Sam Nelson -- Cornell University

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Judging philosophy:

DOF - Cornell Speech and Debate
Years Coaching: 20+

I have come to believe that these judging philosophy statements are of little utility and sometimes are harmful because people describe how they want to be seen as a judge by the community and this often has no connection to how they really judge. Thus, these statements tend to mislead more often than not. As Camus said: "Human beings are not rational animals, they are rationalizing animals."

Realizing that I am no exception to the above, I describe myself as judge that asks the question: "Which side did a better job of debating?" not Which side made arguments that more closely match my personal preferences?" This means I start out by trying not to intervene with my personal opinions unless a strong case is made why I should. When a strong case is made why I should intervene with my personal opinions, I ask myself two questions before I vote:
Is it fair?" and "Does it matter to anyone outside of this debate which way I vote?" If the answer is "yes" to both questions I often find myself voting for some very unconventional positions. If the answer is "yes" to one and "no" to the other, I am in a quandary and usually side with the fair option, but not always. If the answer is "no" to both, I try to vote on my flow regardless of my personal position on the argument.

Likes: People that enjoy and have fun debating, humor, courtesy, profound and creative arguments, passionate speakers.

Dislikes: Rudeness, people that take themselves too seriously, incomprehensible speakers (I will yell "clearer"), card clipping.

Additionally, I take evidence challenges very seriously and will stop the round and make my decision on the merits of the challenge. Don't make the challenge unless you have access to the original. If you have any specific questions, please ask me about them before the round. Good luck!

Seasonal voting record:

TourneyDivRdAFF    NEG    Decision
RochesterJVQurtLibertFebrizio0Lotspeich0ClarionLewis0Picardi0NEG 2-1 (NEG)
MonmouthOpenOctoNewarkAstacio0Haughton0GeoWasAndrews0Tan0NEG 2-1 (AFF)
CornellOpenFinalRochstrDiamond0Kasschau0NSFowle0Opperman0AFF 2-1 (NEG)
CEDAEastNov2NYUKoo26.3Lee26.4CUNY Francis 26.5Segnan26.6NEG
CEDAEastNov3CUNY Aslam26.7Avrakh26.6BingEvans26.9Frumkin26.8NEG
CEDAEastNovSemiBingGeorge0Pinchuk0RochstrSaran0William0AFF 2-1 (NEG)

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