Judge Philosophies

Alex Hall -- Utah State University


Amy Arellano -- Boise State University

I have both competitive experience and coaching experience. When I was in college I did NPDA and IPDA. As a coach, I have successfully coached students to attain national success in NPDA, IPDA, Public Forum and NFA-LD.

Overall I feel that debate is a game, other than the obvious rules of the game (time limits, speaker order, resolution) I feel the debaters set the tone for the debate. I am a critical judge that prefers to hear K's or projects. While this is my preference, I can act as a policy maker if this is what you need me to do. Give me voters, do not make me decide what is important, it may cost you the round. Also give me structure, if you do not number your arguments separately than I am okay with your opponent collapsing your six arguments into one. Remember to signpost, it is important. Debaters should remember that I am not voting for good positions; I am voting for good arguments. A superior position is nothing if it does not take advantage of the superior arguments that make it a superior position. To win my ballot, out-impact your opponent. Impacts may be ideological or real world. It is a lack of weighing impacts that usually forces judge intervention. If you do the work for me, I won’t have to do it on my own.

I do not like to intervene as a judge; this means that it is your responsibility to give me everything I need to vote for you so that I am not forced to fill in gaps or assumptions. If you want me to vote on topicality, tell me why I should vote on topicality. If you tell me that your position has more advantages, tell me why this means you should win. If this isn’t done, I will resort to whatever decision criteria is advocated in the debate or impose one of my own if no such criteria is offered.


I have no problem voting on topicality or on critical arguments, but they must be structured. If your opponents are forcing either of these positions you must explain why your stance does not bite topicality or the critical argument, because it doesn’t is not sufficient argumentation. I HATE POSITIONS THAT ARE JUST TIME SKEWS. If your opponent fails to structure the topicality or critical argument, point that out, give me an RVI and move on, I will not vote on the issue if it is not structured.

The Flow: A dropped argument means nothing if you don’t tell me why it matters. Weigh it for me. I won’t vote for you just because the other team dropped arguments. Also, two or three well developed strong arguments are better than ten undeveloped arguments.

Debate as a Forum of Communication: Being rude is not acceptable; play nice or I will dock your speaker points. I am average when it comes to my acceptance threshold of speed. I have grown tired of judging debates where a team simply out spreads their opponents. Please do not use speed as a weapon within the debate space. If you are going to fast I will give you two "clear" warnings before it impacts you in round. When speed comes into conflict with clarity, I always prefer clarity.

Andrea Ruiz -- California State University Fullerton


Averie Vockel -- University of Utah


Bob Becker -- Northwest College

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

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

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

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

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

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

Braden Hooton (Hired) -- University of Utah

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

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

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

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

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


General Information:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brittany Hubble -- El Camino College


Do what you want and make the debate space fun and educational. Don't be petty. Don't lie. Don't abuse flex time.  


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


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

Case Debate:

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


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


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


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


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

Identity Arguments:

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


I think theory is a great tool for both the aff and neg to secure ground in the debate and explain why certain arguments should be excluded from a debate. Your argument should have impacts! Donâ??t just say it is bad for education or fairness then move on. You should also have counterinterps, reasons to prefer, offense, etc. against theory to win. 


Speed is fine but please be clear. I donâ??t see how it is beneficial for making arguments that only your partner can hear and understand. I also believe the round should be accessible and you should respect a clear. There is nothing impressive about being a bully and spreading someone out of a round after they have repeatedly asked you to slow down. You should probably be able to win without it. Otherwise, I should have no problem flowing you and think speed should be used as a tool to make a lot of good arguments. 

Defending the Topic:

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

Speaker Points:

If you can do the above well, you will probably receive good speaker points from me. I tend to believe speaker points are arbitrary and tend to awards speaker points on the higher side. That being said, I reserve the right to punish teams for egregious behavior by deducting speaks.


Be organized and sign post. Donâ??t assume you want me to apply arguments in specific places without being told to. I have pretty apparent nonverbals and you can usually tell if I think your argument is bad. You should probably use that to your advantage and move on. Read plan texts, advocacies, interpretations, counterinterps, role of the ballots, etc. twice and give a copy to your opponents if they want one. I prefer policy debate over value debate and think you can discuss the same arguments in a policy round more effectively. Overall, I think you should have fun with the debate and make it fun for everyone. I am open to answering questions to clarify anything or regarding specifics that may relate to your round. 

