Be the Change: Post Full Text Speech Docs

Tell me if this sounds familiar.  You and your partner are negative round 6 of a tournament.  You’re feeling pretty good because you are 4-1, and you are facing a pretty reputable team.  You hurry and make it to the room and look up your opponent’s wiki, only to find out that they haven’t posted any cites for this tournament.  What’s more is that they only have 1ac documents up from a few previous tournaments.

When they arrive to the room, you say “what aff is it?”, and they say: “We read a new bulk data aff round 2”.  You say, “can we get cites?” They say ok, but ten minutes go by and you have now been provided citations to 18 cards that you have 10 minutes to try and look up. You also have no idea of the underlining, so you don’t know the specifics of what they will read anyway.  You are now stuck to generics, and you are entering the round nearly as unprepared as you would be had they not disclosed anything at all.  All of this despite the fact that they’d been reading that very aff for two rounds prior.

And, I’m guessing you aren’t blameless either.  You posted neg 1nc cites for round 1, but no cards and definitely no block cites.  The aff has to ask you, “What are past 2nrs?”.  “What was your round 3 1nc?”  “Can we get cites to your agenda da?”  All of which takes 15 minutes of needless preround prep, just simply wasted — by BOTH teams.

It’s funny, because after this “jump me your cites dance”, folks rarely even looks at the cites that they are handed after having asked for them.  It’s almost a game to see how much time you can waste.  Debate culture seems to dictate that you have to answer all of the requests, because you know your wiki should have included the information that they need anyway.  All of this wasting of time needs to STOP!  And, the only way that it can stop is if teams start adopting something closer to the college norm where ALL speech docs are posted immediately at the conclusion of the debate.  You take your 1ac/2ac/1ar (or the neg docs) and place it in an organized file and upload it while you wait for the judge to make their decision.  You fill out the round report, and you’re done!

Then, there are no more questions that can waste your pre-reound prep!

Your pre-round conversation will look more like this one:

Q:”What’s the aff?”

A:”Same as Round 1 on the wiki”

Q: “Can we get cites?”

A: “Full text on the wiki”

Q: “Can we get your 2ac cites to ESR CP?”

A: “All 2ac’s on the wiki”

Q: “Can we get…..”

A: “We’ve posted everything from the entire year on the wiki with round reports.  We’re going to prep now.”

Now, you might be saying, if we’re the only ones, people are going to have our cards and we won’t have theirs!  That’s true, but if people want your cards, they are going to have them anyway.  It will just be more of a hassle for them.

Since paperless debate has become the norm, we’ve seen a norm change in the community where its now accepted that speech docs are public domain.  When you contact opponents or judges for docs from rounds where you share an opponent, folks are very happy to share.  If your judge or your opponent can share your documents with the universe, then there seems to be little incentive to not just do it yourself.  What’s more is that there is no longer any ethical concerns remaining about whether it’s ok to read another teams cards after you’ve accessed their evidence via speech docs.  Clearly, you are going to and should be held responsible if the research ends up being in error, or fabricated, because you didn’t recut the cards.  For that reason, I encourage my debaters and everyone to recut evidence they’ve obtained from another team for using it. But it’s no longer seen as WRONG to read evidence you’ve obtained from another team. If it were wrong, Michigan KM could ring up every high school high theory team for copyright infringement.

You’d like to be saved the trouble of tracking everyone else’s docs down, wouldn’t you?  Wouldn’t it be nice if you could find a speech doc from every round you wish to read?  The argument is to be the change you want to see.  There’s no uniqueness for preserving documents, because judges and opponents will share them anyway.  There is a hassle DA and a loss of pre-round prep DA that status quo practices link to, and a whole new advantage of being able to create more clash if everyone posts their documents.

Do you like when college teams post all of their speech docs?  Wouldn’t it be great if all your opponents did the same?  Stop the pre-round citation dance.  Be the change you seek.  Post your speech docs.


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