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Author Topic: Pre-Wording Paper Thread  (Read 31501 times)
ScottElliott
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« Reply #135 on: June 04, 2014, 10:20:49 PM »

"Resolved: Legalize it."
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jregnier
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« Reply #136 on: June 05, 2014, 09:09:24 AM »

"Resolved: Legalize it."


That wording would deny access to some people.

http://youtu.be/bIV4KLCmJ98?t=3m27s
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Ermo
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« Reply #137 on: June 05, 2014, 11:26:37 AM »

"Resolved: Legalize it."


That wording would deny access to some people.

http://youtu.be/bIV4KLCmJ98?t=3m27s

Another word which denies access is "resolved." Transplanted from the traditional form of a resolution (Whereas....therefore, be it resolved...), it implies that the statement which follows is the proposed conclusion or ending point to the discussion. If such practice is to be made a problematic, why should the word which sanctions traditional practice escape scrutiny?

If a topic's purpose is to initiate discussion, and not itself a statement subject to rigorously proof or disproof (e.g. if arguments linked to the resolution but not to affirmative utterances are moot), wouldn't there be more accurate ways to express the apposing relationship implied by the colon, such as...

Starting point:
Springboard:
Investigated: (the tense may be another problematic - perhaps "Investigate:")
Speculated:
Problematized:

Similarly, aside from offending the Knights of Ni (which appears to be a pleasing thing), is there a benefit of adding the word "it"? Would not "Starting point: legalize" achieve the same work?
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Adam Symonds
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« Reply #138 on: June 05, 2014, 02:21:02 PM »

Simpler route is to drop the resolved and just ask a question: Should X, Y, and/or Z be legalized in the United states?
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kevin kuswa
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« Reply #139 on: June 05, 2014, 06:51:36 PM »


One thing to keep in mind as we mull over the colon and its parts is that the controversy paper itself does not engage in the deeper questions of why we use a 'Resolved'? What does the colon imply?  Can we craft a better way to phrase the topic statement?  The controversy paper does not come out against experimentation and we are already pursuing the the passive voice, but I would think we would need a reason that is connected to the specific topic to change the structure of the resolution in a major grammatical way.  The more I read about the ways in which certain action become crimes, the more I think we do need to shake up the traditional conventions of the resolution a bit in order to allow affirmatives to address the various levels of criminalization.

I'm pasting a note I sent around in '09 with a bigger posting in April of 2011.  I should have sent it our earlier this season, but much of the passive voice stuff (part one) is already a given.

Looking forward to seeing people's wording work...

note: the passive voice stuff was old hat even then...but the other ways to approach the structure of the resolution speak to this conversation:

Topic Wording Potential, April 2011.

I try to post some version of this note about this time each year.  It is directed more toward wording papers (which come later), but it includes some issues that the controversy paper authors may want to consider.  Good luck on all the research.

____________________________________

There is a lot more potential within the topic wordings than presently exercised.  The normalizing of the wording choices (including the emphasis of the “USFG” or some incarnation of it as the agent of action) is not a result of the controversy area process or the wording selection process….

We could do far worse.  We cannot pretend, though, that the topic choices have been spontaneous creations from authors compelled to find the Truth of a controversy.  I doubt if we would want those forms of overly technocratic and contingent options in the first place.  Novices are still expected to be able to enter the activity from scratch—and many do.  At present, though, we tend to work with a number of amalgamations of “area driven phrases” put together with previous used “connectors” along with what a paper author thinks would yield “good” debate and what the community would approve.  Tasty sausage, but still sausage.

