[eDebate] Coalition of the list-supporter

Morris, Eric R EricMorris
Sat Jun 3 18:15:41 CDT 2006


Yes - but...

Ranking the 1st Amendment topic first or last makes some sense given the similarity of the lists. They all include two cases, and a couple of others are quite frequent. Unless people like the core cases, but have very strong reactions to particular ones (Casey comes to mind), I would expect lots of people end up ranking 1st Amendment either first or last. 

Ermo

p.s. I've sometimes felt that a good voting formula (assuming a ballot of list topics) would be as follows:

1. Rank order your preference of items on this list:
	__ Area #1
	__ Area #2	
	__ Area #3	
	__ Area #4
	__ Area #5
	__ Area #6
	__ Area #7
	__ Area #8
	__ Area #9
	__ Area #10
	__ Area #11
	__ Area #12
	__ Area #13
	__ Area #51

(Then, perhaps after passage of time...)

2. How many items should be in the list? (Rank order your preferences)
	__ One 
	__ Two
	__ Three
	__ Four
	__ Five
	__ Six
	__ Seven
	__ Eight
	__ Nine
	__ Ten

Perhaps a ballot could include a couple of non-list topics, a couple of list-topic stems, and these questions, with the votes on these questions occurring earlier than the final topic vote. 

Disclaimer: I'm only halfway joking with this suggestion, and I certainly respect the work and effort by the topic committee. I feel like they usually do a great job, and you can't please everybody or predict how all of "the literature" (by which I mean a few random cards that end up using fortunate word choices) might play out. 


-----Original Message-----
From: edebate-bounces at ndtceda.com [mailto:edebate-bounces at ndtceda.com] On Behalf Of Dallas Perkins
Sent: Saturday, June 03, 2006 5:57 PM
To: Morris, Eric R
Cc: edebate at ndtceda.com
Subject: Re: [eDebate] Coalition of the list-supporter

Ermo is certainly right about the effect of the vote counting regime.  If
half the community prefers a list at any cost, a list will win.  And if
half the community prefers an area at any cost, the area topic will win.

I'm only reading edebate for a couple of days, so I again admit ignorance,
but is the community so polarized on the list vs non-list issue that it
will determine the outcome of the voting, to the exclusion of any serious
consideration of what is included in the various lists?  Are people ready
to go with Ede, throw caution to the winds, and accept any list topic over
the one area topic?  Are others ready to say they support any area topic
over any list topic, regardless of the area or the list.  I hear some
extreme voices on each side (on some days mine may be included,) but I
assume that most people fall somewhere in the middle, so that they will in
fact put the First Amendment topic somewhere in the middle of their
rankings.

If that is not the case, if Ede is right that the vote will be split and
the First Amendment topic is almost a certain winner, that would be an
unfortunate waste of a lot of the effort that went into exploring the
various elements of the lists.  Concretely, we lose the Morrison debates
because it is not a stand-alone topic with a specified content and
direction, as its topic paper writer originally proposed.

I sense that this situation makes a fairly strong case for something like
the reforms Tim Mahoney is proposing.  People who don't like lists have
been given no chance to vote for a Morrison Topic or a Plenary Power Topic
or a religion topic, or anything very close to the security topic Tim
himself drafted.  Topic paper writers need more control, and voters need
more, and more diverse, choices.  If people want list topics, let somebody
write and discuss list topic papers.  Having a committee mix and match a
bunch of them up in a rushed meeting is ok, but voters should also get to
choose the carefully considered, paper-supported topics as well.  Tim's
proposal achieves that.  It deserves consideration and support.

dp

On Sat, 3 Jun 2006, Morris, Eric R wrote:

