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Debate is a Broken form of Argumentation

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/18/2011 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,785 times Debate No: 17115
Debate Rounds (5)
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Debate is a Broken form of Argumentation


In order to promote fair debate, the following prestandards are copypasted from my previous debates.

1) Dropping arguments and bringing them up later allows an unfair advantage. For example, if I run utilitarianism in round 1, egalitariansim in round 2, and justice in round 3, I can just pick up whichever my opponent fails to address in round 4. Because we have limited space, dropped arguments ought to count as concessions.

2) Supporting citations must be clearly articulated in the debate. Writing: "Abortion is wrong [1]" is problematic on two counts. First, it does not justify a ballot because this is not an substantiated argument - it's an appeal to authority. Second, it is abusive because the debater is trying to glean offense outside of their round.

3) No new arguments or sources should be used in the last round because they can't be responded to.

To the voters: Honor my prestandards. My opponent is completely free to argue against them. However, if they still stand, they apply. I bring them forward not to gain special personal advantage but to ensure a principled debate.


Debate - a competition between two participants who argue over a pre-specified topic. They use arguments to analyze the resolution, attacking and rebutting throughout. Debates have a pre-specified number of rounds and limits on content volume, such as Maximum Characters or Speaking Time.

Broken - In the context of modern gaming, "Broken" means that game mechanics fail to depend on the intended skillset of competitors. Here are several examples:

1) Tic Tac Toe is broken as a test of strategic skill because there is one perfect algorithm that is easily copied by both players. The game is decided as the first move is made.

2) The original starcraft was broken as a test of strategic skill because zergling spam mathematically defeated all non-mirror matchups.

3) Penalty rules in certain sports are broken because intentional fouls can give the offending team advantage in some situations.

4) "Who can pick the highest number" is broken because the first player can lose no matter what he does.

5) Quidditch is (close to) broken as a multiplayer game because the outcome depends almost entirely on the Seeker

Closing Thoughts:

Debate is interesting because competitors may introduce new rules as long as they are justified. For example, bringing up new arguments in the last round "breaks" debate because there is no way to answer them, so debaters may prevent these kinds of abusive strategies by putting forward prestandards.

On the surface, debate rules seem like they can be tweaked to overcome any "broken" strategy. However, the rules themselves must not defeat the argumentative purpose of debate. A rule is invalid when...

1) Competitors have no way of knowing in advance if they would violate the rule
2) Rule violations cannot be methodologically identified, argued, or appealed
3) The rule categorically prohibits a class of arguments (particularly valid ones)

So my basic argument is that there is at least one strategy/phenomena that breaks debate, and cannot be blocked because there is no way to formulate a valid rule against it.


It looks like we will be starting the real debating in round 2. So I will use this round to narrate an interesting story. Pro is requested to ignore it for the purpose of this debate.

==The Story==

This is a story which is narrated in a monumental book written by Brahmasri Melpathur Narayana Bhattari, reportedly in 1587 A.D.

Hiranyakashipu was an evil demon king. He terrorized everyone.

To gain power and take revenge upon Lord Vishnu for killing his evil brother, Hiranyakashipu fervently worshipped Lord Brahma. The boon he wanted was that he should become immortal.

Now the rules are

1. Lord Bramha had to honor any demand made by worshipper (once he is satisfied by the worship) - no matter how evil he or she may be.

2. Lord Bramha cannot grant immortality to anyone. If anyone asks for that, he or she will be asked to choose something else.

Hiranyakashipu succeeded in his penance. On realizing he cannot become immortal, he asked for following boons

1. That he may not die naturally.

2. That he may not be killed by any human or beast.

3. That he may not be killed either inside a building or outside.

4. That he may not be killed in daytime or at night.

5. That he may not be killed on land, or in air.

6. That he may not be killed by any weapons.

This of course made Hiranyakashipu very powerful.

As time passed, Hiranyakashipu's son, Prahlada, turned out to be a believer and devoted himself completely to worship of Lord Vishnu. After trying to force him to abandon his faith, Hiranyakashipu tried to murder Prahlada. However Lord Vishnu, being bound to protect all his devoted followers saved Prahlada's life again and again.

"So where exactly does your Lord Vishnu live?" demanded Hiranyakashipu.

"Lord Vishnu is everywhere, in everything. Pick up the smalles dust particle, and Lord Vishnu is present in it." Prahlada explained.

"So is he there in this pillar" Hiranyakashipu laughed.

"Yes, of course, he is there in that pillar."

"Then I am going to smash this pillar into pieces!"

And as Hiranyakashipu ripped this pillar apart, Lord Vishnu emerged from inside as Narasimhavataram, the fifth avatar of Lord Vishnu on earth!

Half lion and half man (rule 2), Narsimha dragged Hiranyakashipu to the door (rule 3), placed him on his lap (rule 5), and killed him (rule 1) with his claws (rule 6) just as the sun was in the process of setting (rule 4).

