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Notes On Cite Format

If you want your cites to work best with Verbatim, and want to take advantage of all the automated formatting macros which rely on accurately detecting the difference between your citations and card text (e.g. automatic condensing, auto-formatting your cites, processing your files for cite entries for the caselist, etc), you should exclusively use one-line citations, with the last name and date of the author in Cite style (F8). For example:

Aaron Hardy, creator of Verbatim, 1-1-3000, "Verbatim Online Manual,"

While there are many opinions about the "best" way to format your cites, this isn't purely an aesthetic question. Citations in one line are much, much, much easier for a computer to recognize, because they follow a predictable pattern (that is, 3 paragraphs: tag, cite, card). When debaters use a million other permutations on that (e.g. 2 or 3 line cites, or other formatting changes like putting notes under a tag between the tag and cite), it makes it very difficult for the computer to tell what is a cite and what is card text, or what is the tag vs. what's just a note. As such, automated processing macros all become difficult or impossible. Similar things apply to any cite format that separates the first and last name - automated processing to determine the author, for example, becomes much harder.

Beyond just the features built in to Verbatim today, there are many other future applications of automated data processing with debate files, from machine learning about arguments to better full-text card search. A standardized cite format would be ideal for those kinds of features to function optimally.

The main reason people argue for putting cites in two lines is for better "readability," presuming that if the last name and date are on one line, they will be faster to read. While this seems reasonable at first glance, in practice, the difference is completely negligible. This has been tested extensively at debate camps and with students I've coached, and there has never been a measurable difference in speech times caused by using different citation formats. I promise, your eyes and brain can handle picking out the bold text for your cite even if separated by a word or two.

As a secondary consideration, using a one-line citation is much more in line with prominent academic citation formats like MLA and APA.

As an example of a cite that will NOT work well with Verbatim:

Hardy 3000

(Aaron, Creator of Verbatim, "Verbatim Online Manual,"

If you absolutely insist on having the last name and date separate, at least put it all on one line. Ugly and still difficult to process, but marginally better than the previous example:

Hardy 3000 (Aaron, Creator of Verbatim, "Verbatim Online Manual,"