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I am attending GDI scholars in a couple days where they are trying to transition to a somewhat paperless debate system modeled after Whitman College. After reading Whitman's manual on paperless debating it has occured to me that with paperless debating may come a shift from talent to work ethic in regards to success. A paperless system always for extremely easy access to files and cites and easy storing and organization, and especially putting together speeches from different files. It comes to my attention that this would mean that success in debate might shift, more or less, towards those who put in extensive hours of work and study, understanding the ins and outs and macros and hotkeys of paperless and has easy access to a large database of blocks that they can copy over to their speech with ease. I think that although the extent is unclear, that a paperless system would be more of a contest of who has the most blocks, is most prepared, and is the fastest speaker rather than the best debater in terms of arguing on their feet and having quick and precise analysis on various subjects.

 

So my question is this: Whether or not you believe that paperless would be more of a contest of work rather than talent, what should debate be like?

Should hard, deligent work pay off, and should the team that came into the round most prepared for the debate and that specific round be the victor in the end? Or should debate be a contest of sheer academic talent, hinging opponents on their quick wits and thoughtful and insightful analysis?

 

Obviously there is always going to be a balance between the two, but i ask that you take a stand one way or the other, acknowledging there has to be an inherent balance. Should the activity boast those with the best academic talent and prowess, or should it support those that work at it and prep til they can't prep no more, spotlighting their hardwork and dedication?

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I don't think there's much of a change in balance. The "large database of blocks that they can copy over to their speech with ease" would just be printed in a non-paperless world.

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What is there to debate about if we have to acknowledge an inherent combination of the two (aka what is happening right now)

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In policy debate it's virtually impossible to have "natural talent", it's like learning another language. No matter if you have paper or computerized files, you can put the same effort into both. Also, the only way anyone can achieve talent is by really working hard and preparing. The people who've been breaking their back over prepping for a tournament will always be the ones who deserve to win over a team that just waltzes in. And the majority of the time, they do. People who waltz in and win are probably the people who have worked their butt off to be able to be in the place that they can walk into a round unprepared and win.

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In policy debate it's virtually impossible to have "natural talent", it's like learning another language. No matter if you have paper or computerized files, you can put the same effort into both. Also, the only way anyone can achieve talent is by really working hard and preparing. The people who've been breaking their back over prepping for a tournament will always be the ones who deserve to win over a team that just waltzes in. And the majority of the time, they do. People who waltz in and win are probably the people who have worked their butt off to be able to be in the place that they can walk into a round unprepared and win.
I disagree. There are a whole host of traits, talents and tendencies which aid in learning debate and which some debaters possess before they even know what inherency means. People who are comfortable public speakers learn easier, as do those who read well. People who can draw connections between abstract ideas in common language have a huge advantage over people who can't think outside the box. Good memory, a strong desire to learn about politics, and the thirst for victory all can precede the first moment a kid enters a debate setting, and all can be classified as "talents" which help a debater develop.

 

I think the idea of paperless debate simply adds another element: a person gifted with computer organization will have an advantage. Given that many such people have plenty of interest in learning the issues at hand, but that the same group often also has deficiencies in some areas prized by debaters (speaking skills in particular), this trend means access to debate for people who would otherwise be scared off from an activity in which they previously had little hope for success.

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I disagree. There are a whole host of traits, talents and tendencies which aid in learning debate and which some debaters possess before they even know what inherency means. People who are comfortable public speakers learn easier, as do those who read well. People who can draw connections between abstract ideas in common language have a huge advantage over people who can't think outside the box. Good memory, a strong desire to learn about politics, and the thirst for victory all can precede the first moment a kid enters a debate setting, and all can be classified as "talents" which help a debater develop.

 

I think the idea of paperless debate simply adds another element: a person gifted with computer organization will have an advantage. Given that many such people have plenty of interest in learning the issues at hand, but that the same group often also has deficiencies in some areas prized by debaters (speaking skills in particular), this trend means access to debate for people who would otherwise be scared off from an activity in which they previously had little hope for success.

 

I agree with most of what you're saying, but even with said "talents" such as public speaking, people still need to work hard. Just because someone is gifted with the ability to make connections or being organized on the computer does not necessarily pave them a pathway to becoming an excellent debater. Debate can be an open activity that draws people in, but it can also be an activity where perseverance and hard work gives you rewards.

