Disclosure and Creativity by Martin Sigalow


This is the first of a few articles I will write criticizing disclosure as a norm in Lincoln Douglas debate. In this article, I will argue that the practice of disclosure diminishes creativity in debate and therefore prepares debaters poorly for life.

I have three caveats to the disclosure series as a whole.

First, what I am about to say doesn’t really affect disclosure as a plank in a theory counter-interpretation designed to resolve theoretical offense. It primarily affects offensive theory arguments forcing other debaters to disclose. A grey area would be where disclosure was added to a plank of a different offensive theory argument. My feeling on this is: if the disclosure part itself was meant to magnify some abuse story then what I will be saying does not apply, and if the disclosure part could be won as standalone offense then it does.

Second, this article is entirely personal opinion, and should be treated as such. I am interested primarily in what effects this piece has on people who read it, those who have the ability to do otherwise than force disclosure. There are many people I will not convince that disclosure is bad. I have almost no interest in arguing with these people, because the resolution to our difference of opinion will not result in a difference in action, something the pragmatist in me prizes highly. I am far more interested in talking to people who have not thought about disclosure with any seriousness, or who enforce disclosure but have a conscience that registers feelings of doubt every now and again. I hope to have had some impact on people in the area of the proverbial fence of the disclosure debate.

Third, nothing that I say in this piece (or in the pieces that will follow) should be used to support an argument for disclosure, even if I sometimes advance an argument disclosure might achieve some beneficial result. Any use of my words to force another debater to disclose is an evidence ethics breach of major proportions and should compel a loss. I think judges who know this about my series should enforce this regardless of whether a debater advances an argument to this effect, chiefly because it is the worst form of academic dishonesty and should be dealt with harshly.

The Value of Creativity

The goal of debate is to train people for real life. As participants in a large, insular debate community, it is easy to forget that the activity is embedded in larger institutions that do not support it for its own sake. Debate is a great activity for high school students (and college students) because once debaters leave the debate community they’ve learned so much that will help them in the real world. In this sense, the distinction between the “real world” and the “debate world” is unproductive. A person who is no better prepared for life after debate has, in a very real sense, wasted their time. Debaters are students, and learning is a central component of the enterprise of debate.

I am no teacher and no student of education theory. The distinctions I draw are purely my own and come from the experience I have. I find these distinctions useful but a person with a better background in education might be able to put what I say here in a better light.

In debate rounds, education claims are often thrown around without much thought. At their best, education debates these days center around certain sites of education, such as education about the current debate topic, about philosophy, about so-called “critical” literature. The introduction of role of the ballot arguments caused the diversity of education arguments to skyrocket. The quality of education-based arguments subsequently plummeted. Almost without exception, these types of education are what I will call “content education.” All of these arguments claim that people should be educated about certain facts. Topic education involves learning facts about the question of the resolution. Philosophy education involves learning what philosophers have said and how they relate to what other philosophers have said. A role of the ballot argument claiming that people should be educated about capitalism requires learning facts about capitalism. Many of these facts take the form of arguments; this is debate, after all. Good topic education is learning why certain people support certain policy proposals. Good capitalism education involves learning not just what capitalism is, but how it works, and how people might support it or fight it.

I will contrast this form of education with what I will call “process education.” Process education involves doing and not just knowing. Undertaking a task that requires intellectual development helps process education. A familiar argument in the sphere of debate is the “clash” theory standard. This claims that interacting arguments is educational since it requires people to forge new connections between different issues and think about the relationship between divergent things. This is a process of individual discovery, if done correctly, and helps people create neural pathways open and receptive to new issues. Educational systems try to cultivate “critical thinking” in students, which is the sort of thinking provided by process education (I have chosen not to use the term “critical thinking” here because I find the term vacuously applied). The difference between this form of education and content education is that process education is not really “about” anything. There is no set subject of the learning. Instead, the learning that happens is in new ways of thinking rather than in new things to think about. Existing bits of learning can be more extensively and interestingly applied to new areas.

These forms of education are not mutually exclusive, or course, and every bit of good content education involves content process education, and vice versa. After all, learning about why government surveillance harms national security could help people think about different arguments and how they work together to support a cohesive position against surveillance; cohesion between arguments and how they relate to other arguments could be a helpful form of process education. The relationship between content and process education is about the focus and priority of education rather than on direct tradeoffs. Process education focuses on how the way people learn affects the total education a student gains. Content education focuses on what people learn and that affects the total education a student gains.

“Creativity,” as I use it here, is a particular form of process education where students apply what they know to other things in new and interesting ways. This is an inventive process; new, unexpected data must be applied to existing knowledge in complex ways. A focus on creativity in education requires that students are put in a position where they must apply what they know to a wide variety of different situations in unpredictable ways.

Creativity is one of the most valuable skills in education today. Content based education demanded by theory arguments and role of the ballot arguments cannot truly help students for the rapidly changing world before us. A focus on creative process education is vital to any connection to modern education. As Sir Ken Robinson writes:

“The challenges we currently face are without precedent. … The world’s population has doubled in the past 30 years. We’re facing an increasing strain on the world’s natural resources. Technology is advancing at a headlong rate of speed. It’s transforming how people work, think, and connect. It’s transforming our cultural values. If you look at the resulting strains on our political and financial institutions, on health care, on education, there really isn’t a time in history where you could look back and say, “Well, of course, this is the same thing all over again.” It isn’t. This is really new, and we’re going to need every ounce of ingenuity, imagination, and creativity to confront these problems. Also, we’re living in times of massive unpredictability. The kids who are starting school this September will be retiring—if they ever do—around 2070. Nobody has a clue what the world’s going to look like in five years, or even next year actually, and yet it’s the job of education to help kids make sense of the world they’re going to live in. … So being creative is essential to us …”[1]

Education is unhelpful if it is not creative since students will learn things but not able to apply and reapply them to life’s dynamic situations. Education must help students thrive, and creativity is necessary to do this, as Dr. Rosa Aurora Chávez-Eakle explains:

“Understanding, identifying, and nurturing the creative potential is relevant in education if we want students able to solve academic and personal problems and challenges, to find innovative solutions and alternatives, and to have better tools and resources for success in a fast-changing world. Creative thinking not only enhances our ability to adapt to our environment and circumstances but also allows us to transform those environment and circumstances. Creativity has been identified as a key component for survival and resilience. If our goal is to teach and nurture future scientists, artists, engineers, entrepreneurs we need to understand and nurture the creative potential because creativity has provided the foundation for art, science, philosophy, and technology. If we want to teach children to become productive human beings, and more satisfied with what they do with their lives we need to support them in the process of discovering and enjoying their creative potential.”[2]

Among means of process education, creativity takes center stage since there is not a real value to learning how to do something if it cannot be applied to new situations. Creativity outclasses any content or process based education, and is eminently important in the context of debate. In debate, speech times are limited, which prevents most in depth content discussions. Process education is most important in debate because the experiences of individual debate rounds is what drives specific memorable learning. Creativity is therefore key in the context of debate, where it is important to actualize any bit of process education and translate it into true and unique learning.

