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Author Topic: Where the wild things aren't  (Read 8054 times)
jbhoe
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« on: October 20, 2009, 12:49:06 PM »

Hello,

I remember reading a very well considered article about debate being a special enclave where everyone from communists to anarchists to post-modernists could/would be welcomed and protected within an inclusive community. 

It can certainly be argued that things like "the code of conduct" and the "policy debate forums" are attempts at making what we do "safer" to the outside world, I worry more than a little (after decades of foulcault debates) that we are beginning to "tame" our wild things to make us all fit into an outside world acceptable package.

This is certainly not to denigrate the fine work of Gordon (maybe the only thing aside from the Yankees I have ever disagreed with him about) or Jeff (who is one of my oldest friends in the activity) but this move seems, at best, non-organic to me. 

Many of you will be suprised I take this position, but those people probably misread many of the things I have posted in the past.  My position was never that "wild things" should not exist or that we should "silence" or "discipline" them.  My position was to present some arguments that could be made against people in debate rounds when they were "wild."  Reason was the emphasis of my arguments (actually the crux of my arguments have always been best educational practices/experiences).  To many, these are calls to the same thing (judges decision disciplines - teachers grading disciplines - etc etc) but to me it was a call to dialog between people on the so-called inside (tradition) and outside (wild things) in order to find a place we could all have meaningful discussions together.  In other words, I value the ORGANIC process of good arguments beating bad arguments. 

If, the arguments were all made for this forums value...but people still prefer receiving and discussing things on edebate...why are we trying to "force" a move to this space?  Talking about those reasons should be the basis of an argument that attempts to persuade the larger community to vote with its feet and participatate in this space instead of an alternative space.

I have heard the arguments from my professional colleagues but remain unconvinced that the best solution is to participate here and let edebate die the death of a thousand swords.  I know there is a kind of legitimacy that only a cleaned up Times Square could provide to a revitalized New York City and that a starbucks on every corner gives instead of an ethnic deli....But I really miss the old NYC.  I don't want debate to become Giulianni's or Bloomberg's debate 2.0

Part of me likes the world where outsiders, outliers, pirates, and rogues roam the bandwidth.  I think we lose something very special about our activity when we stop embracing the corners (dark or otherwise) of our debate reality.

Josh


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kelly young
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« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2009, 01:02:40 PM »

I'm not sure that there's tremendous pressure to move here other than EDEBATE has become a horribly unreliable vehicle for tournament updates and news. As a result, this kind of forum or the direct emails from Debate Results are far superior to what we've had. But i'm not sure its mutual exclusive or ever will be. Probably a majority of the college debate community prefers something like this rather than the EDEBATE format.

But, you know me and my EDEBATE behavior at times, I'm certainly not someone who's terribly concerned with always playing nice on EDEBATE, but I'm glad there's an option now where tournament information, CEDA official business etc can be done without having to wade through the old train of Star Wars posts, yelling matches etc.

There may well be a continued need for something like EDEBATE and I'm certainly not against it other than I wish it would post messages in a more timely fashion.

But it seems like a good time to create a better forum as well that can handle the business of our organizations and tournaments that easily organized and much more user-friendly.

Kelly
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Director of Forensics/Associate Professor
Wayne State University
313-577-2953
kelly.young [at] wayne.edu
www.wsuforensics.org
jbhoe
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« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2009, 01:04:29 PM »

I agree with all you say Kelly, if thats all it is meant to do, no problem at all....Even if it isnt what its meant to do, I respect the move...I just disagree a little,

Josh
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kelly young
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« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2009, 01:06:03 PM »

of course you do, jbhoe, of course you do ... Grin
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Director of Forensics/Associate Professor
Wayne State University
313-577-2953
kelly.young [at] wayne.edu
www.wsuforensics.org
stables
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Posts: 334


« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2009, 01:22:11 PM »

Josh,

You have correctly identified that this is not a purely organic platform. This is an organizational effort to make it easier for our folks to communicate. That ease doesn't come from the same immediate access that edebate offers, but frankly having every person who wants to complain about anything be able to fill all our inboxes (and instigate you to respond) is 'easy' in a very different sense. I have surveyed other organizations (both academic and athletic competition groups) and I couldn't find any that did not have a single, sponsored form of community exchange.

