Intermediate Text — Other forms of Topicality

Other Forms of Topicality Arguments

Effects topicality. Effects topicality argues that the affirmative cannot be topical as a result of a series of steps. For example, it would not be topical to claim to increase service in Americorps by cutting taxes in a way that would improve the economy and give people more opportunities to volunteer. The volunteering is only an effect of the plan. The affirmative plan should be as direct as possible.

Extra topicality. Affirmative plans may be basically topical, but may also include elements that go beyond the resolution. For example, affirmatives may lift the ban on gays in the military to increase the number of persons participating, and also institute a program to stop discrimination against gays. The latter would be extra-topical – it’s something “extra” in the plan. It is really something “extra” that is “non” topical.

There is considerable debate as to whether extra-topicality should be a voting issue. Many argue it should not be a voting issue because the affirmative could simply just severe the non-topical part of the plan and continue defending the rest of the topical action. Others argue that it should be a voting issue because if it isn’t it will just encourage the affirmative to write frivolous things into their plan to force the negative to spend time on extra-topicality. Also, if the negative is going to win the argument they usually need to invest a significant amount of time in it. That time commitment means they have less time to spend on other substantive issues that they’ll need to win the debate on if the affirmative is simply allowed to advocate the topical portions of their plan.