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Author Topic: Bigger is Better?  (Read 12283 times)
agswanlek
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Posts: 6


« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2011, 03:26:18 PM »


Narrow, unified topic >> Broad, unified topic >> Broad, disjointed topic

For those uncertain 2Ns, lets do what we can to make them feel comfortable enough to go into a tournament knowing that they can give 3 different winning 2NRs against the cases they'll likely debate. Then, maybe we'll hear more of the CBW DA vs. No First Use and less of the more general "Deterrence DA".

Sorry also have to be brief, finishing a 30 page research paper.

I believe it depends on your definition of a "narrow topic".  What I'm mainly concerned about is limiting resolutions to the point where they no longer mimic hypothetical debates about the topic at hand.  Narrow topics by no means guarantee negative ground, and the wording process/debating of the course of the year inevitably "narrow" the topic down, if anything picking a broader topic allows for more options during the narrowing down process which is most definitely better than hearing another h-1b debate.  But I must digress.  More to come.
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kelly young
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« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2011, 06:24:55 PM »

Reentry programs offer a unified, narrow research base for the season with little chance of losing inherency in an election year, unlike some of the other topics.

It's precisely because it's an election cycle and the current budget battles that pretty much guarantees inherency for every controversy paper this year.
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Director of Forensics/Associate Professor
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kevin kuswa
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Posts: 345


« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2011, 07:43:57 AM »

not exactly sure what "bigger" and "narrow" mean in the context of each topic, let alone what is "better," but i will say for sure--conclusively--that all the conversation about the papers and the areas is amazing.  gabe, topic authors, others, keep up the questioning...this is what it's all about.  show anyone the forums conversations from the past week or so and you have an instant justification for the content-intensity of debate...and the debaters are going to go far deeper still once the topic gets selected, etc.  Debating prisons, financial policy, education, democracy, India, or many of the others will be awesome.  Keep it up--great to see (even the dig on Discipline and Punish! Smiley )  kevin
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Adam Symonds
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Posts: 349


« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2011, 11:34:54 PM »

Unified mechanism is good. A core DA that links to the topic is good, relative to the alternative of less-engaging generics. Specific debates about the case are best.

Or:

Narrow, unified topic >> Broad, unified topic >> Broad, disjointed topic

Narrow, unified topic >> Broad, unified topic >> Narrow, disjointed topic >> Broad, disjointed topic

I agree with the caveat above. I worry that if we put students in a position where they only have specific debates about the case, they will more likely choose process arguments that are unrelated to the topic and less educational. I think selecting topics that have a clear controversy will let us satisfy both goals. More importantly, though, I think we should defer largely to education in the topic creation process, as we will largely defer to competitive practice during the season.
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sydnekasle
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Posts: 7


« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2011, 11:14:50 AM »

I remember there used to be a cycle of some kind.  A college debater had a reasonable expectation of debating foreign policy, domestic policy, and legal policy during their undergraduate career.  If you examine all previous resolutions in four year chunks, you should find that type of diversity.  If we consider our students and their experiences, it may be worth it to figure out how we as educators can provide the best experience for our students while they are in college.  We want them to be challenged.  We want them to explore new (to them) bodies of literature.  We want them to learn about things they haven't already learned last year.  We want them to feel compelled to conduct new and original research, not figure out how their argument from last year will apply to this year's topic.  Regardless of the topic area and/or wording, there will be generics, kritiks, counterplans, and so on.  We will be able to find the stock issues (for those who still value them).  Hester raises a very good point and one that the community should consider seriously when proposing and/or voting for topics.  We are not experts.  We cannot possibly read over every aspect of every topic and pick the perfect topic.  And as Gordon has shown us, topic areas do not go away, and if one topic loses the vote one year it may very well make it the next year. And the education debate will probably be better this year because of what has happened recently in the field.  Many of the people on the discussion board were awesome debaters who could figure out how to tackle any topic.  We know that the Framers were not part of the Information Age, yet the topics were provocative and they helped to raise some fantastic debaters who are now amazing educators and coaches.  What are the criteria for providing an excellent experience for our students?  I'd love to read about how a certain topic can provide a rich experience for the student and why the student will benefit from learning about the topic and how research and debating on the topic can help propel the student to the next level after graduation.  Many debaters want to go to law school, but if they go through four years of debate and have not done the legal research, then our community has somewhat failed to provide them with that opportunity.  Same thing for grad. school.  Good luck, and thank you for all of the work you are doing!
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stables
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Posts: 334


« Reply #20 on: May 07, 2011, 03:05:29 PM »

The committee does consider a basic rotation of domestic, international and legal topics. The controversy papers now actively use the criteria of 'unique educational opportunities' to help consider what topics have not been debated in recent years.

