[eDebate] New Rule -- Re: To clarify

JP Lacy lacyjp
Fri May 15 02:55:53 CDT 2009

We can fix this all with a new "Lacy rule:" 

Format & cite evidence the way you would expect it!!! [Add that to the 
other Lacy rule: "disclose what you would expect."]

Format evidence so your opponents can read all of it during speech or 
prep time & so judges can read it. Don't hide stuff with your formatting.

[Hint -- *Exactly Zero* of your competitors want to see cards with the 
un-underlined portions in tiny font. Follow the principle of 
reciprocity: Make your fine print as big as you'd like from your 
opponents. Test for font size: If you can't read it out loud "at speed" 
without practice because its too small, its too small! ]

Aim for the lowest common denominator -- Eyesight varies! I can barely 
read 6 point font at my age, so I'd go for a larger font. [This will all 
be irrelevant in a few years when we all go paperless. In the meantime, 
keep your printed materials well formatted for the opposition & judges.]

Attribute the evidence to the best of your ability so your opponent can 
dispute it and an honest outsider (the judge,) can evaluate its authority.


ps: I know there are no "norms" here. I'm trying to establish one: Can 
you read it 'at speed' without practice? If not, your font is too small. 
Readability is very subjective. I figure the "read 'at speed'" test is 
the best we can come up with for now.
pps: None of this has to do with "Cheating" or anything like that. The 
vast, vast majority of people who shrink text are trying to include more 
context (because technology makes it possible,) are trying to save 
paper, or are trying to fit more on a page for speech efficiency. All 
three are good goals. All I'm saying is that your opponents don't like 
paragraphs shrunk beyond recognition in the middle of cards, don't like 
mid sentence words shrunk because they aren't underlined and don't like 
qualifying statements shrunk out of legibility.

repkowil at msu.edu wrote:
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Subject:
> To clarify
> From:
> repkowil at msu.edu
> Date:
> Fri, 15 May 2009 02:28:41 -0400
> To:
> edebate at ndtceda.com
> To:
> edebate at ndtceda.com
> Got several backchannels... To clarify -- my points were:
> a) cheating accusations need a high(er) threshold.
> b) to be sarcastic and slightly ridiculous for the hell of it.
> I think font size and community standards can be publicly discussed 
> and tweaked. I am willing to make my font larger if someone has a 
> visual impediment or a prep-time related beef with it. Kade Olsen is 
> my colleague (people forget that we are all really one big dept). I am 
> happy to accomodate his wishes within reason.
> ... but, at the end of the day, as Gonzo suggests, cutting ev for a 
> debate argument or footnoting an author for an academic paper is a 
> process that ultimately MUST rest upon:
> a) some measure of interpretation
> b) some capacity to check for misinterpretation (usually via citation 
> -- a standard sufficient for academic papers)
> c) some measure of good faith and presumption of innonence.
> The addition of the phrase "cheating" does little to progress this 
> conversation... and is frankly absurd.
> The truth is that current practices provide a great deal of 
> opportunity to debate surrounding context... and the truth is also 
> that it could be improved upon as well...
> In my most honest moment I would actually contend that providing 
> additional context (i.e. more than now as a norm) might  -- on balance 
> -- make the typical debate worse, not better. I have lived through too 
> many cx moments about the un-underlined part of the card that 
> ultimately stray into nothingness. That said, I would also concede 
> that not all debates would be worse and that more context might be 
> fairer than the st quo. I'd be fine if we all opted to err on the side 
> of caution.
> I'll be very likely to agree to whatever standard the community 
> settles upon... I just think the "cheating" presumption is 
> self-evidently silly.
> -- Will
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