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

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

CJ Geiger (Hired) -- University of Utah


Casandra Malcolm -- Mercer University


Generally, I tend to vote up a few good arguments over a lot of mediocre ones, so try to focus on the points you think are good rather than spreading 50 arguments to try and trick the other team into dropping something.

In terms of K debates, I love them, I ran performance Ks for 4 years, but I have seen a lot of bad ones. I still require clear impacts and solvency mechanisms; I try not to just vote for things that sound true or sound impressive. Also, while I've read theory, I may not have read your theory specifically, so try to explain your theoretical basis well. If I don't get why you're doing something, it's gonna be hard to vote you up.

In a traditional policy debate round, I like to see very clear impacts, solvency mechanisms and weighing at the end of the round. I've always said "The less I have to think the better off you'll be". Make things clear, and tell me why you should win. I hate having to do your job for you after the round has ended.

Theory arguments, especially T, are obviously something I'll vote for if they're argued well, but I think are generally easy to win on if the other team is good, especially the generic ones. If your T is "they didn't give a policy plan text" with no other explanation I can't imagine voting it up if the other team is at all competent. If you're a pure theory team that tries to win on technicalities, I'm probably not the judge for you, although I've seen some very interesting T's in my time.

I try to be as "tabula rasa" as possible, but there are certain things I would be hard pressed to vote for. If you're trying to convince me "genocide good actually" or something like that, it's probably not going to work. I can't see myself voting up oppression good arguments because you had a witty framework. if you're trying to be edgy to catch people off guard, I'm probably not the judge for you.


I don't like spreading but I can generally understand it as long as your annunciation is good. Again, I'm more likely to vote up a team that can defend three good arguments than a team that tries not to have to defend 50 arguments, so spreading will likely hurt you anyway. I will certainly remove speaker points for those who cannot condense their points to a reasonable speed.

In partner interactions, I don't mind you talking, but if I hear the team not currently speaking over the team that is I will count that against you in speaker points. You can speak to your partner during their speech, but try not to speak over them--I only flow what the person speaking says. I prefer paper passing but I understand that can be hard to do in a stressful round. Don't get excessive with partner speak and I'm all good.

If you have any other questions my email is ccapy1297@gmail.com " and I'll totally answer them. If you'd rather ask before the round starts, that's cool too as long as it's not excessive.

Claudia Boyd -- The University of Texas at El Paso


Collette Blumer -- California State University Fullerton


Devon Cantwell (Hired) -- University of Utah

Note: This is my first time judging NPDA as I typically judge Policy.

** Updated for 2018-2019 Topic**


General Background: I’ve been in the world of policy debate for about 12 years, ranging from participation to coaching. Way back in the day, I debated at both Topeka High and Washburn Rural HS. I also debated in the regional circuit for University of Kansas for a few years and coached in Kansas, Alabama, and Mississippi. I have a deep love for the activity. I am currently working on a Ph.D. in Political Science and study immigration surveillance as part of my research.

Topicality/Procedural Issues: I vote on these. While I default to competing interpretations, it's important that you are answering all levels of the argument-- including the impact level of the debate. If you are negative and hope to win the round on T, you need to make sure you have a complete argument out of the gate to vote on. I should see a definition, interp, link, and impact level to your argument and I should see the aff responding to these. Cross apply this to any procedural argument as well (such as ASPEC, condo bad, etc.)

Disads- There needs to be a terminal impact (or at least solid analysis as to why that impact outweighs aff impacts in the round), a risk/okay probability of the disad happening (otherwise, why does your UQ matter?), and a plausible link to the aff. Generic DAs are fine, but there needs to be a plausible link, even if just at an analytical level.

Counterplans-- I tend to be alright with CPs and lean negative. I think most are generally smart. However, that being said, the CP needs to be both rhetorically and functionally competitive. I think Affs can/should be held accountable for clarifications made on positions and that those links apply across both CP and DA grounds.

Kritiks-- I'm fine with these, however, keep in mind that I am studying political theory in a Ph.D. program, so if your whole knowledge of your K is from a long series of back files on the K or from reading a few paragraphs of Nietzsche, this might end badly for you. I tend to prefer Ks with wider reach (capitalism, feminism, racism, etc) and less so Ks of particular authors, mostly because they are generally done poorly. If you run a K, it is EXTREMELY important that you provide a clear narrative of a) the role of my ballot, b) the world of the alternative, and c) how I should prioritize impact calculus in the round.

General Notes:

- If you are going for more than 2 major things in your 2NR/2AR, there is a low chance you are going to win the round. Similarly, if you don't provide an impact calculus, you likely will not like the decision I make at the end of the round.

