Judge Philosophies

Aayush Patel - UCSD


Aimee Newton - COC


Andrea Sanchez - SDSU

Hello! My name is Andrea, and I am a former debater of SDSU and Palomar College. As a tl;dr:

Tell me how to evaluate arguments. Please let me know how I can help to make the round a safe and accessible space. Give a clear link/impact scenario; why is your nuke war scenario actually going to happen? What does this mean in the scope of the debate? Speed is fine, but be clear. Im not too fond of econ debates, so guide me through it friends! Kritiks and procedurals are great, but I also like traditional case/policy debates. Ill listen to just about anything ? as long as its not ableist, racist, sexist, queerphobic, etc. If you disregard this and are very toxic in round, it will reflect in your speaker points. Perms can be advocacies if you tell me they are. I dont believe DAs (especially tics DAs) can be permed. In essence; be organized, tell me where youre winning, and compare impacts.

  • Speed: Im okay with speed, but clarity is of high importance. Its not worth potentially making a lot of arguments if your opponents or I are saying clear or speed every 30 seconds (which would likely affect your speaker points). Volume and clarity can also help make the round more accessible (in more than one regard).

  • Procedurals: Theyre great! A debate about framing and the words we use can be very persuasive depending on the impacts you choose to derive from it (c/kritical args can be very fun to make in rounds with procedurals/theory). Make sure you tell me how to evaluate this position; just because you say A Priori doesnt mean I will prioritize the argument; why is it important for articulated or potential abuse? Explain why I should fault to competing interps (if you choose to make that arg). Repeat your interps.

  • Framework: Im down for a framework debate. If a counter framework is presented, the other side should address it. If there are two frameworks floating around and nobody tells me how they interact or frame the impacts, I will be very annoyed (it will mean that I have to do some of that work at the end of the round, and nobody wants that).

  • Kritiks: Kritik debates can be very fun! Dont be afraid to test out a weird or new K in front of me. Affirmative kritiks arent unwelcome; please explain your reasoning for rejecting the topic, or using the K as a method for discussing the resolution. Performance args are fine. I expect the other team to ask, though, if the performance is the method/ advocacy. Alts (just like CPs) are permmable if done correctly.

CPs: Please say why your CP is mutually exclusive. PICs are not so fun/not the most competitive counter plans you could be running.

Ariyana Tavakoli - SMC

Averie Vockel - Utah

Bailey Coleman - MJC

I consider myself both a flow judge and Comm-centric judge, because I would like to be able to follow along easily on the flow but also like speakers to sound persuasive.

I am not the biggest of fan of speed. Since I am partly a flow judge, if a speaker is too fast for me to get everything on the flow then it's hard to visualize the debate on paper and see where arguments may have been dropped or pulled across. I would much rather listen to a solid, slower speech that is easy to understand and sounds persuasive and logical. Taking time with two organized, in-depth arguments is better than spreading through a bunch of arguments.

I don't mind procedural arguments as long as they aren't used just to be squirrelly. If an affirmative team is blatantly not topical, then a topicality is fine and makes sense. If a negative team runs a T just for the fun of running one, then I feel it takes focus from the actual issue in the round.

An ideal round for me is a competitive but friendly debate. I would like the AFF to be topical and focus on some solid solvency and advantages. I like the negative team to bring some good disadvantages to the round and only use topicality if totally needed. I do like counterplans and think they're a good test of the speakers' abilities to think on the spot and argue their best. I like structure and to be able to easily follow along on the flow, with debaters clearly signposting where they're at. Finally, overall I want to hear as much persuasion as possible and the debaters to clearly tell me why I should be voting for them.

Ben Mann - Utah

They/them or he/him (gender non-binary).

tl;dr for prep time: I evaluate comparative access to comparative impacts. In other words, I will vote for the team that demonstrates to me that they best access the most important impacts in the round. Feel free to read whatever arguments you feel most comfortable with in front of me, including advantages/disadvantages, counterplans, theory, Ks, performance-centered arguments, or any other arrangement inclusive or outside of these categories. I can efficiently flow fast debates, but will say SLOW¢ if youre speaking too quickly (generally not an issue) or CLEAR¢ if I cannot understand your words, regardless of your rate of delivery. I take my role as a critic very seriously and my goal in RFDs is to clearly explain how I reached my decision and offer suggestions in the role of an educator. I will disclose speaker points after my RFD if you ask me to, because I want to be held accountable for why I assign the speaker points that I do. If you have additional questions, feel free to contact me at benwmann@gmail.com

Everything below is more extensive and substantially less important.


Experience: this is my ninth year involved in NPDA debate (fifth year out of competing) and tenth year involved in forensics. I competed in NPDA debate on the national circuit for four years at Lewis & Clark College, coached NPDA for two years at University of the Pacific where I received my Masters degree in Communication, and am currently in my third year coaching NPDA at the University of Utah, where I am a primary NPDA coach and a Ph.D. student in Communication.

