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Debating Topics You're Not Passionate About

bsh1
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4/23/2015 12:55:22 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
COMMENTS

I made a thread in the mists of time gone by about the importance of debating as a devil's advocate from time-to-time. Now, I would like to make a thread about another pet peeve of mine: only ever debating topics you're passionate about.

While there is something to be said about choosing topics based on what you care most about (i.e. entertainment value, enthusiasm, specialization of knowledge), there is also a good case to be made that you should--on occasion--debate topics about which you are not really all that zealous to debate.

Perhaps this comes from my experience in IRL debate, where topics are assigned to you on a monthly, bi-monthly, or yearly basis, and that topic is "the" topic, whether you like it or not (and believe me, more often than not, I don't like it). Having developed my debating roots in that kind of environment, I appreciate that having topics thrust upon me actually broadens my knowledge and tests my skills in ways that debating only in certain issue-areas I care about ever could.

For example, supposed you are very passionate about an issue (like abortion, gay rights, the environment, etc.) and you only ever do debates in that one issue-area. Certainly, you can develop a kind of expertise in that genre, but you lack breadth. By exploring other genres you learn more about the world and gain a better understanding of a variety of issues. Moreover, by stepping out of your comfort zone you put your debating skills to the test in a more serious way--your adaptability, creativity, research ability, and analytic ability are all more heavily stressed. This makes you not just a more informed person, but it makes you a better debater.

Now, some might claim that depth is a substitute for breadth, but, in this case, I don't see it as being a huge tradeoff. There is no reason you cannot get depth and breadth. If you do most of your debates in one genre, but intersperse them with debates from other topic areas, you can get the best of both worlds. Besides, focusing on just one type of debate seems to conform to the law of diminishing returns. If you do all your debates on abortion, for instance, in order to get depth on that issue, there will come a time where each debate is less and less likely to teach you anything new. It's at that point where it really is time to move on or diversify your debating portfolio, in order to gain new information.

And, this doesn't just apply to single topics (e.g. abortion, gay marriage, animal rights, etc.), it can apply to types of debates (e.g. statistical, economic, political, theological, philosophical, etc.) You ought to step ought of your comfort zone every now and gain.

DDO is cool in that it lets you voluntarily select your topics, unlike IRL debate. However, the downside to this is that it makes it so much easier for debaters to become issue- or type-specific. Debaters need to be more conscious of the value of expanding and trying new things and should make an effort to take debates that they are not sure they'll like just for the sake of diversifying their portfolio. We're all guilty of doing those debates we feel comfortable in or enjoy more than other kinds of debates, and that in itself isn't the problem. That problem is that we get tunnel vision, that we accept debates outside our preferred zones with such rarity that we don't ever meaningfully expand our horizons.

That's my pet peeve here: when people tell me that they don't think they'll enjoy a topic and so they refuse to debate it.

Maybe it's just me--I think the very act of debating is fun, and that the topic is less important to the "funness" of the event than the event itself--but I still think the logic of my point holds some merit. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on this issue though. I've just seen it a lot on DDO, and it really bugs me.

TLDR

Don't just do debates on topics, issues, or in categories that you like or about which you are passionate. Try other things, even if you're not sure you'll enjoy them. Thoughts?
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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The-Voice-of-Truth
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4/23/2015 12:59:50 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/23/2015 12:55:22 PM, bsh1 wrote:

Does this have anything to do with what I told you a few minutes ago in the sign-up thread?
Suh dude

"Because we all know who the most important snowflake in the wasteland is... It's YOU, champ! You're a special snowflake." -Vaarka, 01:30 in the hangouts

"Screw laying siege to Korea. That usually takes an hour or so." -Vaarka

"Crap, what is my religion again?" -Vaarka

I'm Rick Harrison and this is my pawn shop. I work here with my old man and my son, Big Hoss, and in 23 years I've learned one thing. You never know what is gonna come through that door.
The-Voice-of-Truth
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4/23/2015 1:07:57 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Or nah. :/
Suh dude

"Because we all know who the most important snowflake in the wasteland is... It's YOU, champ! You're a special snowflake." -Vaarka, 01:30 in the hangouts

"Screw laying siege to Korea. That usually takes an hour or so." -Vaarka

"Crap, what is my religion again?" -Vaarka

I'm Rick Harrison and this is my pawn shop. I work here with my old man and my son, Big Hoss, and in 23 years I've learned one thing. You never know what is gonna come through that door.
bsh1
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4/23/2015 1:15:34 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/23/2015 12:59:50 PM, The-Voice-of-Truth wrote:
At 4/23/2015 12:55:22 PM, bsh1 wrote:

Does this have anything to do with what I told you a few minutes ago in the sign-up thread?

