[eDebate] [CEDA-L] CEDA Topic Process Update

Jim Hanson hansonjb
Mon Mar 5 15:59:09 CST 2007

a couple of quick responses to gordon's comments:

1. the blog isn't as difficult as I made it out to be and subscribing to it 
allows you to get emails from it so you can keep up-to-date in your email 
inbox. please give it a try.

2. gordon has done hella work for the topic committee and our community. I'm 
going to work for reform but in the meantime, like gordon says below--help 
him and the rest of the committee. provide your input.

jim :)
hansonjb at whitman.edu

----- Original Message -----
From: "Gordon Stables" <stables at usc.edu>
To: "Jim Hanson" <hansonjb at whitman.edu>
Cc: "edebate" <edebate at ndtceda.com>; "ceda-l" <ceda-l at ndtceda.com>
Sent: Monday, March 05, 2007 12:16 PM
Subject: Re: [CEDA-L] [eDebate]  CEDA Topic Process Update

A couple of comments on the proposals for reform.

1) When Jim last mentioned his frustration with the deadlines I asked
only that (and I am now quoting from the earlier email)

"I would just ask that legislative reforms of this nature consider the
whole process, including the sequencing of summer meetings, announce
date, etc. The committee must work within the procedures established by
the CEDA membership so a clear system is essential".

The hard part is not picking a date to accept papers. There are obvious
reasons why the later the deadline the greater the appeal in having work
submitted. The challenge is including both votes (area and then
resolution) and including times for the topic meetings and the release
date. This schedule is, in part, produced by working back from the final
release date, not just the date we would prefer the process to start.

The community, by amending the CEDA constitution, has the authority to
adjust these procedures. If there is interest in such a movement I would
only ask that you consider the entire calendar so that the committee can
complete its task. I am more than willing to discuss these items with
anyone interested in reform.

2) I can appreciate that Jim didn't have an opportunity to thoroughly
review the papers before he posted, but again as I mentioned in the last

"We have moved this year to provide additional guidance in the first
balloting. The introduction of the concept of controversy papers and the
effort to phase out 'area' papers is a reflection that schools should
have some greater sense of what these potential topics included."

If anyone reading the papers is unclear as to the direction of these
potential topics, please let me know. Based on my reading, the community
should have some pretty good ideas about where the topics are headed. It
is true that there is latitude in each area for follow-up work, but I
would be hard-pressed to believe that these papers are vague on the
question of the type of topic. This stage of the process is not the same
as the past and it is careless to describe it as such.

3) Setting the dates is a matter for the community. Setting the
procedures for accepting papers is the province of the committee. We
have worked hard to increase transparency, through items like
controversy guidelines and the blog. I realize it isn't as easy as
edebate, but the organization and structure of the site is another means
of being transparent.

I know Jim waited eight hours after I posted the announcement of papers
on the blog to dismiss it, but last year it proved to be a very valuable
source of input and discussion. It also benefits from not being
cluttered with the latest discussions of what evidence to read in
debates and 'hey - person with email all over the web - can you
backchannel me? I have a cite request that is on the Wake wiki.' It
isn't going to be easy to break our addiction to this forum as the sole
province of community discussion, but it needs to happen. If our
standard for 'generative of discussion' is edebate and only edebate we
get what we deserve as a community.

I would also like to thank Matt Moore for clarifying the security item.
The blog doesn't require registration to post. It merely asks you to
repeat a random number located on the page in order to prevent automated
systems from spamming the site. This only takes a second and it allows
us a way to keep the site easier to read for all. This is one of the
features of the new blog. It was necessary to make this jump because we
had so much traffic on the old site.

Finally, Jim asked how to keep up the blog. I mentioned you can
subscribe to it. If you go to the site and look for 'Subscribe To
Blog/Entry' in the bottom right you can receive each item on a
particular thread or the whole site in your email. Just like edebate -
but without the rest of the traffic.

If you have any suggestions on how to encourage authors to develop their
papers, please let me know. As always, this is the province of getting
volunteers to do work. I am, at this point, a little leery of requiring
that papers be a certain length. The controversy guidelines suggest that
papers need not be very long, but I don't see how arbitrary page
cut-offs improve the process.


Gordon Stables, Ph.D.

