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Author Topic: Modest Critique of Existing Proposals  (Read 7854 times)
The Inquisition
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« on: April 21, 2010, 12:25:53 AM »

I know everyone is very invested in their papers, so I hope I don't step on too many toes with this.  I have some small problems with the existing papers.  I hope these criticisms are received in the same spirit that they're given.

There are only three papers so far, so I'll stick to them.  I’ve arranged them in ascending order, based on how much they disgust me.

1.   Immigration

I’d been sober for three consecutive days, then I read this steaming pile of wombat excrement.  The following two suggested resolutions are acceptable (provided they eventually specify immigration to the US in some way; I don’t feel like researching US restrictions on immigration to Cuba, or between Israel and Palestine):

Resolved: The United States Federal Government should substantially reduce its restrictions on immigration.

Resolved: The United States Federal Government should substantially reduce its restrictions on granting asylum and/or visas.

The rest of them make my head hurt.  For example, I’m wondering how any of the following things are possible (these are derivations of the list topics):

A.    The United States Federal Government should substantially reduce its restrictions on immigration in social services.

B.    The United States Federal Government should substantially reduce its restrictions on immigration in undocumented immigrants currently residing in the United States.

I’m pretty sure (A) means the USFG should reduce the restrictions on immigration by people who receive social services.  Actually, that’s a bit charitable.  It literally says the USFG should make sure its social services don’t leave the US for another country (presumably Canada; I’ve noticed our Healthcare system eyeing them.)

(B) is even worse.  Apparently the US needs to stop restricting the freedom of undocumented immigrants to leave the US for other countries.  I wasn’t aware that we did that.  In fact, I thought we offered them free rides.  Of course, you could let undocumented immigrants immigrate to the US.  Except they’re undocumented immigrants, so evidently they’ve already immigrated.

I get it; this is a controversy paper, so the specifics of the wording aren’t important.  What I’m trying to point out is that huge chunks of this paper have nothing to do with each other.  Before writing a controversy paper, you should probably decide which controversy you want to address:  getting into the US, living in the US without documentation, or being forced out of the US for lack of documentation.

Chose one and start over.


2.   First Amendment

First up, the courts?  Are you serious?  Did you have some sort of massive aneurysm that caused you to forget what a travesty that god awful topic was?  Let’s have a brief recap:

1.   Constitutional Amendment CP
2.   State Supreme Court CP
3.   Lower Courts CP
4.   Lower State Court CP
5.   Implicit Overrule CP
6.   LCD’s (Laughable Courts Disads: court politics, hollow hope, legitimacy, Robert minimalism, court pay raises, court stripping, Stare Decisis modeling, etc)

This shit storm of “arguments” created a 70% neg win ratio.  Only one Aff team won octos at Harvard.  The damage this topic did to the quality of T debates still hasn’t been reversed.  The Courts topic made Agriculture look like the Treaties topic.  After Courts, the afterglow from voting for the Middle East topic was so intense we accidentally left in Afghanistan.

Now, the substance.  Scratch that.  Imagining debating this topic makes me projectile vomit.  On the upside, I’m now drinking on an empty stomach, so maybe I’ll survive space.  Let’s line up the arguments on porn:

Column One:  Aff
Feminism
Rape
The Single Worst Soft Power Advantage in History

Column Two:  Neg
Politics
Economy
Censorship
Tech Leadership
LCD’s

This topic makes Reparations look policy-friendly.  Column one only outweighs column two if you spend the last four minutes of your 1AC spamming terrible mpx calculus cards.  Don’t believe me?  See the last courts topic.  And four or five suicide notes of former debaters.  This problem gets even worse when you consider the amazing number of purely procedural counterplans that solve the entire aff.

The same logic applies to Hate speech, but more so.  At least feminists have tried to statistically quantify the link between porn and rape (spoiler alert:  porn solves rape).  Campaign finance reform is marginally interesting.  And by marginally interesting, I mean it has a solid democracy advantage that’s turned by literally any net benefit to a procedural counterplan.

If you’re that desperate for a courts topic, here’s a slightly more aff friendly suggestion:

Resolved:  The United States Supreme Court should overrule Obama’s presidency, because he wasn't born in the US.


