[eDebate] Topic Area Discussion

Josh Hoe jbhdb8
Mon Apr 10 19:26:00 CDT 2006

You have certainly put your finger on a major problem in the process -
generally it goes something like this:

a) Topic area paper suggests topic wordings but not many and not very
b) Topic area paper doesnt suggest topic wordings - leaving entire
discretion to the committee
c) Committee decides the literature goes one was and community wants the
d) Committee is serving a particular view of how good topics ought be
written (of which there are several including "aff flex" which I know you
support).  And exercise discretion over direction despite what voting
community wants - usually because there is no clear way for them to know
what people want.
e) Topic wording papers that get written suggest topics that nobody in
community likes.

These problems are hard to deal with in any real way because there is so
much diversity as to HOW any topic should be constructed and lack of
uniformity over WHAT the community would support.  For instance, Hester
wants a natives topic with aff flex - Josh Hoe wants a natives topic that
makes the aff do something controversial and we both voted for Natives (not
actually true but whatever).  At the same time three members of the
committee absolutely want a list topic and four want a non-list topic.
There is no clear sense of the community on any of these questions.


On 4/10/06, dbteam <dbteam at westga.edu> wrote:
> 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
> 'liberal.'
> 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"
> plans?
> Will the "Executive Authority" resolutions all be unidirectional decreases
> in
> authority or will there be a choice/choices on the ballot that would allow
> 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.
> hester
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