 

Initially, things like thirst for victory or public speaking will help you through your first couple of tournaments, but it won't always stick with you. I'm not really opting for paper vs. paperless here, I think whatever helps you best should prevail because, as Brolorb said, computer whizzes will be better and handling paperless, but I don't think it necessarily gives them an advantage if the two teams competing have equal abilities, in the end its about who puts the most effort into it.

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I vote for Jim Schultz. He wins. Why does he win? He beats people senseless on Norm and Cap without spreading. Also, I don't think he cut more than 20 cards for the NDT. Probably about 20 less than that.

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First, If its a shift towards an emphasis on talent....its a shift toward technology talent. Acumen with a keyboard requires memorization and perhaps creating your own personal workflow....I'm not sure its brain science....

 

--I guess I do see the point. Perhaps, research won't be as big a deal because the cites will be more open sourced. Unfortunately, this doesnt' effect politics that changes week to week (unless you're a team that always impact turns in the 2ac).

 

Second, In response...with the move toward laptops in debate....it places a very high premium on microprocessors that are efficient and reliable. A 20 sec or 2 minute pause can make a HUGE, HUGE difference.Third, has anyone looked into how cloud computing can be used?Although using cloud computing when internet access is shoddy or unavailable could create problems.

Speaking of short cuts. The real Scotty P has this list of card cutting (and I guess flowing) shortcuts

 

Kelly Young mentioned on the NDT CEDA list serve that Windows has some new feature. I'm not a windows user, so I don't know the use value.

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First, If its a shift towards an emphasis on talent....its a shift toward technology talent. Acumen with a keyboard requires memorization and perhaps creating your own personal workflow....I'm not sure its brain science....

 

--I guess I do see the point. Perhaps, research won't be as big a deal because the cites will be more open sourced. Unfortunately, this doesnt' effect politics that changes week to week (unless you're a team that always impact turns in the 2ac).

 

Second, In response...with the move toward laptops in debate....it places a very high premium on microprocessors that are efficient and reliable. A 20 sec or 2 minute pause can make a HUGE, HUGE difference.Third, has anyone looked into how cloud computing can be used?Although using cloud computing when internet access is shoddy or unavailable could create problems.

Speaking of short cuts. The real Scotty P has this list of card cutting (and I guess flowing) shortcuts

 

Kelly Young mentioned on the NDT CEDA list serve that Windows has some new feature. I'm not a windows user, so I don't know the use value.

 

I'm thinking the opposite, that paperless would matter more one the work than the talent. Whether or not that trade off is significant or if it happens at all however is beside the point. I'm just asking whether debate should be a competition of sheer talent, or sheer work and preparation.

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I vote for Jim Schultz. He wins. Why does he win? He beats people senseless on Norm and Cap without spreading. Also, I don't think he cut more than 20 cards for the NDT. Probably about 20 less than that.

 

I witnessed Jim Schultz give a 2AR at the vegas rr against KSU. That shit was fresh.

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. It comes to my attention that this would mean that success in debate might shift, more or less, towards those who put in extensive hours of work and study, understanding the ins and outs and macros and hotkeys of paperless and has easy access to a large database of blocks that they can copy over to their speech with ease. I think that although the extent is unclear, that a paperless system would be more of a contest of who has the most blocks, is most prepared, and is the fastest speaker rather than the best debater in terms of arguing on their feet and having quick and precise analysis on various subjects.

 

This makes zero sense. There is no correlation between whether or not you do your work on paper or computer and debates devolving from competitions of "talent" to a contest of "who has the most blocks, is most prepared, and is the fastest speaker." It seems intuitive that the people that do more work preparing for debate would be more successful, regardless of the medium...

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It seems to me that if everything is paperless, evidence quality and quantity would even out b/c paperless makes getting any and all cites easier. So if someone does a lot of work for a tournament, by the end of that tournament everyone who he/she debated will have those cites. I would think that talent would then become more important if work is equaled out. Also, talent with a computer would only be needed to an extent. I imagine that the guide for going paperless covers basically everything you need to know.

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It seems to me that if everything is paperless, evidence quality and quantity would even out b/c paperless makes getting any and all cites easier. So if someone does a lot of work for a tournament, by the end of that tournament everyone who he/she debated will have those cites. I would think that talent would then become more important if work is equaled out. Also, talent with a computer would only be needed to an extent. I imagine that the guide for going paperless covers basically everything you need to know.

 

The same laziness of debaters/coaches will exist. Cites != work.

