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Standards for Evidence

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I'd vote neg to exclude the email evidence. I don't think the aff has offered legitimate proof of their argument. An argument could be made that the neg hasn't sufficiently proven their link claim either, given the lack of specificity, but if it were SOLELY a question of whether the aff has sufficiently proven their claim, I don't think they have.

 

This isn't the greatest example though, because this is an issue where there are good cards to support the aff's argument that are not from email. A more telling example is: what if the aff read email evidence saying that NATO would backlash over consulting over poverty policy?

 

I still wouldn't allow the evidence in that case. But I would be persuaded by the aff's analytical assertion that the consulting over poverty policy is bad. The likely response is that "analytics don't stand up to the neg's EVIDENCE". But in the consult NATO case, the neg will lack evidence saying we should consult NATO over poverty (any evidence they do read will be grossly mistagged, underlined out of context, or so bad that it indicts the entire research ability of the person who cut it and the intelligence of the person who asserts it applies, if the practice of consult NATO on past topics is any guide). So whether the cp solves is really just a question of whose analytics I find more persuasive anyway.

 

Regarding the use of email for fact checking: in a limited sense, this might be necessary, maybe. But I doubt it. Certainly geographical errors or even category errors that you describe don't require email. I think normal research fixes this. In the very limited instance where it doesn't, maybe email is ok. But even then, if it's really a question of just fact checking, the emailed expert should be able to provide a source to confirm the facts.

 

If the only reason a debater is talking to an expert is for cards, I don't think this is a particularly sustainable interaction. Anyone that is truly interested in a topic can have meaningful conversations with experts regardless of cards provided. I am unpersuaded by the need to "incentivize" these conversations with an external reward. Is there an independent value to debater expert interactions? If so, then it should be pursued for its own sake.

 

That is probably a better example.

 

Do you exclude the email evidence (or assign it only analytic weight) if:

 

a. the negative does not contest its legitimacy?

 

b. the negative says - verbatim - "email - that's garbage" while the aff defends their practice with intelligent paragraph-y warrants?

 

**

 

While a source might be able to give some references to the data that underlies the relevant claims, it can still be tough sledding for truth and justice. Judges want claims. They want evidence that connects the dots. Dead wrong evidence can win on the strength of its claims, even when it's factually incorrect.

 

A pretty good example: presume a wipeout card that claims a specific universe destroying energy weapon will be developed in the near future.

 

It's not any of the ones we've debated before; it's something new, shiny and mindbogglingly stupid. The aff debater is researching this before the tournament. She's good enough at physics to know the neg's completely wrong, but the only real carded proof would come in the form of some equations, or references to proven scientific principles that aren't obvious to someone without a basic working knowledge of the technical details.

 

Cards with claims on this subject simply don't exist because it's a looney-tune hypothesis. The debater wants to email several tenured professors of physics in order to just get a basic claim corroborating her interpretation of the data.

 

There are obviously numerous other ways to beat wipeout. Regardless, I feel that students should be able to have a better debate on those particulars.

 

Science debates are a great example. They're even better examples than the procedural details with which I've previously warranted my defense. Some otherwise excellent judges can't follow science warrants well, and need claims to sort it out. Climate debates are often excellent, but they'd be a brutal and bloody mess without the synthesizing claims.

 

Quick precis:

 

True fact

v.

wack claim + appearance of a fact

= win for the Dumb Side,

because judges need claims. Some claim-itis may be a problem with judging philosophy, but in technical debates, claim-itis is just a structural product of a gap in knowledge, even with an otherwise perfect judge.

 

**

 

"These email exercises should be purely academic."

 

Such advice underestimates the whole incentive structure that makes debate tick.

 

Students might do all of this absent competition, I guess, but it seems unlikely. That's why we do what we do.

Edited by Antonucci23

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can we confirm that this is skarb, via an IP check or something? I just don't think there is a point in discussing this with this user unless we are sure this is actually Skarb.

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EVERYONE KNOWS THIS IS BULLSHIT

THERE IS NO WAY THAT WRITING AN OP-ED ABOUT SPS IS WORTH THE RISK OF VIOLATING YOUR NON COMPETE WHEN YOU COULD HAVE SIMPLY WAITED FOR THE SEASON TO END BEFORE CHOOSING TO PUBLISH

ALSO I KNOW YOU ARE LYING ABOUT THE NON COMPETE BECAUSE NON COMPETE CLAUSES ARE ILLEGAL IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

 

I EVEN LOOKED IT UP FOR YOU:

 

 

 

NICE ONE ASSHOLE

NEXT TIME DO SOME RESEARCH BEFORE YOU TRY TO BLATANTLY LIE TO THE REST OF THE DEBATE COMMUNITY

Cool, someone that is afraid to speak a warranted post and take responsibility for what they post on the internet. Doesnt mean much when you type up a 10 second response to a well thought out defense for his actions that were actually not unethical. At worst, this only proves the importance of peer reviewed evidence - if anyone can make a blog post and debaters dont make evidence comparison arguments, thats their fault.

