[eDebate] Hells kitchen

Andy Ellis andy.edebate
Tue Jul 17 22:40:13 CDT 2007

In addition to a simple play on dr warners iron chef analogy, i think the
networked nature of hells kitchen with its mini games and intra team
competition and politics better represents 1) how we need to approach the
topic and 2) how to better use the internet.

aside from that i had been working on this but i will present it as it is

2) first

We use the Internet in very simple ways, for years we simply have had
conversations on the internet. edebate is a minimally effective tool at best
but serves as the primary media outlet for the college debate community. In
a sense it provides a democratic forum where everybody can say what they
want, and can speak to (in theory) the whole community, but amongst more
frequently offered criticisms, it also in the topic process often devolves
into the CNN sponsored town meeting, an opportunity for the public to ask
questions of the leaders, but ultimatly not a very effective way of turning
criticisms or questions in to actionable change.

The blog is a good innovation to solve some of edebates problems(focused
conversation, moderate discussion, slightly ability to collaborate), but the
mode of interaction is still in a conversational mode, there is no per se
guidelines for taking the work done on the blog into consideration and any
consideration the topic committee does offer of the work on the blog is
because they want to .

Ultimatly our model of using the internet is trapped in a very
internet 1.0model. We transmit ideas and information, we discuss we
converse, but seldom
do we collaborate, network, or deliberate about rules.

We need to move toward a model more along the lines of a collaborative tool,
a wiki for example that, allows everybody to participate in the process of
crafting a topic or wording paper. More below on why that process neeeds to
be opened up through a more democarticly deliberative model, but suffice to
say that is the part of the process which is most closed and could best be
expanded by a useful application free technology.

The MSU wiki is a good example, of an encyclopedia wiki, however the
collaborative nature of a wiki space allows much more than that, check out
the examples that i am working on currently at bmoredebate.wikispaces.comand

Making the process of topic crafting more collaborative allows much more
[participation and specialization in the controversy and resolution crafting
process the wikis and the resources pages become a good place to put things
as you find them in the process of researching or thinkin about  a topic, if
you are a link finder but not a paper writer you can still present a large
part of the material that goes into the topic, you can partic[pate in
discussions and revisions about the topic paper, and so on.The collaborative
nature ultimately means if you like Genetic Engineering as topic you neither
have to write a topic your self, or let the person dictate how the topic
goes, i point to GE because scott was perhaps the most collaborative so far,
but think about if all the people who liked ge could be working together on
the ge topic site?

the wiki model is public as well, which offers several  significant
benefits. Seeing the controversy paper as it is being written keeps people
interested, spurs competition, and sorta sets up a competition...we all
think that drives good work right? Second the public nature leaves
documentary evidence of the proceedings of how the group came to present a
topic, the decisions the arrived at , and finally, putting a bunch of
different well researched welll justified topic justification andd resources
on the web means other people can use them, imagine a biology teacher from
Cincinnati wants to teach a unit about debate and science and he choose
genetic engineering as a topic, he looked around for genetic engineering
debate and found the wiki resource which was a justification for the topic
with rigorous work done to find links divide ground highlight key debates
etc, now imagine someone wanted to do a public debate on prison abolition
they find the prison abolition topic wiki....you get the idea, these things
exist, they are a dime a dozen across the internet but they often dont
really decide what good debate is they just have some pro and some con
articles, we could do better, perhaps we are not ready to be naders debaters
but we can turn very much of the work we do in the process of researching
and preparing for a topic relativly easily in to a useful debate beyond and
across the curriculum tool.

finally lets talk about participant based rules and online communities, if
the constitution says the same, and anybody can present a controversy paper
then each controversy group would set its own rules, its rules about
publications, its rules about rules, its rules about whatever, if for
example katsulas wanted to start a group to research a latin america topic
and he decided he could, as they deliberated about what the rules for the
collaboration where they could go from democracy to referendum to consesnus
to whatever, no saw they choose horizontal consensus and shanahan who also
wanted latin america decided that represenatative democracy was how he
wanted to come to topic decisions then he could work on a different
controversy paper with people who where into repreesentative
democracy....but not just those rules working groups would have to
deliberate online to figure out how they wanted to govern work and behavior
period. there are ground rules, but those are set by the constitution, there
must be a controversey paper by x date, it must contain x....otherwise each
group is free to run their group and interact with others as they like.

Note...nothing in this proposal requires either of the following 1) not
paying attention to the topic that is choosen or the process through which
its choosen 2) any structural or constitutional reform, just a shift in the
attiude we take toward crafting controverseys and resolutions.

1) The topic- the biggest problem with the topic process right now is that
one person writes a controversey/wording  paper and the community is left to
decide how the topic will be based on that paper, i like the strict stciking
to the paper aspect of it, but i dont like the it coming from one person.
The second biggest part of the process is the accessibility to individuals
interested in diffeent parts of the process but the whole. this problem is
linked to the first, a good idea is nothing until there is a paper behind,
because the work of crafting topics is still seen as wopork that people do
largely more than collaborative work, it could be that the only thing
someone contributes to the topic is the perfect resolution, but if they fail
to write paper that contribution is not necessarily taken, this sets the bar
at some level of expereince because the testimony of what indiviuals in the
community want is through the work of one person....so lets let more people
collaborate on all parts of the topic!

im in the process of setting up a wiki that can serve this purpose but im
not thinking its bad if someone else does too...
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