[eDebate] As Topic Cmte member and CEDA 1st VP

Darren Elliott delliott
Wed Jul 18 21:50:29 CDT 2007

I have read every post on all of the related topics re: the topic
committee, the wording of resolutions, the revolution of Iron Hell, etc.
 I have been wanting to respond but have carefully considered how I
would.  Let me share some views and ask for some input.  At the outset I
will say I am concerned.  I see good people, people I like and consider
friends, and they have reached a frustrating point.  It signals to me
that CEDA needs to respond.  As part of that elected CEDA bureaucracy I
think it is part of my duty.

My recommendations (tentatively) and my request for feedback follows.

Recommendation 1.  Amend the constitution allowing the topic committee
and CEDA to sanction both a Policy Resolution and a Non-Policy
Resolution.  Tournaments could offer both in as many divisions as they
wanted.  We could put to the test the call from some as to whether or
not the non-policy/membership numbers correlation exists.  Let me add,
CEDA did offer a non-policy division at CEDA nats for a couple years and
the numbers were abysmal.  Do with that anecdote what you will.

Recommendation 2.    Email your elected members to the Topic Committee
with your concerns.  If you feel they fall on deaf ears than organize to
get those more in tune with you elected.  Dont underestimate the power
of the ballot box.  I will address the Topic Committee in a separate

Recommendation 3.  I think as much as Ede would like to think the CEDA
EC is NDT Teen Spirit, I believe a larger problem lies in the run to the
National Circuit.  More importantly than maybe the CEDA elections are
the NDT Chairpersonships.  Until the NDT Committee is ready to make
changes regarding the qualification process and effect Regional Debate
in positive ways, no other single change will make as much a difference
in terms of membership numbers.  Again, why not organize to get the
votes you want on the NDT Committee?

Request for feedback?

1.  What is the rationale for broader topics being more Novice friendly?
 We coach us a lot of novices here in KC and I got to tell you, the
problem is NOT the wording of the topic.  The biggest problem related to
debate (once you account for family, grade, job issues) is that the
topic is not adhered to in debates.  Novices trying to learn the game
face the hurdle of not the words in the topic, but the run to the left. 
I seriously would like to be engaged on why I should make the topic more
unmanageable research wise so the battle is now twice as large?

2.  Somewhat related to the above, I am perplexed often at those who
call for broader topics are often the ones who despise T debates.  I
think locking in the Aff is the only check currently (smaller more
predictable topics).  If there is a good answer, especially from those
running left, please engage me.  But here is how I see it.  At the
beginning of the year we have to prepare for debates on the topic and
debates not about the topic.  I am ok with that.  We often are not about
the topic.  But especially when it comes to Novices, with a smaller more
predictable Rez I can reasonably get them ready for predictable debates
for Camp 1 (the topic debates) and then worry about the non-predictable
non-topic debates.  Seems that some want the topic to be large to the
point where now the topic debates (Camp 1) are just as unpredictable and
unwieldy as Camp 2 (the non-topic debates).

3.  How many of you (and you can b/c me) would be willing to conduct a
topic survey with your a) your teams, b) your argumentation and debate
classes, and c) your public speaking classes?  I am thinking of a survey
that compares topics and asks students to rate the ones they would most
like to debate.  The comparison pool would come from the last CEDA
topics, the last NDT topics, and the 10 years of merged topics.  I think
this data could be useful, and provide a research/paper outlet even for

Let me say, I have great respect for everyone in these conversations
(even Korcok).  Everything I write above is an attempt to genuinely
engage the community as a member of the Topic Committee and more
importantly as a member of the CEDA EC.  I hope the dialogue will be


Darren Elliott
Director of Debate--KCKCC
CEDA 1st V.P.  

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