Disclosure’s Impact on Creativity

The disclosure question is best posed this way: should there be a constraint on easy access to information about opposing case positions? I believe such a constraint is justified because it encourages creativity by pushing people to think quickly about things they do not expect, encouraging in-round argument innovation. In general, constraints on the available options of competitors in a game increases the creative potential of the game; this is a triviality of game design. In the specific case of debate, constraining access to information, and dispensing with disclosure, promotes creativity.

There are three related ways disclosure hampers creativity.

First, and trivially, a debater is forced to be creative if they’ve never thought about an argument before, or heard of it. If debaters generally do not disclose, the position up for debate is not known until the precise moment of the debate begins. With disclosure it is likely that talented students at the same tournament will know what the likely competition is reading. Even people who are not well-known gain attention if they disclose interesting positions, so their arguments will not be a surprise. Not knowing opposing arguments in advance will force debaters to respond creatively as their brain struggles to come up with something responsive to say. This experience and pressure of having to come up with new and good arguments on the spot is uniquely valuable, even if the arguments presented in the debate are not as strong as they would be with coach assistance and extra time to prepare.

Second, people will attempt less academically mainstream arguments in a world without disclosure. An argument that is more fringe, and harder to defend, is significantly less likely to be made in a world where universal disclosure exists. This, of course, narrows down the arguments a debater can expect to face. Arguments are far more likely to be normal issues on which there is much academic debate, and not on old or forgotten issues which are settled in academia. Without arguments of familiar types and familiar applications, a debater is forced to think about and respond with their own minds. I believe that being forced to debate against positions like these helps people prepare for the real world.  It is not unjust if a debater loses to an argument that people in academia do not defend. It means instead that a position that academics agree is shaky can beat someone not used to thinking about arguments of that type. In fact, losing to an argument not considered in advance is a very teachable moment, first because hard losses tend to be educational, and second because during rebuttal redoes people are likely to think long and hard about how to not lose to the position again.

Third, coaching is a huge help to debaters before debate rounds. In rounds where the other debater is fully disclosed, a coach becomes a person that gives arguments to a debater looking for answers to a position before their debate. This can and, for some of the more-coached schools, often does happen at the level of line-by-line responses to certain arguments. Without disclosure, coaches are reduced to giving strategic advice before debater, or writing up responses to a position after someone sees it. In a world without disclosure, if a debater argues against a position they and their coach did not expect, that debater must think and make arguments of types they have not thought about beforehand. If they fail to do so, they will probably lose. In the real world, a person does not often have a coach to help them with responses to new and fast data. It is better for a person to not need one. While there is certainly some value in a coach pointing out creative connections between arguments, it is vastly better for a debater to do that themselves because experiencing the process of drawing connections between arguments is more of a learning experience than finding out what connections exist from someone else.

I am convinced that the increasing prevalence of disclosure is at least partially responsible for a disturbing trend among debates I have seen and judged where debaters seem unable to make responses themselves to arguments of new types they have not heard before. The expectation that arguments will be expected, normal, and carded has made responses to new and strange items much, much worse. This is the only way someone would ever lose to the arguments that “trivialism takes out theory,” or that “only one thing exists” for example, because those arguments are very poor. Those arguments would not survive a moderately responsive thought. They also rarely get one.


When I was in high school, towards the end of my senior year, I debated against an affirmative case I had never seen in any type before. It argued that everything is true, and contained many cards from people like Derrida. I sat down for preparation time without an argument at my disposal I was used to making that would be useful. Disclosure was not a widespread practice yet, and I had no idea this was coming. The experience of that prep time was oddly liberating. I had to make arguments, new arguments, and interesting arguments, about something odd and most surely false.

Debate now needs more experiences like this, where debaters will say silly things and they are forced to use their reasoning skills to figure out responses and strategies anew, right there, in the middle of the debate. When the real world afflicts us with new and interesting facts, new and interesting choices, new and interesting opportunities, we should be creative enough to respond. Disclosure substantially limits this by making sure that any argument can be laid out, plotted against, and colonized in advance by a literature base and an army of coaches.

[1] http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/sept09/vol67/num01/Why-Creativity-Now%C2%A2-A-Conversation-with-Sir-Ken-Robinson.aspx

[2] http://education.jhu.edu/PD/newhorizons/Journals/spring2010/therelevanceofcreativityineducation/

