Judge Philosophies

Bill Lucio - Harper College


To me, a good debater can adapt to any style of debate and is aware of the differing styles each form of debate utilizes. For instance, I believe debate jargon has value in rounds of Parli and LD, as those are specific styles of debate that include a unique type of rhetoric and vernacular in which all speakers have learned and been coached on. On the flip side, it is my belief that a more common style of debate, like IPDA, should focus on the bare bones structure of argumentation.

IPDA should be accessible to anyone, anywhere, regardless of their experience. In face, public is in the name. The second speakers start using debate jargon in IPDA, they have already lost me as a judge. I think that one of the reasons why debate is dying, is because its getting too niche focused IPDA is an amazing gateway event that should welcome newer, first-time debaters into the family, and bringing in styles reserved for other forms of debate can be hard on beginners.

I value humanity and humility. I much prefer speakers refer to each other by their names, rather than, my opponent. I dont like aggressive questioning, passive aggressiveness, and boastful or cocky presentations. I dont appreciate speakers telling me how I will vote give me all the tools I need to make an informed decision, but dont tell me what I am going to do or not do. Remember that there is a fine line between enthusiasm and volume. Remember that there is a difference between passion and pace. Make sure you find that happy medium of ethos, pathos, and logos, as speakers who priorities one heavily over the other two will not be rewarded.

At the end of the day, I value debaters who treat the round like three friends having a conversation over coffee. Lets remain friends by the end of this thing, yea?


Regarding individual events, speakers should engage in appropriate delivery strategies when performing Platform events, such as proper pronunciation and clarity of words, a wide range of vocal variety, and natural use of gestures. While the overall delivery of a speech weighs heavily in my decision, I also tend to prioritize organization and flow, as well as creativity in topic choice. I'm a firm believer in creative content, but also respect solid and identifiable transitions. Do not go overtime.
In other individual events, such as Interp, I expect the speaker to fully embody their characters. Take risks, think outside of the box, and use your body and movement in ways that aren't necessarily obvious or overdone. While the argument articulated in an introduction does play a major role in my overall decision, I value a performance that takes me out of this world and puts me into a new one, so really become your character and "own" the world in which they live in. Do not go overtime.
Lastly, regarding Limited Prep events, I really respect a good, clean delivery, that utilizes all the tools of basic public speaking (organization, variety of examples/sources, confidence in speaking voice, engagement with the audience, etc.). I do not want to hear a "canned" speech, challenge yourself! If I feel like I have heard your speech before, or that the interpretation of your quotation is too much of a stretch, I will most likely reward the other speakers who placed a more creative emphasis on their speech. Students competing in LP events should be constantly reading the news and searching for examples, so i want to see some interesting things I haven't seen before. Do not go overtime, ESPECIALLY if I am giving you time signals throughout the entire speech.

Jeff Przybylo - Harper College

Public debate should be accessible by any member of the public. To observe or adjudicate, audience members do not need to possess any special knowledge or experience in debate. IPDA is designed to be observed by the public.

In all forms of debate, eloquence in delivery is important.

I believe debaters should speak to each other with respect, enthusiasm, and a positive attitude towards the exercise of debating IDEAS.

Debate is an exercise in presenting and supporting ideas. It is not a war.

Debates should be focused on the positive exchange of ideas. I find debates about debate utterly boring.

For individual events, I value creativity.  Go ahead and break the "rules." As long as what you are doing serves the literature/topic I value what you are doing. I believe that public performance is art. Let your creativity flow!

Public address events should be well organized, well researched, creative, and eloquently delivered.

Interp events are creative performances.   I do not believe that there necessarily needs to be a stated "argument." I believe that performances that portray strong characters and evoke an emotional response have great value. I value an emotional journey and entertainment over the presentation of some sort of overtly stated "argument." As I stated above, public performance is a form of art. What you make me FEEL and what I learn about the human condition is much more important to me and following through on a contrived "argument" stated in your introduction.     Be artistic.

In the limited preparation events, I value eloquent delivery, supported claims, and an organized message. The format or approach is less important to me. As long as what you are doing is clear and makes sense, I promise to have an open mind.

