I'm currently a senior at Stanford University. I debated for four years at Lynbrook High School in San Jose, worked for two summers at VBI and OSDI, and coached Cupertino High School for one year. I judged at the Stanford and Berkeley tournaments on the Jan/Feb 08 topic, so I've seen a good number of rounds.

First off, standards debate is very important for me. At the end of the round, it can be difficult to figure out which arguments matter and how much they matter if the standards debate is muddled. "Standard" = some measure by which I am supposed to adjudicate arguments, usually referring to the value/criterion framework or burdens analysis. Don't just explain why your standard should be used; also give reasons why your opponent's standard is bad (unfair weighing mechanism, doesn't link to value/resolution, etc.). Going along with that, make sure you impact and weigh arguments to a standard.

I prefer not to vote off of unwarranted arguments. That has two implications: 1) Don't make unwarranted arguments. If you have one-sentence responses in a block, don't expect to be able to extend one (if it's dropped) and add warrants later. 2) When making extensions, be sure to reiterate the warrants and impacts of your arguments. I am not going to do the work for you... so be forewarned. In general, I prefer arguments that are more fully developed over one-sentence answers (which are often read off of a block).

I am not a huge fan of speed for the sake of speed. If you have constructive and intelligent things to say, go ahead and speak quickly as long as you enunciate. If I'm not flowing, it's because I don't understand you. Here's a good rule of thumb - if you have to gasp like you're drowning and breathe in weird places (think policy spreading), you're probably speaking too quickly for me to flow everything and if I haven't flowed your argument, I'm not going to vote for it.

There isn't really anything I won't vote on (except unwarranted arguments, as mentioned above), so go ahead and run theory/critical positions if you want. Just keep two things in mind: 1) Make sure your argument makes sense, which might require more work because theory/critical positions tend to be more complex. 2) Tell me how you want me to adjudicate theory arguments relative to the rest of the arguments in the round. Specifically, if you assert that an argument should be a priori, give a substantive reason why. Otherwise I will probably default to evaluating the other arguments impacting to the value/criterion structure first.

One pet peeve - arguments that start off muddled but suddenly become exponentially clearer in your last speech. Don't run cards that have unnecessarily confusing rhetoric in an effort to evade your opponent's responses (aka clash / "good debate"), just so you can come in at the end and extrapolate a clear and compelling point from that author. If the argument didn't make sense when you first read it, I will probably not give you the benefit of the doubt.