The Instigator
brittwaller
Pro (for)
Winning
69 Points
The Contender
Sweatingjojo
Con (against)
Losing
64 Points

A Proposal of Protocols (for those who care)

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/9/2008 Category: Education
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,232 times Debate No: 4641
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (54)
Votes (30)

 

brittwaller

Pro

This debate is a means to an end. It is also probably in vain. I would like to include as many debaters as possible, so please, leave feedback. If you don't really care, or don't care at all, then do just that, please - don't participate in the debate in any way, shape, or form. Don't leave comments, don't vote, and above all - DO NOT TAKE THE TOPIC. This is really not so much a debate as an announcement of ideas for the benefit of the debating community. Thus, I request a co-debater of some seriousness and who is also interested in fixing the problems at hand.

We've all seen the quality of the site here deteriorate quite rapidly. The idea here is to pinpoint the problems, and come as close as we can to solutions that we can all live with. Roughly, I see the rounds going along as additions and refinements to the solutions of the problems (after we agree on what the problems are) as more debaters comment and leave their take on the situation. The end I have in sight is a sort of "Honor System" - an internal dynamic of trust and integrity for those that "sign" the resolution by voting and leaving a comment agreeing to complicity. For those that collaborated and "signed," there will be a knowledge, that if they are wronged in a future debate by someone by way of the problems we are trying to solve, that it was not by someone here. This does depend on the character of the individual, to be sure, and no matter what we come up with, it will only have limited application. In any case, I think it's an idea we can try and work with.

My favourite problems:

-A Fundamental (possibly intentional) Misunderstanding of what Debate is, as well as Voting based on opinion, friendship, or avatar instead of on strength of argument
-Voter Transparency
-Voter Feedback (RFD)
-Silly debates and debaters
-Disrespect of language
-Multiple Accounts
-Trolls

Now, what can we do?

Ideally,
Britt
Sweatingjojo

Con

I'd like to start asking that no one vote on this topic, as this is a way to communicate between debaters, and is not intended to be in any way a competition.

Overall, I agree with you Britt, that the overall quality of debate.org has diminished.

I'm not much of the inventive type, so I can't think about any new problems that you haven't mentioned, but I would like to give my two cents about each.

In my opinion, the fact that different people use debate.org in different ways is a good thing. Some people use it to practice run their real life debate league arguments. Other people use it to argue politics with a person of differing views. Then there are others who use it just to argue about someone over something completely pointless, for no reason other than because its fun to argue in a structured manner.

I think all of those ways of using debate.org are fine.

However, I think that what may appear to you and to others as a misunderstanding of debate is actually a signal that people using this website need to express their opinions in more ways than just an argument or comment. I think that problem will soon be solved, as the owners of this fine website say that v.3.0 of this website will be released by the end of this month, providing many a new feature, including forums and "blogs."
I think this will reduce the amount of debates that are not really debates, for example one with this topic, "I don't know what to believe on the subject of...God. [Does this even qualify as a debate? D=]" The intention of the 'instigator' was in my opinion to do some form of discussion with others regarding their beliefs in a Supreme Being(s).(Not to pick on those who instigated or participated in this debate, simply an example.)

On to voting on merits other than the quality of the debate, I think that the biggest reason for this happening one's personal preference regarding the Debate topic. This is most prevalent in "hot button" issues, where oftentimes people will simply cast a vote based on which side of the topic they find more palatable. I think an honor code would be an effective means of keeping those who are serious about this website in. Also, a prerequisite for voting could be effective, and more tangible. I think a good requirement would be simply that you must complete a multi-round debate. (Not via forfeit, obviously.)
Another potential quick fix that may yield results would be simply to place the buttons that cast votes at the bottom of the page, below the text of the arguments. This could at least be a hindrance to people that simply go 'hey, I agree/disagree with this topic -click-' Although that last one wasn't anything major, it can only help.
Mandatory voter feedback in my opinion is a bad idea, as it would most likely become repetitive, and would likely be full of '100 characters 100 characters...', which really don't do anything but take up space.

