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Can A Prank Go Too Far?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/20/2016 Category: Society
Updated: 7 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 336 times Debate No: 88518
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (0)




1) No trolling
2) No slander/hate speech
3) No kritiks
4) No forfeiting

Round 1 - Acceptance
Round 2 - Opening Statements
Round 3 - Rebuttals
Round 4 - Closing Summary
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks for accepting my debate. I'll begin with my opening statements.
Yes, pranks are meant to somewhat embarrass someone, but to violence is just insane. I will be posting three instances in paragraphs. (Sources will be cited and placed at the bottom of the debate argument.)
Instance A "Swatting"
"'Swatting' is a new fad among gamers targeting those who "livestream", broadcasting themselves and their game play live over the Internet to fans and in-game rivals alike. If a gamer is able to ascertain the personal information of a rival, by locating their IP and residential address, they will call in a dangerous threat to law enforcement and watch as the "livestreamer"s" house is forcibly entered by police.
The practice of "SWATTING" was recently brought to national attention by the YouTube video: The Creatures (Kootra) got SWAT Raided (SWATTED) #FreeKootra2014. Law Enforcement agencies say that the practice, which has been occurring with increasing frequency since 2013, wastes valuable resources and places innocent people in harm"s way. The 2014 incident, which resulted in the charges against Horner, are a prime example of this.
Defense lawyers told the courtroom that Horner, who goes by the gamertag BadAssDwg69, was upset after being repeatedly beaten by a fellow gamer at Battlefield 4. After obtaining the rival gamers information, prosecutors say Horner called police and reported a murder/hostage situation at the home. SWAT team then raided the house, shooting and critically injuring the "Livestreamer"s" father in the process. Following an investigation of the incident, Horner was charged as an adult, using provisions of the 2001 Patriot Act. Horner"s guilty charge stems from two counts of domestic terrorism, related to his manipulation of an enforcement response, and injuries to innocents resulting from those actions. [1]
Instance B: DJs Prank Hospital Leads to Suicide
"In 2012, DJs Michael Christian and Mel Greig from 2Day FM phoned the hospital that was treating the Duchess of Cambridge for morning sickness to try to obtain details of her condition, reports ABC. Nurse Jacintha Saldhana answered the call and following a media storm later killed herself." [2]
Instance C: Bomb Prank
"A group of Melbourne brothers who released a 'public bomb scare' video this week have come under fire with people calling the prank insensitive and dangerous.
The trio - known online as the Jalals - posted the footage to their Facebook page showing a man dressed in a thawb running past apparently unsuspecting members of the public and dropping a bag next to them.
In the first section of the clip a man - presumably one of the Jalal brothers - walked past a worker sitting by the side of a lake.
He thrust a bag into the unsuspecting member of the public's lap - who immediately threw it away and launched himself into the body of water.
Another part of the video showed one of the 'pranksters' launching the backpack into the open window of someone's car.
The driver quickly abandoned their vehicle leaving the door flung wide open
While it is not known whether the victims were random strangers or actors, many have commented on the video slamming the brothers." [3]
While the pranks may have taken place with actors, many people don't think that. Some may even get ideas to do real violent pranks like these. "If the people in the video didn't get punished, then I won't." Of course, it would take a really crazy person to do this, but it can happen.
These are just three extreme examples! I even found a top ten list of pranks that went wrong here. [4]
You also have to remember other examples like Sam Pepper [5, 6] and Roman Atwood [7].
There are a few examples of pranks involving home invasion, death, harassment, so forth.

Thank you.



A prank is a R03;playful trick that is R03;intended to be R03;funny but not R03;cause R03;harm or R03;damage and involves some level of deception. There are some acts of mischief which can be called pranks however not all mischievous acts are pranks, e.g. graffiti, vandalism, and other destructive, and illegal acts, are not pranks.

"Prank = a trick of an amusing, playful, or sometimes malicious nature" [1]

"Mischief = behaviour, R03;especially a child's, that is R03;slightly R03;bad but is not R03;intended to R03;cause R03;serious R03;harm or R03;damage" [2]

Below are just some of my favourite pranks (which I've watched):

1. (Machete Massacre PRANK Gone Wrong)
2. (Chainsaw Massacre Prank!)
3. (LION PRANK!!!)
4. (Drowning Baby Prank)
5. (Killing My Own Kid PRANK!!)
6. (Epic Alligator Attack Prank)
7. (REVENGE 10 - Organ Theft Prank!)
8. (LG Ultra HD TV Prank - End Of The World Job Interview)

Although people were fooled into believing the world was about to end, and their child, someone else's child, or friend has died; the pranks didn't go too far in my opinion, but number 2 on the list could have been better planned.

There are some people who will try to get away with saying or doing bad things via saying 'it's a prank' afterwards. See examples here:

However just because someone says 'it's a prank' doesn't mean it is. They may be social experiments like the one below of someone peeing on a homeless man and which only sick minded people would find funny.


Debate Round No. 2


My rebuttal:

My opponent claims that mischievous acts aren't pranks, e.g. graffiti or vandalism. "mischievous acts"?

Mischievous- (1) causing or tending to cause annoyance or minor harm or damage
(2) showing a playful desire to cause trouble
(3) intended to harm someone or someone's reputation. [1]

I wouldn't describe graffiti, vandalism, or other destructive and illegal acts as mischievous, except for maybe the last definition. Minor annoyance and a playful desire to cause trouble shouldn't be associated with illegal activity.