Things I like:

1.    Strategic decision-making and collapse in the back half of debates.

2.    Clear impact and warrant comparison in rebuttals.

3.    Specific, well-developed link arguments.

Things I dont like:

1.    Blips in constructive speeches that suddenly metamorphize into well-developed arguments in rebuttals.

2.    Using speed and esoteric postmodern jargon for the purposes of excluding other teams.

3.    Treating other teams/competitors poorly, especiallyif said competitors come from community/junior college programs and/or programs with limited resources.

Other notes:

1.    My average speaker points are 27.5, and will go up or down from there.

2.    Parli is not a textual event. I do not want copies of your advocacies. I dowant you to slow and/or repeat your advocacies or theory interps.

3.    Call points of order if theyre close. Ill protect against blatantly new arguments.

4.    MG theory is more in vogue these days, and Im fine with these arguments. I am, however, sympathetic to neg arguments telling me I should evaluate MG theory differently than other theory arguments because the block is the only chance to respond.

5.    I prefer advocacy-based debates on policy resolutions, but I will listen to debaters/programs who want to engage in trichot-based rounds. If you engage in those debates, I would prefer that you give some sort of stable advocacy statement.

6.    I think conditional Ks are often poorly executed, especially on the framework level. I am not opposed to you reading these arguments, but I am persuaded, for example, by two white people kicking a conditional Wilderson K probably being a link to anti-blackness.

7.    My research areas pertain to disability rhetoric and disabilitys relationship to gender identity/expression. I do not see this being expressly relevant to evaluating debates, but I will call out ableism and disrespect for gender identity/expression.

8.    Im autistic. I have next-to-no awareness of my affect, including my facial expressions, and I will probably give you little-to-no eye contact. Nothing personal.


9.    I really, really do not care about the impact of my decisions on the community¢ for many reasons, in part because it would compromise my integrity as a critic, and in part because there is no debate community (Jordan & Stewart, 2017).

Brett Ainsworth - Santa Rosa


Chris Cruz-Boone - NOFF


David Banfi - SMC

David Hale - ELAC


Dawson Khoury - Parli at Berkeley

Destinee Sior - Maricopa


My name is Destinee Sior and I am a debate coach for Maricopa Community College. I just have a few things to say about how I view the wonderful world of debate, and my method on judging. For starters- no matter the type of debate- I will always want you to do what you do best, what you feel comfortable with, and debate in whichever way makes you happy. 

I do not mind if you do critical or policy oriented debate. I enjoy listening to Ks and I really enjoy just straight policy cases. Whichever one you choose, all I ask is that you give me a solid structure and you stick to it. Sloppy debate is one of my biggest pet peeves. Please make it easy for me to follow you so I can get everything you say down on paper. I don't care for the double-clutching speed debate, but I can typically flow well if you want to spread. However-- just because, I can flow it does not mean your opponent can. If you are asked to clear you need to SLOW DOWN. I do not care for Ks ran out of the affirmative, but if you want to party please have a solid link story. Negative strats should include an interrogation of the affirmative, as well as their own case. I will not gut check your arguments for you, please do not ask me to do that. Tell me why dropped arguments are important. I love impact calc ¤ Weigh your impacts on timeframe, magnitude, and probability. Give me voters / reasons to prefer. I think it is the job of the debater to make my job easy, but also have fun. I loved debate and you should debate the way you love. 

IPDA-- For the IPDA debaters, please understand I have a Parli and LD background. With that being said, I understand that IPDA is not Parli nor LD. Therefore, please do not debate as such. My judging philosophy for this though is roughly the same-- structure, structure, structure. Give me a solid impact story. Do not just say lives saves improves ecosystem -- what does that MEAN? Why does it matter? How are you weighing it against your opponent? Do not just rely on me to do the work for you. Give me lots and lots of warrants, I love evidence. Most importantly, lets have some fun.

Devon Escoto - CPH

Dexter Cypress - SMC

Elyssa Hulse-Schultheiss - Saddleback


Euni Kim - Utah

My debate background is in British Parliamentary, which means a couple things: 
1. I dont like spreading, period. 
2. I like when debaters debate the topic, which means Ts should only be for when the aff is non-topical, theorys a pretty hard no, and Ks should be at your own discretion. 
3. You should be actually making arguments. Theres nothing persuasive or smart about fancy jargon and/or buzzwords. 

In closing, a quote/reminder by someone smarter than either of us:
Be excellent to each other.¢ - Michel Foucault 

Frankie Gigray - Hired - Utah

Haytham Allos - UCSD


Izak Dunn - ASU


Jason Jordan - 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 be. 

*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.


Jeff Toney - Delta


Jim Dobson - LPC


Joan Andrews - TJC

What is the most important criteria you consider when evaluating a debate?

In IPDA, I am looking for logical argumentation, public speaking skills, source support and courtesy. This should be a â??real worldâ? discussion on an important issue. My background is as an Interp/Speaking coach.  However, I have judged IPDA for over four years.