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cliffnotes, this is the relevant part of his post to the cheating accusation

 

When I wrote the essay and submitted it to The Space Review for consideration and posted it on the Space Frontier Foundation’s SBSP blog I was concerned that the publication and/or posting of the essay under my name could be viewed by some as being in conflict with the non-compete clause of my current employment agreement. As such I chose to submit the essay using a pseudonym.

 

What is ironic about this entire situation is that in attempting to ensure that nothing that could be considered unethical by some occurred, I have been accused of being unethical. Upon learning that the essay was going to be published prior to the TOC, I asked the editors of The Space Review to include my name in the article. Likewise, the original comment on the Space Frontier Foundation’s SBSP blog was reposted making it clear that a pseudonym was used in the original comment. It was obvious to me that it was more important that my involvement in the essay be made clear than any risk that may or may not have existed in regards to my employment agreement.

 

...

 

Likewise, there certainly seemed to be next to no chance that the essay would be published prior to the completion of the high school debate season.

 

Seems like this rationalization took a while to come up with, but it has several logical gaps. How was it NOT obvious to you in February, still during the debate season and still before a number of high-quality tournaments, that it is important (important to some high school debate coaches, at least) to note your involvement in the essay? Why not note this involvement from the start in the original submission? After all, you had no trouble appending your real name to the space blog comment that's also available via google, so you couldn't have been so troubled about the non-compete clause even in February. If your defense is "I only then realized it'd be published before the end of debate season" then why not wait until the debate season was over if you're as concerned about being so ethical as you claim. In February it was three months before the end of the season (excluding NFLs), and that's a long time for a one-person review process on a glorified space enthusiasts blog. Even if we believe you submitted it in February, it doesn't seem plausible you could have thought it'd take more than three months to review this. Also, why is "I submitted in Feb" a defense – that just implies you might have intended to use it at more than the TOC. To ensure there's nothing unethical, why not wait until the end of the season to *submit* your attempt to publish this, if you're as concerned with being ethical as your post tries to make it seem? If April, when you realized the interests of the debate community outweighed the no-compete clause, why did you not make it clear that you wrote this entire article and Marburry was only a pseudonym – why not make this clear in private emails to which you responded as Marburry? Why did you not, in April, email the site host and ask for the author to be changed from Marburry to Skarb? (As a coach, you would know that debaters generally cite the author's name and not who "helped research" the article, so your involvement wouldn't have been caught in round with the "helped research" addition.) If it was so obvious to you that your involvement was important to the debate community and since you're listing a bunch of irrelevant qualifications anyways, why not put explicitly that you're a current debate coach with a competitive interest in SBSP advocacy during the 2008-2009 season? Why did you not consider that information "important" to the debate community? Again, if you care so much about the debate community's interest, why did you not make it public knowledge to the debate community that you wrote the article, when it was published (ie, and eDebate post)? Also, note that this thread was posted on May 10th. On May 11th, a Damien debater indicated that Damien should not be considered "shady" as it was the other Damien coaches that were concerned about debate ethics and stipulated you add your name to the article. On May 20th, you replied here saying that it was your internal ambition "to ensure that nothing that could be considered unethical by some" that prompted you to add the name, although strangely enough that ambition apparently didn't also cause you to publish after the season, write your name as what debaters would cite it as, make your involvement in debate clear (most non-national circuit debaters don't know you coach Damien just from your name), and that ambition didn't kick in until the last stage of publication, strangely enough.

 

In short, I'm not a lawyer, but even I can see some logical gaps in your rationalization.

Edited by Synergy

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can we confirm that this is skarb, via an IP check or something? I just don't think there is a point in discussing this with this user unless we are sure this is actually Skarb.

 

As a mod, I can look that up. It's a South California IP also shared by CW, another Damien coach. Also there's little motive for someone to lie about being Skarb in order to defend him.

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The fact that this has become such an overblown incident just is incredible. A lot of the people that are hating on skarb seem to be infatuated with some "drama" in the activity yet are making a big deal when it's really not. There's A LOT more harmful practices debate fosters than the creation of cards from blogs.

