Judge Philosophies

Alexander Ellis - LPC


Andrew Morgan - DVC

First and foremost, my specialty is in individual events, and that is most of my background when it comes to forensics. That being said, I enjoy watching, coaching, and judging debate events. When it comes to speed, I can’t keep up with the fastest, so I expect debaters to adapt to my capabilities as a judge. That means if I slow you, please slow down. I will drop you if you do not slow down when I slow you. I think organization in debate events is really important. Clear signposting throughout the round is a must for me. All things considered, I do my best to keep up on the flow, and I do my best to weigh the debate there.

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 Krueger - Nevada

Ben Krueger (he/him/his)

University of Nevada, Reno

I competed in Parli and IEs in the early 2000s at Northern Arizona University. After many years away from competitive forensics, I returned to judging in 2016. I have been the assistant director at UNR since 2019.

General Debate Views and Preferences

1. I come from a traditional policymaking background, but I'm open to multiple frameworks and interpretations of debate. It's up to you to defend and justify your framework choices in the round.

2. I don't do well with speed. The faster you spread, the more likely it is that I'll miss arguments on the flow and make a decision you won't like.

3. I viscerally dislike "gut check" arguments and won't vote for them. Instead of gut-checking an argument, give me more specific reasons why I shouldn't believe it (for example, it doesn't. have a clear source, it's based on a post hoc fallacy, etc).

4. Don't be jerks. It is s possible to make assertive, highly competitive arguments while still recognizing the humanity of your opponents. Hostile verbal and nonverbal behavior cheapens the pedagogical value of competitive debate and drives students away from the activity. I will not hesitate to vote against competitors for in-round abuse of their opponents. I feel especially strongly about this point after witnessing the collapse of the 2021 USUDC tournament (British Parli nationals) due to in-round racial microaggressions that were not adequately handled by judges or tournament staff.

My views of IPDA

I believe that IPDA should be publicly accessible as a debate format, by which I mean that speeches should be delivered at at a conversational rate and and should minimize use of technical jargon as much as possible. That having been said, I will still evaluate IPDA rounds from a flow-centric perspective, which means that things like framework and dropped arguments still matter. Eloquent oratory or witty comebacks alone will not be enough to win my ballot if you aren't winning on flow. Also be aware that I tend to be disinclined to vote on framework presses beyond the level of reasons to prefer a specific criterion or definition.

Benny Mock - LPC


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.

Blake Longfellow - DVC

I am primarily an IE coach and very much approach forensics (including debate) as a communication/persuasive activity. I approach debate with the mindset that all stories are arguments and all arguments are stories. With that said, the story which is the most internally cohesive (narrative probability) and that lines up across the debate (narrative fidelity) is likely to win my ballot.

Here is a list of things Paul Villa thinks you should know about debating in front of me:

- Truth over tech: Blake isn't flowing the debate like this is the national circuit, he is going to take minimal notes, you aren't going to win by pointing out some drop on the flow or technical analysis of the round.

- Don't spread. Like, at all. However fast you are thinking will be fine I'd go slower than that.

- Reading theory is a non-starter, if the other team isn't topical just tell Blake they aren't topical and explain why that means they should lose the debate without getting all technical.

- Blake would probably vote on a K, especially a performance one, assuming it made sense to him in the round.

- Less is more, the more simple the path to the ballot for you the more likely Blake is to vote for you.

Brandon Wood - COD

Did you persuade me with complete arguments? Did you make this seem like a general audience could follow and enjoy? Did you treat your opponent with respect? Did you speak passionately and compellingly? Did you not talk about the value of education? If you answer yes to all of these then you have mastered my criteria.

It is highly, highly appreciated if opponents greet each other by first or last names and I will only mark refutation on my flow if a specific name is attached to it during the constructive. I don't want to be told what I have to do. I'm not being shown a stack of cut research that makes me have to vote for someone. Whether it's parli or IPDA you should avoid words like, "you must", "you should strike this", "you have to vote for our side because we did this/they didn't do this", or "here is why we won". Every time I deduct 3 speaker points and will likely not be paying attention for 30 seconds of your speech because I will be writing what I've already written here and therefore will not be flowing. Don't meet competitor hostility with hostility unless you want to assure a hostile ballot.

