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

Ede Warner ewarner
Thu May 18 20:17:21 CDT 2006

I'll concede that perhaps our retention discussion had reached it's
conclusion.  We are cool about the UMKC discussion.  As far as the
topic, I'll post to the blog only because I want to support Steve and
Gordon's efforts and that's the vehicle they have set up to discuss the
topic.  And since Branson was willing to send a shout for a little
Fullerton/Louisville inclusion, I'll even throw in my thoughts about
race, in particular education and affirmative action.  

>>> "Malcolm Gordon" <malgorthewarrior at hotmail.com> 5/18/2006 2:18:42
PM >>>
Dr Warner

Our difference in opinion seems to deal with the subjective nature of
constitutes a productive discussion.  You isolated two categories most
your e-debate posts fall into-inform/educate/clarify, and 
criticize/debate/vent. I agree with this characterization, and it can
extended to just about all posts. In fact, any given debate round can
broken into those two categories.  I also think that both informing and

criticizing are important to any dialogue about how to resolve

As far as the part of your post regarding our exchange about UMKC, it
not my intention to never get back to you.  You posted about program 
retention, i'm assuming that post was intended to inform, not
criticize.  I 
responded with the story of UMKC.  This was mostly to inform, but I
the conclusion of my statement worked to criticize some of your logic.

Afterward, you posted informing me of your (successful) strategy at 
Louisville.  I had already said I'd keep you updated, and I will.  I
had no 
more criticizing to do, and no more information to extract from you or
you (at the time), so I didn't respond.  I had comments, you gave 
suggestions, I have been using them for the last few weeks.  That is a

productive discussion (to me,  I understand that others definitions are

different, so I am only speaking for myself).  I apologize if you were

looking for more input, and I obviously cannot speak for others in the

community and their motivations for not responding to you more.

Now, the topic discussion is a little different.  Dr Warner, your posts
good precisely because you offer both of the categories you ascribed 
yourself to.  You criticize, but you also provide education and
on how to change things (which will often illicit more criticism than
venting!!).  The reason topic discussions are not productive is because
their lopsidedness.  Criticize, criticize, criticize (and for a time i

agreed with many criticisms people had of the topic com.), but never 
inform/educate/clarify about what is needed/wanted by the critics. The
detractors have been very good at pointing out areas that may need
but have not engaged in any talk of how to achieve that change.  This
especially perplexing given that the criticism was successful in
meeting will be webcast, Mancuso and Stables launched a blog with all
discussions, and they have been updating publically the direction the
com. is taking.  None of their steps have been met with increased input
those who called out the topic com. for being 'shady.'

I agree with your sentiments about the nature of edebate deterring
discussion, which is why we have a topic rep.  This avoids the need to
because your opinions can be expressed with anonymity via a topic rep. 
instance, the Roe v Wade discussion caused a wave of backchanneling 
precisely because many in the community did not want to engage in a
on edebate.  Your points about race and style are well taken, and they

probably illicit so much outrage and criticism because they challenge
foundational assumptions about the nature of intercollegiate debate. 
is a far cry from discussing whether the environment or civil liberties

should be part of the resolution.  I should also point out that I am
making these comments about complaining and discussion in regards to
resolution and topic com.  People were explicitly calling out the topic
because they wanted an open and public discussion.  You should not call
those types of reforms if you are not willing to engage in them (this
is why 
your arguments about minority retention and recruitment are so 
compelling-because you 'practice what you preach').  Well, critics of
topic process preached a lot about open forums, transparency, and
opinion...why aren't they practicing it?

Please keep in mind I am trying to keep these opinions specific to the
com. and wording process, which was being criticized so vehemently.

I would love to discuss your opinions on the topic Dr Warner, but will
do so 
only through backchanneling, as per your request, so please e-mail me. 
encourage as many students as possible to post or backchannel me with
topic-related opinions.  If you don't want to post on edebate, just 

For all of you who were crying for a public forum and transparency,

For those of you who are just waiting to criticize and debate against
opinions of those who might post about what they want from the topic,
you could take it easy. JT and Dr Warner are both right, a big problem
is in 
the nature and tone of how we answer one another's thoughts comments.

burnt end on bun for two, please


malcolm gordon

>From: "Ede Warner" <ewarner at louisville.edu>
>To: "Malcolm Gordon"
<malgorthewarrior at hotmail.com>,<edebate at ndtceda.com>
>Subject: "Productive" discussions should not be expected here
>Date: Thu, 18 May 2006 10:53:46 -0400
>A month ago, Malcolm posted a relatively lengthy post about the
>of UMKC and his contention that the program was being eliminated
>a good reason.  He said he wanted a productive conversation.  I spent
>about 2 hours producing a relatively detailed post engaging what
>to be an argument primarily the "style" wouldn't have effected the
>outcome at UMKC. I conceded that "style" wasn't necessarily relevant
>saving a program and shared my experiences with the community.  Never
>heard from him again.  Hmmmm, how's that for a productive discussion? 
>wonder was his interest sincerely in a productive discussion or
>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
>forum for productive public discussion.  Most who rarely if ever post
>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
>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
>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
>Eventually, someone will study "us" and how we communicate on
>I suspect they won't conclude that edebate was a safe space for
>productive discussion and probably will make an argument that edebate
>a place for a community's expressions of its dysfunctionality, as
>demonstrated by the ultimate direction of almost any "well
>At the same time, edebate is priceless.  It is the only vehicle that
>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
>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
>works for me.
>I'll continue to strategically engage this community about race when
>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
>and I act recognizing that while some productive discussion may
>the reality is that a debate or argument is likely to occur, and
>that debate has no boundaries, how productive the discussion becomes
>really uncertain and subjective.
> >>> "Malcolm Gordon" <malgorthewarrior at hotmail.com> 5/18/2006
>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
>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
>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
>types of ground everyone wants the topic to cover.
>I thought people were angry because there wasn't enough open
>transparency in the topic creation process...why aren't any of the
>detractors talking in the most open and transparent forum available
>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
>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
>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

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