College Policy Debate Forums

TOPIC COMMITTEE => Archive => 2014 - 2015 Topic => Topic started by: paulmabrey on June 20, 2014, 04:23:21 AM

Title: Official Slate of Resolutions for 2014-2015
Post by: paulmabrey on June 20, 2014, 04:23:21 AM
FINAL TOPIC SLATE, 6-19-14

U.S. Legalize Core
1. Resolved: The United States should legalize all or nearly all of one or more of the following in the United States: marihuana, online gambling, physician-assisted suicide, prostitution, the sale of human organs.
 
U.S. Legalize Core + More Drugs
2. Resolved: The United States should legalize all or nearly all of one or more of the following in the United States: cathinone, cocaine, heroin, LSD, marihuana, MDMA, methamphetamine, peyote, online gambling, physician-assisted suicide, prostitution, the sale of human organs.
 
U.S. Decrim/Legalize Core + HIV
3. Resolved: The United States should eliminate all or nearly all legal prohibitions or criminal penalties on one or more of the following in the United States: marihuana; online gambling; physician-assisted suicide; prostitution; the sale of human organs; the transmission, exposure, and nondisclosure of the human immunodeficiency virus.
 
U.S. Decrim/Legalize Core + Abortion
4. Resolved: The United States should eliminate all or nearly all legal prohibitions or criminal penalties on one or more of the following in the United States: abortion, marihuana, online gambling, physician-assisted suicide, prostitution, the sale of human organs.
 
U.S. Core + De Facto
5. Resolved: The United States should eliminate all or nearly all legal prohibitions on one or more of the following in the United States: marihuana, online gambling, physician-assisted suicide, prostitution, the sale of human organs; and/or the United States should eliminate all or nearly all de facto criminalization of bodies of color, gender non-conformity and/or homelessness in the United States.
 
U.S. Legalize Core + Different Additional Drugs + Insider Trading
6. Resolved: The United States should legalize all or nearly all of one or more of the following in the United States: cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, marihuana, insider trading, online gambling, physician-assisted suicide, prostitution, the sale of human organs.
 
USFG Decrim/Legalize Core + More Drugs + Abortion + HIV + Insider Trading
7. Resolved: The United States federal government should eliminate all or nearly all legal prohibitions or criminal penalties on one or more of the following in the United States: abortion; cathinone; cocaine; heroin; LSD; marihuana; MDMA; methamphetamine; peyote; insider trading; online gambling; physician-assisted suicide; prostitution; the sale of human organs; the transmission, exposure, and nondisclosure of the human immunodeficiency virus.
 
USFG Decrim/Legalize Core + More Drugs + Abortion + HIV + Insider Trading + De Facto
8. Resolved: The United States federal government should eliminate all or nearly all legal prohibitions or criminal penalties on one or more of the following in the United States: abortion; cathinone; cocaine; heroin; LSD; marihuana; MDMA; methamphetamine; peyote; insider trading; online gambling; physician-assisted suicide; prostitution; the sale of human organs; the transmission, exposure, and nondisclosure of the human immunodeficiency virus; and/or the United States federal government should eliminate all or nearly all de facto criminalization of bodies of color, gender non-conformity and/or homelessness in the United States.
 
USFG Legalize Core + More Drugs
9. Resolved: The United States federal government should legalize all or nearly all of one or more of the following in the United States: cathinone, cocaine, heroin, LSD, marihuana, MDMA, methamphetamine, peyote, online gambling, physician-assisted suicide, prostitution, the sale of human organs.
 
Passive Consensual
10. Resolved: One or more consensual crimes in the United States should be legalized.
Title: Re: Official Slate of Resolutions for 2014-2015
Post by: ArnealP on July 11, 2014, 11:47:39 AM
Why is it that for those resolutions which include the phrase, "federal government" is lower case as opposed to recent years, where it was capitalized as "Federal Government"? From what I've read, the last time that this has occurred was during the 1994-1995 resolution, though I may be mistaken in this.