Destructive- causing a very large amount of damage : causing destruction or harm [2]

Causing minor harm and damage in the definition of mischievous shouldn't be compared to causing a very large amount of harm and damage.

I watched all of the prank videos that you linked and I'll be pointing out two in particular, the Killing My Own Kid PRANK and the Revenge 10 - Organ Theft Prank.

I actually linked the killing my own kid prank when briefly talking about Roman Atwood. I'd like to point out that the mother was crying and worrying for her son. Her screamed at him afterwards and then left. Sure, she may have been playing along for the views, but what if she didn't? Even if she was acting, then it's still insulting to display a woman who is concerned about her son dying and then being told it's a prank.

Next, we have the Organ Theft Prank. This prank is even worse than the last one. A man wakes up from being drugged on sleeping pills by his friend and wakes up with a vacuum hose attached to his abdomen while what he believes is his kidney is on the toilet seat. This is just too real! If he wasn't acting, then why do this as a 'revenge' prank? It seems traumatizing even if it was fake!

And back to the beginning of my opponents argument where he says that only my second example could have been better planned. Let's just assume that number three was just acting and focus on example one. The kid called a swat team on someone and that resulted in the injury of the victims dad! This was considered domestic terrorism by court. This doesn't seem minor to me.

Anyway, my rebuttal proves my case by analyzing my opponents arguments and some of the videos linked. Thank you for joining.


Time for my rebuttal

Firstly I have never claimed that mischievous acts are not pranks, my exact words were: "there are some acts of mischief which can be called pranks however not all mischievous acts are pranks".

For your knowledge the below quote proves graffiti and vandalism are actually considered mischievous acts:

"According to Florida statutes, the offense of criminal mischief is committed when you willfully and maliciously damage any property belonging to someone else. It can be willful or negligent, mischievous or vengeful behavior that results in someone"s property being damaged or destroyed, at some quantifiable cost. Criminal mischief also applies to graffiti and vandalism." [1]

Also in the U.K. vandalism is legally termed *malicious mischief* [2]

Mischief is a broad term like I made clear, and which you have just proven unnecessarily via giving three definitions. Pranks can be mischievous e.g. smearing Vaseline on the toilet seat, balancing a ball on top of a door so it falls on whoever opens it, or dipping a toothbrush in hot sauce etc. These pranks cause minor annoyances and such minor mischievous acts are not illegal as no harm is done nor is there intent to do so.

Are you saying that if someone ever cries or is frightened during a prank then it has gone too far? Would hiding behind a door and spooking someone be too far if someone wet their self? The video called - Killing My Own Kid Prank - was not sexist or insulting to women. She probably had no sense of humour. The prank would have been the same if she did the same thing to her husband.

Many of the pranks I showed are realistic and scary, but they don't go too far. All the people who are pranked will most likely appreciate life more, and at the very least will have a funny story to tell.

Number two on my list could have been better planned e.g. windows could have been locked and the room could have been empty etc. It was clear from the video that the intention was not to cause him to jump out of a window, no-one can know how someone will react but safety measures should have been taken.

I think what you are trying to say is that if someone gets hurt emotionally or hurt physically the prank has gone too far. However a prank cannot go too far since a prank is intended to be funny and not cause harm or damage. Punching someone in the stomach and saying it's a prank doesn't make it a prank. The feelings actual pranks cause can't be accurately measured. If someone intends to hurt someone or breaks the law it is not a prank, as a prank can only cause minor harm when done right.

"SWATting is the act of deceiving an emergency service (via such means as hoaxing an emergency services dispatcher) into dispatching an emergency response based on the false report of an ongoing critical incident...The act of making false reports to emergency services is punishable by prison sentences in the U.S. and is a crime in many other countries" - Wikipedia

Hoax calls, telling black people racist jokes, ringing your husband at work to tell him you cheated in order to win a prize etc are not pranks, people just say they are pranks to get away with doing something wrong. There is nothing wrong with playing a practical joke on someone though. People might not like pranks at the time but they can laugh about them later no matter what thoughts went into their mind.


Debate Round No. 3


In conclusion, I believe a prank can most definitely go too far if not handled correctly. With the outright malicious examples given, I think you can say the same. Thank you.


A lot of people say "it was a prank" when it isn't simply to get away with breaking the law e.g. being racist, or doing something wrong. The actual definition of a prank is a trick of an amusing, playful, or sometimes malicious nature. I don't know how a prank can go too far because there is no intention to harm anyone. None of my list of pranks went too far, they were intended to scare someone. Although some were realistic like the revenge organ theft prank even that didn't go too far, if someone did go too far e.g. actually remove an organ but plan to give it back and say 'it was a prank', it still wouldn't be a prank as pranks intend to be funny but not cause harm.

Someone might get hurt if they jump out of a window to escape, but this is not because the prank went too far, it is because someone didn't lock the window.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by whiteflame 6 months ago
>Reported vote: Everything// Mod action: Removed<

3 points to Con (Arguments). Reasons for voting decision: i agree with cons definition of prank.

[*Reason for removal*] Agreeing with Con's definition doesn't show that Con negated the resolution, nor does Con specifically address arguments made by either debater.
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