Judge Philosophies

Andrea Cervantes -- Hired Folks


Angela Ohland -- Butte Community College


Ashley Gabriel -- Hired Folks


Blake Longfellow -- Diablo Valley College


Chris Rendon -- Hired Folks


Chris Zepeda -- Hired Folks


Chris Moss -- Hired Folks


Deborah Sturt -- Hired Folks


Douglas Mungin -- Solano Community College

I risk sounding hella basic by stating that I am only interested in "good" arguments but I am. For me, debate is the engagement with world making. We all realize our words at 9am in the morning on an empty college campus does not really change national and international discourse, but in this particular round and room it does. We take these conversations with us in how we engage in the world. So debate comes down to these stories we tell and argue. So all speeches need to focus on the impact and larger stories of the round. I am cool with Topicality but you need to tell me how this really impacts the round, the same for Ks and other theoretical arguments. If you are the gov/aff your case needs to be tight. You have prep time, do not make me do the the work for you. For both teams: Don't drop anything, treat each with respect, roadmap, be nice to your partner, time yourself, drink water, smile and have fun. We are all nerds talking really fast in an empty classroom on a Saturday and Sunday. Chill out.

Emily Rustad -- Hired Folks


Hetty Yelland -- Hired Folks


Janene Whitesell -- Solano Community College

I've been teaching COMM classes at Solano College for 30 years. During that time, I have taught Argumentation and Debate at least 23 of those years. So here's what you need to know:

1. I am a flow judge. I use a reasonable person's paradigm when judging. However, it is up to the opposing team to identify counter-intuitive arguments.

2. As a general rule, I don't like T arguments. I feel that they become a "whining" strategy for the Negative. If you decide to use T as a strategy, make sure that it's a real issue and not just a shell.

3. I also don't like K arguments, for much of the same reason. Most topics are debatable and a reasonable person should be able to take either side.

4. I prefer that the Negative clash with the Affirmative case. I feel that is one of the two main burdens of the Negative. (Along with supporting the Status Quo) Since many Negs run counter-plans these days, I will entertain that as a strategy. Though it always feels like you are shooting yourself in the foot. Go ahead and shoot.

5. I expect both teams to stand when they are speaking. Your power comes from that posture.

6. I also expect that team members won't prompt their partner while the partner is speaking. You have to trust your partner. And if they screw up, it's your job to fix it. I have been known to drop teams that prompt in spite of my request that they don't. Listen to me. I'm the judge. And it's my rules during the round.

7. As a flow judge, I can keep up with speed. But if the opposing team can't keep up, I would expect that you would slow it down. Spreading doesn't really add that much more content. Just bad breathing.

8. Identify voting issues when we get down to the last two speeches. But then, that's just good practice, no?

9. Any humor would be appreciated as would any reference to Zombies, Star Trek, and Video Games.

Jennifer Moorhouse -- Hired Folks


Joy Cowden -- Hired Folks


Kim Yee -- San Jose State University


Mark Shilstone -- Hired Folks


Michael McCarthy -- Hired Folks


Molly Wilson -- Hired Folks


Rebecca Fields -- Hired Folks


Reed Ramsey -- Diablo Valley College


Ryan Guy -- Modesto Junior College

UPDATED: 3/10/2019

Guy, Ryan

Modesto Junior College

Video Recording: I always have a webcam /DSLR with me. If you would like me to record your round and send it to you  ask me. I'm always happy to do it.  That said I'll only record if both teams want it, and default to uploading files as unlisted YouTube links and only sharing them with you on my ballot (I'll leave a short URL that will work once I am done uploading... typically 4n6URL.com/XXXX). This way no one ever has to bug me about getting video files.  States and Nats are sometimes the last rounds of people's debate careers.  I'm stoked to help capture those moments for you all :)


  • I debated NPDA at Humboldt State
  • I've coached Parli, NFA-LD, and a little bit of BP, IPDA, and CEDA since 2008.
  • I teach argumentation, debate, public speaking, and a variety of other COMM studies courses

The Basics:

  • Post AFFs you have run on the case list or I get grumpy (https://nfald.paperlessdebate.com/)
  • Use speechdrop.net  to share files in LD and Policy Debate rounds
    • NOTE: If you are paper only you should have a copy for me and your opponent. Otherwise you will need to debate at a slower conversational pace so I can flow all your edv. arguments. (i'm fine with faster evidence reading if I have a copy or you share it digitally)
  • Im fine with the a little bit of speed in NFA-LD and Parli but keep it reasonable or I might miss something.
  • Procedurals / theory are fine but articulate the abuse
  • I prefer policymaking but I am okay with Kritical positions. That said, run it well or I might be grumpy.
  • I default to net-benefits unless you tell me otherwise
  • Tell me why you win.

