[eDebate] The Mission Impossible Role of the Topic Committee

Andy Ellis andy.edebate
Mon May 29 18:01:26 CDT 2006

at what point in the year does one measure side bias?

for example a topic that starts out 56 percent aff and end 50/50 may seem
unbiased but is actualy probably negative biased based on the way the season
progresses...so when trying to have zero side bias is that astatic or
dynamic thing?

On 5/29/06, Pacedebate at aol.com <Pacedebate at aol.com> wrote:
>  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.
> T
> 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 late.
>  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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