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I have met not only parents and debaters, but even coaches that say something like the following: “It’s ok for one team to make bad arguments and quote evidence that shows only half the story, or leave out half the article’s points, because it is the other team’s job to call them on it!”

Seth Godin—world famous author, and the only blogger I let into my email inbox—would likely call it spam. Betsy McPeak, who is working on the Ethos book we’ve been writing, put the “debate analogy” next to Seth Godin’s word in his blog…

What is spam?

“Spam is commercial, unsolicited, unanticipated, irrelevant messaging, sent in bulk. It’s the email you didn’t ask to get, the junk in the comments that’s selfish and trying to sell something, the robocall on your cell phone from a company pretending to be Google Maps.”

>>>Irrelevant arguments, sent in bulk –   10 DAs (spread), junk that’s selfish – loaded arguments not aimed at advancing true understanding of topic, but aimed only at advancing yourself in the round.>>>

“Some spammers will tell you that all you need to do is opt out. But of course, the very problem with spam is that it requires action on the part of the recipient, action that can’t possibly scale (how many times a day should we have to opt out, communicating with businesses we never asked to hear from in the first place?) People are smart enough to see that once spam becomes professionally and socially acceptable, all open systems fall apart.”

>>>Requires action – Judge/opponents have to listen, put your arguments on the flow, address your arguments – EVEN if they are stinky arguments. >>>

“Spam is in the eye of the beholder, and so my definition of permission marketing kicks in: If the person you’re communicating with would have missed you if you didn’t show up, you have permission. On the other hand, just because you know someone’s email address or phone number, just because you have figured out how to automate a captcha or hack a discussion board doesn’t mean you’re welcome there.”

>>>Time/space to present arguments is really a trust you are given, and you shouldn’t just say anything because you can. Permission debating: would your argument be missed in the round if you didn’t make it. Will it leave a hole in the understanding of the round if you don’t say it.>>>

“What to say to the business person who says, “sure, that’s fine, but how do you get permission in the first place? How can I get noticed without spamming people to get started?” The two answers: 1. spend some cash and buy socially acceptable, scalable announcements called advertising. Or 2. Tell ten people.

It’s easy to count how many sales you created by spamming a list. Harder, but more important, to count how many people you burned all trust with.”

>>>Debaters don’t always realize that they are creating a reputation, a persona, a trust quotient, that will follow them outside of and past the debate tournament. Solid, trustworthy debaters are viewed as solid, trustworthy people by the community, and vice versa.>>>

“Trust, as we know, is the essence of connection and transaction, and spam is the radioactive antitrust device.”

>>>You are entrusted with real people’s time and true resources. Be worthy of the connection and transaction that you are entrusted with.>>>

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