Judge Philosophies

Alec Hubbard -- Truman State University

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Alex Amos -- The University of Central Missouri

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Alex Vore -- Kansas Wesleyan University

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Anthony Cavaiani -- William Woods University

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Bailey Rung -- Western Kentucky University

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Breanne Kubacki -- The University of Oklahoma

  Communication skills judge.  Persuade me.

Brian Swafford -- Northwest Mo State University

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Chad Meadows -- Western Kentucky University

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Chase McCool -- Simpson College

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Chris Outzen -- Truman State University

Judging Philosophy: NFA-LD

I take the position that any form of public communication, including debate, is an audience-centric endeavor. The role of each debater is to convince the judge that they are the more right debater in that round. Adaptation of strategy and delivery of argument necessitates consideration of both your opponent AND the experience of the judge. To that end, I submit the following paradigm:

Judge Experience: DOF at Truman State University since 2015. I hold an MFA-Forensics, have been involved in college forensics since 2007, and have been coaching/judging forensics since 2011. Primarily IE oriented, but with knowledge of policy debate terminology and consistent LD judging experience since Fall 2015. Listening and flowing speed will not to the same level as career policy judges and coaches.

Speaker Speed: I disagree with the trend of increasing speed in LD debate. I believe that LD inhabits a unique position where both argumentation and strong speaking skills can be valued. I take the position that increasing speed of delivery to maximize argument quantity is antithetical to effective public communication. It is also a performative border which keeps those outside policy debate experience from engaging with our activity, which I believe to be a fundamental error in ensuring support for our activity as relevant and valuable.

To that end, debate which is a bit faster than conversational is ok but I will be listening for the deployment of strategic vocal variety to enhance your communication within your quick pace. As a judge who does not have decades of flowing experience, I cannot keep up with true spreading. If you are a traditional spreading debater, consider this an exercise in audience adaptation skills. Failure to adjust appropriately may result in lost speaker points or even a lost round. Spreading does not guarantee a lost round, but it does increase the likelihood I will miss critical components of your case. Extreme cases of spreading or the clear abuse of speed against another competitor may impact my final decision. I will not tell you to slow down mid-round unless I am directly asked to do so. 

This position on speed is related to audience adaptation. I expect and encourage ALL debaters to adapt to other judge's speed preferences and the other competitors, as warranted in each individual round. This is simply my personal position from which I will be judging my assigned rounds.

Argument Explanation: You are welcome to run any arguments you wish in front of me in varying levels of complexity. However, remember the audience-centric principle. Debate can be a teachable moment where you can inform us in order to justify your win. This means you should be practicing breaking down complex concepts and providing strong links between the different pieces of your argument.

Ethical Speaking: Engaging in unethical or obfuscating behavior, including but not limited to misleading card cutting, deliberate spreading against judge preference, ignoring the audience as consumers of your message, or styling your arguments deliberately to be overly complex/dense, are not acceptable as a speaker. You are also expected to grant your opponent the same ground/courtesy as you expect. Example: If you cut off their answers in CX to move on to your next question, do not talk over/ignore them when they do the same thing in their CX.

Topicality: I’m open to T arguments. Proven abuse is the best course to win a T argument, but I’m willing to consider potential abuse if the possible abuse is of a significant magnitude.

Kritiks: I’m open to K debate on two conditions. 1) K-Affs must pass the test of topicality, linking to the resolution. 2) Kritik arguments are often dense and highly specialized. Those who run K arguments have an elevated burden to educate in your arguments. Do not assume we are all well-read in the highly specific literature of your kritik.

Judge Intervention: I would rather see you make the arguments and guide my thinking through strong transitions, roadmaps, etc. I typically do not believe in intervening as a judge in debate rounds to complete your arguments for you and hold myself to that standard to the degree possible. However, I will intervene in issues of a) Overt racism, homophobia, sexism, and/or other forms of hate speech; b) Lies about rules or anything which was clearly said in round by either competitor; c) New arguments in non-constructive speeches (as defined by NFA-LD rules), especially in the final AR.

