The Instigator
medv4380
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
MassiveDump
Con (against)
Winning
9 Points

3rd Party URL Shorteners are Untrustworthy, Unreliable, and Thus Should not be used for DDO Debates.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
MassiveDump
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/13/2013 Category: Technology
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,327 times Debate No: 35562
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (3)

 

medv4380

Pro

Round 1 is for acceptance and clarifications if needed. The debate should be concluded by Sunday since my opponent has business to attend to by Monday.

Third party URL shorteners will be defined as URL shorteners that provide a service for shortening URLs outside of their domain to be used outside of their domain. An example would be tinyurl, or bitly.

Second party URL shorteners will be defined as URL shorteners that shorten URLs outside of their domain, but are primarily intended to be used on their domain. An example would be twitter.

First party URL shorteners would be defined as URL shorteners that shorten URLs only for their domain. An example would be youtube in regards to their use of the youtu.be shortener.

The Burden of Proof is mine to show that tinyurl, and its ilk, are untrustworthy, unreliable, and therefore should not be used for DDO debates.
MassiveDump

Con

I accept. If I am unable to provide an argument for a round, I ask that my opponent not provide anyargument either, seeing as I have to be outta here on Monday.

This debate was issued because I countered a sources point that my opponent assigned to a debate because "Pro used tinyURLs".

I will be arguing that while tinyURLs are not reliable for formal research papers, they are perfectly acceptable to use on debate.org.

I wish my opponent best of luck.
Debate Round No. 1
medv4380

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for accepting, and I will try to keep this as quick as possible to accommodate the timeline.

Third party URL shorteners are a blight upon the Internets already blighted landscape. Up until Twitters 140 character limit became an issue most people had no need to even attempt to use shorteners. However, Twitters adoption of its own URL shortener shows why 3rd party shorteners are inherently untrustworthy.

"Having a link shortener protects users from malicious sites that engage in spreading malware, phishing attacks, and other harmful activity."[1]

In other words, the 3rd party shorteners were untrustworthy. Basic monitoring and maintenance of links to ensure malicious intent stayed off was not feasible under 3rd party shorteners.

The obfuscation that shorteners provide is little more than a method to remove the ability of the user to check a link by hovering over it. Was this "source" some malicious executable that they were too dim to check, or is it a masterpiece from the Journal of Medicine? With a URL shortener you can't be sure until you click the link, and by then it is too late to stop the infection.

Because of the trust some people have in shortened URLs it's no wonder spammers moved over to using them to trick users, and bypass spam filters[2]. Given that even 3rd party government URL shorteners have been used to send malicious links trusting any of them is asking to get burned[3].

Tinyurl is untrustworthy, and makes a source unreliable by obfuscating where your source is from. It is the same reason it is shunned in academia, and with individuals who are aware of safe browsing habits. If you use them anywhere don't be surprised if the reliability is questioned.

[1] http://support.twitter.com...
[2] http://www.certmag.com...
[3] http://www.pcworld.com...
MassiveDump

Con

1. Definition of a good source on DDO

This is what DDO asks voters before having them give a source vote:

"Which debater, on balance, proved their argument with sufficient quantity and appropriate interpretation of evidence?[1]"

A. Quantity: Making your sources into tinyURLs in no way affects the quantity of sources you have.

B. Appropriate Interpretation: Making your sources into tiny URLs obviously has no sway over how the debater himself interprets the source when presenting his case.

But never does DDO ask, "Which debater didn't change their sources into tinyURLs," therefore there is no reason not to use TinyURLs in a debate on debate.org.

2. Potential Infection

My opponent contends that TinyURLs are frequently used to infect computers.

And maybe that's true, but in a full five round debate on debate.org with legitimate arguments? Call me crazy, but if someone wanted to infect a computer with link shorteners, I don't think they'd put forth the effort to construct an entire debate to do so.

On the contrary, if a debate was full of, "Win a free iPad!" or "Look at my titties!" followed by a link shortener, it would be obvious what they were attempting. That said, my opponent's contention implies that every debater who's using TinyURLs on this site is going around saying "Look at my titties."

Which they're not[2].

3. "Tinyurl ... makes a source unreliable by obfuscating where your source is from."

