[eDebate] Please Read. The implications of bad resolutions ondebate programs

Sue Peterson bk2nocal
Thu May 24 12:46:41 CDT 2007

I am attempting to stay out of the fray, but would like to offer a possible
solution to some of the problems - in order to make sure that advanced
intercollegiate debate does not become too unwieldy (in the interest of
providing some aff flex, but not returning to the oft referred to and hated
Mexico topic of old), there have to be some additional stipulations on
resolutions.  Constructive engagement is a huge area encompassing a huge
number of actions that can be done - so that reduces your ability to provide
specific case debate against affs as well - the knife is double-edged in a
lot of these cases - simplicity of resolution sometimes = unpredictability.
The age-old debate of broad topics or small topics for novice/small programs
will continue ad nausea BUT...

For novice debate, I encourage programs to consider limiting the resolution
at their tournaments, especially in the fall semester.  So, perhaps Scott's
topic will work for the first tournament of the year in novice division - or
maybe even including foreign assistance or security assistance in there (so
the novices get to figure out what that term means).  Maybe just one or two
of the countries instead of all of them...  USC hosted a rookie tournament
last year where we ONLY debated Quirin...and the students loved it...and
many of them started debating in novice at tournaments after that where all
four cases were being debated.  I don't know about other areas of the
country, but I think that most are receptive to making novice debate
meaningful for novice debaters...

I'm not going to try to defend our decisions in the TC as it doesn't do any
good really, but I do think there are alternatives to the topic for
novice-level debate that still allows for interest and engagement, while not
creating a world where the varsity debates become free-for-alls for the
affirmative teams.


On 5/24/07, Steven D'Amico <stevendamico at gmail.com> wrote:
> We choose not to tell department chairs about speed in debate all the time
> because some folks won't get it. And if they ask the res, explain to the
> them why it was worded the way it was.
> This is an ACADEMIC discipline. This ain't no presidential debate where we
> have 30 second word bytes.Your ACADEMIC chairs might understand there is a
> method to the madness of more complicated phrasing.
> Also tell your new novices that the topic is "MIDDLE EAST ENGAGEMENT" and
> then when you are teaching them, you can explain why it's complicated and
> why it SHOULD be. Hell the Mid-East isn't an easy issue.
> Finally, you ask why it couldn't have been shorter and simpler. READ THE
> BLOG. The fact you are criticizing without understanding the logic is
> indicative of the condescending and insulting attitude you seem to display.
> CA my post to Korscock
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Sue Peterson

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter
and those who matter don't mind."
Dr Seuss
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