[eDebate] Quick reaction on two tub experiment

William J Repko repkowil
Tue Jul 22 09:46:44 CDT 2008


...busy at debate camp, but wanted to quickly chime-in . 

1. Kudos to Ryan -- airline developments are going to hit our debate 
community like a ton of bricks. We tend to "steal good ideas" from one 
another in a very ad-hoc, slow way. 

If there's a silver bullet that can cut-down costs, please share. 

... if this discussion helps formulate one, then it's more-than worth it. 

2. Not to place a sour note on Ryan's post (it's important and I am a fan), 
but I wanted to react to the portion of his email that spoke to an episode 
involving the MSU team. Specifically, I caution folks against citing MSU as 
a model of "a team that did just fine without tubs". 

Background: 

a) Were all 29 of MSU's tubs temporarily lost in transit to Austin ?.. 

   Yes 

b) Was MSU able to "get by" ?... 

   ...umm...sorta... 

c) Why doesn't this provide concrete proof that the community could operate 
w/o tubs or solely with electronic resources ?... 

First -- It's taxing in many little ways. 

printers only go so fast; printers enjoy jamming and breaking; the office 
supply center opens at 8am (not 7am when cartridge # 5 runs out); opponents 
can only disclose so much (in the status quo); teams worry about many 
contingencies -- so too much pre-round time is spent printing instead of 
coaching /prepping. 

I would go so far as to say that the first day of UT-A -- while enjoyably 
challenging in a sick sort of way -- would be a very bad blueprint for 
professional sanity. It may have been the most trying day of my debate life 
and I am positive the other MSU coaches and students would echo that 
sentiment. Needing to print or "produce" a file before everyone would drive 
a lot of either towards hyper-generics or from the activity altogether. 

Second -- I'm not sure we could have done it all on Day two or three. 

4 *pre-sets* made things feasible.... When things are not pre-set, then 
every debate without tubs becomes that way you feel when you dashing to 
print off that preposterous request right before an elim round. 

Third-- Having a larger team was an asset -- more teammates to borrow 
from... more people to aid with printing ,etc. 


Truth be told, I don't think it's a very workable adjustment under the 
current set of norms. 

*If* the community is forced by the market to go "tubless", then we may need 
to consider adding the following items to the discussion: 

a) Do we need to add considerably more prep time into the debate itself ?.. 
This might be used for printing ev, jumping ev to the opponent, finding the 
paper file that stored in the "common ev room", etc. 

This could have the positive externality of allowing debaters (not coaches) 
to research wildly-untrue arguments during the debate -- tempering the 
concern that many have about new Affs, silly hyper-generics, etc. 

b) In an era of Aff bias, should we re-visit the norm of neg disclosure ?.. 

This would be a huge adjustment -- fraught with problems. But, it would 
hedge against team A trying to manipulate the fact that Team B is "unlikely 
to have a paper copy of X".... 

... More generally, I encourage people to view the "tub-crunch" as an 
opportunity -- not just a burden. It could constitute an opportunity to 
improve certain things about the activity -- but only to the extent that the 
community can agree on what our activity should look like, which we often 
cannot. 

Back to cap-and-trade, 

 Will 






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