To summarize, I'm open to all forms of argumentation on the premise that a) They are understandable and follow basic ethical guidelines; and b) They are justified by you as fitting in the round and resolution. Arguments should be presented in a way which reflects is accessible to the judge in question.

I will assume that students  who do not ask me questions about my paradigm I will assume have read it. It is the job of the students to make sure they understand how the judge will engage with the round. 


Chris Roberds -- Missouri Valley College

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Colten White -- University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Colten White -- University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Connor Stewart -- Truman State University

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Craig Hennigan -- Truman State University

Updated for LD judging

Craig Hennigan 
Truman State University

TL/DR - I'm fine on the K.  Need in round abuse for T.  I'm fine with speed.  K Alts that do something more than naval-gazing is preferred.  Avoid running away from arguments. 


I debated high school policy in the early 90’s and then college policy in 1994.  I also competed in NFA-LD for 4 or 5 years, I don't recall, I know my last season was 1999?  I then coached at Utica High School and West Bloomfield High school in Michigan for their policy programs for an additional 8 years. I coached for 5 years at Wayne State University.  Now I am the Assistant Director of Forensics at Truman State University in my 2nd year running the debate part of the program. 

I think of myself as adhering to my flow. Dropped arguments can carry a lot of weight with me if you make an issue of them early. I enjoy debaters who can keep my flow neat, and bonus if it’s a messy round and you are able to clean up my flow for me. Saying this, it’s a good idea for debaters to have clear tags on their cards. I REQUIRE a differentiation in how you say the tag/citation and the evidence. If it blends together, I do not do well. 

With regard to specific arguments – I will vote seldom on theory arguments that do not show significant in-round abuse. Potential abuse is a non-starter for me, and time skew to me is a legit strategy unless it’s really really bad. My threshold for theory then is pretty high if you cannot show a decent abuse story. Showing an abuse story should come well before the last rebuttal. If it is dropped though, I will most likely drop the argument before the team. Reminders in round about my disposition toward theory is persuasive such as "You don't want to pull the trigger on condo bad," or "I know you don't care for theory, here is why this is a uniquely bad situation where I don't get X link and why that is critical to this debate."

 

I don’t like round bullys. Especially ones that run a very obscure K philosophy and expect everyone in the room to know who/what it is saying. It is the duty of those that want to run the K to be a ‘good’ person who wants to enhance the education of all present, rather than roll eyes because the opponents may not be versed in every 19th century philosopher from the highlands of Luxumbourg. I have voted for a lot of K's though this season so it's not like I'm opposed to them. K alternatives should be able to be explained well in the cross-x. I will have a preference for K alts that actually "do" something.  The influence of my ballot on the discourse of the world at large is default minimal, on the debate community default probably even less than minimal.  Repeating jargon of the card is a poor strategy, if you can explain what the world looks like post alternative, that's awesome.  I have found clarity to be a premium need in LD debate since there is much less time to develop a K.  This being said, I look hard for argument mutations.  If the K alt mutates into something else in the NR, this is a pretty compelling reason to vote Aff.  (Or in the opposite of the person running the K for that matter).  Failing to explain what the K does in the 1AC/NC then revealing it in the 1AR/NR is poor form.  

Never run from a debate.  I'll respect someone that goes all-in for the heg good/heg bad argument and gets into a debate more than someone who attempts to be incredibly tricksy in case/plan writing or C-X in order to avoid potential arguments.  Ideal C-X would be: 

"Does your case increase spending?"

"Damn right, what you gon' do about it? Catch me outside."  


I will vote on T. I typically don't vote on T arguments about capital letters or periods. Again, there should be an in-round abuse story to garner a ballot for T.  This naturally would reinforce the previous statement under theory that says potential abuse is a non-starter for me.  Developing T as an impact based argument rather than a rules based argument is more persuasive.  As potential abuse is not typically a voter for me, I'll strike down speaker points with great vengeance toward RVI's based on theory.  Regarding K's of T, there are better ways to garner offense, like say... your case. 

