err either side on theory, I prefer creative affirmative
interpretations to outright rejection. Consult is probably bad. One conditional CP is

usually fine, but don’t read contradictory strategies, and you probably don’t get to
sever yourself out of offensive things said.
5. Counter plans/DA:
Anything goes! I prefer clear brinks and terminalized impacts with timeframe
analysis. Please don’t read consult. Secretly 8 minutes of case turn in the LOC is my
favorite debate. I generally prefer depth over breath. I prefer creative affirmative
interpretations to outright rejection of pmc.
6. Permutations:
Bad perm debate makes my head hurt, depth and developing your argument here helps
a lot.
7. Speed:
Debaters who sacrifice clarity for speed disappoints me. Don’t expect me to know
your blocks. I don’t like speed used as a tool to exclude your opponent, but often find
anti-speed procedurals have an arbitrary bright line without indicting the performance
of the other team. That being said the fastest debater does not always win the round,
but often does because of comparisions. Don’t sacrifice clarity for speed.


Adam Testerman – Texas Tech

Hi there!  I have competed in debate and forensics for over 10 years.  I participated in parliamentary debate during college, with two years at Southern Illinois University and two years at Texas Tech University.  I feel comfortable judging any “genre” of argument and have no real argument preference beyond the desire to see clash.  I coached for three years at Lewis & Clark College; this is my second year as Director of Forensics at TTU. 


General Issues

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


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


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


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


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


All constructive speeches should take a question if asked, and it’s strategic to ask questions. 


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


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


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



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



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


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



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


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


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



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


For me, performances [and this is definitely for lack of a better term that groups non-policy/non-topic oriented approaches] have the potential to make very compelling arguments.  However, I will vote for framework as answer to these arguments if the other team “wins” the position. 



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


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


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


Ashley Tippins – Western Washington

TooLong;Didn’tHaveTimeToReadBecauseSpeechwireAintShit: Do what you want, try and be funny, if you can’t be funny be savage. Feel free to shift in the MO, feel free to call out that shift in the PMR. Enough people think debate is a game so debate is probably just a game, play it how you like. Praise Yeezus = Get Saved (aka higher spkr pts)

Background: I competed in NPDA/NPTE style debate for four years (2010-13; 2015-16) at Western Washington University (I too have fought the good fight against the Oregon Marxism shell; if you can’t beat’em join’em I guess). This is my first year out, keep that mind when choosing what argument or strategy to go for in front of me. I am attempting to be as self-reflexive as possible after each round I judge so that my philosophy can be as accurate as possible but, I am still learning about myself as a critic. My recommendation is to do what you feel comfortable doing because I can at least promise I will always listen and value and weigh all arguments brought into the debate.

Identities: I identify as a queer of color, I’m biracial (aka cookies n’ cream or mocha Frappuccino -- the second one really emphasizes the basic white girl inherent to my ethnic condition). Also I grew up poor but also I have bougie (white ppl read: expensive) taste; I also watch Will Chamberlin’s live stream most of the time so I’m not ignorant to the way the other side thinks.

Overview: At the end of the day, good debate is good debate and as a judge I want to see good debate. Good debate can be slow, fast, flow-centric, performance, etc; I honestly don’t really care what you do in the round, strategically and argumentatively speaking, so long as you justify it. I am a firm believer that you will debate better if you are knowledgeable about the things you are debating and thus I only ask you to do what you want to do with the round, so we both have a good and educational time.

Theory: Absent a critical argument with an enumerated impact that would problematize the theory position, I have a pretty low threshold for voting on theory arguments. I don’t think the AFF should always have to be topical but, I think the negative always gets access to saying they should have been topical. If the AFF isn’t topical then there should be more of a justification than ‘I wanted to talk about rumble strips’; reciprocally, there should be a robust justification for the ethics and method of talking about the topic by the NEG, definitely more than just ‘we didn’t get to talk about this shit we prepped’. No one is doing a particularly good job weighing internal links to the impacts of the theory debate, but like everything else in debate, that’s probably the best way to win my ballot. Additionally, if you are going for a theory position in the MO, I think you can shift the emphasis and context of particular words or language in your interpretation in the block, the same way you would shift but you don’t get to shift your actual interpretation – what you say in your 1NC is what you are stuck with, you better MAKE IT WORK tim gunn style.