 

EVEN IF skarb supposedly was "unethical" and was writing this for his own teams (which I don't believe is the case, and I think he has done a good job actually providing insight on the whole situation), that's a reason why debate has devolved into an activity where people search for the cards with the most overhyped language that aren't credible.

 

If you allow someone to beat you that's reading posts from a blog, you must be pretty darn awful since you can't compare evidence very well. And it only proves why there is a deeper root of laziness in debate that people don't want to go in depth - they only want to get a quick card that appears good on the surface. So really, people are blaming skarb for a larger issue that calls into question the way that everyone researches and debates.

 

This isn't to mention the fact that there's a long post by skarb that puts defense on everyone else's accusations.

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If you allow someone to beat you that's reading posts from a blog' date=' you must be pretty darn awful since you can't compare evidence very well. .[/quote']

 

I haven't been reading this thread much but you seemed to be fighting an uphill battle but anyways, it has already been mentioned, when you cite this card. It WOULDNT have "BLOG" in it

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I haven't been reading this thread much but you seemed to be fighting an uphill battle but anyways, it has already been mentioned, when you cite this card. It WOULDNT have "BLOG" in it

For some reason, I think because it was a response to 'eddies' post, a previous response of mine was deleted.

 

This entire 'incident' proves the deeper error in debate practices - how people search for overhyped evidence with powerful rhetoric that doesn't have good qualifications or is very credible. Which proves my argument, and goes with yours, that of course it won't have blog in it (hopefully somthing trustworthy), but its a more subtle debate practice that is being blamed on skarb when its such a larger issue. Aside from that, I think skarb defended himself well and isn't to blame.

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Aside from that' date=' I think skarb defended himself well and isn't to blame.[/quote']

 

dude, he literally communicated with people who he knew were part of debate under the alias...he even admitted that.

 

 

whats not to blame?

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Higher standards for evidence are good. But the majority of Skarb’s post is meant to deflect attention from himself; none of his examples are similar to what he did. It isn’t news to point out that debaters (and coaches) are sometimes lazy or careless in cutting cards or citing qualifications. But it takes a special kind of person to justify fabricating evidence.

 

Skarb is correct about one thing: we can never know his intent. It’s plausible that Skarb considers something he described as a joke blog post from which cards would be read to demonstrate that the NSSO was unqualified to be a “scholarly piece.” Or it’s possible that Skarb really had no intention of actually writing cards, he was really just doing his civic duty by answering the president’s call to advance the national conversation on space solar power, and boy was he just shocked that people thought that these were cards, how dare they, he didn't know the words would come together the way they did. I guess it’s also plausible that writing an article about space based solar power conflicts with with the “don’t write about space solar power” clause in his employment agreement as a consultant for a Fortune 500 company, and that company also had a really strict “lie about who you are when people ask via email" policy too. Or, for all I know, Skarb’s article was written just so he could send out an “apology” that serves as an ironic performance of the lack of standards we have for evidence. Or maybe this really was just a case of poor judgement. Colossally poor judgement. Judgement so idiotic that it demonstrates a basic unfitness to be responsible for or interact with high school students.

 

Intent doesn’t matter in this context. Intent isn’t verifiable. Reducing this solely to a question of intent is a license to cheat. “Oh, I wrote these cards and posted them to ironically demonstrate their evidence wasn’t qualified but they didn’t see the irony so I just extended them and we won the debate on cards I wrote” isn’t too far removed from the Skarburry defense. It’s true that Skarb thanked himself while using the Marburry name, but this is hardly a demonstration of intent when he continued the charade via subsequent emails. For all anyone knows, that line could have been added to create a plausible defense in case someone did track down the source of the post or in case it was leaked from someone else at Damien. The other coaches and students on that squad appear to have ethics.

 

Were any student to do what Skarb did and get caught, they most likely would lose a debate, be kicked off their team, or worse. Skarb, on the other hand, appears to face few, if any consequences. There should be a lesson in this. I just hope that the lesson is “Skarb did something absolutely unjustifiable” instead of “Skarb isn’t to blame.”

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The fact that this has become such an overblown incident just is incredible. A lot of the people that are hating on skarb seem to be infatuated with some "drama" in the activity yet are making a big deal when it's really not. There's A LOT more harmful practices debate fosters than the creation of cards from blogs.

 

This is the reason why this incident has been blown up to such an extent - because some people still think' date=' and still post, that this is "no big deal." That attitude is wrong, and we don't want younger debaters to get the idea that it doesn't matter.