This story is can be accessed here.

I have written it down in my own words (slightly based on my own knowledge of the story also).


Back to the topic. I accept my opponent’s definition and the rules. We assume that both the debaters are good and approximately equally skilled. (Of course the match will be broken if my school soccer team plays Manchester United). We assume that the rules are not abusive so that they end the purpose of the debate (as my opponent mentioned) and the topic is a debatable - preferably chosen by a third party - who is interested in good quality debate. We also assume that the win and lose decision is taken by a team of expert judges, committed to ensuring a fair decision based on the debate and not on their previously held opinion.

It is time for my esteemed opponent to present the strategy which ensures that the debate is broken and does not give fair chance to either Pro or Con to win.

Debate Round No. 1


More Framework:

People run out of space all the time and lose rounds. Some people are idiots and can't write properly, but I wish to assume that both debaters have perfect strategy and grammar. If under these circumstances, a debater would still lose because he is curtailed by Volume Limits, the debate becomes broken because it is no longer a contest of argumentation.

1) Argumentation:

In a debate, you put forward an argument, which gets rebutted, and then countered, and rebutted again etc. If the sequence results in decreasing content volume, we'll call it a "deflationary argument". If the sequence requires increasing volume from one or both parties, it is an inflationary argument.

By "requires" I mean that there is no way to avoid an inflationary argument once it has started. So even with perfect strategy, debaters will lose debates if inflationary arguments put them over the Volume Limit. So far this has all been definitional, but I will now try and show that inflationary arguments exist.

A) Linguistic Asymmetry

An argument and its counter-argument are, by definition, composed differently. There must be some grammatical or vocable [1] difference between the two. The difference can cause inflation. For example:

A: The sky is red
Re1: The sky is not red
Re2: The sky is blue
Re3: His sky argument has no source

As far as I can see, all possible rebuttals to the argument are longer in terms of volume. I guess it's possible that there's some alternative I'm not considering, but that would miss the point. Arguments and counter-arguments are always different, and may systematically place an inflationary burden on one or more participant.

This is a very simple example. By itself, it would not break most debates. However, if many such arguments are strung together, or more complicated inflationary arguments are used, one or both debaters will run into Volume Limits and the debate will no longer depend on argumentation because linguistic asymmetry decides the winner.

B) Logos Asymmetry

Because arguments and counter arguments must express different ideas, there is potential for volume inflation. I have in mind "Simple" ideas that require more "Complex" ideas for their rebuttal.

A: The universe was created by god
Re1: The universe was not created by god
Re2: The universe was created by the big bang

A vs Re2 is in danger of being decided on the basis of which argument places more complex burdens on participants. My implication is that it's volumetrically easier to argue for god than for the big bang, but the situation could actually be reversed if it's easier to argue against god than against the big bang.

There's no way to tell in advance, but this is an example of how debaters are must shoulder different argumentative loads even if they are arguing the same topic.

2) Blocks:

There's no way to formulate a valid rule that would block argument inflation.

A) First, there's no certain way to tell in advance if an argument will be inflationary. I have provided simple examples, but there could also be much more complex inflation that nobody reading the debate ever notices. So if you formulated a rule against argument inflation, competitors would have no sure way of knowing in advance if they would violate the rule. This is a violation of provision 1 for "valid rules".

B) Since the worlds of logic and language are at least somewhat existentially free, debaters would never be able to prove they were forced into an inflationary argument. It is always theoretically possible that a less verbose, differently worded, or different logos would have taken up less space. Because there are infinitely many possible arguments, there is no methodology to prove absolute asymmetry.

My examples above are very simple cases, relying on inductive logic. There is no similar deductive procedure. So even if a few simple inflationary arguments can be identified, not all of them can. This is a violation of rule 2 for "valid rules".

C) Third, banning inflationary arguments necessarily puts a limit on what arguments debaters can use. Depending on context, the most logical arguments might become unavailable. Even if only "bad" arguments are banned, debate is supposed to give participants the option to use whatever arguments they want. On both counts, banning inflationary arguments violates rule 3 for "valid rules".

3) The Break:

By now, it should be fairly obvious how inflationary arguments can break debate. However, just for kicks, I wish to contextualize the analysis.

A) If a debater runs arguments he inductively knows are inflationary for the other side, he automatically secures an advantage (or victory) that does not depend on argumentation. So inflation creates an effective non-argumentative debate strategy, which "breaks" debate.

B) Neither debaters may be aware that their arguments are inflationary, but their presence within the round has the same effect anyway. So it also "breaks" debate even when both debaters are acting in good faith.


We can all think of debates that seemed really good. Both sides argued well and the arguments had space to grow and be developed. That's fine. Not every debate round will break if inflationary arguments are avoided, just the same way the original starcraft matches didn't break if people didn't abuse zergling mass. But the original starcraft was still broken as a strategy game, just like debate is still broken as a form of argumentation.