Arguing that something is or is not"educational" is ultimately a weird form of hyperbole that has infected debate. Experiencing something that is unfair, like circular arguments or bad definitions, is educational. This activity makes it so it is real hard to not engage in an educational experience. While I won't buy the education-has-been-removed-from-this-debate-round argument, I absolutely will accept issues regarding abusive definitions, incomplete argumentation, etc.

FAQ: Speed? = me not flowing. Jargon? = Toome it creates assumed enthymemes and sloppy debate (usually). Technical elements? = will accept them as needed (in Parli). Partner communication during constructives? = Really dislike it now that prep time exists because it just decimates your percieved credibility in my eyes (with no evidence in hand your ethos is the contract to accepting information at face value). Role of the juge? = Parli- Tabula Rasa , except when it comes to trichotomy. Lingusitically, resolutions come with burdens that most often are objectively implied ("should" is policy for example) as policy, value, or fact. I flow the entirety of the constructives and dropped arguments are a big deal. IPDA - I am a general audience member and enter each round with my complete knowledge as a human. I approach the resolution with an open mind and a desire to be persuaded but factual errors, fallacious argumentation, and hostile debate styles. I don't flow. I take notes that summarize the debates progress.

Colby Bettis - LPC


Douglas Mungin - Solano CC

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.

Elise Elizadele - LPC


Emil Tamm - LPC


Fabian Silva - LPC


Garrett Alsup - LPC


Harish Rao - Hired


JP Escarcega - SFSU


Janene Whitesell - Solano CC

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.

Janet Brehe-Johnson - Hired


Jason Chmara - Hired


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.

Joel Chmara - Hired


Joey Barrows - UOP

I competed in LD for two years, and did Parli for one. I don't have much of a bias towards any particular strategy. I am willing to vote on pretty much anything if it's winning on the flow. If I'm having a problem with speed I will let you know.

Justin Magnano - LPC


Kacy Stevens - COD

I will listen to every argument a debater presents. However, as much as I try, I do find it difficult to divorce myself from my knowledge of fallacious argumentation. Thus, I tend to focus on logical links and how they tie back to the weighing mechanism of the round. If there are links to nuclear war or other hyperbolicscenariosthatare easily broken, I am unlikely to vote on such unrealistic impacts, especially if they have been delinked.

IPDA should be dramatically different than parli. When a debater turns an IPDA round into a parli round, I am likely to vote for the OTHER debater in the round. Delivery, organization, and ethos matter significantly more in IPDA than in parli.

I highly value courteous and respectful debate in both parli and IPDA. I believe strongly in the idea that one of the major distinctions between debate argumentation and "verbal fighting" is the high degree of respect debaters show each other in and out of rounds. Ethos has its place in debate and respect to others does impact ethos. I strongly believe in the distinction between fact, value, and policy resolutions. The burdens for each are vastly different and require teams to focus the debate in drastically different ways. I hold true to the idea that setting up a case using the correct resolutional type is a burden of the government team.

In voting, I equally weigh prima facia issues and the weighing mechanism of the round. I expect debaters to impact their arguments directly to the weighing mechanism established in the round. IMPACT, IMPACT, IMPACT

Speed sometimes occurs, but should not be relied upon. I will make it clear when the speed becomes so quick that I can no longer flow the debate by simply putting my pen down. It should be a clear nonverbal indicator to every debater that I am no longer flowing the debate because of speed, and therefore will not vote on the arguments that are not on my flow. However, I will pick back up my pen and continue flowing when the speaking rate becomes reasonable enough to flow.I also believe that speed impacts credibility. While debate relies heavily upon logos, ethos and pathos should not be ignored. Beyond speed, I also highly encourage debaters to use strong organization including, taglines, roman numerals, capital letters, etc. Labeling and numbering arguments is one of the easiest ways to ensure that both teams and the judge(s) are on the same page. Jargon alone does not make an argument; a debater's explanation of the jargon makes an argument. Jargon alone will never be voted on by me. I expect debaters to explain why the jargon is significant to the round and how it should impact my voting. Technicalities can matter but only if the debater(s) impact out why the technical elements have a bearing on the round itself. Procedural arguments are a part of debate for a reason but should not be relied upon solely to win rounds. If procedurals are present, debaters should feel free to run them and IMPACT them, but not force them to work.

