[eDebate] The Mission Impossible Role of the Topic Committee

Pacedebate at aol.com Pacedebate
Mon May 29 17:48:49 CDT 2006

Edes post was put on the topic blog and Steve Mancuso basically made the  
points I would make and probably more eloquently. 
I do agree with Ede that the topic committee would better serve the  
community if they only produced two or three resolutions. The time they are  allocated 
probably just doesn't allow them the time necessary to create more  than 
three good resolutions.
I'm not sure if the community has resolved the "side bias issue" but in my  
mind they should have. The topic committee should strive to create a topic that 
 doesn't have a side bias. A very difficult task for sure.
In a message dated 5/29/2006 7:44:27 A.M. Central Daylight Time,  
ewarner at louisville.edu writes:

Two things Tim:  1) if the goal is one great topic, then why charge  them 
with creation of 3-6 in 2 ? days? Why not have them produce one  great topic and 
not have a voting process afterwards?   The current  process doesn't match up 
with the charge you are giving to the topic  committee.  When the goal was to 
create "reasonable predictable ground",  a committee could easily achieve 3-6 
topics in that time frame, but the  standard is so much higher to achieve 
"absolute certainty", the last couple of  topics on the ballot never get the same 
treatment as the first one.   Historically, that has occurred each year of 
2)  Have we even resolved the question of whether some side bias is  good?  
Is the goal of the topic committee to produce a topic that creates  equal side 
bias?  I've heard others say that aff's should win 75% of  their debates (like 
defending home field advantage).  Why is aff  flexibility reduced to 
perceived notions of which side is better in coin  flips?  Why isn't who actually won 
those debates just as, if not more  important than the side someone picked?  
It just doesn't seem that you  would want to stop here with evidence 
accumulation in determining one's goals  in topic construction?  Given the time and 
effort this community places  on debating a topic, it would seem that a 
systematized method of record  keeping is needed if these are in fact the types of 
evidence that people want  the topic committee to use to make their judgements.  
What was the side  bias on sanctions?  How does it compare with other years?  
Just  seems like before determining productive outcomes, there must be some  
agreement on what in fact needs to be created?

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