College Policy Debate Forums

TOPIC COMMITTEE => 2012 - 2013 Topic => Topic started by: stables on June 02, 2012, 01:58:18 PM



Title: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process
Post by: stables on June 02, 2012, 01:58:18 PM
We are discussing revisions to the topic selection process.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QY0KDak9_vqwMN6LObXYNDrur6IUaZNXnGHahFcvOJM/edit (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QY0KDak9_vqwMN6LObXYNDrur6IUaZNXnGHahFcvOJM/edit)


Title: Re: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process
Post by: DarrenElliott on June 03, 2012, 03:52:38 AM
The only thing I see as problematic, is the move of the Topic Meeting on top of a National Holiday. 
Travel rates will be higher.  (Gas, Hotel, Airfare--all expenses incurred by either CEDA or the individual are not optimal over a Holiday)
Forces people to choose between family/holiday and debate, and I think we spend 8 months out of the year already forcing that choice.  Let's avoid doing it one more time if at all possible.
Granted, maybe not everyone celebrates America's birthday.  To you I say, you're either with Merica or you're with the terrorists.  We don't want the Topic Committee to be terrorist sympathizers do we?  Huh?  Huh?  I didn't think so.

(Seriously the travel costs and choice between debate and family on one more holiday stinks)

chief


Title: Re: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process
Post by: Malgor on June 04, 2012, 11:22:25 AM
was there any discussion of my amendment to remove the CEDA officers from the topic committee entirely and replace them with at-large? 



Title: Re: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process
Post by: paulmabrey on June 04, 2012, 08:04:00 PM
Yes, there was discussion but likely not satisfying the intent of your amendment. Wholesale adoption of your amendment, as was explained you had further amended in Norman, did not seem to have traction. Your amendment was explained as not totally getting rid of the current nine but as a compromise you had agreed to; seven at-large plus NDT and ADA rep.

Two themes emerged that were thought might be a compromise:
1. Replace undergraduate student rep with graduate student rep.
2. Give the CEDA President the option each year to have only two of the three CEDA officers serve on the topic committee and instead have an additional at large rep for that year's topic committee.

I believe someone is working on the language for those two themes.




Title: Re: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process
Post by: gabemurillo on June 06, 2012, 08:23:11 AM
Is there a reason for keeping the number of people on the topic committee at current levels? The best compromise might be to include a graduate assistant instead of taking away an undergraduate students position on the committee, add more at-large members instead of taking away CEDA positions on the committee, etc.


Title: Re: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process
Post by: bk2nocal on June 06, 2012, 09:18:03 AM
I may be wrong about this, but I thought back in the day the topic meeting was later and there were problems with it being scheduled on top of the myriad of high school camps happening across the nation.  So, it seems like we will once again run into that problem if we move it to July.  And that is in addition to the problems that Chief identified with the holiday date. 

In addition, it seems to me that we have taken the process to a new height of complexification (I don't think that's a word, but you all get what I'm saying).  I love the democratic nature of the process.  I have participated on just about every level - contributing to topic papers, working on wording papers, going to the meeting, and watching the meeting from afar...and it seems to me that, using my limited knowledge of the group process learned from my undergraduate Small Group Communication textbook, we need to narrow down the participants at some point in order for this to produce the best results.  I just think we've gotten to a point where we have "too many cooks in the kitchen" and the product is ending up as a compromised product (compromise is good early on - contribution is good early on - the more ideas the better early on, but at some point, we need to have a decision-making team that is smaller and more able to narrow down the choices we produce in the early process). 

I feel like we are a group of people (as a national body) who have many different philosophies on what this activity should entail and many different argumentative likes and dislikes...and I feel like the topic committee meetings have become a battle ground where the goal is to insure that those beliefs take shape in the form of the resolution.  This used to take shape in the form of a debate - in the form of a plan text - in the form of an affirmative case or a negative strategy, but now I feel like the goal is to have the resolution make those decisions for us as participants.  And I feel like what ends up happening is we take something that many of us are excited about the prospect of debating (immigration, energy, etc.) and we turn it into something that NO ONE is excited about debating (visa policy, grants for coal and oil production, etc.) because when no one is happy, we're all "even".  I would like to get back to a place where a majority of people are happy with the resolutions, even if it means that we aren't all "even" - so, maybe some years, I'm unhappy with the topic, but a majority of people are happy.  Maybe other years, I'm with the majority but a few other people aren't.  That seems like a better prospect to me than years where we have no one who is really happy with the product from the topic meeting.