What are your expectations for proper decorum from the debaters?

Courtesy is extremely important. Of course, students should point out flaws in their competitor's argument. However, the attitude should be "I think my way is better" not "you are wrong, stupid or deliberately misleading us." Also, I expect excellent public speaking skills.  I will be looking for proper posture, fillers and eye contact.  As the Phi Rho Pi IPDA rules state, â??extemporaneous delivery is required.â?  The Phi Rho Pi ballot also asks for judges to rate students on source support. So, I will be listening for sources (just like in Extemp).

What strategies/positions/arguments are you predisposed to listen to and consider when you vote?

I will listen to any logical argument. Do not waste time pointing out an infraction that would lead to a technical win in parliamentary debate.  Instead, use your time refuting the logic your competitorâ??s argument.  Please do not keep telling me that I should vote for you.  Instead, use this valuable time to support your argument. Students will be keeping up with their own time.

How do you evaluate speed, jargon, and technical elements?

All parliamentary and LD debate jargon should be completely avoided. To be clear, if you use speed, I will simply put my pen down and those comments will be disregarded. Your speed should be the same as we were speaking in the elevator about the weather. Debate jargon and spreading comments will not benefit you and should be avoided. I will not be flowing the debate. Instead, I will be listening and evaluating your argument logically. 

Joe Sindicich - CSUF


Joe Faina - LAVC

My judging philosophy is straightforward: I base my decision on who makes the best overall arguments in support of their side.

Joe Gantt - NOFF


John Schultz - Alaska


Jonathan Sanchez - SMC


Joy Lin - NOFF


Kara Sutton - SDSU

Hi all,

I have competed in forensics in both policy and parli. I will vote for anything but you have to tell me how to. Articulate clear framing of the round and have analysis and weighing between impacts of neg and aff is the clearest path to a ballot. I am inclined to vote on the flow regardless of how weird argument. and I appreciate organized response orders.  your link/impact scenarios should be clearly articulated. 

Speed: I can *generally* keep up, but please be accommodating to other debaters/judges.

Procedurals: down for procedural debates, just situate the arguments/your interp in how/why i should vote. 

K: Down for kritiks, explain your framework well and don't assume i/competitors know what you are talking about/what literature you use. Links should be specific and clear, please repeat your perm.

Be a nice person to everyone in round please!

Kashfe Rahman - UCSD


Kelsey Abele - ASU


Kiefer Storrer - Maricopa

Competed 4 years high school Policy, 4 years college parli. Took a year off, judged, then helped coach a comprehensive program in Grad School. Currently in my 2nd year of head coaching, 3rd year of professional coaching. I think debate is whatever you want to make it. It can be a game or a really good platform of advocacy, so I'm pretty supportive of like, inclusive arguments, theory, projects, etc. Speed is fine but especially in Parli give me clear tag lines. You don't need to read DAs to prove abuse on procedurals, just explain to me args you missed out on. Umm. Don't kick offense, please. I like clash and impact calc unless you are warranting out other places I should be specifically voting. Good luck, have fun; don't be a dick. 

Kim Nguyen - CPH

Kourtney Maison - Utah

Kyle Duffy - COC




Laura Ainsworth - Santa Rosa


Layal Alashmoni - SMC


M'Liss Hindman - TJC

Matthew Shoop - PCC

I'm basically a lay judge when it comes to debate.�????????�???????�??????�?????�????�???�??�?�  I've seen a lot of IPDA and very much enjoy the event but I'm not versed in much of the terminology of debate.�????????�???????�??????�?????�????�???�??�?�  My decisions come down to the strength of arguments.�????????�???????�??????�?????�????�???�??�?�  Please signpost whenever you can to help me follow your arguments.�????????�???????�??????�?????�????�???�??�?�  Other than that just be clear!�????????�???????�??????�?????�????�???�??�?� 

Mehryar Danial - SMC

Michael Starzynski - NOFF


Michael Middleton - Utah

A Quotation:

"The present situation is highly discouraging" -Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari

A Haiku:

Debate is Awesome

Judging Makes Me Cry Softly

Do I weep in vain?

Some things to consider (when debating in front of me):

10. I DO NOT support speed as a tool of exclusion

9. I DO NOT like deciding for myself what is the most important thing in the round or how to evaluate the competing arguments; You should do this for me. You will like it less if you don't. On the other hand, I will like it more.

8. I DO like well-structured debates. I also like interesting structures.

7. I DO like creative interpretations; I DO NOT like when you don't explain/provide a rationale for why your interpretation makes for a productive/rewarding/interesting/good debate.

6. I DO NOT like nor understand potential abuse arguments; I DO like and reward teams that demonstrate compellingly that the quality of the debate has been compromised by an interpretive choice made by the other team.

5. I DO NOT vote for any given argument or against any given type of argument. Run whatever strategy you like; Be clear about your strategy.