 

Paperless debate, while good for the environment, will not exist until a drastic revolution in the debate community or the U.S. community. This would mean imposing impossible restrictions for shit loads of schools across the country to appease or people across the country in general. For instance, if my old high school were to hear about any sort of rule for paperless debate, whether this happens now or in years to come, the debate program would be immediately discarded and never talked about again. I say this while assuming state funding for laptops. The problem you will run into across the board in various small schools/communities is that academia is almost always the least funded field because it produces the least immediate yield. Football teams win championships and sell tickets. Football pads cost a lot of money yet my school has no problem buying a ton, but even with state grants, I doubt my school would be willing to get a kid a laptop that barely wants to debate and also have to pay the maintenance fees/etc. Instead, kids can learn about the things covered in debate with cheap access to school-funded gasoline and paper at the bare minimum. When you have a vision for utopia, that vision alone by definition must assume absolutely no dystopia. My school, like countless others, more closely approaches the paper-loaded dystopia than even the upper 25% funded schools approach a paperless utopia.

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Paperless debate isn't a requirement.....its an option.

 

Alternatively, on the flip side...if coaches force students to go paperless...i think this would be wrong. It would be analogous to saying you must always run the politics or you must run the K. I think it would also be bad for competitive reasons--because some students aren't as good with technology.

 

When computers crash. And they do. It sucks to be paperless.

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When computers crash. And they do. It sucks to be paperless.

 

if you are truly paperless, with three computers, i doubt they would all crash. the great thing is that you'll always hve a backup when you go paperless, but you can easily lose papers and ffiles when going pro-paper. just one of the pros and cons

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The same laziness of debaters/coaches will exist. Cites != work.

 

Paperless debate, while good for the environment, will not exist until a drastic revolution in the debate community or the U.S. community. This would mean imposing impossible restrictions for shit loads of schools across the country to appease or people across the country in general. For instance, if my old high school were to hear about any sort of rule for paperless debate, whether this happens now or in years to come, the debate program would be immediately discarded and never talked about again. I say this while assuming state funding for laptops. The problem you will run into across the board in various small schools/communities is that academia is almost always the least funded field because it produces the least immediate yield. Football teams win championships and sell tickets. Football pads cost a lot of money yet my school has no problem buying a ton, but even with state grants, I doubt my school would be willing to get a kid a laptop that barely wants to debate and also have to pay the maintenance fees/etc. Instead, kids can learn about the things covered in debate with cheap access to school-funded gasoline and paper at the bare minimum. When you have a vision for utopia, that vision alone by definition must assume absolutely no dystopia. My school, like countless others, more closely approaches the paper-loaded dystopia than even the upper 25% funded schools approach a paperless utopia.

 

If anything, paper is slowly becoming the MORE expensive option of the two (especially for traveling teams). Laptops cost ~$300 and if we assume a stand and a mouse, thats ~$400/person. A ream of 500 sheets of paper is ~$7 (and that's not great paper). Toners are ~$85. G2s are 12 for $15. Highlighters are 10 for $13. Printers are like $130 for a cheap one. Timers are like $1-2.

 

We'll assume that the cost of a printer is $30 per team directly or indirectly (so they either pitched in for it or that's what the school paid for it per team; and keep in mind this is assuming the school went the cheap route for a printer. It's probably closer to $100/team). Toners would then cost about $14 per team.

 

We'll assume each debater spends $100 on pens and $65 on highlighters (~100 pens and 50 highlighters is probably reasonable considering that a lot of them will get lost). Each debater will spent $5 on timers (they break easy, so you had to buy a replacement). The toner is replaced 20 times over the course of the year. Right now, we're at $310 dollars (toners are 7/person). It's $80 per person to check 1 bag and 1 tub round trip. You'll save $125 between a van and a sedan (so about $20/team and $10/person). One flying trip with every team having 2 tubs costs each debater $410 based on equipment (defined as things effected by the amount of paper you have). $420 if we count tubs. It's probably closer to $405 because debaters would still check 1 bag.

 

3 cheap laptops for a team costs $600/person for the length of hte laptop's life (well say 2 years) minus repairs. If each laptop needs $50 of repairs a year, that's $75/person. My math tells me if you need to replace the laptops every 2 years for a team on a squad with 6 teams that takes one out of state trip a season, you save $90/team based on these estimates by going paperless. If debaters throw in their share ($170) and the school pays the rest of it, everyone would save money. Granted these are estimate figures, but it shows you that in reality, paperless isn't nearly as expesnive as you'd think.