On the topic of silly debates and debaters, I think that lightheartedness on debate.org should be encouraged from time to time, I think there's nothing wrong with having a debate about something that is funny. (I personally like the joke contests that some users have had)
On the other hand, there is a line that has been crossed by some 'debates' into sheer unfunny nonsensicality. Some topics that Debate.org could do without... (I do not intend to incite dislike or embarrass those whose topics I cite as nonsensical.) "Random stuff?", "Jesus is FO REAL", "hi. hi. hi. hi. hi. hi." et cetera. I think the best thing that can be done is to ignore these debates, and refuse to vote on them.

One thing that is a pet peeve of mine is the usage of the semantics argument against an obviously inexperienced debater, or even a well versed debater that didn't write the perfect resolution. ( A friend, LR496FTW4EVA, once wrote parameters for a debate that was regarding Mr.Bush's job security, to explicitly ensure that
"talking about the George W. Bush that is the current president of the United States of America, the nation founded in 1776, on planet Earth in North America." Ridiculous.
To me, this is a practice that is mean and against the spirit of honest debate. If we did make an honor code, I would certainly hope that it would be written somewhere in there that people well versed in "debate-speak" don't go around picking off newbies, using the sole argument that the resolution didn't explicitly state something.

As far as disrespect of language goes, I'm not too sure what you mean, please enlighten me. If you're referring to cursing in a debate, I have a slight tendency to do this in real life as well as on this website in particularly heated moments. I don't do it gratuitously, and it helps me emphasize my meaning.

On the topic of multiple accounts, I think that if there is suspicion of this, an IP check should be performed. This is a simple practice that will thwart 98% of all multis. This capability should either be enabled for users or site administrators, to maintain the website's integrity.

On the subject of trolls, I haven't yet found them to be a major problem on this website. I can see the potential for it in some debate comments, but nothing that is purely troll-tastic. I think its important that we try to maintain users' freedom of expression, especially on a site such as this.

I also have a proposal of policy, one that would need to be written into the website's code, but one that would be invaluable.

A feedback system for users I believe would make debate.org a better website as a whole.
As I envision it, it would be something similar to that of those used by sites like Amazon.com or Ebay. It would allow users, post debate, to rate their opponent from 1 to 5 on their opponent's virtue, and also post a comment about how the debate went.
I think this ability would be able to effectively keep people who take debate.org very seriously from having an unfortunate encounter with those who take things more lightly. Semantics arguers can unleash themselves against their fellow nit-pickers, and jokesters can safely compete against each other for title of class clown. Of course, this feedback system would only be effective in debates where one user directly challenges another.

In "First-Come" debates there would need to be a way for instigator to terminate debates against contenders that will, in the eyes of the instigator, create an unfair debate. So actually its a second proposal. "Instigators" should in my opinion have the ability to cancel a debate against a "contender" within 24 hours of acceptance by the contender. I think this will help debate.org also by reducing the amount of 'Forfeit Fests.'

Well, I'm done for now, I can't wait to hear what you have to say britt, along with the comment's of others.
Debate Round No. 1
brittwaller

Pro

First, thanks to Sweatyjojo for accepting and helping. I agree that it's a good thing in-itself that people use the site for different reasons. It is not my intention to censor anyone - but simply to improve, however slightly, the quality and integrity of the debate experience.

Sjj, you immediately bring to light two very important points: 1)Many, or at least some, of the problems we're discussing will be corrected when the new version of the site launches, and that some of the problems are out of our hands entirely (looking for multiple accounts or anything that would require changing in the site's code); and more importantly 2)when you write "... I think that what may appear to you and to others as a misunderstanding of debate is actually a signal that people using this website need to express their opinions in more ways than just an argument or comment" you point out the prime issue for me, I suppose - this is debate.org, not opinion.com. (Please understand if my tone seems sardonic or harsh, it isn't meant toward you, I am simply frustrated.)

Thus, we are looking for a temporary solution to problems that fall in category 1, and a permanent "solution" to those that fall in category 2 - the problems that lie wholly in the realm of the user and not the administrator.

Since we have plenty of space, I'm going to jump straight into a draft of what our code might include based off of your input and what I've got together, and we can go from there.

"I, [X], as a debater and judge, will/do...

1.Use only one account.