4. I am a participant in the round also. While I make my best effort to vote on who is winning and losing the debate based on the arguments, I use speaker points to evaluate and highlight both excellent and poor behaviors, i.e. if you create a hostile environment, you get massively low speaker points.

3. Jargon does not equal argument. Nor does it equal a good time.

2. Cross-application does not equal new argument. It doesn't really equal anything.

1. Debate is not life. Losing a ballot will not steal your humanity. I tend to prefer rounds that demonstrate everyone in the room knows this.

0. Have Fun

Michael Gran - MSJC


Michael Leach - COC


Monica Flores-Garcia - PCC

I'm an IE judge/coach! I'm open to any style and strategy as long as students stick to the following:

  • No Spreading:Speed won't add clarity to your arguments or make them more persuasive. Please avoid speaking too quickly. I want to be able to catch every word you say.
  • Parli and LD Jargon: Avoid using this kind of jargon especially when you're competing in IPDA. Your speeches should be accessible to any/all judges watching in terms of clarity. (If I'm seeing you in parli then its totally fine!)
  • Be Respectful: Attack your opponent's contentions, not them. Please avoid fighting/arguing with your partner. Be nice to everyone in the round!

Please do the following:

  • Cameras On: Please turn on your camera! You miss out on several communication tools (eye contact, hand gestures, facial expressions) when we can't see you!
  • Stay Organized: Good conversational speed, transition phrases, signal words, roadmaps etc. will alllow me to follow you better and more easily.
  • Use Sources: Utilize sources to build your case! Analyze and explain why they support your claims along with why we need to know this information. Don't assume I know how you'd like me to interpret this evidence and move forward without connecting the citation back to your argument.

Nate Brown - SMC

NPDA: I dislike spreading and speed in general. This event should develop desirable communication skills like any other. Speed is not good communication. I will not flow it and will vote against it.

Eye contact is important. Debaters who mostly only look at their notes are not connecting with me and so their arguments are less likely to connect with me. Speaking points often matter for tie-breaking to elims, so I am serious about speaker points. Speaking behaviors that would not be tolerated in PERS will not be rewarded in NPDA. Speed, poor eye contact, distracting gestures, vocal fillers, are all examples of delivery behaviors that are too often tolerated in NPDA.

Gov. of course needs to do a good prima facie case, which means clear and complete resolutional analysis, and stock issues in order to stay in the game. But Opp should catch Gov when they fail to do that. I might catch it and vote on it, but Opp needs to make sure. Everything is on-time. Road maps, introductions, ingratiations are all part of your time. Flex time is the opportunity for the next speaker to get ready. The next speech time will begin immediately at the end of the previous flex time. Partner communication should be minimal and should not interrupt the natural flow of a debate. The sitting partner should not interrupt the partner who is speaking unless necessary. And even then, not in the middle of their sentence.

IPDA: I don't want to hear any NPDA jargon in IPDA. NONE. This is debate for a public audience and a lay judge. Arguments should sound and feel conversational. Delivery style (speaker points) should be much more appealing to a lay audience than in any other Forensics event. This is an event that values research and citation. I want to hear source citation.

Nathaniel Rogers - SDSU

Nick Graves - SMC

First, this is competitive debate; your arguments need to make sense and they need to persuade me. After that, I appreciate the creativity of arguments. I like to be surprised by the direction you went, especially when the topic is predictable or played out. I find highly technical rounds full of jargon to be tedious and not very fun to listen to. That's not to say I can't follow them or that I'll refuse to give you credit for them, just that I'll be bored.

Remember this is a game, so don't take yourself too seriously and treat your opponent with respect.

Nicole Pagan - MSJC


Olivia Gainer - CPH

Philip Sharp - Nevada

Phil Sharp- University of Nevada-Reno

General Information

I will attempt to adjudicate the round based on the flow, however if the original argument is not complete, I will not vote for it. Please dont expect me to do the work for you or simply accept your premise without explaining why it is true.

Specific Issues

1. Speaker points

In open division I tend to use a 27-29 scale. You need to stand out to receive less or more than this. The largest factor in my assignment of speaker points is clarity of argument. If you are explaining yourself and giving good warrants, you will do much better than blippy debate with confusing claims. I have not been watching as many debates the last few years, so Id prefer that debaters not go too fast.

2. Critically framed arguments and performance

I hope that the aff will choose to make the connection between the topic and their argumentation clear.  I have a low threshold for procedurals which task the aff with engaging with the topic in the affirmative direction of the resolution. I also would like the negative to have unique links and an alternative that creates uniqueness. I am not generally persuaded to vote for masking impacts and/or root cause argumentation when the negative attempts to compete through these strategies. I also tend to believe that aff does not get perms in method v method or performance v performace debates, but the negative needs to make this argument. I hope that debaters will explain the critical perspective (literature base) that their argument relies upon so that their opponents and I can engage with the argument. To be honest, most of the Ks I hear fail to sufficiently explain the concept before jumping into links and impacts and then are vague about the Alt and Alt-Solvency. This leaves me very unsure of what I am endorsing with my ballot and why.

