Judge Philosophies

Alexandrea Dillon -- Pikes Peak Community College


Amy Schneider -- Hired Judges (WSCA)


Ashley Nuckels Cuevas -- San Diego State University


Barbra Garrett -- Pikes Peak Community College


Ben Mann -- University of 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 â??SLOWâ? if youâ??re speaking too quickly (generally not an issue) or â??CLEARâ? 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 Masterâ??s 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 donâ??t 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 theyâ??re close. Iâ??ll protect against blatantly new arguments.

4.� � � � MG theory is more in vogue these days, and Iâ??m 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 disabilityâ??s 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.� � � � Iâ??m 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 â??the communityâ? 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).

Blake Harris -- Colorado Christian University

Blake Harris -- University of Colorado Boulder


Bob Becker -- Northwest College

  As a critic, I believe my task is to weigh the issues presented in the round. I don't enjoy intervening, and try not to do so. To prevent my intervention, debaters need to use rebuttals to provide a clear explanation of the issues. Otherwise, if left on my own, I will pick the issues I think are important. All of that said, I am not an information processor. I am a human being and so are you. If you want me to consider an issue in the round, make sure you emphasize it and explain its importance.

When weighing issues, I always look to jurisdictional issues first. I will give the affirmative some leeway on topicality, but if they can't explain why their case is topical, they will lose. Although some arguments are more easily defeated than others, I am willing to listen to most positions. In reality I probably have a somewhat high threshold for topicality, but if you want to win, you need to spend some time on it and not give the aff any way out of it. In-round abuse is not necessary, but if that argument is made against you, then you need to explain why topicality is important (jurisdiction, aff always wins, etc.) I don’t require competing interpretations.

I am fine with critical arguments, but you need to explain how they impact the round. I have found few students can explain how I should evaluate real-world impacts in a debate world, or how I should evaluate and compare real world and debate world impacts. I’m fine with critical affs, but you better have some good justification for it. “We don’t like the resolution” doesn’t cut it with me. If your critical arguments conflict with your disad, you better have some “contradictory arguments good” answers.

Performance based argument need to be sufficiently explained as to how they prove the resolution true or false. Or, I need to know how to evaluate it. If you don’t tell me, I will evaluate it as I would an interp round.

As with everything else, it depends on how the impacts are explained to me. If one team says “one million deaths” and the other says “dehume,” but doesn’t explain why dehume is worse than deaths, I’ll vote for death. If the other team says dehume is worse because it can be repeated and becomes a living death, etc., then I’ll vote for dehume. I think I’m telling you that abstract impacts need to be made concrete, but more importantly, explain what the issue is and why I should consider it to be important.

I don't mind speed, but sometimes I physically can't flow that fast. I will tell you if I can't understand you. Remember, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure I understand what you are saying. Above all, be professional. This activity is fun. That’s why I’m here, and I hope that is the reason you are here as well.

Brett Delaney -- Hired Judges (WSCA)


C Peebles -- Pikes Peak Community College


Carolyn Brown -- Pikes Peak Community College


Claudia Boyd -- The University of Texas at El Paso


Clint Cordova -- Hired Judges (WSCA)


Cole Brown -- Colorado Christian University

IPDA is supposed to be a common-sense, rhetoric-based event. Please refrain from using overly technical language, speed, policy tactics, or anything else that would not be persuasive to the average person off of the street. The point of debate is to make us better at discussing issues with real people, and IPDA is trying to achieve this goal. Also, please be courteous and kind to your opponent.

Craig Brown -- Kansas State University


Doug Frank -- Western Nebraska Community College


Frank Gigray -- University of Utah


Gabriel West -- University of Colorado Boulder


Jake Townsend -- Hired Judges (WSCA)


Jason Jordan -- University of 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 â??be.â??� 

*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.


Jeannie Hunt -- Northwest College

I want to be able to judge the round with no intervention on my part.  That means a couple of things.  You need to establish a framework that I can follow to evaluate the round.  I don’t care what that framework is, but I want one – policy making, critical, big picture, etc.  That framework is what I will follow, so please don’t set the round up as a stock round, and then ask me to look at the big picture at the end.  More importantly, give me something to look at in the end.  I would love to hear some impact analysis, some reasons to prefer, something tangible for me to vote on.  Absent that, I have to intervene. 


There are no specific arguments that I prefer over another.  I will vote on pretty much anything, and I am game for pretty much anything.  I do expect that you will not subject yourself to performative contradictions.  If you run a k, you should be willing to live in the round with the same k standards you are asking us to think about.  However, it is the job of the opposing team to point that out…  This is true of any theory based argument you choose to run.  I am old, which means that I think the 1AC is important.  If you are not going to address it after the 1AC, let me know so I don’t have to spend time flowing it.


Critical rounds invite the judge to be a part of the debate, and they bring with them a set of ethics and morals that are subjective.  I love critical debate, but competitors need to be aware that the debate ceases to be completely objective when the judge is invited into the discussion with a K.  Make sure the framework is very specific so I don’t have to abandon objectivity all together.


Finally, make your own arguments.  If you are speaking for, or allowing your partner to speak for you, I am not flowing it. It should be your argument, not a regurgitation of what your partner said three seconds ago.  Prompting someone with a statement like, “go to the DA” is fine.  Making an argument that is then repeated is not.