3.   Space

You can’t just post the first fifteen pages of your space file and call it a controversy paper.  We get it, there’s evidence on space exploration and why it’s good.  How about some discussion of the mechanism of getting to space?

Also, does anyone seriously think there will be space debates after the first two tournaments?  Space doesn’t outweigh nuclear war.  Nuclear war will delay space colonization by thousands of years.  Go check that Bostrom article again, it’s in there, I promise.  Even worse, counterplans exist.

This entire topic will be C1:  X tech or organization tangentially relates to space.  C2:  X tech or Org is good for reasons that are fast enough to outweigh a disad.

Also, T is a nightmare on this topic.  How do you know if a plan expands exploration?  Do you have to mandate it?  Can you specify the method?  Does the method have to actually work?  When debating the space topic, can anyone hear limits scream?

Just a few thoughts,

The Inquisition
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joe
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« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2010, 09:29:25 AM »

yay for anonymous bashing of people's work!

dickwad.
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Jarrod Atchison
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« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2010, 09:59:06 AM »

I'll go ahead and engage because despite the ad homs and anonymity it appears as though you want a reasonable discussion:

1- You are correct that the proposed resolutions need work. I guess that including caveats like "these are just a starting point" is never really good enough for the debate community (especially people that reference wombat excrement). To answer a couple of your points about the resolutions proposed:

A) the word "its" was supposed to limit the restrictions to those created and enforced by the United States Federal Government.
B) immigration is supposed to limit the restrictions to people coming to the United States.

If adding "to the United States" at the end of the first set of resolutions is all it takes to reduce your disgust level a bit then I'm sure the group of undergrads that helped write this in the middle of their final exams only to wake up to your post would find that a friendly amendment.

2- List topics are the toughest to write. I think that the original list you are referencing including the phrase "in one or more of the following areas" so when the affirmative chose one (ie. social services) it would read:

The United States Federal Government should substantially reduce its restrictions on immigration in the area of social services.

This was modeled after the PRC topic. Perhaps your objection is to areas types of resolutions.

3- I'm not sure but it seems as though two of your objections presume that immigration is a term that describes people leaving and coming to a country (your discussion of the USFG restricting undocumented immigrants leaving). Here is a quick summary and website that addresses that:

Summary:
1.Migration is the overall term for the movement of people between different countries
2.Immigration refers to people coming into a country
3.Emigration refers to people leaving a country for a different country
4.Immigration is a politically sensitive topic that is often discussed in the media.

Difference Between http://www.differencebetween.net/language/difference-between-immigration-and-migration/#ixzz0lkWpJ5VM

4- It seems as though all of your objections build to this argument that "What I’m trying to point out is that huge chunks of this paper have nothing to do with each other." Perhaps I missed it, but the majority of your post was about the resolutions and very little of it was about what parts of the controversy areas you thought did not cohere. I think that you are saying that immigration is too broad because we have several (4) controversy areas and that we should have picked one. I'll leave this to the community to decide. You are correct that if everyone thinks that it is too much to research visas, asylum, undocumented immigrants, and social services that this will lose, but we thought this was an adequate slice of an otherwise monstrous immigration debate.


Jarrod










 
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neil berch
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« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2010, 11:00:53 AM »

In the midst of all the posts about topic papers and, more importantly, the sad news from Florida, I've lost track of just how many topic papers there are.  Is it 4 (immigration, treaties, first amendment, space), or am I missing something?
--Neil Berch
West Virginia University
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RGarrett
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« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2010, 12:08:30 PM »

Neil I believe you are correct that there are 4 published papers you can get from various places on the forum.  I believe Gordon Stables had indicated he was working on an education topic paper, which if completed would make a fifth.  Kelly Young indicated the infrastructure paper was unable to finish.  There was some discussion of a reparations group or Latin America topic group forming, but those plans seemed less firm, but could be forthcoming.
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BrendonBankey
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« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2010, 12:26:50 PM »

"I’m pretty sure (A) means the USFG should reduce the restrictions on immigration by people who receive social services.  Actually, that’s a bit charitable.  It literally says the USFG should make sure its social services don’t leave the US for another country (presumably Canada; I’ve noticed our Healthcare system eyeing them.)"