- Negative strategy-- there needs to be some sort of offense in the round. A defensive strategic approach has rarely won my ballot.

- Please don't be unpleasant during the round. I can almost guarantee that if you are, it's not aligned with the quality of your argumentation and it's just going to be a long round. For me this looks more like arrogance or intentional cruelness-- I'm fine with bluntness, anger, frustration, etc. If you are unsure what I mean by this, please ask.

- I pay attention to the rhetoric used in the round. Slurs and derogatory language will almost assuredly earn you lower speaker points.

- Both teams should start impact calc early, use this to frame your speeches and line by line, and use impact calc to prioritize voting issues and role of the ballot.

- I reward debaters who make an effort to deeply engage with the topic area and issues.

- Squirrel affs are rarely good affs. They generally have poor structure, poor solvency or advantage foundations, and generate poor debate. I would rather see a super mainstream topic that prompts a lot of clash in the round than an aff that is poorly written for an ambush factor.

- In more policy centered debates, I may err more on the tech aspect of the debate. In other cases, I may give some leniency on tech if the arguments are "true" (understanding that truth can be a subjective value).

- I'm starting to realize through my working social justice that I'm more easily effected by detailed narratives of sexism, racism, ableism (esp. invisible disabilities), and sexual assault. Trigger warnings aren't very helpful for me as a judge (I don't have a choice to opt out of them and I don't think that I would want to) but know that I may ask for a minute to just breathe or get some water between speeches, so I can have a clear head for the next speaker, if there is a particularly vivid or powerful speech. This is by no means a common thing that I do, but I did want to add this to affirm the value of self-care in this activity.

- Add me to the email chain: devon.cantwell@gmail.com

- I flow on my computer, so please make sure you take a beat at the top of flows before jumping in and please slow down to about 70% for analytical arguments, especially if they are fewer than 5 words. I have physical pain with my joints, especially at the ends of long days of judging. This doesn't make my abilities to assess your arguments any less, nor does it impact my competency. I will do my best to say "slow" if my joints can't keep up.

- If you think you might want my flow of the round, I'm happy to send it. Please try to give me a heads up before the round starts, as I organize my flows a bit differently when they are being distributed.

TL;DR: You do you. Have fun. Be a decent human in the round. Learn some things.

Erika Portillo -- EPCC


Grant Tovmasian -- Rio Hondo Community College

The most important criteria for me is fairness. I will avoid interceding on any one's behalf up to a point.  Please remember that although I approach the round as impartial as I can, that does not negate the truth, I still am aware which country I live in and who is the president and killing puppies is wrong (also kicking them, and just violence in general, I frown upon)

I expect all debaters to remain cordial and professional throughout the round. The decorum is important so as not to isolate or offend any student. Debate albeit adversarial in nature should be based on arguments and not a personal attack and as such, each student should perceive this as a safe place to express ideas and arguments. I prefer good on case argumentation over near useless procedural that are simply run in order to avoid on case thorough analysis. As such I am a believer that presentation and sound argumentation is critical towards establishing one's position. DA vs Advantages. CP vs Plan are all sound strategies and I hope students will use them.Ã? Ã? If you are running a CP please make sure to explain its status, especially if you are to claim dispositional (EXPLAIN) If permutation can happen in the real world it can happen in a debate round. Please call Points of Order and 95% of the time I will respond with (point well taken, point not well taken) That aside, I am open to any line of argumentation as long as it is complete. Example: I will not do your work for you, no link no argument, no impact no argument, no warrant NO ARGUMENT PERIOD.

I firmly believe that speed kills, as such the first team that uses it as an offensive or defensive tactic will get a loss in that round. Critics, i.e. K are to be run only when one or the other side believes that it is more important than whatever else is happening and is directly connected to either the actions of the other team or resolution in it of itself. As such, they should be willing to commit to it wholeheartedly and most important at the top of everything. For example, if you truly believe that the other team is promoting cultural genocide, seriously do not speak to me about agricultural benefits or disadvantages of the plan first, because then I think you cheapen both the critique and your whole line of argumentation.

I want to hear fun, constructive and polite debates. 

Have fun and let the best team win. (I always prefer cordial and educational rounds with elements of quick wit and persuasive argumentation over Nuclear Holocaust, which I really do not care for, especially when it results because of US not buying used car parts from Uruguay.)

