[eDebate] Opencaselist: Fulltext Tangent

Brian DeLong bdelo77
Thu Aug 27 23:16:35 CDT 2009


You should love nothing more than hearing a disad that you spent 40  
hours or more developing being ran by another team, if anything it' s  
a compliment to you and your research skills.

But really, anyone with a judge, a scout, or a team in the round that  
you broke the disad in will have the opportunity to recut that DA as  
soon as some free time and internet are available.

TO go all "resource" on you, schools with larger coach and debater  
bases have a tendency to cover more of the citation field.  The fog of  
war isn't quite as thick when you can cover 20+ rounds at GSU.  Your  
disads are always already cut within the first few hours of the moment  
that your debater read the shell.  Sure that team has to work to cut  
your DA, and they have to have  a functional communication structure  
to relay information and blocks from round to round to their debaters  
etc.  But really, it doesn't take much to have your politics coach cut  
everyone else's politics DAs as soon as they are read.

I am sure you can imagine the irritation (to say the least) that some  
teams have when data that is assumed to be available to all (as any  
squad can access citations after a round) is "missed" or "uncollected"  
by those with less eyes on the debate battlefield.  Your post is just  
an example of this assumption of an all seeing all knowing debate  
community.  Teams with more eyes and card cutters, especially skilled  
eyes and skilled researchers, can take better citations, and cut cards  
faster than a team with less eyes on the field.  To extend your  
argument out, more "research resource" endowed teams are less lazy  
than their counterparts.  If your sweet DA goes unnoticed by a less  
"research resourced" squad or team, or if time allocation prevents a  
squad from recutting your sweet argument the second night at the NDT,  
that team is apparently lazy and should have taken more caffeine (and  
unofficially adderall) to "catch up."

On a broader level I just have more of a belief that evidence isn't  
everything.  Lazy squads won't have the experience, nor the background  
knowledge on the disad that you cut.  They also probably won't have  
your completed blocks, nor those 5-6 practice debates that you had  
prior to a tournament.  In a just world, effort+evidence should always  
beat teams that just copy and paste arguments.  On average though, I  
would say that an increase in the amount of "experience" or "effort"  
variables will still have a positive influence on your winning  

I equate your ironic parody as containing what I often hear younger  
debaters exclaim when their disad is re-used or reinvented by another  
squad,  "They stole my argument!" Who cares?  For me at least, this  
has very little implication.  You stole that argument from the authors  
that you cut your evidence from...

Pre-empt: If you're angry that you've lost to your own handy work in  
the past, maybe you should recognize what has become a clear standard   
for coaches that I've interacted with in the past: If you are going to  
break an argument early, or mid-tournament, you should make sure that  
you are prepared to answer that argument if someone runs it against  
you.  It's a thing of beauty when you can see the intricacies of your  
own handy work and you can take advantage of your argument's achilles  

The impact, in the end, is just better debate.  We can spend less time  
in finding, and reproducing work that has already been done by someone  
in the community.  Instead, we can spend more time reinventing those  
arguments, improving them, and building overall research on the topic  
as a whole.  Sure you can make an argument that there  are builders,  
hard working researchers, and there are dwellers (squatters?) who live  
in those argument houses that researchers built.  But that argument is  
clearly non-unique.  Great debaters get things done, they alter their  
arguments, and produce new, or improved  ones to win rounds.  Those  
who act like trailblazers will not just lose their artistic ability to  
create new arguments.  They will still win debates, and your 40 hours  
of work will not go unrewarded.  However, this full card citation/ 
posting idea does provide some debaters out there with the opportunity  
to also become trailblazers.  Better arguments, and more research  
should be preferred above less.

Motive wise - I have the sinking suspicion that there are some people  
out there who refuse to post their cards, or even citations, because  
the 4 pt font section of one of their cards has a devastating takeout  
to their argument.  We all know how easy it is to take advantage of  
ignorance when new arguments are deployed in debate.  The uncanny  
makes it difficult for a team to pin down the argument.  Clearly the  
constraints of a round makes it difficult for a team to look through  
every card read on an argument during a card war to see that portion  
of the card that undermines the coherency of your DA.  The value of  
those 30 minutes or so of pre-round prep will be boosted when your  
weak argument is undressed and exposed to the scrutiny of your  
opponents, rather than being cloaked by the  "ya gotta go get the  
card," here is the first 4 words and last 4 words of the card, but  
that's all you get standard that we have today.

A question to advance the discussion.  Why is it that your opponents  
when you break the card can see the full text of the evidence, but  
debaters from other rounds must wait until they go out to get the full  
text before they can have access to that evidence?  There is much  
hesitation if prior to a debate I ask an opponent to see their  
politics shell that they read a few rounds before.  I think the clear  
motive is that that team wants to protect their argument from  
potential counter-arguments etc.  Rather, a few added hoops of go  
"cite-track" the evidence is thrown in your opponents way to make sure  
you have an added advantage before a round starts.  Strategic? Yes!  
Good for the betterment of debate? I don't think so.

As I've already stated, the wiki itself is a great service and  
certainly reduces the existence of the fog of evidence/citations.  But  
there is always room for improvement.
On Aug 27, 2009, at 9:56 PM, scottelliott at grandecom.net wrote:

> I agree with Michael. Please post all of your work in complete form to
> Wiki. I hate this topic and have plenty of other things to do that
> would be better than cutting detterence good cards. If you post your
> complete work sets, I can simply cut and paste them into new
> positions. It saves me a lot of work and needless duplication of my
> effort. I will post all of my original work too...but, oh, wait, all
> my original work is just a careful retagging of Georgtown's disads and
> Wake's new affirmative. I am sure you will all be grateful for the new
> tags though. Thank you all in advance for spending hundreds of hours
> to build my files on this topic.
> Scott
> (for the obtuse is is a paradoy of a common problem called the "free
> rider." I love nothing more than hearing a disad that I spent 40 hours
> developing being run by another team in a round as if it were their
> own...within 24 hours of the disad being broken.)
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