[eDebate] topicality is a penalty and an appopriate one

Gregg Hartney gregg.hartney
Tue Jun 5 08:58:18 CDT 2007

This is probably way too simplistic for some of the better minds on this thread, but here's my perspective (from 43 years in the activity):

We make topicality a penalty for the Aff for the same reason that we require the tennis serve to go across the net and land in the opposing service court: because absent such a rule, the server's self-interest would be to serve the ball as far away from their opponent as possible (say, in the opposite direction), thus ensuring an ace. Of course, the opponent will do the same during their serve, and thus we never do "play tennis."

If topicality was not a penalty for the Aff, only complete idiots would be topical.

Gregg Hartney
Jenks HS, Oklahoma

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