Well maybe if the voter, I don't know, clicked on the link? As I've established, people making thorough debates on this site are most likely not spreading cyberherpies.

That said, If a voter is doing is job, why wouldn't he just click on the link to see how the information was interpreted?

And then he goes on to say,

"It is the same reason it is shunned in academia"

False. It's shunned in academia because it doesn't allow the professor or teacher who is reading the paper to know specifically where the writer got the information.

And here's the beautiful thing:

Debate.org is not academia.

Here, you can click on the source to see where they go, which, on debate.org, is for the most part, if not always, perfectly safe(See contention 2).

Conclusion:

-Hiding where the source is from at first glance doesn't matter because here one can just click the link.

-People who are using TinyURLs to infect computers would not be making large, legitimate debates.

-The source vote criteria does not include mention of the use of URL shorteners.

Therefore:

TinyURLs should not sway a source vote, which as I establised in Round One is what my opponent is trying to prove seeing as he didn't object.

Sources:

[1] http://www.debate.org...;(on help button by sources vote)
[2] http://www.debate.org...;(a debate that used TinyURLs, none of which were malicious)
Debate Round No. 2
medv4380

Pro

I thank my opponent for their response.

Lets say a friend sends you a link to one of their favorite news sites, but when you read the link you notice that there is a common misspelling the the URL. If you have safe browsing habits you'll never click the link. Even if the link appeared to be legitimate to your friend there is a good chance the site is a fake used for phishing, or to explain browser/plugin vulnerabilities. Clicking on the link is the last thing you should ever do. If your friend had used a URL shortener you'll never know that the URL is obviously a trap, and thus you should never click on it because you can never know.

My opponent is under the mistaken assumption that hacked web sites are only Spam related, and easily spotted under visual inspection. He is also under the mistaken impression the just visiting a link to verify isn't dangerous, but given the number of Zero Day exploits, like the ones found in the Java Browser Plugin[1], that is a naive assumption. Anyone can make a mistake, and find themselves on a malicious web page. Believing that your friends and family wouldn't send you a malicious link because they know better is allows them to spread, and debaters are no more or less likely to make common mistakes.

Does this affect the quantity of the sources? Yes, because a link you shouldn't click is as good as absent, and a source you should not open cannot have its interpretation verified.

My opponent has also made a false accusation. It may have been that my opponent is unfamiliar with the word obfuscation. Obfuscation is the act of hiding information, and by Cons own words
"it doesn't allow the professor or teacher who is reading the paper to know specifically where the writer got the information".
In other words it hides where the information is from. I also did not say that tinyurls shouldn't be used because of the Academic position, but that the reason for not using them happens to be the same.

I await my opponent's response.
[1]http://arstechnica.com...
MassiveDump

Con

This will be the last round; I request that my opponent post nothing more than "This round doesn't count" in Round 4.

"Even if the link appeared to be legitimate to your friend there is a good chance the site is a fake used for phishing, or to explain browser/plugin vulnerabilities."

Rebutting this entire paragraph, what my opponent still is not understanding is that if someone is making a large, legitimate debate on this site, they're not going to post a link to a phishing site.

In a real debate here, a tinyURL is in no way "obviously a trap" as my opponent puts it (see my source in R2 to a debate with all tinyURLs, none of which are phishing.

"Believing that your friends and family wouldn't send you a malicious link because they know better is allows them to spread, and debaters are no more or less likely to make common mistakes."

First of all, I don't know anyone who would send a malicious link to their family, but forgive me if I don't know what my opponent is trying to contend with this.

How could a debater make a common mistake like posting a malicious link to their argument?

Watch what I mean. I'll post a link to Facebook.

http://facebook.com...

Now I'll make it a tiny url.

http://tinyurl.com...

It's still Facebook, whether It's a tinuURL or not. If anyone was to fall victim to a malicious site, it would be the person searching for sources, not the person evaluating them.

"Does this affect the quantity of the sources? Yes, because a link you shouldn't click is as good as absent, and a source you should not open cannot have its interpretation verified."

I feel like if I say "wow", that'll dock me points. I'll say the basic thesis again:

If someone wanted to ruin people's computers with a bad link, they wouldn't waste time making an enormous debate to go with it.

