[eDebate] linus's law
Sun Sep 21 11:08:15 CDT 2008
or why debate should become even more bazaar.
in the context of evidence sharing, aaron hardy cites 'the freeriding problem':
"The primary resistance I have to it is that until it's a community wide norm,
it would probably disadvantage us significantly without reciprocation."
this is a serious objection (*the* objection), but it's not decisive if those who
support the creation of an online debate commons can win ballots from those
don't - that is, if advocating a community-wide norm can become, in itself, a
strategic advantage. that's the reason this position was written:
i'd contend this is fair play, since - like topicality and other alleged procedural
violations - opposing teams will have an entire debate round to demonstrate
the undesirability of the proposed community norm(s).
let me briefly make this analogy explicit: when i run topicality, i'm relying on
a communal norm ('stay on topic') that i argue my opponents have violated.
despite attempts to derive topicality from wizened concepts such as 'framers'
intent' or 'jurisdiction', i think most debaters would say the solider concepts
are 'ground' and 'predictability' - i.e., what interpretation best ensures a fair,
comprehensive debate? likewise, when i run (cc), i'm relying on a community
norm ('share your evidence') that i argue my opponents have violated. in both
cases once i show that the norm would make for better debates and that the
opposing team failed to observe the norm, the ballot is seen as a legitimate
enforcement mechanism. of course, as a communal norm, 'stay on topic' has
a longer history than 'share your evidence'. yet, in either case, what reason
have we to wait for our proposal to become "community wide" (a very vague
term, incidentally)? no one gathers poll data from debaters to support their
interpretation of the resolution; why on earth should commons-hacks need
the total consent of everyone else in the activity? if you disagree, you either
lose or justify your disagreement. this is debate, not a popularity contest.
note how perpendicularly this contradicts aaron hardy's 'proposed (requested)
community norms' (last two points here,
opponents should be *encouraged* both to 'look ahead' and to 'take home' all
scripted speeches. and this accomplishes exactly what stefen bauschard says
it could: sparing debaters of "silly rote work", better contextualizing arguments,
and "prevent[ing] people from winning with crappy cards just because you don't
have time to really evaluate them in the real time pressure of the debate"
recall linus's law as stated by eric raymond: "given enough eyeballs, all bugs
p.s. to ceren/hoe: i'd intuitively interpret davis' post as satire; am i wrong?
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