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ButteredMuffin

Ethics of copying evidence

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I've recently heard of an issue in regard to flashing speeches to other people's computers in which the person who recieves the flashed speech saves it to write more specific arguments to that evidence or to save it for their own use.

 

Is this ethical? Is this no different than just copying cites (which I suppose is another question of ethical debate practices)? Should our saving arguments for future use be based on the ability of the debater's flowing?

 

I'm somewhat divided on the issue, so I'd appreciate real responses (no trolling please). And I'm aware that there's likely another thread on this, and I would appreciate a link to it, but it would also be nice to have a fresh discussion on this issue.

Edited by The Debater Formerly Known As Rawrcat

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I feel like copying text is the equivalent of taking citations except with guaranteed access to the source material.

 

The only part that is possibly unethical is copying the underlining. I feel like that's unethical, but I usually underline my own stuff anyway so it's not even a question for me.

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This seems clearly unethical. Its like getting cites in that you are getting the same information, but it is in an entirely different process. Teams should never save other teams speeches. The key issue is that this being done without permission. Some teams don't share full text and others would just prefer that you ask, but nothing should be taken without explicit permission.

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If you had asked this question pre-NDCA wiki, I would have said it's unethical. But it appears the debate world is headed towards a world of full disclosure. Besides, it shouldn't matter if they have the evidence, you should still be able to win on it. For example, St. Marks and Westminster post the full text of every card they read.

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If you had asked this question pre-NDCA wiki, I would have said it's unethical. But it appears the debate world is headed towards a world of full disclosure. Besides, it shouldn't matter if they have the evidence, you should still be able to win on it. For example, St. Marks and Westminster post the full text of every card they read.

 

pff. LA debate doesn't do ANY sort of disclosure...

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I feel like even if they disclose full text on the wiki, you should still ask for permission because analytical arguments/underlining/highlighting are all things that teams that disclose full text have reasons for not putting on the wiki.

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It's probably unethical. The first problem that comes to mind for me is that paperless teams usually put more cards in their speech document than they ultimately read in the round. In a world where you just ask for cites, they would not disclose that unread evidence to you (because they didn't read it!) whereas jacking their speech document gives you access to stuff they didn't read.

 

You're better off just asking for them to put it on the caselist.

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I guess the line for me is the issue of consent. When someone makes cites available on the wiki, they know that anyone could do anything with that information and so it's more ethical in that situation to take the cite and re-cut the card. If someone makes the full card text available, I'm not sure where I stand on that but I would probably re-cut the evidence just to be on the safe side of the ethical question. But when someone flashes a speech, it's for a completely different purpose than putting something on the wiki. It's mean for a one-round-only use, so it doesn't imply any kind of availability or any complicit nature with saving the document. In other words, since the original intent is different there's a different implication.

 

But, that's just my two cents. I pretty much agree with the other posters here.

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On second thought, I don't know if we can distinguish between common debate practices that exist and this form of "stealing".

 

Why is taking uncut evidence a bad thing? Can't you do the same thing by copying their citations? Taking uncut evidence is functionally the same thing as copying citations, and it's better because it serves to save you time that can then be used more productively. You don't learn anything by digging up old articles from Google caches, but you do learn by using your time to research new articles.

 

Why is taking analytic arguments a bad thing? Don't any of you mimic a good analytic after you hear it? Taking their analytic arguments is functionally the same thing, except it's better because it eliminates the possibility for a lapse in memory. Since memory isn't a skill that can be developed, we shouldn't intentionally set up standards within our community that privilege its existence. We should try to make those who are forgetful have an equal chance at success as those who have good memories.

Edited by Chaos
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On second thought, I don't know if we can distinguish between common debate practices that exist and this form of "stealing".

 

Why is taking uncut evidence a bad thing? Can't you do the same thing by copying their citations? Taking uncut evidence is functionally the same thing as copying ciations, and it's better because it serves to save you time that can then be used more productively. You don't learn anything by digging up old articles from Google caches, but you do learn by using your time to research new articles.

 

Why is taking analytic arguments a bad thing? Don't any of you mimic a good analytic after you hear it? Taking their analytic arguments is functionally the same thing, except it's better because it eliminates the possibility for a lapse in memory. Since memory isn't a skill that can be developed, we shouldn't intentionally set up standards within our community that privilege its existence.

 

The difference is two fold. One, is the consent issue, which I think was addressed above. Two, your taking a block from another team or entire shells or as McFly said, evidence that they might not have even read. Taking that evidence is the equivalent of using their hard work for your benefit. Sure, your right that hearing good analytics and using them is inevitable, but that is not a justification to take the other teams exact format and arguments word for word. That is straight up plagiarism.

 

We should try to make those who are forgetful have an equal chance at success as those who have good memories.

 

Really? I thought that was called flowing/asking another team for clarification

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Why is taking analytic arguments a bad thing? Don't any of you mimic a good analytic after you hear it? Taking their analytic arguments is functionally the same thing, except it's better because it eliminates the possibility for a lapse in memory. Since memory isn't a skill that can be developed, we shouldn't intentionally set up standards within our community that privilege its existence. We should try to make those who are forgetful have an equal chance at success as those who have good memories.

 

It's way better to take it and not copy it down word for word. This allows you to actually synthesize the argument and know it, instead of being like a novice reading a frontline/block a varsity debater made for them.

 

 

TL;DR: Pretty sure you be trolling anyway because of the last sentence.

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The difference is two fold. One, is the consent issue, which I think was addressed above.

If they consent to your taking their citations after the round, it's functionally the same thing as consenting to taking their evidence. Any differentiation between the two on their part is stupid and arbitrary.

 

There's also no impact to consent, education outweighs.