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  • After reading Martin’s article and Bob’s response, I feel compelled to offer a few comments as an experienced attorney and debate judge (I am NOT a coach). I have been a practicing attorney (litigation) for over 18 years. I have been judging debate (LD, PF, Congress) for a 7 years (4 years, then break, now 3 years). Firstly, both of the articles present valid arguments in support of the stated positions, but I feel that they are disconnected on several levels. “In the real world”, people often have to think on their feet and respond without the aid of time or a team to help in preparation. In the real world, limitations often present preventing collaboration. The obvious limitation is financial funding, which in litigation, means that the person less able to afford the team of attorneys and experts is often at a disadvantage in court. So, the ability to think on one’s feet and analyze quickly, often alone, is a valuable skill that should be honed as part of the educational process. It is insufficient and overly dismissive to discount Martin’s argument with the assumption that “in the real world” everyone has ample time, a team and resources. Currently, disclosure is used less as a tool and more of a club to batter an opponent. Either an Aff debater discloses, thereby hurting his or her own position and positioning himself or herself to be victimized by time skew, or else face the Neg debater running disclosure theory and thereby possibly losing a round based on that. I cannot honestly think of a more pathetic way to win a round, but such is the present state of LD debate. Both speak of creativity, but Martin puts forth an argument for creativity BY THE STUDENT, while Bob argues for more general creativity in the larger debate arguments presented. Both are valid, and not necessarily mutually exclusive. I would agree that creativity is a good thing, as both argue, but creativity alone is not the goal. In the context of wider creativity in the debate world, then full disclosure of entire cases well in advance of the rounds would lead to the widest variety of arguments and cases presented. Of course, this is extreme, but such situation underscores Martin’s point about the creativity of the student himself/herself being stifled, as a result of having massive research and prep done by coaches and teammates. I agree with Martin that disclosure generally hurts the small school or independent student, who lacks the manpower and resources to do the last minute prep before rounds. “Lone Wolf” debaters are faced with challenges much greater than the privileged students coming from large or well funded programs. When disclosure occurs before a round, the Neg debater has the opportunity to prep out and create appropriate responses to the AC. But also, Neg has an opportunity to put forth its own case, which is not typically disclosed until the last possible minute, if at all. So, Aff is now at a disadvantage. Combine this with the problem of LD debate now having evolved to the point where “solvency” is offered in every round, and counter plans are routinely set forth in the NC, the Aff debaters disadvantage becomes monumental, since without proper prep, the Aff cannot possibly address all of this in the 4 minute 1AR. So, time skew becomes very real. Even with the generous 4 minutes of prep time afforded under NSDA rules, the Aff debater has a real problem. Regardless, there needs to be an emphasis on the students doing more of their own work and analytics, not less, and the “win at all cost” mentality of dominant circuit teams is doing more to harm debate, rather than help. For there to be real progress in debate (specifically LD), there needs to be some real discussion about the purpose of LD debate, and not simply training to win rounds and get bids. So, now let me get off my soapbox and offer a few suggestions.
    First, the larger debate community (organizations: NSDA, TOC, CFL) should attempt to address the issue uniformly with a stated policy to avoid the ad hoc use and application of the sanction of a debater losing to disclosure theory. Without stated policy, there is always a question of how much disclosure is needed. Consequently, there is always available the argument that the disclosure was not enough or misleading. With the evolution of LD into one person policy debate, there should be serious discussion about what the future of LD should be and how best to preserve LD as a unique debate event.
    Second, any compelled disclosure (even under threat of disclosure theory argument) must be met with reciprocal disclosure of Neg’s substantive case, including Ks and counter plans. Certainly, there will be much less time for Aff to prep or respond to Neg’s late disclosure, particularly in response to the AC. A compromise position would be that Neg disclose the substantive NC, including plans/counter plans at the same time that Aff discloses. Analytics need not be disclosed. It should be enough to disclose common or well known argument names, or present cited authorities/articles.
    Third, in round prep time can be enlarged by a couple of minutes per side. In addition, the round times may need to evolve to a longer 1AR to account for the evolutionary changes to LD debate.
    Lastly, intentional misstating/falsifying evidence should be grounds for disqualification from any tournament, not just a dropped round. Judges can enforce by calling cards more often when cards are disputed as to statement or effect. Of course this should be used rarely, but it needs to be present (and used) to have the proper coercive effect to combat cheating.
    I am sure there are more things I might suggest, given more analysis and time. Both Martin’s and Bob’s arguments have merit and some flaws. The answer to the larger problem is not to decide who is right or wrong, but rather for the debate community (and organizing bodies) to have intelligent discussion about the issues and to make changes or set policies that benefit all who participate in LD. Thanks for the articles gentlemen. I feel enlightened and stimulated by the discourse. I sincerely hope more feel the same way.

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  • Nelson Ok

    I’ve never really competed on the “National Circuit” and the closest i’ve gotten to that is at the Churchill Tournamen and/or TFA state. I’m the only debater that competes on the varsity level at the small school I go to and from my perspective I feel like the notion “disclose or lose” is kind of bad. Some judges’ paradigms say they will almost always vote on disclosure theory and that kind of puts small school debaters in a bit of a bind. For example my coach doesn’t even know what the wiki or disclosure is and i’m not even sure if it costs money or not. I probably wouldn’t even have known what the wiki was if i didn’t have circuit friends. So lets say I go to TFA state completely oblivious to what disclosure theory was and someone runs it on me, i’d probably lose and not know why. Also like i stated earlier i’m the only debater that competes at the varsity level so if i were forced to disclose, big schools like harvard westlake or greenhill would prep me out to oblivion. I’d lose the round before i even walked in and i’d probably not be able to do it back.

    • Manonymous

      Prep-outs are not an excuse to not disclose. Even if your aff is known, if it’s a prelim, they’ve got like an hour at max to prep out your aff. And if you don’t know your aff and common responses to said aff- an aff you’re probably been honing for hours on end- well enough to beat a prep-out complied an hour before the round, you deserve to lose. You should have front lines to your positions. Elims are obviously trickier, but that’s why breaking new is part of the natural mechanism.

      Also, prep-ours are non-unique to disclosure. In fact, debate without disclosure makes big-school info advantages more problematic, since they will just scout and ask connections for your positions instead. And small schools can’t do that. Disclosure levels the playing field by giving small school debaters with fewer contacts the same chance to learn about their opponents as vice versa.

      It’s that simple. Write a good aff that can withstand prep-outs. As good as Greenhill and HW resources are, they won’t know your positions as well as you do- prep-outs are all fine and dandy, but there is another speech they have to give. Make it hell for them.

  • tick TOC

    I appreciate the position that this article takes but I think it relies on a lot of the myths that anti-disclosure advocates perpetuate. Namely, “disclosure lowers creativity” and “responding to arguments on the fly is key to critical thinking”. The idea that disclosure lowers creativity is contradictory. Disclosure is a phenomenal resource for the introduction of new ideas into debate. Many disclosure buffs come from small schools with limited access to research and a limited knowledge base. The wiki is a treasure trove of interesting positions and research that’s easily accessible. Putting up something unique on the wiki only increases the chances that said position will gain popularity and be improved upon by another debater who takes it off your wiki. There also seems to be this notion that “creative positions” benefit from being unknown. To put it bluntly: if your position is well researched and well written, it should have no problem beating prep outs. By championing disclosure you are admitting that the only reason these “creative positions” are competitive is because your opponents have no idea what you’re talking about. And given an hour or so could easily tear your position apart if you were to put it up online. Non-disclosure simply lowers the bar for good argumentation. This also attacks the assumption that having nothing to say to a position in a debate round is a productive experience. Researching every argument on the topic is a large part of what makes debate so educational in the first place. Without it you would only be having a surface level debate every round about the few parts of your opponent’s obscure argument you actually understood. If every round I read a non-disclosed plan that specced to one city in one country, my opponent would either be left with no evidence in an empirics debate over a plan, or they would just read theory. Both strategies would be less educational than a well researched counter-plan and disad to that specific plan. And in terms of portable skills, it is a misguided idea to encourage students to go into any real life situation having done zero research and expect them to succeed by coming up with something on the spot. I’m all for spontaneous argumentation but often times there just isn’t much you can say to a position without having some previous understanding of it. Wouldn’t a debate between two kids who understand and have previously researched a position be more engaging anyway?

