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Author Topic: Official Slate of Resolutions for 2014-2015  (Read 26768 times)
kevin kuswa
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Posts: 345


« Reply #15 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.
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Ermo
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« Reply #16 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.
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kevin kuswa
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Posts: 345


« Reply #17 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.
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Trond Jacobsen
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« Reply #18 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
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kevin kuswa
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Posts: 345


« Reply #19 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 Smiley. (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
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Ermo
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Posts: 243


« Reply #20 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.

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