[eDebate] 2007-2008 CEDA Topic

Gordon Stables stables
Wed Oct 18 16:13:24 CDT 2006

I am sure that the prospect of next year's topic couldn't seem any more 
distant but the process mandated by the CEDA constitution and developed 
by the CEDA topic selection committee is already underway.

Last year I think everyone involved in the process saw how much 
community input is possible. The hit count on the topic blog went crazy 
during the meetings last summer. Lots of folks took part watching the 
great feed provided by KCKCC. I am optimistic that we can have that 
level of support during the year and the also as the final details are 
resolved. This year I am working to extend our web presence in an effort 
to organize that input and make it better integrated within the topic 
process. There are a couple of items I would like to highlight.

1) Topic process - I have tried to summarize all relevant dates and 
procedures for the topic process. This information is available at 
http://www.cedatopic.com/topic_process.html  I encourage everyone to 
review it to learn about how we go about this processs. Significantly, 
the section highlights that the first due date for papers in March 1, 2007.

2) Areas v. Controversy Papers - The topic process link includes the one 
major significant change I am instituting with regard to topic papers. 
In the past we asked for 'area' papers and then wording papers. This 
policy was necessary due to the paucity of complete topic papers in the 
past. At this point, with the tremendous amount of community 
participation, it is time to clarify how the 'area' papers can best 
contribute. Accordingly, I am asking that these papers be developed as 
'controversy' papers that instead of highghting all of the relevant 
concerns about a law or country or type of policy speak instead to a 
relevant dispute in public policy. I have developed some guidelines to 
help develop these controversy papers at  

3) 07-08 Controversy Papers - We are actively soliciting papers for 
consideration as a future topic. At last summer's CEDA business meetings 
we commissioned a slate of papers to be developed committee members and 
volunteers. Because there are no constraints on what type of topic 
(i.e., legal, domestic, foreign policy, etc.) to consider for next year 
there are a wide range of possible options. To date we have nine areas 
already under consideration and I have heard from a potential set of 
volunteers to add a 10th (roughly dealing with nonproliferation 
policy).  The full list of items is available at 

These should not be treated as a closed or completed set in any way. In 
each of these cases the authors may or may not even reccomend their 
inclusion on the potential slate of areas. For example, one of my 
responsibilities was to consider if executive authority would be useful 
in next year's topic. Based on the inclusion of Quirin in this topic I 
will be recommending that we not include executive authority next year.

At the same time, we are always looking for new work and new ideas. Keep 
in mind that the slate of items included on the first ballot will be 
drawn from this list so if you don't see items you like start 
considering what might be a valuable alternative. Please consider this 
one, of many, reminders about what items are under consideration for 07-08.

4) Input without writing a paper - There are two ways to go about giving 
input even without authoring a paper. First, for each of the papers 
being written there is at least one contact listed. These authors 
welcome your assistance and input. If you have ideas on how a certain 
area could be developed, let them know. I know I have found that this 
process is much easier with additional input. Second, the topicblog has 
an open thread for the next topic at http://blog.cedatopic.com/  Post 
your thoughts there and we can incorporate that feedback into the process.


Two weeks before CEDA nationals I will present a slate of items to the 
CEDA membership. Typically this is when we hear a great deal of feedback 
about the topic. It usually includes a lot of discussion about other 
areas and other ideas. I hope the new site and the clearer process can 
help us move forward together. Please take a few moments in the next few 
months and help us develop a topic that will provide a great educational 

As always, if you have questions or concerns, don't hesitate to contact me.


Gordon Stables
Chair, CEDA Topic Selection Committee


Gordon Stables, Ph.D.

Director of Debate

Annenberg School for Communication

University of Southern California

Office: 213 740 2759               Fax: 213 740 3913


More information about the Mailman mailing list