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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 7:03 pm 
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Hi, I'm a second year debater in NCFCA. I am new to this forum, so don't take it the wrong way if I inadvertently break one of this forum's rules.

I'm looking for some advice on arguing the "significance" part of topicality. What's the best way to argue that the affirmative team is not upholding their obligation to propose a "substantial" or a "significant" reform?

Dictionary definitions say "large or important," but large or important in relation to what?
Please help, and thank you.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 8:10 pm 
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I'm no expert, but here are some ways to measure significance:

In the great scheme of things, how much does their policy matter. If we currently have a significant risk of nuclear war, cyber attacks, etc. with China (you could argue the same using HR as an example), why are we discussing a specific trade policy //cough//steel tariffs//cough//? Challenge their questionable priorities.

The most obvious comparison is to the status quo. Are we actually changing how we interact with China or are we just furthering our previous position? Is it notable?



Someone else can definitely expand or correct this though, I'm short on time.
Anyways, hope you figure it out!

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:49 pm 
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JacobSmith wrote:
Hi, I'm a second year debater in NCFCA. I am new to this forum, so don't take it the wrong way if I inadvertently break one of this forum's rules.

Welcome! It's great to see current debaters joining the forum! :)

Quote:
I'm looking for some advice on arguing the "significance" part of topicality. What's the best way to argue that the affirmative team is not upholding their obligation to propose a "substantial" or a "significant" reform?

Dictionary definitions say "large or important," but large or important in relation to what?
Please help, and thank you.

Generally, I've seen two approaches to arguing the AFF isn't topical because their reform isn't substantial:
1. Significance by change: that is, the change the AFF is proposing isn't a significant one in the context of what laws/etc would have to change to implement it. For example, if the AFF is only modifying a tariff on a particular type of steel, this is just a tiny change in the context of all US-China policy.
2. Significance by effect: even though the AFF may be proposing a total overhaul of US-China policies, the impact of this change isn't substantial. Example: We completely rearrange the way we do foreign relations and change all the laws, titles, etc., relating to US/China relations, but everything will happen exactly as it is right now.

It is my opinion that arguing sig topicality is hard, but good arguments will attack both the amount of change and the amount of impact of the AFF plan. You could argue that, in the context of everything the resolution is asking us to consider, the AFF is only touching on a very small part of it and the impact of that change is small.

EDIT: I should say, I subscribe to the parametric theory of topicality. As such, I consider significance-based to be somewhat weak (I'd say most sig-based T presses could be argued as straight SIG attacks). However, if I were to run one, the above is what I'd do.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:24 am 
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JacobSmith wrote:
Hi, I'm a second year debater in NCFCA. I am new to this forum, so don't take it the wrong way if I inadvertently break one of this forum's rules.

I'm looking for some advice on arguing the "significance" part of topicality. What's the best way to argue that the affirmative team is not upholding their obligation to propose a "substantial" or a "significant" reform?

Dictionary definitions say "large or important," but large or important in relation to what?
Please help, and thank you.


Topicality is (hopefully obviously) a definitional argument, meaning that this is dependent on the specific wording of the Rez. Sig T and Substantial T are quite different. If you want a look at the college theory behind T, watch this (but realize that to use you have to be able to articulate theory in a non-obtuse way, while working within the Overton Window of theory in the league you're in.) Your last sentence touches on the crux of this issue - Sig/Sub T is inherently comparative - the question it raises is "sig/sub in comparison to what?" This standard is often where much of the debate should occur. Neg should set a standard that, on its face, is reasonable, but also unmet by aff. The following is merely general advice; if you have a definition that says what you want it to say or that contradicts the generalizations I'm about to make, go with that.

** = click for drop down

"Substantial"**
makes it very easy to argue that aff has a burden of scope (general size of action) that should be weighed quantitatively. I generally use(d) the overall policy area I was changing for comparison - for the current TP rez, I prolly wouldn't use our entire policy towards China, but instead, whatever subset I was altering (such as trade policy with China, and maybe with the world as a whole). The standard you set for what is substantial and what isn't can be somewhat arbitrary - try to find evidence from topic experts that evaluates the scope and effects of policies, and use that for comparison. Substantial T requires good impacting (see below - use the same impacts for both).

"Significant"**
merely stresses importance. This means you should argue that unimportant effects lose T for them. This should really only be run against cases with truly unimpressive effects and/or poor solvency quantification. Argue that the purpose of the rez is to limit debate in the furtherance of education, and that the case at hand is stupidly insignificant and is exactl the tpe of case intended to be excluded b the rez wording. Impact to prep burden and education, and you should be good to go.