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If anything, paper is slowly becoming the MORE expensive option of the two (especially for traveling teams). Laptops cost ~$300 and if we assume a stand and a mouse, thats ~$400/person. A ream of 500 sheets of paper is ~$7 (and that's not great paper). Toners are ~$85. G2s are 12 for $15. Highlighters are 10 for $13. Printers are like $130 for a cheap one. Timers are like $1-2.

 

We'll assume that the cost of a printer is $30 per team directly or indirectly (so they either pitched in for it or that's what the school paid for it per team; and keep in mind this is assuming the school went the cheap route for a printer. It's probably closer to $100/team). Toners would then cost about $14 per team.

 

We'll assume each debater spends $100 on pens and $65 on highlighters (~100 pens and 50 highlighters is probably reasonable considering that a lot of them will get lost). Each debater will spent $5 on timers (they break easy, so you had to buy a replacement). The toner is replaced 20 times over the course of the year. Right now, we're at $310 dollars (toners are 7/person). It's $80 per person to check 1 bag and 1 tub round trip. You'll save $125 between a van and a sedan (so about $20/team and $10/person). One flying trip with every team having 2 tubs costs each debater $410 based on equipment (defined as things effected by the amount of paper you have). $420 if we count tubs. It's probably closer to $405 because debaters would still check 1 bag.

 

3 cheap laptops for a team costs $600/person for the length of hte laptop's life (well say 2 years) minus repairs. If each laptop needs $50 of repairs a year, that's $75/person. My math tells me if you need to replace the laptops every 2 years for a team on a squad with 6 teams that takes one out of state trip a season, you save $90/team based on these estimates by going paperless. If debaters throw in their share ($170) and the school pays the rest of it, everyone would save money. Granted these are estimate figures, but it shows you that in reality, paperless isn't nearly as expesnive as you'd think.

This would be a good reason for schools to go paperless if their budgets were compartmentalized in different ways than they often are.

 

At my high school, and I assume at many poorer schools, the debate team has no special printing resources, but rather uses the same printers that teachers use to print materials for class. It is easier for a team to use resources that the rest of the school uses than to receive a budget for its own.

 

Similarly with school supplies, debaters often purchase their own or use supplies the school provides that are not set aside for the debate program, but rather for general use by the teaching staff.

 

It would probably save money under some circumstances to go paperless, but the way budgets are set up I imagine it would be difficult to convince many school administrators of this.

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I believe westwood, my highschool, was a mid-range school and can serve as a good example of how easy this switch would be. We had an annual budget of a few thousand dollars, which ran out in the first semester 100% of the time. Because of that we started a very successful and immensely helpful parent-run booster club which was basically an organization to channel each students required dues into a large community pot. Those dues were only for students who debated at more than 1 tournament, and went from $50 for freshman to $350 for seniors/juniors - a sum relatively easy to acquire for mostly everyone on our team. Beyond that, we all payed out of pocket for travel expenses...and we traveled a lot.

 

I know that I spent at least $300 out of my own pocket for shipping tubs over the course of the year, in addition to the way fees can quickly add up when buses are required for tournament travel (something functionally omitted without tubs because it's easy for the senior class or parent volunteers to just jam SUVs with kids).

 

I can confidently say our school would be able to quickly and efficiently switch to a paperless system over a single summer (or more likely a single weekend).

 

Remember that those laptops a school purchases don't have to be re-purchased the next year. So even if it's marginally more expensive the first year (remember that it is highly likely to be cheaper for larger squads or those with a higher propensity to travel) a majority of those costs are eliminated the year after.

 

Even with a squad as big as ours (over 100 freshman, 75 or so upperclassman) we can only send out a few teams each weekend. We would never need more than 10 school laptops - and that's for the biggest squad in austin (if not all of texas).

 

What I'm trying to accomplish here is show that the transition to paperless is a lot easier than people make it out to be, at least over the course of more than a single year.

 

Just something to consider.

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Having a paperless debate is a huge burden for non-paperless teams, the hardships of a team that insists on traveling 8 tubs of ev should rest only on that individual team. Paperless seems like a way to unfairly shift that burden by trading tubs for inconvenience for opponents.

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Having a paperless debate is a huge burden for non-paperless teams, the hardships of a team that insists on traveling 8 tubs of ev should rest only on that individual team. Paperless seems like a way to unfairly shift that burden by trading tubs for inconvenience for opponents.

 

Why do you think the paperless team has an advantage there? With a third "viewing laptop" the papered team has full access at all times to a copy of the other sides evidence, which is basically impossible in a regular debate. It seems to me that the side still rocking paper is better off than they would be against another team rocking paper if anything.