This makes sense.  Investing the time in a topic paper is immense as many of you know from first-hand experience.  Leaning toward a wording that the mainstream would accept is a secure way to give that area paper the best chance possible.  On the other hand, area papers and wording papers could and should take more liberties in terms of alternative suggestions—ways to shift the wording slightly to reveal new components of the proposed debate.  Those suggestions would not have to supplant a primary conception of the topic phrasing, but they could illuminate the words and the types of research involved—they certainly would not hurt.  In terms of ways to think through alternative wording trajectories, here are a few starting points:   

1. Passive voice.  It sounds like a good paper (or paper section) within a specific controversy would help make this viable or at least worthy of some consideration.  The section of a paper on this would need to float a wording suggestion or two and talk a bit about the multiplicity of agents that could be defended on the affirmative and the exciting clash between topicality and counterplans (fiat and pedagogy) that would have to occur on the negative.  Ground for new agent discussions would open on both sides and the controversy itself might take on new dimensions.  …  The bottom line is that putting the resolution in the passive (which could happen for any topic, including those we have had recently) is a way to include the USFG as one agent among many possibilities.  There is room within the passive voice to debate the question of the agent as it relates to the controversy area.  "R: The USFG should expand gun control in the US," becomes "R: Gun control should be expanded in the US."

There have been over a dozen passive voice topics in the last fifty years.  The community might decide that opening some ground for the affirmative to advocate action (topically) outside the constraints of the USFG might actually bring portions of critical debate closer to the specifics while allowing topicality to matter.  And, if desperate, the staunch defenders of the USFG could use counterplans or other forms of agent arguments to try to bring their favorite actor back into the round.

2. Non-USFG agents.  This variable is closely related to passive voice, but different.  We have had many topics in the past that use agents other than the USFG (“non-agricultural industries should,” “non-communist nations should”).  The non-USFG agent is a possibility closely connected to a controversy area that justifies a different set of policy mechanisms.  International institutions that include the US have been advocated in papers in the past (the U.N., the IMF), and it would also be possible to debate a wide range of agents that did not include the USFG at all (the OAU, OAS, African Nations, local authorities).  This is all about a good controversy paper that really explores what the debates might look like and happens to pick an area that the community is ready to debate.

3. Concise wordings.  The wordings are getting longer and longer and they do not really have to grow longer to be better.  Options with less than 15 words could be quite helpful.  Or, less than 20 words...or 10.  A beautiful topic does not (always) need dangling jewelry or topicality tattoos like "at least including...," "limited to this and this...," "through at least one and not more than the following...," etc.  The primary variable for a good wording should not be brevity, but we should at least think about simple elegance along the way, recognizing that more words might patch one concern while creating five more. 

4. Deeper topic assumptions that might warrant opening:

A) The "Resolved :"...this may be too close to the heart of what policy debate is to think about changing, but there are plenty of debates over the meaning of this prefix and the colon that follows it.  Would a paper on these options even matter?  The different meanings of a colon vs. a semi-colon could play a role, for example.  That might be an interesting wording paper.

B) The present tense of "should."  We all know that "should" helps to define fiat in a way that "could" or "would" does not.  Thus, assuming that we must have the word "should" in any topic, why does it always have to be present tense?  Would any author entertain a possibility about a historical topic--one that says "should have..."?

C) Punctuating the sentence.  This relates to the function of the "resolved:," but it might be possible, as one example, to conclude the statement with a question mark instead of a period.  This might change the way the affirmative is expected to endorse the topic.

The elements listed above may or may not be linked to some of the critical and performative turns in debate.  The fact that we have experienced a number of theoretical shifts and paradigms--influenced by technology, but also by fields of argument--is not hard to demonstrate.  Questions surrounding the role and agency of the debater-judge-audience as well as critiques of the assumptions behind certain forms of evidence and certain ways of debating are now abundant.  At some point the resolutions should reflect some of these turns, at least as much as they can within the parameters given.  The fact that the agent has been nothing other than the United States Federal Government since 1995 is not really indicative of the paths being taken in debate since the early 90s.  Maybe that is a reason to keep the current formula, but it is probably more of a reason to offer some diversity if possible.

Some of these elements might deserve slightly more consideration than others as an option or two for ways we approach the wordings, regardless of the topic area.  Some of these elements are closely related to one another and are tied to questions coming from the controversy itself, but each is distinct enough to warrant independent discussion.  There really isn't as much consensus and predictability in the community as the topics would have an outside observer conclude.  Even if there is some norm for the majority of phrases, over a four year period we should attempt to diversify the possibilities.

Thanks for reading, keep the dialogue going.