All of the standards mentioned by the above posters are good; find something that very closely fits the case you're prepping against.

LMK if you have any further questions - I'm rarely on here, but my email's in my sig under "now coaching".

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2017 5:15 pm 
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Technically, every stock issue can be drawn back to the res.

Sig.=substantial

Solv.=reform (make better/change to a better state)

Inh.=reform again (change status quo to a better state)

I don't think I need to explain how Top. fits in the res.

So you could argue Top. with almost every argument you run, but it will make organization a nightmare if you tag them that way. It would work nice if you used it to link everything and bring the speech together by drawing from the res. though.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 7:32 pm 
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InfiniteUnderscores wrote:
Technically, every stock issue can be drawn back to the res.

Sig.=substantial

Solv.=reform (make better/change to a better state)

Inh.=reform again (change status quo to a better state)

I don't think I need to explain how Top. fits in the res.

So you could argue Top. with almost every argument you run, but it will make organization a nightmare if you tag them that way. It would work nice if you used it to link everything and bring the speech together by drawing from the res. though.


Actually why I would argue DAs/Advantages are a stock issue under the word "should." Literally the stock issues are just ways of saying the AFF fails to uphold the resolution. Specifically, topicality says the AFF team isn't even presenting a plan that needs to be debated bc no matter how good/significant/solvent it is it still doesn't affirm the rez. Given that I would classify Substantial Topicality as the stock issue of significance saying the AFF fails to uphold the rez by not presenting a Sig harm/change/effect.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 9:22 pm 
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Back in my day we only had 4 stock issues. So we're not only making new stock issues but we're also combining existing ones? Kids these days, man.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:06 am 
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Wait. If significant isn't even in the rez, is it a stock issue?

Do we now have:

Inherency
Solvency
Topicality
and..

Substantiance? Substance? Substancy? What will we call it?

I mean, sig. + sub. have a pretty different def. so it feels like it needs a different name........maybe it doesn't....who knows.....

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 2:50 am 
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InfiniteUnderscores wrote:
Wait. If significant isn't even in the rez, is it a stock issue?

Do we now have:

Inherency
Solvency
Topicality
and..

Substantiance? Substance? Substancy? What will we call it?

I mean, sig. + sub. have a pretty different def. so it feels like it needs a different name........maybe it doesn't....who knows.....


I still like to call it significance :P

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 3:56 am 
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MinTheLast wrote:
InfiniteUnderscores wrote:
Wait. If significant isn't even in the rez, is it a stock issue?

Do we now have:

Inherency
Solvency
Topicality
and..

Substantiance? Substance? Substancy? What will we call it?

I mean, sig. + sub. have a pretty different def. so it feels like it needs a different name........maybe it doesn't....who knows.....


I still like to call it significance :P

Same. No one, that I know of, has tried to argue that they are different. Honestly, that would be a really stupid debate if everyone was arguing over the definitions of substantial v. significance...

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 10:48 pm 
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InfiniteUnderscores wrote:
Wait. If significant isn't even in the rez, is it a stock issue?

The stock issue of Significance is not necessarily referring to the word "significant" in the resolution. You can argue against the significance of the Affirmative team's harms without arguing they are untopical or even talking about the resolution at all. In fact, it always bugged me when teams would try to act like significance is somehow inherently tied to topicality. It isn't necessarily.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 11:38 pm 
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While you can argue significance without say that Aff is untopical, I still believe that it can be drawn back to topicality and is linked to it (as with every other stock issue-see earlier post).Topicality is the only stock issue that truly exists in and of itself--the res. Everything is derived directly from the resolution or at the very least mentioned in the res. Whether or not you structure it that way in a round is a matter of preference.

I personally use it to explain the stock issues as well as the importance of topicality and have found it to be pretty effective. Again, it's a matter of preference.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:00 am 
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InfiniteUnderscores wrote:
While you can argue significance without say that Aff is untopical, I still believe that it can be drawn back to topicality and is linked to it (as with every other stock issue-see earlier post).Topicality is the only stock issue that truly exists in and of itself--the res. Everything is derived directly from the resolution or at the very least mentioned in the res. Whether or not you structure it that way in a round is a matter of preference.

While I've heard people say this a lot, I profoundly disagree with it. Topicality is the argument that the other team is not upholding the resolution. The other stock issues don't deal with this. They deal with whether or not the resolution should be affirmed or denied. When I bring up DAs, I'm bringing up reasons why the Resolution (or at least the part of the Resolution that Aff is affirming) should not be affirmed. I am NOT arguing that Aff isn't upholding the resolution.