    • Martin Sigalow

      Small schools: not going to get into that now, but in general I do believe disclosure hurts debaters from small schools.

      “If your position is good you have nothing to fear from disclosing!”: Yes, but my argument is that the debate experience is worse for both people if the debate unfolds along dull, common lines. A position that is more fringe is not necessarily more confusing, although it could be. And maybe people would be better at answering arguments they’ve never heard before if they had to at all, without external help or benefit, and without external sources to tell you what arguments to make.

      “Researched debate is good debate”: In a world with no disclosure debaters have to do lots of research, obviously. Most of the time you debate against a non-disclosed position, your prep will apply, and you guys can have a nice debate where both sides deploy their research in predictable ways, like every debate where no one really learns anything but a ballot gets signed one way. Sometimes the mountain of research you did doesn’t cover what they said, and in that case you might have to do it live. You know. Make arguments. With your brain.

      “Speccing down to a city is bad”: Yes. A debater that specs down to one city should lose on theory because that is unfair because negative generics don’t apply. If they do apply, then you can lean on those, or, you know, answer the framework and run some philosophical argument. Sounds like fun!

      “You say people should do zero research and have to confront things”: I do not. Debaters should do lots of research precisely because they have a general idea what sort of things people will say but they do not know for sure. In the real world, policymakers should do lots of research on things in public debates, congressional hearings, etc., precisely because they don’t know what questions they will be asked and what points will be brought up. Sometimes a curveball is thrown that there is not a perfect response to, and an individual has to be inventive. Read: life.

      “Wouldn’t the round be more engaging?” Yes. From an external point of view, from the judge point of view, a debate where one debater discloses is better in almost every way from a non-disclosed round. From the long view it is worse, because in the rare case a debater faces a new argument they haven’t heard before they don’t know how to think about things and it’s embarrassing. It is also worse from the perspective of “did the kids really learn something?”

      Also: Who are you?

  • Tyler Haulotte

    Hey there,

    I’m not really super involved with the debate community anymore, but I’m pretty sure I’m the person who you’re referring to who ran the “Affirm Everything” AC. I’m not really interested in getting into a heated debate about this or anything, but when I debated I was fiercely pro-disclosure. In my view, using me as an example of where you had to innovate if anything points to the fact that disclosure far from stifles innovation and creativity. Let me say in a relatively jumbled way a few thoughts I had.

    I think that it’s important to point out that many of the anti-disclosure people usually think of people who were pro-disclosure as coming from places like Greenhill. I went to a relatively small school (Stony Point) and disclosed everything. At locals, and sometimes bid tournaments, I even let people see the full text of my cases before rounds (this includes schools much, much bigger than mine, like Greenhill). I felt like disclosure helped me learn how to debate styles that my school didn’t specialize in (Ks, CPs, Plans, Theory, etc.) and that the least I could do to give back after having learned so much from the generosity of others was to contribute myself. Far from stifling innovation, what disclosure allowed me to do was see what good cases looked like, and to open the door to non-traditional things that other people were doing.

    In my view, innovation and creativity never occur within a vacuum. Even when constructing an untraditional case, the only way to do so effectively is if you really know how to construct a good one in the first place. Similarly, without the awareness of positions like the one I ran, you could never have the positive experience of debating the position that you did. Imagine we weren’t so lucky as to be debating at a round robin, and instead were at a local tournament, where you had never heard of kritiks let alone a figure like Derrida. Not being able to engage this material beforehand and at least try to do so would just leave you intimidated. I think that it’s only those who have the necessary conceptual background (which I would tend to associate with proper coaching, and thereby generally opportunity and privilege in general) that would see such an experience as liberating instead of horrifying. Hence, more often than not, I didn’t run cases like this against people if they asked me not to, and would try to explain it as simply as I possibly could beforehand.

    I think that prep outs can actually be incredibly creative. In my own experience, this is what I spent quite a lot of time doing—making non-traditional prepared responses to cases I knew would be run, and I found it profoundly educational. I think that if someone constructed a sort of Hegelian retort to the quasi-Derridean position explicated above—that every affirmation is a negation of negation—would lead to an incredibly interesting debate, one far more interesting than the arguments an 18 year old can construct off the top of their heads after encountering the position for the first time. I think this is the case with plans and counterplans as well—you’re forced to come up with creative answers to people whenever they’ve heard the generic block over and over again, and this leads to, at least in my experience, better debates and more research. And let’s be honest—real education doesn’t occur in the isolated mind of a teenager, but when she is forced to engage with real problems in the world, through research.

    Against the claim that disclosure leads to arguments being “colonized in advance” by prep work—and perhaps this is the proper Derridean response—aren’t arguments always-already colonized in advance by prep work and coaches? Namely, isn’t your capacity to engage with the argument rendered possible by the sort of coaching you received, your ability to see the argument and understand its conceptual background and make arguments? Wouldn’t it be worse if those without coaching had no access to seeing what kind of unorthodox positions are run and how to research them?

    I know that my ability to run that position was ultimately made possible through the generosity of others who decided to disclose. It was, in no sense, a bolt out of the blue. I don’t know what the implications for this are, theoretically or otherwise, but I would suggest this in line with the thought of Derrida who is invoked here. Perhaps rather than feeling that there are external limitations or considerations in advance—which would render any genuine response already on the level of a reaction—why not instead consider disclosure something hospitable? Rather than be concerned with wins or losses or promoting fairness for the other person, why not instead consider that we’re all often lost in this world, and that maybe you posting your own cases (at least after the topic is over) helps out some student at a small school, perhaps hundreds of miles away? Maybe this is hopeless naïve, which might be doubly true for my not having been too seriously involved in the activity for some time, but why not just think of disclosure as an act of hospitality towards another person, struggling, as perhaps you have in the past?

  • Cookie

    “When I was in high school, towards the end of my senior year, I debated against an affirmative case I had never seen in any type before. It argued that everything is true, and contained many cards from people like Derrida.”

    Ironically the debater who ran this case – the great and wise and creative Tyler Haulotte – is very pro-disclosure. I disclosed the case below to crush (really encourage) others’ creativity and infuriate Tyler… I know stealing people’s cases isn’t right, but I feel justified because he stole my first name.

