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Author Topic: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process  (Read 14283 times)
tcram
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« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2012, 01:19:01 PM »

Let me first reiterate that I thought this was a much larger problem on Democracy assistance rather than this ballot, but I'm trying to address ways to look forward and consistently create a better process for ballot creation.  I don't know if there are governing criteria that are used to move something over onto the ballot, or whether it reflects consensus of the 'room' or a vote among the committee and their own particular beliefs, or as Kelly suggests simple resignation to 'smallest best bc it's what the ppl want' (which if that is the case it seems silly to automatically curtail options at the front- let the people make their mistakes on the back end).

But, I think there is a strange premise in your rhetorical question Whit, which is that the ballot expresses all possible options for either a) what form of energy or b) how that increase is achieved.  Of the top of my head:
a) what about transportation affirmatives?  The topic paper suggested we should consider transportation AND electricity production.  The only transportation arguments available are those linked to oil production and MAYBE natural gas vehicles (something that is likely not topical, as the incentive has to be for production, not technology to create demand for production).  CTL may be subject to the same problem depending on where coal gets listed.
b) what about comprehensive energy policy with restriction/incentive as a common floor, ala constructive engagement?  Certainly within the topic paper and there was also a few voices supporting that on the boards.
c) what about price-based mechanisms that were on the working list and didn't make the final cut?
d) what about a renewables only option to balance two resolutions that include none of them?
e) what about a resolution option with an expansive mechanism for lifting 'restrictions only' and no incentives?  what about vice versa?

My point is not an empirical one about whether these are GOOD things to debate about or whether any of these choices are superior to the extant choices.  My point is to provide substantive options as opposed to making the real choice at the stage of ballot creation and then punting out a list of semantic permutations to choose between.
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Hester
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« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2012, 01:36:00 PM »

Let me first reiterate that I thought this was a much larger problem on Democracy assistance rather than this ballot, but I'm trying to address ways to look forward and consistently create a better process for ballot creation.  I don't know if there are governing criteria that are used to move something over onto the ballot, or whether it reflects consensus of the 'room' or a vote among the committee and their own particular beliefs, or as Kelly suggests simple resignation to 'smallest best bc it's what the ppl want' (which if that is the case it seems silly to automatically curtail options at the front- let the people make their mistakes on the back end).

But, I think there is a strange premise in your rhetorical question Whit, which is that the ballot expresses all possible options for either a) what form of energy or b) how that increase is achieved.  Of the top of my head:
a) what about transportation affirmatives?  The topic paper suggested we should consider transportation AND electricity production.  The only transportation arguments available are those linked to oil production and MAYBE natural gas vehicles (something that is likely not topical, as the incentive has to be for production, not technology to create demand for production).  CTL may be subject to the same problem depending on where coal gets listed.
b) what about comprehensive energy policy with restriction/incentive as a common floor, ala constructive engagement?  Certainly within the topic paper and there was also a few voices supporting that on the boards.
c) what about price-based mechanisms that were on the working list and didn't make the final cut?
d) what about a renewables only option to balance two resolutions that include none of them?
e) what about a resolution option with an expansive mechanism for lifting 'restrictions only' and no incentives?  what about vice versa?

My point is not an empirical one about whether these are GOOD things to debate about or whether any of these choices are superior to the extant choices.  My point is to provide substantive options as opposed to making the real choice at the stage of ballot creation and then punting out a list of semantic permutations to choose between.

TCram, check out my podcast interview with Odekirk on his website puttingthekindebate. i believe the new model i'm proposing in that interview would fit perfectly with what you're talking about.
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gabemurillo
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Posts: 165


« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2012, 01:51:27 PM »

Here is a proposal for an amendment which replaces one of the spots held by CEDA representatives to a graduate assistant or assistant coach, I've used the proposal for the added at large member as my starting point not entirely tied to the wording but would like to get this added to the amendments to consider - what's the best way to do this? 