The fundamental premise of the current approach is that the goal of rotating types of topics can met though a mix of community choice and the committee acting as a safety net. The community chooses their topics and if there are points where the natural process doesn't ensure that certain types of topics are considered, the committee can choose to narrow the scope of controversies it accepts.

In most cycles the community is given a full range of opportunities to research and consider topics, but the topic committee has always reserved the right (as it did several years ago) to only solicit topics of a certain type. This is how the last legal topic came about and, if trends, continue it will also be how the community debates a legal topic in the future.

Gordon
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Gordon Stables
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JoeBellon
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« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2011, 12:08:03 PM »

The committee does consider a basic rotation of domestic, international and legal topics. The controversy papers now actively use the criteria of 'unique educational opportunities' to help consider what topics have not been debated in recent years.

The fundamental premise of the current approach is that the goal of rotating types of topics can met though a mix of community choice and the committee acting as a safety net. The community chooses their topics and if there are points where the natural process doesn't ensure that certain types of topics are considered, the committee can choose to narrow the scope of controversies it accepts.

In most cycles the community is given a full range of opportunities to research and consider topics, but the topic committee has always reserved the right (as it did several years ago) to only solicit topics of a certain type. This is how the last legal topic came about and, if trends, continue it will also be how the community debates a legal topic in the future.

Gordon

If the committee truly loved us, it would make sure that there was never another legal topic ever again. Let no future generations be forced to suffer the horror of the court politics DA.
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Jessica Kurr
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Posts: 89


« Reply #22 on: May 08, 2011, 01:15:45 PM »

If the committee truly loved us, it would make sure that there was never another legal topic ever again. Let no future generations be forced to suffer the horror of the court politics DA.

I think that generalizing legal topic with court topic overlooks two things.

First, there was an opportunity for a legal topic with regards to legal protections for illegal immigrants. There was a huge literature base for this that largely went untapped except by teams that read court affs. Now, if you increased legal protections via the court there was a huge plenary powers debate that was only had when negs went for the court counterplan. So, a legal wording for immigration would not necessarily devolve into court politics (Sidenote: there were two major immigration cases on the docket last year, which actually made those debates interesting, but no one bothered to cut that as a strategy)

Second, I think here are some examples of topics that would be considered legal topics:

98-99: That the United States Federal Government should amend Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, through legislation, to create additional protections against racial and/or gender discrimination

94-95: That the federal government should substantially change rules and/or statutes governing criminal procedure in federal courts in one or more of the following areas: pretrial detention, sentencing.

91-92: That one or more United States Supreme Court decisions recognizing a federal Constitutional right to privacy should be overruled.

86-87: That one or more presently existing restrictions on First Amendment freedoms of press and/or speech established in one or more federal court decisions should be curtailed or prohibited.

After Title 8, the closest "legal" topics were Indian Country and Treaties (international law).
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Ryan Galloway
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Posts: 119


« Reply #23 on: May 08, 2011, 09:51:33 PM »

Is the prevailing viewpoint that immigration was/was not a legal topic?

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Jessica Kurr
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Posts: 89


« Reply #24 on: May 09, 2011, 08:26:12 AM »

Is the prevailing viewpoint that immigration was/was not a legal topic?

My experience with the topic was obviously different given our aff was to overrule Chae Chan Ping v. US (Chinese Exclusion) to eliminate race-based ineligibilities, but my perception was most teams avoided this until later in the season. I think though you could claim there were some good legal discussion with regards to admissibilities, family-based visas, and trafficking-based visas throughout the year. While Res #3 would have had similar economy advantages to employment visa affs, I think there is a distinction between directly being a legal topic and indirectly being a legal topic. The reason court-based arguments were so prevalent on the immigration topic was to avoid politics, which means the topic wasn't constructed for legal discussion rather the timeliness of Congressional discussion led to debaters favoring legal discussion for strategic purposes. That being said, I would certainly agree that it was the topic with the most legal discussion since Courts.
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