Ki Singh - SFSU


Klarissa Cuenca - LPC


Kristina Sanville - CSU Chico

Mahima Tanksalker - LPC


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!

Mark Faaita - CSU Chico

In all forms of debate I prefer arguments that are well reasoned and have supporting evidence. I am open to just about any kind of argument, but I think that more abstract/philosophical arguments typically run the risk of being easily leveraged against the team deploying them in the round. There are few to no arguments that I think will hear in a round and immediately disregard. i vote for arguments I don't like/disagree with all of the time. Please, please, please do not be rude to your opponents. It's just not a good look and creates a tension in the room that doesn't need to be there.

Megan Koch - ILSTU

Nathan Steele - CCSF

Have fun and claim the space-time of the debate round as belonging to you. Aspire to present clearly organized and supported arguments in your constructive speeches. Your general approach should be to invite dialogue over controversy and offer clear reasoning why your position is preferable. Provide criteria by which I might evaluate the arguments in the round. When inspired, embrace your creativity and wit. Share the time with your opponent during cross-examination. Use rebuttal speeches to extend arguments as you see fit. It is good practice to provide some key voting issues or summary of the competing narratives within the debate to illuminate my decision-making process (i.e., my pathway to voting for you). Delivery doesn't factor heavily into decision-making. Be yourself. Focus on conveying the arguments so your opponent and judge understand. I may comment on features of your nonverbal communication on a ballot, but you'll win the debate with the argument(s).

The emotional experience of participating in debate matters, and my hope is that debaters will be respectful of opponents, judges, and audience members at all times. Focus on the arguments during the round. Be good to yourself too. Debate can be difficult at times. Keep bringing your best and youll get better.

Oliver Tripp - SFSU

Updated for NPTE 2022

On me as a judge:

- I was a critical policy debater in college and currently coach policy, parli, and LD at SFSU.

- I default to being a technical judge but am happy to judge differently if you tell me why I should. I don't protect the flow, please call out any new arguments in the rebuttals.

- **Speed is fine BUT now that we're virtual, please make sure you're speaking clearly if you want to spread. Audio quality can be poor when debating online, so enunciating is really important for me to catch exactly what you're saying.** It is most important that your opponents can understand you so they can engage with your arguments. If you're intentionally going for full unintelligibility or rejecting the English language as part of your performance, I commend your dedication and carry on; just give us enough so I can weigh it against your opponent.

- I dock speaker points for being rude in flex/cx, making excessive faces during your opponent's speech, or straight up interrupting your opponent's speech. As long as you're respectful, my speak ranges are usually 27-29.5.

On types of arguments:

- I'm drawn to critical and unconventional arguments. That said, I care more about seeing you debate what you believe in and are passionate about than seeing you craft a case you think will please me - if that's traditional policy for you, please keep doing you. This is your education and your debate experience first.

- I love critiques, but you need to establish clear, strong links. I love performance, but you need to establish and extend what your in-round performance is. I'm familiar with most K literature, but you need to make sure your opponent fully understands your K/literature so they can engage with your case. I am a judge who wants to hear your critiques, but if you are not a K team, you are not at a disadvantage with me. I've voted against Ks just as often as I've voted for them.

- If you're neg against a critical affirmative, I want to see you engage with the critique as you would engage with a plan. I will vote neg for dropped theory arguments and/or for proven abuse if the aff refuses to explain their literature to you, but if you collapse to theory and the aff does answer it, you will have a hard time winning my vote.


- Ks good, inaccessibility bad, flow judge

I'm trans so please keep that in mind if trans issues become part of the debate. :^)

Please use speechdrop instead of email chains! My email is oli.tripp@icloud.com if you have any extra questions after round.