The phrase "access to" solve your concerns.

"(B) is even worse.  Apparently the US needs to stop restricting the freedom of undocumented immigrants to leave the US for other countries.  I wasn’t aware that we did that.  In fact, I thought we offered them free rides.  Of course, you could let undocumented immigrants immigrate to the US.  Except they’re undocumented immigrants, so evidently they’ve already immigrated."

The following are restrictions on immigration for undocumented immigrants: non-legal entry (forces applicants to sign a statement that they broke the law and apply for reentry), payment of a fine/community service, ability to speak English. Furthermore, undocumented immigrants aren't eligible to apply for current visa programs.

"I get it; this is a controversy paper, so the specifics of the wording aren’t important.  What I’m trying to point out is that huge chunks of this paper have nothing to do with each other.  Before writing a controversy paper, you should probably decide which controversy you want to address:  getting into the US, living in the US without documentation, or being forced out of the US for lack of documentation.

Chose one and start over."

Thank you for providing a topic paper that the community can use as a model for years to come.
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Seth Gannon
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« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2010, 01:23:27 PM »

The Inquisition says:

"I’m pretty sure (A) means ... the USFG should make sure its social services don’t leave the US for another country (presumably Canada; I’ve noticed our Healthcare system eyeing them.)"

Let's back up for a second. There are three widely-accepted norms of human conversation:

1. Don't be an asshole.

2. When you forgo norm 1, have the self-respect to put your name on it.

3. When you forgo norms 1 and 2, know the difference between "immigrate" and "emigrate."

im·mi·grate   [im-i-greyt]
–verb (used without object)
1. to come to a country of which one is not a native, usually for permanent residence.
2. to pass or come into a new habitat or place, as an organism.

em·i·grate   [em-i-greyt]
–verb (used without object),-grat·ed, -grat·ing.
to leave one country or region to settle in another; migrate: to emigrate from Ireland to Australia.
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antonucci23
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« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2010, 02:05:07 PM »

I don't think this conversation is going to be very useful, due to the original poster's anonymity.

Shouldn't cedaforums disallow anonymity?  It seems to retard the progress of any given discussion.

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A Numbers Game
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WWW
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2010, 02:12:14 PM »

2.   First Amendment

First up, the courts?  Are you serious?  Did you have some sort of massive aneurysm that caused you to forget what a travesty that god awful topic was?  Let’s have a brief recap:

1.   Constitutional Amendment CP
2.   State Supreme Court CP
3.   Lower Courts CP
4.   Lower State Court CP
5.   Implicit Overrule CP
6.   LCD’s (Laughable Courts Disads: court politics, hollow hope, legitimacy, Robert minimalism, court pay raises, court stripping, Stare Decisis modeling, etc)

This shit storm of “arguments” created a 70% neg win ratio.

I appreciate that this message was meant to be over-the-top, but there were actually more aff ballots than neg that year:
8202 to 8184.

Harvard was an outlier for the neg, and the NDT was an outlier for the aff:


+-----------+------------+----------+----------+
| shortname | start      | decision | count(*) |
+-----------+------------+----------+----------+
| GSU       | 2006-09-23 | aff      |      354 |
| GSU       | 2006-09-23 | neg      |      345 |
| Kentucky  | 2006-10-07 | aff      |      313 |
| Kentucky  | 2006-10-07 | neg      |      308 |
| Harvard   | 2006-10-28 | aff      |      122 |
| Harvard   | 2006-10-28 | neg      |      158 |
| Wake      | 2006-11-11 | aff      |      315 |
| Wake      | 2006-11-11 | neg      |      330 |
| Nwstrn    | 2007-02-10 | aff      |      336 |
| Nwstrn    | 2007-02-10 | neg      |      337 |
| NDT       | 2007-03-29 | aff      |      582 |
| NDT       | 2007-03-29 | neg      |      496 |
+-----------+------------+----------+----------+


Counting only outround ballots shows more tournaments with a several more neg ballots than aff, but the total count still shows more aff ballots than neg ones:


