Judge Philosophies

Alexander Cadena -- Rio Hondo Community College

Background Information:

I have 4 years debate experience in Parli. I competed at Rio Hondo Community College in NPDA and IPDA then transferred to the University of Utah and competed in NPDA and IEs. I have experience judging policy while I was in graduate school. This is my third year of coaching forensics. I enjoy the spirit of this event and I am hoping to do so for more years to come.

How I evaluate rounds:

I find clarity important, make it clear what your argument is and how your impacts are the most important in the round. I like filled and completed arguments. Do you have Uniqueness, Links, Internal Links, and Impacts? I would like Plan texts and CPs to be stated twice. In the rebuttals, tell me what arguments to vote on and why they have greater importance than your opponent's arguments.

If you are running a K, please state the Roll of the Ballot and Alternative twice, it helps me get it down precisely as well as the opposing team. If your K is highly technical, please explain and articulate your argument. For the times when it is K v.s. K debates, (I will question my life choices) I will try to vote on the most articulated position that is flushed out in the rebuttals. I am not a fan of spread. If competitors ask how I feel about spread, I will say â??Its hurts my head.â?

Topicality â?? Theory â?? Procedurals, great! I expect all important aspect of the T-shell to be there. Do not expect me to fill in the â??blipsâ?? of your standards and impacts. Iâ??m not the biggest fan of multiple theory shells that get kicked in the block. Iâ??ve been persuaded by a compelling RVI against that tactic in the past. (They made pretty smart argument which had no response.)

Some other comments:

Debate is an animal that can bring out a lot of different emotions, please remember that you are competing against humans and treat each other as such. There is no need to reduce our humanity to â??win a ballot.â? If you donâ??t care how you win and are willing to treat your opponents poorly. Please strike me, I will not be a critic you want in the back of the room. POIâ??s are good, and remember to call out POOs in the rebuttals. 

P.S. Flex-Time is NOT a designated CX period. There are still POI allowed in speech time, I am not a fan of this social norm where questions are only allowed in-between speeches! Also if you have time before your speeches, you should be pretty close to speaking by the time FLEX ends!

Andy Orr -- College Of Southern Idaho


Collette Blumer -- California State University Fullerton


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.  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.)           

Jen Montgomery -- California State University Fullerton


Joe Sindicich -- California State University Fullerton


John Rief -- Metropolitan State University of Denver


Kelly Hutchison -- University of the Pacific


Mark Wasden -- College Of Southern Idaho


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

TLDR: I prefer you not reject the topic. Don't go top speed, I have carpal tunnel and value my wrists health over having your 9th warrant on my flow. I have a lower threshold for framework, condo, and T than most judges. I demand you attempt to be accommodating of the other team's needs. If you have any questions about my philosophy feel free to email me at paulyycat@gmail as I will always try to check my email during the lead up to rounds as well as my Facebook so feel free to add me.

I debated on the collegiate circuit starting in 2013. I have extensive experience in Parli and LD competing at the University of the Pacific and briefly competed in Policy at SFSU.

Things to know up front: I am going to be completely honest, I can hang but I don't want to. I spent years having to listen to people ignore the topic and run nonsense kritiks spread at me at the speed of light and in my old age have decided I am no longer interested in doing so whether that be on the aff or the neg. It is my belief that one of the most fundamental parts of debate is being given a topic and being arbitrarily assigned to affirm or negate that topic, I ran topicality or framework in 80% of neg rounds. That is not to say you can't spread at top speed in front of me but I am much more likely to have your arguments on the flow if you go 85% of your top speed. Can you reject the topic in front of me? Absolutely, but you do so at your own peril, I would much prefer you just read the res as an advocacy and then do your K thing. I don't think the negative reading framework or T is silencing your voice, I think it is just them saying you don't get to say what you said and still win the round. I don't flow shadow extensions and do my best to protect in the rebuttals. Also, I think conditional strategies are cheating and am easily persuaded to vote a team down for employing one. Honestly I am still not clear on why the negative team should get an advocacy at all. Other than that the best advice I can give you is be accommodating and have fun.