 

There aren't a lot of rules in debate - there aren't even a lot of conventions, norms or standards. Debate is designed like that - to allow almost maximal intellectual freedom and experimentation. You can question content, style, criteria, means of presentation, and even the "theory" behind debate, and are encouraged to, by the nature of the activity. That is a good thing. There aren't virtually Any rules. Except these - You can't clip cards, you can't cut out of context, and YOU CAN'T FABRICATE EVIDENCE. This is one of the ONLY things that crosses the line. We are an activity and profession of researchers, and a Very Important strand that holds that activity together is being able to trust that someone else isn't Purposefully undermining the integrity of evidence. Much of our evidence may not have a lot of integrity to begin with, but for someone to [i']Intentionally[/i] subvert the Process - that is one of the Only things that Cannot be "overblown". It is not something that should be "Debated Out" in the round, where "Offense and Defense" might matter - and it is not something that should have to be the responsibility of debaters, good or bad, to point out in a debate. This is an educational forum, about an educational activity, and many of the posters here are educators. In Education, mistakes are Used to teach Lessons. The Lesson here is that fabrication is a big deal, and that if you are caught, you will be made into an example. That isn't Drama, or Infatuation, or Hating - that is Teaching.

 

So the reason why this issue has gotten so much attention, is because there are some people who keep saying it should not. Every time some one says "its not a big deal" or "he didn't do anything wrong" or "y u h8n", I worry that some new debater might read it an think its okay to Fabricate evidence. The fact that someone, somewhere, cheated is not surprising or even alarming to me, as long as they get caught, and an example is made of them. The fact that someone would say its just drama, or overblown, or an infatuation, IS surprising and alarming to me, and it is the reason we (meaning the majority of posters on four different websites, and, if I can count, a Unanimous reaction from coaches) the reason We keep attention on it.

Edited by TimAlderete
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Skarb writes:

"Third, I have been accused of using a pseudonym to hide my bias in order for Damien to be able to read the evidence in debates against the SBSP AFF. It is important to note that no team from Damien ever read evidence from this essay in any debate. Regardless, there was a non-debate reason for the use of a pseudonym. When I wrote the essay and submitted it to The Space Review for consideration and posted it on the Space Frontier Foundation’s SBSP blog I was concerned that the publication and/or posting of the essay under my name could be viewed by some as being in conflict with the non-compete clause of my current employment agreement. As such I chose to submit the essay using a pseudonym."

 

 

So this is tangential to the actual issue at hand (on the actual issue, I agree with Tim Alderete and David Heidt and the numerous other educators who have argued that at best, publishing a useful-for-debate article under a psuedonym is extremely poor judgment, and at worst, constitutes cheating.), but I was confused about non-compete clauses and I thought someone might be able to clarify this. After a quick wikipedia look at the term, I found a couple things out. I concede wikipedia isn't the paragon of research sources, so if someone knows something that contradicts this, please let me know.

 

1) Non-compete clauses enjoin employees from pursuing a similar trade or profession to the one currently engaged in, as motivated by fear of proprietary information being used for a competing firm or company.

2) Non-compete clauses are null and void in California, except in cases of a dissolution of a company (http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cacodes/bpc/16600-16607.html)

 

Seeing as non-compete clauses are unenforceable in California, I doubt Damien High School made the non-compete provision. It must have been the Fortune 500 company (which is engaged in making Space-Based solar power?). In which case, wouldn't working for Damien violate the non-compete clause?

 

Of course, even if another company enjoined you by a non-compete clause, it seems that it would not be upheld in a California court of law. I don't know how these contracts function in the circumstance of producing non-copyrighted intellectual property on the Internet. Is non-compensatory work publishing on a blog engaging in a similar trade or profession?

 

Accoridng to the submission quidelines of the Space Review: (http://www.thespacereview.com/submissions.html)

"Please note that currently we cannot pay authors for any articles we publish. However, all authors retain copyright on their articles and are free to publish them elsewhere either before or after submitting them to The Space Review."

 

So bracketing the enforceability question, wouldn't contributing research that was proprietary to someone else's blog post still be a violation of the non-compete clause? It seems the inclusion of Skarb's name as a research assistant makes him just as liable for violation of the non-compete clause as if he authored the article. And do non-compete clauses not apply to pseudonyms? Can I violate my work contract as long as I do it anonymously? If California state law doesn't save Skarb, this post on cross-x might land him in hot water with his Fortune 500 company...

 

At the least, I hope others in California see a legal expert about non-compete clauses because it seems like you should be able to post to blogs under your own name without fear.

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In the interest of academic honesty, I ripped the idea for this post off from Saturday Night Live.

First, I have been accused of fabricating the qualifications listed in the essay. Nothing could be further from the truth. Apart from the use of a pseudonym, all of the attribution information provided in both the blog comment and essay published by The Space Review is accurate.