 

Two, your taking a block from another team or entire shells or as McFly said, evidence that they might not have even read. Taking that evidence is the equivalent of using their hard work for your benefit. Sure, your right that hearing good analytics and using them is inevitable, but that is not a justification to take the other teams exact format and arguments word for word. That is straight up plagiarism.

There are some great arguments in this post, and that's a shame because none of them are responsive. You have conceded that taking other people's speeches is a better form of taking their citations from post round or from the ndca wiki. While taking other people's speeches may be "straight up plagiarism", so are many other current debate practices.

 

You concede that analytic arguments will inevitably be copied. You assert that "that is not a justification to take the other teams exact format and arguments" but give no reason that this claim is true. Toulmin 101, ur claimz need teh warrantz.

 

There's no impact to "plagiarism", almost all knowledge is plagiarized. I know that Paris is the capitol of France because someone told me so. Education and fairness outweigh any arbitrary moral prohibitions you have against learning.

 

Really? I thought that was called flowing/asking another team for clarification

I'll concede this, the existence of flowing / asking another team for clarification proves that copying evidence is the logical extension of many current debate practices. This is my argument, not yours.

 

It's way better to take it and not copy it down word for word. This allows you to actually synthesize the argument and know it, instead of being like a novice reading a frontline/block a varsity debater made for them.

I too think that people will be more successful if they read the evidence and write the arguments themselves. While lazy teams may decide to steal other people's speeches and to do no work themselves, the competitive nature of debate will disincentivize this strategy. Lazy teams are stealing arguments from the wiki in the status quo, that nonuniques any risk of this DA.

 

Good debaters will have more time to do quality work this if they don't have to research old arguments that they already understand, there's only a risk that stealing speeches improves this. See my previous post.

 

TL;DR: Pretty sure you be trolling anyway because of the last sentence.

Naw. I'm not trolling, just playing as the Devil's advocate. There's a difference. I'm not sure what side of the issue I really believe yet, but this discussion will probably help me find out. This thread was basically a bunch of people agreeing with each other before I posted, and mutual agreement is a boring thing for a debate website to host.

Edited by Chaos
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I don't understand why "stealing" evidence is "stealing". All evidence should be publicly available in some form in order to be usable in round, and thus should be accessable by all debators. It doesn't make sense to me why using someone else's evidence is stealing that evidence because that evidence is public. When you drink from a public water fountain, you aren't "stealing" that water from the person in front of you. In this same way, shouldn't debate evidence be shared among debators? Not only a question of education, but also one of fairness, sharing evidence allows for all debators to have access to all evidence.

 

Also, "stealing" evidence isn't some curb stop on the debators "stolen" from. Remember, "imitation is the highest form of flattery" (and of course I can't remember who was quoted with that).

 

Finally, this does not put the debators "stolen from" at a disadvantage. There are two reasons for this:

 

1) most evidence is reused and abused at the whim of all debators. Most pieces of great evidence are eventually going to be used in a prolific manner.

 

2) If it is a truly new piece of evidence, then congratulations! You managed to cut it before other people! Your reward is that you might have the element of surprise for at most a few tournaments, only possibly contributing to a win, but not guaranteeing. This is no reason "stealing" evidence is bad.

 

Also, ethics don't matter. What? Who said that?

 

One joke aside, I believe this to be a non-issue. I also wish these people could stop whining when someone else uses "their" evidence. If you truly want to make it "yours", then write and publish the arguement in a book or magazine or newspaper or pamphlet or blog or comment or status or letter or email or text or essay or complaint or memo or reminder or advice or fortune cookie or speech or lecture or novel or novella or critique or script or forum or thread or web page or document or block or poetry or movie or tv show or saloon or menu or message in a bottle.

 

Finally, this issue isn't nearly as bad as someone giving you a flashdrive with all their evidence on it and copying the entire flashdrive to your desktop. I did not suggest that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those of you like TLDR, here's the thesis: this thread is stupid.

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Naw. I'm not trolling, just playing as the Devil's advocate. There's a difference. I'm not sure what side of the issue I really believe yet, but this discussion will probably help me find out. This thread was basically a bunch of people agreeing with each other before I posted, and mutual agreement is a boring thing for a debate website to host.

 

Ya that was the word I was looking for. And you're right it was kind of a circle-jerk.

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On second thought, Taking uncut evidence is functionally the same thing as copying citations, and it's better because it serves to save you time that can then be used more productively. You don't learn anything by digging up old articles from Google caches, but you do learn by using your time to research new articles.

 

this made me think of the ethical consequences of saving cards in anther context - evidence that is not accessible for free or without paid subscription to a website such as Lexis, Muse, etc.

 

To have the best evidence, debaters need to be cutting literature from the most qualified and recent published material. For college or private high school debaters, access to databases with this literature is provided by their campus. This is opposed to most public high schools and libraries, where the average research is not as rigorous, and the subscription fee can't always be justified.

 

Of all the structural aspects of debate that foster elitism (money for travel/coaches, camp, etc), availability to research is the most disappointing. Allowing equal access to this literature through word documents in the form of cards can only benefit clash and equality.

 

That being said, while I advocate those debaters privileged or lucky enough to have access to databases to share their resources with others i the debate community, I also agree that permission should be asked first.

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Didn't read the whole thing -

 

You shouldn't do it without asking, chances are if you need the text to a card, the other team will give it to you. Without asking though it's no different from just stealing a paper teams file.

 

That said, I think teams should provide the full text of their evidence upon request. I think among many high school teams this has become common practice. Most debaters I've found will email you the full text of something if you have trouble finding it

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Is running an argument copied from a wiki page ethical? What if its modified? Is it ok to use tags/blocks that have been posted on NDCA wiki in other rounds?

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