2.Understand and make it understood to others that the topic of the debate IS the resolution when I Instigate a debate.

3.Respect the wishes of the Instigator of the debate when I accept a First-Come Challenge; i.e., if a person writes "I'm a Christian and want to debate an atheist," this will be respected. (The last two can help curb your pet-peeve of the broad usage of the semantics argument, which I am actually partial to, but I agree that it can be irksome. Your friend - or anyone else - can simply say in his opening argument "I do not want to debate semantics, but the issue at hand more thoroughly," and hopefully enough people will get on board so it makes a dent. We differ when it comes to newbies, however; I am a proponent of trial-by-fire. I learned very quickly to make the resolution/topic as immune to semantics as possible, which is what LR496FTW4EVA was doing, and although I agree it's a little bothersome to have to be so extreme in providing clarity, newbies will learn fast. That's life:)

4.Vote based on strength of argument, or by the parameters set forth by the Instigator, and not on my opinion of the topic. If I cannot provide a Reason For Decision, I will not vote. If I do not understand the debate, I will not vote. (I understand your thoughts on mandatory feedback, so we'll wait on feedback in this debate to see where to go. This comes down to a person's win percentage, and although theLwerd makes a strong case for its irrelevance, I will not deny satisfaction in victory. On a different level, I am tired of losing and not knowing why because there is no feedback, or winning unjustly. With respect to the former, I am here to grow intellectually. With respect to the latter, if I or someone else concede, it is an understood loss, yet I am experiencing both situations currently.)

5.Attempt to write correctly in the language known as English. (This is what I was talking about when I wrote "disrespect to language." Although substance takes primacy over presentation, a debater still loses points with me if they don't have the patience or whatever to at the very least capitalize the first word in sentences and proper nouns, and to make paragraphs, or run the spell check feature. This is about readability.)

6.Not go through a user's account and vote against them on every debate they've had because I had one bad experience with them, or disagree with them on something I feel strongly about, or for any other reason. ("Troll-tastic." I love it.)

So that's what I have. You have excellent ideas about things that could be done by the site itself, but that's out of our hands.

Back to you, Sjj.

Britt
Sweatingjojo

Con

Sweatingjojo forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
brittwaller

Pro

Oops... lol It slipped my mind that in order to turn it back over to you I would have to type something:)

I look forward to your next entry.

Britt
Sweatingjojo

Con

I honestly don't have much to add at this point britt, although I would like to say a few things about a comment that was left below us.

"Dude, I'm telling you, mandatory RFDs won't do anything. When people do post RFDs, the debater who disagrees with these RFDs will likely rebutt them in the comment section and perhaps even insist on a flame war.

Not only that, but when we get RFDs, you'll then hear people start complaining about people who give RFDS are unqualified or don't even give real RFDs, but just say things like 'I VOTED CON because i thought his argument was better." So then the webmaster is gonna respond through having an official moderator moderate debates, which is only going to turn into a bigger mess. Why? Because like any forum, if you verbally wank off to the mod long enough (become part of his/her posse), the mod will start doing you favors, such as voting in favor of you on a debate you lost. So honestly, the voting system is pretty much unfixable. It's good in theory, but if you really want to solve the problem, you'll have to get rid of it all together. This will easily weed out the people who only come here for win ratios as well as eliminate the point to creating multiple accounts."

After reading this comment, it seems to me that he does have a very good point. RFDs, while great in theory, pose a high risk of leading us down a path to nowhere. To me, it seems like the people that really care about debate and such already are the ones leaving RFDs when they vote, while those who think less of debate don't.
I think the best thing that we can do for the website at this point is A. leave constructive criticism when you vote, and B. ignore stupid debates, by not voting. I don't know how far those two things will get us, but it will at least try to create and maintain some level of moral integrity.

I also agree with the other point made, about removing win ratios. Nothing feels better to some people (myself included) to see a nice, high, green percentage. I think removing it will make the website more pure. Alas, this would require altering the code, and once again, we have not the power to do such a thing.

