[eDebate] Topic Formulations - Whats your method?

Joe Patrice joepatrice
Mon Apr 24 10:51:23 CDT 2006

In the interest of transparency, here are my initial thoughts.  I really
don't have a fully congealed strategy for topic creation so there's nothing
to pin me down to.  I'm new to this, so I plan to listen and evaluate
different approaches throughout the process.  I already wrote a little about
my thoughts in response to Sarah, Dallas and Hester's line of posts.
Basically, I said there that, at least involving the Courts topic area, I
would support having list topics and non-list topics on the ballot if the
literature appears to support both because I think the voters should decide
between those options.

Example 1 - I've only thought about the Courts option so far.  In that case,
I think the topic will probably be "Supreme Court should"
overrule/overturn/reverse an existing decision in either an area of law or
from a list of cases provided in the resolution.  There are a lot of cases
in this world and people make a variety of arguments as to why cases should
be overturned, but the defined mechanism and the act of reversal would
provide consistent Neg ground.  As I'm only reading for the Courts topic
(that's the "team" I'm on) that's all I can speak quasi-intelligently
about.  I'll listen to other suggestions, but I think that's the most fair
way to approach a courts topic.

Example 2 - Generally neg ground is good.  I prefer my Aff flexibility to be
a matter of crafty Aff strategizing rather than built into a topic.  That
said, I support simplicity most of all -- generally I want to be able to
answer the lay person who asks "what's the topic" without having to put on
my Homer Simpson reading glasses and beginning a string of 140 disconnected
words.  If simpler topics fit into your vision of the topic, then I suppose
that matters to me, but my motivation is simplicity not
flexibility/directionality/or "freedom."  For everyone else's benefit that
makes me agnostic on lists per se...I can think of lists that are simple to
explain (treaties) and lists that aren't (Europe).

Example 3 - For the courts topic (again all I really know right now), I'd
say the topic would ask the court to reverse itself and then it's up to Affs
to find advocates for overturning a decision on whatever grounds there may
be out there.  I'd endeavor to pick areas where there are a diversity of
advocates but certainly I won't know everything about the topic literature
by the end of the meeting, nor will I pretend to.

That's pretty much all I have on this.  It's rudimentary, but so is my
exposure to topic drafting at this point.

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