Inflationary arguments are the zergling mass of debate.




Many thanks to Sieben for his post.

I have assumed that in all the debates we are discussing, instigator is also Pro. My arguments may need to be rephrased slightly if this is not so. However this assumption should have no bearing on truth if any of the arguments.

== Introduction and Definitions ==

My opponent has presented an 'inflationary' framework under which debate appears to be a broken form of argument. I can win this debate in three ways.

  1. If I can show that inflationary arguments do not give any undue advantage to either side.
  2. If I can show that such arguments can be anticipated and blocked by using valid rules.
  3. If I can present a simple and effective counter which will neutralize any advantage gained by using such a tactic.

I accept Pro's definition of inflationary argument. However I will classify inflationary arguments, and use different arguments against different types.

Symmetric Inflationary Debate (SID): A debate where both Pro and Con require increasing 'volume' of arguments to counter each other’s argument. Volume refers to the characters required in a written debate or time needed in a verbal debate.

In SID, the Pro starts with a particular volume of argument. Con requires more volume than the Pro to counter it. In the next round, Pro needs even more volume to reemphasize her arguments. And so on and so forth. It is trivial to show that SID might run into limits on volume of argument imposed before the debate.

Asymmetric Inflationary Debate (AID): A debate where one side, either Pro or Con, requires much more volume to present her arguments compared to the other side.

An AID is likely when Pro is attacking some topic, while Con is defending it. Since it takes much more space to defend any institution rather than to attack it, it is likely that only one side (usually Con) will run into limits on volume.

With these definitions in hand, I will proceed to rebut my opponent's argument.

== Rebuttals ==

A) Linguistic Asymmetry: There is a difference in the way arguments and counter-arguments are composed. Pro argues that this is likely to lead to some inflation.

I would like to assert that linguistic differences are unlikely to actually break any arguments. This is because a single argument can be worded in several ways. for example, I have reworded the reply in each of the cases presented by Pro, such that the reply has less number of characers.

A: The sky is red

Re1: The sky is not red => It isn't red

Re2: The sky is blue => It is blue

Re3: His sky argument has no source => No sources.

Please note that rewording of this kind is required only when a debater actually runs into a volume limit. That is unlikely because, stringing together arguments of this kind is not so simple as Pro claims. The effort required in reducing character counts (as I outlined above) is much more simple than the effort required in creating such an argument. Since to secure an advantage is tough and countering it is simple, we can ignore linguistic asymmetry as a factor which breaks the debate.

B) Logos asymmetry: I admit that this kind of asymmetry exists. However I will discuss it separately as per the classification I have presented.

1. Symmetric Inflationary Debate: Debating within time limits or word limit is an important skill of debating. If a debater is short of character limits or time limits, she has to drop some of her arguments and focus on key points. By definition of SID, the other debater will be forced to do the same. Finally the debate will judged based on the important points, which the debaters themselves choose. This kind of debate cannot be considered broken.

I am sure that neither of us would like a debate without any limits on volume. No one would like to listen to a debate which extends like a 5 day test match in cricket [1]; Or to read one, where each round is written in form of a book.

2. Asymmetric Inflationary Debate: AID occurs when one side is defending an institution (religion, evolution) while the other side is attacking it. As defending an institution is usually tougher volumetrically rather than attacking it, an asymmetric burden can be placed on the debater defending the institution. The attacker can list arguments from multiple fields and demand that the defender provide answer to all of them. This kind of strategy is clearly abusive. What we need to know is that this kind of strategy is also widely acknowledged to be abusive. There are essentially two ways to counter it.

  1. Rule Blocks: Depending on topic, this kind of attack can be anticipated. A very valid rule block is to ask the opponent to limit herself to one or two strongest arguments.
  2. Counter: In case this kind of attack was not anticipated, the defender can simply point out the unequal burden. Address one or two of the points and ask the opponent to highlight one or two most important points in the next round so that they can counter it.

In a debate, the judges are human beings. They are not computers which will award the debate to attacker just based on few points which were not addressed, even when the attack is clearly abusive. So if a debater is caught in a situation where she is not able to address all points because of unsymmetrical burden, she should simply highlight it. The attacker will be forced to reduce the points. In case the attacker refuses to pay heed, not only she is liable to lose the debate, but will definitely lose the conduct points as well.

== Conclusion ==

While it is possible that an enterprising debater may try to take advantage of inflationary argument, a diligent opponent can feasibly counter it. It does not give a very big advantage to either side, though it does add one more dimension to the debate, making it even more fun!

I have successfully presented how the defendant might counter an inflationary attack as outlined by my esteemed opponent. However it is possible that there is a deeper philosophical problem we need to think about. Is it possible for any human to ever phrase an argument, which can never be answered by another? Edgar Allan Poe pondered on a similar problem:

"It may well be doubted whether human ingenuity can construct an enigma... which human ingenuity may not, by proper application, resolve."

