[eDebate] "Productive" discussions should not be expected here

Ede Warner ewarner
Thu May 18 09:53:46 CDT 2006

A month ago, Malcolm posted a relatively lengthy post about the plight
of UMKC and his contention that the program was being eliminated without
a good reason.  He said he wanted a productive conversation.  I spent
about 2 hours producing a relatively detailed post engaging what seemed
to be an argument primarily the "style" wouldn't have effected the
outcome at UMKC. I conceded that "style" wasn't necessarily relevant to
saving a program and shared my experiences with the community.  Never
heard from him again.  Hmmmm, how's that for a productive discussion?  I
wonder was his interest sincerely in a productive discussion or getting
a concession?  Hard to say but...

As far as public topic conversations go, I'll say this: there is an
assumption by some that want disclosure that edebate is an appropriate
forum for productive public discussion.  Most who rarely if ever post (a
majority of the community), believe it is not.  I personally have
traditionally used edebate for two reasons:  in an attempt to
clarify/inform/educate and in an attempt to criticize/debate/vent.  I
had several posts about program retention etc. over the last couple of
months that generated almost no interest.  In the past, I've written
about goals of the community, etc. and few have spoken.  All of those
posts generally fell into the clarify/inform/educate category and there
was little, if any, discussion, and certainly not much productive.  A
few backchannel posts offering support or wanting some clarification,
but little else.

But let the topic turn to race, or style as it relates to race, and
wow!!!!  And no matter how many times my good intentions try to
clarify/inform/educate, I always end up attacking, debating and/or
venting.  But the history of ndt/ceda will forever (unless Kerpen
destroys the archive) be marred by those posts and by countless others. 
Eventually, someone will study "us" and how we communicate on edebate. 
I suspect they won't conclude that edebate was a safe space for
productive discussion and probably will make an argument that edebate is
a place for a community's expressions of its dysfunctionality, as
demonstrated by the ultimate direction of almost any "well intentioned"

At the same time, edebate is priceless.  It is the only vehicle that we
have to communicate almost instantly with ourselves, serves several
informative functions, and our lives are transformed as a result.

But I don't think the "productive" topic discussion will occur here,
but arguments and debates that are not guided by any boundaries or
ground rules will.  So when you express your feelings that all people do
is complain on edebate, simultaneously complaining yourself, you are
only engaging in one of edebate's primary functions:  to criticize
without boundaries or limits.

I'd prefer to have my topic conversations backchannel unless there is
some strategic/education function for them to be public.  Why? 
Sometimes I don't want to be criticized/debated/or vented on.  And that
works for me.

I'll continue to strategically engage this community about race when I
have a purpose to do so.  But I recognize that making that choice is
choosing to publicly fight with those who don't agreed.  I act knowingly
and I act recognizing that while some productive discussion may occur,
the reality is that a debate or argument is likely to occur, and because
that debate has no boundaries, how productive the discussion becomes is
really uncertain and subjective.

>>> "Malcolm Gordon" <malgorthewarrior at hotmail.com> 5/18/2006 9:34:52
AM >>>
Ok, I've been reading edebate the last week or so in between doing
research, and couldn't help but notice that no one has discussed the
topic in a while.  Normally I wouldn't find this so strange, but there

seemed to be a lot of pissing and moaning about how closed off the
process was.  It's mighty convenient that everyone complains when the
is announced, but no one participates in the one month run-up to the
meeting.  Maybe those who were against the topic process formed a 
counter-secret community, and I wasn't invited.  I have gotten zero
with student input over the last month.  How can their be a student rep
there is no student (or coach, for that matter) discussion over what
want in a topic?  I'm not saying we all need to be cutting cards and
research right now, but there hasn't even been discussion on the format
types of ground everyone wants the topic to cover.

I thought people were angry because there wasn't enough open discussion
transparency in the topic creation process...why aren't any of the 
detractors talking in the most open and transparent forum available in

intercollegiate debate?  This is ridiculous.

I hope in the coming weeks students/coaches/whoever wants their
heard and discussed will either do so on edebate or send me an e-mail. 
have been doing a lot of preliminary research (mainly on affirmative 
action), and this is going to be a hard topic to write correctly.

Could people maybe reconsider discussing the courts topic?  I know I
been on edebate posting all of my thoughts, but I'm already in the
topic com., so I have get to sit in on all of the chamber meetings. 
worry, the secret topic society hasn't decided anything too specific
that doesn't happen until Mancuso performs the blood-sacrifice ritual
on a 
virgin chicken.

In the meantime, i'm going to periodically post to edebate harassing 
students for input until I get at least a couple of different squads
each NDT district to give me some thoughts and opinions on what they
out of a courts topic.

no more complaining allowed.  If you only want to speak up when you are

pissed off or want to complain, but not when you're being invited and 
included, then you provide no productive discussion whatsoever.

malcolm gordon


ps-if you're coming to the topic meeting....don't forget to bring a

eDebate mailing list
eDebate at ndtceda.com 

More information about the Mailman mailing list