Secondly, I would like to know when and how the status of the topic in the required rotation will be determined. In previous years, it was decided before the topic areas were selected which would be classified as International, Domestic, Legal, or not otherwise specified. I previously posted about this, http://www.cedadebate.org/forum/index.php/topic,5882.15.html , but I am disappointed that no one responded. This is especially troubling in that there is little/no transparency in the issue.

I think that this is extremely relevant in terms of how schools would choose the resolution. Even here, in this "Official Slate of Resolutions", there is no indication of the category under which the particular wordings fall. This means that there is no ability, beforehand, to know for what type a school would vote. Given the mandatory resolution, this could shape how schools vote.
Title: Re: Official Slate of Resolutions for 2014-2015
Post by: kevin kuswa on July 11, 2014, 03:09:52 PM
This is a legal topic--in fact, it is a legal-ization topic....but it actually does not matter much because we have to have an international topic the year after this (we had a domestic topic with energy and a legal with War Powers).  We have been very transparent with this in a number of posts.  Your concern about small case "f" and "g" can be debated in the rounds.  kevin

Why is it that for those resolutions which include the phrase, "federal government" is lower case as opposed to recent years, where it was capitalized as "Federal Government"? From what I've read, the last time that this has occurred was during the 1994-1995 resolution, though I may be mistaken in this.

Secondly, I would like to know when and how the status of the topic in the required rotation will be determined. In previous years, it was decided before the topic areas were selected which would be classified as International, Domestic, Legal, or not otherwise specified. I previously posted about this, http://www.cedadebate.org/forum/index.php/topic,5882.15.html , but I am disappointed that no one responded. This is especially troubling in that there is little/no transparency in the issue.

I think that this is extremely relevant in terms of how schools would choose the resolution. Even here, in this "Official Slate of Resolutions", there is no indication of the category under which the particular wordings fall. This means that there is no ability, beforehand, to know for what type a school would vote. Given the mandatory resolution, this could shape how schools vote.
Title: Re: Official Slate of Resolutions for 2014-2015
Post by: ArnealP on July 11, 2014, 09:50:10 PM
Thank you for your reply, and I do appreciate the fact that you took the time to write it for me. However, that doesn't answer most of my concerns.

There were three questions that I raised. The first regarded the lower/uppercase issue. The second regarded the current status of the legalization topic within the rotation. The third question was about the discrepancy between last year and this current year.

I did not mean to imply that there was lack of transparency regarding the lower/uppercase issue - to be honest, this was just a curiosity that I felt the desire to ask. I am still curious as to why the change has occurred, and I'm just wondering why the change occurred, but it is not very much of a pressing matter.

The second question has thoroughly been answered, and I do thank you for that. I understand now that the 2014-2015 topic will be classified as a legal topic.

I do appreciate your response, but that does seem to contradict the previous response that you had made.

Quote
Some of the papers talk about the categories, others leave it open.  In many cases it depends on the wordings.  The committee will work on determining what area each wording will be connected to and announce that at the meeting.  For example, one labor wording might be domestic and another could (although not necessary) be global.  In that case, the category of the wording would be based on which wording gets selected.  I hope that helps.  

This brings up the third, separate question that was never resolved. Why was it that for this year, there was no determination of the status of the topic areas before they were voted upon? The aforementioned forum thread clearly stated that topic area would be categorized based upon the wordings.

I understand your post just now as saying that it has been determined that the topic as a whole, regardless of the wording, will be considered legal. That explanation has only been given after the topic area was chosen, something that did not happen in the last year. I would very much appreciate an explanation as to the occurrence of this discrepancy in the procedures.

I apologize if this sounds accusatory in any way, as that is not how I intended my message to sound. I would just like to know why the previous year's choices for topic area (2013-2014) were categorized before they were chosen yet this year's topic area (2014-2015) was only categorized after being chosen.
Title: Re: Official Slate of Resolutions for 2014-2015
Post by: Ryan Galloway on July 11, 2014, 10:33:19 PM
A couple of things...

