[eDebate] Paperless

Aaron Hardy spoon_22
Thu Jun 25 18:05:46 CDT 2009

To quickly answer Ermo -- I definitely qualify as an "advocate of 
paperless"...but for my part (and Whitmans), I (and we) don't think 
there's any affirmative obligation at all to switch.  Seems like a 
decision entirely up to each team to make on their own.  People have 
been very accommodating with our foray into the paperless world, and we 
intend on returning the favor for whatever configuration other teams 
decide on.  My hope is that the full array of options people try out 
help the community at large learn from each other's experience.

Jennings/Tripps comment is very similar to a backchannel I recently 
received asking about printers -- a couple thoughts reposted from that 

I think that it could certainly work for some people, and it's obviously 
each team's perogative -- I'd be curious to hear how well it works for 
teams that try it.

For our part, we considered the printer route pretty extensively and 
decided against it for several reasons:

a)  The logistics of each team carrying a printer are significantly more 
of a hassle than one spare laptop per team.  A laptop fits in a 
backpack, a printer doesn't.  The ones small enough to carry print like 
10 pages a minute and have to replace cartridges every couple hundred 
pages.  Even with the perfect printer, it requires locating boxes of 
paper, toner, etc...for every tournament, which is a hassle I'm glad to 
have left behind.

b)  Printers just aren't very reliable -- even less so than computers, 
and they hold up to travel abuse very poorly.  We had a hard time 
keeping one team printer working, full of ink, and not jammed when we 
used paper -- I'd hate to try it with seven.  Basically, I think it 
severely  exacerbates "meltdown risk" which is more easily solved by 
having a backup of the speech on your partners computer before you start.

c)  The jumping/viewing process sometimes eats a little bit of prep time 
that can annoy judges -- I'm pretty confident that the tech problems 
inherent in printing have the potential to be way, way more annoying.

d)  It's pretty intangible but we kinda just like the fact that we don't 
still have one foot in the paper door...

Specific issues that have  been mentioned:

"I don't like reading off the computer" -- Fair enough.  Most of my 
students say they don't really notice the difference anymore.  I also 
think that the 9 off 2AC is actually easier to give once you get used to 
it.  There is a definite learning curve -- but then paperless affords a 
bunch of shortcuts that let you put together a speech much quicker than 
you can with multiple expandos.  Most of the Whitman debaters expressed 
this same concern, and are now of the opinion that the actual speech 
process is easier on the computer.

Printing also doesn't really solve the "I need to take up extra cards to 
decide on the fly" problem unless you're printing dozens of extra pages, 
slowing the process down even more.  I think one ream of paper for an 
entire tournament is extremely optimistic...

"Other In-Round concerns" -- I don't think these are that big a deal, or 
have turned out to be a benefit to paperless with practice.  Happy to 
comment more in-depth on any specific concerns...


Tripp Rebrovick wrote:
> I want to echo what Jennings said:
> I would never be able to read cards off of a computer effectively (for 
> example, I can't even imagine giving a 2ac against 9 off on a computer 
> when the decision of what cards to read and how many is made on the 
> fly), but just printing out the speech before you start seems 
> completely easy.
> For each tournament, a team would need: a) one printer, b) no more 
> than one ream of paper, c) maybe one small expando to put a 1ac and 
> some 1nc shells (stuff that would be printed out several times 
> anyway). That's about it.
> It seems like a perfectly reasonable middle ground, and solves the 
> biggest "in-round" debate concerns like the one's Jennings' mentioned 
> (marking evidence, cross-x about un-underlined parts of the card, and 
> it also prevents teams from looking ahead) but it ALSO solves the 
> problem of a major meltdown of the computer /during /the speech. 
> Also: there is no need for a viewing computer (and that money could be 
> saved to buy the printer), and, perhaps, only one computer would be 
> needed per team, if that was necessary. Sure, sometimes both partners 
> might really need the computer, but that seems true of files anyway, 
> and obviously it would be a team preference.
> Sure it's not entirely paperless, but it's a pretty big step.
> My thoughts,
> tripp
> On Thu, Jun 25, 2009 at 2:50 PM, Jennings, Andrew Joseph 
> <ajhawk2 at ku.edu <mailto:ajhawk2 at ku.edu>> wrote:
>     I always wondered why teams who were reluctant to switch couldn't
>     just print off what they were going to read prior to their speech.
>     It solves the whole marking cards problem and makse sure no
>     dinglehead would cheat and look at a new advantage before the
>     other team read it. Obvi teams could still just read it off the
>     computer if they wanted to- maybe just a way to get other teams on
>     board for this.
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