PROPOSED AMENDMENT -
Section 1:  The CEDA Topic Selection Committee will be responsible for choosing problem areas and writing debate topics.  The CEDA Topic Selection Committee will consist of nine members:  Two of the following (President, 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President) three at-large members, one undergraduate student representative, one representative who is a graduate student or assistant coach, one representative appointed by the National Debate Tournament, and one representative appointed by the American Debate Association.
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kevin kuswa
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« Reply #18 on: June 06, 2012, 01:54:07 PM »

will also address a bit of this on puttingthekindebate over the next week, but wanted to respond to a few specifics in TCram's thoughtful post:

Of the top of my head:
a) what about transportation affirmatives?  The topic paper suggested we should consider transportation AND electricity production.  The only transportation arguments available are those linked to oil production and MAYBE natural gas vehicles (something that is likely not topical, as the incentive has to be for production, not technology to create demand for production).  CTL may be subject to the same problem depending on where coal gets listed.
b) what about comprehensive energy policy with restriction/incentive as a common floor, ala constructive engagement?  Certainly within the topic paper and there was also a few voices supporting that on the boards.
c) what about price-based mechanisms that were on the working list and didn't make the final cut?
d) what about a renewables only option to balance two resolutions that include none of them?
e) what about a resolution option with an expansive mechanism for lifting 'restrictions only' and no incentives?  what about vice versa?

My point is not an empirical one about whether these are GOOD things to debate about or whether any of these choices are superior to the extant choices.  My point is to provide substantive options as opposed to making the real choice at the stage of ballot creation and then punting out a list of semantic permutations to choose between.

a) transportation is still possible.  a lot of the transportation advances are in the natural gas area and in the electricity sector.  The distinctions between electricity and transportation are eroding away--there are a lot of cards on that in the 114-page group 2 document.
b) in a way, we have the comprehensive energy policy floor written in with the ability to do more--you just have to connect your larger actions to the restrictions/incentives component to avoid extra topicality debates.  We did not use energy policy (and maybe that would have helped--I agree there), but I don't think things are so limited that we have foreclosed larger actions.  It may take some topicality work by the aff, but it's possible to be fairly big, especially if you want to act on lots of restrictions and increase lots of incentives in a larger package.
c) I may be in the minority, but I think those actions (or some of them) are still topical under either financial incentives or tax incentives.
d) It's a good sign that renewables or solar/wind are on multiple topic choices.  we also worked hard to get nuclear power on a lot of the choices.  I do think the topic paper urged at least a few "only fossil fuel" topics so the ballot we have is an attempt to offer some choice given the controversy paper everyone voted for in somewhat of a landslide.
e) again I may be in the minority, but I don't see a major need for only restriction removal and only incentive increases because I think both of them together are quite comprehensive.  From my reading it is hard to do new incentives without removing some restrictions and vice-versa, especially if you look at the effect of action on one fuel type in relation to the other fuel types.  This means the choice you are calling for in your little e) may not be as meaningful as you think.

Of course I should say that my view of the topics as all quite large is not in line with all of the committee members, meaning that there is some topicality debate to be done on both the aff and the neg next year--and that's a good thing.  Thanks for the post--very constructive and you avoid the ever-present Panglossian temptations Smiley
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Ermo
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« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2012, 04:38:59 PM »

a) what about transportation affirmatives?  The topic paper suggested we should consider transportation AND electricity production.  The only transportation arguments available are those linked to oil production and MAYBE natural gas vehicles (something that is likely not topical, as the incentive has to be for production, not technology to create demand for production).  CTL may be subject to the same problem depending on where coal gets listed.
b) what about comprehensive energy policy with restriction/incentive as a common floor, ala constructive engagement?  Certainly within the topic paper and there was also a few voices supporting that on the boards.
c) what about price-based mechanisms that were on the working list and didn't make the final cut?
d) what about a renewables only option to balance two resolutions that include none of them?
e) what about a resolution option with an expansive mechanism for lifting 'restrictions only' and no incentives?  what about vice versa?