Really? Does John Marburry exist? You admitted that you made him up. (By the way, you didn’t make him up, Aaron Sorkin did. Did it occur to you that perhaps other people in debate might watch the West Wing?) Because when you say “Apart from the use of a pseudonym”, it sounds like Charles Manson saying “Apart from all the murder, my cult was just a bunch of kids hanging out in the desert.”

I believe that it is worth mentioning that I read every technical and non-technical report on space-based solar power (SBSP) I could find before ever picking up a pen.

Really? Did you conduct any original research on the issue? Because what you just described is called “secondary research”, and is nothing more than doing an 8th grade book report.

Regardless, I hold a B.A. in history and a B.S. in political science from Arizona State University. I also hold an M.A. in communication from California State University at Fullerton.

Really? And that qualifies you to write about space-based solar power because?

While you were at ASU, did you ever bother to read the “Students Obligations to Academic Integrity”? Paragraph A prohibits any act of “academic deceit.” Paragraph D prohibits acting “as a substitute for another person in any Academic Evaluation or assignment” . http://provost.asu.edu/academicintegrity/policy/StudentObligations When you posted an article under a pseudonym you engaged in academic deceit, and hid your “work’” and passed it off for another.

I have conducted legislative and policy analyses on local, state, and national issues on an independent basis for a political action committee. I am currently employed as a business consultant for a Fortune 500 company. In short, my qualifications were not fabricated.

You understand, substituting your qualifications for the qualifications of a made-up person is called writing fiction right? Oh, by the way, the John Marburry of the West Wing has better made-up qualifications then the ones you gave him. Next time you write evidence under his name, just use the ones Aaron Sorkin wrote up.

Second, I have been accused of “publishing” the essay just prior to the TOC. As an initial matter, I did not publish the essay. The essay was submitted to respected and prominent journal on space issues, The Space Review. The essay underwent The Space Reviews normal editing and review process conducted by Dr. Jeff Foust, an aerospace analyst with a bachelor’s degree in geophysics from the California Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in planetary science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Space Review and its editorial staff chose to publish the essay. From my perspective, this editorial and review process is far more stringent than the editing and review that a fair amount of evidence read in debates ever undergoes.

Really? What is The Space Review’s normal editing process? Right now it looks to me like it comprises the following steps: (1) Ctrl-A; (2) Ctrl-C; (3) Ctrl-V. Did Dr. Foust know that were publishing under a pseudonym? I am going to guess the answer is “no”, since he did not say that it was published under a pseudonym. Since The Space Review did not look to see if John Marburry really existed then I doubt that “The Space Review” is really a respected and prominent journal.

By the way, what does Dr. Jeff Foust think of you now?

I believe if the review and editorial process for these articles was sufficient and stringent enough for teams reading the SBSP affirmative, it is also sufficient and stringent enough for my essay.

Really? Because I think you just wrote indicts to any cards coming from The Space Review.

Regardless, there was a non-debate reason for the use of a pseudonym. When I wrote the essay and submitted it to The Space Review for consideration and posted it on the Space Frontier Foundation’s SBSP blog I was concerned that the publication and/or posting of the essay under my name could be viewed by some as being in conflict with the non-compete clause of my current employment agreement. As such I chose to submit the essay using a pseudonym.

Really? This is my favorite part. Your defense of doing one slimy thing (fabricating evidence), is that you were doing another slimy thing (violating your contractual obligations under your employment agreement, and trying to cover your tracks by not assigning your name to it).

Oh by the way, I am not sure what Fortune 500 company you work for, but I bet that the Damien administration is equally pissed at you for doing what you did. And not for nothing, but I bet that your current employer probably could not care less if you posted your opinions on solar powered satellites.

What is ironic about this entire situation is that in attempting to ensure that nothing that could be considered unethical by some occurred, I have been accused of being unethical.

Really? You think its ironic? Here are things that are more ironic: (1) rain on your wedding day; (2) 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife; (3) the good advice that you just didn’t take.

And NONE of those things are remotely ironic.

Upon learning that the essay was going to be published prior to the TOC, I asked the editors of The Space Review to include my name in the article.

Really? But I thought you were so concerned about violating your employment contract? Why not just ask The Space Review to pull the article? That way your Fortune 500 employer would never know of your cunning ruse to deceive it.

The reason that this entire situation is ironic is because if I had not tried to make my involvement known, I doubt that it would have ever become known that I was the author of the essay and I would have never been accused of cheating or being unethical.

Really? There you are using “ironic” again.