I look forward to further enigmatic arguments from Sieben!

== Reference ==


Debate Round No. 2


== Con Case ==

Introduction and Definitions:

Con sets up 3 ways he can win

1. He can't win if he shows that inflationary arguments don't give undue advantage to either side. This is because even if debate is still fair, argumentation can be broken. For example if we both just spam arguments at each other and drop them like wildfire, it might be fair but the debate will fail to depend on argument quality.

Starcraft is still broken even if we can both spam zergling mass.

2. Sure.

3. Sure. As long as the counter itself does not break debate.


His SID and AID are just fine with me. I have an irrelevant disagreement with his AID analysis because I think both Pro and Con are equally susceptible to AID. It doesn't matter who has the BOP because argument complexity depends on ideas themselves, not their proofs.

== Rebuttals ==

A) Linguistic Asymmetry

Con gives 3 example rebuttals that actually take up less space than "the sky is red". He uses indefinite articles to make them shorter. The context here is very obvious because he's copy-pasted what he's responding. In a real debate, lack of context would mean the indefinite article "it" becomes meaningless, and his response would fail. If he C&P's the response then his character burden becomes way larger.

Even if you don't buy my counter-examples, the theory of linguistic asymmetry still stands.

Con thinks it would be very difficult in practice to exploit linguistic asymmetry. By itself, my examples seem trivial because a string of 10 blank assertions like "the sky is red" could maybe waste only 50 of my opponent's characters. But that might be enough in debates that are already pressed up against character limits.

For example, in this debate CiRrk is dropping arguments, and using abbreviations like "XA" "AC" "NC" "DA" because he has so little space due to non-linguistic burdens. Clearly +/-50 characters makes a difference to him.

B) Logos Asymmetry

1) SID

Con thinks that even if both debaters have to drop arguments, they will only focus on the most important ones. This assumes that the resolution can be adequately debated using only a few core arguments. This depends heavily on the resolution. Some resolutions will be outright broken by this phenomenon, and those that aren't still restrict the arguments available to debaters, thus frustrating otherwise valid approaches.

Additionally, dropped arguments usually count as concessions, so the first drop just gets extended and the dropper or person with BOP auto-loses.

Con points out that Volumetric limits have a good utilitarian value because no one wants to read an endless debate. I agree. But my burden is to prove that debate is a broken form of argumentation. It doesn't matter if balanced forms of argumentation are cumbersome to read.

2) AID

Con thinks that AID would actually break debate. He gives us two options:

1. Rule Blocks:

i) Failure to Anticipate

Con wants debaters to anticipate when AID would occur. I claim that this is deductively impossible. There may be some debates where it is inductively obvious that there is asymmetry, but there is no universal methodology for anticipating AID. Therefore, rule blocks violate rule 1 of "valid rules" because "competitors have no way of knowing in advance if they would violate the rule".

This is particularly true if the rule is introduced up front, because you don't know what arguments your opponent is going to use against you, so you are always in danger of being accused of running an AID argument.

ii) Limits Arguments

Additionally, the rule block Con has in mind is to ask your opponent to limit themselves to a few strong arguments. As above, this assumes that the resolution CAN be limited to a few arguments. It also violates rule 3 of "valid rules" because it blocks otherwise valid argumentation strategies.

iii) Persistence of AID

Con is also assuming that 1-2 arguments would be "small enough" to fit inside a debate. Arguments themselves can be very very long and experience AID in themselves, so the block isn't soluble.

iv) Contextual Harm

Even if you think the AID effects can be greatly mitigated, small inflation can push debates over the edge if they are already pushing up against Volume limits (as above with CiRrk).

v) Difficulty Proving AID

Lastly, Con takes it for granted that the rule will just be implemented without problems. In reality, there is conflict over rules and there needs to be some clear way in which disputes are resolved. Rule 2 of "valid rules" requires that rule violations/appeals need to be clear.

I claim that there is no methodological way to identify asymmetric arguments because the mere observation of inflation is not a sufficient condition for AID. There may be some unobserved argumentative strategy that resolves the AID. Debaters would have to prove they had selected the logically optimal strategy - i.e. that no better strategy exists that would resolve inflation. Proving a negative is impossible because logic/argumentation is limitless.

vi) Meta AID arguments

Any rule introduced is subject to dispute. An argument about AID can itself suffer from AID. As inductive evidence, I offer the fact that I've come up with 6 arguments against it. There may be more. This last point is also self-referential so there might be potential for an endless chain of arguments. I don't really want to think about it too hard...

vii) Meta AID recursion I

As you can see above, the argument about AID is inflating. Extend to bolster my inductive case that AID rules cause AID.

viii) Meta AID recursion II

As you can see above, the argument about AID is inflating...

ix) Meta-Meta Arguments

There are only two possible outcomes now. Either Con concedes that AID is inflating on me, or argues that AID should not be inflating if I adopted a different argumentative strategy, which slams me with another argument I have to rebut this resulting in AID.

x) Meta-Meta recursion I

If my opponent argues with ix, he creates more inflation.

