Brookfield Central

Personal Experience
I was a policy debater from 97’-99’. I've been judging since 2010 and coaching for half a season.

-I prefer depth over breadth.
-Give me framework. phrase the debate as "why you should win under X paradigm/framework."
-I am a tabs judge who defaults to policy if I don't hear any framework. See Paradigm below.
-Don't be monotone. Give me passion and inflection, read fast, explain slow, transition loud, etc.

Speed Reading
- I recognize that speed reading is basicly a prerequisite for varsity debate but generally prefer slower debate, especially for analytics.
-I flow cards pretty well, so it behooves you to inflect and slow down when citing the card (e.g. "Reuters 13'" "Johnson 11").
-If time permits, read you plan text a bit slower, especially if it is not a novice plan.

Cross Examination
-Strictly Closed.
-Corner your opponent and refer to their responses in subsequent speeches.
-Your best evidence comes from your opponents cards and mouth. Use the cross-x to find and exploit their arguments.
-Again, don't forget to bring it up in a constructive/rebuttal.

New in the Two... and other questions of decorum
I am a huge stickler for rules. As a tabs judge, I'm open to arguments about fairness and educational value but if you can show me a WDCA rule that defends your position then you are probably going to win that argument. This and many other rules are found on the WDCA website. Like with paradigms, there are compelling reasons to allow or not allow new in the two. If I hear new in the two either: (a) no one contests it so I allow it, (b) your opponent contests it and convinces me I should not allow it, or (c) your opponent contests it but does not convince me I should not allow it. Know the rules: chance favors the prepared mind.

Tabula Rasa means "blank slate" and in this regard I am not strictly a Tabs judge. As a tabs judge I've heard too any debates were no one even mentioned framework (which is essentially synonomous with paradigm) so I was left with a stockish' policyish' mishmash. Therefore I am a Tabs judge who defaults to Policymaker if no framwork is offered. This is not the same as saying "I prefer policymaker," I don't. However (a) it's simple, (b) most debaters like it and (c) it has plenty of practical application. So I default to it. On this note, I love love love framwork arguments. The links below give lots of information about why each paradigm is great and why each is terrible.

If you like policy, tell me why its good and move on. If you hate negs Nuke DA's or are a neg team running Inherency, Topicality or a Kritik, you probably want to explain either (a) why policymaker is a bad paradigm (and tabs/stock/hypo is better) or (b) why I should care about inh/top/kritik/jobs over nuke under a policymaker paradigm.

So here's how it plays out:
(a) no framwork offered: Policymaker
(b) only one team mentions framework: whatever framework they gave me
(c) both teams offer framework: whichever is most compelling.
(d) one team gives me framework and the other argues "stick with policy": whichever is most compelling.

If it's a C or D debate, I'll decide on framework first and then in round arguments, so if you run a neg case with T, Inh and a Kritik, you better argue some framework and compel me not to stick with policy. On the other hand, if you give me 4 DA's that all end in nuclear apocolypse, be prepared to defend against aff's "policymaking is a horrible paradigm" or "categorically reject nukes" framework argument.

Order of favorite arguments:
Ad's & Dissads

This wiki has lots of questions about judges views on T, Inh, K, CP's, etc, I think there are lots of good framework/theory arguments on both sides (e.g. CP's non-topical or competitive, T in round abuse or potential, does K need an alt?) the beauty of debate is that there are good persuasive arguments on both sides. Just like in a courtroom where there are (a) questions of law, and (b) questions of fact (e.g. (a) is burning a flag a form of speech, (b) did the defendant burn a flag) , so too a tabs judge shoud ask (a) what is the best interpretation of policy debate? and (b) under that interpretation should I affirm or negate the resolution?

As a practical matter I'll discolse that I haven't officially heard a kritik all year (though moral relativism, shunning and humanism could have been spun into K's) and have voted neg on T maybe 25% of the times I've heard it. Most judges either love or hate K. I'm in the middle, assuming you can explain why I should vote on K.

As a fundamentally Tabs judge, I am hungry for Framework. Imagine the debate started with the argment "policymaker is good". No warrant, no evidence, just three words. Nothing more than a very weak starting point for me to decide how to decide the debate.

As a final note for those of you who have made it this far. Games Player is strictly banned in WDCA. Wikipedia uses the definition "anything that is considered absurd in the real world". I think that is a pretty good definition. If you convince me that their adv, DA, K, T, CP, plan or other argument is absurd and link that to games player paradigm you might just have a good argument.

Additional Resources: I am generally a fan of John R. Prager's Introduction to Policy Debate ( and David Snowballs Theory and Practice In Academic Debate (htto://commfaculty/ My philosophy is largely derived from these texts. (ps. also perhaps the best resource on Kritiks out there!)