I could be totally off-base about this - maybe a majority of you out there are totally happy about the resolution choices.  If so, I will slink away quietly believing the majority has spoken, as it should be.  But, I feel like there has to be SOME disappointment that an "energy policy" topic resulted in the grammatically complex and limited resolutions that are on the ballot. 

Again, I want to make clear that this is in NO WAY an insult thrown at the topic committee - their job is a thankless one every year.  But, it is a question about the PROCESS in which they are placed and the soundness of the process from a communication, productivity and creative problem-solving standpoint.


Title: Re: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process
Post by: Kathryn Rubino on June 06, 2012, 09:26:43 AM
One of the major arguments for not expanding the number of committee members is cost.  Ceda pays for the topic committee members to attend the meeting (with the exception of the NDT/ADA reps who receive funding from their organizations). The summer meeting is already the largest expenditure that Ceda makes on an annual basis and the organization has declining membership numbers (and the income associated with those membership dues).  Personally, I am not comfortable saying that Ceda is in a financial position to increase the size of the committee.

Additionally, as someone ending my term on the committee I will say Gordon has a thankless task trying to wrangle 9 members into any form of consensus and I can only imagine it would be harder if the committee were 11 or 13 members (there is also a good reason to keep the committee as an odd number as quite a few things during the course of the meeting come down to a vote).


-Kathryn


Title: Re: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process
Post by: paulmabrey on June 06, 2012, 09:27:15 AM
The current reason is cost. Currently CEDA reimburses topic committee members for their participation in the meetings (travel, food and lodging) because the topic deliberation process is hosted by and through CEDA. My understanding is that CEDA's ownership of the topic process was part of the post-merger compromise?

I do not believe CEDA can afford to grow the topic committee membership without getting more money. Maybe if folks wanted to pay their own way and/or have other organizations pay for their topic committee member, the number of members could grow. Perhaps we could even have sponsorships; the D3 (ceda/ndt irony intended) topic committee rep paid for by D3 schools or the K4Lyfe rep paid for by the, well, multitude. Seriously though, maybe have ADA/NDT pay for their own reps and free up 2 more spots? Though if conferences passes, maybe we want to move toward each conference having their own sponsored rep?  

Another issue for keeping at nine might be too many cooks in the kitchen? Separately, the supreme court has nine, shouldn't we?

I really like the idea of including a graduate student rep, even perhaps at the expense of the undergrad student rep for many of the reasons given at the meetings. Professional development, same on the ground and recent competitor insight and to this point, the undergraduate student rep has never, if rarely, made significant topic changing contributions. Not that one couldn't, the consensus was they just had not in the history of undergrad student reps. Now, it was pointed out that maybe one undergrad student debater, Eric Suni I believe, did change the direction of the topic at the meetings but did so as a non-committee member participant.  

Not necessarily opposed to Malcom's original amendment but still struggling to figure out exactly what the intent was. I know it was to de-link topic committee from organizational governance but for what purpose? Officers who don't know how or won't commit to working on the topic? Officers to removed from the game of debate? Or officers who don't share a particular view on the process of crafting a specific kind of topic?

If the latter, it does not seem that officers are the issue. But rather the issue is the ideological make-up of the committee. I saw somewhere that maybe officers and/or topic committee reps should be asked to disclose their views on topics and the topic process. Nothing has stopped this from happening now. No one has asked folks running for election to have platforms, debates etc. In fact, think I remember a number of years ago that debates were asked for and maybe even had...

Again, not opposed to the spirit of the amendment or even necessarily what I read as an impetus for the amendment (the call for a more broad topic). I know many were open to discussing and changing the topic committee membership.

And to me, one of the more exciting discussions was changing the process itself. Moving it back; giving the community more time without any topic (read vacation time) and less time with a slate of resolutions they know but no actual resolution (read more productive preparation time).


Title: Re: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process
Post by: paulmabrey on June 06, 2012, 09:30:55 AM
Regarding CEDA paying for NDT and ADA topic committee reps, I will default to Rubino's knowledge. I thought each organization paid for their rep but double-checked the anticipated CEDA budget and we had budgeted for 9 individuals.