2. Counter:

Con thinks that if you miss your chance to run the rule up front, you can still make an ad hoc observation about AID. You can Cross-Apply all the above arguments from "1. Rule Blocks" because this is really the same basic technique. It just occurs in later rounds.

I would add that there's potential for abuse if the standard is introduced ad hoc because it means debaters have already committed to their argumentative positions.

Con adds in that judges can intervene and identify abuse. This is itself abusive because the outcome of the round no longer depends on the debaters, but on what arguments the judges can interject and complete on their behalf. He's implicitly admitting that because debaters are failing to argue (debate is broken), judges can continue the argumentation outside the round. I.e. debate is broken and we need alternatives.

== Conclusion ==

There are only imperfect remedies for inflationary debate. In round 2, I kept way under the character limit. I am now in danger of pressing up against it despite the clear irony of a debate about how debate is broken being itself broken. Maybe that's Pro offense. XA and extend? I can has DA in the NC? Debate is lulsy.

Also "nuclear weapons exist".



Before I start to answer my opponent point by point, we should be clear on few aspects.

Debating within limits is skill: Any argument can be inflated beyond any limits. You can debate the number of angels that can dance on head of a pin for a really long time [1]. It is part of debating skill to limit your arguments. This may mean, rephrasing your arguments to be concise. It may mean focusing on key points. This does not mean that the debate is broken. Actually this leads to better quality debates, which focus on key aspect and assists the audience in making up its mind. In general, if you cannot complete you debate within limits, you lose. And the loss is appropriate, since you are lacking in one key component of debate.

This does not violate the 3rd rule of valid arguments. The debaters are still free to bring in any valid argument. They may have to rephrase some arguments, while other arguments may be unfeasible if they want to win the debate. One of the most exciting shot in cricket is the 'hook' [2]. You can only 'hook' a ball when the bowler is bowling fast and he attempts a short pitched delivery. If the bowler is a 'spinner' or bowling full pitched, the batsman cannot feasibly 'hook' the ball. Does this mean that cricket is broken because the batsman is not in a position to play a particular shot in a particular situation?

Abusive AID: The above rule has one exception. That is when one side is defending an issue and has clearly much more volumetric burden. Identifying such cases is easy. The attacker in this case lists multiple points and expects the defender to answer each one of them. In such cases, an appeal to judges can be easily made and should not lead to any dispute.

== Rebuttals ==

Undue advantage: If we debate spam, the result will be a spam debate, which will be naturally broken. However we have previously assumed that the debate is a serious one and if I can show that there is no undue advantage to either side, the result is a serious debate which is decided by weight of arguments. This is sufficient to prove my burden.

Definition Dispute: As we agree that the dispute is irrelevant, I will ignore it.

Linguistic Asymmetry: I provided clear rebuttals to examples provided by my opponent. I can only provide a counter-example, after he has presented an example. In case of C&P attempts, adding a qualifier like ALL may provide a fitting solution.

I did accept that linguistic asymmetry is possible. However as I pointed out, it is difficult to abuse in practice. Moreover, counters for such attacks are usually easy. As a result they do not break a debate. If they are appended to the end of debate, they can be attended in similar ways.

The example presented by Pro works against him. The burden on CiRrk was clearly non-linguistic (as Pro acknowledges). CiRrk was able to relieve the burden up to some extent by using those abbreviations. That is clearly another simple technique which can be used to escape from any attack based on linguistic asymmetry.

Pro believes that debates without limits will be more balanced. I disagree. If there are no limits, the debators can continue to inflate there arguments, ensuring that the debate becomes a trolling competition. All such debates will end up as draw, ensuring that debate becomes a broken form of argumentation!

SID: In SID, some 'otherwise valid approaches' do become unfeasible or difficult to implement. However this does not break the debate. Hook shot is not feasible against slow bowlers or spinners. It does not mean that cricket as a sport is broken.

The side which has the BoP usually has a better control over the number of arguments. Even if this is not so, all they have to do is to rephrase or rearrange the arguments to make sure they are within the limits and pass on the pressure to the other side. The shift of pressure will be automatic since it is a SID. This makes the debate more interesting!


