Author Topic: Thoughts on Topic Process  (Read 8542 times)


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Thoughts on Topic Process
« on: June 27, 2019, 08:49:02 PM »
The topic writing process is inherently one of compromise and  competing interests. Interests not just for any style of debate, e.g., policy or K, but goals and levels of debate, e.g., protecting the aff versus the neg, and vice versa, or between novice debaters, teams competing on Monday of the NDT, etc. Any wording must try to encapsulate interests that are, sometimes, at odds with each other.
When looking at this topic, it is important to note that the US already engages in a lot of international space cooperation. There was a real concern that there were not going to be disads to increased cooperation that did not already link to the status quo. In addition, “international space cooperation” is not a very limiting term, so it is difficult to quantify what exactly a “substantial increase” to it is. Therefore, there was an impetus to try to force the aff to make a meaningful change to the status quo and the way to do that is through modifiers – either on the front end action of cooperation, or the type of cooperation and/or the countries to cooperate with.
Given the uniqueness concerns, eliminating front end modifiers from wordings would have just resulted in a limit to the type of cooperation. I prefer wordings that use “international space cooperation” without any modifiers. You already see modifiers to cooperation in some of the other wordings that use “global space governance” and include a list of areas. Other ways to modify cooperation that were floated – using the phrases “government-to-government” or “civil and/or military” – these did not make it into wordings.
There was a real effort on my (and others’) part to hear what the community was saying on the wordings. The main things that I saw emphasized were – India should be in, “government-to-government” should not be a phrase used and the topic should not be the aff weaponizing space. On India, I wish this made it into more resolutions, but there were uniqueness concerns. The US has continued to cooperate with their space program even after the March ASAT test. Regarding the other two points emphasized, i.e., “government-to government” and a militarization only topic, these were issues that I (and others) were pressing to keep out of wordings and we did.
There has been discussion about modifying the topic process. Some proposals include having the papers due earlier to including another student representative, etc. I will be happy to work with folks to help make changes the community wants.