There is nothing wrong with a pure, unmoderated email listserv to keep up on tournament news, job announcements, etc. This is a means for a community  to engage each other. It is modeled after crossx.com, a thriving location for the high school community to interact and I am excited about our future.

A community as large and diverse as ours will have lots of ways to keep in touch. Edebate, crossx.com, the new edebate, and this site are all ways for us communicate. I hope you will want to take part here, but more importantly that you can appreciate why this is an important addition to our community.
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Gordon Stables
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
Director of Debate & Forensics
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
University of Southern California
jbhoe
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« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2009, 01:43:57 PM »

Gordon,

I agree that it is a fine addition to the options available to students and most important, coaches.  However, my whole point was that debate is a unique beast in one particular way....we have always looked out for and embraced our oddballs, crumudgeons, outsiders, and outliers.  To me, seemingly not to you, a few deletes is a small price to pay for having a truly diverse intellectual community....A truly diverse intellectual community UNLIKE any other....One in which teams can actually refuse to be patriotic, or look like un-caveman lawyer, or strip naked in protest of norms. 

As a New Jersey guy this has to resonate with you a little? I am not saying this list/forum is intended to get rid of the crazies...but it kind of is a little?  It is kind of starbucks for the debate activity no? 

Its cool, I realize I am in the minority on this one (like usual),

Josh

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antonucci23
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« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2009, 02:15:03 PM »

I've advocated a forum-based approach for a long time.  My advocacy is largely based on better threading.  Directly dumping a whole conversation into an inbox creates unnecessary tension.  This is why listservs are very 2000 and late.

I think you're actually probably the best example, because you write and think about debate a great deal.  I really enjoy what you have to say, and almost always read it.  However, people grouse because it "drowns out" the administrative stuff, fills their inbox, etc.  Now they can't complain, because superior threading lets everyone read what interests them. 

It lets me engage more comfortably, because I don't feel that I'm annoying people or overposting.  They can read it or not.
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jbhoe
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« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2009, 03:51:18 PM »

I guess what I am trying to say is "motive matters"

I agree, its probably a better system, it lets people pick and choose what they read and respond to, it allows better organization of tournament information....Starbucks makes good coffee too.

I am just worried about the new "conservative" turn in debate coaching/leadership/administration....If the end result is to sanitize our times square - not for me...If its just to have a central admin hub...great.  I realize this site doesn't make people use it - or get people to stop using other forums...But as Gordon said, part of it is to remove the crazies from the "inbox."  I do realize that this removes the whole concept of "inbox" in its own way....but still.

I think I would also like it more if it were more facebook formatted where responses to threads you were involved in did bounce to my inbox, but thats for entirely different reasons.

Anyway, hope all is well,

Josh

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antonucci23
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« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2009, 06:01:58 PM »

RSS feeds can go to your inbox.  I can write a brief tutorial on that if it's important.

I don't think that anyone's been censored.  I think this is primarily a question of functionality.

One possible route to make room for an otherwise offensive maverick in this context would be posting links to external blogs, which people could then visit as they saw fit. 

The old system was really the equivalent of putting everyone at an academic conference in one room and making all the panels present at once.  Yeah - attention hogs with loud voices would probably like it, but it's just dysfunctional for the rest of us.
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zwest
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« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2009, 11:26:46 PM »

I think that Josh brings up a very good point.  I spent my career debating at Weber St. under Bear, who knew a thing or two about being a "wild thing" as Josh describes.  Having the ability, and the forum, to engage in this type of discussion is important, and one of the unique functions that the listserv at ndtceda.com offered.

That being said, I agree with the other posters here too.  The listserv is running so slow (about 5-6 days for a message to get posted and e-mailed to users) that it is pretty close to irrelevant.  If you can't get timely information out to members of the community, an essential aspect of the listserv has failed.  In addition, the ability to discuss ideas in a threaded fashion is much easier, nicer, and efficient than getting your e-mail inbox flooded with e-mails.

I totally understand as well Gordon and Jeff's desire to have a site that is devoted to information relating to CEDA business and getting timely, relevant information to members of the debate community.