Director of Debate

Annenberg School for Communication

University of Southern California

Office: 213 740 2759               Fax: 213 740 3913


Jim Hanson wrote:

>it is early but so far there are virtually no comments on the topic areas 
>the blog. I'm not surprised. people aren't really paying attention and they
>won't until after the ndt; by then, it is too late.
>i've cursorily read the topic areas (and doing so is rather difficult--the
>first one is like 46 pages long).
>i don't know what resolutions the committee will pick. hence, i do not
>really have an informed opinion upon which to discern which areas i want 
>don't want.
>the only comment I really have is: what happened to the latin america topic
>area? that was one i and several members of my team were really interested
>that said, I'll also note that I don't think the blog is real inviting of
>discussion. people have to go to the blog site. then they have to type in
>security codes and other info to make a post. this is not generative of a
>I'm also not sure what we are supposed to say at this point. topic areas
>generate comments like "boring topic area" or "that sounds interesting" or
>"the person that wrote that topic area is cool, I'll support that one" and 
>what? I mean I don't really have anything to say. resolutions, on the other
>hand, invite arguments about the right wording, the arguments that would
>actually get debated, etc.
>that said, i strongly advocate the following new topic selection process:
>1. begin _resolution_ request papers immediately following the ndt (or ceda
>if it is the 'last' tournament). that is when people start paying 
>2. require the resolution request papers to include the suggested 
>wording and follow it with actual solvency quotations and then
>counterplan/disad/k quotations. these papers should be brief--10 pages
>maximum or at least the core components should appear in the 10 pages.
>people aren't going to take time to read even that--I'd have a 2 to 3 page
>intro section that covered the core elements I've suggested.
>3. obviously but just for clarity, several resolution request papers can be
>offered under the same topic area.
>4. over email and by early may, the topic selection committee narrows the
>list down to 12 resolutions at maximum for community voting. there will be 
>strong presumption against lowering it below 12.
>5. the community votes on the resolutions and we narrow down to 5
>resolutions to pick from.
>6. the topic committee meets in early june as it does now and more 
>words the resolutions but is STRONGLY urged to stick to the fundamental
>focus of the originally voted on resolution wording.
>7. then, the five resolutions are submitted to the community for voting as
>is now.
>1. we get to vote on resolutions instead of topic areas that turn into
>resolutions that we don't like.
>2. people will really discuss resolutions; at best, we know people don't
>discuss topic areas (see the blog).
>3. people will have time to discuss the resolutions since they won't be
>focused on preparing for districts/ceda nats/the ndt.
>4. we'll get better resolutions since they will be fully debated out for a
>good month prior to the topic committee meeting.
>respectfully argued especially for all the hard work that gordon and others
>have put into this year and previous year's topic work.
>jim :)
>hansonjb at whitman.edu
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Gordon Stables" <stables at usc.edu>
>To: "edebate" <edebate at ndtceda.com>; "ceda-l" <ceda-l at ndtceda.com>
>Sent: Monday, March 05, 2007 2:48 AM
>Subject: [CEDA-L] CEDA Topic Process Update
>All of the papers that have been submitted to the CEDA Topic Selection
>Committee are now available to be viewed at the ceda topic website
>There are also open threads for each topic at the topic blog
>http://blog.cedatopic.com/   Based on the volume of comments that took
>place last summer, it would be a tremendous help to the committee if
>comments could be left on that site. I will open new threads as specific
>conversations warrant, so feel free to provide your input. You may also
>subscribe to the topic blog by following the links at the bottom of the
>page and thus stay in regular contact with blog traffic. There will also
>be an open meeting at CEDA Nationals to facilitate the conversation.
>The process now moves to the creation of a ballot for community vote. As
>specified by the CEDA constitution, "/Within two weeks of the national
>tournament the committee will report to the Executive Secretary no fewer
>than three problem areas to be voted upon by the general membership."/
>The committee will now begin reviewing the papers and your questions and
>comments are much appreciated.
>Finally, I would like to take an opportunity to thank all of these
>volunteers who gave of their own time and energy to help the community.
>I would note that every paper that was submitted appears on the site. It
>is important to note that two of these ideas (genetic technology and
>nonproliferation) were not on the original list last summer, but instead
>the work of members of the community. I hope their work encourages
>others to review the guidelines for controversy papers  at
>http://www.cedatopic.com/controversy.html  to consider submitting a
>paper in the future.
>Chair-CEDA Topic Selection Committee
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