General Approach to Judging:

I really enjoy good clash in the round. I want you to directly tear into each other's arguments (with politeness and respect). From there you need to make your case to me. What arguments stand and what am I really voting on. If at the end of the round I'm looking at a mess of untouched abandoned arguments you all have epic failed.

Organization is very important to me. Please road map and tell me where you are going. I can deal with you bouncing around if necessary but please let me know where we are headed and where we are at. Clever tag-lines help too. As a rule I do not time road maps.

I like to see humor and wit in rounds. This does not mean you can/should be nasty or mean to each other. Avoid personal attacks unless there is clearly a spirit of joking goodwill surrounding them. If someone gets nasty with you, stay classy and trust me to punish them for it.

If the tournament prefers that we not give oral critiques before the ballot has been turned in I won't. If that is not the case I will as long as we are running on schedule. I'm always happy to discuss the round at some other time during the tournament.


Files:Ã? I would like debaters to use  www.speechdrop.net  for file exchange. It is faster and eats up less prep. If for some reason that is not possible, I would like to be on the email chain: ryanguy@gmail.com. If there is not an email chain I would like the speech docs on a flashdrive before the speech. I tend to feel paper only debate hurts education and fairness in the round. If you only use paper I would like a copy for the entire round so I may read along with you.  If you can't provide this digitally or on paper, you will need to slow down and speak at a slow conversational pace so I can flow everything you say.

Disclosure: I'm a fan of the case list I think it makes for good debate. If you are not breaking a brand new aff it better be up there. If it is not I am more likely to vote on "accessibility" and "predictably" standards in T. Here is the case list as of 2018. Get your stuff on it:Ã? https://nfald.paperlessdebate.com/Ã? If your opponent is anti-case list you should run a wiki spec argument on them. I think that teams who chose to not disclose their affirmatives are abusive to teams who do.

LD with no cards: It might not be a rule, but I think it is abusive and bad for LD debate. I might even vote on theory that articulates that.


Speaker Points: Other than a couple off the wall occurrences my range tends to fall in the 26-30 range. If you do the things in my General Approach to Judging section, your speaks will be higher.

Topicality: Hey Aff be topical. T and other procedural debates are awesome if you can break free of the boring generic T debates we seem to hear in every round. Im cool with the test of the aff approach but please be smart. Ill vote on T, just make sure you have all the components. I prefer articulated abuse, but will vote on potential abuse if you don't answer it well. Im unlikely to vote on an RVI. In general I enjoy a good procedural debate but also love rounds were we get to talk about the issues. That said if you are going for a procedural argument...you should probably really go for it in the end or move on to your other arguments.

Kritiques: I tend to be more of a fan of policymaking rounds. That said I will vote on Kritical positions. Please keep in mind that I have not read every author out there and you should not assume anyone in the round has. Make sure you thoroughly explain your argument. Educate us as you debate. Make sure your alternative solves for the impacts of K.

Im not a fan of this memorizing evidence / cards trend in parli. If you dont understand a critical / philosophical standpoint enough to explain it in your own words, then you might not want to run it in front of me.

Weighing: Please tell me why you are winning. Point to the impact level of the debate. Tell me where to look on my flow. I like overviews and clear voters in the rebuttals. The ink on my flow (or pixels if Im in a laptop mood) is your evidence. Why did you debate better in this round? Do some impact calc and show me why you won.

Speed: I think going a little bit faster than normal conversation can be good for debate. That being said; make sure you are clear, organized and are still making good persuasive arguments. If you cant do that and go fast, slow down. If someone calls clearÃ?¢?Ã?¦please do so. If someone asks you to slow down please do so. Badly done speed can lead to me missing something on the flow. I'm pretty good if I'm on my laptop, but it is your bad if I miss it because you were going faster than you were effectively able to. Side Note on NFA-LD: I get that there is the speed is antithetical to nfa-ld debate line in the bylaws. I also know that almost everyone ignores it. If you are speaking at a rate a trained debater and judge can comprehend I think you meet the spirit of the rule. If speed becomes a problem in the round just call Ã?¢??clearÃ?¢?Ã? or "slow." That said if you use "clear" or "slow" to be abusive and then go fast and unclear I might punish you in speaks. I'll also listen and vote on theory in regards to speed, but I will NEVER stop a round for speed reasons in any form of debate. If you think the other team should lose for going fast you will have to make that argument.

