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    We’re glad you’re participating! To start with, read these FAQs. Please also click here to view the “Getting Started” page. It has everything you need to get familiar with what Ziggy is all about and how it works. Read it carefully! Repeated failure to follow the rules, or failure to follow multiple rules, may be grounds for temporary suspension.


    Yes! You can still do Ziggy even if you are new to debate. However, it may be helpful for you to do less rounds (during registration, you can choose which rounds you want to skip/opt out of in advance). There are 10 rounds in the Fall (one a week) and 8 in the Spring (one every two weeks), so it may be easier to skip a few or space them out. Just let us know when you register which rounds you want to skip. You should also check out the free resources below to learn more about what debate is like. It’ll definitely be easier once you and your student have watched some rounds and read up on the topic.

    “Team Policy” (TP) is a team of two vs two debating about a change to some government policy matter (examples include “The United States should significantly reform its criminal justice system,” and “The United States federal government should significantly reform its policy toward India.”). See the current topics here.

    “Lincoln Douglas” (LD) is one vs one debating about a philosophical topic (examples include “Competition is superior to cooperation as a means of achieving excellence” and “Governments have a moral obligation to assist other nations in need.”) See the current topics here.

    “Parliamentary debate” (Parli) is a team of two vs two debating about a current event topic that is given to them 20 minutes before the round starts.

    Isaac Sommers recommends new debaters start with TP because they have a partner and the concepts tend to be more concrete. If a student is older (16+), they may be ready to start off immediately with LD. Regardless of age, however, it is recommended that only students with at least 1 year of prior debate experience do Parli.

    See the order of speeches and speech times for each here.

    Yes! If you’re a parent, start by watching this Ziggy video on how to judge. Next, watch some videos of debate (the videos linked here are not property of Ziggy Online Debate and are publicly available on YouTube). See a video of NCFCA LD here, and a video of NCFCA TP here. Check out the final rounds for the Ace Peak x Ziggy Online Championships: NCFCA TP, NCFCA LD, Stoa TP, and Stoa LD.


    FREE RESOURCES. Click the links below to:

    PAID RESOURCES. You can purchase:

    Want to find a “debate club” near you?


    Yes. Each competitor needs to be registered individually, although you can make a single payment for the combined total ($30 in the Spring; or $30 in the Fall/$35 for late signup).

    Yes! You can sign up at any time during Ziggy, except for the Ziggy National Championships. In the Fall, after Early Signup closes, the price will increase to $35. In the Spring, there is no late fee ($30 no matter when you sign up). Just note that you will only be guaranteed to be assigned however many rounds are remaining in the tournament (i.e., if you sign up after Round 1 in the Spring, we’ll only be able to assign you Rounds 2–7 since that’s what is left).

    Yes. If you are still debating with different people to try out your partnership, that’s allowed. However, it’s a little more complicated: you will need to create a separate email account and register it for Ziggy as if it were a separate person so that your temporary partner can have an account to log into the tournament web app with. For placement purposes, we will take the top score of whoever you partnered with and use that as your final result.

    We accept Venmo, PayPal, and credit/debit cards. To pay, navigate to the bottom of our signup page.


    Skype, Google Hangouts, Google Meet, Discord, and Zoom are the preferred choice for many people, but any tool that allows for voice communication over the internet is permitted (telephone conference calls are also allowed, but do note that it’s more difficult to tell if someone drops from the call, so a internet calling app is recommended). Just make sure everyone is able to access the app you choose to use.

    There is no dress code. Since the debates take place online, there is no formal dress code. If you do choose to use video, be sure to dress appropriately.

    Yes! If competitors miss a debate, they are encouraged to reschedule. However, if future circumstances will not allow for rescheduling, send us an email beforehand and you can temporarily opt out for as long as necessary. Make sure to let us know by Saturday at noon before the round if you want to opt out. When you’re ready to rejoin, just let us know.

    Most Ziggy debaters don’t meet in person for their online TP rounds. Instead, debaters usually either chat with each other online, or call each other via cell phone and talk to each other during prep time that way (with the computer’s microphone muted, of course). Try out those methods and get a feel for what works best for you and your partner. If you’re new to debate, calling your partner on a cell phone to talk to them during prep time would probably be the best option.


    Debaters are required to start scheduling their rounds by Monday each week. If they haven’t replied to you, try contacting them via the phone number(s) included in your pairing page on the Ziggy Tournament Platform—text first, and then call. If you click their name, you can also see their parent’s phone number. If you still can’t contact them, contact us and let us know who your opponent is and that they haven’t replied. Please don’t wait until late in the week, as it may be harder to schedule the debate at that point. By letting us know early, we will be able to help you get in touch with your opponent.

    Give your judge several days to send you their ballot. If they haven’t submitted it after three days, send them a polite email asking if they have had a chance to complete your ballot. If you still don’t receive your ballot after contacting the judge, contact us.

    Per Rule 1, the Affirmative team is responsible for contacting the judge.


    For a Ziggy Semester Tournament, registered judges should expect to judge 4–5 rounds per student they have registered, although if you have a lot of students you will probably not need to judge a full 5 rounds. All judges are expected to do at least 4–5 rounds minimum, however, and parents with multiple debaters should expect to judge more than 5 rounds. Requirements will be different for a fast-paced or real-time tournament. Note that if you are not the assigned judge for a competitor, as in you an outside alumni, there is no judging quota.

    Yes, verbal feedback is allowed during Ziggy Semester Tournaments. We strongly encourage debaters to accept verbal feedback, and we encourage judges to give verbal feedback after the round if they’d like to.

    Per Rule 4, judges may request specific pieces of evidence that were read in the round. Judges may not request a complete copy of a case or of a brief.

    Yes. If you can’t find a judge on Ziggy, and you know someone else who would be available to judge, and if your opponent is okay with it, they can judge your round. You’ll need to contact registration@ziggyonlinedebate.com to make sure they’re registered on the tournament web app.

    Go to the Judge List to correct your judge information. When you find your name, click “edit.” If you don’t see your name on the judging list, contact us.

    Other Questions

    Yes. Results for the top 40% of competitors will be published on the Pairings page. Results will include overall ranking, and the same number of TP and LD speaker positions will also be posted. If you don’t want your ranking and speaker position published, let us know. Your total speaker points and win/loss record will never be publicly disclosed to anyone but you.

    Per Rule 10, internet usage is strongly discouraged. Judges may factor internet usage into their ballot if they desire.

    Per Rule 11, all debaters are expected to compete with the utmost courtesy and ethical conduct. This should be understood to mean that foul/vulgar language or abusive rhetoric is not permitted, and no violation of Ziggy Rules is permitted. In most cases, the judge will be the arbiter of disputes over rule violations, except as is necessary for Ziggy to intervene and make an official determination. Essentially, act in a manner that you would want to be treated (Matthew 7:12, The Bible).

    Anyone from any time zone may participate in Ziggy. The tournament web app will automatically show you the time zone that your account was set to when you signed up (but you can change it if need be).

    Yes. Some competitors sign up to do one or two extra rounds if necessary. However, you can also (currently) sign up for a complete extra set of debate rounds at no extra cost (free availability may change in the future depending on demand).

    From the perspective of the debater, it will appear as if you have two rounds per week. However, from the perspective of Ziggy, we will treat each of your registrations as separate: our tabulation program will show “Jane Smith” and “Jane Smith2” and each of those entries will be treated as a separate team. This means that you may hit the same opponents more than once because your duplicate team didn’t debate them.