[eDebate] Topic Concerns

Adam Farra adamhfar
Fri Jul 21 17:54:52 CDT 2006


I'm not really upset at this topic choice - I think it'll be pretty  
cool but I will say that I was somewhat bewildered...

I recall a number of people (in my opinion Gabe Murillo did it  
eloquently) arguing that we definitely need to "err affirmative" when  
we're voting and prioritize affirmative flexibility higher than we  
have in the past - what the hell happened??? Four cases?! FOUR?! The  
China topic had four AREAS, the Europe topic had eight options, the  
Treaties topic had five, the Sanctions topic had 5 countries plus  
some flexibility with the phrase "constructive engagement", the  
Southeast Asia topic limited to security assistance but had like 10  
countries...I mean...you've got to be joking me...

Of course SOME people are thinking that "decision" and "overrule" are  
such flexible terms that the affirmative will be able to play around  
with the different holdings of a decision - uhh...I may not have  
10-20 years of debate experience but the 6 I do have taught me one  
thing: when judges are faced with straight up "you should vote this  
way to preserve aff flex." vs. "limits = key to predictable debate  
for the neg" that they will err negative more times than not. I'm  
worried that judges on this topic will continually be moving back the  
goal posts of the limits debate in favor of saving the negative and  
erring on the side of some arbitrary limit rather than simply  
accepting that these words are "more fluid" than phrases/words chosen  
in the past.

I'm not writing this to be like "Aww man the topic sucks! Hunt down  
Mancuso!" (In fact it seems like the members of the committee  
conceived of this topic in a way that would allow us to debate it  
"the way it should be debated".) I am writing this to hopefully  
remind people of the positive discussion we were having earlier this  
year, so that the atmosphere in your initial discussions of the topic  
is partly saturated with thoughts of "encouraging affirmative  
flexibility" and equalizing ground rather than "Okay so...four  
affs...sweet...now we can assign 3 people to each of the four and  
have killer negative files!! Let's always flip neg!!"

The innovation of the community has remedied this problem in the past  
- but I hope that we enter this topic thinking about what we truly  
believe a fair division of ground is. Only four affirmatives is not a  
fair division.

Adam
UMich
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