1) Don't believe the history books about things like little f little g.  I'm convinced they are wrong in many places.  I know for a fact that Southworth's book is wrong about the 1992-1993 resolution--it states "development and assistance" policies.  The topic said development assistance.  I've also been concerned the history books are wrong about this little f little g issue which came up at the topic committee one year.  I'm convinced that in every year prior to the Middle East topic, the topic actually said little f little g and it was only after that it occasionally rotated.

Big picture:  Don't take the historical archives on topic as fact--there are minor inaccuracies in them.

2) I don't know how the committee could be much more transparent about what they do.  The committee (myself included) does some things wrong.  But, we go on camera for long periods of time making our decisions, and we reveal decision making to the public.  If you have any suggestions for being more transparent, please let us know.  But I think the committee, and Kevin in particular, has gone to great lengths to make everything transparent.

3) Why last year on the question of what the topic was labeled?  I don't honestly know, but there was no intent to deceive.  My guess (having been on the committee both years) is there was less clarity last year on what topics were going to be designated (was war powers truly an international or legal topic?)  The process for the topic rotation is new--I don't think there is any intent to deceive.

However, you claim that somehow your decision as to what resolution to vote for is somehow impacted by not knowing what resolution is which.  How was it impacted?  Were you under the belief that #1 was going to be labeled a domestic topic and #8 was going to be labeled a legal topic?  All the topics have the same five core areas in them.  Where did your confusion lie?  Were you actually confused or trying to nitpick?

Kevin's doing a great job at being transparent, fair, and addressing the community's concerns.  I'm glad he's on board.

RG
Title: Re: Official Slate of Resolutions for 2014-2015
Post by: jregnier on July 12, 2014, 07:54:05 AM
I do appreciate your response, but that does seem to contradict the previous response that you had made.

Quote
Some of the papers talk about the categories, others leave it open.  In many cases it depends on the wordings.  The committee will work on determining what area each wording will be connected to and announce that at the meeting.  For example, one labor wording might be domestic and another could (although not necessary) be global.  In that case, the category of the wording would be based on which wording gets selected.  I hope that helps.  

This brings up the third, separate question that was never resolved. Why was it that for this year, there was no determination of the status of the topic areas before they were voted upon? The aforementioned forum thread clearly stated that topic area would be categorized based upon the wordings.

There's no contradiction here.  In fact, it resolves some of your observations.  The reason why the classification of the topics is not announced before the area vote is because "in many cases it depends on wordings."  However, "in many cases" does not mean "in all cases."  In this case, it was pretty obviously a legal topic.  Also, the topic paper addressed this.  Even while holding out the possibility that it could be classified as domestic, the tone of the argument was such that it's presumption was clearly that the topic was legal.
Title: Re: Official Slate of Resolutions for 2014-2015
Post by: nryan on July 12, 2014, 08:21:20 AM
Based on the way the amendment is being applied I don't think it matters. It only mattered if one of the wordings came out international. since the cycle is 4 years, with 3 being required to be either domestic, legal or international. If the topic was deemed to not be international it doesn't matter if it was domestic or legal as next year we're required to have an international topic, if the topic was either legal or domestic that wouldn't change. If and only if one of the resolutions was deemed to be international would it matter, as it would leave open what next years topic could be. Its an unnecessary designation since none of the potential resolutions were considered international.

Is this question trying to get at how the cycle functions? For instance if we are:

2012-13 - Domestic
2013-14 - Legal
2014-15 - Legal
2015-16 - International

is your question that the cycle now means the 16-17 topic has to be domestic since this was dubbed legal?

I do appreciate your response, but that does seem to contradict the previous response that you had made.

Quote
Some of the papers talk about the categories, others leave it open.  In many cases it depends on the wordings.  The committee will work on determining what area each wording will be connected to and announce that at the meeting.  For example, one labor wording might be domestic and another could (although not necessary) be global.  In that case, the category of the wording would be based on which wording gets selected.  I hope that helps.  

