O L D debate on garnish; KCBS will not rid itself. Going back to the founders, they felt strongly that it separated KCBS from other sanctioning bodies, and so it shall stay. They dont care about debate about it IS judged, consciously or unconsciously, it's part of the history that isn't to go away.
I can tell you that a few of the best looking pork, brisket, and rib boxes I've ever seen had no garnish. Use it, or dont.
As to the smoke ring, that's a very toughie. For many people, the smoke ring and the very nature of it is what IS part of what IS appetizing in BBQ. Not all are appetizing, but some without it can be overly un-appetizing... It's not so much that they're judging it, perse, but that it contributes to the appealing nature of the Q. Luckily appearance score is weighted low.
Hance - Lake Dogs Cooking Team - MiM/MBN/GBA CBJ and comp cook
Lake Sinclair, GA (strategically about an hour from everywhere)