Harry Schulte -- EPCC


J Y -- California State University Fullerton


Jason Jordan -- University of Utah

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

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

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


Jeannie Hunt -- Northwest College

I want to be able to judge the round with no intervention on my part.  That means a couple of things.  You need to establish a framework that I can follow to evaluate the round.  I don’t care what that framework is, but I want one – policy making, critical, big picture, etc.  That framework is what I will follow, so please don’t set the round up as a stock round, and then ask me to look at the big picture at the end.  More importantly, give me something to look at in the end.  I would love to hear some impact analysis, some reasons to prefer, something tangible for me to vote on.  Absent that, I have to intervene. 


There are no specific arguments that I prefer over another.  I will vote on pretty much anything, and I am game for pretty much anything.  I do expect that you will not subject yourself to performative contradictions.  If you run a k, you should be willing to live in the round with the same k standards you are asking us to think about.  However, it is the job of the opposing team to point that out…  This is true of any theory based argument you choose to run.  I am old, which means that I think the 1AC is important.  If you are not going to address it after the 1AC, let me know so I don’t have to spend time flowing it.


Critical rounds invite the judge to be a part of the debate, and they bring with them a set of ethics and morals that are subjective.  I love critical debate, but competitors need to be aware that the debate ceases to be completely objective when the judge is invited into the discussion with a K.  Make sure the framework is very specific so I don’t have to abandon objectivity all together.


Finally, make your own arguments.  If you are speaking for, or allowing your partner to speak for you, I am not flowing it. It should be your argument, not a regurgitation of what your partner said three seconds ago.  Prompting someone with a statement like, “go to the DA” is fine.  Making an argument that is then repeated is not.


Delivery styles are much less important to me than the quality of the argument, but that doesn’t mean you should have no style.  You should be clear, structured and polite to everyone in the round (including your partner if it is team).  You can at least take your hat off and tuck your shirt in. Having a bad attitude is as bad as having a bad argument.  Speed is not a problem if it is clear.


Because I don’t want to intervene, I don’t appreciate points of order.  You are asking me to evaluate the worth of an argument, which skews the round in at least a small way.  Additionally, I think I flow pretty well, and I know I shouldn’t vote on new arguments.  I won’t.  If you feel particularly abused in the round, and need to make a point of some sort, you can, but as a strategy to annoy the other team, or me, it is ill advised. 

Jen Montgomery -- California State University Fullerton


Jeremy Hutchins -- Texas State University

I’ve been involved in competitive forensics in one way or another for 30 years. I competed primarily in pre-merger CEDA and have coached CEDA/NDT, NPDA, IPDA, BP, and NFA LD at various points during that time.

I don’t think I’m absolutely ideologically opposed to any particular type or form of argument. 

I’m probably a bit behind the times in terms of theory. 

Topicality: I think the topic matters. I’m more open to discussions about how it matters or what role it plays in the debate but, in my opinion, the proposition is a critical stasis point that encourages argumentative clash. I don’t have a good answer for what my threshold on topicality is. I think it’s a viable check for the negative. However, if the affirmative interpretation is reasonable, I probably wouldn’t spend much time on T. If you don’t think the affirmative interpretation is reasonable, you should spend time explaining and comparing implications of the competing interpretations.

Critical Arguments: Link work is critical. I’m more flexible in terms of alternatives. Explanation is important. Don’t assume that I’m familiar with the esoteric literature base that your argument is grounded in. I’m a fan of performative consistency.

Counterplans: The opp should invest time in explaining and applying standards for competition. The gov should do the same with permutations and relevant theory. Because participants often take those theory debates for granted and make assumptions about what is known, agreed upon, and understood, I tend to prefer substantive debates on counterplans.

I also have some stylistic preferences.

I like judging debates when I can keep up and when I feel like I’m in the loop. I haven’t been in a lot of fast or highly technical debates in a while. Plus, I never had the best flow. So, you’ll probably want to slow down and give me pen time. 

I enjoy debates when there is a clear and well justified framework for how arguments interact with each other and, as a result, should be evaluated. My default is to put procedural questions first, critical questions second, and policy questions third. The lines between those are sometimes blurry. Feel free to make arguments that would rearrange that hierarchy or, assuming you have an alternative, that suggest those categories are outdated, arbitrary, exclusionary, etc.

I like listening to debaters who see the big picture and are able to figure out which arguments matter and which ones don’t. Make smart choices. World building and comparison is appreciated.

