Okay, so this past Saturday, I was judging Junior Varsity Extemp for a round. I also happened to be hosting a observer judge for that round, that is someone with no prior experience learning how to be a judge. After I had finished ranking the competitors (because he didn't want to influence my decision in any way) he asks me what a judge is supposed to do if he/she notices a grievous factual error upon which the speaker has based his or her argument. I told him that something like that was usually to the discretion of the individual judge. I've heard some judges saying that they will rank competitors down for "lying" to them or for trying to employ a strategy described in a writing guide I once read as Building Slippage. Other judges have said that they look more at the structure and delivery of the argument, rather than the content.
Now, on the one hand, the observer asked me this with some urgency in his voice, so I was wondering if I had missed something important. He walked away before I could ask him. (Then again, I didn't want an outsider to make me second guess myself either.) I guess I'll never know.
On the other hand, this started me wondering about the same question he asked. I've only judged at three tournaments so far, and I've yet to solidify my judging paradigm for extemp, the only category in which I never competed. Since the tournament director (also my former coach) seems to like making me judge JV-X, I was wondering whether you pros could give me some advice.
If a judge notices a grievous factual error, how much should he/she take that into account when ranking?
More importantly and in a more general case, what kind of things do you think a good JV-X judge should look for?
We've all have those judges that just don't seem to know how to give helpful comments or make informed decisions. Since I know what that feels like, I don't want to be that type of judge. It's not that I have no idea what I'm doing (I did manage to mostly correctly predict the results of last years NFL FX final round, and I'm generally not the judge that gives a competitor his/her random low rank.), but I would like to hone my judging skills if that's possible.