This brings up the third, separate question that was never resolved. Why was it that for this year, there was no determination of the status of the topic areas before they were voted upon? The aforementioned forum thread clearly stated that topic area would be categorized based upon the wordings.

There's no contradiction here.  In fact, it resolves some of your observations.  The reason why the classification of the topics is not announced before the area vote is because "in many cases it depends on wordings."  However, "in many cases" does not mean "in all cases."  In this case, it was pretty obviously a legal topic.  Also, the topic paper addressed this.  Even while holding out the possibility that it could be classified as domestic, the tone of the argument was such that it's presumption was clearly that the topic was legal.

Title: Re: Official Slate of Resolutions for 2014-2015
Post by: CouldaBeenaContenda on July 12, 2014, 08:52:12 AM
..concern about small case "f" and "g" can be debated in the rounds. ...

Might any of the "old timers" here recall whether the issue of a meaningful distinction between lower case versus upper case spelling of that term was in fact debated in prior years?   It seems to me that if the issue of a difference in meaning of that term when spelled in different cases was debated under prior resolutions, then those who have a stake in the debating of this resolution might want to consider whether they want similar debate to be facilitated by this spelling variation.
Title: Re: Official Slate of Resolutions for 2014-2015
Post by: ArnealP on July 12, 2014, 10:25:59 PM
3) Why last year on the question of what the topic was labeled?  I don't honestly know, but there was no intent to deceive.  My guess (having been on the committee both years) is there was less clarity last year on what topics were going to be designated (was war powers truly an international or legal topic?)  The process for the topic rotation is new--I don't think there is any intent to deceive.

However, you claim that somehow your decision as to what resolution to vote for is somehow impacted by not knowing what resolution is which.  How was it impacted?  Were you under the belief that #1 was going to be labeled a domestic topic and #8 was going to be labeled a legal topic?  All the topics have the same five core areas in them.  Where did your confusion lie?  Were you actually confused or trying to nitpick?

Kevin's doing a great job at being transparent, fair, and addressing the community's concerns.  I'm glad he's on board.

RG

Perhaps my use of the word "transparency" was misleading. I did not mean to imply that lack of clarification on this issue meant an intent to deceive. Perhaps a better term would have been "lack of clarification" in my original post. With that in mind, though, I feel that the term transparency is still apt in this case. A possible issue could have been in how there have been past accusations of lack of transparency, although I do not attach such connotations to my use of the term.

Further, I want to make clear, as my previous post had stated, that I am not trying to be accusatory in this situation. My main goal in posting has been to seek more information, and I do not mean to imply that anyone is "at fault", "to blame", or "deceitful".

With that in mind, I simply wished to know why this year was indeed different from last year. I take some issue with your use of the term "nitpick". I was speaking in hypothetical, and it is very conceivable for a team to make this an issue in their decisions. The issue is not of pure consequences; considering that there was a precedent set by the previous year, it is more about the rules and consistency than the consequences.

I, personally, am a current debater, and while I believe that my opinion does have a slight effect on the coaching administration of my team, I can't say with certainty that my opinion could've carried much weight. However, in answering your above point, the issue of what category the various topic areas fell into did have a major effect in my mind, and it did indeed sway my personal opinion on the matter.

I also want to say that I am very thankful for all of the work that everyone has done, whether they are on the topic committee or not. I am very grateful for the amount of time and effort that has been put into the process as a whole.

To be completely frank, it would suffice to say that it was an oversight, something that was forgotten, or something that was ignored. It truly doesn't matter to me what the consequences of the lack of clarification are. It is the existence of this disparity for which I seek an explanation, even if that explanation is that there is no explanation, no conscious reason. I just don't want this to be something left unexplained.

I'm fine with any answer so long as there is an answer. That is what I meant when I said "transparency". I, personally, don't attach those negative connotations to the phrase "lack of transparency", so that is the word that I choose to use in this situation.