    On a more serious note, disclosure debates are so 2000-and-late. I think disclosure is good for debate, but I don’t feel like rehashing the reasons. The pro- and anti-disclosure people should come to some type of compromise, such as making it purely voluntary or disclosing citations but not the cards and taglines. I think that would be the most pragmatic approach.

    – Cookie, aka The Real Tyler

    I am nothing but an affirmation, and debate is nothing but a call for your hospitality! A call for your kindness, to my benefit, in the form of a ballot! Affirmatives will ask you, plead you, to accept the “resolution” in the form of advantages, obligations, frameworks, a prioris, or ask you to deny this hospitality and openness to my opponent, through theory, kritiks, and other forms of arguments. This form of debate inevitably requires debaters establish what is ‘evil’, e.g. suffering, in order to say they alleviate it, or their opponent perpetuates this evil. This is a way of conditioning your hospitality, as has been Western tradition:

    Westmoreland agrees,

    Westmoreland 08 (Mark W., “Interruptions: Derrida and Hospitality”, Kritike, Volume Two, Number One, June 2008, http://www.kritike.org/journal/issue_3/westmoreland_june2008.pdf)

    On the one hand, the only hospitality that we have ever encountered in the West has been conditional. Conditional hospitality concerns itself with rights, duties, obligations, etc. It has a lineage tracing back to the GrecoRoman world, through the Judeo-Christian tradition, and to the political philosophies of Kant and Hegel.3 It has been regulated. Moreover, as Michael Naas points out, “For when it comes to politics, to hospitality in or of the state, conditions are always stipulated.”4 Hospitality has always been juridical. This tradition, the one we have inherited, stretches back to ancient Greece in particular. The hospitality of ancient Greece was understood in relation to the law. (However, let us not forget that the law, as a human construction, is not resistant to deconstruction.)5 In Athens, the foreigner [xenos] held some rights. Moreover, he was identified according to a pact [xenia]. Derrida writes, “Basically, there is no xenos, there is no foreigner before or outside the xenia.”6 An individual was recognized by how he appeared before the law, what status he held in the polis. The foreigner was placed inside the law, under the law, essential to the law. The foreigner occupied an integral space within the city. Indeed, the foreigner was essential because he provided that to which citizens could compare themselves. From a phenomenological standpoint, one could claim that one’s identity is only understood in relation to others. Citizens understand themselves in relation to others, to foreigners. “We are not those sorts of people. We are citizens.” In the laws of hospitality, we find a multiplicity involving differentiation according to the right of the state. The state establishes rules through which people can be divided into citizens and non-citizens, citizens and foreigners, hosts and guests. It can identify individuals; and therefore, it can include or exclude whosoever it chooses based on the laws, which it has created. For example, ancient Athens determined citizenship according to one’s place of birth. Socrates was, no doubt, a citizen of Athens; whereas, Aristotle, being born in Stagira, could never have become a citizen. Also, as Derrida points out, Socrates claimed to be a foreigner while appearing before the Athenian court

    “Theory” arguments, in their attempt to impose themselves upon the Other, are especially dubious limitations of hospitality.

    Westmoreland 2 continues on the relation between rule and hospitality,

    Westmoreland 08 (Mark W., “Interruptions: Derrida and Hospitality”, Kritike, Volume Two, Number One, June 2008, http://www.kritike.org/journal/issue_3/westmoreland_june2008.pdf)

    On the other hand, “Ethics,” Derrida writes in a discussion on Levinas, “is an ethics without law and without concept.”7 Robert Bernasconi argues, “And the possibility of ethics is referred, not to its actuality, but to its impossibility.”8 Any law or concept would impose on hospitality and would cause it to no longer be absolute, or unconditional. In Adieu to Emmanuel Levinas, Derrida defines ethics as hospitality, hospitality as ethics. Hospitality is not removed from ethics, nor is it a specific area of ethics. It is the foundation, or “the whole and the principle of ethics.”9 In other words, ethics relies on hospitality so much that one cannot speak of ethics without speaking of hospitality, although the relationship between the two may be at once both hidden and calling to be seen

    Unfortunately, when attempting to condition your hospitality, debaters often fail to articulate why these evils are evil. PERHAPS, it is because we cannot! If this is the case, we are left here, wondering: What am I to do to acquire the ballot? I attempt to answer this question: I suggest your hospitality be unconditional. This is the only potential way to achieve authenticity, as the potential for evil exists in all human acts. Negative calls of rejection based on the potential for evil lead to infinite regression, inaction, and all the while making the “good” they strive for impossible.

    Hagglund furthers on the Derridian argument,

    Hagglund 10 (Hagglund, Martin. Derrida Scholar. “The Non-Ethical Opening of Ethics: A Response to Derek Attridge”, Edingburg University Press, October 28th, 2010.)

    A good place to begin is Derrida’s provocative assertion that the relation to the other is not characterised by a fundamental goodness or ethical imperative but rather by what he describes as radical evil. The term is taken from Immanuel Kant’s treatise Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone, but it receives a quite different meaning in Derrida’s work. Schematically, the notion of radical evil can be seen as an intervention in one of the most fundamental theological debates, which concerns the origin of evil. The classic theological problem is how the omnipotence of God can be compatible with the existence of evil. If God created evil he is not absolutely good, but if he did not create evil he is not almighty. Augustine formulated the most influential solution to the problem by arguing that evil does not belong to being as such. Only the good has being and evil is nothing but the privation of goodness; a corruption that supervenes from the outside and does not affect the supreme good of being in itself. Thus, God can be the creator of everything that is (since all that has being is good) without being responsible for evil. The source of evil rather resides in the free will of human beings, which makes them liable to turn away from the good. While prudently avoiding the theological assertions of Augustine, Kant pursues a formally similar argument by treating evil as an effect of the free will, which may lead one to follow the incentives of one’s sensuous nature rather than the moral law. Evil is thus ‘radical’ for Kant in the sense that the possibility of evil is at the root of our human nature and cannot be eliminated from the way we are constituted. For Kant, however, the ever-present possibility of evil does not call into question the Idea of a good that is exempt from evil. Even though we as finite beings can never attain something that is good in itself, we can strive toward it as an ideal that in principle is thinkable and desirable. In contrast, Derrida argues that the possibility of evil is intrinsic to the good that we desire. Evil is thus ‘radical’ for Derrida in the sense that it is at the root of the good as such; without bearing the possibility of evil within itself the good would not be what it is. While this may seem like an abstract argument, Derrida makes it concrete through the notion of hospitality. For example, Derrida argues that if I invite a good friend and we have a great time it is an irreducible condition that ‘the experience might have been terrible. Not only that it might have been terrible, but the threat remains. That this good friend may become the devil, may be perverse. The perversity is not an accident which could once and for all be excluded, the perversity is part of the experience’ (Derrida 1997, 9). Far from restricting this argument to the sphere of friendship, Derrida generalises it in accordance with the logic of radical evil. As he puts it: ‘for an event, even a good event to happen the possibility of radical evil must remain inscribed as a possibility’ since ‘if we exclude the mere possibility of such a radical evil, then there will be no event at all. When we are exposed to what is coming, even in the most generous intention of hospitality, we must not exclude the possibility that the one who is coming is coming to kill us, is a figure of evil’ (Derrida 1997, 9). Accordingly, Derrida emphasises that even the other who is identified as good may always become evil and that ‘this is true even in the most peaceful experiences of joy and happiness’ (Derrida 1997, 9). The point is not only that evil is a necessarily possibility but also that nothing would be desirable without it, since it is intrinsic to the experience of the good itself. Following his example of the friend, Derrida maintains that ‘when I experience something good, the coming of a friend for example, if I am happy with a good surprise, then in this experience of happiness, within it, the memory of or the lateral reference to the possible perversion of it must remain present, in the wings let’s say, otherwise I could not enjoy it’ (Derrida 1997, 9)

