I debated for four years in High School in Kansas, am an assistant coach with the WDCA, and judged extensively on this topic. While there are a few specifics below, I will listen to and/or vote on any argument as long as it comes with a claim and a warrant. If you need a label, I am a picky tabula rasa. Think and respond critically, then tell me how an argument should affect my ballot, and I’ll weigh that.
Clash: I get very bored by teams who just talk past each other. Tell me what argument you’re responding to, don’t just read tags and evidence at me: I will not do the work for you. Neg: I am not impressed by your 7 generic off that you run every round, and Aff: I want to hear actual responses because “try or die” still needs some calculus.
Topicality: T is for tedious. If you think it’s your only option, take a deep breath and think again. If you enjoy it and can create enough clash, go for it. I will not weigh T standards unless substantive analysis occurs on the interpretation(s). Ground/limits standards on frivolous T arguments sound like screeching cats to me.
Case: There is little better that you can do than hit case in an organized manner in the constructives (both aff and neg). We all flow the 1AC—use it! That said, the debate is not limited to what the aff brings in…
Counterplans: Acceptable, but you need to tell me how it’s competitive, have real solvency, and defended theoretically (PICs, topical CPs, etc. are fine if you tell me why).
D/As: I will weigh remaining impacts from ads and disads at the end of the round unless I’m given another paradigm with which to view the round, but I tend to prefer aff specific disads.
“The K”: I’ve got a BA in philosophy, and I enjoyed “running with the K” as a debater, so I am fairly familiar with the literature and you should be too. I will accept critiques without an alternative, but some sort of impact turn or analysis is necessary, and I will look at them like a D/A with a sweater vest and a cup of tea. Neg: you need to provide the analysis as to how this affects my ballot. Aff: if you want case to outweigh, you need to do the work on the framework to argue why my paradigm should focus on your plan rather than the K.
Cross-ex: There is ALWAYS another question to be asked to help make and set up your arguments. While I don’t flow CX, I do take note of answers if they provide a link or set up an analytical argument. Please be respectful. That includes asking the same question in four different ways to try to get an answer you want, which I dislike. A lot. If you feel their answer was insufficient, move on, bring that up in your speech, tell me why, and run your argument anyway.
Prompting: Trust is a good thing. You can chat during prep and write notes all you want, but when it’s your partner’s turn, I don’t want to hear you. If you absolutely have to communicate during the speech, run up a note.
Final notes: I can follow you on slang, cites, speed, whatever. That said, if I don’t understand you, my face will show it, I won’t be writing, or—pending other judge approval—I will call it out. You will get two warnings and then I will stop flowing. Just be clear, and slow down a bit for tags/any important or voting warrants. For any speedfreaks: please avoid the obnoxious gasping. That’s your body telling you you’re going too fast, and telling me that fighting for air is more important for you than the argument. Other than that, your style is up to you.
Again, bear in mind that the above descriptions are just general preferences—if you present a compelling argument and tell me it’s a voting issue, it will be.