UPDATED 2/21/20: I do not judge as often as I may once have. At most local events, I find myself on the operations side of a tournament.
That should not terrify you – I am a career public servant, who happens to coach debate because I appreciate everything that it taught me as a student. You should assume that I approach debate rounds this way: what is the best decision I can make given the information presented to me?
It may sound old-fashioned, but I do not wish to be on any email chains. I have sadly witnessed teams answering entire disadvantages not read by their opponents simply because they were included in said distribution. Not to be outdone, I have read ballots where judges voted on evidence that nobody read. I pledge to keep the best flow I can. If I need to see a piece of evidence, and the particular league or tournament's rules allow for that, I will call for it.
If you are short on time reading this, my paradigm can be expressed in six (6) words: do your thing and be nice. If you are really short on time, we can go with four (4): old guy, still flows.
1. Speed is fine, but clarity is necessary. I cannot vote on what I do not have typed/written down. I try hard to listen to the text of the evidence presented;
2. Open cross-examination is acceptable, but if it is clear than one member of the team is not able to participate at the same level, speaker points will suffer;
3. My preference is tabula rasa; in the absence of any alternative framework, I look first to any potential violation(s) of stock issues and then default to a policymaking perspective.
1. I do not mind an LD round that gets on down the flow;
2. My preference is tabula rasa; in the absence of any alternative framework, I will default to a whole resolution lens looking first to the value/value criterion debate.
1. Nothing earth-shattering here. I am less speed tolerant in public forum and I will simply apply the ballot criteria to whatever speech event is at hand.
Regardless of event, we enter the debate knowing the resolution and some basic rules of the road (e.g., speech times, likely printed on the ballot). By tabula rasa I mean that the debaters establish the framework for evaluating debates. You should do what you do best and do it well. Arguments should have three parts – a claim, a warrant, and some sort of greater implication regardless of your style.
I still believe that good decisions should flow like water. Great rebuttals frame debates and clash wins rounds. My ballots will provide a succinct RFD, possibly pointing out either strengths or opportunities for improvement as we progress through the speeches. 3AR/3NR oral critiques nauseate me: what I say out loud (if disclosure is permitted) will almost certainly match what I am placing on your ballot. Your coach should see comments too. You did not go to the dentist; my RFD is never going to read “oral.”
Finally, be respectful of your partners, opponents, and judges. I have zero tolerance for poor behavior in debate rounds.