You know what else would have ensured that you were never accused of cheating or being unethical? Not writing cards prior to the TOC, and then trying to pass them off as written by someone else. When you replied to e-mails in character, you lost all credibility on this issue.

My feeling was that there was little to no chance that the essay would ever be published. Likewise, there certainly seemed to be next to no chance that the essay would be published prior to the completion of the high school debate season. As such, it seemed as though there was little chance that there would ever need to be an explanation about the essay or its authorship.

YOU FIRST POSTED THIS ON A COMMENT TO A BLOG!!!!!!!! There was obviously no filter on the comment section. Also, you chose to publish your book report at a source which you knew was used by debaters on this topic. Why not wait to submit the article, under your name, until after NFL nationals? This is strong circumstantial evidence that you wanted the article posted when debaters could use it.

Frankly, if it was my intention to deceive, I would have kept silent about the subject, never reposted the comment on the Space Frontier Foundation blog on SBSP with my name on it, and certainly never asked the editors at The Space Review to include my name in the article.

Are you just making it up as you go along? You admitted that you posted under a pseudonym, but you never alerted anyone that it was a pseudonym. You then responded to e-mails under the pseudonym. That’s overwhelming circumstantial evidence that you in fact intended to deceive. You took action to deceive, and succeeded (temporarily) in deceiving. Really.

 

Whether evidence that could be read in a debate could be found in the essay is not relevant to the question of whether it was written to be used as a source for such evidence. I do not think it is shocking my time in debate would influence my writing style. More to the point, it seems as if the logical conclusion of this line of thinking is that any article that includes strongly worded arguments must have been written for the purposes of being read in debate and, as such, should be disqualified. I will not bother getting into the dangers of this argument. Far from contaminating the literature base, the essay contributed to not only the literature base but also the ongoing public policy discussion surrounding space-based solar power. This is evidenced in no small part by the comments the article has received, both publicly and privately, from a senior engineer at an aerospace defense contractor, the CEO of a solar powered satellite company, and the former Director of NASA’s Energy Program who happened to lead one of the organization’s investigations of space-based solar power.

Do you care to be more specific what these comments were, by whom they were made, and when they were made? Because absent some sort of corroboration, you will pardon those of us who don’t believe you, because, you know, you lied.

Frankly, the rest of your post is a bunch of red herrings. What you should have said is “this is what I did, it was wrong, and I am super sorry I did it.” Trying to embarrass teams for reading cards from blogs is not the same as apologizing or showing contrition for what you did. Really.

Peter Nikolai

St. Paul Central Debate

West Wing Fan

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i think it's funny that he referred to himself as skarburry

 

before you know it he will have his own $15 debate shoe line and a tattoo of his logo on the side of his head. he will sign with a really good team and then they will fail to advance past the conference semis.

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What you should have said is “this is what I did, it was wrong, and I am super sorry I did it.” Trying to embarrass teams for reading cards from blogs is not the same as apologizing or showing contrition for what you did. Really.

 

QFA.

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I just want to say that "Really with Seth & Amy" is one of my favorite SNL skits possibly of all time. Thank you Peter Nikolai for making my day :)

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lol, skarb probably would have been better off not posting a reply at all,

 

and what happened to cwpatternson's huge rant post??? that was comedy gold! did a mod remove it?

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So many others have written so much more articulately than I could on this subject...Tim, DHeidt, and Nikolai all stress very important points. Extra points to Pete for continuous use of the best term..."really"? That is such an artful term to use when faced with the preposterous.

 

I am not going to hang Skarb out to dry. I would agree that this explanation is a defense, not necessarily a true apology. Others on this forum have done a more than an adequate job explaing some of the logical fallacies with this defense.

 

David is 100% correct that we don't know intent. It is truly possible that Justin did want to publish and was very worried about his obligations to his company. I won't attempt to define intent for Justin. I do know that Justin loves this activity immensely and he also loves to win...that is about all I know in regards to intent.

 

What I feel that I have to stress is that every possible defense of this action is nullified for me (regardless of intent) when Justin responded as John Marburry to coaches and students in the days prior to the TOC when he was emailed about his qualifications and his use of primary sources. At the very least, I would think that the first email would have been an indicator that the "gig was up." An immediate retraction and apology should have been issued to the community. No intent to deceive...yet *multiple* emails went out to coaches and students as John Marburry. To intellectually plagiarize from Pete...really???

 

Another small point - if this had occured in a doctoral dissertation writing (even with the same "defense" of not knowing it was going to be published before the defense date OR some contractual confines with an employer), the individual would be expelled from the program. The idea that it is ever okay to write an academic or scholarly piece under a pseudonym is beyond my comprehension.