Orion Steele - SFSU

Judge Philosophy for Orion Steele

Experience - I debated for Millard West High School for 3 years, then I debated for the University of Redlands for 4 years. Finished in Quarters at the NDT in 2004 and 2005. Since graduating from Redlands in 2005, I have coached at the University of Redlands, San Francisco State University and Cal State Fullerton. I have also taught at various high school camps around the country. I hold a law degree and a masters degree in Human Communication Studies. After coaching at St. Vincent De Paul High School, I worked for several years as a coach for the Bay Area Urban Debate League. After that, I began teaching full time at San Francisco State University. i currently teach debate at SFSU, City College of San Francisco and USF. I am also currently the director of forensics at University of San Francisco.

General Thoughts - I love all kinds of debate, from traditional debate to wacky crazy debate and everything in between. In general, you may make any argument you want when I am your judge, but I think you should have a warrant (a “because” statement) for any argument you make. If you can explain why an argument is good and/or important, then I will evaluate it. I promise you that I will listen to everything you say in the debate and try as hard as I can to evaluate all of the arguments fairly. Education, Fairness and FUN are three important values that I care about deeply. Debaters that make the round more fun, more fair, and more educational will be rewarded.

I’m sure you probably want specifics, so here we go:

Topicality - Go ahead. I will pull the trigger on T, but it is easier for the Neg if they can demonstrate in round abuse. I will obviously vote on T if you win the debate on T, but it will make me feel better about what I’m doing if you can show in round abuse.

Disads - Love em. Try to explain how they turn the case.

Counter plans - Love em. Beat the Perm/Theory.

Theory - Will vote on theory, but will rarely vote on cheap shots. If you think you have a good theory argument, defend it seriously.

Kritiks - Love em. The more specific the K, the better for you. In other words, explain your concepts.

Performance - Go ahead. I have been profoundly inspired by some performance debates, and encourage you to think about creative ways to speak. If your style of argumentation combines form and content in unique ways, I will evaluate the debate with that in mind.

Framework - An important debate tool that should be included in our activity. I will admit I have some proclivities about specific framework arguments (Aff choice in particular is a vacuous argument that I won’t vote for), but if you win on Framework then I will vote for you.

Bias - Of all the arguments that I am exposed to on a regular basis, I probably have the biggest bias against conditionality. I do not feel good about multiple conditional contradictory advocacies and I do not believe there is such thing as a conditional representations kritik. If you have a conditional advocacy, and the other team adequately explains why that is unfair or bad for debate, I will vote against you on condo.

Overall, one of the coolest parts of debate is seeing how radically different approaches compete with each other. In other words, I like to see all kinds of debate and I like to see what happens when different kinds of debate crash into each other in a round. If I am your judge, you should do what you like to do best, and assume that I am going to try as hard as possible to think about your arguments and evaluate them fairly.

I would just like to use this space to say that I am VERY disappointed in the judge philosophies of some other people in this community. I have been in college debate land for a while, but I am taken back by the number of high school debate judges that say “do not pref me if you make x argument” or “I think debate should be about policy education and I will not consider anything else”. Your job as a judge is to listen to other people speak about what they want in the manner they want and make a fair decision. You are doing a disservice to debaters and hurting the educational value of our activity by removing yourself from debates where you may feel uncomfortable. You are never going to learn how to deal with inevitable shifts in the direction of our activity if you never open your mind to different arguments and methods.

Patti Keeling-Haines - Hired


Paul Villa - DVC

Updated for NPDA 2022:

Top 8 things to keep in mind if I am judging you.

  1. I have chronic wrist conditions on both sides, you are fine to spread but if something gets lost as a result of excessive speed I am not going to pretend I have it written down.

  2. I find it hard to imagine a world where the negative deploys a well-developed Topicality/Framework shell with a clear violation or the affirmative deploys a well-developed condo shell and I dont vote for it.

  3. My threshold for response to vacuous/bad arguments is exceedingly low.

  4. I generally default to reasonability on theory by default, I think that the offense-defense paradigm breaks down on a lot of theory positions (IE, there is probably always some marginal benefit to further specification but I dont really see why that means the aff should lose). Condo is a notable exception since I dont really understand how someone can be reasonably unconditional.

