[eDebate] Standards for Evidence

Anony mous anon.edebate
Mon May 11 02:02:41 CDT 2009

I saw this posted on Cross-X.com, but I thought it would be interesting to
get the college community's opinion (a similar incident occured before CEDA
with a BC student writing a conveniently worded article concerning LOST,
although the circumstances were a bit different):

"Before the TOC this awesome article came out about SPS.
The author credited Justin Skarb for some help.

Upon further research, it appears Justin Skarb actually wrote the article.
He is also the coach at Damien.

Obviously people have called out Damien before on emailing authors and using
their responses as evidence, and there has been much debate on the
legitimacy of that. This is a seperate matter, and I think this issue merits
some discussion as well. I have three questions:

1) Is it legitimate for a coach to write articles which are clearly relevant
to the current debate topic? Should we treat these differently? And should
the purpose/content be relevant? For example, here are two different
a) It is clearly written for the purpose of a debate round, such as this
article which included a few disads and a counterplan without citing
b) It is not as rhetorically powerful, is backed up with research, and is
written as a product of knowledge acquired over a year of debating the topic
rather than with the intent of producing new evidence.
Obviously it is difficult to measure intent, although it may not actually be
necessary, since in scenario b it is less likely that the article would be
used as evidence or be the critical card in some debate.

2) If it is legitimate, should the coaches experience on the topic be an
additional factor when comparing qualifications, or should the evidence be
evaluated based solely on the author's other qualifications? If it is not
legitimate, what is the remedy? Should the evidence be evaluated as nothing
more than a lengthy analytic, or is it an ethics question?

3) If it is ok to write the article, is it ethical to use a pen name?

Because I am remaining anonymous, I'm not voicing opinions. This is an
attempt to spur discussion from others on an important issue, and shouldn't
just turn into a hate on Damien thread."
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