 

This is a great discussion....there is also a great discussion on the new NDCA blogs at http://www.debatecoaches.org if folks are interested.

 

I do think that the next step is that the community look to devising some type of standards for ethical use of evidence. I know that some coaches are informally discussing this now. Hopefully, more on that later...

 

Tara Tate

GBS

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I'm with Pete, Tim, and Tara.

 

Justin, I agree with your quite thorough and entertaining skewering of the state of evidence quality on the national circuit. But in the context of the discussion about the Marburry article, your retort is a transparent attempt at diverting focus from what you did. Even if your actions were taken within the context of an activity that suffers from low standards for what constitutes evidence, there is a fundamental difference between conducting poor quality research and producing scholarship under a pseudonym for use as evidence.

 

You are right that no one can know your intentions, but I still do not understand why you replied to emails sent to the fictitious Marburry email account as if such a person existed even after the "research thanks" note was added to your article. What possible reason did you have for deceiving those members of the debate community who emailed "John Marburry" with questions?

 

The only mention of this behavior in your message is the following:

 

All of this being said, I made several errors in this situation. First, I was wrong to post the essay as a comment on a blog and to submit the essay for publication if I was not also able to attribute the article to myself and to identify myself as a high school debate coach. This is especially the case in this situation where the article was submitted prior to the end of the debate season. Second, I was wrong to not make more of an effort to alert the debate community to my level of involvement in the writing of the essay. Finally, I was wrong to respond to emails requesting information from individuals that identified themselves as members of the debate community without identifying myself as the author of the essay. For exhibiting this level of poor judgment, I have no excuse and can only say that I am terribly sorry.

 

I appreciate the apology, but what explanation can you offer for this choice to continue the charade when replying to email messages?

 

The bottom line, for me, is that you quite clearly did something wrong. I think you've now acknowledged that, at least in part. But your continued attempts to divert attention away from what you did and to rationalize your "poor judgment" makes me skeptical of how apologetic you truly are.

 

It is important that you clearly communicate to the many students who have followed this saga that what you did was wrong and that if given the chance, you would never have done it. If your reply had included only the last two paragraphs, I think I would have been satisfied that you had done this. But the preceding 45 (give or take) paragraphs make me think otherwise. "I apologize" or even "I apologize, but let me explain what was going through my mind" would have been wonderful; "first let me explain why what I did was not wrong and then let me explain why everyone else's behavior is equally bad and then I'll apologize", not so much.

 

I'm not interested in conducting a witch hunt, but I'm very troubled to read the comments on cross-x (and elsewhere) from students who don't think this is a big deal. Yes, other things are undoubtedly more important. But this is a big deal, at least to me.

 

~Bill

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One more quick question - I am told that the Fortune 500 company in question is 7-11. I am not an expert in corporate legal issues but how does writing a blog article on Solar-Powered Satellites directly compete with 7-11 interests...This is where I get my terrible coffee in the morning, my Ben and Jerry's fix late at night, etc. The powers that be at 7-11 would be concerned about a blog article on SPS....really?

 

Sorry to my GBS kids who thought my above post was "weak" and were disappointed that the typical Tate hard-core intensity was not revealed. I will save my typical sarcastic, rude comments for the next wave of our evidence assignments instead of a public forum. :)

 

Tara Tate

GBS Debate

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It is somewhat telling that the diatribe against AFF evidence precedes and is much longer than the apology for poor judgment. Like many others, I would be willing to accept the apology if I thought it was genuine and errors in judgment had been corrected. Although I desperately want to believe both are true, I'm convinced of neither. Despite the length of the reply, it opens more questions than answers.

 

This has been been said before but I want to reiterate it to demonstrate consensus to defenders of these practices; there is no compelling defense of replying to e-mails from debate sources as Marburry. The fear that debaters would 'out' him to his employer is unjustified, especially given his later publication of his name. It is disturbing that the author's true identity was concealed while the article retained value as evidence and revealed after it lost its value.

 

Judging the Damien kids has been one of the rare pleasures of my short judging career. I have always respected Justin's love for debate and passion for his kids' success. In this circumstance, his passion unjustifiably exceeded the bounds of fair play. My criticism of Justin's behavior is tempered by my previous interactions with him. Justin, I think you're an otherwise good guy who loves debate and made a very bad decision. I wish I could say that all my good interactions with you outweighed this enormous violation of my trust. However, I am entirely uncomfortable judging any team whose evidence has had any connection to you. The 'tempered' part is; I don't want to see you lose your job in this economy. If you continue to coach at Damien and maintain any creative influence in evidence production I don't think I can fairly evaluate your debaters. After all the great debating I've watched Damien kids do, that's the most heart-breaking part of all. I hope I get to judge them in the future but I can't unless the Damien squad verifies that changes are made.