I have been working on a site that I believe, in conjunction with this site, will eliminate the need for the listserv, while still giving all of those "wild things" a forum to speak their minds.  I posted a message to the listserv about the creation of a new eDebate, hosted at www.eDebate.com.

Gordon referenced this in his post earlier in this thread and I've been in communication with him about the creation of the new ceda forums.  We would like to work in conjunction with ceda to bring the debate community up to speed with current technology.  eDebate.com is an open, unmoderated forum that we hope not only eliminates the need for the listserv (as Antonnuci notes, an outdated technology), but also facilitates the move to paperless debate.

I encourage everyone who has not already done so to check out eDebate.com and let me know what you think.  You can do some pretty cool things on our site, including uploading videos, embedding YouTube videos, posting pictures, creating polls, creating private groups, setting up events, and hosting your own blog.  Of course this is all in addition to a forums section.  Not only does this create space for those "wild things", but it does so in a much larger, updated fashion than the debate community has ever seen.  Of course eDebate.com was not created with just the "wild things" in mind, it's for everyone.  But, like the current listserv, it does not eliminate those people, or their opinions.

In fact, eDebate.com is set up almost the exact same way that facebook is (as Josh requested Smiley).  If you create a thread, you have two options.  First, you can get an e-mail telling you when someone has responded to your post/thread, or second, you can choose to get rss feeds.

Also, one last thing about how the site will possibly help with the transition to paperless debate.  You can create private groups on eDebate.com for your debate team.  You can create events, like meetings or assignments.  Then, you can upload files that the group has produced.  This is a great, free way to have an on-line file sharing program like a microsoft sharepoint site without any cost to the user.  This also might be able to expand to facilitating file transfers between teams at tournaments, or round flows between team members.

If anyone has questions or comments, let me know.

Thanks,
Zach W
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antonucci23
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« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2009, 01:33:56 AM »

I wish I understood edebate.com's path to monetization a little bit more clearly.

What's the business plan?

I have one facebook - seems like too much facebook by itself.  That's a purely personal preference, of course.
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zwest
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« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2009, 09:18:26 AM »

In response to your question, there really isn't a business plan or a path to monetezation.  As I explained to Gordon and Jeff, both of us were working independently to create a solution to the current listserv, we just didn't know that each of us working on independent solutions to the same problem.  We actually opened up eDebate.com on October 10, but because the post to ndtceda.com took so long to get out, it didn't get e-mail to users until the 15th, the same day that Gordon and Jeff got this forum open.  I think that all of us saw a problem and were trying to help fix it.  I think that our current goal is to collaborate together to come up with solutions that will benefit the debate community.

As I've explained in previous posts and e-mails, Jared Ellis and myself are running eDebate.com, and the idea was born about four years ago when we transitioned the University of Denver to paperless debate.  We obtained a significant amount of experience with file sharing and this idea took off. 

I'm sure as most of you know, I no longer coach at DU.  I'm currently practicing law in Denver, and I've been following the community wide move to paperless debate.  I think that this is a very interesting and exciting time in debate.  Our goal in creating this site was to give back to the community by providing a free service that everyone could take advantage of.

There are hosting costs, bandwidth costs, not to mention development costs.  We have some ads on the site to simply help defray those costs.  I hope this answers your question.  If you have anything else, let me know.     

Thanks,
Zach
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antonucci23
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« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2009, 09:49:25 AM »

Awesome! 

It's a very well designed site; I think I just associated monetization with its impressively professional interface quality.
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stables
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« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2009, 10:57:39 AM »

Let me agree with Mike and applaud Zach and his colleagues for their great work. This site is designed to make our communication easier, but that in no way means that there shouldn't be other, vibrant ways for our community to interact. I know I really appreciate Zach's tremendous work and wish them all the best. We are lucky to have them contributing to the community.
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Gordon Stables
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
Director of Debate & Forensics
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
University of Southern California
hansonjb
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« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2009, 12:23:34 AM »

i am one of the ones who complained about the old site.

this new site is solid.

i'm an email person and the ability to get notifications for entire boads on this forum is awesome.

in line with what josh is saying, i hope that the effort to create a professional space does not restrict messages that push buttons. obviously, there is a line (libel, some personal attacks, definitely spam, etc.) but in general--messages should not be removed.
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jim hanson Smiley
seattle u debate forensics speech rhetoric
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