A little, but it's been a long time in coming based on comments many people have made to me.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

Follow the DDOlympics
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The-Voice-of-Truth
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4/23/2015 1:17:47 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/23/2015 1:15:34 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 4/23/2015 12:59:50 PM, The-Voice-of-Truth wrote:
At 4/23/2015 12:55:22 PM, bsh1 wrote:

Does this have anything to do with what I told you a few minutes ago in the sign-up thread?

A little, but it's been a long time in coming based on comments many people have made to me.

Ah. I guess the more appropriate question to ask was "Was this prompted by what I told you a few minutes ago in the sign-up thread?", but I guess the answer would have basically been the same. :p
Suh dude

"Because we all know who the most important snowflake in the wasteland is... It's YOU, champ! You're a special snowflake." -Vaarka, 01:30 in the hangouts

"Screw laying siege to Korea. That usually takes an hour or so." -Vaarka

"Crap, what is my religion again?" -Vaarka

I'm Rick Harrison and this is my pawn shop. I work here with my old man and my son, Big Hoss, and in 23 years I've learned one thing. You never know what is gonna come through that door.
bsh1
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4/23/2015 1:20:32 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/23/2015 1:17:47 PM, The-Voice-of-Truth wrote:
At 4/23/2015 1:15:34 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 4/23/2015 12:59:50 PM, The-Voice-of-Truth wrote:
At 4/23/2015 12:55:22 PM, bsh1 wrote:

Does this have anything to do with what I told you a few minutes ago in the sign-up thread?

A little, but it's been a long time in coming based on comments many people have made to me.

Ah. I guess the more appropriate question to ask was "Was this prompted by what I told you a few minutes ago in the sign-up thread?", but I guess the answer would have basically been the same. :p

Lol...Yes, it was prompted by, though not directed at, you.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

Follow the DDOlympics
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Open Debate Topics Project: http://www.debate.org...
The-Voice-of-Truth
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4/23/2015 1:22:10 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/23/2015 1:20:32 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 4/23/2015 1:17:47 PM, The-Voice-of-Truth wrote:
At 4/23/2015 1:15:34 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 4/23/2015 12:59:50 PM, The-Voice-of-Truth wrote:
At 4/23/2015 12:55:22 PM, bsh1 wrote:

Does this have anything to do with what I told you a few minutes ago in the sign-up thread?

A little, but it's been a long time in coming based on comments many people have made to me.

Ah. I guess the more appropriate question to ask was "Was this prompted by what I told you a few minutes ago in the sign-up thread?", but I guess the answer would have basically been the same. :p

Lol...Yes, it was prompted by, though not directed at, you.

Lol. Doesn't matter if it was directed at me or not. I can take ridicule and not be affected by it.
Suh dude

"Because we all know who the most important snowflake in the wasteland is... It's YOU, champ! You're a special snowflake." -Vaarka, 01:30 in the hangouts

"Screw laying siege to Korea. That usually takes an hour or so." -Vaarka

"Crap, what is my religion again?" -Vaarka

I'm Rick Harrison and this is my pawn shop. I work here with my old man and my son, Big Hoss, and in 23 years I've learned one thing. You never know what is gonna come through that door.
bsh1
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4/23/2015 1:24:17 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/23/2015 1:22:10 PM, The-Voice-of-Truth wrote:
At 4/23/2015 1:20:32 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 4/23/2015 1:17:47 PM, The-Voice-of-Truth wrote:
At 4/23/2015 1:15:34 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 4/23/2015 12:59:50 PM, The-Voice-of-Truth wrote:
At 4/23/2015 12:55:22 PM, bsh1 wrote:

Does this have anything to do with what I told you a few minutes ago in the sign-up thread?

A little, but it's been a long time in coming based on comments many people have made to me.

Ah. I guess the more appropriate question to ask was "Was this prompted by what I told you a few minutes ago in the sign-up thread?", but I guess the answer would have basically been the same. :p

Lol...Yes, it was prompted by, though not directed at, you.

Lol. Doesn't matter if it was directed at me or not. I can take ridicule and not be affected by it.

Big difference between ridicule and criticism. One is inappropriate and the other is oftentimes appropriate.

That aside, I just didn't want you to feel I was singling you out in some way.

