[eDebate] 5 point font abuse

Joshua Gonzalez gonza310
Thu May 14 16:41:15 CDT 2009

I think that it rather purposefully begs the question - the fact that  
we excerpt quotations means that we are inevitably at the mercy of our  
competitors and colleagues' best judgment.  The sad part is that like  
most instances of plagiarism, I would be willing to bet that the VAST  
majority of unethical evidence quotation goes undetected.  PJ is right  
- the simple fact of time limitations on contest rounds in combination  
with the acceptance of excerpted quotations from evidence means that  
this is a necessary possibility.

Five point font is not the problem, as Will's post points out - the  
problem is that debaters will always have the capacity to unethically  
excerpt evidence. The question is what sort of norms regarding  
evidence we wish to endorse, and to what we compare those norms.   
Compared to the past practice of three separate, one or two sentence  
long cards, I'll take five point font every time.  I'll add that I  
think that the move toward paperless debating (which I suspect will be  
widespread, if not universal five years from now) will make this  
largely moot.  But I think that Will's point, as I read it, is that  
five point font, while annoying, has only given more context to cards,  
and not less.

One more question - if it's acceptable to highlight partial sentences  
out of cards to assemble cogent claims, which I think the community  
largely accepts these days, why don't we just allow debaters  
paraphrase other authors and researchers for authority, and simply  
read a citation and page number?  This is perfectly acceptable  
practice in the world of peer-reviewed academic journals, which have  
the most stringent requirements on evidence and citation one can  
imagine (as countless well-worn copies of the APA and Chicago style  
guides can attest). I'm not saying that I think this is a good idea,  
but really, what's the difference?


On May 14, 2009, at 4:18 PM, Josh wrote:

> Hey Will,
> As funny as this is, it totally begs the question.  Read a ten word  
> card, read a 50 word card, debaters and judges should be able to  
> read the context around what you highlight.  I am not sure what  
> argument you make here that suggests that a bad idea?
> I cannot tell you the 100s of times I have looked up evidence - read  
> all the miniature font expanded around the words that are  
> highlighted - and realize there are like 100 arguments against the  
> cards that I would NEVER have seen but for making the font normal.
> What argument do you have for this practice?
> Hope you are well, nukes should be fun!
> Josh
> On Thu, May 14, 2009 at 3:46 PM, <repkowil at msu.edu> wrote:
> The real probem is that we "cut" evidence at all.
> Unless all plausible context is provided, we should safely assume  
> that parties must be cheating -- especially Minnesota.
> >From this point forward, each card read should:
> a) include the entire book or novelette in Abelkopian 22 point font.
> Teams are required to enter all of this into the record of the  
> debate. Each card should be a minimum of 9 pages long -- if the  
> article happens to be shorter than that, a larger font size will be  
> permitted to fulfill the 9 page requirement (which is an important  
> requirement).
> b) include all articles ever written by said author
> ... again... for the sake complete context. The more irrelevant  
> information provided (in large font) we provide, the easier it will  
> be for the negative to sort through in their 10 minutes of prep time.
> c) include a sworn affidavit from the author that they have reviewed  
> your 2AC block and agree with it.
> ... the author you consult may or may not be a real person... that  
> is optional at this time... This may be changed at the (evil) Wake  
> Forest Summer Conference.
> Remedies involve a sliding scale:
> a) 7 point font -- rapid beheading of the 2A and-or 2N. Either one  
> -- deterrence.
> b) 6 point font -- violating parties will be forced to read all  
> edebate posts
> c) 5 point font -- stoning (large stones only -- for visual  
> uniformity)
> d) excerpting in context with citation footnoted -- formal  
> accusations that the offending party is engaging in practice that  
> too closely resembles every academic paper ever written.
> small font = irritating... fair enough... It can be discussed and  
> improved...
> ...cheating ?... I think the author may have joking... but, if not,  
> let's back it up like Percy...
> -- Will
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