 

Then again, to be honest, I am a little lost as to what the thesis of your statement is. Could you please clarify?

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I don't know the system for many schools but this year our school gave every student a dell laptop to just check out. So everyone on my team has a laptop going paperless would be extremely easy for us but the real problem is the our state forbids laptop use at every tournament except for the state tournament starting next year. We are the only school that doesn't travel to at least 1 tournament on the circuit making all this technology useless debate wise other than last minute cutting of cards and printing.

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Why do you think the paperless team has an advantage there? With a third "viewing laptop" the papered team has full access at all times to a copy of the other sides evidence, which is basically impossible in a regular debate. It seems to me that the side still rocking paper is better off than they would be against another team rocking paper if anything.

 

Then again, to be honest, I am a little lost as to what the thesis of your statement is. Could you please clarify?

 

In my experience, things that debaters that use evidence off laptops do to abuse their opponents, either unintentionally (carelessly) or maliciously:

 

1) Doing a poor job properly marking evidence read during a speech. Many people already frown upon and are suspicious of the "I'LL MARK IT LATER!" technique often employed during speeches, marking evidence immediately after you stop reading the card is highly difficult to do on your own laptop while giving the speech, and obviously impossible to do on the third laptop during that speech.

 

2) Jumping large documents to the other team and then being obtuse about what cards were read, where in the document to find the cards that were read, and insisting that the opponent team use their own prep to find the evidence.

 

3) The third laptop - is just plain inconvenient to use while debating. You cannot view more than a few cards on it at once, and it's difficult to the point of impossible for two people to use the laptop to view opponent evidence at the same time. This is a huge prep killer that effectively neutralizes half of the team that relies on the third laptop to view opponent evidence.

 

I agree that a lot of the suggestions (third laptop, the whitman guidelines, etc) are nice and definitely help make paperless easier for everyone involved, but they're still just suggestions which teams can and will bend when they see easy opportunities to undermine their opponents prep time or speeches. Obviously debaters are still going to rely on laptops to read last minute updates or unprinted backfiles, but that doesn't mean it's unreasonable to expect a physical copy of your opponents crucial evidence, like a 1AC, off case shells, and case presses. I agree with many of the arguments in favor of paperless, but I think it's important to be cautious about the way we approach it because I've seen too many examples of it happening in such a way that it ends up shifting the competitive equity of the round.

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1) Doing a poor job properly marking evidence read during a speech. Many people already frown upon and are suspicious of the "I'LL MARK IT LATER!" technique often employed during speeches, marking evidence immediately after you stop reading the card is highly difficult to do on your own laptop while giving the speech, and obviously impossible to do on the third laptop during that speech.

 

All the team reading has to do is press enter 3-4 times in the part of the card where they are stopping. People being dishonest is no more of a problem when using paperless than it is when people use debaters

 

 

 

2) Jumping large documents to the other team and then being obtuse about what cards were read, where in the document to find the cards that were read, and insisting that the opponent team use their own prep to find the evidence.

 

Once again, thats a problem with the individual team. Not the system as a whole. Doing things like that is just as easy to do with paper (I.e bring an entire stack of cards up and flip everything into the same pile without giving any indication of which pages/cards you read on each page).

 

3) The third laptop - is just plain inconvenient to use while debating. You cannot view more than a few cards on it at once, and it's difficult to the point of impossible for two people to use the laptop to view opponent evidence at the same time. This is a huge prep killer that effectively neutralizes half of the team that relies on the third laptop to view opponent evidence.

 

Its not really as big of an issue as you're making it. If it takes that long for you to read the other teams evidence, you have problems beyond whether or not the person is reading on paper.

 

Also, I think if I had a choice between being mildly inconvenienced in rounds and saving upwards of hundreds to thousands of dollars I'd choose the latter.

 

 

Lets be honest with ourselves. Not everyone in the community is going to be a good sport/play fairly when it comes to debate. I don't think we should indictments of those individual people as reasons to prevent a transition towards a giant cost-saving maneuver.

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1) Doing a poor job properly marking evidence read during a speech. Many people already frown upon and are suspicious of the "I'LL MARK IT LATER!" technique often employed during speeches, marking evidence immediately after you stop reading the card is highly difficult to do on your own laptop while giving the speech, and obviously impossible to do on the third laptop during that speech.

