I debated LD for 4 years at Brookfield East High School (WI). I now judge for Brookfield East or the tournament, depending on location. I'm a Brookfield East judge at WI state.

My Ballot
  • Set a rule for me to use. LD started off as values debate, so expect to debate values. You can set a V/VC, standard, or some other kind of weighing mechanism. Define it well so I know how to use it.
  • Weigh impacts through the set standard. I'm not voting on who sets the criterion. I'm voting on whose impacts are the most relevant through that criterion. Dropping your standard and linking to your opponents is an acceptable strategy.
  • If you want me to use my ballot as a tool, explain very clearly how and why. I default to using my ballot to evaluate who best accessed the criterion. I'm willing to use my ballot as a tool if and only if I get a clear ballot story from you.
  • I carry a highlighter. I highlight voters and significant analysis. It's in your distinct advantage to identify the most important issues in round.

Your Arguments
  • Run whatever kind of case you want, but remember to give some sort of standard. A plan without some sort of impact-weighing standard won't get you far. A stock case without an impact-weighing standard won't get you far either. I'm most comfortable with traditional case structures, but I'll listen to what you have to say.
  • Be ready to justify your style of advocacy; I'm open to arguments that your US-spec case doesn't normatively affirm or negate. If you run an atypical case (e.g. a PIC) without telling me how to adapt my judging paradigm I'll have a very hard time squaring your advocacy with my baseline conception of affirming and negating.
  • Extend warrants, not tag lines or author names. If you just say "extend Cohen", all that gets you is Cohen's name. If you want me to extend your links and impacts, then extend those.
  • I'll flow speed, but I can't flow spread. I'm not a fan of speed used to obfuscate your arguments or spike your way to victory. If you get too fast, I'll audibly drop my pen, fold my hands and stare at you. I won't shout 'clear' or 'slow'. It's on you to notice that I'm not flowing.

My two cents on theory: I will vote on it, but reluctantly.

I appreciate theory as a check on abusive practice. That said, theory currently represents a huge barrier to debaters who want to enter the circuit, and is often used to sidestep substantive debate. If you want to run theory in front of me (especially if I’m supposed to vote on it), there had better be a real, egregious violation that you’re criticizing.

Articulate theory clearly. I'm only loosely familiar with the formal structure of a T-Shell, so it's not in your advantage to shout "Interpretation!" and blaze onward. Tell me (1) what sort of debating norm I should be endorsing and why, (2) where the violation of the norm happened, and (3) what that implies for the round or my ballot. I am extremely unlikely to vote on the risk of offense coming from a T-Shell - I need to be convinced that a violation actually took place.

Strong defense on a T-Shell can be enough for me to disregard it; I'm also very open to dropping arguments instead of debaters; you'll need to convince me that your opponent is doing something so wrong that I need to reject not just that practice, but them as a debater.