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textingHow much participation is too much? Well we tried to answer that question at Debate Night at the Ath. Not only was the event fully student-driven — from selecting the topic to presenting the arguments — but we opened up commenting to everyone in the Athenaeum. Throughout the event, attendants texted in thoughts which were projected onto a big screen behind the speakers. So instead of waiting till the speaker was done to make fun of him, you could text in your witticisms while he talked. And you did. Of me. Thanks.

If you missed the event, we’re tracking down video, and some reviews will be up shortly. Till then, you can get a taste of the commentary below. Unfortunately, the comments from the first half of the debate were lost (“technical difficulties”), but there’s enough here, we hope, for you to either appreciate or wonder, “what the hell happened in the Ath?”

This was the first time we’ve tried anything like this, so we look forward to hearing what you all thought about it. Useful? Helpful? Annoying? Distracting? (Yes, we know: we are asking for comments on the commenting system.)

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Abhi Nemani has a problem. He doesn't sleep -- nor does he plan to. He plans on not sleeping in fact, so he procrastinates during daylight hours -- usually watching Mad Men or perusing lolz -- and then schedules productivity for 3am. So expect late, misspelled, and rambling emails (and bios) from this editor emeritus.

10 COMMENTS

  1. I think the technology was impressive (even John Faranda said so) and the comments made it more interesting and a little light-hearted. It wouldn’t work for Roxana Saberi, but I think for this event, it was a good call. Maybe you should censor it more? But that may ruin the beauty of it…

  2. I think the technology was impressive (even John Faranda said so) and the comments made it more interesting and a little light-hearted. It wouldn’t work for Roxana Saberi, but I think for this event, it was a good call. Maybe you should censor it more? But that may ruin the beauty of it…

  3. Definitely not something that should make an appearance at more formal Ath functions. When I was speaking, I counted less than five people who were looking at me. The rest were watching the board.

  4. Definitely not something that should make an appearance at more formal Ath functions. When I was speaking, I counted less than five people who were looking at me. The rest were watching the board.

  5. It really distracted from the discussion and cheapened the event.

    Yeah, some of the texts were funny, but not that funny. If you want people to laugh, just get Carl up there. He was really hilarious.

    And while we’re at it, I would add that the audience part after Carl was pretty lame.

    Also, why make it a debate when it really should just be a discussion. When you make it a debate, your force people to defend things they don’t necessarily think, and you get them to say what will win the appeal of the audience rather than try to say what they think and persuade the audience. It’s the type of thing Charlie Sprague loves, but everyone else rolls their eyes at.

    For next time…

  6. It really distracted from the discussion and cheapened the event.

    Yeah, some of the texts were funny, but not that funny. If you want people to laugh, just get Carl up there. He was really hilarious.

    And while we’re at it, I would add that the audience part after Carl was pretty lame.

    Also, why make it a debate when it really should just be a discussion. When you make it a debate, your force people to defend things they don’t necessarily think, and you get them to say what will win the appeal of the audience rather than try to say what they think and persuade the audience. It’s the type of thing Charlie Sprague loves, but everyone else rolls their eyes at.

    For next time…

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