I am the Scott Woods who teaches and coaches at BASIS Scottsdale in Arizona. There are others. For instance, I am not the slam poet Scott Woods (although I enjoy his work), so if you try a slam poetry case because you think that your judge is a pretty famous slam poet, you will probably be disappointed by the ballot.
About me: I teach middle school English and high school speech and debate. I competed in interp and platform events in college. I'm a Scoutmaster, a Republican, and I go to church regularly. Many people who know me don't believe that I am as conservative as I think I am.
I want the debate round to be for the benefit of the debaters. I have been coaching and judging debate for several years, mostly in PF, but some LD. I also judge policy rounds occasionally. I've judged at the TOC twice and at NSDA Nationals twice. When I judge on a panel, my decision is often different from the majority, possibly because my judging skills are so refined and subtle, or maybe for other reasons that escape me.
I think of debate as an educational game that should be fun, challenging, and life changing for the good. I don't like sneaky approaches to debate, tricks, or unsportsmanlike behavior. I especially don't like anything that attempts to achieve an unfair advantage over an opponent. Among the behaviors I don't like to see are spreading, because it seeks to gain a time advantage by squeezing more content in the given time, forcing one's opponent either to spread or to be disadvantaged, because it makes debate into a ridiculous exercise (and I consider making good things appear ridiculous in order to achieve personal gain to be bad form), and because it is aesthetically unpleasant (and I consider intentional ugliness inflicted on others to be bad form). Also, if you spread I won't flow as much, won't understand as much, and won't believe you as much. If both teams spread, then I'll just have to guess at who won, which is very likely something that you don't want me to do. Please speak in a clear, persuasive voice at a reasonable public debate speed, and be sure to point out when the other side is spreading, show the harms, then show why they should lose on that. I'll probably buy it.
If your debate strategy includes using tactics that have the effect of giving you an unfair advantage over your opponent, your chances of winning will go down. Your arguments should give you the advantage, not your sneaky approach, your hidden claims, your abusive framework, or your tricky wording. Again, call out your opponent's sneakiness. This is especially fun and elegant in an LD round when your opponent values morality, justice, fairness, etc., and you call them out for violating standards of morality, justice, or fairness.
I prefer clear, well-reasoned arguments that are logically valid and well supported by warrants and evidence. I also value impacts. Show me magnitude and probability. I will evaluate these by taking on the stance of an intelligent person who is well educated, open minded, and not a fool. If you read a card but don't put it into the context of a clear argument, then I won't care about it. You have to use evidence to support your warranted arguments. Your cards are your evidence. I hear many LDers giving lengthy quotes of dense philosophy, without contextualizing the quoted speech. I would much prefer that you summarize the entire argument of the philosopher clearly, briefly, and accurately, rather than quoting some paragraph that seems to support your interpretation. I almost never buy appeals to authority. If you say that Philosopher X says Y, therefore Y is true, I will probably not believe you. Feel free to call your opponent on this.
Since I think that debate is a worthwhile activity that can positively shape the character of youth, I value having fun and being nice. I don't want to spend an hour or so with people who are being mean to each other. Let's have fun and enjoy the round.
I won't leave my knowledge, training, or prejudices at the door, mainly because I can't (if I were truly tabula rasa, I would be an infant or an imbecile). Instead, I'll try to be aware of them and limit the impact of my own opinions or knowledge on the debate. If you don't make the argument, I will try not to make it for you. You must do all the work in the debate. I will, however, apply my knowledge of effective argumentation and the "reasonable man" test to the arguments in the debate. If you give me a weighing method and a clear path to signing the ballot for you, your chances of winning the round go up. Please understand that I will fail to leave behind my biases, assumptions, prejudices, etc. This is a feature of being human. We can't control the processes of our thought very well, and we are largely unaware of what guides and controls our thinking. Your job as a debater is to make these biases, assumptions, and prejudices irrelevant against the overwhelming power of your arguments. Good luck.
Please understand that I will likely be judging you after having taught children all day or having traveled a long distance and slept poorly. I will probably not be at my best. This is true for many of your judges. You should consider taking this into account when you write your cases and make your arguments. After you lose a round that you think you should have won, don't complain about the stupid judge. Instead, consider what you could have done differently to compensate for that judge not being at his or her cognitive best. That's your responsibility. I don't want to think during a round. Thinking is hard. It's not my job. I often disappoint debaters when I am required to think. Your job is to pre-think the round for me, better than your opponent does. The team that does this best will win.
It's up to the round to decide on the framework. If your framework is abusive or unreasonable, I'll drop it and favor your opponent's analysis, especially if your opponent calls it out as such. I prefer realistic frameworks that generously look at the resolution as though the debate were really a public forum (even in LD) for discussing an important issue. I also prefer realistic arguments that are accessible to the public.
It bothers me when debaters don't know their case because someone else wrote it, they haven't researched the topic, or they are just using the cards that came with the briefs without trying to understand the bigger picture. This become a problem when debaters misinterpret cards or philosophers they don't understand. If your opponent calls you on your card and disputes what it means, then I will call for the card at the end of the debate and make my own judgment. I don't want to do this for a number of reasons, mainly because I don't want to do the work that you should be doing. That being said, I know a lot about many subjects, so if I think that you are misinterpreting a card, I may call for it, even if your opponent has not called you out on it. I don't like to do this, but I also don't like misinterpreted or false cards to affect a round, and I don't expect high school students to have comprehensive knowledge of the world. If I think that your card was misinterpreted, then I will drop the argument it supports.
Please do the work for me. Make it easy for me to decide who wins. Tell the story of the round. Be organized on the flow in your rebuttals.
If your opponent calls for a card, they may continue to prep while you search for it, without that time counting against their prep. This is the procedure at the TOC, which I particularly like because it doesn't add any time to the round, but encourages teams to provide their opponents with the cards they ask for in a timely manner. If you don't have the card, and the context surrounding it, then I will drop the argument that is supported by the card. If your card clearly says something other than what you say it does, I will very likely vote for the other side. Please don't misrepresent your evidence.
Regarding policy debate: Every round that I have judged in policy debate has come down to judge adaptation. Whoever adapts best to my limitations as a judge (see above) will likely win the round (or, if you prefer, my ballot). My recommendation is that policy debaters should have two cases: one that they normally run and another that they write for judge adaptation. Debaters should also practice adaptation whenever they can, making sure that their arguments are comprehensible (at a minimum) and convincing (this should be the target) to normal, educated people.