Anything that you intend to win on, it's best to spend more than 15 seconds on it. I won't vote for a blip that isn't properly impacted. Rebuttals should consist of focusing on the arguments that will win you the round. It should reflect some heavy lifting and doing some real work on the part of the debater. It should not be a laundry list of answers without a comparative analysis of why one argument is clearly superior and a round winner. 


Performance: Give me a reason to vote. And make sure to adequately respond to your opponents arguments with the performance.  I do not see that many of those rounds in the first place.  If you win a framework debate, you're more than halfway there to a win.  I think there are lots of ways that framework can be run that isn't inherently exclusive to debate styles.  However I think there are framework arguments that are exclusive too, which isn't very cool.  The main issues that I voted on in those rounds were dropped arguments.  If a team running an alternative style aff/K is able to show that the other team is dropping arguments then that is just as valid as the traditional style making claims that arguments are dropped and should be weighed accordingly. The fact that you did a performance is not an independent reason to vote for you.  I am seldom compelled that my ballot changes anything outside the debate community or outside the room.  If you have specific evidence to why it does, then I have listened to and voted on those arguments (Think Giroux type evidence on pedagogy).  Most of the time though, the idea that my ballot changes anything places too much importance on me.  I'm just a ham and egger.  However if there's things in the room that are going on that can be remedied by my ballot, I'm definitely listening.      

Speaker Points  - 

 Upon entering the LD community, I was informed that my previous speaker point distribution was akin to Santa Claus on a meth binge.  It has now been revised. This rating system is subject to a "level of difficulty."  Meaning if you're totally outmatching your opponent, you're going to earn speaker points not by smashing your opponent, but rather through making debate a welcoming and educational experience for everyone. 

Floor-  25 - you might have said something offensive about the other team or my family.  I may have had to think about whether or not to stop the round.  You didn't complete a speech and conceded.  You were racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic and unapologetic. 

26-26.5 - You made me feel like a qualified judge.  (There were noticable and glaring flaws in your strategy.  You went for Condo Bad without a unique reason why I should vote and there was only 1 K and 1 CP in the round.  You have problems with fundamentals of making arguments)

26.5-27 - I had to think and do work, but also had to send you a message that I'm not a good judge.  (You made some tactical errors that I noticed perhaps went for the wrong NR, or you asked a bunch of questions in C-X that never came up in the speech.  Or you lacked confidence, you looked like you were behind. You dropped a lot on the flow.)  

27-27.5 - Meh.  Middle of the road.

28 - You made me pay attention to my flowing.  At one point I was hoping you would not go for the PIC because I had no idea what was happening on that flow.  (Odds are you made the correct strategic decisions, outcarded your opponents or did not drop round-winning arguments and tooks advantage of your opponents dropped arguments.  You should get a low-mid speaker award)

28.5-29.5 - I would give you a cigarette after the round if asked if I still smoked.  (You have noticed a double turn or a speech act by your opponent that is a round winner.  You also have reminded me of items in my paradigm for why you are going for the items that you are.  I quit smoking so don't ask.)

29.5-30 - Would you like to do my oral defense for me?  (I could not find a flaw in your performance to incredibly minor flaws that there is little way to realize that they even happened)

 

Card Clipping addendum:

Don't cheat.  I typically ask to be included on email chains so that I can try to follow along at certain points of the speech to ensure that there isn't card clipping, however if you bring it up I in round I will also listen.  You probably ought to record the part with clipping if I don't bring it up myself.  Also, if I catch clipping (and if I catch it, it's blatant) then that's it, round over.  


Darren Kootz-Eades -- The University of Central Missouri

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David Bailey -- Southwest Baptist University

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Deano Pape -- Simpson College

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Deano Pape -- Simpson College

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Eduardo Magalhaes -- Simpson College

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Emma Webster -- McKendree University

 

Eric Morris -- Missouri State University

Eric Morris, DoF - Missouri State – 29th Year Judging 

++++ NFA-LD Version ++++ 

You can see NDT version, which is different, here: https://www.tabroom.com/index/paradigm.mhtml?judge_person_id=6383

I primarily judge in NDTCEDA (which I enjoy), but operate under different assumptions when judging in NFA-LD (if you want to read my NDT CEDA philosophy to understand how I think, it can be found here: https://www.tabroom.com/index/paradigm.mhtml?judge_account_id=6383).