Say someone cited Facebook in a tinyURL again. Once again, it's still Facebook.

"Obfuscation is the act of hiding information, and by Cons own words
'it doesn't allow the professor or teacher who is reading the paper to know specifically where the writer got the information'."

I completely understood what my opponent was saying. And on a website rather than a paper, the information's source cannot be hidden, because unlike on a paper, on debate.org you can click to see where it's from (and no, it's not automatically malicious because it's tiny).

And so, my opponent could not answer the simple question:

Why not?

Once again, I ask that my opponent post no more than "This round doesn't count" in the next round.
Debate Round No. 3
medv4380

Pro

I would like to thank the audience for their time, and good will for my opponent on his trip. This round doesn't count, and if my opponent happens to forfeit it should not be held against him.
MassiveDump

Con

This round doesn't count.

I didn't post any pictures in this debate yet so here goes.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Ragnar 4 years ago
Ragnar
Con's round2 sources fixed!
[1] http://www.debate.org...
[2] http://www.debate.org...
[3, missing] http://www.debate.org... (search "2 points"

From source 3: "Who used the most reliable sources?(2 Points)
Which debater, on balance, proved their argument with sufficient quantity and appropriate interpretation of evidence? Was the evidence easy to read? Did it support the correct argument or was it just a link tossed in to try and fool the unsuspecting?"

My argument vote would have been tied, had pro caught the missing part of the DDO voting standard. Yet me agreeing with resolution, does not make the argument for it stronger.
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
Background:
http://www.debate.org...

I agree before, during, and after the debate with CON. The problems that PRO cites with malicious websites PRO admits could be caused by a simple misspelling of an URL...this is irrelevant to shorteners, unless one really is evaluating a website through hovering, and can tell a malicious website through visual inspection of one or two characters missing. This is absurd to me.

Also, I have software that blocks malicious websites from my internet experience, and I consider this to be far more effective than visual inspection of an URL.

I found all of CON's rebuttals to be valid, except for the final one regarding academia:

"It's shunned in academia because it doesn't allow the professor or teacher who is reading the paper to know specifically where the writer got the information."

Ostensibly the descriptors preceding the actual URL in a proper citation would allow for the evaluator to know where the information came from. It's discouraged just because it's deviation from proper formatting...there's no reason to shorten an URL on an academic paper since you are generally not limited in space, especially in the bibliography.

Arguments to CON, conduct to PRO for being generous with timeframe.
Posted by MassiveDump 4 years ago
MassiveDump
Could you please add to the resolution, "for DDO debates"?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by orangemayhem 4 years ago
orangemayhem
medv4380MassiveDumpTied
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Total points awarded:23 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct and S/G were broadly equal between the two sides with nothing of note worth penalising. I'm giving arguments to Con as I felt that Pro did not reach his half of the BoP: there were two sides to that. Are these shortening services bad? He had the more convincing argument than Con on that one, in terms of the theoretical issues with these services. But where Pro failed to meet his BoP was the second half: why does this warrant these services to be banned from DDO? And that's where Con's arguments were very convincing. Whilst he accepted that these services can be malicious he ultimately made several contentions as to the benefits of these services which Pro did not refute. Therefore, looking at the BoP alone, on balance Con takes arguments. As for sources, all of Con's sources were from DDO itself, which was a bit self-referential. I'm giving Pro the sources point, as he used reliable external sources.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 4 years ago
Ragnar
medv4380MassiveDumpTied
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Total points awarded:33 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct: Con quoted pro as claiming users to this site using tinyURL were saying "look at my titties," as I could not find anything resembling this, con loses conduct. Argument: I don't judge things just for BoP, but in simple terms pro did not quite hit it against con's rebuttals. Had he just mentioned the risk of URL shorteners being hacked (say you make a link with it, and that link is later taken over), this would have been another matter; but his case seemed to fall to if DDO users would use that site to spread viruses or otherwise; which con shot down heavily. Sources: Con lost a lot of momentum with broken links in R2. He really should have given a link to the DDO voting standards (would have made the argument vote easily in his favor). Pro however had good and informative sources, more importantly related to the debate.
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
medv4380MassiveDumpTied
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: see comments