3. Framework

I prefer a policy debate. However, critical debates should make the criteria for the debate (and role of the ballot clear). I am open to arguments about the division of ground that a particular framework creates. I think good critical debate provides both teams an avenue to the ballot.

4. Topicality

In the event that a team chooses to defend the topic (which I prefer), I give them a fair amount of leeway in their interpretation. I think competing interpretations is a poor approach to framing topicality and am persuaded by right to reasonably define answers.

5. Counterplans

I like good counterplan debate. I am ok with conditionality (but generally do not prefer multi-condo or a CP and an Alt). I dont think textual comp is a good argument.  

6.     Decision Making

The rebuttals should guide me to a decision and tell me exactly how they want me to vote. If the teams do not give me a clear way to vote, I will try to do the least work to vote for one team or the other. I like debates with clear clash and comparison of argument in the last two speeches so that I know how I am supposed to pick one team over the other.

Note: I do not like arguments which weaponize identity of debaters and employ rhetorical violence against people rather than issues, systems, and arguments. I have seen plenty of good critical debates that refrain from this, but i have seen some teams choosing to debate this way and I do not prefer it. If you feel your only option to exist within debate is to do this, then I would ask that you not have me as the judge for that round.


Raffaela Baker - Saddleback


Raman Deol - Delta


Rob Ruiz - NOFF


Robert Campbell - UCSD

Head Coach, University of California Speech & Debate. Former member of the national championship teams at the University of Kansas. An ideal debate round involves organization of case and arguments, clarity, and clash (direct argumentation). I despise "spreading" (no auctioneer ever won an argument) and any Affirmative "K"s (debate the resolution).

Ryan Guy - MJC

UPDATED: 11/13/5/2021

Ryan Guy

Modesto Junior College

Video Recording: I always have a webcam or DSLR with me. If you would like me to record your round and send it to you, check with your opponent(s) first, then ask me. I'll only do it 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.

Online Tournaments:I can screen capture the debate if you all want a copy of it, but like live recording I'll only do it if both folks ask me to.


  • I was a NPDA debater at Humboldt State in the mid 2000s
  • I've coached Parli, NFA-LD, IPDA and a little bit of BP, and CEDA since 2008.
  • I teach courses in argumentation, debate, public speaking, etc

The Basics:

  • In NFA-LD please post arguments you have run on the case list (https://nfald.paperlessdebate.com/)
  • Use speechdrop.net to share files in NFA-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 arguments. (I'm fine with faster evidence reading if I have a copy or you share it digitally).
  • I'm 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 policy-making to K debate. You should probably not run most Ks in front of me.
  • I default to net-benefits criteria unless you tell me otherwise
  • Please tell me why you think you are winning in your last speech


In IPDA I prefer that you signpost your arguments and follow a logical structure for advantages, disadvantages, contentions, counter-contentions etc. If it is a policy resolution you should probably fiat a plan action and argue why implementing it would be net-beneficial. I think it is generally abusive for the affirmative to not FIAT a plan in the 1AC if it is a resolution of policy. Please note the official IPDA textbook states the following about resolutions of policy "With a policy resolution, the affirmative must specify a plan that they will advocate during the debate. The plan of action should consist of at least four elements: agent, mandates, enforcement, and funding." (pg 134) (2016). International Public Debate Association Textbook (1st edition). Kendall Hunt Publishing.)

You get 30 minutes prep, you should cite sources and provide me with evidence. Arguments supported with evidence and good logic are more likely to get my ballot. I will vote on procedural arguments and other debate theory if it is run well in IPDA, but you should try to explain it a bit more conversationally than you would in other forms of debate. Try to use a little less jargon here. I flow IPDA just like I would any other form of debate. Please respond to each other and try not to drop arguments. A debate without clash is boring.

At its heart IPDA is a form of debate meant to be understood by non-debate audiences and skilled debater audiences alike.Argumentation still exists under this framework, but certain strategies like critical affirmatives, spreading, and complicated theory positions are probably better situated in other forms of debate.

General Approach to Judging:

I really enjoy good clash in the round. I like it when debaters directly engage with 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 I'm going to be disappointed.

Organization is very important to me. Please road-map (OFF TIME) 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. Unique 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 with speaks.

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.

Kritiques: I'm probably not the judge you want to run most K's in front of. In most formats of debate I don't think you can unpack the lit and discussion to do it well. If you wish to run Kritical arguments I'll attempt to evaluate them as fairly as I would any other argument in the round.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. You should probably go slower with these types of positions as they may be new to me, and I'm very unlikely to comprehend a fast kritik.

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 I'm in a laptop mood) is your evidence. Why did you debate better in this round? Do some impact calculus and show me why you won.