Kuswa answered these well, but I will add more. I'm trying to describe the flavor of the overall discussion, not just my own thinking.

a) There was a decision early-on that "use" opened a lot of territory outside of things imagined in the topic paper. There was exploration of NGV's explicitly in what became topic 5, but the production-use question undermined support for making that explicit. Some proposed new vehicles have V2G possibilities, and would clearly be topical if they are also NGV's. Others are possible, but have effects questions.
b) "Energy policy" as a phrase lacked support and was eliminated early. The aff flex it creates was addressed by keeping 'restrictions' open-ended, especially on topics 1-4.
c) There were votes each way on the "price/quantity-based" wording proposal, which ultimately lost on Monday morning. Two primary arguments were made in opposition: such mechanisms increase regulations (bidirectionality) to shift (not necessarily increase) energy production, and it creates large affs (RPS) which re-hash older topics.  The final discussion on Monday involved lots of arguments based on the topic paper.
d) The "dirty four" were suggested as a stand-alone in the topic paper; there was no similar suggestion for just renewables. The TC felt the topic paper was more about increasing energy production than shifting it (although shift is obvi an effect of increasing, in certain cases).
e) Not really explored. There was more focus on the incentives side, with reduced restrictions commonly functioning to enable action. There were attempts to explore replacing restrictions with 'regulations' or to limit it more than the 'statutory or regulatory' language in topics 5 & 6, but there was no limiting term that had majority support based on contextual definitions.
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tcram
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Posts: 165


« Reply #20 on: June 06, 2012, 05:05:25 PM »

I really don't want any of what I've said to come off as an attack of the job you all did(and as a matter of fact I am nothing if not Panglossian).  I have no doubt that a room full of people I really like and high regard considered all of my questions to the best of their abilities and I am certainly not suggesting I would have done a better job.  Perhaps my criticism is with the fact that the 'room' is the only thing that makes those calls and makes those decisions.  As a non-participant (sure, I can always attend, but its a non-option for most of the debate community every summer regardless of timing or compensation) I'm left with a ballot that has as much diversity as Wyoming and post-hoc explanations for the choices that were made.  I would favor a process that reframes the role of the topic process from 'find the best possible topic and then create the necessary permutations that will allow for voter optimization' to 'find the best possible choices that are perhaps different, perhaps possess different strengths/weaknesses/themes, and have the voting public make the choices in the span of a month that the 'room' tries to do in the span of a weekend'.  I'll have to check out what the good doctor Hester has to say on the Odie site and I likely need more time to let my frustration gel into something more coherent. 
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andreareed
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« Reply #21 on: June 06, 2012, 05:46:02 PM »

Travis- one other stumbling block to having several substantially different "stems" (everything before the fuel mix) this year is that only 3 wordings were proposed at all- the original in the controversy paper, the paper that Dave and I wrote, and Malcolm's.  Once the committee decided that the Ana/Dylan wording had issues (it could be read as a mandate ONLY) and that they didn't want to go forward with Malgor's addition of price-and-quantity-based incentives, it really only left 1 proposed wording to work from. And the committee still tried to come up with something else.  The evolution of "13B" (which became the basis for rez's #5 and 6) was sort of insane to watch unfold because people were desperately trying to write something different than the first 4 while being pressed for time.

Solution- more people need to write wording papers next year. If we had 4-5 distinct options prior to the meeting, it would be easier to put substantially different options on the ballot.  And it doesnt require anyone to commit to traveling to the meeting.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2012, 06:04:39 PM by andreareed » Logged
tcram
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« Reply #22 on: June 06, 2012, 06:08:41 PM »

That is definitely a point well taken Andrea.  Makes sense that more material upfront can make the job a lot easier and free up time for more cogitating by the committee.  Maybe I'll look into an amendment that might more effectively formalize the wording-paper stage of the process (so it's less prone to people like me who harp without doing anything about it...) as a potential low-hanging fruit for improving the process if some of the more dramatic reforms fall short of consensus (or maybe that's been proposed- need to look at the google doc some more).  And of course, hopefully I can make myself get involved next summer when I don't have a wedding on my plate.
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Mike Davis
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« Reply #23 on: June 07, 2012, 12:26:10 PM »


I would rather see the spot be held just for a graduate student. I think there is an important argument for giving this opportunity the the worst paid members of our activity. Also, I think a definition of assistant coach might be a bit broad and it could be argued that many of the members of our topic committee in recent years might have still fit in the area of assistant coach.