  1. Failure to anticipate: Anticipating AID is possible in most cases. It can be predicted by the topic of the debate. It can be anticipated through the history of debaters or from records of other debates on similar topic. On other hand, my argument does not hinge on AID being anticipated in all cases. Here is an example of debate where the instigator has successfully anticipated and blocked AID [3].
  2. Limits argument: The attacker is still free to choose the arguments he wants to use. Refer to my 'hook' analogy to realize why it does not break the debate.
  3. AID within single argument: As I explained earlier, any argument can be inflated. However, if the defendant is unable to argue a single point within the specified limits, I think it is a clear case of lack of skill.
  4. Small AID pushing debates over limits: Then it becomes a test of defendant's skill, as to how she can manage to reduce the volume of his arguments by a small quantity, bringing it back under the limit. In the only example you presented, we can see that CiRrk managed to perform this task successfully, even when he was debating against a formidable opponent. The final result was decided by the merits of arguments and not the inflationary pressure.
  5. Difficulty proving AID: As I explained, debaters have to make full effort to ensure that they debate within limits. It is only in case of clear abuse that they can appeal. The clear abuse can be identified by asymmetric volume and the attacker presenting several arguments and expecting answers for each of them.
Meta arguments series:
  1. Since the AID challenge is valid only in very clear cases, it should not lead to meta arguments.
  2. This debate is following SID pattern rather than AID pattern, and hence Pro should make his best effort to limit his argument, else he will lose.
  3. Pro attempts to inflate his own arguments beyond the limits to prove that debate is broken. To do so, he has attempted to create a deliberately recursive argument. If Pro fails to complete the debate within limits, it means he loses. He cannot prevent it - since as per his own position, he cannot introduce any rule against it. But wait, this is what he was trying to prove! This means is that his argument is deeply paradoxical. I am sure he will make his best effort to explain the paradox; however we need to be clear on one aspect. Pro cannot win the debate without winning it!
  4. Pro asserts that the AID rule can be abusive. As I have shown that the AID rule can be invoked successfully only in clear cases, that problem should not exist. If the defender incorrectly calls for this rule, chance is high that she will lose the debate.
  5. Pro complains that it invites judges to 'intervene and identify abuse'. But that is something that judges always do in case of abuse! Unless he wants to prohibit judges from judging on his debates, I fail to see his point. Judges would not have to argue over application of this rule, as this can be applied only in very clear cases.

== Conclusion ==

By trying to break his own debate, Sieben states that this debate is 'lulsy'. I disagree. My position on this debate has been quite clear and consistent. However I agree with him that his arguments are recursive, paradoxical and 'lulsy'.

And also "irrelevant".




Debate Round No. 3


Keeping Con's tags... (he has new tags every round)

Debating within limits is skill:

Of course people who systematically win debates have "debate skill". But we are evaluating debate as a form of argumentation, not a generic contest.

Con takes it for granted that you can still run any argument even under his AID block. But since it limits the argumentative options to debaters, the block violates rule 3.

Con's cricket analogy is flawed. Cricket isn't "broken". Nothing can be generically "broken". Debate and Cricket are "fair" because the same techniques are available to all participants. But fairness doesn't ensure argumentation quality, which is the feature in question.

Abusive AID:

Con wants to let debaters off the hooks if their volumetric burdens become too great. That's fine as far as fairness and competitiveness goes, but it results in non-argumentation.

== Rebuttals ==

Undue Advantage:

Con again focuses on "undue advantage" aka fairness. I already provided a very simple derivation of why debate is intrinsically fair, but fairness is a red herring.

Con's implicit solubility comes from judicial activism. Even if debaters give each other AIDs, judges step in and interpret arguments to their logical conclusion. This is necessarily a source of abuse because it means the outcome of debate does not depend on how debaters handled their arguments, but rather how judges handled their arguments. Judges wind up casting their votes for debaters based on something they never did.

I also pointed out in the previous round that this is a silent concession. Arguments cannot be resolved by debate alone, and therefore an external body of judges must intervene. The external body can succeed because it does not have volume limits.

Definition Dispute:

Actually we disagreed with 1., which stated that argumentation can still be harmed even if debate is fair.

Linguistic Asymmetry:

Extend that in the "Sky is Red" examples, you can't use indefinite articles (it) without context which requires you to C&P. His suggested qualifier of "all" is only going to be usable against certain argument chains, and so does not provide general solubility.

Con continues that he thinks linguistic asymmetry is trivial. He doesn't like my example of CiRrk's debate because he thinks CiRrk is escaping linguistic asymmetry. He misunderstands. CiRrk is actually using linguistic asymmetry by excessively abbreviating everything to give himself more volume, indicating that he is extremely pressed up against volume limits and therefore in danger of dropping (CiRrk dropped several) arguments.

Con's best case scenario is that linguistic asymmetry can be used defensively, but expanding your own content volume is just an "advantage". Attack/defense don't have any real meaning in this context. It's like taking an extra 30 seconds at the end of your speech.

Lastly, Con complains debates without limits would also be unbalanced. Sure. Maybe debate is broken with/without volume limits (though it is broken for different reasons).


Lots of red herrings here. Accessibility to beginners and entertainment value don't matter. Just focus on debate vis-a-vis argumentation.


