[eDebate] Topic Area Discussion

dbteam dbteam
Mon Apr 10 18:35:05 CDT 2006

imo, there is a potential problem that can arise when voting for the topic 
areas that needs to be mentioned. it is a result of the paucity of information 
w/in each choice. DISCLAIMER - this is not a knock on any committee or 
anything else. just stating a fact - the topic areas are 3-4 words. the final 
resolution will NOT be only 3-4 words, more like 15+ if recent history is any 
indication. it is the addition of these other words, and the significant 
effects they have on what a topic area "means" that i am addressing.

Example - School A decides they like the Supreme Court area, because they are 
interested in running AFFs that increase constitutional protection of 
individual rights. Supreme Court wins, but when the resolution choices come 
out, School A is upset to learn that none of the choices actually allow for 
such affirmatives, mainly b/c there was a "consensus" somewhere in the 
pipeline that NEG ground would be too difficult to come by if AFFs get to be 

fwiw, this scenario is exactly what happened with the Indian Country topic 
exactly ZERO of the schools that actually wanted to debate that area got the 
direction they wanted. result - everyone hated the topic.

as i see it, the problem is this: the lack of pre-voting conversation and lack 
of consensus as to what kind of resolutions will actually be generated w/in 
each topic area can, and often do, lead to misleading vote tallies as schools 
mistakenly think they'll get to debate "this" if a particular area wins only 
to discover they'll actually be debating "that."

pre-empt: careful review of the topic papers don't solve the problem. the EU 
topic is an example of how some folks thought that the resolution would be 
limited to bilateral relations between US and EU only to learn that the actual 
resolution included some plan options had nothing to do with bilateral co-op 
but instead were just US unilateral foreign policy options.

i don't really have a silver bullet. but i do think some conversation about 
WHY people prefer certain areas over others would be useful. i'll start with a 
few questions:

Will "Supreme Court" resolutions be limited to a list of specific decisions, 
or will there be at least one choice that mimics the 91-92 NDT resolution 
("decision recognizing a federal constitutional right to privacy"), i.e., an 
area of law rather than a specific court decision?

Will the AFF be required to rule in a particular direction? or will the 
resolutions be written in such a way to allow "conservative" or "liberal" 

Will the "Executive Authority" resolutions all be unidirectional decreases in 
authority or will there be a choice/choices on the ballot that would allow AFF 
to increase exec authority?

Ditto for "IPR" - will all the resolution choices go in the same direction?

okay, just trying to get the ball rolling. it'd be nice if people that voted 
for an area actually got to debate a resolution that was consistent with the 
reason they supported that area to begin with.


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