I don’t have fun judging when arguments are underdeveloped or lack explanation, when you assume that I’m going to do work for you, when you assume that we’re all on the same page about some theoretical precept, when you make ten blippy claims when two or three well developed arguments will do, when you throw everything at the wall and expect me to figure out what sticks, when you continue to talk about an argument even though I’ve turned that page over and  haven’t been flowing for a minute. 

I don’t like watching debates where participants are smug, rude, overly aggressive, dismissive, mean, etc.

Jesse Hedin (Hired) -- University of Utah

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

Joe Anderson -- East Los Angeles College


Joseph Evans -- El Camino College

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Katelyn Brooks (Hired) -- University of Utah


Kayla Griffin -- Weber State University


Kelly Hutchison -- University of the Pacific

Read what ever you want, I am willing to listen to any argument, critical or topical affs. I like framework arguments, but make sure that they have impacts and flush them out. I won�¢??t do extra work for you, that means you need to make extensions. Please make sure that you have evidence to back up your claims, and then give analysis. Debates without evidence are boring and not as educational.

Kourtney Maison -- University of Utah

Kyle Cheesewright -- The College of Idaho

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew Minnich -- EPCC


Melissa de Leon -- California State University, Los Angeles


Patricia Hughes -- Rio Hondo Community College

When weighing a round, I look first at stock issues, then weigh the clash on the advantage vs disadvantage, using the judging criteria. I like clear analysis of the functionality of each position (plan/counter plan/advantage/disadvantage). Simply put, explain how your warrants lead to your impacts on the advantage/disadvantage. Also explain how your impacts happen, and what your impacts mean. Terminalize, but only use nuclear war or mass extinction if it is actually warranted. On plan/counter plan, explain each plank, how the plan functions (works), and how it is going to solve the issue at hand. Fiat is not clear analysis. Counter plans should have a clear explanation of mutual exclusivity. Permutations should have a new plan text with both plan and counter plan, with an explanation of how they work together. I also have a soft spot for clearly articulated significance arguments. Also, make sure to call out points of order.

� � � � � � � � � � �  When it comes to theory arguments, use them sparingly. Procedurals are useful tools when stock issues are not met by Aff. Call topicalities and trichotomies when the Aff is not upholding their prima facia burdens. Do not run procedurals as a time skew tactic, or as an argument used in every round. I take the rules of debate seriously. Abusing these arguments will not end well for you. When running a procedural, I am looking for clear articulation of the violation, standards, and impacted voters; as well as counter definitions. I do consider RVI arguments; however, they should include counter standards and voters.

I am not a fan of Kâ??s; however, this is your round. If you choose to run a K, make sure you are able to clearly explain the theory, the roll of the ballot/alt, and clearly define what ground the other team has within the round. If I find the K to be exclusionary of the other team, I will vote against it. There should also be a clear link to the K and the resolution. Also, make sure not to bite into your own K. I judge Kâ??s harshly due to their nature of calling precedence in a round. For Kâ??s that are completely off topic from the resolution, I will highly consider arguments of disclosure; however, you do still need to interact with the K to the best of your ability.� 

� � � � � � � � � � �  I have a moderate tolerance for speed; however, I am not a fan of it. I like clear and articulate arguments. I believe speed is a useless tool that is irrelevant to everyday life. Again, this is your round. Before the round begins, I will ask if both teams agree to spread. If there is not an agreement, I will drop the first team to spread. If there is an agreement, be forewarned, if I put my pen down, I can no longer understand your arguments. I pay close attention to calls of slow/clear/speed. If any of the above are called, and the teams it is called against does not slow or improve articulation, they will be dropped. � 

While I understand the beast of competition, there is no need to be rude. I will vote down a team if they are exceptionally rude or condescending. There is no need to belittle the other team; it does not prove your intelligence. Bullying is unacceptable and poor sportsmanlike.� 

Paul Villa -- University of the Pacific

The metaphor of the highway patrol: On top of being an educator and decision making robot, I think part of my job as a judge is refereeing but I try to perform that function like a member of the highway patrol. If you are driving 70 in a 65 and no one calls to complain about your driving making them unsafe I am probably going to let you drive along. If you are going 95 in a 65 and I deem that as a clear and present danger to the drivers you share the road with, I will likely feel obligated to get involved. Most of the time that will probably just result in a warning or fix-it ticket unless something particularly egregious occurs. Drive approximately the speed of traffic and recognize that you share this road with a variety of people with different backgrounds, abilities, and experiences that might inform how they approach their travels.

