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A History of Cross-x.com

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And ever since, the site has steadily lost value as a resource, as a tool of social networking, and everything else. Through repeated crashes, hacks, lost posts, ever more trolls, and so on, the site is now a shell of what it once was.

 

You're being a bit of a sadsack, no?

 

As a resource, though, I definitely agree the site has declined. You used to be able to learn quite a bit here, and, if one were so inclined, could learn even more by working your way through old posts. I'm thinking particularly of the Theory forum, which used to be quite active, with long, useful threads where smart, opinionated people argued back and forth about the relative merits of this or that. Sadly, most of those types of threads seem to have disappeared when the older posts were purged.

 

The Critiques forum was also, at one time, extremely useful and interesting. My understanding is that it even had people following it who had no interest in the debate activity per se. Again, a lot of the useful dicussion there seems to have been deleted forever.

 

Now when I check in here, it seems like everyone wants this site to be a 4chan for debate. It's amusing sometimes, but, quite frankly, not half as funny as some of you seem to think it is.

 

Edit: Out of curiosity I searched my own posts and was saddened to discover nearly every substantive post I have ever made about debate here is gone, and all that's left is mostly the off-topic stuff (when I no longer had the time to engage these issues seriously). If that's true of me, and I'm hardly a prolific poster, it saddens me to think of what has been lost by those who did write at length (and articulately) about counterplan theory, conditionality, negation theory, theories of resolutional justification, the theoretical acceptability of politics links, etc., i.e., the sort of stuff that could have served as a valuable resource for future generations of debaters.

Edited by mld

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I also think this site's decline has been part of the event's overall decline. CX is still strong in some parts of the country, but it's lost loads of participation in others. In Ohio, for example, few schools still field policy teams and most tournaments in the state don't offer it at all. I think novice-friendlier PF is the big (though not exclusive) reason for this, but it's inevitable that CX.com will get less fresh blood when CX get fewer novices.

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I also think this site's decline has been part of the event's overall decline. CX is still strong in some parts of the country, but it's lost loads of participation in others. In Ohio, for example, few schools still field policy teams and most tournaments in the state don't offer it at all. I think novice-friendlier PF is the big (though not exclusive) reason for this, but it's inevitable that CX.com will get less fresh blood when CX get fewer novices.

 

This.

 

I think a few freshmen that joined cx this year want to stay in debate and switch to ld.

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You're being a bit of a sadsack, no?

 

As a resource, though, I definitely agree the site has declined. You used to be able to learn quite a bit here, and, if one were so inclined, could learn even more by working your way through old posts. I'm thinking particularly of the Theory forum, which used to be quite active, with long, useful threads where smart, opinionated people argued back and forth about the relative merits of this or that. Sadly, most of those types of threads seem to have disappeared when the older posts were purged.

 

The Critiques forum was also, at one time, extremely useful and interesting. My understanding is that it even had people following it who had no interest in the debate activity per se. Again, a lot of the useful dicussion there seems to have been deleted forever.

 

Now when I check in here, it seems like everyone wants this site to be a 4chan for debate. It's amusing sometimes, but, quite frankly, not half as funny as some of you seem to think it is.

 

Edit: Out of curiosity I searched my own posts and was saddened to discover nearly every substantive post I have ever made about debate here is gone, and all that's left is mostly the off-topic stuff (when I no longer had the time to engage these issues seriously). If that's true of me, and I'm hardly a prolific poster, it saddens me to think of what has been lost by those who did write at length (and articulately) about counterplan theory, conditionality, negation theory, theories of resolutional justification, the theoretical acceptability of politics links, etc., i.e., the sort of stuff that could have served as a valuable resource for future generations of debaters.

 

 

One of the biggest losses was Tomak's contribution, the FAQ in the novice forum. It was a brilliant collection of organized links to threads where serious quality conversation existed about all arguments of value. It was the table of contents this site sorely needed back then.

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One of the biggest losses was Tomak's contribution, the FAQ in the novice forum. It was a brilliant collection of organized links to threads where serious quality conversation existed about all arguments of value. It was the table of contents this site sorely needed back then.

 

Was that lost in the purge or could it be restored?

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This thread seems to have caught the attention of many of the older members that still lurk around, i wanted to know if any of you know how Burns is doing. The last time I heard anything was when he made the thread about him leaving the site due to dealing with cancer, I was just curious if any of you that were probably "real life" friends with him and have spoke to him since.