I like NFA-LD because it is more novice-friendly, and most of the community prefers DA-case debate. I don't dislike CP's (or K's that refute the plan) outside of the novice division, but direct refutation is refreshing to me.

I tend to prioritize probability (strength of link and internal link) when two impacts have a large magnitude. Uniqueness is rarely 100% either direction (although it can be). 

Explicitly non-topical affs or K's which refuse the topic entirely have a huge presumption to overcome. 

I have a presumption for NFA-LD rules, but you need to apply the specific rule. There is often room for counter-interpretations (including mine). Use them to help you refute arguments instead of making a bunch of independent voters. Thus, stock issues may be a place for debate more than "voting" issues - since negative often minimizes them instead of completely refuting them. 

I like that NFA-LD is not as fast as NDT (for access reasons), but the line of "how much is too much" is hard for me to judge. I want debaters to negotiate this before the round - the round should be no faster than the preferences of either participant (including others judges on a panel). 

Although I lean negative on many T questions relative to the NDT community, I'm not a hardliner on effects T. I think the literature base is relevant to how much is "too much" on extra T. I think T arguments should be grounded in clear definitions/interpretations, and I lean aff when there is uncertainty about the violation. I think spec arguments are best handled as CX questions, and generally have a strong presumption against theory voting issues - reject the argument not the is my leaning. 

If you share evidence via email chain (the best method), my gmail is ermocito. Given quick decision times, I prefer to get a copy of all speeches in real time (even if by flash drive) so I can double check things during prep time and CX. 

 

I will flow closely but often my RFD for the opponent could be reversed with better application of your argument to theirs, or better readings of their evidence to support your argument. Those things are excellent debating. 


Eric Morris -- Missouri State University

Eric Morris, DoF - Missouri State – 29th Year Judging 

++++ NFA-LD Version ++++ 

You can see NDT version, which is different, here: https://www.tabroom.com/index/paradigm.mhtml?judge_person_id=6383

I primarily judge in NDTCEDA (which I enjoy), but operate under different assumptions when judging in NFA-LD (if you want to read my NDT CEDA philosophy to understand how I think, it can be found here: https://www.tabroom.com/index/paradigm.mhtml?judge_account_id=6383).

I like NFA-LD because it is more novice-friendly, and most of the community prefers DA-case debate. I don't dislike CP's (or K's that refute the plan) outside of the novice division, but direct refutation is refreshing to me.

I tend to prioritize probability (strength of link and internal link) when two impacts have a large magnitude. Uniqueness is rarely 100% either direction (although it can be). 

Explicitly non-topical affs or K's which refuse the topic entirely have a huge presumption to overcome. 

I have a presumption for NFA-LD rules, but you need to apply the specific rule. There is often room for counter-interpretations (including mine). Use them to help you refute arguments instead of making a bunch of independent voters. Thus, stock issues may be a place for debate more than "voting" issues - since negative often minimizes them instead of completely refuting them. 

I like that NFA-LD is not as fast as NDT (for access reasons), but the line of "how much is too much" is hard for me to judge. I want debaters to negotiate this before the round - the round should be no faster than the preferences of either participant (including others judges on a panel). 

Although I lean negative on many T questions relative to the NDT community, I'm not a hardliner on effects T. I think the literature base is relevant to how much is "too much" on extra T. I think T arguments should be grounded in clear definitions/interpretations, and I lean aff when there is uncertainty about the violation. I think spec arguments are best handled as CX questions, and generally have a strong presumption against theory voting issues - reject the argument not the is my leaning. 

If you share evidence via email chain (the best method), my gmail is ermocito. Given quick decision times, I prefer to get a copy of all speeches in real time (even if by flash drive) so I can double check things during prep time and CX. 