Actual Debate Philosophy Stuff: In an ideal world I believe the Aff should be topical and the Neg should be unconditional. Iâ??m partial to defense and think it can absolutely be terminal. I vote on kritiks as long as I understand them and especially their solvency mechanism and mutual exclusivity. I am not comfortable judging on the basis of your identity or anyone elseâ??s. I am more likely to have your arguments if you go 85% of your top speed. The PMR should be small, the LoR should be pre-emptive. I will do my best to protect from new arguments in the rebuttals. Most RVIâ??s are dumb. If the format has rules I take them seriously but assuming neither side cares about those rules I am willing to just let the competitors play. I think you introducing a performance into the round and straying away from â??traditionalâ? debate invites me to make my decision on the basis of whether that performance was particularly compelling or cool.

Sarah Partlow Lefevre -- Idaho State University


Sarah Hinkle -- Colorado College

I mostly live in the world of IEs (read: 20 years of either competing or coaching) but have moderate experience training in Worlds and IPDA-style debate.


I like speakers who are fair and balanced: Ethics, Argumentation, Strategy, and Style.

Construct your case carefully with well-developed arguments. Build a foundation with clean definitions. Create values/criteria so I know how to weigh out the evidence. Provide Impacts and explain how you get there. I want a lively debate with good clash.  Be well-versed in the topic while implementing high quality and recent research. Respect each other.

By the end of the debate, I should be able to clearly understand the significance of your position to the resolution.

I tend to prefer argumentation to be grounded somewhat in the real world and prefer depth rather than rattling off a list of contentions. Tell me a story. Paint a picture. Speakers who effectively demonstrate why an issue is significant and/or relevant are building strong ethos. I want to be as involved as possible.

Have fun and ignore my non-verbals! I tend to look surly but that's just my face. J


Steven Farias -- University of the Pacific


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

TLDR Version: I am okay with whatever you choose to read in the debate, I care more about your justifications and what you as the debaters decide in round; however, theory I generally have a high threshold for voting on theory 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 dont ALL get on my flow. I am unafraid to miss them and just say I didnt 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

K debate- 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 Ks 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. 

 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 doesnt 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- CPs 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 (Ts and Specs). Then I look for counter advocacies and weigh competing advocacies (Ks and Alts or CPs 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.

Taylor Johnson (Hired) -- University of Utah


Update for Great Salt Lake 2019:

This is the only tournament I've judged on this topic. Now more than ever, don't assume I know what your acronym means or have any knowledge about the intricacies of specific policies. I've been in grad school world not paying attention to debate for the last year and know zero things about this topic. I'm still happy to listen to your ticky-tacky interp on T, but you need to spend extra time explaining what every part of that interp means and what it looks like in practice (this is good advice in general, but is especially important in front of me here).

Quick overview in case you're reading before a round:

- debated 4 years high school debate, Marshfield Missouri (Africa through Military engagement)
- debated University of Central Florida , 3 years (MENA through War Powers)

- Coached James Madison University, 2 years (military presence through climate policy)

I like well-explained, smart arguments. I would rather hear you explain something well with good examples than read a ton of cards that all say the same thing. I'll stick as close to the flow as I can and judge the debate based on how the debaters tell me to judge.

Please add me to the email chain. tayjdebater@gmail.com

Most debaters would benefit from slowing down by about 20%. Not because speed is bad, but because few debaters are actually clear enough for the average judge to get a good flow when you're going at 100% speed.

I tend to prioritize solvency/links first when evaluating a debate. I think it's totally possible to win zero risk of an impact and I'm definitely willing to vote on presumption.

Examples, examples, examples. If you take one thing away from my paradigm, it is that I like to be given examples. What does your theory look like in practice? What kinds of plans are included/excluded under your T interp? Etc.

More detailed if you are reading this for prefs:

I'm mostly out of debate at this point, but when I was competing I could be described as a mostly soft left debater. I'm open to any kind of argument you want to make, but I'm much more versed in critical arguments and framework than super detailed disad/counterplan debates. That being said, if your K/aff relies on a bunch of high theory you should assume that I don't know many (or any) of the specifics of your authors/theories and explain them clearly to me. Even if I do know the literature, I don't want to fill in those gaps for you. Put in the work.

Claims alone are not arguments. They are assertions. I will prioritize arguments with warrants over claims without warrants. I tend to reward debaters that do the work to explain and compare over debaters who throw claims at the wall and wait to see what sticks.