Margaret Bilos - Harper College

I believe an IPDA debate should be a structured discussion between two people who may disagree about a topic but are respectful, thoughtful, friendly, and conversational.�  It should be viewed more as a well-reasoned, well-delivered philosophical disagreement that anyone can judge rather than a highly specialized format.�  I would rather hear you disagree over the arguments and claims rather than hear you debate about debate.� � 

I like to imagine that we all went out to dinner and cracked open a fortune cookie.�  One of you agreed and the other disagreed and you talked and argued, bringing up examples and points.�  After fifteen minutes or so, I said one of you won and we all enjoyed dessert.

In public address, I am looking for connection to audience, an interesting topic, solid delivery, convincing research, and credible support.� 

For interpretation events, I am hoping to be drawn into the story, the drama, and the character that you are creating.�  The best performers might not teach us a lesson, but they can sweep us up into a beautiful moment.�  I am less concerned with rigid rules and conventions if what you're doing makes sense and adds something to the piece and character.� � 

In limited preparation events, I am looking for a speech with good structure, interesting arguments, and eloquent delivery.�  If you are thoughtful and clean, I am hoping to learn something new or see it in a new way.

Overall, be creative, be friendly, be conversational, be expressive, be in the moment!� � I'm looking for creativity, passion, energy and for you to put me at ease.�  My favorite speakers, in all events, makes the audience feel like a valued part of the conversation.� � If you are having a good time- we will have a good time!

Nicholas Prephan - WCU


Richard Paine - Noctrl

      As a competitor, I used the NDT style.  As a coach, I have coached NDT-CEDA (for about 10 years), LD (for about 7 years), IPDA (for about 7 years), and Parli (for about 15 years).  My philosophy obviously has to shift in various ways depending on the type of debate I'm judging, but here are a few key points that generally apply:

    (1) Seek clash.  Don't let the debate become two ships passing in the night.  If your opponent makes an argument, don't drop it - respond to it directly, and show me why your position directly clashes with and takes out theirs.  If your opponent drops an argument of yours, make sure you pull it across and tell me why it matters.

    (2) Be organized.  Regardless of the format, I want to hear numbers/letters and clear tags that are maintained throughout the debate.  Don't just speak in uninterrupted sentences.  Give me numbers and tags if you want me to flow the arguments.

    (3) Topicality matters to me.  The affirmative/government has the initial right to define the terms, but they must be reasonable.  Any challenges coming from the other side must be premised on the question of reasonability.  

    (4) I don't like counterplans.  If you feel that you absolutely must run one, you should know that I feel counterplans must be NON-topical.

     (5) I'm also not a fan of kritiks.  They seldom strike me as the best way to go.

     (6) In a policy round, I am a "stock issues" judge.

     (7) Don't just make claims.  Be sure you support those claims with both logic and concrete evidence whenever possible.  Seek to demonstrate the impact of any given argument.

     (8) Affirmative plans should be fully developed.  It is the initial responsibility of the affirmative to provide all plan components - it is not the responsibility of the negative to seek them through cross-ex.  

     (9) Cross-ex questions are binding.  In formats that allow questions to be asked during speech time, the speaker should take questions QUICKLY.  No "I don't have time" or "I'll take it at the end of this (endless) position."  If you ignore legal questions for more than a short time, I quit flowing your speech.

     (10)  Speed should be easily comprehensible and flowable.  If I can't get your arguments written down, then I can't base my judgment on them.

     (11)  Be cordial and polite to your opponents.  I appreciate intensity and assertiveness - but please don't cross the line into downright rudeness.

    (12) I do not believe that debate is a "tag-team" sport.  Thus, debaters should not interrupt their partners' speeches to add information, clarify statements, tell them what to talk about next, answer questions for them, or whatever.  Only the person whose official speech time we are in should be talking for your team.

     (12) If you have other specific questions, please ask them just before we start debating the round.

     (13)  Have fun!  The whole point of this is to enjoy it as we develop our skills together.  Trophies aren't the point - greater skills are.