Framework: ALWAYS COMES FIRST IN MY DECISION – when I sit down to make my decision I first decide what the framework is for the round and if you have lost the framework then I will probably disregard majority of your arguments (assuming the other team understands the utility of framework). I love watching teams get framed out of the round and low key I love framework a lot a lot. After two competing frameworks are provided I would love to see the 2AC consolidate the two arguments instead of continuing to go back and forth between two different pieces of paper.

Disad/Counterplans: Probably my favorite type of debate tbh. Whatever you want to do in this realm of debate is fair game for me; I don’t have too many preconceived notions about the strategies you should deploy. Conditional, unconditional, dispositional – IDGAF. Good, well warranted and explained internal links are the Kanye of debate; they are everything I love in this world of debate and everything I aspire to be – please use them in front of me, it will make winning your DA or ADV that much easier in front of me.

Here’s what I do care about: KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. I spent most of my time in debate trying to learn as much about the world as possible; my least favorite part of debate was listening to asinine arguments that have no basis in reality and then having to pretend like they weren’t ridiculous. I will reward epic, sassy call outs of blatantly false arguments with speaker points; I will punish proprietors of bullshit non-factual arguments with speaker points.

Critiques: I spent the last year and half of my debate career running almost exclusively critiques – this says more about the team I was on than it does my proclivity for voting for these types of arguments. Bad debate is bad debate but bad critical debate can be especially terrible – the points I made about actually knowing what you are talking about go nearly double with critical arguments. The quickest way to get super low speaks with me is to say some ignorant ass shit. You should have a framework that prioritizes your argument and tells me how to vote, specific and plentiful links, impacts that turn the aff, a clear alternative, and a warranted solvency mechanism.

 “Identity Politics”, “Performance”, and “Projects”: Labels like these are pretty messed up and don’t encompass this type of debate but -hey- language has its flaws. I’m obviously ok with this type of debate but not necessarily inclined toward voting for most of the “projects” I see run. I have a pretty high standard for what I consider good debate under this category; you need a method, a change to the status quo, a solvency mechanism, and a clear framework for how to evaluate these types of arguments against normative types of debate arguments.

Things I will not enforce in the round but wish I could

       Stop calling it wilderson when it probably isn’t

       Stop running anti-blackness/queerness/etc. arguments unless you are those identities – you say some really dumb shit if you aren’t and you don’t even know you did it

       Stop whining about not getting to read your arguments

       Stop whining about having to read framework

       Stop whining about having to answer framework

       Stop whining – we are all so fucking privileged to even get to debate

       Stop saying Marx to Anti-blackness in front of me – I mean do what you gotta do but I’m so sick of this debate tbh


Kinny Torre – Western Washington

Tl;dr Debate better than the other team and you should win. Run what you want and I will do my best to evaluate your arguments through the paradigm that you wish for me to adopt. The only caveat is that I won’t vote teams down on technicalities e.g. they say “would” instead of “should” in the plan text.


I did policy in high school and parli in college. I’m starting my fourth year of coaching policy and my first year coaching parli for WWU. Basically, I’m cool with most arguments. I’ve spent majority of my time as a debater as a K hack but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t run an Israeli Freakout DA against an Israeli ontology aff in front of me. Theory, Framework, “projects”, poetry, and tix are all fine in front of me. I find some of these debates to be boring but that shouldn’t prevent you from doing what you’re good at…though I’m thirsty for a clash of civilizations debate. The only thing that I have predetermined is that the individuals within the debate space should not be excluded due to oppressive structures. This doesn’t mean that debaters have to be overly cordial because I think that these standards get applied very differently depending upon one’s body but I do think that debaters should (in most instances) respect one another.  


In other words, I don’t think that affs HAVE to be topical, I don’t think conditionality is inherently bad…I’ll even evaluate a spec shell if you make me—but I humbly ask you to not make that the certain of the debate.