  5. I am more predisposed to defense than most judges and absolutely believe it can be terminal.

  6. I wont vote on any kritik that I dont understand the solvency mechanism of or feel I couldnt otherwise explain as part of my RFD. This applies to all advocacies but kritiks tend to be where this comes up most frequently. I dont dislike the K, I read the K in at least 50% of my neg rounds as a competitor, my students read the K all the time, plenty of debaters have won on Ks in front of me, I just need you to actually explain your argument as opposed to obfuscating.

  7. I dislike the trend of backfilling or massively recontextualizing positions. Chances are, if your argument feels largely new I am going to give the rebuttals a lot of leeway in their ability to answer.

  8. Almost without exception, the team that does the best world resolving arguments and winning thesis level claims will win my ballot, I don't find debates particularly difficult to resolve but if you don't do that work for me I am almost certainly going to default to making the simplest decision possible.

Background: I am the director of debate at Diablo Valley College, I competed in LD and NPDA at the University of the Pacific for 3 years and then was an assistant coach for the team during grad school. I can hang, I just hate sophistry and vacuous debate.

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.


Philip-Izac Enguancho - Ohlone College


Please treat me as the layest of lay judges. Although I've been in the forensics community for a while now, my debate experience is pretty much non-existent. Let's try and fix that!

Few things to consider:

1.) I'm an interp cat so performative arguments and flashy stuff will absolutely make me fall in love with you. If someone goes up there and raps their arguments while their partner beatboxes in the background I will surrender every speaker point I have ever accumulated in my life to y'all.

2.) Gently walk me through the debates! Treat me like a clumsy dog that just gained the ability to comprehend the English language, verbally put a leash on me and give me all the outlines and roadmaps and google earths's's of your speeches. Use any and all opportunities to feed me treats (i.e. tell me why I should vote for you).

3.) Feel free to run whatever type of debates y'all want (topicalidums, krattacks, dish ads, etc). I can't guarantee that I'll be able to understand anythi- every little intricacy thrown out but I'll genuinely try my best to understand. That said, I will undoubtedly gravitate towards simple, effective, and clearly articulated arguments.

4.) I absolutely love learning and (respectfully) getting schooled. Don't be afraid to flex your knowledge and bust out some obscure ish. Obviously it should relate directly to whatever arguments you're making. Or not, whatever... would that be considered off-off-case? is that a thing? help

In all seriousness, this'll be a learning experience for the both of us. All I ask is for everyone involved to be respectful towards your peers and to make the rounds as fun and as educational as possible.

Sage Russo - SFSU


Sasan Kasravi - DVC

TL;DR: I won't punish you for not debating the way I like, but I can't "hang". Speed and Ks not recommended, but I won't vote you down unless your opponent gives me a decent reason to. Give me direct and clear reasons to vote for you. Have fun in the round.

I'm a community college Parliamentary Debate coach.

I protect the flow in rebuttals based on what I have on my flow. Feel free to call points of order if you'd really like to, though.

I do my best to vote the way the debaters tell me to and to be tabula rasa. With that having been said, I think everyone has biases and I want to tell you mine. I won't ignore any of your arguments out of not liking them, but my biases could lower the threshold for refutation on an argument I dislike.

What I like to see most in debates is good clash. To me, good clash means link refutations and impact comparisons.

I'm comfortable with theory and you can run whatever procedural you'd like. I prefer to vote on articulated abuse rather than potential abuse. While I'm happy to vote on procedurals if it's called for, I've never walked out of a round thinking, "Wow! What a great T!"

I don't like K's. I've voted on them before, I'll probably end up having to vote for a K again, but I'm not happy about it. Specifically, I have a hard time buying solvency on the alternatives of most K's I've heard.

I prefer that you don't spread, but I can keep up with decent speed. I'll tell you to slow if I need you to slow down.

Please be inclusive of your opponents and (if there are other judges in this round) the other judges on the panel.

It's important to me that this activity:

a) be a useful experience for competitors' lives outside of forensics

b) be enjoyable enough to be worth giving up weekends instead of sleeping in and watching cartoons.