Perhaps the reason is that there is no reason. It's better to say that than to leave it unsaid.
Title: Re: Official Slate of Resolutions for 2014-2015
Post by: ArnealP on July 12, 2014, 10:30:10 PM

There's no contradiction here.  In fact, it resolves some of your observations.  The reason why the classification of the topics is not announced before the area vote is because "in many cases it depends on wordings."  However, "in many cases" does not mean "in all cases."  In this case, it was pretty obviously a legal topic.  Also, the topic paper addressed this.  Even while holding out the possibility that it could be classified as domestic, the tone of the argument was such that it's presumption was clearly that the topic was legal.


That actually does bring up more of a contradiction when viewed in light of the previous (2013-2014) debate season, which is what my posts have been in the context of. I understand why it would make more sense nowadays to only classify it as a particular category after the release of the wordings. However, that is not the precedent that was set by the previous year, where the topics were explicitly categorized before being voted upon.

I get that this was "pretty obviously" a legal topic. If it were really so "obvious", though, it should have been labelled as such before the topic areas were voted upon. The fact is that it wasn't labelled such when the previous year's (2013-2014) topics were.
Title: Re: Official Slate of Resolutions for 2014-2015
Post by: CouldaBeenaContenda on July 13, 2014, 08:16:00 AM
In 1968-69, the high school NFL topic at the beginning of the school year was: Resolved: That the United States should establish a system of compulsory service for all citizens.  We spent the next few months debating whether "for" had to mean "by" or could instead be defined as "on behalf of".  We all got sick of arguing about that and so the NFL changed the word, "for" to "by" sometime in the middle of that season.  That is why I asked whether there had been debates over the significance of a lower case federal government term under prior topics, and if so, were those debates something that current the participants want repeated.
Title: Re: Official Slate of Resolutions for 2014-2015
Post by: kevin kuswa on July 14, 2014, 01:51:09 PM
Dear ArnealP,

I appreciate your enthusiasm and your inquiries.  If it helps you, I am happy to admit that we should have been a little more direct with our "category designation" for this year's topic.  I do think Nick, Jason, Ryan and others have demonstrated that we were not hiding its designation, but that we were presuming it would be classified as a legal topic unless a particular wording shifted it into more of a domestic topic (which would have been quite unlikely given the topic paper and did not take place).

The other thing worth mentioning is that it doesn't matter.  Nick pointed out that the rotation means we go for four years and then have a new cycle.  Next year (2015-16) will be the fourth year of the cycle and we will not have had an international topic in the previous three years so it will have to be international.  We will only accept controversy papers and wording papers for international topics in 2015-16.

I hope that helps--best of luck to you this year and let us know how else we can help or clarify the process.

Sincerely,

Kevin



There's no contradiction here.  In fact, it resolves some of your observations.  The reason why the classification of the topics is not announced before the area vote is because "in many cases it depends on wordings."  However, "in many cases" does not mean "in all cases."  In this case, it was pretty obviously a legal topic.  Also, the topic paper addressed this.  Even while holding out the possibility that it could be classified as domestic, the tone of the argument was such that it's presumption was clearly that the topic was legal.


That actually does bring up more of a contradiction when viewed in light of the previous (2013-2014) debate season, which is what my posts have been in the context of. I understand why it would make more sense nowadays to only classify it as a particular category after the release of the wordings. However, that is not the precedent that was set by the previous year, where the topics were explicitly categorized before being voted upon.

I get that this was "pretty obviously" a legal topic. If it were really so "obvious", though, it should have been labelled as such before the topic areas were voted upon. The fact is that it wasn't labelled such when the previous year's (2013-2014) topics were.
Title: Re: Official Slate of Resolutions for 2014-2015
Post by: Adam Symonds on July 14, 2014, 03:46:52 PM
Followup question:

Is it for sure the case that the rule creates a series of discrete 4 year cycles such that the slate is wiped clean after 2015-2016? Are we positive it is not a rolling slate where every set of four years (2013-2017 and 2015-2019 for instance) has to include each of the 3 areas?

