Debating Topicality Keeping Order
What is Topicality? • A gateway issue • Says that the affirmative plan is not an example of the resolution
Structure of Topicality • Interpretation – read evidence to define what the resolution means • Violation – explain why the aff plan does not meet your interpretation of the resolution • Standards – why your interpretation of the resolution is best • Voting Issues – explain why the affirmative should lose the debate
Interpretation Contextual evidence that explains the interpretation and the violation Define phrases and terms of art
Violation • It is always good to be as clear as possible when explaining the violation in the 1nc. No need to be sneaky. • You should have multiple violations • Change it in the 2NC
Standards • What are some standards?
Standards • Limits – does the affirmative interpretation increase the scope of the topic? By how much? Which affirmatives does it allow? Provide a case list and say why it would be bad to debate those additional areas. Are the cases predictable? • Helpful to have evidence about limits • Ground – does the interpretation provide a fair division of affirmative and negative ground? • Contextual Evidence – the interpretation is more predictable because it is based in literature written by people in the field
Voting Issues • Why does this argument matter? • Fairness/Competitive Equity • Jurisdiction • Education
Time Tradeoff • Smart to read topicality even if you have no intention of extending it. It takes the 2AC much longer to answer it fully than it does for the 1NC to read it.
Topical Version of the Aff • Why would the neg want to say this?
Topical Version • Disarms much of the affirmative offense • There was a way to write the plan correctly, but the affdidn’t do that • Limits or ground “net-benefit” to the neg interpretation
Competing Interpretations • Which team has provided the absolute best interpretation of the topic? Which will allow for the best model of debate? • The judge should vote for the interpretation that is the best.
Reasonability An alternative framework for deciding topicality debates. The affirmative has provided a reasonable interpretation of the topic, and the miniscule advantages of the negative interpretation do not warrant a rejection of the aff. Usually paired with competing interpretations bad arguments
Effects Topicality • The affirmative advocates a plan that requires multiple steps to arrive at a topical action. The effect of the plan is topical, but not the initial action of the plan.
Extra Topicality • In addition to having a topical component, a portion of the plan is outside of the resolution
Topicality by Speech • 1NC - Don’t panic, don’t pick the easiest argument to make or the one you already have a shell for. Take the time to think of the best argument against an affirmative. • 2NC/1NR – extend all parts of the argument, even if the affdidn’t answer them. Overview – explain interpretation and violation, topical version of the aff. May need to read more evidence about the interpretation. Expand standards debate, answer the 2AC arguments, win that topicality is a voting issue. • 2NR – Only argument you go for 99% of the time. Extend all parts of the argument again. Condense down to one violation. Compare the evidence that has been read, win an impact to your standards. Predict the 2AR.
Answering Topicality – Interp/Violation • Slow down, answer the correct argument • We meet – explain how your plan falls under the negative interpretation. ALWAYS have to make a we meet argument. • Counter Interpretation – provide your own interpretation for what the resolution should look like, make sure it includes your aff.
Answering Topicality - Standards • Must contest both the link and impact of the negative standards. Our interpretation does not increase the scope of the topic and it wouldn't’t be a bad thing if we did. • Provide your own standards to win offense. Contextual evidence, affirmative ground/creativity, etc.
Answering Topicality – Voting Issues • Topicality is not a voting issue – no impact. • No ground loss, no in-round abuse, do not vote on potential abuse. • Reasonability good/Competing Interpretations bad