Here is a proposal for an amendment which replaces one of the spots held by CEDA representatives to a graduate assistant or assistant coach, I've used the proposal for the added at large member as my starting point not entirely tied to the wording but would like to get this added to the amendments to consider - what's the best way to do this? 

PROPOSED AMENDMENT -
Section 1:  The CEDA Topic Selection Committee will be responsible for choosing problem areas and writing debate topics.  The CEDA Topic Selection Committee will consist of nine members:  Two of the following (President, 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President) three at-large members, one undergraduate student representative, one representative who is a graduate student or assistant coach, one representative appointed by the National Debate Tournament, and one representative appointed by the American Debate Association.
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Paul Elliott Johnson
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Posts: 134


« Reply #24 on: June 07, 2012, 02:03:54 PM »

Old process:

Step 1: Old men in smoky room with cigars, mull it over, delivery sinister laughter, and then say a few words: "It shall be executive power!"
Step 2: Huh
Step 3: Profit (for the military industrial complex)

New process:

Step 1: Democratic rabble and hard work
Step 2: Resolution
Step 3: Huh
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gabemurillo
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« Reply #25 on: June 09, 2012, 11:59:39 AM »

Mike - I would also be fine with limiting it to just a graduate student -I was just trying to include the language that was discussed on the document - I figured there may have been some discussion I was not aware of when the issue was discussed at the topic meeting.
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gabemurillo
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« Reply #26 on: June 11, 2012, 12:47:02 PM »

Just posted the Graduate Assistant Amendment on the CEDA website - anyone know what the next step is?
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gabemurillo
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« Reply #27 on: June 11, 2012, 01:31:55 PM »

what part of the CEDA constitution would have to be amended to add language which restricted schools to one representative per school IE if a school has a CEDA, NDT, ADA or at-large rep then the student rep should be from a different school

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nryan
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« Reply #28 on: June 11, 2012, 02:48:58 PM »

what part of the CEDA constitution would have to be amended to add language which restricted schools to one representative per school IE if a school has a CEDA, NDT, ADA or at-large rep then the student rep should be from a different school



I think it would be under the same line as your previous amendment. Something along the lines of

"Section 1: The CEDA Topic Selection Committee will be responsible for choosing problem areas and writing debate topics. The CEDA Topic Selection Committee will consist of nine members: Two of the following (President, 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President) three at-large members, one undergraduate student representative, one graduate student representative, one representative appointed by the National Debate Tournament, and one representative appointed by the American Debate Association. No school may have more than one member on the The CEDA Topic Selection Committee".

I don't necessarily think that it has to be a separate line in the Topic selection section. My proposed wording would also prevent the NDT or ADA rep from being from the same school as an at large representative or President, 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President. Seems like this would encourage more diversity of opinions on the Topic Committee, but probably would have to be phased in.
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stables
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Posts: 334


« Reply #29 on: June 11, 2012, 08:11:40 PM »

Thanks to Gabe for submitting his proposal and to Nick for his guidance.

In answer to Gabe's question - this is the basic procedure for all CEDA amendments.

All CEDA amendments, once submitted, through the CEDA website at http://www.cedadebate.org/node/add/amendment  become part of the organization's agenda at the next business meeting. The next business meeting is at the NCA convention in Orlando. Schools not in attendance can submit a proxy vote to the Executive Secretary (Jeff Jarman). Any amendment that is approved at the business meeting then goes to the entire CEDA membership on a e-ballot. This ballot typically takes place over the December-January period.

Hope this helps. Let me know if anyone has any questions.
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Gordon Stables
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
Director of Debate & Forensics
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
University of Southern California
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