Steven Woods Paradigm

Last changed 22 October 2015 6:44 AM PST

Overview: In general, I am most comfortable in a policy making paradigm.  A specific plan tends to offer the best focus for debate. However, I understand that not all resolutions are translatable into “policy” language.  In those cases, the teams must clarify their frame, and how it should be evaluated.  Criteria should be more carefully thought out than “net benefits” or “preponderance of evidence” as to what is to be weighed and should be identified along with how the weighing takes place.  The opposition team should feel free to offer counter criteria.

Resolutionality/Topicality should be impacted by the opposition team with something other than “unfair” or “abusive.”  There should be a good reason based in decision making integrity and advocacy that drives this argument rather than the opposition didn’t think of it or doesn’t want to talk about it. Must be in round abuse, not potential.  Generally, cases that are hiding from the subject matter of the resolution are weak logically, and subject to critique for refusing to address important issues.  Have substantive reason for voting on Res/T arguments, and in round vs. potential abuse. NOTE: I tend to NOT vote on T

 Procedure:­ Please note that I likely will just “take into consideration” points of order that identify “new” arguments in rebuttals.  I will penalize speaker points if the point is made and I feel it is inaccurate, or just a tactic to disrupt the speaker.

 Points of information are obviously strategic both as interruption devices and as a means to elicit information.  Debaters should make sure they are judicious in their use of them simply to interrupt.  There is such a thing as a stupid question.


Style: I tend not to follow much of the traditional or formal elements of the activity that are stylizations of parliamentary practice: 1.) Please time yourselves and keep track of protected time; 2.) Just because I am not rapping on the table doesn’t mean I don’t like you; 3.) Don’t do the little tea pot dance to ask a question, just stand; 4.) I won’t give the whole speaker of the house rap about recognizing speakers for a speech of no more than whatever, you know the order, speak; 5.) I will include thank-you and road map time in speech time. 

 Delivery: Structure is important and should be verbally identified as you speak.  It should be clear where you are refuting and extending arguments.  Simply going down the flow is not good enough, you should still be identifying the argument you are addressing by something other than “next.” I will reward humor and positive attitude.

 Argumentative Preferences:  I try not to eliminate any arguments simply because of their “title,” i.e. like “kritik” or Counterplan. However, any argument, even disadvantages, can be run poorly and weakly applied.  I try to focus on the content of the argument and its application instead of its title.  Please weigh arguments against each other and be aware of the others teams arguments as well when weighing.

 Aff “Projects”: Would prefer them to have links in the resolution and talk about the subject of the resolution even if just filtered through your project. I have deep doubts that the flaws of our activity will be solved by my ballot in a contest situation where the other team is automatically demonized and placed in binary opposition, your project should probably be presented at a business meeting to get any real outcome. But, if you run one I will try to evaluate based on both teams handling of framework.


This is an amendment to my posted judging philosophies, to which the content/style/preferences are all unmodified; this just serves as a “rider” to those documents

From this point forward, should any debater raise an issue in the debate that relates to the experience of personally being placed in a hostile environment or experiencing a harassing situation by participating in the activity, at the end of the round I am going to take that issue to the tournament director or ombudsperson for follow up. The intent is not to silence persons, or have them avoid talking about these things in rounds, but if harm has been done to you, I cannot leave it alone with the filling out of my ballot.

I feel obligated to take this position for several reasons:

1. It is a legal requirement. I face liability if I do not.

As per University Policy 1600.04:

“8. Employees Must Report Sexual Misconduct. Employees have a duty to promptly report to the Vice Provost for Equal Opportunity, Title IX Coordinator, known or suspected incidents of sex discrimination, including sexual misconduct (except for those employees statutorily barred from sharing such information). Students and visitors are also encouraged to report this.”

2.  This requirement extends to all places WWU is participating in activities related to University business.

“POL-U1600.04 PREVENTING AND RESPONDING TO SEX DISCRIMINATION, INCLUDING SEXUAL MISCONDUCT: This policy applies to all students, employees, agents, groups, third parties, individuals, and organizations that use University facilities and persons who participate in University programs and activities to the extent provided by law, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. This policy applies to all Western locations (i.e., main campus, satellite locations, Lakewood); locations where Western activities are taking place (i.e., field trips, away sporting events); Western sponsored transportation (i.e., buses to off-campus events); and off-campus non Western sponsored events where the off-campus behavior creates a negative adverse impact back on campus.”

3.  I am no longer personally accepting of harmful activities towards others others being part of the content and “contest” of debate. There is absolutely NO debate possible about the acceptability of such behaviors. I am no longer willing to let my ballot alone be a referendum on such behaviors.



Full Judging Record

Tournament Lv Date Ev Rd Aff Neg Vote Result