[eDebate] Topic Area Discussion

William Newnam wnewnam
Tue Apr 11 10:27:46 CDT 2006

I want to again reinforce this message.  We have a problem, Houston.  We 
have a hard working topic committee who does their best.  However, they 
frequently find themselves crafting wordings in a pressure packed weekend in 
June after an area is selected.

I think we can make a positive change that would be very simple.

When voting for areas we should include three or four topic wordings within 
each area.  After the area is selected, then the topics within the area can 
be selected.  Voting for an area is important, but the wording is far more 

The discussion about a potential inclusion of Roe evidences this.  Depending 
on the wording, a Roe reversal could allow for the reconstitution of better 
protections for women or it could require a lessening of those protections.

Why can't we fix this?

bill n
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "dbteam" <dbteam at westga.edu>
To: <edebate at ndtceda.com>
Sent: Monday, April 10, 2006 7:35 PM
Subject: [eDebate] Topic Area Discussion

> 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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