For K debaters ready to risk it all: I want to be clear. I don't hate kritiks. I ran kritiks in probably 50% of my neg rounds my senior year. I just think a lot of them don't make sense. I think a lot of them utilize literature I don't understand. I think more importantly that a lot them are deployed as fast as possible and with an assumption that I know what is going on. I don't. If you read a kritik on the negative in front of me and it links to the topic, has a clear and concise thesis, and has a solvency mechanism that makes sense to me and solves for both the Aff and/or kritik I will happily vote for you.

If I was going to make a checklist for winning the kritik in front of me it would be as follows.

1. Don't go top speed.

2. Have a thesis statement somewhere.

3. Actually link to the aff, I can't stress this enough. Saying they used the USFG or this seems capitalist is not going to win my ballot I need nuanced reasons why the aff is incompatible with the kritik, otherwise I am almost certainly going to vote on the perm.

4. Has to actually have a solvency mechanism that resolves the aff/kritik. To be clear, if your K doesn't solve the aff then I think the opportunity cost of the aff is a disad to K, so you need to win a net benefit that outweighs that.

5. Be able to explain why the aff is the point of no return, IE, why the K can solve every other instance of X but not this instance of the aff.

Bonus: 6. An author so I can look it up next time/know whether your specific version matters.

Here is a list of kritiks I used to run/understand/enjoyed.

1. Death Denialism (Ernest Becker)

2. Ableism/Disableism/Malady Discourse (Various, this includes being very in favor of teams reading speed kritiks if they really need the access)

3. Neoliberalism (from a psycho analytical framework, Lacan, etc.)

4. Hip-Hop (Going to be honest, I will judge you for having trash taste in hip-hop, bonus points for Wu-Tang)

Here is a list of kritiks you have essentially no shot of winning in front of me

1. Cap/Marx

2. Kritiks that use the word cybernetic

3. Kritiks that use the word liberalism with no explanation as to how that is different than neoliberalism

4. Identity Politics kritiks (I am very uncomfortable judging on the basis of you or anyone else's identity)

5. Pretty much anything D&G related.

How I reach my decision: I usually make my decision incredibly fast, especially if it is a prelim and not one of the national tournaments. My process for judging is very formulaic. I ask myself who is winning the debate at the end of every speech and make a note of it, if the negative is not decisively winning by the end of the block, they are probably not going to pick up my ballot. If at the end of the PMR I do not have a clear cut decision I then go back and work my way through the debate. I begin by identifying who has won the framing issues of the debate and use that as a lens to evaluate the rest of the round, particularly who has gained access to what impact and how that impact has been compared to competing impact claims.

Random things not mentioned above:

1. I expect people to answer at least one question in the debate if they are asked to do so. With that said you don't have to but just know that a) it will hurt your speaks and b) if they run a procedural on it I will be very persuaded.

2. You and your partner can communicate all you want but make sure it does not disturb the other team if they are speaking. Assume that you get 2 prompts on your partner, if it goes beyond that I will likely affect both of your speaks as nobody likes to see puppeting. If the speaking partner asks you for something that is a completely different story and you can do whatever.

3. I don't care if you sit or stand during your speech.

4. I am not here to debate you. If you ask for feedback or disclosure during the round (and the tournament permits that) then I will give you that feedback to the best of my ability. I am not going to argue with you about how I came to my decision and you trying to do so will either affect your speaker points or result in me talking to your coach.

5. I do everything possible to not do work for debaters. I look for the easy way out so whichever team makes my job easiest will usually win.

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 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 LINKâ??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 donâ??t ALL get on my flow. I am unafraid to miss them and just say â??I didnâ??t get thatâ?. So please do your best to use words like â??becauseâ? 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

â??The Kâ?- 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 Kâ??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 othersâ?? 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 doesnâ??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- CPâ??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 â??We Bite Lessâ? 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 (Tâ??s and Specs). Then I look for counter advocacies and weigh competing advocacies (Kâ??s and Alts or CPâ??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.