[eDebate] FW: eDebate

Gordon Stables stables
Fri Apr 4 20:19:40 CDT 2008

-----Original Message-----
From: Jake Nelson <jweirnelson at gmail.com>
Sent: Friday, April 04, 2008 6:04 PM
To: Gordon Stables <stables at usc.edu>
Subject: eDebate

Sorry Gordon - disregard the last message.? This is the one I want posted? Thanks!
People want an open listserve as a free expression of thought, and have it archived online.? Fine.
Today the eulogies of another titan of NDT debate are being written for James J. Unger.? David Glass, a saint of the high school community though his time spent with both Bronx Science and Edgemont, delivered a moving eulogy about the life of Prof. Unger.? Additionally, some of debate's finest alumni and ambassadors have posted their own thoughts in reference to their memories of Prof. Unger:? Larry Tribe, John Bredehoft, and John Kyriazis.
Reading these eulogies, it inspired me to revisit the eulogy written by another pillar of the NDT community, Paul Slappey, authored by his longtime colleague and friend David Cheshier:? http://www.ndtceda.com/pipermail/edebate/2000-July/024578.html.
What posts surround these beautiful eulogies?? Incoherent invective attacks by an anonymous hack (singular, as the two posters are clearly one and the same).
Before Noah initiated a great discussion about writing next year's topic, there were two substantive discussions on eDebate in the last month:
(1)? A discussion of people throwing a pie in a debate round, followed by an exchange of people calling each other racist bigots; and
(2)? A discussion of redacting libelous speech, with people threatening the listserve's administrator - who volunteers his time - and doesn't receive any thanks when he acts upon those requests.? (As an aside, why people didn't get angry about this stuff years ago is another question - as Mike Eber pointed out, the unfortunate bio involving Ryan Burke seemed to resolve itself very quickly).
Kacey Wolmer stated, rhetorically perhaps, "I don't understand the point of the archives at all. No one has even made one."? I was going to immediately respond that the archives serve as a great time capsule of the community where members freely discuss relevant issues of the day - hopefully enriching those who read the messages.? In the past, great debaters from the pasts, such as Ahilan Arumlanathan, would chime in to discuss issues of the day.? A nice bridging between debaters past and present - and this should be preserved.
And then I realized, looking at the last few months, that my memory and the reality of eDebate are radically different.? Instead, 95% of the posts consist of discussion of debate "arguments" like pie throwing in debate rounds, flame artists like this most recent poster, or cite requests when the person's e-mail address can be ascertained in 5 seconds by going to any university directory and typing the person's name.? Is this really worth keeping?
And then I read the eulogies.? How you clean up this listserve is anybody's guess.? It certainly isn't Phil Kerpen's responsibility.? It is the debate community's.? How they deal with that is the problem for today's participants.
I haven't been involved in the college debate community for four years.? However, I am embarrassed for what has happened to this community and on this listserve.? If my family, friends, or employer ever read anything on eDebate and that was their only snapshot of the activity which I devoted 8 years of my life, I wouldn't know what to say, but I would feel sad.
Jake Nelson
Iowa '04

Jacob W. Nelson
6535 Premier Dr Apt F11
Nashville, TN 37209
(c): 615.945.0977
"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves. . . ." -Shakespeare
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