    And, a conditioned hospitality closes off the nature of what it means to live: Life as well as what we perceive as “the good”, are defined by their relation to evil. The negative’s attempts to close off evil destroy true life and good.

    Hagglund 2 reaffirms,

    Hagglund 10 (Hagglund, Martin. Derrida Scholar. “The Non-Ethical Opening of Ethics: A Response to Derek Attridge”, Edingburg University Press, October 28th, 2010.)

    It is this irreducible dependence on and exposure to the tracing of time that Derrida calls the relation to ‘the other’. Accordingly, ‘the other’ does not primarily designate another human being. Rather, it designates the tracing of time that makes it impossible for anything to be in itself and exposes everyone –myself as well as any other – to corruption and death. Derrida’s radical move is to think this exposure to alterity as unconditional, in the sense that it is the condition for anything to happen. As he puts it: ‘Without autoimmunity, with absolute immunity, nothing would ever happen’ (Derrida 2005, 152). Following this logic of autoimmunity, Derrida argues that life is necessarily open to death, good necessarily open to evil, and peace necessarily open to violence. Inversely, an absolute life that is immune to death, an absolute goodness that is immune to evil, or an absolute peace that is immune to violence is for Derrida the same as an absolute death, an absolute evil, or an absolute violence. This is because an absolute immunity would close all openness to the other, all openness to the unpredictable coming of time, and thereby close the opening of life itself.

    The temporal nature of human existence is an indication that only an unconditional hospitality is a consistent approach to life.

    Hagglund 3 explains,

    Hagglund 10 (Hagglund, Martin. Derrida Scholar. “The Non-Ethical Opening of Ethics: A Response to Derek Attridge”, Edingburg University Press, October 28th, 2010.)

    Derrida clarifies this by distinguishing between conditional hospitality as a matter of invitation and unconditional hospitality as a matter of visitation. No matter how many or how few I invite into my life, I cannot be immune from the visitation of others whom I have not invited and who exceed my control. Indeed – in a passage that Attridge also quotes –Derrida underscores that nothing happens without the unconditional hospitality of visitation. Unconditional hospitality is thus another name for the exposure to temporal alterity, which opens me both to what I desire and what I fear. The exposure to visitation is intrinsic to the hospitality I desire, since no one can arrive and nothing can happen without the unpredictable coming of time. But by the same token, the hospitality I desire also opens the door to what I fear. Hospitality can never be reduced to the invitation of an other who is good, but must be open to the risk of an evil visitation. Even the other who is welcomed as peaceful may turn out to be an instigator of war, since the other may always change.

    Finally, conditions upon hospitality fail. Thus, an unconditional hospitality is how you ought to approach life.

    Hagglund 4 concludes,

    Hagglund 10 (Hagglund, Martin. Derrida Scholar. “The Non-Ethical Opening of Ethics: A Response to Derek Attridge”, Edingburg University Press, October 28th, 2010.)

    Accordingly, I argue that ‘hospitality’ to otherness is unconditional not because it is ideal or ethical as such but because one is necessarily susceptible to unpredictable events. Even the most conditional hospitality is unconditionally hospitable to what may ruin it. When I open my door for someone else, I open myself to someone who can destroy my home or my life, regardless of what rules I try to enforce upon him or her or it.

    Thus, if one should accept an unconditional hospitality it implies that one accepts the guest without question. It implies one should not ask who the guest is; do not ask for his or her or its name or gender or bank account. In the context of the debate, it means that I call you accept and affirm the resolution, without regards if it links into a disadvantage, kritik, theory, or even how the resolution is worded. There’s a reason I never said the resolution’s text, it’s because an unconditional hospitality means deafening silence about and toward the guest.

    Westmoreland 3 concludes the affirmative,

    Westmoreland 08 (Mark W., “Interruptions: Derrida and Hospitality”, Kritike, Volume Two, Number One, June 2008, http://www.kritike.org/journal/issue_3/westmoreland_june2008.pdf)

    The host freely shares her home with the new arrival without asking questions. She neither asks for the arrival’s name, nor does she seek any pact with the guest. Such a pact would instigate the placing of the guest under the law. The law of absolute hospitality does not involve an invitation, nor does it involve an interrogation of the guest upon entering. Indeed, there is no need for speech, only silence. Derrida argues that the language of hospitality “appeals to the other without condition.”24 The host must not even ask for a proper name or any sort of identification like Darwish’s identity card.25 Should one demand that his guest be able to communicate in a foreign language, which is usually “the first violence to which foreigners are subjected?”26 In discussing Socrates as a foreigner, Derrida asks, “Must we ask the foreigner to understand us, to speak our language . . . in all its possible extensions, before being able and so as to be able to welcome him into our country?”27 The Athenians placed Socrates on trial and questioned him in the language of the courts, which was foreign to him. Socrates did not know the legal rhetoric of the courts and could not speak as an equal, but only as a foreigner. However, absolute hospitality relies upon the deafening silence between the ipse and the other. The host bequeaths a smile and welcomes the other without asking any questions that would qualify as conditions for hospitality. In The Gift of Death, Derrida writes, “The first effect or first destination of language therefore involves depriving me of, or delivering me from, my singularity.”2 Once the host speaks, he is no longer himself, “alone and unique.” He has committed an inhospitable act against himself. When (conditional) hospitality is given, it is accompanied with laws—the rules and codes of language, which are shared among human beings. Common hospitality involves linguistic communication, which requires the distinction between individuals to be stripped away, and cancels the possibility of having an unconditional hospitality.