Title: Re: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process
Post by: gabemurillo on June 06, 2012, 09:55:24 AM
Let me reform my "compromise" maybe one of the CEDA-elected positions should go to a graduate student as opposed to removing an undergraduate student? I am very uncomfortable about the idea that the undergraduate spot hasn't been "productive" enough in the topic to deserve to be there, this seems like a reason for the topic committee to take an educators role and be proactive about getting the student representative more involved, not less. After all the process is already quite a bit removed from the debaters themselves, removing their one representative seems to only make this worse. I was not present for the discussions that took place at the meeting so please forgive me if I'm "behind the times" on this question.


Title: Re: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process
Post by: stables on June 06, 2012, 10:10:02 AM
Sue's email is great at so many levels. My quick thoughts are:

We are dealing with what norms people would support for a topic in our current era of policy information and news. What is ironic is that while I know there are many who support the view of simpler, more elegant topics much of the previous discontent on this forum is ironically expressing a very distinct view. Your discussion of changing the process to have less cooks in the kitchen (in some way) is interesting because it would reduce individual input, but it might make the topics more representative of individual ideological factions, if they could must support from their representatives. You can see why if this is supported it should come from the community.

As far as the later schedule is concerned. We had been playing with some dates and the 4th of July meeting is just where the calendar fell once you backtrack from the other dates. We discussed and identified the problems, primarily about the cost of trying to encourage travel on the 4th. I think you would more likely see it later that week.

To the workshop question - this is the competing value. The rationales for the shift are:

a) a longer offseason (no papers would be due until late May/early June)
b) more  time for the controversy paper writing
c) more time between the winning controversy paper and the topic meetings (which might help many concerns here) and
d) less time between the wording meetings and the topic announcement  

The tradeoff comes from time and folks at summer workshops. I have seen this dilemma for years and I don't how we balance it otherwise. I do think it could be hosted at a workshop, which might increase the incentives for folks to host it.

Finally, I would like to encourage everyone to consider the possibility of an energy topic, not just the traditional decrease fossil fuels/ increase renewables topic. I know there are concerns about the wordings themselves, but I also feel that some of the push back comes from  the notion that we are really debating encouraging more energy. At the meeting we discussed how just about everyone in the room had been part of the traditional way to approach, but no one could ever recall being involved in this other approach. If we wanted to debate about the same things in the same way over and over that is your choice, but we tried to uphold the idea of something distinct. I guess I would be less  frustrated if many of the concerns (not Sue's) are about being able to debate the same arguments in the same ways again. I am not saying that is the only complaint, but it is a strong theme.

I am going to not be able to spend a ton of time on this thread, but I hope folks can appreciate why I can't devote every day to the topic process after the meetings end.  The important recognition is that you, not me, are in charge of all of this.

The community runs this process, sets constitutional dates,  and elects its representatives. Anyone can submit amendments, but (like the topic wording) the challenge is getting other people to agree with your ideas. I encourage folks to float suggestions, get feedback and then perhaps some community consensus can be generated about what course of action is best in the future.




Title: Re: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process
Post by: ScottElliott on June 06, 2012, 10:17:24 AM
First a couple of the resolutions proposed are not that bad. That being said, I think Kuswa is being Panglossian about the status of resolutions and the Topic Committee Process. Visas sucked. Democracy assistance sucked--for the very reasons I pointed out during the TC meetings.

I think the Topic Committee should model the emerging peer review process in chemistry and physics. What is that? Well, some of the major journals now post drafts of authors works on-line for 3 to 6 months for review, comment and debate (God I hope I put the comma in the right spot). Then, the orginal author takes those comments, revises the article and it is submitted into its final form as "published."

I don't understand why people think a mad dash to jam out five resolutions can ever result in a good work product. Some reflective thoguht is needed. There is no reason why the TC could not put out a proposed lsit of resolutions in June, give the community a month to respond, draft better versions of the resolutions, then have the TC meet electronically to make final revisions and/or changes to produce a final slate of resolutions to be voted on by the end of July.


