[eDebate] The Mission Impossible Role of the Topic Committee

Pacedebate at aol.com Pacedebate
Mon May 29 02:43:55 CDT 2006

In a message dated 5/29/2006 12:35:12 A.M. Central Daylight Time,  
ewarner at louisville.edu writes:

I write  this because I fear than many of the justifications for what the 
committee  considers "best" these days is subjective to me and flies in the face 
of a lot  of history.  I won't make arguments that the way we write topics has 
lead  to the downfall of debate, because that is overly, overly simplistic.   
But I will say, that as we get further entrenched in a debate belief  that 
attempts to create absolute certainty as the standard for a good  topic, I would 
hope that the community is willing to stay  introspective and test that 
premise against our own historical evidence to the  contrary.

Until very recently I was a very firm believer in a strong limit on  
affirmative flexibility. To me the historical evidence was a very strong bias  for the 
aff as evidenced by coin flips in out rounds. Win the flip and pick aff.  The 
success of that approach was also backed by the winning percentage of the  
aff. Those trends have both changed. I suspect the side bias is neg and  
certainly the winners of the flip are often picking negative. However, I don't  think 
that means we should unleash the aff. I think sanctions was the best topic  I 
ever coached on and I think the aff would be ok even in the world of the  
floating pic with that resolution. Ede is correct that asking the topic  
committee to recreate that type of resolution is a high standard I think they  are up 
to it.

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