Things that would be helpful for me/ya’ll should know about me:

       Getting a copy of the aff and neg advocacy text(s)

       Repeating interpretations and perm texts twice

       I don’t need in round abuse to vote on T

       I’m not going to fill in the blanks for you just because I ran the K—if anything, it might mean that I hold ya’ll to a higher standard.



Lindsay VanLuvanee – Concordia


29 years judging (Kansas State, Florida State, Vermont, William Jewell affiliations)

Overview: In general, I am most comfortable in a policy making paradigm.  A specific plan tends to offer the best focus for debate.  I understand that critical arguments can be offered both inside and outside that frame as well, and in those cases clearly the framework is important but ALSO the subject of the resolution and/or subject of the PMC. If you choose to reject the resolution I will expect that rejection links to issues embodied in the resolution as a basis for that rejection. I expect the affirmative to do some work that contextualizes their project into the assigned subject content for the scheduled debate. One of my favorite aspects of this activity is that it should in fact require you to learn about a variety of ideas, and to take up differing advocacies to learn perspective and empathy. I am not easily convinced that the abrogation of the resolution to fix problems in the activity and society are persuasive in the unique context of resolutional based (content guidelines) switch side (role assigning) debate. You should debate about the topic based on the role assigned. I am not an absolutist on this, but it is where I start from. Many issues related to inclusion and equity should not be part of “contested” argument or an artificial binary which sets up other persons to be automatically non-allies. I think it is potentially harmful to promote the idea that such issues could even have two sides when it is self-evident that everyone should be respected and everyone have a chance to participate. If you want to change the activity, I would suggest out of round behaviors and social action to address those issues.

Resolutionality/Topicality should be impacted by the opposition team with something other than “we couldn’t predict the aff”. There should be a good reason based in decision making integrity and advocacy that drives this argument rather than the opposition didn’t think of it or doesn’t want to talk about It, or it is simply a tool to win the ballot rather than advance meaning or understanding of the issue in question.  Generally, cases that are hiding from the subject matter of the resolution are weak logically, and/or subject to critique for refusing to address important issues contained within the resolution.  Have substantive reason for voting on Res/T arguments and in round vs. potential abuse. NOTE: I tend to NOT vote on T

Procedure:­ Please note that I likely will just “take into consideration” Points of Order that identify “new” arguments in rebuttals.  I may penalize speaker points if the point of order is made and I feel it is inaccurate, or just a tactic to disrupt the speaker. Points of Information are obviously strategic both as interruption devices and as a means to elicit information.  Debaters should make sure they are judicious in their use of them simply to interrupt.  There is such a thing as a stupid question.

Style: I tend not to follow much of the traditional or formal elements of the activity that are stylizations of parliamentary practice: 1.) Please time yourselves and keep track of protected time; 2.) Just because I am not rapping on the table doesn’t mean I don’t like you; 3.) Don’t do the little tea pot dance to ask a question, just stand; 4.) I won’t give the whole speaker of the house rap about recognizing speakers for a speech of no more than whatever, you know the order, speak.

Delivery: Structure is important and should be verbally identified as you speak, if you want high speaker points then signpost where you are and number your arguments.  It should be clear where you are refuting and extending arguments.  Simply going down the flow is not good enough, you should still be identifying the argument you are addressing by something other than “next.” I will reward humor, a positive attitude, and respect toward your opponents. Speed? I debated and judged policy for 20 years at the collegiate level. I can handle it but am not impressed by it. Speed often covers up a lack of good ideas with technique and strategy. I would rather hear a few good arguments (even if rapidly delivered) than a ton of mediocre ones.

Argumentative Preferences:  I try not to eliminate any arguments simply because of their “title,” i.e. like “kritik” or Counterplan.  However, any argument, even disadvantages, can be run poorly and weakly applied.  I try to focus on the content of the argument and its application instead of its title.  Please weigh arguments against each other and be aware of the others teams arguments as well when weighing.