+-----------+------------+----------+----------+
| shortname | start      | decision | count(*) |
+-----------+------------+----------+----------+
| GSU       | 2006-09-23 | aff      |       53 |
| GSU       | 2006-09-23 | neg      |       70 |
| Kentucky  | 2006-10-07 | aff      |       52 |
| Kentucky  | 2006-10-07 | neg      |       41 |
| Harvard   | 2006-10-28 | aff      |       14 |
| Harvard   | 2006-10-28 | neg      |       31 |
| Wake      | 2006-11-11 | aff      |       51 |
| Wake      | 2006-11-11 | neg      |       42 |
| Nwstrn    | 2007-02-10 | aff      |       43 |
| Nwstrn    | 2007-02-10 | neg      |       50 |
| NDT       | 2007-03-29 | aff      |       88 |
| NDT       | 2007-03-29 | neg      |       54 |
+-----------+------------+----------+----------+


Controlling for team ability over the whole field for the entire year shows no neg bias at all:



This is true even if you consider only large open divisions, only the NDT, or only first-round applicants.
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stables
Administrator
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Posts: 334


« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2010, 02:15:41 PM »

In the construction of this forum we wanted to provide a professional forum opportunity for community engagement and discussion.  We have been as flexible as possible to help facilitate community discussion and we ask community members to do the same.

At the same time, this is not edebate and we do not feel obligated to let anyone post anything. There is an open thread for any topic. Please keep this forum open for constructive discussion of these proposals. Thank you.
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Gordon Stables
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
Director of Debate & Forensics
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
University of Southern California
Malgor
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« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2010, 07:48:52 PM »

that's 2 people remaining anonymous on this thread.  Numbers game, while you are obviously a superdork, i'm sure people will accept your identity.  You presumably have a name and interact with people under this name in the 'real world.' You are a beautiful snowflake, and people will cherish your persistent dorkery-no need for anonymity.

Total ballot count says it was even.  I know my win percentage on the aff was way worse than the neg.  I know that was true for a lot of other people.  Numbers or not, if you ask debaters from that year their complaints about the topic number 1 on the list will almost always be the amendment counterplan.  I don't think we should ignore.  Perhaps it's not an issue of wins and losses so much as effort required for one side to keep up, and the feelings of debaters on debating that issue.

Other person, you are being silly.  If you had a real name when you posted some of what you said I would consider humorous.  But once you take the step to anonymity, it sure makes your post seem more mean spirited and cowardly.  I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

I like the immigration paper. I'm anxious to read the education paper to finalize my opinions on the topic choices, something I know everyone is anxiously awaiting. 
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A Numbers Game
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« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2010, 11:20:30 PM »

Total ballot count says it was even.  I know my win percentage on the aff was way worse than the neg.  I know that was true for a lot of other people.

Here is a list of all of the first round applicants from that year ordered by those teams that won more on the neg (at the top) to those teams that won more on the aff (at the bottom):


+-------------------------------+-----------+-----------+--------------+
| name                          | affWinPct | negWinPct | affAdvantage |
+-------------------------------+-----------+-----------+--------------+
| IdahoS Yeats/Montreuil        |   56.5217 |   74.6032 |     -18.0814 |
| Harvard Mirchandani/Rebrovick |   62.0253 |   75.8621 |     -13.8368 |
| UMKC Gordon/Foster            |   66.2651 |   73.9583 |      -7.6933 |
| Georgia Culpepper/Rabinowitz  |   75.5814 |   83.0357 |      -7.4543 |
| Emory Sun/Schwab              |   50.9434 |   58.0000 |      -7.0566 |
| WayneS Murillo/Timmons        |   72.3214 |   76.4228 |      -4.1013 |
| Harvard Luxemburg/Paone       |   63.2653 |   65.8537 |      -2.5884 |
| Kansas Jennings/Bricker       |   71.2500 |   73.5043 |      -2.2543 |
| Oklhma Cleary/Johnson         |   78.0488 |   79.6875 |      -1.6387 |
| Dartmth Clark/Olsen           |   74.0000 |   75.5814 |      -1.5814 |
| CSUF Montes/Magallon          |   65.5914 |   64.7059 |       0.8855 |
| Emory Hamraie/Hoehn           |   68.5950 |   66.6667 |       1.9284 |
| Michigan Keenan/Farra         |   62.8571 |   60.2941 |       2.5630 |
| Nwstrn Brown/Warden           |   68.9189 |   64.0625 |       4.8564 |
| Whitman Richendrfer/Schissler |   72.0930 |   66.3043 |       5.7887 |
| WakeFr Patten/Lamballe        |   66.6667 |   58.8235 |       7.8431 |
| MictSt Reed/Durkee            |   62.9630 |   54.3210 |       8.6420 |
| Emory Miller/Pramanick        |   70.0000 |   61.1111 |       8.8889 |
| USC Iftimie/Smith             |   73.5294 |   63.3333 |      10.1961 |
| Harvard Anders/Murray         |   75.0000 |   60.3175 |      14.6825 |
| Nwstrn Chestnut/Shankar       |   70.5882 |   55.2239 |      15.3644 |
| Berkle Shannon/Brockaway      |   70.2703 |   46.8750 |      23.3953 |
+-------------------------------+-----------+-----------+--------------+


