[eDebate] Opencaselist: Fulltext Tangent

Michael Antonucci antonucci23
Thu Aug 27 15:14:38 CDT 2009

Thank you for engaging on this issue in good faith.  I do feel strongly
about this, so I apologize sincerely in advance if I sound a little snarky.

"1. assumes all cards are scanned/OCR-ed or from electronic sources--not
true.  While the transition to all-electronic is certainly advancing, not
everyone is one board."

I don't assume that.

I do assume that a large percentage of people directly cut the majority of
their evidence from electronic sources.  Most people don't scan or OCR that
much, actually, because they primarily work with electronic cards, obviating
the need for "translation" to an electronic format.

**That "assumption", however, is not a premise of my argument.**

My argument is a simple conditional.  *If* someone has easily accessible
full electronic text of their evidence, *then* they should make that fully
available without introducing a deliberate labor-intensifying inefficiency.
When we go through our electronic 1ac word documents to take out the middle
of cards prior to uploading it, we, collectively, are being stupid.


If you scan through the caselist and see first and last words for a politics
link card that is obviously from Lexis, you know that's a deliberate
efficiency fail.  If you scan through the caselist and see first and last
words for a book, then it's clearly not a failure on the part of that team.

I defy you to find a team that regularly cuts journal articles or newspaper
articles on paper, and actually tapes down their politics DA.

"2. it's too easy--people would have zero incentive to read the actual book
or article...so many would just copy and paste the card.  I don't think
anyone gains a bit of education under that process."



The absolutely only incentive to read an opponent's 1AC sources is to do the
rote work of filling in the middle of the card?  Looking for counterplan
options, checking the actual context of the argument, etc. - that doesn't

I disagree.  The model that you're pushing here presumes that our students
and coaches aren't smart.  It's paternalistic, ultimately.  It's dressage.
It presumes that debaters naturally aren't going to do something
competitively useful, and they need to goads that artificially induce labor
that would otherwise be unnecessary.

"I also do not know what you mean by "smart labor"."

Replicating a uniqueness card by punching firstlast into Lexis: dumb labor.
Reading the text of key articles to determine context and devise strategies:
smart labor.

Digging holes and filling them back in to feel that you're working hard is
dumb.  That's what we're doing now by maintaining artificial opacity.  We're
making students dig holes (or paying people to dig holes that they don't
need to dig, as a sort of debate TVA.)

"If this means efficiency, then education outweighs efficiency in my book
(although not mutually exclusive in all cases)."

I concur.   Education is the point.  We agree on that, so there's no impact
comparison - just a link debate.

Efficiently eliminating rote labor (unnecessary shotgun-coverage scouting,
chasing down cites, long awkward email exchanges over citations, mindlessly
replicating cards that could be easily emailed because we think debaters
won't work unless we counterintuitively make it harder for them to do so) is
educational because it frees up time to think, strategize, and read instead
of replicating.  There's a finite amount of research time.  Let's spend it
doing smart stuff, not dumb stuff.

We disagree on this, and most anyone who appreciates the convenience of
opencaselisting - collective scouting - and other similar labor-saving
materials should probably respectfully disagree with you as well.

Every argument that you're making now was previously leveled against other
hole-digging prison labor projects we used to fetishize in the past.  Let's
move on.

Michael Antonucci
Debate Coach
Georgetown University
Mobile: 617-838-3345
Office: 202-687-4079
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