Speed: Keep it reasonable. In limited prep formats (IPDA / NPDA) speed tends to be a mistake, but you can go a bit faster than conversational with me if you want. That being said; make sure you are clear, organized and are still making persuasive arguments. If you cant do that and go fast, slow down. If someone calls clear ...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.

Online Tournaments: Speed and online based debate are not a great ideas. I would slow down or everyone will miss stuff.

Speed in 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 clear 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.

Please Note: If you do not flash me the evidence or give me a printed copy, then you need to speak at a slow conversational rate, so I can confirm you are reading what is in the cards. If you want to read evidence a bit faster...send me you stuff. I'm happy to return it OR delete it at the end of the round, but I need it while you are debating.

Safety: 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.

NFA-LD Specifc Things:

Files: 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. I also worry it is ableist practice as some debaters struggle with text that can't be resized and searched. 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 a copy of your evidence 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 caselist. 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 2021. Please post your stuff. https://nfald.paperlessdebate.com/ If your opponent is anti-case list you may wan't to run a wiki spec / disclosure theory against 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.

Other Specifics:

Speaker Points:Other than a couple off the wall occurrences my range tends to fall in the 26-30 range (or 36-40 for IPDA). If you do the things in my General Approach to Judging section, your speaks will be higher.

Topicality:AFF, make an effort to be topical. I'm not super amused by squirrely cases. Ill vote on T in all its varieties. 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. I'm 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.

Sabrina Tsai - UCSD


Sam Woolsey - Alaska


Sean Anderson - SMC

Shannan Troxel-Andreas - Butte

I'm primarily an IE judge/coach but have been a DOF for the last several years. 

I don't always like debate - help me to like it by:

-Using clear roadmapping

-Speaking clearly and persuasively (Especially in IPDA - it's an act of persuasion, an art)

- Be respectful of your opponent and judges

-I love to see Neg do more than essentially saying no to all of the Aff

- Show me on the flow how you've won - convince me

Stephen Stohs - UCSD

Stephen Stohs  UCSD   1) What is your experience with speech and debate? I have served as a volunteer judge for the UCSD Speech and Debate Team since Fall 2019, and continued judging straight through the pandemic, including the transition to all-online judging in spring 2020. 2) What does your ideal debate round look like? a)  I appreciate well reasoned arguments communicated through a public speaking style that meets professional broadcast standards suitable for television or radio news. b)  The importance of clear communication is heightened by the extra challenges of the pandemic situation.  Under present conditions, an ideal debate round is free of technical glitches which hamper the performance of competitors or judges. 3) Is there anything you would like the debaters in your round to know about your judging preferences? No extra credit will be given for faster than normal speech to cram in as many points of debate as possible. Quality of speech and clarity of expression will be rewarded over quantity or speed.

Stephen Parker - UCSD


Steve Johnson - Alaska


Steven Farias - Delta


Sue Peterson - CSU Chico

Updated 9/8/18

I am now primarily judging NFA-LD.

PARLI: If you have me as a parli critic, know that it is not my strength nor my favorite style of debate. I just think that referencing evidence with no ability to check the accuracy of your reference makes it difficult to evaluate conflicting arguments, but I will do my best. Having well-warranted arguments beyond just a source (so explaining the warrant, not just naming the source and claim) will help your efforts. I can flow pretty fast debate, but without evidence, the arguments sometimes come fast and furious and I can't write or type that fast, so slow down a bit if you want everything on my flowsheet at the end of the speech.


As far as argumentative preference, performance debates are not really my cup of tea. I like critical arguments and I'm relatively familiar with the literature, but if you are going to "use the topic as a starting point" on the affirmative instead of actually defending implementation of your plan, I'm probably not going to be your favorite judge. But, I think claiming some methodological advantage to a certain plan is fine and the negative is free to critique it up if they so choose, as long as they in some way specifically engage the affirmative's arguments (usually better if it is the affirmative's arguments and not just the resolution or the status quo, but that is debatable).

I do not enjoy nasty debates where people ad-hom each other, yell at each other, or otherwise argue instead of debate. I think debate should be enjoyable for both the debaters and me -- so be nice and have fun. And if your opponents are not nice, don't get sucked into the evil...maintain your composure.

Rebuttals are key. Make sure you take the time to explain your arguments, how they should be impacted in the debate, how they compare to the other team's.


I am no longer inclined to read much evidence, but if you want me to read evidence because of it being a focus of controversy in the round, identify the evidence by author AND warrant - not just author. I want to know WHAT to read and WHY I'm reading it. I prefer to hear the evidence and hear the explanations and vote on that because debate is about oral argumentation. So, I won't read anything unless I feel like I have to in order to be fair to both sides in the debate.

I am not prone to vote on "this is a rule" unless it is well-warranted. I get that LD has rules and I believe there are reasons for those rules, but I also believe that debaters should be able to articulate those reasons in a round in order to win on those arguments. So, if you are going to make arguments about what should be excluded in a round, be sure to provide warrants other than "its a rule". I am open to debaters asking others to speak more conversational in rounds as that is part of this activity's unique appeal, but I do think that you should be reciprocal - so don't ask for someone to slow down (or yell slow/clear during their speech) and then speak fast in your own speech.