Kevin Kuswa




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kevin kuswa
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« Reply #140 on: June 05, 2014, 10:32:09 PM »

On a more specific note, anyone interested in a little work on the steroids issues or financial crimes?  It would be good if any potential crime/activity in consideration had some work on it going into the meeting and those two areas (as far as I know) are not currently covered. Thanks in advance.
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kevin kuswa
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« Reply #141 on: June 06, 2014, 12:38:44 PM »

Quick question..for those of you with a  lot of experience running the States CP, how would you word a topic with the States as the only agent?

R: All or nearly all the US States, the District of Columbia, and other Territories should...

R: All or nearly all the non-federal / sub-federal governments of the States and Territories of the U.S. should...

R: The governments of the States and territories should...

Thanks for any insight.  If it turns out that the States are the most important agents for change given these particular crimes, it would make sense to know what a topic would look like with that as the exclusive set of agents.  Kevin
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ScottElliott
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Posts: 148


« Reply #142 on: June 06, 2014, 01:40:26 PM »

Is that always a bad thing?
"Resolved: Legalize it."


That wording would deny access to some people.

http://youtu.be/bIV4KLCmJ98?t=3m27s
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whwatson
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« Reply #143 on: June 06, 2014, 01:55:50 PM »

On a more specific note, anyone interested in a little work on the steroids issues or financial crimes?  It would be good if any potential crime/activity in consideration had some work on it going into the meeting and those two areas (as far as I know) are not currently covered. Thanks in advance.

I sent a ton of citations to Kevin and others regarding legalizing insider trading (good/bad) that I didn't have time to cut...hopefully jumps on board.  It's a solid area worth exploring...
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kevin kuswa
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« Reply #144 on: June 06, 2014, 03:22:06 PM »

yup--I'm ready to send those to someone interested...it's a great start.

On a more specific note, anyone interested in a little work on the steroids issues or financial crimes?  It would be good if any potential crime/activity in consideration had some work on it going into the meeting and those two areas (as far as I know) are not currently covered. Thanks in advance.

I sent a ton of citations to Kevin and others regarding legalizing insider trading (good/bad) that I didn't have time to cut...hopefully jumps on board.  It's a solid area worth exploring...
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jonahfeldman
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« Reply #145 on: June 06, 2014, 03:34:25 PM »

Re: states

The first one
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Stefan
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« Reply #146 on: June 07, 2014, 12:38:37 AM »

The first one, but

doesn't "all or nearly all" just modify States in this resolution stem? Neg still PIC a territory and/or DC.  Maybe that isn't the end of the world, but it is probably ideal to avoid.

All or nearly all the US States and Territories, as well as the District of Columbia, should....

The DC PIC will turn into a common generic neg strategy if it is left in. It MAY be best to just leave it out.

All or nearly all the US States and other Territories should...

It's probably better that the Aff can't solve in DC than that the Neg gets to PIC it every debate.


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kevin kuswa
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Posts: 345


« Reply #147 on: June 07, 2014, 10:02:56 AM »

Thanks, Stefan.  I think the aff could not do DC and still be "all or nearly all," although you have a point about its modification.  I would lean toward putting it in (if we even get to the point where we are considering a States only agent) because I don't think the PIC is that great and we can word it so the aff does not have to do DC--plus there are a LOT of people in DC who are arrested and imprisoned on things like the "crimes" we will be debating.  This helps, Kevin


The first one, but

doesn't "all or nearly all" just modify States in this resolution stem? Neg still PIC a territory and/or DC.  Maybe that isn't the end of the world, but it is probably ideal to avoid.

All or nearly all the US States and Territories, as well as the District of Columbia, should....

The DC PIC will turn into a common generic neg strategy if it is left in. It MAY be best to just leave it out.

All or nearly all the US States and other Territories should...

It's probably better that the Aff can't solve in DC than that the Neg gets to PIC it every debate.



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Paul Elliott Johnson
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« Reply #148 on: June 07, 2014, 02:46:49 PM »

the DC PIC was sick back in the day #carefulwiththeaxeeugene
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