[eDebate] Some thoughts about topic wording and ballot options

Josh Hoe jbhdb8
Thu Apr 12 15:28:48 CDT 2007

I will echo one thing that Will said:

The problem with this topic (in a non-performance sense) was that the
negative CP literature was superior to the affirmative ability to generate
add-ons against many of those CPs.  Given that most judges vote neg on
theory it was VERY hard for the aff to win that the CP Constitutional
Amendment - would not be interpreted and implemented in the same way as the
plan BY THE COURTS as well as by the legislature etc.

This was one of those - a topic committee cant know this ahead of time for
sure - kind of problems.

The answer isnt topic anarchy...But as I said last year....even I am for a
bit more aff flex....and thats saying something,


On 4/12/07, William J Repko <repkowil at msu.edu> wrote:
> 1. I am a little concerned that airlines will move down to 1 checked-item
> per ticket. Take a read.
> http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17052723/
> 2. Be careful about conflating frustrations about the 2006-7 topic.
> Was the problem topic SIZE or QUALITY of Aff ground ?...
> ...The honest answer is probably a little of both.
> While I wished the topic had been 2-3 cases larger, I'll still contend
> that
> the real sources of frustration (for affs) on the legal topic were
> ground-related, not size-related. Specifically:
> a) Struggling against some generic cplans
> b) Inability to easily access a security advantage (in policy rounds)
> c) Structural variables that are not going to change soon (Negs get
> specific K, generic K, specific policy hits, generic policy hits).
> Better put -- I think the topic was a *little* too small -- but not
> radically too small. If the 4 legal cases had been CTBT-style Aff biased,
> 2A's would have been sizably more satisfied.
> Larson statistics notwithstanding, we can comfortably agree that a lot of
> 2A's were highly annoyed during the course of this season.
> But, I am weary that this will cause an over-compensation effect.  If this
> were whiffle-ball and we could have a "do-over", I think the logical
> extension of these frustrations would be either:
> a) to have 2-3 more cases (8-10 more holdings) built into the topic, or:
> b) to not have a legal topic at all.
> I don't think it would be to have a wording that would accomodate 30-40
> more
> policy affs, in addition to 10-15 K Affs that ignore the topic alotgether.
> 3. Why does topic size matter at this stage ?...
> In fairness, it may not.
> Any of the 4 areas could win, and the community could -- in the next phase
> -- craft very narrow or very broad wordings.
> I mention it at this stage b/c I think the weapons posture (dubbed
> "prolif")
> topic has a good vision for navigating the balancing act between topic
> size,
> neg bias, and (already limited) tub space.
> I did not craft that topic -- but I like the following 3 features:
> a) It appears to help the Aff not by providing the Aff MORE ground, but
> instead BETTER ground. The central controversy (should Bush remain a
> hard-ass about weapons posture and international norms) is one that TILTS
> AFF -- both on the K and in the policy literature. Experience with the
> China
> topic suggests that Affs would rather have 3-4 more GOOD/Durable Affs than
> 30 more mediocre ones.
> b) A wording can easily be crafted that has some limits.
> There *is a reason* the community voted for a 4-case topic. Several
> interests converge here. Some folks d/n want an overwhelming caseload
> (school, etc). Some think the MSU BH vision of tons of new Affs makes for
> a
> lot of bad/shallow debates. Some hope to return to an era where the neg
> engaged the Aff to a larger degree -- and view "small" as "manageable".
> Increasingly, I am straight-up concerned with logisitics.
> How do we get our damn tubs there ?... How much file-sharing and
> last-second
> computer-printing is healthy/wise ?... What if we we seriously see the
> airlines further limit checked-luggage ?...
> The Topic Committee probably does need to help the Aff -- but I would hope
> they'd keep these concerns in mind.
> c) The central controversy is stable -- at least for the next 19 months.
> This is an issue in modern topics. "Pressure" and (to a lesser-degree)
> "Overrule"/Raich/Hamdan were a a little in flux during the course of the
> season. At times this hamstrung the neg, but at times it simply hamstrung
> both sides.
> One thing that I feel makes for a strong topic is WHEN THE CENTRAL
> decent vision for a topic is one that can't easily include the "pressure
> now" underview.
> Straight-up, I do not think our overall weapons posture will change in a
> way
> that will complicate the uniqueness for advantages or disadvantages.
> For this reason, I like debating this topic while this President is still
> in
> office. I'd rather not "sit" on THIS topic -- I think it could grow less
> stable after the next Presidential election. And, I think the other areas
> could grow more stable/inherent in time.
> 4. A concluding note on topics other than weapons posture.
> While this post is clearly designed to influence voting at this stage,
> it's
> more designed to encourage the Committee's wording options at the NEXT
> stage.
> I think ANY of those topics could win and still accomodate most of the
> concerns expressed in this post.
> Personally, I can see a narrow version of all four topics.
> It *may* also be the case that narrow can be also be pulled off with an
> Aff
> bias and an inherent mechanism in mind.
> I have more concerns about this -- although I am sure the committee will
> try. I worry that "restriction of genetic engineering" or "constructive
> engagement/aid to the Middle East" may be in more flux than other ballot
> options. I think "Democracy promotion to BAD ALLIES" can be made pretty
> stable/inherhent (though maybe neg leaning).
> I should also mention that I think Middle East or Genetic Engineering
> could
> win and alternate/additional mechanisms could be placed as ballot options.
> But, overall, I currently have the most faith that the weapons posture
> topic
> best navigates all three concerns (Aff ground, still narrow, still
> stable).
> I thought I'd post to that effect as people were reaching their decisions.
> Best,
> Will
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