[eDebate] Topic/Merger/Topic Committee

debate at ou.edu debate
Sun Jun 11 09:24:30 CDT 2006

Hello Community or should I say Communities,

As I read through the posts on the topic discussion, I find a couple of things interesting that I want to identify.  I personally attended the topic committee meeting this year, because I did not want to be one who criticized without witness.  There are some obvious things I want to point out from my experience that shed light on 3 things ?

1. The topic writing process ? 2. The topic choices we have    --  3 ? The merger

These three things seemed to be very intricately intertwined.  

Let me first say that I do appreciate the hard work that people do as organizational members to keep the process moving.  I have never served at any organizational  position in either the NDT or CEDA community.  I do respect the hard work of others, even if I disagree with goals or motives.  Just as I disagree with Cormack?s abuse of topicality and the arguments I hear KU make, I so much respect the hard work their debaters and coaches do towards the arguments I might criticize.  So I will say thanks to Joe, Malcolm, Steve, Ryan, Gordon, Tim, Chief, Ed, and Dave for all of your hard work and dedication to the this activity.

When I attended the meeting, I had no pre-conceived notions of what I wanted my team to talk about next year.  I had no specific cases or areas I wanted on the ballot.  If you watched the webcast, you know I only wanted to have different options of wording on the ballot rather than the basic list topics.  If myself and others such as Vik, Gordie, Kathryn and student debaters were not at the meeting, I am not sure there would even be an areas topic on the ballot.  I never brought up cases I wanted to talk about or debate, I only attempted to use the work from the current topic wording papers as tools to help create a topic.  Mostly I supported Lindsey Harrisons ideas, who wrote a paper, but the way I was questioned or CX?d as it felt like, I am not sure the topic committee members read it or took it seriously.

I know when games are being played in meetings, and there was some tactics occurring that I disagreed with.  I predicted the outcome of this process on the first day.  It was obvious from the agenda that ?lists? topics would be railroaded through.  The discussion of ?areas? was continually pushed to the backburner.  I predicted on day one that the rhetoric of day three would be ?we have not given X topic enough consideration, and don?t want to ?throw? it on the ballot at the last minute.?  On the second day I predicted that we would be lucky to get only one areas topic on the list, and after I was never given the respect to be heard the morning of the second day (cut off when the agenda was pressed forward), I withdrew from offering any ideas of my own, and began to help make the areas topic one that would be debatable based upon our (community) limited knowledge of true legal workings.  I also predicted this would be troublesome if you really wanted a ?list? topic to win, b
ecause one AREAS topic would have an advantage from the split.   The current AREAS topic we have is not what I would prefer to debate, but I do feel like it is more of a debate topic.  I don?t even care about broad or narrow in relation to the topics, but I do prefer aff flexibility, IE getting to choose the case you would ovverrule within an identified AREA.

Then the elephant in room appeared.  An obvious split between one group who wanted lists only, and another group who wanted to offer community choice on the ballot which included an areas resolution.  Ironically, it was more like an NDT ? CEDA split on the topic committee.  More interesting, was the people who wanted to offer choice to the community preferred lists, but knew people in the community wanted an ?areas? option.

Which then sheds some light on the merger and how we got the composition of people on the topic committee we currently have.

If rumors are correct, there was a meeting amongst Traditional NDT folks to determine who had the best chance to beat our Current VP and 2nd VP in the past election to have those other 2 sets on the topic committee.  If this is true, it seems coercive to me.

NDT said they would adopt the CEDA topic if it was a policy resolution and went for a full year.  But somehow this has transferred into NDT folk wanting to control the current topic committee and write the resolutions, rather than just accept whatever policy resolution the CEDA Topic Committee produces.  I agree some schools do both, but most debate coaches/schools have their roots.  Some are proud of those roots, others are not.  Why is it that 4 members of the topic committee did not even attend CEDA Nationals?

Why doesn?t the CEDA organization withdraw hosting the topic committee meeting and just let the NDT folk have a meeting and craft the resolution?  Is that CEDA?s goal now, pay for the meeting that allows the Traditional NDT folk to craft a topic?  Who is being who?s lackey?

My alternative to the current process, CEDA host a topic committee meeting after the NDT meeting, craft resolutions about the same area, but in a way that might be more accessible for the majority of those in the community, rather than most people having to appeal to a select few?s perspective of what good debate is.  Then, if CEDA schools wanted to attend the larger NDT Tournaments, they can debate similar resolutions at choice.  This would solve the ?top down? topic process.  Why would those who do not attend traditional CEDA tournaments care?  They will still get people coming to the traditional NDT tournaments to debate their superior topics.

In my mind the topic is the mask.  I have no preference of lists over areas unless the lists topics get so limited that there are only 4 affs?, then the club that bludgeons schools with small coaching staffs will re-appear.

On the first day I predicted the smallest lists would include the discussion of abortion cases, they did.  I predicted we would get lucky to get an AREAS topic on the ballot, we were.

That is predictability!



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