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Reading over this thread is depressing.

I feel compelled to try to make this site better. We should really get some more moderators, as others have already mentioned.

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Reading over this thread is depressing.

I feel compelled to try to make this site better. We should really get some more moderators, as others have already mentioned.

 

This.

 

Also: yeah, along with Hank's question, how is Burns?

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Reading over this thread is depressing.

I feel compelled to try to make this site better. We should really get some more moderators, as others have already mentioned.

 

Honestly, I think if there was a chance at crawsex coming back to some coherence instead of random vacuous trolling voting in moderators who are serious about bringing back the site would go a long way.

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Reading over this thread is depressing.

I feel compelled to try to make this site better. We should really get some more moderators, as others have already mentioned.

 

Or maybe instead of lamenting, just have more people make substantive posts. Its sad that the non debate posts > debate posts

 

(Misc, Arts, Sports, Hole, Complain) = 176446

(Help Me, Novice, Theory, Military, Space, DA/CP, K, T, Articles, Judging, Coaching) = 116482

 

Once upon a time, this was not the case. It was the opposite... very, very opposite.

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So now the youngsters are interested in learning more about what it was that they helped kill off? Priceless...

 

Opinions will vary on when/why this website began to decline. Some of the key factors have already been identified, but for what it's worth (admittedly very little) I think the following factors had the most to do with it:

  • Kerpen's emotional disengagement from the site. I first cyber-met Phil back in the early '90s on the old cx-l. Thought he was pretty sharp, and I shared his enthusiasm for vigorous discussions about debate theory (believe it or not, the old listservs used to be full of that sort of thing). When he contacted me in 2001 to be the first moderator of the Coaching forum, I was happy to help. And for so long as Phil's passion for the activity was strong, so was this website. As the trajectory of his life began to change, though, and as this website became more of a revenue stream and less of an intellectual passion, changes began taking place, most of them for the worse, but especially:
  • The decision to strip moderators of their powers. While there were doubtless some instances of young mods doing heinous things with their authority (young people are, by definition, somewhat immature), I don't think those problems warranted the wholesale reduction in ALL moderators' powers. Essentially, being a moderator became little more than being the person (or persons) who were expected to report to Mat when there was a problem in a particular forum. As one might imagine, moderators with no real authority found this new bureaucratic process more than a little insulting. Why should someone like Scu, or Tomak, or DeCoach, etc. have to go through Mat to keep their forums functioning properly?
  • The "tragedy of the commons" problem. When you combine the first two influences, what happened subsequently makes perfect sense. Once neither Phil nor the long-time supporters of the site felt any sense of emotional ownership of the site, it began to be overrun by the trolls and others who could mess with it to their heart's content without fear of meaningful consequences. Screwing with cross-x.com was "free," so why not? Even if you WANTED the site to be a useful, educational place (and many, many of the long-time contributors did), why fight the rising tide of nonsense and stupidity, especially since you basically had no weapons to fight it with? The Purge certainly hurt, especially for the long-time members who lost so much of their contributions, and the increasingly-fraudulent "elections" chased away a lot of members as well.

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So now the youngsters are interested in learning more about what it was that they helped kill off? Priceless...

 

I will agree that each of us youngsters have in some way chiseled away at the glory of the "olden days", but not all of us are trolls. I still come to this site and read great discussions, though my standards are probably astronomically lower than yours due to me never experiencing cross-x without hadoken/red spy. We are expressing interest in restoring the site to "what it should be", where people don't beg for neg rep or post long cats. Virtual debates are still going strong, despite the unfortunately high rate of "debate trolling" (cut up, time cube, 5 SPEC arguments), though I think even those rounds have educational value if the aff (or whoever isn't trolling) takes it seriously and deals with the arguments at face value instead of devolving into having a separate flow for Rebecca Black's "Friday" (though it happens occasionally). I think giving mods improved powers will have a great effect, possibly voting in some new ones would be chill as well.

 

But what do I know, I've only been a member for a year or so.