So, what are your thoughts on the OP?
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

Follow the DDOlympics
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Open Debate Topics Project: http://www.debate.org...
The-Voice-of-Truth
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4/23/2015 1:31:19 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/23/2015 1:24:17 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 4/23/2015 1:22:10 PM, The-Voice-of-Truth wrote:
At 4/23/2015 1:20:32 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 4/23/2015 1:17:47 PM, The-Voice-of-Truth wrote:
At 4/23/2015 1:15:34 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 4/23/2015 12:59:50 PM, The-Voice-of-Truth wrote:
At 4/23/2015 12:55:22 PM, bsh1 wrote:

Does this have anything to do with what I told you a few minutes ago in the sign-up thread?

A little, but it's been a long time in coming based on comments many people have made to me.

Ah. I guess the more appropriate question to ask was "Was this prompted by what I told you a few minutes ago in the sign-up thread?", but I guess the answer would have basically been the same. :p

Lol...Yes, it was prompted by, though not directed at, you.

Lol. Doesn't matter if it was directed at me or not. I can take ridicule and not be affected by it.

Big difference between ridicule and criticism. One is inappropriate and the other is oftentimes appropriate.

That's the word I was looking for; criticism.

That aside, I just didn't want you to feel I was singling you out in some way.

Never did.

So, what are your thoughts on the OP?

I understand what you are saying, and I feel inclined to agree with you on most points; for instance, that debating a certain subject can make you educated on that topic, but you become very limited in your capabilities. Regarding that point, though, I just don't like to devote time to researching topics that don't interest me in the first place, and then advocating for the side that I was assigned (or chose). I can do, and I will do it if I have to, but I don't like it, and I understand what you are saying when you don't like a topic, but you debate it anyway.
Suh dude

"Because we all know who the most important snowflake in the wasteland is... It's YOU, champ! You're a special snowflake." -Vaarka, 01:30 in the hangouts

"Screw laying siege to Korea. That usually takes an hour or so." -Vaarka

"Crap, what is my religion again?" -Vaarka

I'm Rick Harrison and this is my pawn shop. I work here with my old man and my son, Big Hoss, and in 23 years I've learned one thing. You never know what is gonna come through that door.
YYW
Posts: 36,287
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4/23/2015 1:32:45 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I think there's value in taking up advocacy for something that you're not especially familiar with. It's a salutary exercise in opening one's mind.

I have more thoughts on this... will post later.
Tsar of DDO
Maikuru
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4/23/2015 2:13:27 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
In the real world, I spend all day, every day reading, writing, and arguing over all manner of topics with some insanely smart peps. So when it comes to DDO, I tend to stick with entertaining topics. As tulle likes to say, I may be one of the few who come to DDO for an escape from intellectual stimulation lol
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bsh1
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4/23/2015 7:16:10 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/23/2015 1:31:19 PM, The-Voice-of-Truth wrote:
At 4/23/2015 1:24:17 PM, bsh1 wrote:

So, what are your thoughts on the OP?

I understand what you are saying, and I feel inclined to agree with you on most points; for instance, that debating a certain subject can make you educated on that topic, but you become very limited in your capabilities.

Sweet.

Regarding that point, though, I just don't like to devote time to researching topics that don't interest me in the first place, and then advocating for the side that I was assigned (or chose). I can do, and I will do it if I have to, but I don't like it, and I understand what you are saying when you don't like a topic, but you debate it anyway.

I understand that it may not be something you "like" to do--but that is my whole point. That you should force yourself look at topics you don't like.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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bsh1
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4/23/2015 7:16:50 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/23/2015 2:13:27 PM, Maikuru wrote:
In the real world, I spend all day, every day reading, writing, and arguing over all manner of topics with some insanely smart peps. So when it comes to DDO, I tend to stick with entertaining topics. As tulle likes to say, I may be one of the few who come to DDO for an escape from intellectual stimulation lol

Rofl...Well, in that case, you do debate stuff that you're not passionate about, you just do it outside of DDO.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

Follow the DDOlympics
: http://www.debate.org...

Open Debate Topics Project: http://www.debate.org...
whiteflame
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4/23/2015 7:50:07 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Agreed. Better yet, pick topics that you know very little about and build your knowledge base. People are afraid to try it, but it's been the most rewarding of my experiences on here. *cough* http://www.debate.org... *cough*
16kadams
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4/23/2015 8:03:34 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I debated you on animal rights, and you didn't really want to that either (and philo kills my soul), so we are on the same page :P
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https://rekonomics.wordpress.com...
"A trend is a trend, but the question is, will it bend? Will it alter its course through some unforeseen force and come to a premature end?" -- Alec Cairncross
16kadams
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4/23/2015 9:22:01 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/23/2015 8:05:14 PM, Zaradi wrote:
No, I won't do a stats debate. Fvck off already.