Scott


Title: Re: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process
Post by: tcram on June 06, 2012, 11:26:53 AM
Maybe those more intimately involved with the stage of the topic process at the level of moving topic choices from the ether onto the ballot can clarify, but are there any normative criteria for what a final ballot should look like?  We have a set of guiding principles for what is considered a good controversy paper, but what about this later stage?  I ask because my primary frustration with the end product this past few years (of course recognizing that Gordon rocks, the committee has a thankless task, and I haven't managed to contribute either at the paper process or meetings) is that there is a fundamental lack of choice.  Democracy assistance boiled the vote down to 'which permutation of countries would you like to debate about?' and this ballot suffers from some of the same problems in my opinion.  The only real choice seems to be whether to include renewables or not.  After that, the only questions are 'how specific do you want your restrictions and incentives to be'?  Perhaps my opinion is idiosyncratic, but a ballot that offers substantive choices about both mechanisms and objects (whether its countries, fuel sources, etc) would be refreshing.


Title: Re: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process
Post by: kelly young on June 06, 2012, 11:51:28 AM
Three quick thoughts on this thread:

1. If cost is the overriding concern, is there a reason why this meeting cannot be done primarily online rather than at a physical site? If we can now debate online, seems like we should be able to meet online with a relatively or free online platform. Gordan has already done a lot of this work both with USC's online debates and the use of Google Docs. We can expand the committee, meet more than once, etc.

I believe this puts me in somewhat agreement with part of Scott Elliott's post, which means I am already somewhat souring to the idea...

2. I agree with Gabe that we should not eliminate the undergrad position. As Gabe suggests, perhaps we need more mentioning of undergrads to bolster their position, but I enjoyed the input from the two undergrad reps during my 2 years on the committee. And given Gordon's efforts to enhance the transparency and input into process by anyone willing to participate, undergrad, grads, and anyone else has decent opportunities for input now, just not a formal vote on the TC.

3. Ballot options - seems like TCram's complaints - which are certainly valid - are more of a product of the community frequently (if not always) selecting the smallest topic possible. As a result, the TC often has to produce similar sized topics in response, which substantially narrows the variations between topics and leaves you deciding a list of countries, objects, or mechanisms. Seems very difficult to produce 3-4 or more equally sized topics every session with tremendous variation in wording as the smallest of the topics largely becomes the default resolution. To be clear, I'm not disagreeing with Tcram or anyone else and I am happy to hear other's ideas on this part of the process, but I think this causes a lot of the narrowing of options.

- Kelly


Title: Re: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process
Post by: Whit on June 06, 2012, 12:31:51 PM
I guess I don't see what additional choices the community is looking for. Starting from the premise that the community voted for a topic that said "we should increase domestic energy production," there isn't much room for choices/options.

It seems that the only two questions are "what form of energy?" and "how is the increase achieved?"

What other choices do you feel were left open by the wording paper that could have been given to the community on the ballot?



Title: Re: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process
Post by: tcram 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.


Title: Re: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process
Post by: Hester 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.


Title: Re: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process
Post by: gabemurillo 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.


Title: Re: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process
Post by: kevin kuswa 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 :)


Title: Re: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process
Post by: Ermo 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.


Title: Re: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process
Post by: tcram 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. 


Title: Re: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process
Post by: andreareed 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.


Title: Re: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process
Post by: tcram 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.


Title: Re: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process
Post by: Mike Davis 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.


Title: Re: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process
Post by: Paul Elliott Johnson 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: ???
Step 3: Profit (for the military industrial complex)

New process:

Step 1: Democratic rabble and hard work
Step 2: Resolution
Step 3: ???


Title: Re: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process
Post by: gabemurillo 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.


Title: Re: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process
Post by: gabemurillo 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?


Title: Re: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process
Post by: gabemurillo 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



Title: Re: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process
Post by: nryan 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.


Title: Re: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process
Post by: stables 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.


Title: Re: Working Document for Proposed Reforms to the Topic Process
Post by: gabemurillo on June 11, 2012, 09:59:45 PM
I have submitted an amendment proposal which limits each school to one representative on the topic committee. I believe this amendment is important because it upholds a democratic value in the topic process. I believe it is incredibly important to continue the tradition of one school one vote on the Topic Committee, especially given its representative nature. Thanks to all who gave input on the wording and process!