I love a good T debate. Most pre-round questions seem to focus on in-round abuse and competing interps, so I will say here that I think both those arguments are things that can be debated out in the round. I don't HAVE to have in-round abuse, but I'm open as to why I shouldn't evaluate Ts that don't prove it. My default is competing interpretations, BUT if the affirmative is obviously topical under the negative's interpretation and explains such, I don't think they HAVE to have a counterinterp.

If you have any other questions, let me know before the round begins!

Taure Shimp - MJC

In IPDA, I hope to see clear contentions that include cited evidence and well-developed warrants. Debaters should utilize ethos/pathos/logos appeals throughout to demonstrate well-rounded speaking abilities. I expect IPDA debates to be accessible to lay audiences. This means maintaining a conversational rate of speech, avoiding unnecessary jargon, and presenting arguments that engage in a clear way with the resolution. Courtesy is of utmost importance. Always treat your opponent, audience members, and judges with respect.

Thal Gondim - SMC

Tim Heisler - LPC

I am an Individual Event judge and excel in coaching/judging platform speeches. I will evaluate an IPDA round as it compares to platform speeches. In my mind an IPDA debate is supposed to be clearly & easily understood by an audience unfamiliar with forensics competition. Therefore speakers who employ things like debate jargon & speed will dramatically suffer. Speak clearly, speak cleanly, speak articulately, be organized.

My ideal round looks like the following;

A. Please be kind to each other above all, I strongly dislike debaters who are rude to each other, I think it drives out young and talented people from our sport.

B. Avoid debate jargon. If your aunt, grandmother, boss or co-worker wouldn't understand what you're talking about, then you're not speaking the language of the common folk.

C. Debators are in charge of the debate. This includes keeping track of their own time, knowing the speaking order, and adhering to time limits.

D. When answering questions please be quick and concise. Long-winded answers that beat around the bush are really just tactical ways of milking the clock during Cross-X time. And we all know it, don't we?

Be nice. Be clear. Be fair. Have fun.

Tim Seavey - SDSU

Trevor Greenan - Parli at Berkeley


I came from a high school parli background, but most of my relevant experience is from the last 3 years with the Parli at Berkeley NPDA team. I competed on-and-off for 3 years, and now exclusively coach/run the program. As a debater I was probably most comfortable with the kritikal debate, but Ive had a good amount of exposure to most everything in my time coaching the team. A lot of my understanding of debate has come from working with the Cal Parli team, so I tend to err more flow-centric in my round evaluations; that being said, I really appreciate innovative/novel arguments, and did a good amount of performance-based debating as a competitor. Im generally open to just about any argument, as long as theres good clash.


General Issues

  • I try to keep my evaluation of the round as flow-centric as possible. This means that Ill try to limit my involvement in the round as much as possible, and Ill pick up the worse argument if its won on the flow. That being said, I recognize that theres a certain degree of intervention thats inevitable in at least some portion of rounds, and in those cases my aim is to be able to find the least interventionist justification within the round for my decision. For me, this means prioritizing (roughly in this order): conceded arguments, arguments with warranted/substantive analysis, arguments with in-round weighing/framing, arguments with implicit clash/framing, and, worst case, the arguments I can better understand the interactions of.

  • In-round framing and explanation of arguments are pretty important for me. While I will vote for blippier/less developed arguments if theyre won, I definitely have a higher threshold for winning arguments if I feel that they werent sufficiently understandable in first reading, and will be more open to new-ish responses in rebuttals as necessary. Also worth noting, I tend to have a lower threshold for accepting framing arguments in the PMR.

  • The LORs a tricky speech. For complicated rounds, I enjoy it as a way to break down the layers of the debate and explain any win conditions for the negative. I dont need arguments to be made in the LOR to vote on them, however, so I generally think preemption of the PMR is a safer bet. I prefer to not flow it on one sheet, but if you strongly prefer that format Id rather have you do that than throw off your speech for the sake of adapting.

  • I have no preferences on conditionality. Perfectly fine with however many conditional advocacies, but also more than happy to vote on condo bad if its read well.

  • Please read advocacy/interp texts slowly/twice. Written texts are always nice.

  • I will do my best to protect against new arguments in the rebuttals, but its always better to call the POO just to be safe.

  • Im open to alternate/less-flow-centric methods of evaluating the round, but I have a very hard time understanding what these alternate methods can be. So, please just try to be as clear as possible if you ask me to evaluate the round in some distinct way.

  • I evaluate shadow-extensions as new arguments. What this means for me is that any arguments that a team wants to win on/leverage in either the PMR or LOR must be extended in the MG/MO to be considered. I'll grant offense to and vote on positions that are blanket extended ("extend the impacts, the advantage is conceded", etc.), but if you want to cross-apply or otherwise leverage a specific argument against other arguments in the round, I do need an explicit extension of that argument.



