[eDebate] Standards for Evidence

Andy Ellis andy.edebate
Mon May 11 10:09:50 CDT 2009

Every time this comes up and we eat our own who take the work they do and
make external public policy arguments a little part of me dies...if
framework arguments are to be believed we are doing tons of policy research
about a given topic as an academic community driven by competition...this is
really cool and when it creates thought that can be shared with the outside
world we should celebrate it as an accomplishment of the activity, not
question the ethics of the person that did it.

If the evidence makes bad arguments ie if you support bioremdiation efforts
in oakland the sri lankans will ask for indias assistance in nuking the
tamils which will then draw in the chinese north koreans and russians and
spur a parkinglot making war between iran and israel....that evidence should
be challenged, not because it comes from a coach but because it sucks and
its dangerous scholarship...

The intent question is interesting to me because it assumes that the intent
of articles not written by coaches is pure...non intrest influenced words
that elucidate some kernal of truth...nearly all academic writting is
written with competitive self interest in mind, as is most professional
journalism, ironicaly the things written with the least self interest, blog
posts, wikipedia, and other user generated content is often looked at with
suspecious eyes, and dismissed by the community.

Just because the interest in this case is in part written toward the debate
community simply means that the debate community should be better at
identifying the place where interest is placed above fair and balanced
journalism...we have a leg up that the non debate rader doesnt have, we know
the context...ive never heard a card written by a debater or a coach that
was unfair or unethical, and justins writting is not that either, can we
please stop villifying anybody who takes the hours upon hours of public
policy research they do and turns it in to something that goes outward?

On Mon, May 11, 2009 at 10:20 AM, J T <jtedebate at yahoo.com> wrote:

> I'll say this:  Justin Skarb was a top-notch debater and an excellent
> coach. I have no doubt that any policy writing on his part was probably
> well-researched and insightful...that being said...
> Anony mous writes:
> 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
> scenarios:
> 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
> research
> 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.
> <<<<First, Yes it is legit.  QUALS:  If the coach has any particular
> experience in the field, they are a legit author by any standard.  BETTER
> THAN A STAFF WRITER:  Even if a coach--let's say Justin Skarb--had zero
> "quals", that coach is probably more qualified to make claims based on
> research than the staff writer from AP that writes politics cards!  INTENT:
> don't even go there!  The article Justin evidently wrote was published in a
> reputable journal in the field.  But for others, you only risk wrongly
> insulting someone.  No proof = no accusation.
> 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?
> <<<Without proof of intent, there is no ethics question.  I do think it
> should be a quals debate.  It depends on their topic experience.  Just
> judging rounds and coaching teams does not inherently make you more
> qualified.  Do they do research?  Have they done alot on this particulat
> topic? Do they have any academic background on the subject?  This discussion
> would not happen in response to a card from a New York Times staff writer,
> but because he is a coach, Justin gets called out---this is ridiculous.
> 3) If it is ok to write the article, is it ethical to use a pen name?
> <<<If they did, there would be no way to list qualifications or do
> independent research to find out their quals.  Was this the case?  If Justin
> just used a pen name then perhaps he was trying to avoid the silly
> highschool complaints about intent that some have advanced.  Regardless, it
> was probably unnecessary...not sure why the pen name thanked the actual
> author for assistance though...???
> 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."
> -----Inline Attachment Follows-----
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