Delivery styles are much less important to me than the quality of the argument, but that doesn’t mean you should have no style.  You should be clear, structured and polite to everyone in the round (including your partner if it is team).  You can at least take your hat off and tuck your shirt in. Having a bad attitude is as bad as having a bad argument.  Speed is not a problem if it is clear.


Because I don’t want to intervene, I don’t appreciate points of order.  You are asking me to evaluate the worth of an argument, which skews the round in at least a small way.  Additionally, I think I flow pretty well, and I know I shouldn’t vote on new arguments.  I won’t.  If you feel particularly abused in the round, and need to make a point of some sort, you can, but as a strategy to annoy the other team, or me, it is ill advised. 

Joe Gantt -- Lewis & Clark College


Justin Kirk -- University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Kate Rich -- Hired Judges (WSCA)


Kevin Phillips -- Hired Judges (WSCA)


Kodi Delaney -- Hired Judges (WSCA)


Max Groznik -- San Diego State University


Michael Middleton -- University of Utah

A Quotation:

â??The present situation is highly discouragingâ? â??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 donâ??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 donâ??t explain/provide a rationale for why I 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 doesnâ??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

Nadia Steck -- Lewis & Clark College

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

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

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

â?¢I did read the K a lot during my time as a debater but that doesnâ??t mean I donâ??t also deeply enjoy a good topical debate

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

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

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

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

â?¢Go as fast as you want, just make sure if your opponent calls clear or slow you listen because if they read theory or a K because you didnâ??t slow down or speak more clearly I will most likely vote you down.

Nathaniel Rogers -- San Diego State University


Shanna Carlson -- Illinois State University

Background: I competed in parliamentary and LD debate for Washburn University for five years (2005-2010). I freelance coached and judged for three years. I have taught high school and college debate camps for the University of Texas-Dallas, ISU, and Kyushu University in Japan. I am currently the Director of Debate at Illinois State University.


I am unable to flow too much speed due to an issue with my hand. I will give you 2 verbal "speed" warnings before I just stop flowing all together!

I believe that the debate is yours to be had, but there are a few things that you should know:

1. Blippy, warrantless debates are mind numbing. If you do not have a warrant to a claim, then you do not have an argument even if they drop it. This usually occurs at the top of the AC/NC when you are trying to be "clever." Less "clever," more intelligent. I do not evaluate claims unless there are no real arguments in a round. Remember that a full argument consists of a claim supported by warrants with evidence.

2. I believe that the speed at which you go should be accessible to everyone in the round, this means your competitor and other judges on a panel. I am open to voting on accessibility and/or clarity kritiks. SPEED SHOULD NOT BE A TOOL OF EXCLUSION!!!!!!

3. I often vote for the one argument I can find that actually has an impact. I do not evaluate moral obligations in the round (if you say "Moral Obligation" in college LD Debate I stop flowing, take a selfie, and mock you on social media). This does not mean I will not vote for dehumanization is bad, but I need a warrant outside of just telling me I am morally obligated to do something. Moral obligations are lazy debate, warrant out your arguments. HIGH SCHOOL LD DEBATERS- IGNORE THIS

4. Run whatever strategy you want--I will do my best to evaluate whatever you give me in whatever frame I'm supposed to--if you don't give me the tools I default to policy maker, if it's clearly not a policy maker paradigm round for some reason I'll make something up to vote on...basically, your safest bet is to tell me where to vote.

5. If you are rude, I will not hesitate to tank your speaker points. There is a difference between confidence, snarkiness, and rudeness.

6. When running a kritik you need to ensure that you have framework, impacts, links, an alternative text, alt solvency, and role of the ballot (lacking any of these will make it hard for me to vote for you)...I also think you should explain what the post alt world looks like.

7. If you are going to run a CP and a kritik you need to tell me which comes first and where to look. You may not like how I end up ordering things, so the best option is to tell me how to order the flow.

8. Impact calc is a MUST. This is the best way to ensure that I'm evaluating what you find to be the most important in the round.

9. Number or letter your arguments. The word "Next" or "And" is not a number or a letter. Doing this will make my flow neater and easier to follow and easier for you to sign post and extend in later speeches. It also makes it easier for me to make a decision in the end.

10. I base my decision on the flow as much as possible. I will not bring in my personal beliefs or feelings toward an argument as long as there is something clear to vote on. If I have to make my own decision due to the debaters not being clear about where to vote on the flow or how arguments interact, I will be forced to bring my own opinion in and make a subjective decision rather than an objective decision.

11. If you advocate for a double win I automatically vote for the other person, issue you 1 speaker point, and leave the room. This is a debate, not a conversation. We are here to compete, so don't try to do something else.

12. Wilderson has stated that he does not want his writings used in debate by white individuals. He believes that the use of his writings is contradictory to what he overall stands for because he feels like you are using his arguments and black individuals as a tool to win (functionally monetizing black individuals). So for the love of all that is good please stop running these cards and respect the author's wishes. If you are white and you run his evidence I will not evaluate it out of respect for the author.

13. I will give you auto 30 speaker points if you read your 1AC out of an interp black book with page turns.

Really, I'm open to anything. Debate, have fun, and be engaging. Ask me any questions you may have before the start of the round so that we can all be on the same page :) I also believe this activity should be a learning experience for everyone, so if after a round you have any questions please feel free to approach me and talk to me! I truly mean this because I love talking about debate and the more each debater gains from a round will provide for better rounds in the future for me to judge. If you ever have questions about a comment or RFD please ask. My email is sjcarl3@ilstu.edu

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!

Tyler Behymer -- University of Nebraska-Lincoln