  • Eric Wallach

    First off, I think this article gives a great explanation of some of the advantages of disclosure.

    As someone who often reads counterinterps to disclosure theory, I was wondering if you could expand on the claim that “[t]his experience and pressure of having to come up with new and good arguments on the spot is uniquely valuable, even if the arguments presented in the debate are not as strong as they would be with coach assistance and extra time to prepare.”

    Against certain semi-obscure cases like the Natives AC on JanFeb, it seems like having hyper-specific prep outs such as court clog DAs, enforcement solvency deficits, ptx args, and constitutionality arguments specific to tribal gun enforcement was uniquely beneficial. While I agree that thinking on your feet is a fantastic tool, I think arguing against something as purely theoretical as Derrida’s position on truth claims is more doable and educational than arguing against a tangible policy position that you know nothing about.

    It seems like a lot of the articles on disclosure theory have fallen into a binary of either being pro or con, but my question is why can’t disclosure be good in some instances and bad in other instances? If someone reads a theoretical case based in continental philosophy, perhaps that shouldn’t violate disclosure. If someone reads an obscure policy option, maybe that should. One objection that comes to mind is that there would be no way to tell if something is “too theoretical” but I guess that’s a debate to be had.

    • Martin Sigalow

      Hi Eric! did you mean disadvantages? 🙂

      Good question! Negative debaters get access to tons of generic arguments like Ks and Das that apply in specific cases, or can be made to with enough creative ingenuity. Maybe the negative debater can answer the framework for once in their life! Maybe write a theory argument about how someone should defend something in line with your generics. Perhaps think about how the solvency deficits you have apply in the specific case. Life would easier certainly if you had hours and hours and days and days for you and coaches to find tons of stuff to say against the aff so your mind can have an unstressful go of things! You would have to do a lot of research and get to the debate and barely have to think about new facts at all. You’d be quite safe! And you’d never really have to have the hard debates that make us the most creative.

      The regime of disclosure is all-consuming. If you feed it with just plans it may want Kant frameworks too. That said, there is much more reason for disclosure in the case of plans than philosophy. Debate would be better if disclosure were compelled in neither case.

      • Eric Wallach

        Hey, thanks for the response. And yes, I meant disadvantages haha.

        On your generics point, presumably people read hyperspecific plans in order to avoid generics. For instance, in the case of the Natives AC, it was tailored to have great responses against anti-blackness Ks, probably one of the most common generics. I’m not sure how ingenuity would solve this. I guess you would still have access to black market and substation turns (I think?) but if that’s the negatives only viable strategy then it seems like not disclosing the AFF was particularly abusive.

        If your argument is that people should contest framework more, I’m not sure why the solution is not reading disclosure theory as opposed to reading a theory shell such as ACC or severance bad.

        You say that you should come up with a theory argument about how someone should defend something in line with your generics, but isn’t this exactly the same function as disclosure theory? Wouldn’t this hinder creativity, according to you, if you got access to this theory shell?

        Your final argument seems to be that life is too easy if you get prep against the AFF, but doesn’t this just arbitrarily advantage you if you’re affirming? I think it compensates you far more than the side bias harms you, as you can literally pick the most hyper-specific AFF and expect that the NEG doesn’t have prep.

        I still think a world in which disclosure is acceptable against some cases and unacceptable against others is net preferable to a world in which it’s completely excluded. If we can have the best of both worlds– of ingenuity and in-depth research– why not choose that world?

        • Martin Sigalow

          If a plan is specific enough that no generics apply it should lose on theory. And do you really think that the natives affirmative is just unanswerable without advanced knowledge? Really? Do you really think substitution effect is all you can think to do in the 1N? Think outside the box.

          Maybe people should have a framework debate now and again. But how dull to have a framework debate where you already know in advance how every argument will play out. I don’t understand why you mentioned severance bad.

          Given a topic, and given the arguments available to the sides of the topic, there will be positions that are more exclusive of the other side. If a position is very exclusive it is unfair. Disclosure theory says nothing about the content of a position. It is instead about how a position is presented to another debater. If I disclosed an affirmative that could not reasonably be answered by any real negative argument people make in the literature the position would not become fair simply because you know what the difficult to answer argument is ahead of time. Norm setting for theory can obviously still occur without disclosure, and fairness is still important in debate, obviously.

          Side bias is palpable and if negatives had a harder go of things that wouldn’t be the worst. If you think that a plan that gets out of the Gourevitch evidence and the substitution effect argument is game over, think bigger.

          I respect the distinction you’re drawing. I think people should of course be allowed to post their cases on the internet, but I don’t like the blunt instrument of disclosure theory in any case. I certainly do like it more when it is used sparsely and only in extreme cases, if there was a selected frequency for it.

    • Matthew Chen

      God, that natives aff was stupid. I thought it was a joke, at first.

  • Logan Reed

    Carding you in favor of disclosure is not a violation of ethics unless there is a miscut claim, for example if someone were to card you here saying that disclosure results in less academically mainstream arguments (maybe in the context of a predictability standard). It’s possible to card an author without conceding to all of their claims or even their thesis (i.e. Carding Foulcaut saying ‘biopower inevitable’ as a response to biopower K), this is especially true in academia. Academics will often cite other individuals evidence, sometimes used to directly disagree with their eventual findings. This is not academic dishonestly and should not result in a loss. While I do agree with the thesis of the article, telling pro-disclosure debaters not to reference you seems inappropriate.

    • 1234

      I agree with Logan Reed. I think it is pretty suspect writing an article and then trying to dictatethat it may only be used under the conditions that please you. That’s just not how how things work.

      Also, I think that caveat 3 encourages academic dishonesty. If you make a good/unique point and a debater reads this + uses it without attributing it to you, then that is genuine academic dishonesty. It would be a student representing another’s idea(s) as their own when there is a clear source of origin that it should receive attribution.

      This type of issue confuses me, because presumably when one is reading carded theory arguments they’re indicating where the thought originated from or how they were exposed to it, rather than appealing to the authority of the author. I see a debater reading this in favor of disclosure in round saying, “Hey here’s an interesting point I read from a Martin Sigalow blog post, we may differ on the conclusion of whether disclosure is good, but this particular point certainly does support my position for disclosure”. And not, “Martin Sigalow said disclosure can be good so vote for disclosure theory”. The opponent is certainly free to read more Sigalow where you argue the argue that the draw backs to required/forced disclosure are more important than the previously cited benefit..

