Big Topic? Re: [eDebate] At - Francesco Esposito
Sat Apr 23 04:30:20 CDT 2005
>Believe me, people will be predictable, and all of the people that are
>scared of unpredictability will run the same arguments anyway.
This does not make sense to me:
If the resolution is big, (Like change foreign policy toward China,) DO NOT
expect the "big" borg squads to sit in the predictable "middle."
All else equal, squads with tons of debaters to research & coaching
resources will be able to outrun you very quickly to unpredictable corners
of the topic. If they don't, they deserve to lose.
I do concur that in recent years we've written topics that massively reduce
affirmative flexibility: This is manifest in the relatively large negative
elim win percentage as well as at the margin--the "few trophies" that
you're talking about.
But, your solution is far too reactionary. The participation correlation
you keep repeating is a red herring. It has more to do with the advent of
parli--on the whole, has participation in NDT/CEDA plus Parli gone down?
No. Is the primary reason squads have left for Parli "topics are too
small?" No. You offer no more proof than a correlation, and the fact that
Parli is moving toward topics (publishing all possible resolutions prior
to tournaments, limiting the subject matter of topics prior to
tournaments...) is proof of the opposite.
"Change FP toward China" and everyone will flip aff in elims. The squads
with the best resources (not just numbers) will beat your already written
negative with highly unpredictable affirmative arguments. I coached the
same topic the one year I managed to teach HS. I found it nearly impossible
for our squad to keep up on the negative. The research was interesting, but
there wasn't a 'heart' of the topic we could rely on when we were negative.
"Small" squads will definitely be outrun on a giant topic. Assemble
Harvard's squad from last year. Hold a squad meeting where all you do is
come up with winnable affs. Odds are that they come up with *all* your aff
ideas and two times as many other good ones. Good squads did not get that
way by being predictable or underestimating "small" squads."
The thing is, you *can* innovate at least as much, if not more, on a small
topic. "Depth" does not mean 'regurgitation.' It means finding new ways to
look at, new ways to tweak, new ways to innovate that haven't been thought of.
Those tactics, if you ask me, will get you further in life & debate than
some random "bolt from the blue" that you *hope* nobody has thought about.
This is the exact opposite of "shallow policy making," an argument that
Josh Hoe has made repeatedly & you haven't responded to.
The solution to shallow policy making is to write topics well. Topics where
the solvency literature matches the resolution & has generated a relatively
balanced controversy. Then, all squads have a chance at winning. Don't fall
into the trap of thinking a giant topic will net you a few more aff wins:
Recent topics have been very neg biased, but that is no reason to repeat
the nightmare of a "change foreign policy topic."
lacyjp at wfu.edu
ps -- I find it paradoxical that those who do not want to advocate action
by the "USFG" prefer to advocate action by the PRC.
pps -- Whitman never had many coaches. Their success is & was due to the
effort of their debaters & the small coaching staff they had. Kentucky
didn't have many coaches but they managed to make the semis of Northwestern.
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