Speaker points in general: I understand I have become less preferred because I am not afraid to hand out a 26 or 27. But, from my perspective 30-28 is an A, 27-25 is a B, and 24-22 would be a “C”. So, in actuality I should start by assuming everyone is “average” and move up or down from there. However, I give people the benefit of the doubt and start at the “B” range and go up or down from there. Quite frankly, judges that think that the scale is 28.1 to 30.0 and make micro differentiations in that scale are skewing the pool more than I am. They are more concerned with being liked by debaters instead of really sorting out the best speakers. Want a “30”?: be perfect. Want a 29? Have excellent arguments, excellent structure, and a good attitude toward the debate. A 28 is earned by presenting winning arguments structured clearly. A 27 is earned by having winning or non-winning arguments presented in a manner I can follow easily. A 26 is earned by good winning or non-winning arguments presented in a manner I have to work to follow. I usually will not go below a 26 unless you are uncivil, or simply show little concern for doing a good job and are wasting mine, your opponent’s, and you’re your partner’s time.

D.O.F., Rice University


Judging Philosophy


My decision is based mostly on how the debaters argue I should decide the round; I try to avoid using my own decision-making philosophy as much as possible but will when the round demands it.  There are many cases where this might be necessary: If asked to use my ballot politically for example, or if both sides fail to give me a clear mechanism for voting, or if I know something to factually incorrect (if you are lying).  In these cases I try to stay out of the decision as much as I can but I don’t believe in the idea that any living person is really a blank slate or a sort of argument calculator. 


Decision-making Approach: I’ll judge based on given criteria. I can think in more than one way.  This means that the mechanisms for deciding the round are up for debate as far as I’m concerned. 


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


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


Assessing Arguments: An argument’s weight depends on how strong it is.  I think line-by-line vs. "big picture" is an artificial divide anyway.  This can vary by round.  I would say you need to deal with all the line-by-line stuff but should not fail to frame things (do the big picture work) for me as well.  It’s pretty rare that I vote on one response but it’s equally rare that I will vote on the most general level of the ideas.


Presentation: All good as long as you are clear. I’ll tell you if you are not, but not more than a couple of times. After that, I will try, but I make no guarantees.


Strong Viewpoints: As I’ve said before, I probably won t vote to kill everyone to save the planet/galaxy/universe. Otherwise I haven t found "the" issue yet that I can t try to see all sides of.


I vote on procedurals a bit less than other arguments but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t run them. I am getting kind of tired of purely strategic procedurals. However, even though they aren’t favorites they are sometimes necessary.


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


Other Items to Note:


If the round is obviously lopsided and you are obliterating the other team (e.g. if they are novices), then be nice. I will obliterate your speaker points if you aren’t nice or if you simply pile it on for the heck of it.


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


I’m not going to weigh in on the great theoretical controversies of the game. Those are up to you to demonstrate in the round. T can be more than one thing depending on the round. Counterplans can function in more than one way. Critical debates can have many forms. I’m not going to tell you what to do. I am familiar with pretty much all of it, and have been around for a long time. I don’t pretend to think any of the issues are settled.  Actually, I’ve learned or at least been forced to think about theory issues from debaters in rounds far more often than from anyone else. If I had pontificated about The Truth As I Knew It before those rounds, the debaters would have simply argued what I said I liked and I wouldn’t have learned, so it’s in my interest as well as yours for me not to hand you a sushi menu with the items I’d like to see checked off. PICS, Framework, Competing Interp, in-round abuse, etc. These are all interpretable in the debate. I will say that I probably most naturally think in terms of competing interpretations on T, but, as I mention above, I can think in more than one way.


I will also say that I dislike the post/pre-fiat issue. I am kind of over it.  Find a way to compare the impacts/implications and the plan/alt, etc. for me. It really annoys me to have compare things after the round that I was told throughout the round were “not comparable.” If you don’t find a way, don’t get mad at me for comparing them however I choose to compare them.


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


Finally, everyone in the room has sacrificed something to be there. A lot of resources, time, and effort went in to bringing us all there. Be sure to show some basic respect for that.