[eDebate] Whitman and Paperless

Aaron Hardy spoon_22
Sun Sep 14 20:47:42 CDT 2008

Let me be clear -- Whitman and I are obviously in debt to Denver (and Logan specifically) for having pushed the envelope long in advance of our current switch.  I wouldn't pretend to be the progenitor of this idea, the first one to do it, nor some radical innovator.  My email was intended only to let people know we were doing this, and seek feedback on the differences between our system and previously suggested implementations (including Denver's and previous versions at Whitman).  I think if you read my original email, those provisos are clear.  We've been engaged in conversations with you (including this summer on edebate) seeking input precisely because of your experiences.

I think the description and solicitation for feedback is valuable above and beyond previous discussions -- two reasons:

a)  One of the explicit criticisms I've heard over the last several years related to paperless is some version of "but this wouldn't work for our large team" or "it's not feasible given our infrastructure."  While Denver obviously went paperless long before us, Whitman's experience at Gonzaga is to my knowledge the largest simultaneous implementation of any paperless system so far.  If I'm wrong, I'd be happy to be corrected -- because I'd like to talk to other people about their experiences at making this better.  Either way, I think there's valuable experience to be gleaned for the community at large from hearing about how our experiment went, and what it's like doing this with seven teams.

b)  There are differences, some significant, between the system as practiced by Denver and the system we're employing -- ironing out the logistics of our system and procuring feedback on it is valuable to us, even if other people already have paperless all figured out.  In particular, there's a ton of nuts and bolts stuff specific our method that hasn't been widely discussed on edebate -- how we structure files, incorporate templates, how I wrote the VBA code, etc -- which the backchannels I've received as part of this discussion have been helpful in thinking about and improving.

You'd have to work pretty hard to find any malicious braggadocio in my original post.


Al Gore

Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2008 14:26:37 -0600
From: logan.martin at gmail.com
To: edebate at ndtceda.com
Subject: [eDebate] Whitman and Paperless

Officially, I speak only on my own behalf, but I am sure that I will be joined by the other members of the University of Denver in congratulating Aaron Hardy and the Whitman debate team for their brave foray into the uncharted territory that is paperless debate.   It is heartening to see such a creative, unprecedented approach to addressing the rising costs of travel, which pose unique challenges to teams like Whitman and others, who are finding it more and more difficult to take seven teams to national-level competitions.  It is my hope that the community will adopt Hardy's proposed norms with enthusiasm and defer to him as the authority on all issues related to this extraordinary new model of competition.

Incidentally, I would like to congratulate Mr. Hardy for his other recent innovations, such as the disad, the internet, and pants.

Logan Martin



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