1. inevitable and already happening

2. Our template has an easy macro to deal with the marking itself.

3. You are right that it doesn't mark the card on the viewing laptop. We have solved that situation by agreeing to yell "marked at [word]" to hodl the other team over until the pre-cross-x jump, where the speaker will update the 3rd laptop

 

 

2) Jumping large documents to the other team and then being obtuse about what cards were read, where in the document to find the cards that were read, and insisting that the opponent team use their own prep to find the evidence.

If those cards aren't in order, the speaker is going to get the brunt of the hurt on that one because jumping around on a computer is a huge pain.

 

If anything, it's easier on laptops because all I have to do is delete cards I didn't read before the pre-cx jump, instead of sitting down with you and showing which cards i did and did not read. A number of teams has done that to me, stripping minutes of prep at a time.

 

Another thing to keep in mind is the presumption of prep. The paperless team has to edit the viewing laptop? That sounds like they need to take some prep for it, not you. This very restraint keeps general dickishness to a low.

 

Additionally, it is always in the paperless teams best interest to throw haymakers into their speech but not read them. Im talking about impact turns that end in the CTBT or heg add-ons. Why? Because the other team can and will read ahead of your speech. And they can do it to a huge time advantage. Let's say the 1NC is paperless and reading 1-off cap. Well, being the semi-intelligent 1A that I am, I can just read the tags and cites to these ancient cards and know the exact 2AC to put together. IF that 1N is paperless, that takes maybe 2 minutes. Then I get to carefully scrutinize their alt evidence and start prepping the 1AR. If the 1N puts in a big space impact card though, that might fundamentally screw over the 2AC if we were cheating and forward-reading instead of flowing like we should have been.

 

Remember that it's easy to gain an advantage over the paperless team because you can see all of their evidence before the speech begins, so it's only fair the paperless team gets an advantage back somewhere.

 

 

3) The third laptop - is just plain inconvenient to use while debating. You cannot view more than a few cards on it at once, and it's difficult to the point of impossible for two people to use the laptop to view opponent evidence at the same time. This is a huge prep killer that effectively neutralizes half of the team that relies on the third laptop to view opponent evidence.

Most paperless teams don't flow on laptops because that is an enormous inconvenience, which means you'd get the 2ACs laptop to use during prep for the block, and the 1ARs during prep for the 2NR in order to see 2 sets of evidence or whatever else you need. Because these speeches have to be highly organized and no components can ever "get lost", it should be relatively easy to search through and find what you need.

 

Really, how many cards do you really need to read before the 2NR? 4, maybe 5 max?

 

I've seen too many examples of it happening in such a way that it ends up shifting the competitive equity of the round.

Could you share with me your experience with paperless teams? I only know of whitman: when did you debate them and how did it go?

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I want to point out that the things I described above come from experience seeing debaters informally use laptops as substitutes for physical evidence, not formal 'paperless' teams. I understand that there's now general guidelines for paperless teams to follow, and like I said above, I think the suggestions are very helpful at making paperless work a lot more smoothly but I'm unconvinced that a debate can ever be entirely equitable if one side is responsible for and manages all the technology that their opponent relies on to view evidence.

 

Nitpicking aside, the general response to these fairness concerns seems to be that 'douchebags will be douchebags' no matter what format we debate under. I definitely agree with that which is why I think it's important that we're thoughtful about new avenues of douchebaggery that paperless debating can open up and make normal. It's generally more difficult as a judge to discern shady evidence exchange practices or prickish moves when they take place on a laptop being handed between debaters rather than on a stack of physically viewable evidence, this hurts speaker point's deterrence.

 

I think the potential for problems of this type is more acute at the HS level compared to college. In college debate most everyone is an adult and capable of asserting their own competitive interests effectively. At the HS level though it's easy to foresee timid or less experienced teams get bullied this way by more aggressive teams that want to pad their victory and know there's little risk of getting caught. Even if one team does call out another on shady ev exchange or some type of malicious abuse, I'm not sure young teenagers are entirely capable of handling such a dispute effectively, intelligently, respectfully. Many HS judges are only HS debaters themselves, not professional educators or even adults, they will have an equally hard time if forced to deal with such a confrontation. These problems are compounded by the lack of clear guidance or precedent on how such an in-round event should be responded to.

 

Yes, I agree with many of the arguments for paperless, cost savings on air travel is an especially persuasive one (though I do doubt that 300 dollar laptops will survive two years of debate travel, as one poster claimed above). But I think that paperless won't take off on a wide basis in HS until there's much greater adoption at the college level so "good person" norms and best practices can inform HS debate's transition (which is clearly inevitable).

Edited by mikey13

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