Lastly, if I make jokes please pretend to think I'm funny. I don't have much else going for me.

Scott Ault - Hired


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

Steve Robertson - Contra Costa

Steve Robertson

Contra Costa College, Director of Forensics

Years competed:1 yr LD (high school), 4.5 years NDT/CEDIA (college)

Years coaching: 20+ years (middle school, high school, college - LD, parli, NDT/CEDA, IPDA)


Philosophy - The round is for you to convince me why your side should win the debate.  try to be as non-interventionist as I can be.  I work off the flow, focusing on your claims, warrants, and evidence. Believability is also a factor. I find it very difficult to vote for arguments that I don't understand how they work or function.  So be sure to explain why things are the way they are.  Compare impacts, and explain why your impacts/argument outweigh or should be viewed as more important than theirs. The main point is that you need to justify your position to me: what is your argument, why is it legitimate, and why does that matter in light of the other side's arguments.  If you can adequately answer those three questions better than the other side, you should win the argument.

I punish non-responsiveness - meaning that if you drop or undercover arguments, they suddenly get much more weight in the round (especially if exploited by the other team). However, if you under-develop your arguments (such as blipping out theory pre-empts without justifying them), it doesn't take much to respond to these arguments. 

I also communicate through nonverbals.  If you see me nodding, then that means I understand your position (not necessarily agree with it, but I get what you're saying).  If you see me cocking my head to the side or scrunching up my face, it means I don't get what you're saying or I don't understand your argument or I don't see why it's relevant.  If you see that face, you should either give more explanation (until you see a head nod) or cut your losses and move onto another argument.  If you see my hands in the air, that means I don't know where you are on the flow. You should give me a signpost, because I'm currently not flowing you.

Here are some event-specific concerns:

Parli - Debate starts at the highest point of conflict.  I will listen to arguments of trichot/type of resolution, though if the tournament identifies it as a particular type of resolution this becomes a bit more difficult. 

I don't care about partner to partner communication. However, if it's done during the other team's speech, then mute yourselves from this 8x8 (e.g., chat privately, mute yourselves and talk in another venue, etc.). Don't disrupt the other speaker.

If you want to give your partner advice or arguments, that's fine as well.  There are 2 things to be aware of: First, I only listen to what the speaker says. So if you tell your partner something, it doesn't reach my flow until the current speaker says it.  Saying "yeah, what she said" will get onto my flow as "yeah, what she said" - not the actual argument.  Second, the more you parrot or puppet your partner, the lower your speaker points will become.  This is purely subjective on my part, so use at your own peril.

Finally, parli has the Point of Order. I will not protect against new arguments or other rules violations (unless specified to do so in the tournament rules).  Use this if applicable.  Frivolous use of it, however, will desensitize me to it.

LD - You have the obligation to provide evidence in this debate.  Please do so.  Referencing evidence that has not been read in the debate will carry the same weight as an assertion for me.

For me, reading the source (publication title and/or authors' last names) and date is sufficient for citations, provided that all additional information is provided on the card's citation itself.  If you want to run an official rules violation on this in front of me, I will entertain it, but realize I am disinclined to vote evidence or a debater down in that information is available on the card. Doesn't mean you can't win it, just that it'll be an uphill battle.

Realize that while underlining and highlighting are acceptable ways of modifying evidence for a round, ellipses, unreadable font size, or gaps in text are unacceptable.

IPDA - IPDA is more of a communication event than a debate for me.  It is NOT treated the same as parli.  I do not flow, but take a very limited amount of notes.  Eloquence factors into the decision for me.  I think of this as a townhall meeting, closer to interactive persuasion than debate.  Avoid debate jargon, extensive line by line analysis, and other more traditional debate tactics.  This is about persuasion, not strict argumentation.  Think of debating in front of your grandmother, not a debate judge.


Bottom line - make good arguments, offer clash, give impact calculus/comparison, and be civil to one another.  Oh...and have fun!  :)

Travis Silva - LPC


Trevor March - Hired


Ty Rivas - LPC


Vialsy Esparza Cabrales - LPC