1. Failure to Anticipate: Con thinks that AID block is possible in most cases. But if fails sometimes then his rule doesn't provide general solubility. Con also seems to think it's pretty easy to predict AID, but since there are infinitely many possible arguments available at all times, it's impossible to methodologically prove what will come next and then block it.

2. Limits Argument: Con refers us to his Cricket analogy, which focuses on fairness. The bottom line is there are logically valid argumentative strategies that Con won't let people use because they're too long in rebuttal. This harms argumentation even if it enhances fairness or readability.

3. AID within a single argument: Con thinks a single argument experiencing AID exhibits lack of skill. Bad debaters might handle it worse, but there are some arguments that are fundamentally longer to rebut than they are to construct. So single arguments can experience AID and are therefore not blocked by Con's rule which means he loses solubility because we still get AIDs.

4. Small AID pushing debate over limits: Con says that small cases come down to skill differentials. First, this is a red herring because economization skill doesn't matter. Second, this is non-topical because we're assuming both debaters have perfect strategy. Since AID can persist even under the best competitors, I extend harms.

5. Difficulty Proving AID: Con says AID has to be clear before his rule can be invoked. So I extend "unclear" AID to show how debate is harmed. Additionally, even if AID is really obvious, debaters still have to A) point it out and B) justify the rule. I would argue against the rule by using some of my arguments here. Then, all debates are in danger of becoming a debate about AID rules which further frustrates its argumentative potential.

Meta Arguments Series:

1. Con says AID challenges are only valid in very clear cases, so extend that he fails unclear AID blocks.

2. It only became clear ad hoc that we were getting SID and not AID. We could have gotten AID if Con had chosen a different argumentative strategy, or if I had economized like a boss.

3. My recursive argument could go on to infinity, but I am under no obligation to complete it. Worst case scenario is that I just drop it off arbitrarily, but I think I've demonstrated that the argument could go on to infinity, which is sufficient for my purposes.

ix) Meta-Meta arguments

Con dropped this... the tagging is kind of messed up but you can still follow it.

Extend to show that arguing about AID itself creates AIDs. There are two *argumentative* possibilities which may or may not result in more AIDs. Con has chosen the third non-arugmentative option and just dropped it, which ironically results in salubrious deflation :P

4. Even if the implementation of anti-AIDs rules are done by the books, there is still potential for abuse if the rule is introduced after debaters have committed to argumentative positions.

5. Con is wrong about judge intervention. Judges can vote down abusive arguments, but only if debaters prove abuse and ask them to. If judges actively identify abuse they are handling debater's arguments for them, therefore invalidating their ballots declaring which debater beat the other.

== Conclusion ==

Constant shifting of goalposts by Con. His arguments about fairness don't matter. We are investigating debate as a form of argumentation. My core thesis is that Volume Caps limit argumentation, and this is especially harmful to argumentation exchange if debaters are shouldered with unequal volumetric burdens.

Con basically admits that "debate is broken as a form of argumentation" when he invokes judge intervention. I.e. arguments cannot be discussed properly in debate and therefore must be considered by judges without volume limits.

Con's proposed rule would at best achieve fairness. But debate is intrinsically fair so it doesn't matter. Con's rule has the nasty side effect of categorically prohibiting certain arguments. He won't let debaters run AID arguments even if they are logically correct on a certain topic. This necessarily inhibits argumentation, so his rule is creating the problem it tries to solve.

(Con's rule may be better than the alternative. But either way, debate is broken for argumentation)

Lastly, Con thinks my observation that nuclear weapons exist is irrelevant. The possibility of nuclear warfare far outweighs any of Con's dubious benefits. It's not clear why Con bites into this disadvantage, but I'll just emptily speculate that if people follow Con's advice and introduce anti AID rules, they'll spend so much time arguing about them that they won't be able to resolve their differences diplomatically, resulting in global nuclear holocaust.



== Note to Voters ==

As agreed by both the debaters in comments before R4, we reduced the debate to 4 rounds. Kindly consider this as the final round for the purpose of casting your valuable vote.

== Rebuttals ==

I modified tags to aid clarity. However, I kept the structure of the debate largely intact. I also clubbed together highly recursive arguments posted by Pro. I am sure readers will be able to see that I addressed each point raised till now.

Debating within limits is skill: Pro conceded that debating within limits is key part of 'debating skills'. Pro further admits that debate is a inherently fair as a contest.

Apart from arguments there are several ingredients of debating skill.
  • Organizing arguments into a compelling narration
  • Elucidation and clarity in verbal debate
  • Formatting to ease readability in a written debate
  • Debating within debate limits

This does not mean arguments are not important for debates. As long as the debaters are well matched in terms of debating skills, the result is decided by the arguments only. The debaters in our discussion are well matched as that was one of the starting assumptions.

Debate is a fair contest, which is ultimately decided by arguments. Debate is definitely not broken on terms of argumentation.

