[eDebate] Fwd: Some questions for my administration

David Glass gacggc
Thu Jul 19 14:18:15 CDT 2007

... just wanted to jump in to note that these current topics are not
necessarily limited in scope, despite being extremely long and wordy.  For
example Topic 4, with the third option being foreign assistance, could be
thought of the first two choices, plus the third, which is is essentially:

The USFG should offer a substantial increase in foreign assistance to one or
more of: Afghanistan, Iran, Lebanon and Syria.

Just that aspect of topic 4 is rather broad.

So one does not necessarily gain a focused topic by this proliferation of
phraseology (on the contrary, it may be easier to find loopholes).

Having been on the high school wording committee for many years, it seems
clear that one can build in limits and still be succinct.  (If you scoff at
that by pointing out that the high school resolutions tend to be unlimited -
that is more a function of which topics win; the high school community
actually seems to prefer very broad topics - the more limited choices always
seem to lose in the voting).

Also in a lot of cases, even if you build a highly restricted topic in the
way it was attempted this year, you're simply handing more alternatives to
the negative, since the resolutions offer a lot to counterplan out....


On 7/19/07, Joe Patrice <joepatrice at gmail.com> wrote:
> I'm responding to Ede's list of questions from my standpoint:
> 1) If 25 new programs willing to become CEDA members tomorrow if they
> could debate a 10-12 word broad topic, would you reconsider your position in
> the best interests of CEDA?
> Response: I think anything that would bring programs in is in the best
> interests of debate.  I will note for the record that I personally don't
> think the key is "narrow" or "broad" per se as much as it is being "a 10-12
> word...topic."  I'm not saying it has to be that short, but conceptually
> simple topics are good.  Conceptually simple topics require being relatively
> short and limiting the use of "debate language" as opposed to "policy
> language" ( i.e. if an expert reading the resolution has to ask "why is
> this phrase in here" then it shouldn't be there).
> 2) If a general area paper won that called for either a broad topic or a
> non-policy resolution, would you support an exclusive slate of topics
> complying with what the paper called for?
> Response: Given that the resolution voting system prevents vote splitting
> I am generally against exclusive slates, though I could be compelled to
> support one if there was a compelling argument (e.g. "we need a non-USFG
> actor on this res because the students need to be stretched academically to
> learn how to debate differently")
> 3) Would a compromise decision by the community to vote for a broad topic
> but to enforce topicality much more stringently be acceptable to you? Could
> that agreement be informal or would it need to be formalized somehow? Does
> the loss of having "not debate the topic" debates reduce the topic
> sufficiently enough for you to make the tradeoff manageable?
> Response: I don't know if it's realistic to depend on the community to
> enforce the topic that way.  But again I don't really have strong feelings
> about "broad" vs. "narrow" but I do want people to affirm the resolution,
> even if they do so in a non-traditional manner.
> 4) Why can't CEDA, who has an actual structure and organization find a way
> to regulate this through it's organization? Doesn't your argument prove the
> point, that all of the power of this organization has already been ceded to
> CEDA, through the "run to the national circuit", etc.
> Response: I think CEDA has all the benefits and drawbacks of a democratic
> organization.  When other viewpoints begin to draw the support of the voting
> public the process will adjust accordingly.  The committee is a consensus
> body and every change in its makeup will change its results.
> 5) Who and what is CEDA? Part of what makes this conversation less
> meaningful is that many of the pro-CEDA folks support smaller limited topic,
> national circuit travel, et. So, is there a CEDA versus NDT anymore? And if
> not, is there a better way to categorize our community?
> Response: I don't think there is a CEDA v. NDT division but that this is
> used as short-hand for the new landscape.  I think this is a multiple axis
> dispute, for example: some "novice-focused" programs may like simpler topics
> to help recruiting, but they internally argue over whether broad or narrow
> is good, "elite-focused" programs may like very narrow and precise topics if
> they debate with a focus on disads and CPs while an equally "elite" program
> may want a broad bi-directional topic to allow their chosen K to work both
> ways.  I think that there is no single constituency for a particular
> topic-style.
> 6) If a segment of the community is frustrated with those who ignore the
> topic, resulting in a move to more and more narrower topics AND there is a
> segment of the community frustrated with those who overly restrict
> affirmative ground (voice, etc) through narrow topics resulting in a move to
> less and less engaging of the topic, why isn't the broader topic with strong
> topical checks the compromise?
> Response: I'm generally fine with this, though I'm opposed to making the
> topic so broad as to become unlimited (some prior suggestiong have
> approached that in my mind).
> 7) Can we identify when the NDT and CEDA have been at their strongest in
> terms of participation and identify what the norms and procedures looked
> like during that time period?
> Response: Someone other than me probably has that data on hand.
> Joe
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