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[*]The decision to strip moderators of their powers. While there were doubtless some instances of young mods doing heinous things with their authority (young people are, by definition, somewhat immature), I don't think those problems warranted the wholesale reduction in ALL moderators' powers. Essentially, being a moderator became little more than being the person (or persons) who were expected to report to Mat when there was a problem in a particular forum. As one might imagine, moderators with no real authority found this new bureaucratic process more than a little insulting. Why should someone like Scu, or Tomak, or DeCoach, etc. have to go through Mat to keep their forums functioning properly?

I was elected to my first mod position right as this transition happened. So, I never moderated with the power to ban. However, I'm not really in favor of a switch back to the old system. I remember the power to ban being rampantly abused, especially in the regional forums. Elections had already devolved into the situation where the candidate with the most multiple accounts, or friends with multiple accounts, winning all regional elections. As a result, a lot of the "moderating" that occurred was banning posters that mods didn't like. As I recall the community forums (more complain than misc) were similarly abused.

If there was a return of banning powers, I'd like to see it constrained to forums where discussion should be more tightly controlled, like in the Debate, Specific Argument and Evidence forums. The Community and Regional forums don't really need the power of ban, just the editing of posts and a supermod that can be counted on to ban as necessary.

Also, why is banning needed? Doesn't editing/deleting posts solve any real problem anyway?

 

I also kind of take exception to the way we (No fingers pointed at anyone in particular) talk about trolling as if a person can't be be both a productive member of the website and someone who enjoys posting garbage in the appropriate forums. A 'good' poster does both, but also knows in which forums such things belong.

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I was elected to my first mod position right as this transition happened. So, I never moderated with the power to ban. However, I'm not really in favor of a switch back to the old system. I remember the power to ban being rampantly abused, especially in the regional forums. Elections had already devolved into the situation where the candidate with the most multiple accounts, or friends with multiple accounts, winning all regional elections. As a result, a lot of the "moderating" that occurred was banning posters that mods didn't like. As I recall the community forums (more complain than misc) were similarly abused.

If there was a return of banning powers, I'd like to see it constrained to forums where discussion should be more tightly controlled, like in the Debate, Specific Argument and Evidence forums. The Community and Regional forums don't really need the power of ban, just the editing of posts and a supermod that can be counted on to ban as necessary.

Also, why is banning needed? Doesn't editing/deleting posts solve any real problem anyway?

 

I also kind of take exception to the way we (No fingers pointed at anyone in particular) talk about trolling as if a person can't be be both a productive member of the website and someone who enjoys posting garbage in the appropriate forums. A 'good' poster does both, but also knows in which forums such things belong.

 

^This^

Rawrcat and I in particular aim to be these kinds of posters who keep the garbage in places like the Hole and Misc and make informative/non-trolling posts where they belong. But I think the problem doesn't lie with the kinds of powers mods have, it lies with the people who exercise those powers. A lot of the mods in areas that have the most trolling (like above, not pointing any fingers at specific people) are relatively inactive.

 

I think there does need to be a reform by the posters themselves the change the way/places they post garbage, but I think institutional backing through a new round of younger mods would go a long way. Like Ankur said, one of the problems was that the reins were never really passed to a younger generation.

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Uhm, first, I don't know how Burns is doing these days, but I am curious.

 

 

History:

 

Oren Cass (Nero, Oren spelled backwards) founded the website in 1999, he was a high school debater at the time. Mostly the website at first consisted of Oren talking to himself under different puppet accounts. The website attracted some people, but it also attracted random trolls. There were a small handful of us talking debate theory, etc. back in the day. We asked for mods to be installed in order to handle the situation. At the same time, there was a private forum, named Gomerland, that we all hung out in. So, the website had a strange tension between Gomers and non-Gomers, and Oren decided to have elections in order to handle the tension at the time (full disclosure, I am the current moderator of GomerLand, such as it is). Moderator elections became regularized.

 

In various forms, for the first four years or so of the website, the Gomers represented many of the more senior members of the website. It was always a little silly, and a horrible secret society.

 

For a while Oren closed cross-x, and created a website called InASphere, with one of the spheres being DebateSphere. It was a great idea, and he should have kept at it. But it didn't make a lot of money, and he went to college. So, he killed InASphere, and restarted cross-x. He never migrated the posts from InASphere, so those posts are lost.