  • I think the framework debate is often one of the most undeveloped parts of the K debate, and love seeing interesting/well-developed/tricksy frameworks. That being said, absent substantial argumentation either way, Ill usually defer to each side being able to leverage their advocacy/offence against the other.

  • I have a pretty high threshold for voting on presumption. I find it difficult to buy that either side has actually won terminal defense, absent a good amount of work in the round. That being said, I default to presumption flowing negative.

  • Prior question arguments in framework are fine/good, just make sure that theres sufficient explanation of these arguments and application to the rest of the round. Im not very likely to vote on a dropped prior question/independent voter argument if there isnt interaction done with the rest of the arguments in the round.



  • I generally feel very comfortable evaluating the theory debate, and am more than happy to vote on procedurals/topicality/framework/etc. Im perfectly fine with frivolous theory. Please just make sure to provide a clear/stable interp text.

  • I default to competing interpretations and drop the team on theory, absent other arguments. Competing interpretations for me means that I evaluate the theory layer through a risk of offense model, and I will evaluate potential abuse. I dont think this necessarily means the other team needs to provide a counter-interpretation, although I think it definitely makes adjudication easier to provide one.

  • I have a hard time evaluating reasonability without a brightline. I dont know how I should interpret what makes an argument reasonable or not absent a specific explanation of what that should mean without being interventionist, and so absent a brightline Ill usually just end up evaluating through competing interpretations regardless.

  • I have a very high threshold on RVIs. If extremely well-developed and extremely mishandled by the other team I could imagine myself voting on one, but I would hope to never have to.



  • Uniqueness determines the direction of the link (absent explanation otherwise), so please make sure youre reading uniqueness in the right direction.

  • I have a pretty high threshold for terminal defense, and will more often than not assume theres at least some risk of offense, so dont rely on just reading defensive arguments.

  • Perfectly fine with generic advantages/disads, and Im generally a fan of the politics DA. That being said, the more you can contextualize your argument to the round the greater weight that I will give it. Specific and substantial case debates are great.

  • I default to fiat being durable.



  • Please give me specific texts.

  • Fine with cheater CPs, but also more than happy to vote on CP theory.

  • I default that perms are tests of competition and not advocacies.

  • I generally wont buy textual competition absent arguments in the round telling me why I should.



  • I really enjoy the K debate, and this was probably where I had the most fun as a debater. I have a pretty good understanding of most foundational critical literature, and I have a decent understanding of postmodern theory (particularly Foucauldian/Deleuzian/Derridean). That being said, please make the thesis-level of your criticism as clear as possible; I will do my best to not just vote for an argument I understand absent explanation in-round, and theres definitely a good amount of literature I wont know of.

  • Im perfectly happy to vote on kritikal affirmatives, but I will also gladly vote on framework. On that note, Im also happy to vote on impact turns to fairness/education, but will probably default to evaluating the fairness level first absent other argumentation.

  • Same with CPs, I default to perms being a test of competition and not an advocacy. Im also fine with severance perms, but am also open to theoretical arguments against them; just make them in-round, and be sure to provide a clear voter/impact.

  • I default to evaluating the link debate via strength of link, but please do the comparative analysis for me. Open to other evaluative methods, just be clear in-round.

  • I have a decent understanding of performance theory and am happy to vote on performance arguments, but I need a good explanation of how I should evaluate performative elements of the round in comparison to other arguments on the flow.

  • Regarding identity/narrative based arguments, I think they can be very important in debate, and theyve been very significant/valuable to people on the Cal Parli team who have run them in the past. That being said, I also understand that they can be difficult and oftentimes triggering for people in-round, and I have a very hard time resolving this. Ill usually defer to viewing debate as a competitive activity and will do my best to evaluate these arguments within the context of the framing arguments made in the round, so please just do your best to make the evaluative method for the round as clear as possible.

Umbreen Khan - Delta


Xavi Torres - PCC

I did mostly interp when I competed, but have been trained in debate jargon and coaching novices in the activity. For the most part, consider me a layperson for all forms of debate and adjust accordingly.

Zihad Amin - IVC

  Judging Philosophy


2 year community college debater. Competed at state and nationals. Open to everything. Prefer to see debate centered around the resolution. Will flow critiques, but need to make sure the link is clear and strong. Be respectful to your opponents. Partner to partner communication is acceptable, but do not speak for your partner. Will only flow what the primary speaker is saying, nothing that the partner says will be flowed. I have a hearing disability so try not to speak too fast and be clear. Extremely important to be clear so I can get as much of the argument as possible. Will default to judging rounds based on net benefits unless am told otherwise. Really enjoy impact calculus and the round will heavily be weighed on which side provides the clearest and most powerful impacts. I am willing to answer any specific questions debaters may have prior to the round