Numbers or not, if you ask debaters from that year their complaints about the topic number 1 on the list will almost always be the amendment counterplan.  I don't think we should ignore.  Perhaps it's not an issue of wins and losses so much as effort required for one side to keep up, and the feelings of debaters on debating that issue.

I think that's a good point. Numbers never tell the whole story. Sometimes they only tell a small part of it. They can sometimes even obscure the real story.
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Kathryn Rubino
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« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2010, 09:35:25 AM »


I am hesitant to respond to anonymous complaints but there might be a few issues there so I just want to make a some brief points for the voting public.

1. This is not the courts topic. On the majority of our topics teams run a congressional mechanism and yet each year the debates are (at least somewhat) unique to that resolution.  Unlike the 06-07 topic which had no binding theme between the resolutional prongs EXCEPT the mechanism (which i believe happened because it had been so long since there had been a legal topic that there was a desire to have a SCOTUS 'greatest hits' topic) this topic is envisioned as very uni-directional. Affs must limit rights, specifically free speech.  What does this mean? Well I think because the only commonality between the cases in 06-07 was the mechanism the only stable generic ground for negatives was very procedural in nature so that's what we saw a lot of. Because the 1A topic is more thematically cohesive you get core neg ground that is based in the literature.

2. Many of the generic counterplans our anonymous friend seems so scared of are procedurally impossible on this topic. Specifically states courts (supreme or lower) can solve exactly zero affs on this topic because no state can take away a right granted to you by the federal government (and the fact that some don't know this is exactly why we need a more regular rotation of legal topics, but I'll save that fight for another day).  The same is true of lower courts; despite my JD, I can't think of an instance where a lower court took away a right explicitly granted by the supreme court.
As far as distinguish/implicit overrule CPs go, the term overrule is not necessarily a given in a 1A topic. In fact, our first wording suggestion doesn't use that term at all.  So I think the concern about this cp is an argument to have about resolutional wordings not about topics or controversies.

3. I just want to reiterate some of the points I made in the topic paper about the educational opportunities of this topic. The fact that a debater can graduate and not know what is stare decisis is a shame. I also think that given the large numbers of the debate community that wind up in law school we'd be remiss if we didn't try to give our students this educational opportunity (it also helps tremendously with 1L year if you already have experience reading SCt cases).

4. Guess what: there will be critical Affs and performance Affs regardless of the chosen topic.  I believe the more a topic limits critical or performance ground, the more tolerant (rightly or wrongly) judges are of Affs that blatantly ignore the topic.  Yes, as I was constructing a topic I very deliberately wanted something that critical, performance and policy teams could all find an Aff within because frankly I prefer when teams are topical (or at least have a decent argument why they are) so I wanted to have a topic on the ballot that at least provided that option to as many of the different types of teams as possible.  I also think that a topic that allows for critical and performance Affs within the four corners of the resolution makes it EASIER to win a topicality battle against an Aff that tries to skirt the resolution.

-Kathryn
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