 

Somewhere around now Oren approached Kerpen about buying the website. Kerpen was running his own, competing, HS debate website. However, it wasn't doing very well and cross-x was bought by Kerpen. Kerpen decided to create the office of the SuperMod, and the first one was not Mat, but Nate. The SuperMod was held by a few people during this time, before Mat finally won election. At some point Nate divided up the forum "specific arguments" into the various kinds of sub arguments, creating the critique forum. Other forums matter, of course. But the K forum was my major watering hole in these boards. I can't say if it was as good as people made it out to be, but I remember my early participation with a great deal of fondness. I think the key was a group of us trying to figure out what certain authors were saying. Anyway, it was a good time. And I think it was helpful to all sorts of people. Terry running the coaching forum and Tomak in Novice were forums of similar scope for actually being helpful. Mat's helm at Misc was not so helpful, but also marked that forum with a particular charm and usefulness.

 

I'm bad with knowing what the important parts of cross-x history are vs. the unimportant. I've met a lot of really smart, and helpful people off of here.

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uhm, first, i don't know how burns is doing these days, but i am curious.

 

 

History:

 

Oren cass (nero, oren spelled backwards) founded the website in 1999, he was a high school debater at the time. Mostly the website at first consisted of oren talking to himself under different puppet accounts. The website attracted some people, but it also attracted random trolls. There were a small handful of us talking debate theory, etc. Back in the day. We asked for mods to be installed in order to handle the situation. At the same time, there was a private forum, named gomerland, that we all hung out in. So, the website had a strange tension between gomers and non-gomers, and oren decided to have elections in order to handle the tension at the time (full disclosure, i am the current moderator of gomerland, such as it is). Moderator elections became regularized.

 

In various forms, for the first four years or so of the website, the gomers represented many of the more senior members of the website. It was always a little silly, and a horrible secret society.

 

For a while oren closed cross-x, and created a website called inasphere, with one of the spheres being debatesphere. It was a great idea, and he should have kept at it. But it didn't make a lot of money, and he went to college. So, he killed inasphere, and restarted cross-x. He never migrated the posts from inasphere, so those posts are lost.

 

Somewhere around now oren approached kerpen about buying the website. Kerpen was running his own, competing, hs debate website. However, it wasn't doing very well and cross-x was bought by kerpen. Kerpen decided to create the office of the supermod, and the first one was not mat, but nate. The supermod was held by a few people during this time, before mat finally won election. At some point nate divided up the forum "specific arguments" into the various kinds of sub arguments, creating the critique forum. Other forums matter, of course. But the k forum was my major watering hole in these boards. I can't say if it was as good as people made it out to be, but i remember my early participation with a great deal of fondness. I think the key was a group of us trying to figure out what certain authors were saying. Anyway, it was a good time. And i think it was helpful to all sorts of people. Terry running the coaching forum and tomak in novice were forums of similar scope for actually being helpful. Mat's helm at misc was not so helpful, but also marked that forum with a particular charm and usefulness.

 

I'm bad with knowing what the important parts of cross-x history are vs. The unimportant. I've met a lot of really smart, and helpful people off of here.

 

nate!

 

I totally forgot about nate!

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4,607 unique visitors isn't exactly dead. Although it is experiencing some overall decrease in traffic over the last year.

 

To say this is inevitable--isn't necessarily true.

 

The tragedy of the commons issue that Ankur & Terrance speaks to does seem to be an issue in the decline of the site.

 

I also don't think the virtual debates are as useless as Ankur paints them to be.

 

You can see the traffic here for Cross x vs. Planet Debate vs. the3nr (obviously this doesn't include the podcasts listens/downloads).

http://siteanalytics.compete.com/the3nr.com+planetdebate.com+cross-x.com/

Edited by nathan_debate
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You can see the traffic here for Cross x vs. Planet Debate vs. the3nr (obviously this doesn't include the podcasts listens/downloads).

http://siteanalytics.compete.com/the3nr.com+planetdebate.com+cross-x.com/

 

I can only speak for Cross-X, but those numbers are wildly inaccurate. Our private numbers put monthly absolute unique visitors literally exponentially higher.

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Man, screen names are coming back to me... I think I asked scu somewhere and he told me what a handful of these fools were up to.

 

a real "where are they now" would be cool.

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Man, screen names are coming back to me... I think I asked scu somewhere and he told me what a handful of these fools were up to.

 

a real "where are they now" would be cool.

 

That would be a cool function of this thread. :)

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