> My understanding of the voting counting process is that the topic with the least votes is eliminated, and then a run off occurs with the remainder topics.
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> Thus, those supporting a list topic need only rank 1st Amendment LAST to assure that their vote is cast elsewhere. If a majority rank all the list topics above the 1st Amendment, there will be NO vote splitting effect. The vote splitting is only a risk if people put the 1st Amendment somewhere in the middle. If a majority support the LIST concept, and rank 1st Amendment last on those grounds, then 1st Amendment CANNOT win (even if it takes several eliminations to sort through which list is the most preferred).
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> Obviously, those who prefer the 1st amendment topic, or that style of topic, would rank it first and then place the list topics in order of least offense (perhaps that means the long lists first?).
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> If there is a clear majority for a list topic at all costs, or the area topic, then that type of topic will win out. Only if people rank 1st amendment somewhere in the middle can it play out that dissension over which particular list leaves us with 1st amendment.
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> Put another way: schools can help Ede's coalition by agreeing to rank 1st Amendment LAST, even if there is disagreement over which list they prefer. The coalition could still be useful if it included schools that plan to rank 1st Amendment in the middle, however.
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> Ermo
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> Missouri State
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> ________________________________
>
> From: edebate-bounces at ndtceda.com [mailto:edebate-bounces at ndtceda.com] On Behalf Of Ede Warner
> Sent: Saturday, June 03, 2006 5:04 PM
> To: edebate at ndtceda.com
> Subject: [eDebate] Coalition of the list-supporter
>
>
>
> Dear Debate Community,
>
>
>
> When the final slate of topics was announced, it was apparent that first amendment would be what we debate in the fall for a couple of reasons:  1) some, perhaps many, feel that it is the only topic with enough limits; 2) many just don't like the use of "overrule" in the other topics; 3) it is the only area topic competing against 7 area topics, which means the most likely outcome is that a 1/3 to ? of the community votes for first amendment as their #1 choice, and no one list topic generates more than 1/5 of the vote.  Now, given the criticisms coming out, perhaps that is not the case, but the lone area topic is at a huge strategic advantage.  Ironically, as someone who supported areas, the process created strange bedfellows the way it played out.  I think the lists were made with broad strokes to allow for a lot of flexibility.  Ironically, this is the major criticism of the list topics.  I strongly feel that the committee created a series of lists that have much pedagogi
 cal value in terms of diversity of case options, than the free speech topic.  And finally, I don't agree that the stem for the lists are as open-ended as others do. But that is not here nor there.  If you are interested in voting for a list as your #1 topic, please continue.
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> The last three years, whatever topic had the overall most number of #1 votes, won.  93 total ballots cast last year with pressure getting 29 first round first place votes, with 21 the next highest.  The year before that, there were 95 total ballots, with the winning topic receiving 46 followed by 19, and in 2003-4, there were 75 ballots cast, and the winning Europe list had 31 first round first place ballots, with second place having 22.
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> If your school is a list supporter, and I concede that for many it is too early to make that call (depending on how much investigation the school wants to do or the inclusiveness of the decision making process at the school), I call on those in favor of any list to participate in a coalition-building process to give a list topic a fighting chance to win.
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> I propose this:  If you support any of the lists, let's have a discussion on the blog until a deadline date, perhaps July 1st or even a little later.  The goal of the discussion is to create some consensus for what order we think the lists should be voted in.  From there let's have our own vote amongst the supporters of a list.  We each agree to support the results of that voting as a group and vote accordingly.  And we all cast our individual ballot as part of a collective voting block.
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> If we got 48 willing schools to participate, we could assure that a list topic was likely victorious.  I suspect we can't get that many, but we should strive to maximize our coalition.  Without any external effort on this, a relatively small minority of first amendment #1 votes will likely win.
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> I will post this note to edebate, CEDA-L, and the Blog.  Please let me know if you are interested.  I will create and defend a rank order of the lists to start the discussion, only on the blog.  I hope people see the strategic necessity to think of this as one list versus one area, and not 8 separate topics.  Thanks for reading.
>
>
>
> Ede "Doc" Warner
>
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> Ede Warner, Jr.
> Director of Debate Society/Associate Professor of Communication
> University of Louisville
> 308E Strickler Hall
> 502-852-3522
> e0warn01 at gwise.louisville.edu
> http://comm.louisville.edu/~debate
>
>

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