Effect of the Internet on Debate

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Technology plays a big role in our lives, and forensics is no exception. Before the internet, which was also before PF was an NFL category, competitors in LD and congress would spend hours upon hours reading philosophy books and news articles and whatever could possibly have relevance to any debate. LD lends itself to the intelligent; those who are well read, have general and specific knowledge. Now that the internet is widely used and is the most accessible source of information, competitors have taken advantage of the resource at the expense of quality debate.

After reading through the "Future of LD" post and comments, i started thinking why the change in LD has happened. I must believe that the internet is, in part, to blame. When you google "death penalty justice" you get results leading you to one side opinion papers that spit numbers at you begging for your support without giving you moral based facts. It is now simply easier for a debater to type in key terms of a resolution and quote the first 6 articles on the page. This leads the debaters to support the values and claims by facts and quotations rather than by logic and analyses.

Another thing the expansion of the internet has caused is that now between rounds a competitor can log on to the internet on a phone and find a rebuttal to a particular argument. If competitors are determined to succeed, they ought to take this time to formulate a response of their own. not find someone else's and present it as their own. I have to believe that the well thought out analyses of the values in the resolution has the upper hand in a debate with a reasonable judge.

PF seems as it was created to take advantage of the new style of debate. The structure of PF lends itself to a more upbeat, easier-to-understand debate. After all, most of the research required comes from news articles written for the public, not necessarily for scholars. Between rounds, it's never been possible to find a statistic to spit back at the next team that has the same quote from an article printed yesterday.

The internet allows debaters to prepare for a tournament much faster than every before. This results in less time spent on writing a case and not as deep of knowledge about the resolution.

whether it is a good thing for debate is for you to decide.

I agree with you that there is a dilemma. The internet has traded quality for convenience in many situations. The in-depth analysis is the responsibility of the competitor and I think that there are too few debaters who succeed in truly understanding the intimate details of an issue. With that said, justice is normally served because the top debaters are always the ones who are able to understand the intricate aspects of a subject and that will set anyone apart.

Based on what I'm reading, if a debater used the Internet AND took the time to be prepared and understand the intricacies of their topic, that debater would be like Neo and unstoppable. Whoa.

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