 

I apologize to the Damien kids for having to type that last paragraph. It hurt to type. Unfortunately, it is an honest disclosure of my beliefs. I don't want to kick a man while he is down but I owe you and the community an honest, public disclosure of my opinion. I respect you all and hope you all (Damien HS) will take appropriate action to remedy the violations of trust you (Damien kids) did nothing to create.

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i'm with skarb. using a pseudonym is not the same as fabricating evidence, and those who suggest it is are the ones who devalue the concept.

 

skarb didn't concoct an unpublished study on the viability of space-based solar power; he made no new claims that hadn't been argued before by authors ten times more qualified to comment on such matters. basically he took a 2n.r. against the affirmative - the typical 'weighing of impacts' that goes on at the end of a debate round - and typed it up in a public discussion blog, under a fake name, but with his same qualifications. so if the goal was strategically designed to win debates, this move served the opposite end: it risked stress-testing his own gumption in the public sphere. plenty of people more knowledgeable than skarb participating in that online discussion could have told him where to stick it and why. that means in addition to potentially writing a card for himself (which said nothing more than what a last rebuttal would), he also potentially wrote cards for his opponents. he didn't invent any facts; he merely published some reasonable opinions on facts that we already have -- where's the crime?

 

my guess is we come here to the slippery slope argument. if 'john marburry', then debaters will fill in the plot-holes in their link-scenarios with 'evidence' they've written themselves. good, i say. the evidential conventions as they are place a stranglehold on coherence, brevity, and imagination. a debater shouldn't have to rely on the words of others where their own words will do. there is no substitute for individual academic rigor - no rule, no standard, no evidence requirement, no qualification requirement will guarantee that. and we shouldn't shrug this off as occasional laziness or carelessness (as heidt does), because that's the more prominent vice. it's not worse than cheating, but it's certainly more pervasive.

 

where i disagree with skarb is this: if debaters or debate coaches have to write anonymously before their claims are taken seriously, i say, so be it. the 'standards for evidence' emperor already has no clothes. can i in any credible fashion tell you how many nuclear warheads are in the u.s. arsenal without citing an official source? no. but can i express a well-reasoned judgment about whether the u.s. should reduce its nuclear arsenal? yes. what debate itself is guilty of is applying the same evidential standards to both sets of claims and then dismissing the latter as 'analytics'. until that changes, until debaters and their coaches are respected as (and expected to be!) competent contributors to public discussion, then i say let the nom de plume parade continue.

_

 

 

(oh i also disagree with skarb's simplistic analysis of budgetary trade-off, especially given the urgent need for increased federal spending in an economy where households and corporations are saving, but that will have to wait for another time. =)

Edited by Lazzarone
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skarb didn't concoct an unpublished study on the viability of space-based solar power; he made no new claims that hadn't been argued before by authors ten times more qualified to comment on such matters.

 

I'm not going to address the rest of your post today, Kevin, but this is so obviously false that I'm surprised you were willing to attach your name to it. Please, by all means, share these citations with the rest of us... I'd love to beef up our SPS neg strategy before this weekend's CFL tournament. Can you point me to the "ten times more qualified" authors who've endorsed the "condition SPS on $1/kilowatt hour" proposal? How about the "investing in SPS means the military cuts weapon programs" argument?

 

Waiting anxiously,

~Bill

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2) Non-compete clauses are null and void in California, except in cases of a dissolution of a company

 

The allusion to a noncompetition agreement makes very little sense, for the above and other reasons.

 

1) Skarb says he is a consultant for a Fortune 500 company (by the way, 7-Eleven is not a Fortune 500 company; see http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/2009/). It is quite rare for a consultant to be asked to sign a noncompetition agreement since it would not be enforceable. This is not a quirk of California law; it is true almost everywhere in the U.S. The only circumstance in which you commonly see a non-compete for a consultant is a retiring executive who has been in a high-level position as an employee for many years.

 

2) As noted above, California law also would not enforce a noncompetition agreement signed by an employee except in rare circumstances not present here. California law governs if the services are rendered in California, as Skarb's presumably are.

 

3) Noncompetition agreements, if enforceable, prohibit working for a company that is in direct competition with your prior employer. What Fortune 500 company considers The Space Review a competitor?

 

4) Noncompetition agreements generally are enforceable only to prohibit work that is substantially similar to the work you did for your prior employer. Writing an article, gratis, does not sound similar to "business consulting work" for a "Fortune 500" company.

 

-- Matt

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