 

I will flow closely but often my RFD for the opponent could be reversed with better application of your argument to theirs, or better readings of their evidence to support your argument. Those things are excellent debating. 


Jackson Specker -- University of Northern Iowa

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Jackson Slechta -- University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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James Baugh -- Western Kentucky University

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Joe Hamaker -- Missouri State University

 

Jordan Compton -- Southwest Baptist University

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Justin Kirk -- University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Justin Kirk -- University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Katie Reining -- McKendree University

 

Kelsey Barnes -- Truman State University

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Kelsey Devasure -- Missouri State University

 

Kim Arnao -- North West Arkansas Community College

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Lora Cohn -- Park University

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Mark Turner -- Kansas Wesleyan University

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Marty Feeney -- Simpson College

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Meg Burns -- Southwest Baptist University

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Michael Tate -- Kansas Wesleyan University

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Nadia Steck -- Lewis & Clark College

Nadia here, I am currently the Coach for Lewis and Clark’s debate team I graduated from Concordia University Irvine where I debated for 2 years, before that I debated for Moorpark College for 3 years. I’m gonna give you a TL:DR for the sake of prep time/pre-round strategizing, I want my personal opinions to come into play as little as possible in the debate round. I want the debate to be about what the debaters tell me it should be about, be it the topic or something totally unrelated. I am fairly familiar with theory, policy, and critical debate. I don’t have a strong preference for any one of the three, all I want you to do is not be lazy and expect me to backfill warrants from my personal knowledge of arguments for you. If you don’t say it, it doesn’t end up on my flow, and thus it doesn’t get evaluated. There aren’t really any arguments I won’t listen to, and I will give the best feedback I have the ability to give after each round.

For out of round thinking or pre tournament pref sheets here are a few of the major things I think are important about my judging philosophy and history as a debater

•I hate lazy debate; I spent a lot of time doing research and learning specific contextualized warrants for most of the arguments I read. It will benefit you and your speaks to be as specific as possible when it comes to your warrants.

•I did read the K a lot during my time as a debater but that doesn’t mean I don’t also deeply enjoy a good topical debate

•I did read arguments tethered to my identity occasionally; if you want to read these sorts of arguments I am sympathetic to them, but I believe you should be ready to answer the framework debate well.

•As far as framework and theory arguments go, I am open to listening to any theory argument in round with the exception of Spec args, I honestly feel like a POI is enough of a check back for a spec arg. I have yet to meet a spec arg that was justified much beyond a time suck. If you’re In front of me, I give these arguments little credence so you should respond accordingly.

•As far as the actual voting issue of theory, I by default assume they are all Apriori, as theory is a meta discussion about debate and therefore comes as a prior question to whatever K/CP/DA is being read. When it comes to evaluating the impacts of theory, please please please do not be lazy and just say that fairness and/or education is the voter without justification. These are nebulous terms that could mean a thousand things, if you want to make me really happy as a judge please read more specific voters with a solid justification for them. This way I have a more concrete idea of what you mean instead of me having to insert my own ideas about fairness or education into the debate space.

•As far as policy debates go, I default net bens, and will tend to prefer probable impacts over big impacts. That being said, I am a sucker for a good nuke war or resource wars scenario. My favorite policy debates were always econ debates because of the technical nuance.

•Go as fast as you want, just make sure if your opponent calls clear or slow you listen because if they read theory or a K because you didn’t slow down or speak more clearly I will most likely vote you down.

•I am not a point fairy, I tend to be in the lower end of average speaks given, that being said, do a great job, make me chuckle, or reference the mountain goats and I’ll give you and your partner 30s


Richard Tews -- University of Northern Iowa

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Robert King -- Simpson College

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Ryan Corwin -- Sterling College

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Ryan Louis -- Ottawa University

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Shanna Carlson -- Illinois State University

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Spencer Waugh -- Simpson College

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Stephen Hagan -- McKendree University

 

Tyler Slinkard -- The University of Central Missouri

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Zach Hadenfeldt -- University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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christopher Thomas -- Park University

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