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

NEIL BERCH berchnorto
Wed Jul 18 22:28:12 CDT 2007

Chief--Thanks for participating in this discussion.  I think it's important for you bureaucratic leaders to do so, and edebate is one forum for that discussion.  It shouldn't be the only one (I will note in passing that this post will be the 81st consecutive one on this topic by a man).

Brief responses (and I speak for nobody but myself):
Recommendation 1, as you noted, has been tried and has failed.  I'm also not looking for a non-policy topic.
Recommendation 2, I think, makes a good deal of sense, though I think the hurdle, given the democratization that has taken place, is the community as a whole, not the Topic Committee.
Recommendation 3 makes sense to me, but it's not necessarily competitive with the other ideas.

On your feedback requests, I think a broader topic is fine, but I'm more concerned about it being a simpler topic.  I think a year of debates on the meaning of "only" (and how that impacts CP ground versus affirmative ground) would be dreadful for new novices (and everyone else).  Yes, some of my novices are turned off by off-topic affirmatives, but at least as many are turned off by spending their novice year debating CP theory.  I think a simpler resolution would help in this regard.

I'm also a Topicality dove, generally.  I'd be much more likely to vote on topicality, though, under a broader resolution.  Many of the affirmative arguments about why they have to be non-topical would carry much less weight for me in such circumstances.  So, I think the two are tied together.

Lastly, I would be happy to put your survey to my team.

That brings me to one additional point for those who are talking about forming a coalition.  I don't control WVU's topic vote; I have the same voting power as the newest novice.  And I know that's true for some other directors.  Just another complicating factor.--Neil

--Neil Berch
West Virginia University
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Darren Elliott<mailto:delliott at kckcc.edu> 
  To: edebate at ndtceda.com<mailto:edebate at ndtceda.com> 
  Sent: Wednesday, July 18, 2007 10:50 PM
  Subject: [eDebate] As Topic Cmte member and CEDA 1st VP

  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.  
  eDebate mailing list
  eDebate at www.ndtceda.com<mailto:eDebate at www.ndtceda.com>
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