In the debate community, we are starting to see a substantial transition to paperless debate. Unfortunately, many people in the community think paperless wastes time, delays debates, and gives an unfair advantage to the paperless team. However, teams that debate with paper can easily use the advantages paperless debate offers to maximize their ability to win more debates. Since the transition to paperless is occurring so rapidly, it is necessary that debaters utilize the advantages that paperless offers to the opposing teams.
One advantage to paperless is the ability to easily access multiple copies of paperless speeches. While debating a paperless team, the opposing team can choose to have a copy of the speech either on a viewing computer provided by the paperless team or have a copy on a personal computer. Opposing teams should take advantage of the ability to have a copy of the speech on their personal computer because each debater can use the individual copy to organize, indict, and compare the paperless team’s evidence. Similarly, the opposing team can use their personal copy to write notes on the evidence which can be referenced in cross-x and rebuttals. If an opposing team effectively takes advantage of the benefits paperless debate offers, they can easily win more debates.
For a team that has a larger budget, the opposing teams can use another method to utilize the multiple copies of evidence. Schools like Northwestern University choose to print out a separate copy of the speech and read through the paper version of the speech while the paperless team is reading off the computer. The advantage to an opposing team printing out copies of speeches is that they can write out notes on the evidence that can also be used for later speeches.
In debate, there is a strong emphasis on making the activity more competitive by sharing cites. Many debaters do not have the motivation to get cites from a team because it takes too long to type out every tag, author, cite, and keyword. Fortunately, an opposing team can use this as an opportunity to easily access cites of the paperless team’s evidence. Most paperless templates have a macro that allows a team to format evidence into cites with the push of the button. It requires absolutely zero effort to ask a paperless team to jump cites to the opposing team or to simply post them to the wiki. With the ability to easily acquire cites, opposing teams should be able to utilize the advantages of paperless to win more debates.