Safety:Ã? I believe that debate is an important educational activity. I think it teaches folks to speak truth to power and trains folks to be good citizens and advocates for change. As a judge I never want to be a limiting factor on your speech. That said the classroom and state / federal laws put some requirements on us in terms of making sure that the educational space is safe. If I ever feel the physical well-being of the people in the round are being threatened, I am inclined to stop the round and bring it to the tournament director.


I�¢??m a NPDA and NFA-LD judge for the most part. Even in IPDA I prefer that you signpost your arguments and follow logical structure for advantages, disadvantages, contentions, etc. You get 30 minutes prep, you should cite sources and provide me with evidence. Arguments supported with cited evidence and empirics are more likely to get my ballot. In general I am okay with anything in IPDA that I am okay with in LD and NPDA. Meaning I will vote on procedural arguments, Kritiques, and other debate theory if it is run well. I�¢??m also generally okay with a little speed under the guidelines I provided above. In general I follow arguments on my flow. Make sure to respond to each other because a debate without clash is boring.

Ryan Guy The Second -- Hired Folks


Shannan Troxel-Andreas -- Butte Community College


Spencer Coile -- Illinois State University


Taure Shimp -- Modesto Junior College


Debate should foster civil discourse and honor the educational integrity of the event. I see it as my responsibility to listen to the arguments you choose to make and evaluate them as fairly as possible. However, I do have some personal preferences. The rounds I enjoy the most have a lot of clash, fewer but higher quality arguments, and clear impact analysis.


In IPDA:� The rate of speech should be conversational. I expect to hear well-structured arguments with clearly delineated sub-points. I also expect to hear source citations--you have thirty minutes of prep, so please indicate where your information came from and use it to your advantage. While I get that IPDA discourages the use of jargon, procedurals, and kritiks, I am open to hearing arguments about definitions as well as arguments that identify problematic assumptions/worldviews within the debate. However, these should be articulated in a way that remains accessible to an intelligent, informed lay audience.

In NFA-LD:� Please set up a� speechdrop.net� room for evidence and share the code. I like to see evidence during the debate. Speed is fine as long as your tags are slow and clear and I am able to read along. If you are a paper-only debater or do not share a digital version of the evidence, you will need to go at a more conversational pace. Even if I am not able to see your evidence during the round, I do have the expectation that debaters will freely share their evidence with their competitor for the duration of the debate in compliance with the� NFA-LD rules.

In Parli:� Faster-than-conversation is fine, but I do not like spreading in this event. For me, it decreases the quality of analysis and becomes counterproductive to the in-round education. However, I will not ask you to slow down during the round or say �¢??clear.�¢?�

Procedurals and Kritiks� can make for good debate�¢?�¦

�¢?�¦but I find� AFF Ks� are often gratuitous and I tend to dislike when they are run as a strategy to win rather than out of ethical necessity.

If you choose to run a Kritik� (on either side), it is very important that you explain the theory clearly and accurately; have a strong link; and identify a realistic alternative. If you are unable to articulate�¢??in a concrete way�¢??how we can engage the alternative, I am unlikely to be persuaded by the argument as a whole.

Rebuttals� are most effective when the debaters provide a big-picture overview and a clear list of voters.

I� evaluate the round� by looking at Topicality and Specs, CPs and K Alts, then Advantages and Disadvantages.

Etiquette:� I enjoy rounds with good humor where everyone treats one another with respect. This does not mean you need to begin every speech with flowery thank yous, but it does mean you should avoid rude nonverbals (scoffing, making faces, etc.). Basic guideline...if you would not speak to family members, co-workers, teachers, and friends in a certain way then don't speak that way to competitors.


Sit or stand� during your speech; I do not have a preference, so do what's comfortable for you.

Partner communication� is fine with me, but I only flow what the recognized speaker says. Try to avoid puppeting one another. Do NOT confer audibly with one another if the other team is giving one of their speeches.

Tina Lim -- San Jose State University


Travis William -- Hired Folks