If Topicality is the only stock issue, why is Neg even called Neg? According to this theory, Neg is not even negating anything! They are only arguing that Aff is off topic.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 4:39 pm 
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Cyberknight wrote:
InfiniteUnderscores wrote:
While you can argue significance without say that Aff is untopical, I still believe that it can be drawn back to topicality and is linked to it (as with every other stock issue-see earlier post).Topicality is the only stock issue that truly exists in and of itself--the res. Everything is derived directly from the resolution or at the very least mentioned in the res. Whether or not you structure it that way in a round is a matter of preference.

While I've heard people say this a lot, I profoundly disagree with it. Topicality is the argument that the other team is not upholding the resolution. The other stock issues don't deal with this. They deal with whether or not the resolution should be affirmed or denied. When I bring up DAs, I'm bringing up reasons why the Resolution (or at least the part of the Resolution that Aff is affirming) should not be affirmed. I am NOT arguing that Aff isn't upholding the resolution.

If Topicality is the only stock issue, why is Neg even called Neg? According to this theory, Neg is not even negating anything! They are only arguing that Aff is off topic.


I agree, I don't think topically is the only stock issue, nor are all stock issues linked to topicality.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 4:58 pm 
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This just seems like it's an argument of organization.

I honestly can see it work both ways:

If the stock issues at the very least are sourced somewhere in the resolution, than you can argue that Aff is not upholding it and thereby not upholding the resolution.

Also, even topicality fits under the idea that the resolution is denied. "The Aff team is breaking the rules of debate (not upholding the res), so we should not pass their plan and in turn negate the resolution."
With the example of DAs:
"Aff promised in the res that they would 'reform', or make our policy better towards China, but because of (DA) they are not so vote Neg."

Whether or no we should uphold the res. sounds more like an Impact than anything. All it is is the Neg's position.

Neg is simply negating the affirmative team and the res. Topicality, then, is a negative argument because we are negating the idea that we should pass their plan for the reasons of fiat power and relevance and therefore make no change to the status quo.

In its own way, it kinda of like reverse-arguing against topical CPs. "The Aff tean is negating the resolution by not changing our policy towards China so for either team vote Neg."

Clarification on my point on Top. being the only stock issue to exist because of itself: Topicality is the only stock issue that is truly original. That doesn't mean that the others don't exist, it just means that can catch a glimpse of them with the res. You can entirely argue from Top..

The other stock issues are still valuable, for reasons of organization and clarity. Different judges will respond differently to different styles of argumentation.
This is more boiling down to how to structure arguments more than anything, and deals heavily with preferance and style.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:06 am 
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InfiniteUnderscores wrote:
Clarification on my point on Top. being the only stock issue to exist because of itself: Topicality is the only stock issue that is truly original. That doesn't mean that the others don't exist, it just means that can catch a glimpse of them with the res. You can entirely argue from Top..

I see where you're coming from. And I admit that it is possible in theory to link every stock issue to Topicality and to say that Topicality is the only stock issue. Your theory is all sound. That said, my point is this: You do not have to tie every stock issue to Topicality. Every stock issue could exist even if Topicality was not even a thing.

Quote:
Topicality, then, is a negative argument because we are negating the idea that we should pass their plan for the reasons of fiat power and relevance and therefore make no change to the status quo.

I agree, we could be doing that. Or, we could simply be arguing that the resolution should not be affirmed because there are Disadvantages! Why go to the trouble of awkwardly linking every argument to Topicality and fiat when you can just simply argue that the DAs are themselves reasons to vote negative?

There are two fundamental problems with linking all the stock issues to the resolution:

1) It's unnecessarily complicated. Yes, you it works in theory. But why bother when you can simply admit that the Aff plan is Topical but argue that we should negate the resolution anyway?

2) It's inflexible. The "all stock issues are linked to the res" theory doesn't even work with all resolutions! What if we had a resolution that said something like "resolved, that the US should bomb North Korea"? There are no words "significant" or "reform" in this resolution, but it's still a debatable resolution (and parli rounds have resolutions like this sometimes). And if we assume that all stock issues are linked to Topicality, you simply wouldn't be able to argue any stock issues against that resolution, which is absurd.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 6:33 am 
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Typically when I link back to show how the stock issues fit in the res, I don't use it to argue, say, solvency. It's more to highlight the importance of Topicality (esp. for community judges). It would be an absolute mess for organization if you drew everything back to the res, not to mention it might hurt not help the judge understand the stock issues, which is obviously the goal. I think it's bad to just toss it out entirely though. It can be pretty useful.

As for the point on the res, in that case it would not work. I'm not familiar with parli at all so I've never encountered that kind of res before. So yeah, context matters.

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