I'm sorry I couldn't come up with something more to talk about at this point britt, especially after not getting in my last round.
But thats what I have to say, and now that I've said it, I'm passing the ball back to you.
Debate Round No. 3
brittwaller

Pro

brittwaller forfeited this round.
Sweatingjojo

Con

Gawsh, I only have 25 minutes left, scared me on the ride home, I was like "oh S**t that debate."

I've read the comment section, and I noticed that my IRL friend gahbage had posted down there, which reminds me of a few debates that I had against him. When we debated, the topic, in both instances, was a sentence that had no resolutionary value. Something like "To Be Played". And from there, we did a thing where the topic was determined in the following rounds (5 were allotted.) While the second part of how we debated, with the topic being picked in debate probably isn't desirable for most people, I think that giving the topic a non-resolutional title makes life that much more difficult for people who vote on debates without actually reading them. Its an easy step to take, and its one that wouldn't require any alteration in code. The only criticism that I think could be put against it would be that it would become harder to find debates on topics. I suppose to counter this, one could just post the debate topic in the first lines of their argument (where else?)

Also on the idea of RFDs, I thank you for bringing that up, because its something that needs to be in the heads of more users on this site (its sure in mine), as its just a good thing to do.

I'm outta juice now Britt, I'm gonna hand the mic back to you. I am happy to have participated in this dialogue, and I thank the commenters for their opinions.
Debate Round No. 4
brittwaller

Pro

Ok, let's finish this thing.

An excellent point on "To be played/decided/etc." So now we'll say that this form (where resolution is chosen in preliminary debate rounds) is also acceptable. If one does this, the resolution should still be clear - not a question or verbal gobbledygook. I know you know this, I am just writing out loud.

So the code is this:

""I, [X], as a debater and judge, will/do...

1.Use only one account.

2.Understand and make it understood to others that the topic of the debate IS the resolution when I Instigate a debate, unless the resolution is to be decided within the first round(s) of a debate.

3.Respect the wishes of the Instigator of the debate when I accept a First-Come Challenge; i.e., if a person writes "I'm a Christian and want to debate an atheist," this will be respected.

4.Vote based on strength of argument, or by the parameters set forth by the Instigator, and not on my opinion of the topic. I will also try to provide constructive feedback/criticism as often as possible.

5.Attempt to write correctly in the language known as English.

6.Not go through a user's account and vote against them on every debate they've had because I had one bad experience with them, or disagree with them on something I feel strongly about, or for any other reason."

That's what I have. Sjj, make any stylistic changes you think might be necessary. And thanks again to anyone who had input here. We'll see how it goes I suppose. Also, Sjj, please re-emphasize that there is not supposed to be a vote on this debate at the end of R5.... lol someone will surely vote and screw it up. Am I a pessimist or a realist? And thanks to you, Sjj.

Peace
Britt
Sweatingjojo

Con

Sweatingjojo forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
54 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by sherlockmethod 7 years ago
sherlockmethod
7points to tie the vote, nothing else.
Posted by KRFournier 8 years ago
KRFournier
I tried, Sweatingjojo, to even it back up, but you're still a few shy.
Posted by Sweatingjojo 8 years ago
Sweatingjojo
Back to loosing.
Posted by s0m31john 8 years ago
s0m31john
Just tied it up.
Posted by bfitz1307 8 years ago
bfitz1307
Count me in on the code of conduct! Bfitz1307
Posted by brittwaller 8 years ago
brittwaller
To those who insist on screwing with the score after it was tied for a period: Perhaps debate.org is not the best place for you. This site may suit you better: www.belowparcynicala-holes.com

check it out. you may like it.
Posted by Protagoras 8 years ago
Protagoras
I meant discussion, but whatever. Evidently the best choice is for a forum.
Posted by JBlake 8 years ago
JBlake
I agree with much that was stated in this discussion. I will pledge my name to the honor code.
-JBlake
Posted by brittwaller 8 years ago
brittwaller
That's the thing, we weren't debating. The best thing to do, I think, is to wait until the forum is operational and set up some kind of system, with extensions concerning the new features of V3, that debaters can sign or something similar. Of course, I nominate myself to oversee this process:)
Posted by Protagoras 8 years ago
Protagoras
Hmm..would either of you be willing to create another debate over other issues...?

I'd be willing to discuss this with you.
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