[eDebate] ans Ken

Michael Korcok mmk_savant
Mon May 28 02:03:48 CDT 2007

swinging wildly, Ken writes...
"if any of you could substantiate your insinuations that the members of the topic committee are idiots..."
no one made such insinuations.  your strawperson is stupid.  
in fact, I took pains to not blame anyone.  that's because I think this year's meltdown is structural:  the topic committee invested so much effort in the wording that they didn't consider leaving well enough alone.  in fact, the topic selection process has become so elaborated that simple, straightforward, decent resolutions have been replaced by twisty, bureaucratic-speak, too many cooks in the kitchen, each one adding more ingredients, messes.  no individuals are at fault, much less idiots, for it.  lots of smart people, crappy result.
"having watched literally thousands of debates over the last 26 years, I have to put more blame on poor coaching and lazy researching for the poor arguments (that get worse each year) I hear in so many of those rounds."
but... but... the topic committee members are really smart and hard-working, it's just that all us coaches are "poor" and "lazy"?  how the hell does that work, Ken?
and if debate arguments have been getting worse each year for the past 26 years because we coaches have been getting worse and lazier, then 26 years ago the coaches and arguments must have been FRIKKIN AMAZING!!!  assuming just a 5% decline per year in lousier-coaching induced argumentative quality, what I would take to be at the limits of discernible quality reduction year-over-year, debate arguments today are only 1/4 as good as they were back in the day.  (.95**26= .26).  yeah, uhmmm, no.  I remember coaches and arguments 26 years ago.  neither better nor harder-working than today.
"How about some constructive alternatives?"
i thought i would leave it alone for a couple weeks and think of some.  how about something more constructive from you than calling for others to come up with some constructive alternatives?
in any case,  I am warming to one idea:  the 3+3 rule.  Each topic paper designates 3 Resolutions that will appear on the resolutional ballot, without modification, if that topic gets the most votes.  The topic committee crafts 3 additional resolutions for a total of 6 on the resolutional ballot.  This way the topic paper author gets their resolutions on the ballot without embellishment and the community is guaranteed 3 resolutions they voted for will appear on the ballot without topic committee intervention.  This gives authors a bit more work but their reward is they get to craft 3 resolutions for the ballot.  Nothing prevents topic paper authors from consulting and getting assistance from seasoned resolution drafters.  This also takes some pressure off the topic committee from trying to remain true to the topic paper:  they can and ought to explore different aspects of the topic area, offer choices not considered by the authors, and be responsive to community input.
"How about we all get together to ... can make any decent resolution work for the educational benefit of our students."
absolutely. I have for a long time believed that when life gives you lemons, you pick them up and throw them at Ken.
Michael Korcok
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