Welcome to The Paperless Debate Wiki!


If you are interested in paperless debate, the first place to look is Aaron Hardy's paperless debate site, home of the Verbatim template:
paperlessdebate.com

There's a brand new version of Verbatim with lots of new features. The site also includes a copy of the most recent Paperless Debate Manual , by Hardy.

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Debate Synergy:
DebateSynergy.com enables debate students to store online research and stream debate rounds.
Debate Sidebar Word AddIn enables file organization and speech streaming through Microsoft Word.
Debate Synergy Timer enables tracking prep, speech progress, and round timeline.
in10search enhances online research with auto-loading results and imports to Debate Synergy.

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Macs: Word 2008 for the Mac has no visual basic support. Mac users with that version of Word have been left "out in the cold" except they have access to Applescript. Applescript is very powerful, but no compilation of "debate stuff" for the Mac user exists other than "dual boot or use Parallels." While this is great advice to people with the resources & inclination, it ignores the work that has already been done to integrate the mac into modern debate.

Brad Bolman, Peter Vale, and Pembroke Hill have spent a while on making the Mac work with paperless debate. We've created a near-complete adaptation of the Macros to Applescript. The first effort is included in Hardy's Paperless Debate V2 and the rest will be included shortly. (Downloadable here http://www.whitman.edu/rhetoric/tech/ApplescriptPaperlessMacros1.0.zip, or from the main Whitman Tech page http://www.whitman.edu/rhetoric/61tech.htm ) For more information, email bbolman@gmail.com or pcvale2@gmail.com

Linux: Many prefer it. Its efficient. It doesn't cost as much as Windows. Aaron Hardy reports success running Word 2003 in WINE with linux as his full time OS. It would be even cheaper if an inexpensive or free editor & viewer were available. Windows & MS Word represent a huge part of the cost of a working debate machine.

Alternative Editors/Viewers: MS Word is a great word processor, but its not for everyone. Debate maximizes use of a select few features in Word. The rest of Word that we don't use adds unnecessary overhead. Various text or other editors designed to create & view structured documents might get the job done more efficiently.

OpenOffice: OpenOffice.org's macro support is more than robust enough to get the job done. One of Malgor's students at the GDI has it working. See here. OpenOffice is also free of charge, substantially reducing initial outlay. Stumbling blocks: Lack of a normal view in Writer, OpenOffice's implementation of the document map isn't as slick as Word for in-round debating.

Version Control: Paperless represents a filing challenge. Squads typically need to maintain a "master" file set organized several different ways: by subject, by date, & so on. Each individual debate team needs a customized set of files -- they need to do their own filing, change the blocks they read as arguments are updated & upgraded & highlight things for themselves so they can deliver it well. Keeping track of changes to files is currently done manually, typically using naming conventions & manual editorial control of "master" & "custom" "tubs" & "expandos."

Version control can do cool stuff: Tracking - debaters can review changes to files & decide whether to accept, reject or modify them, Reversion - so errors can be undone, File locking - so only one user can edit a file at once if desired, Collaboration - to simplify the process of multiple users working on a single file, Syncing - so individual changes to files can be incorporated into the master set & vice versa. All this stuff is daydreaming now.

Examples of "Version Control" include: SVC (Software Version Control,) Subversion, Git (Used for linux kernel development http://git-scm.com/ ), & Microsoft Sharepoint, including Hardy's custom Sharepoint product PaDS .

A combination of unobtrusive version control, a relational database, plus an editor/viewer that can replicate Word's functionality is fun to think about. There are vast advantages to creating a system to allow datamining of debate research. Such a system would provide deeper insight into the community and allow the game to continue to evolve (see the work of Jure Leskovec in the field of social informatics about for more information http://cs.stanford.edu/people/jure/ ).