<3

Noob
https://www.youtube.com...
https://rekonomics.wordpress.com...
"A trend is a trend, but the question is, will it bend? Will it alter its course through some unforeseen force and come to a premature end?" -- Alec Cairncross
ShabShoral
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4/23/2015 9:39:39 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/23/2015 8:05:14 PM, Zaradi wrote:
No, I won't do a stats debate. Fvck off already.

<3

If I had to choose between doing a stats debate a month and leaving DDO forever, I would leave. That's how much I despise stats debates.

@BSH

Why do you debate? What do you look to get out of it?
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bsh1
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4/23/2015 9:39:55 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/23/2015 7:50:07 PM, whiteflame wrote:
Agreed. Better yet, pick topics that you know very little about and build your knowledge base. People are afraid to try it, but it's been the most rewarding of my experiences on here. *cough* http://www.debate.org... *cough*

Lol...I was thinking of that debate too. That was very much out of my comfort zone.
Live Long and Prosper

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"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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bsh1
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4/23/2015 9:40:42 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/23/2015 7:54:25 PM, Wylted wrote:
Only when I'm not pressed for time.

Fair enough.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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bsh1
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4/23/2015 9:41:14 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/23/2015 8:03:34 PM, 16kadams wrote:
I debated you on animal rights, and you didn't really want to that either (and philo kills my soul), so we are on the same page :P

Rofl...
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

Follow the DDOlympics
: http://www.debate.org...

Open Debate Topics Project: http://www.debate.org...
bsh1
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4/23/2015 9:42:36 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/23/2015 8:05:14 PM, Zaradi wrote:
No, I won't do a stats debate. Fvck off already.

<3

<3 Okay, fine, no stats...How about no long, wierd-a$s quotes?
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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Open Debate Topics Project: http://www.debate.org...
RevNge
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4/23/2015 9:44:03 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/23/2015 9:42:36 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 4/23/2015 8:05:14 PM, Zaradi wrote:
No, I won't do a stats debate. Fvck off already.

<3

<3 Okay, fine, no stats...How about no long, weird-a$s quotes?

FTFY m8
Zaradi
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4/23/2015 9:46:39 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/23/2015 9:42:36 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 4/23/2015 8:05:14 PM, Zaradi wrote:
No, I won't do a stats debate. Fvck off already.

<3

<3 Okay, fine, no stats...How about no long, wierd-a$s quotes?

I'm down for that. And you know full well what those are.
Want to debate? Pick a topic and hit me up! - http://www.debate.org...
bsh1
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4/23/2015 9:47:25 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/23/2015 9:46:39 PM, Zaradi wrote:
At 4/23/2015 9:42:36 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 4/23/2015 8:05:14 PM, Zaradi wrote:
No, I won't do a stats debate. Fvck off already.

<3

<3 Okay, fine, no stats...How about no long, wierd-a$s quotes?

I'm down for that.

Deal ;)

And you know full well what those are.

*looks innocent*
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

Follow the DDOlympics
: http://www.debate.org...

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bsh1
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4/23/2015 9:50:11 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/23/2015 9:39:39 PM, ShabShoral wrote:
@BSH

Why do you debate? What do you look to get out of it?

There is a thrill to it...It's probably the single thing I am most passionate about. It's also incredibly interesting and challenging.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

Follow the DDOlympics
: http://www.debate.org...

Open Debate Topics Project: http://www.debate.org...
16kadams
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4/23/2015 9:59:27 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/23/2015 9:42:36 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 4/23/2015 8:05:14 PM, Zaradi wrote:
No, I won't do a stats debate. Fvck off already.

<3

<3 Okay, fine, no stats...How about no long, wierd-a$s quotes?

Stats are love
https://www.youtube.com...
https://rekonomics.wordpress.com...
"A trend is a trend, but the question is, will it bend? Will it alter its course through some unforeseen force and come to a premature end?" -- Alec Cairncross
bsh1
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4/23/2015 10:00:16 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/23/2015 9:59:27 PM, 16kadams wrote:
At 4/23/2015 9:42:36 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 4/23/2015 8:05:14 PM, Zaradi wrote:
No, I won't do a stats debate. Fvck off already.

<3

<3 Okay, fine, no stats...How about no long, wierd-a$s quotes?

Stats are love

Or not...
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

Follow the DDOlympics
: http://www.debate.org...

Open Debate Topics Project: http://www.debate.org...