The only relevant language from the amendment is "Within each four-year cycle"... that can be read either way.
Title: Re: Official Slate of Resolutions for 2014-2015
Post by: kevin kuswa on July 14, 2014, 04:03:39 PM
Fair question, Adam.  I read it as saying "each four-year cycle" is a discrete time period and does not overlap with the previous cycles (and this is the way I have heard it discussed), but I could be wrong.  This is probably a question for the folks who authored and put that change into effect.
Title: Re: Official Slate of Resolutions for 2014-2015
Post by: Adam Symonds on July 14, 2014, 04:41:09 PM
Yeah, I ask because the discrete 4 year cycle is cleaner logistically but a rolling slate that requires 3 within every set of four years does a better job of making sure every student that debates for 4 years has one of each.
Title: Re: Official Slate of Resolutions for 2014-2015
Post by: kevin kuswa on July 14, 2014, 05:50:00 PM
Adam, makes sense--although fresh cycles allow a little more flexibility and the ability to adjust to contemporary events.  In other words, if curriculum pedagogy is the aim, we should think about a different cycle or rotation (regardless of whether it starts fresh like a wash cycle or rolls over like a water wheel).  The difference between international, domestic, and legal is no longer as relevant as some other possibilities (military, environmental, economic, human rights, etc.).  We still need to determine how the current rotation works, but there is also a larger conversation to be had.

Yeah, I ask because the discrete 4 year cycle is cleaner logistically but a rolling slate that requires 3 within every set of four years does a better job of making sure every student that debates for 4 years has one of each.
Title: Re: Official Slate of Resolutions for 2014-2015
Post by: Ermo on July 14, 2014, 09:18:02 PM
Fair question, Adam.  I read it as saying "each four-year cycle" is a discrete time period and does not overlap with the previous cycles (and this is the way I have heard it discussed), but I could be wrong.  This is probably a question for the folks who authored and put that change into effect.

I understand it to be a rolling cycle, for the purpose of assuring each type of topic falls into each student's 4 years.
Title: Re: Official Slate of Resolutions for 2014-2015
Post by: kevin kuswa on July 15, 2014, 08:46:59 AM
if so, that means 2016-17 is not wide open, but would have to be a domestic topic (following two legal topics and an international topic). kevin

Fair question, Adam.  I read it as saying "each four-year cycle" is a discrete time period and does not overlap with the previous cycles (and this is the way I have heard it discussed), but I could be wrong.  This is probably a question for the folks who authored and put that change into effect.

I understand it to be a rolling cycle, for the purpose of assuring each type of topic falls into each student's 4 years.
Title: Re: Official Slate of Resolutions for 2014-2015
Post by: Trond Jacobsen on July 17, 2014, 03:16:35 PM
I was not in a position to contribute to the discussions, which presumably occurred, producing the rule of topic rotation.

I would like to go on record as saying I think it is almost certainly the most idiotic reform to the topic process in the history of topics.

Reprising arguments that no doubt were previously expressed but which here justify my dramatic statement:

1. It is fundamentally anti-democratic in a way that is offensive to the conscience. By design it removes from popular consideration most potential topics in any given year, regardless of their salience or depth of preference among participants. That is truly offensive. I hope others made that point prior to the adoption of this abomination.

2. An open topic process - propose and lobby, but without prior constraints - provides a sufficient opportunity to engage legal, international and domestic topics. If there is a constituency that deeply believes we should have a steady diet of each (and I don't disagree) then they should make the case for voting for that rotation as a matter of preference expressed democratically after exemplars are offered and discussed by the community. The rule is not required to achieve some natural rotation, and this is demonstrated by the character of topics over the life of CEDA and NDT prior to the anti-democratic amendment.

3. The spirit of the rule cannot be achieved by these means. Threads regarding the topic this year have demonstrated, I think, at least two core relevant points: (a) it is not possible to cleanly distinguish international, domestic, and legal in a consistent way that ensures debaters of each generation are exposed to all; and (b) the current process does not adequately signal the relationship between proposed topic areas and the topic rotation requirement: the issue is not overtly engaged, the discussion does not involve the question of topic rotation, programs do not know how their vote is related to rotation, etc. Even if the idea behind the change has merit, and to be clear I think it does not, it will not be readily achieved by these crude means, based on recent experience.