Abusive AID: Pro admits that my method of dealing with increases abusive AID, is correct in terms of competitiveness. However he fails to understand that it increases argument quality also, as it forces the sides to do proper judgement to the key points. Just because you cannot use every arguement in every case does not mean debate is broken in terms of argumentation.

Undue advantage: Here also Pro talks about fairness. In the only example presented by Pro, we have seen that CiRrk who was under severe inflationary pressure while debating my opponent, managed to argue within words limit. The debate was finally judged on the basis of arguments quality, and he won comfortably.

Pro accuses I am involving judges. But judges are always involved! It is rare that debaters reach conclusion on theie own.

SID: Pro misunderstood my argument and dropped it by claiming a red herring. A hook shot is a technique which can be used by batsmen only when the opponent (bowler) uses a particular aggressive technique. Similarly certain combinations of argument cannot be used in a particular situation or in a particular way. Cricket is not broken in terms of shots - even though you cannot play any shot any time. Similarly debate is also not broken just because certain arguments become unfeasable.


Failure to anticipate: I said, AID can be intercepted in most cases. My opponent also dropped the example in which the instigator has successfully intercepted AID. I did not say that AID can be intercepted in all cases. I explained how debaters can address AID if they failed to intercept it.

Limits argument: I have already explained why argument selection does not lead to debate being broken.

AID within single argument: If you are up against a limit, and you have a single argument and you can always rephrase your arguments. It is question of skill, not arguments.

Small AID pushing debate over limits: I had given example of CiRrk's argument, as to how he managed comfortably avoid inflation while winning the debate in the process. Pro dropped it completely.

Difficulty Proving AID: There is no such thing as 'unclear AID'. If AID is not clear, it is the task of debater to limit the arguments. If he appeals in such cases, he will end up losing.

Meta Arguments Series:
  1. Pro acknowledges his arguments were recursive. I combined meta arguments and meta-meta arguments together.
  2. Since unclear AID do not exist, my arguments stand extended.
  3. It was way to clear from begining that this debate is symmetrical in burden.
  4. If a debater inflates his own arguments, as my opponent demonstrated he could have done, he would lose. That proves nothing. My opponent dropped the paradoxical nature of his arguments.
  5. In unsymmetrical AID, the offender is tasked with reducing his arguments. He is still free to choose his arguments. It does not break the debate.
  6. The victim does not have to debate AID. He just has to point it out. Clear AID is by definition clear.

== Conclusion ==

My opponent conceded that debate is a fair contest. He also admitted that limits are needed in the debate. I have shown that debates are still largly decided by arguments. That is a sufficient to negate the resolution.

While future of humanity is important, his argument about nukes is still irrelevent to this debate. He also admits it consists of empty speculation. I don't have to address this. Discerning voters will note that he had introduced this argument as an example of linguistic inflation appended to debate. Unfortunately for him, his nuke arguments went bust, again demonstrating it is possible to manage inflation.

I would like to thank Sieben for this engrossing debate. This debate itself is a small testimony to the fact that debate is not a broken form of argumentation. This is one of the many reasons why voters should...

Debate Round No. 4


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Debate Round No. 5
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 6 years ago
I lol'd at Sieben's R4. I had been anticipating the AIDS jokes the WHOLE time, and I felt so relieved.
Posted by baggins 6 years ago
No problem, I will defend him :)
Posted by Sieben 6 years ago
Yes I am making fun of CiRrk.
Posted by baggins 6 years ago
No problem with 4 rounds. We can treat next round as the final round and we will both skip the fifth.
Posted by Sieben 6 years ago
Well as long as we both agree that it should only go for 4 rounds. Judging how the arguments are stacking up.

I only want to go to 4 rounds if you also WANT to go to 4 rounds. If you would prefer 5 for any reason, I'm game.
Posted by baggins 6 years ago
Are you planning to reduce it to 4 rounds? If so, I have no problem. I will leave it blank.
Posted by Sieben 6 years ago
Hey Baggins, you want to just leave round 5 blank? Write in "round left blank"?
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Interesting debate,given Sieben's background I was expecting more math as this is a game theory argument.
Posted by Grape 6 years ago
lol @ zergling rush

In Impossible Creatures, an RTS where you can customize your units, I designed a unit that cost basically nothing, had a build time of less than a second, and sucked horribly, and spammed literally thousands of them at the enemy until they won by sheer force of numbers about an hour later.
Posted by baggins 6 years ago
Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread!
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Double_R 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro tries to break his own debate to show that debate is a broken form of argumentation. Con correctly shows that staying within character limits is skill and good argumentation which ultimately decide the debate.
Vote Placed by darkkermit 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro demonstrated that debate is a broken system due to the inability to predict AID, the negative effect it has on argumentation, and debates that are already character tight are easy to exploit. CON used red herrings.