[eDebate] It's On!!!! Battle Topic

Gordon Stables stables
Tue Jul 17 18:13:06 CDT 2007

I realize that for many who read this list the 'best' thing I could to as
the chair of the topic selection committee (and yes as someone who grew up
in NDT) would be to express anger and frustration at Ede. Maybe I would even
announce some new procedural hurdle to discourage his efforts. Despite the
risks of providing support to Ede's ideas (and therefore making them less
radical) I would like to strongly encourage this and any other type of
interest in the topic selection process. Expanded community input is
something we on the committee are very much looking for and it explains why
we have worked hard to make the process open and manageable. In the roughly
one year since I have been the chair I have worked to make the process as
transparent and predictable as possible. You should note that in the last
year we have:

-        Moved to a new website that lists all of the committee members, the
nature of their appointments and their email addresses. To answer Ede's
specific point, there will be an election for an at-large seat that Sue
Peterson is currently holding. It was my elected seat and she has graciously
agreed to serve out the term. There will also be an election for a new CEDA
2nd VP to join the organization after Joe moves on as President.

-        Built a topic blog that allows a formal means of leaving input. We
had to switch servers after having so much traffic the first year we used a

-        Evolved the first stage of the topic process to controversies,
including providing guidelines to help authors write their papers. This
means that although there is frustration about topic wordings folks can look
back and realize that the community saw a very similar version of topic
option #1 in the paper that the community voted for last spring. I have, and
will make the point to those worried about administrative support please
direction you and their attention to the controversy. That is the 'elevator
conversation' length subject that we all need to communicate to
administrative units. 

-        Added amendments to allow the process to extend in the summer and
away from the busy competition season. We won't know the results until after
the ballots are due (please remember to vote it you haven't already), but if
the amendment on balloting passes we will, for the first time in CEDA
history, be able to move the topic process away from the long voting windows
which have forced us to ask for papers and votes during the season. To
answer Ede's specific question, I will be developing dates for this upcoming
season as soon as the amendment results are announced. I am eager to provide
the community with the most opportunity to solicit controversy papers.

-        I have spent a year's worth of public and private conversations and
meetings to build a list of topics that the community wanted to debate. This
list was discussed at the recent summer meetings and many of these areas are
now commissioned to the committee. I have made a point to try to communicate
with folks who have also had an interest in a specific subject matter, but
unsure how to develop this as a topic. 

During this last topic cycle we turned away no controversy and no wording
papers from the community. To repeat, we turned away no community input from
appearing on ballots. We provided, for the first time, a binding sense of
what the upcoming options would be. I can empathize with those would like to
see other types or forms of topics. 

I realize that my background as a NDT person, similar to some of the
committee, may be enough for some folks to believe that these gestures are
insincere. The only thing I can say to those of you who I have not had the
opportunity to work with is that as the chair of the committee my primary
responsibility is to provide a clear, accountable and educational process.
As I read many of these emails today from folks who talk about taking CEDA
back for CEDA I don't know what to say other than to ask you to look a
little closer at what many of us are trying do in CEDA.  Give Joe, Darren,
myself, Kathryn, ML, Mike, Ermo, Candice, Andrew, and many others a chance
to work with you. 

I do not pretend that we, in this very divergent community, will ever agree
on many items but I do believe we can work collectively, and publicly, to
produce topics that best support our mission as forensics professionals. We
as the committee always NEED much more community input on the topic process
at all stages. It would be exciting to see organized elements of the
community planning and organizing constituencies for topic voting. The topic
process is long, boring, painful and certain to produce hostility. At the
end of the day the committee is tasked to make sure the topic selection
process takes place. I warmly invite any member of the community to take
advantage of the numerous ways (some mentioned above) to get involved. 

If it helps generate support for Ede's efforts I will publicly denounce them
like I denounce his shameless anti-Yankees comments :-) Seriously, as the
chair of the topic committee there is nothing more exciting than folks who
are about to see the next topic want to start planning for the following
topic. Please take advantage of the process and don't hesitate to let me
know if you have questions or other suggestions.


Gordon Stables, Ph.D.
Director of Debate and Forensics
Annenberg School for Communication
University of Southern California
Office: 213 740 2759               Fax: 213 740 3913


From: edebate-bounces at www.ndtceda.com
[mailto:edebate-bounces at www.ndtceda.com] On Behalf Of Ede Warner
Sent: Tuesday, July 17, 2007 3:39 PM
To: edebate at ndtceda.com
Subject: [eDebate] It's On!!!! Battle Topic


Okay, so we watch a lot of Iron Chef in my house...Allay Cuisine!!!!


I'm inspired to get this thing started.  There is no reason that we can't
use this forum for our productive organizing efforts, instead of trying to
persuade Josh and Mike that hell has froze over.  We should use the
resources of CEDA to regain control of CEDA!!!!!


Here is my first stab at a Battle Topic grocery checklist.  Stage one
ingredients (Josh might not call this evidence, but perhaps we could
compromise by calling it information):


1) We need to know the current composition of the Executive Committee,
including when their terms expire and their world view on topic size. 

2) We need to know the current composition of the Topic Committee including
when terms expire and their world view on topic size.

3) We need to write 1-3 papers representing the types of topics we would
like. We can start using the CEDA topic blog as a forum for getting this

4) We need to set up a structure to have a pre-general area vote before
CEDA's election. We probably should only forward the best topic paper so we
don't split votes.

5) We need someone to analyze this year's topic votes to see what happened
and assess what our needs our for battle next year.

6) We need an accurate count of how many active voting members are currently
with us. (could be done publicly or privately).  Specifically what exactly
is their current criticism of the topic process and how do they want it to

7) We need a pr campaign to inactive and former members to let them know
what we are doing and how they can get involved (membership and voting).

8)  We need an accurate understanding of the topic selection process,
including significant dates.

9) We need to know the selection process for executive council members and
the topic committee.

10) We need have less Yankee fans in the debate community.  Just kidding.
We need to know what specific actions our supporters are willing to take.
Voting, running for office or topic committee, writing area papers, or
donations so my kid can get a new baseball bat (damn they are expensive)


Okay, that's a first draft, starting list.  Now we need to discuss and
finalize the list (ingredients), then solicit folks to work on the different
action items.  See Will, I have learned a couple things from you over the


I think we can keep this public because I don't think they can generate much
juice outside of what they've got.  We on the other hand, can potentially
triple or quadriple our numbers.  And if we do so, that would pretty much be
the evidence that Josh, Korcok, and others say is lacking, huh?  Of course,
there will be those who engage in unethical behavior instead of fighting
fair, but if we stay noble and committed, we shall rue the day!!!! (heard
that in a movie recently, not exactly sure what it means)


My wife is standing over me with a butcher knife saying back to the book or
else.  If I don't stop, this is going to become Battle Bald, Fat, Black


Tuna, Andy, Jackie, Neil, Eric, and whoever else has been talking on the
listserv, can we get this started?




Increasing productive uses of the world wide web,


Ede "I told you I was dangerous" Warner




Ede Warner, Jr.
Director of Debate Society/Associate Professor of Communication
University of Louisville
308E Strickler Hall
e0warn01 at gwise.louisville.edu

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