[eDebate] Res to Ellis-How to change topic selections

scottelliott at grandecom.net scottelliott
Thu Jan 18 07:46:33 CST 2007

I agree that the Topic Committee and the current Topic selection process can be
hijacked by special interests or persons with ideological axes to grind (i.e
people who think this is how policy debate "ought" to be"). That's why I think
the topic papers should have proposed resolutions within them. The topic paper
authors should work out the various wordings and implications over a few months
process or research, writing, reviews and revisions. The one I wrote was
researched and written over a three month period, with reviews from coaches AND
reviews from experts in the field. Then actual resolutions were proposed and

This is not a discussion of why my specific topic area should be chosen--rather,
it is a defense of the methodology. Frankly, I'd love for the proliferation
topic area to be developed using the same methodology. My vision would be to
have a topic papper that has five to ten proposed resolutions stated within
them. Have the community vote for that topic papper. Then, those resolutions
would be placed on the ballot for a vote.

The thoughtful deliberation about how a resolution should be worded should
happen during the topic papper writing process---it is tough and requires
multiple revisions. The current clusterfuck of having a group meet over a three
or four day period, with a bunch of topic area ignorant yahoos either in person
or via the internet spouting out input has led to greater participation in the
process, but ultimately, a vastly inferior product.

Bottom-line. The topic paper should (1) defend a topic area and (2) give
resolutions that will be on the ballot if the topic area is selected. This
gives everyone fair warning of what the resolutions are going to be and would
prevent the current bait-and-switch operation that is known as the current
topic selection process.

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