I generally prefer to minimize the amount of evidence I call for after the round. If you haven't extended the warrant in your card, but have just given me an author name and a claim, I will likely not call for the card to find the warrant for you after the round, especially if the other team is extending warranted answers to that card.
I like it when people tell me how they want me to read evidence. If you tell me to call for a card/star it/circle it, or to maintain a particular mindset when evaluating something, I'll do my best to think in that mindset when making my decision.

Most of the time, I would rather hear you do a good job extending a card from the 1ac/1nc and explaining why the warrants of that card overcome the other team's evidence than hear a new card. That's not to say you shouldn't ever read new evidence later in the debate, but you should know the evidence from your earlier speeches well enough not to just read a new card that says the same thing as the card you already read. You read the evidence you read for a reason. Use it!

Paperless debate: I am a fan of paperless. I think it makes debate more accessible by making travel more affordable and reducing space issues when taking teams to tournaments. However, there are several issues that come with the transition that can easily trigger my anger toward you.
- I won’t time saving a document and ejecting your flash drive as a part of prep unless I feel that prep stealing is becoming an issue. However, don’t take advantage of my generosity on this issue. You will lose speaker points if I notice that you’re consistently prepping after the timer has stopped. I'll also probably yell at you and start timing you flashing.
- Make sure the other team has a way to view your speeches. If the other team is papered and needs a viewing computer, provide one. That’s part of the responsibility you accept when you make the transition.
- Don’t read ahead in your opponent’s speech. I shouldn’t need to tell you this. If I see you doing this, I will dock your speaks.
- Have a backup plan for computer crashes. It is not a question of if you will have a tech problem, but rather when.Save your speeches in dropbox or on your partner’s computer so that if your computer crashes you can read from theirs. Remember that every minute you spend trying to deal with a computer that shut down during your speech is a minute cut out of my decision time. I have little tolerance for making the round or the tournament run late because you had a technical problem.
- Don’t speak directly into your computer screen or ignore the flow just because you have a speech document that you’re reading from. If I can’t hear you, I can’t flow, and if you’re not telling me where to flow the arguments you’re making, I’m unlikely to follow the intricacies of the debate as well as I do when things are clearly labeled and signposting is prevalent.

Speaker Points:

Things that will improve your speaker points in front of me:

-Telling me how you want me to read the evidence

-Being particularly clear. I would rather hear someone who is relatively slow but clear and efficient over someone lightning fast but unclear any day.

-Being funny/entertaining

Things that will hurt your points with me:

-Being a jerk. It's not necessary to be condescending or rude to your opponents. Doing so will piss me off. (note that there's a distinction between being snarky/funny and being an ass. If you don't know where the line between the two is, snark probably isn't the best strategy for you to use)

-Sexist/racist/ableist/etc language

My speaker point scale (stolen from Justin Green's post on the CEDA forums a few years ago):

29.2 or above - you blew my mind/I want to thank you for your performance...You deserve top 3 speakers
29-29.2 - Performance in this round was top-5 worthy
28.8-28.9 - top-10 worthy 
28.6-28.7 - Decent doubles/Octos speech
28.4-28.5 - Good break-round/doubles performance 
28.3 - You should be on the top side of the bubble for breaking, but not by much
28.1-28 - This was a top 50 team at the tournament ranking, but you likely miss clearing
27.8-27.9 - Solid effort - continue the quality of speeches and one will likely finish at a 3-5 or 4-4 
27.6-27.7 - Solid effort - continue the quality of speeches and one will likely finish at a 2-6 or 3-5
27.5 - Solid Effort - I like your attitude, you have a lot of elements to improve.
Below a 27.5 - Some major element of speaking was missing (only read blocks), was extremely unclear or behaved in a way that did not demonstrate respect for the people in the room.

T/Framework: If there’s an agreed-upon lens through which the teams think I should view the debate, that’s how I’ll evaluate the round. Otherwise, there are a few things I’m looking for in a framework debate:

I view framework first and foremost as a debate about how I should weigh impacts. For me, that means you should devote time to explaining why I should weigh your neoliberal pedagogy bad impact before I look at the other team’s global warming causes extinction story, or vice-versa. If the other team is doing this and you are not, I’m going to evaluate the debate through their lens.
- I’m unlikely to grant you that the neg doesn’t get kritiks. If that’s the view of debate you’re advocating, you’re going to have to give me some pretty good reasons that they keep you from being able to debate. I’m much more persuaded by arguments that you should get to weigh the aff against the K, or that their specific role of the ballot is unsustainable.

