[eDebate] 5 point font

tcram tcram
Thu May 14 14:25:58 CDT 2009

I'm very confused how an alternative would solve Kade's complaint the majority of time.  Say someone cherry picks a few sentence from a paragraph at the beginning of an article and then read sentences from several paragraphs later.  If the text in between is left in 8 point font, there is still a bewildering amount of text that simply cannot be read (even if it is more easily readable) because, as you point out, there's only so much to be done with 10 minutes of prep time.  In a second instance, the paragraphs in between are excluded and the evidence is read as two cards.  The offending material that can distort the evidence is completely excluded and the ever-hurried debater has no surrounding context to allow them to test the evidence in their ever-diminishing prep-time.  It seems in either instance that the harm you indicate is not remedied.

I can understand being annoyed.  Debaters excel at doing tons of shit that annoys judges; it may even be their distinctive mark.  That can include plan/counter-plan texts that have gone through a million revisions on the same sheet of paper, reading giant cards without written tags, saying 'here's more ev on this point' as if thats even an argument, reading T definitions that are on a different sheet with multiple other definitons and nothing to indicate it, flipping evidence to a place where the opponent cannot reach it, etc etc.  The dumbassery never ceases, but is this stuff unethical? 

I definitely reduced the un-underlined text on my evidence to 6 size font largely because it allowed me to read better, longer cards that account for the development of an argument through several paragraphs of an article.  I also largely did it because I was on a squad that sometimes required us to make a run to wal-mart a few hours before leaving for the airport so that we (the debaters) could buy reams of paper out of our pocket.  So please remember that that sort of stuff makes a difference to some people out there, even if it is only 'a tiny bit of paper.'

The overall point is that in most instances, people have a reason for doing whatever practice you don't like for a good reason, and those reasons are almost never to be an unethical cheater.  So the solution to frustrations about this practices isn't to be a righteously indignant dick about such things (not to imply this character has been expressed by Kade, who is obviously sweet for the most part).


-----Original Message-----
From: edebate-bounces at www.ndtceda.com on behalf of David Cram Helwich
Sent: Thu 5/14/2009 1:58 PM
To: Eric Morris
Cc: edebate at ndtceda.com
Subject: Re: [eDebate] 5 point font
Our squad uses two font sizes in our cards (9pt arial bold heavy underline
and 5pt arial). We print most of our evidence on high-resolution laser
printers. We are not 'cheating' or engaging in unethical behavior. We do it
for two reasons:
a) It saves paper. A lot of paper--maybe 20% or so per file. In a world
where it costs $160 to fly a full ev set per-tournament, this adds up.
b) somewhat undermining a, it allows us (mostly me) to put more context
around the 'read' evidence. This is bad because...?

Obviously, I agree with Josh et al. that the "Jump Around" style of
highlighting has some serious problems, but this seems like a separate


On Thu, May 14, 2009 at 1:25 PM, Eric Morris <ermocito at gmail.com> wrote:

> As a judge, I'm fine with having read parts smaller as long as I can still
> read them. I flow in 6 point anyway, so that's fine even for the parts you
> read. I consider 5 readable while 4 is pushing it (but probably ok when
> there are paragraphs between), and better than (a) having cards that run 4
> pages and create confusion or (b) making a long card into several shorter
> ones to make the ellipse more legitimate.
> I've also dealt with a lot of cards that were hard to read for other
> reasons - unethically bad copying, copies printed from unethical microfiche
> (less common now), over use of unethical highlighters, unethical printers
> than make highlighting appear too dark, etc. I generally just roll with the
> punches, and say something if it gives me problems.
> If it's really unethical to use small font, is disregarding a card is the
> appropriate penalty? It's not the penalty we typically use for other ethical
> violations....
> I think ethical expectations stem from community norms so widely accepted
> that they are easily accessible to those first entering the community. But,
> I'm late on reading the latest issue of "Judging Cabal", so perhaps this has
> been declared an ethical norm.
> My point really is just that opinions vary about the details. Perhaps a
> great benefit of Whitman's "paperless" approach is that you can just
> increase the size with a keystroke instead of having to go back and re-print
> years worth of backfiles as the standards for font size and style evolve....
> I suspect some of the variance can be explained by attitude toward computer
> technology and/or nostalgia for tape & scissors. That said, I've seen actual
> printed material with a font smaller than 8. Perhaps we should thank the
> digital age for finally making it ethical to quote such sources!
> Ermo
> p.s. What's the topic area?
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