4. The rule was adopted by democratic means. It is not illegitimate. It is stupid and should be repealed as soon as possible. What is the process for proposing such a change? I would like to do so and will encourage others to support such an effort.

Trond Jacobsen
University of Oregon
Title: Re: Official Slate of Resolutions for 2014-2015
Post by: kevin kuswa on July 17, 2014, 03:57:21 PM
Hi Trond,

I would gladly work with you on changes to the rotation.  Would you prefer to do away with rotation completely or replace it with one that is more meaningful?  I have been collecting possibilities (everything from a longer rotation with certain topic areas to rotations that are not topic-driven but structural) and can dust those off.

Thanks for continuing the conversation.  I remember the arguments you mention as being made at the time, but maybe not in the same way you are phrasing them.  I agree that we can do better but I do not share your sentiment that it is the most idiotic system ever :). (Unfortunately,) I can think of worse schemes. 

Kevin

I was not in a position to contribute to the discussions, which presumably occurred, producing the rule of topic rotation.

I would like to go on record as saying I think it is almost certainly the most idiotic reform to the topic process in the history of topics.

Reprising arguments that no doubt were previously expressed but which here justify my dramatic statement:

1. It is fundamentally anti-democratic in a way that is offensive to the conscience. By design it removes from popular consideration most potential topics in any given year, regardless of their salience or depth of preference among participants. That is truly offensive. I hope others made that point prior to the adoption of this abomination.

2. An open topic process - propose and lobby, but without prior constraints - provides a sufficient opportunity to engage legal, international and domestic topics. If there is a constituency that deeply believes we should have a steady diet of each (and I don't disagree) then they should make the case for voting for that rotation as a matter of preference expressed democratically after exemplars are offered and discussed by the community. The rule is not required to achieve some natural rotation, and this is demonstrated by the character of topics over the life of CEDA and NDT prior to the anti-democratic amendment.

3. The spirit of the rule cannot be achieved by these means. Threads regarding the topic this year have demonstrated, I think, at least two core relevant points: (a) it is not possible to cleanly distinguish international, domestic, and legal in a consistent way that ensures debaters of each generation are exposed to all; and (b) the current process does not adequately signal the relationship between proposed topic areas and the topic rotation requirement: the issue is not overtly engaged, the discussion does not involve the question of topic rotation, programs do not know how their vote is related to rotation, etc. Even if the idea behind the change has merit, and to be clear I think it does not, it will not be readily achieved by these crude means, based on recent experience.

4. The rule was adopted by democratic means. It is not illegitimate. It is stupid and should be repealed as soon as possible. What is the process for proposing such a change? I would like to do so and will encourage others to support such an effort.

Trond Jacobsen
University of Oregon
Title: Re: Official Slate of Resolutions for 2014-2015
Post by: Ermo on July 17, 2014, 04:44:22 PM
It is fundamentally anti-democratic in a way that is offensive to the conscience.

I voted against this rule when it was proposed, but I would not vote to repeal until it runs a full cycle.

I don't find it offensive. The voting process isn't a democratic ideal - votes are often made for reasons not publicly shared, and some don't even read the topic papers.

Rotating the type of topic is certainly one of several considerations which could go into topic selection, and making it a rule just prioritizes that consideration over the whims of the moment.

It IS ironic that a rule designed to wean the community from too many international topics (and too few legal ones) may force an international topic in the first case where it has any necessary effect.  

The supposed benefit includes getting the best possible XXXX topic (whichever is due in year 4), and we've not seen that theory tested yet. We should complete a 4-year cycle and see if it works the way people thought it would when they passed it, and then evaluate based on that data. That re-evaluation might include a different type of rotation, or no mandatory rotation whatever. A rotation based on agent/topic structure might be more responsive to the situation of the present than the legal/domestic/international categories.