- Two most important things to me in a framework/T debate:

1. Topical version of the aff. Any decent K team should be able to convince me that there's at least some benefit to discussing the things they discuss. The TVA is the best way to overcome this DA to your interp.

2. (and related to #1) Clear descriptions of what your interpretation includes/excludes (this is key for both sides). I want a clear vision of what an acceptable debate looks like in your world and what the advantages of that version of debate are in comparison with what their version of debate looks like.

- While I don’t really believe the affirmative must provide a topical plan text to make debate fair, I prefer affirmatives that have a clear tie to the topic. This is not to say I can't be convinced that there are discussions that need to happen before we can talk about the resolution, but generally I think that talking about the topic in some way is probably good. That said, I’m much more willing to listen to “the aff must provide a specific example of what their case looks like in action,” or “the aff must be resolutional (they must in some way be about the resolution),” than “the aff must role play the USFG doing a topical policy action.” If the latter is what you do, do it. But do it well.

-I think education is probably the most important impact in a framework debate. If you can explain to me why your version of debate is more educational or provides better/more topic-focused education, you're on the right track with me. (This is not to say that I'm unwilling to weigh impacts differently, but my predisposition if no one puts in the work to convince me otherwise is to evaluate education most heavily)

Slow down in T and theory debates and give me a chance to flow. If I can’t get your five reasons to prefer down before you move on to the next off, you’ve put yourself in a difficult position.

CP/Disad debates:

I like specificity. I'm much happier watching a debate where you read a well-researched, specific CP written specifically to answer the aff than a generic states or consult CP. Same goes for DAs - I would rather listen to a topic DA than politics.

You should be clear about how your CP is executed. If you read “consult the public,” but can’t tell me how the consultation process happens in your world, the aff is going to have a pretty easy time winning a solvency deficit.

I love a good case debate. More people should devote effort to getting into the details of how the aff works and picking the plan/advantages apart bit by bit.

- On the aff: I prefer you have a tie to the resolution. I like affs that provide a parametricized advocacy as a point of stasis for the debate. Without a clearly defined departure from the status quo, I’m not sure how the debate functions. That doesn’t mean you have to read a topical plan text, but it does mean you should tell me what kind of discussion of the topic your aff uniquely provides, and how your performance, advocacy, etc. deals with the issues you present.
- On the neg: The more specific your link, the better. Links of omission will not get you far.
- For everyone: I like theories that are firmly rooted in reality (examples of this that I am inclined to read include gender/class/race-based arguments. This doesn't mean I'll automatically vote for these arguments, but I understand them and know their literature better than most of the high theory Ks that are in vogue right now.) I’m unlikely to be well-versed in your high theory literature, so if you can give me concrete examples of how your link story and alt play out, I’ll follow the debate much better. I’ve read some Derrida and Foucault, but I don’t spend my time reading critical theory. Explain your argument as concretely as possible. If the only explanation of the alt you give me is “we’ll rethink thinking,” I’m unlikely to understand how that solves anything.

Teancum Hale -- Utah State University


Trenton Wood -- Utah State University


Vasile Stanescu -- Mercer University

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

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

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

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

Victor Torres III -- Colorado College

I have competed in Speech and Debate in college as well as coached it at my Alma Mater. I am very familiar with the IE side of things; however, I can hold my own in comprehension and analysis of debate arguments.

I expect you to tell me where we are and how to vote. I will watch time, but I prefer you to time yourselves in case I am flowing. I would also appreciate if the burdens were introduced early in the debate (e.g., criteria, key values, decision-rules, framework-type arguments, moral imperatives, and etc.). I would lastly emphasize the importance of a clear impact analysis. Be clear on your positions and be careful to present it in a clear an organized fashion that is easy for me to digest.

With regards to critical arguments, I need you as the debater to explain to me how your argument impacts the round. These points are important for me to see in your argument: be sure to explain your view of the world and of your own argument, link to some sort of advocacy for the other team and offer a constructive solution. I support critics that offer solutions to the problems they bring up.

Performance debate arguments are fine; however, I need to see that you have clear framework on how I should vote. I like to know the role of the ballot and why I should vote the way I should.

I do not have much experience as a debate judge so be careful with the technical finer points of your debate strategy. Also please be aware of your speed. I am fine with you speaking fast; however, please be cognizant that I may not be able to flow that fast. If there is some point or argument topic that you would like me to write down, please repeat it so that I have the signal â??Oh that is importantâ? and then will write it down. Be sure to speak clearly, annunciate, and have fun.

Zach Myers -- Utah State University