      • Martin Sigalow

        I actually agree with both of you most of the time but not in the case where someone’s whole point is to argue the evil of some practice because it defeats their whole point of the author. I’m only sort of saying that you’re miscutting me. I’m really saying you would be doing something much worse. Say, for example, Martin Luther King Jr. had a line in an essay or speech of his about some economic benefits of segregation (or something like that). On the one hand, it’s not really misattributing him to say that he believes that thing he said, debates about its weight aside. On the other hand, bullying someone to accept segregation with that attribution would strike most reasonable people as significantly wrong. In the same vein, I don’t want my words to be used to bully someone into disclosing, or to make a debater who didn’t get disclose lose a debate because someone ran theory on them for not doing that. That is absolutely appalling. So I recommend a punitive measure to express the strength of my devotion. If you’re hooked on some benefit I cite for disclosure write the argument yourself analytically but don’t manically use my words to support an evil I’m spending so much effort to tear down.

        • 12345

          The difference is that segregation is almost universally seen as morally repulsive today, whereas you’re in a small minority thinking that disclosure is *evil* in current nat circuit LD. It seems like you’re drawing an arbitrary line in the sand based on your feelings on the particular subject, if you think this is a special case. I’m not the biggest fan of forced/mandated disclosure, but I recognize that it isn’t that big of a deal. So if most people don’t think that forced disclosure is an *evil* practice (regardless of what side of the issue they’re on), then why is this different than most of the time? Isn’t anyone writing an article to take a stance on a debate issue probably going to feel like it is high stakes issue?

          I very strongly dislike the example used; I don’t think it is appropriate to compare forced segregation and forced disclosure. Also, bulling someone to accept segregation is not the same as threatening to run theory if someone won’t disclose. The former scenario has to do with grave social injustice and the latter has to do with individual preference about argumentative style/transparency within a co-curricular activity. But even playing along with this example…

          If in the early 1950s MLK Jr had said that there are economic benefits to segregation, then it probably would have been seen as acceptable for a segregationist to cite that as a conceded point when engaging in the debate about segregation. In any academic disagreement you always hear people saying/writing, “Even [person with opposing viewpoint] accepts that [point that is contrary to that person’s viewpoint] is true.” In this scenario it would be someone in the early 1950s saying, “Even MLK Jr concedes that there are economic benefits to segregation” and no one would have bat an eyelash at that statement at the time.

          I tend to think it is a terrible practice dictating what conditions a debater can cite your article as long as they’re not misrepresenting the particular argument. You shouldn’t be surprised when something you make public is used contrary to your intentions. This mindset just invites to people add “caveats” so that their articles are only useful to their school, style of debate, ideological leanings, etc. If you want to do that, then you may as well just be publishing it on a website no one knows about and disallow web crawlers. Not that people should do that.

          Also, not giving attribution guarantees academic dishonesty. No one in academia will say that if the origin of something fairly novel is known that intentionally omitting attribution is acceptable. What you’re claiming to be academic dishonesty is questionable at best. Debaters wouldn’t be (and shouldn’t be) be appealing to your authority if they cited an argument you made in favor of disclosing to argue for disclosure.

          • Martin Sigalow

            My opinion on this is apparently much weaker than yours. Why the fiery strength of a thousand suns of passion about an uninvokable article caveat. It’s not like this is really something people should feel terribly strongly about. And more importantly, as someone who values academic attribution etc., who are you?

            “You just think disclosure is very bad. Maybe other people don’t think that so who are you to say what cards you become?” I do think disclosure is very bad, and isn’t this all just opinion/preference? Who cares what debate norms are, really? If someone thinks a norm is self-destructive of an activity they obviously can think the issue has some stakes.

            “Your example is bad”: Yeah, probably. I think the point I made using it still applies, but if you don’t think so you can feel free to think that. It smacks of foul play to me.

            “It’s pretty non-academic of you to restrict article citations”: First, I didn’t really restrict citations. I just appealed to my fellow judges to do something they probably wont do, mostly in anguish. If I were writing in a peer reviewed communications journal the caveat would certainly not have appeared and we would all be on the same page. Luckily, I am not, and can try to pluck the heartstrings of whoever I please.

            “Isn’t everyone intimately invested in every debate article they write?”: Pretty sure if I challenged Salim to a duel over his states counterplans bad article he’d laugh it off.

            “If people write articles saying something is really bad but also say that they can only use the article to say that something is really bad, then the words of the article will only be used to fight the bad thing”: Yes.

            “Making your argument in a round but not citing you is dishonest!”: So every analytic argument you’ve seen has been properly cited? Everyone’s got that Velleman credential next to the argument everyone paraphrased? This is obviously a bad standard for, well, theory standards. People can write their own theory blocks in spurts of gorgeous creativity granted by my inspiring article. Part of the great part about debate is that you can sort of just make arguments sometimes with your mind. Without disclosure maybe we’d all be better at that.

            We could, after all, just agree to disagree, mystery person represented by several numbers which occasionally change. You’ve made your point. We can accept that you don’t like the appeal to the hearts of my fellow judges against people twisting my words to support something I detest, and I can accept the fact that I did it and what a good appeal it was!

        • Tom Cameron

          I don’t really read these posts (I just saw a facebook post and I’m bored) so I may be missing some context if this is part of a series. I feel like your example doesn’t gain you any ground. If someone quoted MLK about the economic benefits of segregation then easy response would be that he’s not an economist and to provide some alternate evidence, right? Regardless it’s silly to say that one should only use some evidence if on the whole the person writing it agrees with their statements. Different parts of someone’s statements can be true. Besides, there aren’t “experts” on disclosure or such shit. Nobody is quoting Martin Sigalow in a debate round because they think it lends them legitimacy, they’re doing it to give credit where credit is due. Are you saying you’d rather people just read an argument that you came up with and not saying it was originally something they got from you?

          • Wesley Hu

            @Tom and @12345 –

            The claim that people want to/need to cite parts of Martin’s article that might lay out pro-disclosure arguments doesn’t make any sense. Martin will probably reference a *very* stock reason why disclosure is good, and either respond to it or interact that with his reasons why disclosure is bad (since he is writing a “mandated disclosure bad” article series). Not citing someone for an argument as generic “disclosure is key to my predictability” is probably OK, seeing as most theory arguments are generics as such. And for what it’s worth, it was probably some policy coach, not Martin, who first entertained the thought that disclosure might have particular generic educational benefits.