Debate.org Should Abolish Open Voting in Favor of Judge "Select Winner" Voting
Debate Rounds (5)
72 hours to post response
6 months to vote, Judges have plenty of time
Rules & Definitions
The rules and definitions will be open to debate themselves. For the sake of organization, they should be flowed under the subheading of Theory or Framework. Pro prefers if judge and any voters flow and determine winner via tabula rasa.
Rd - 1: Acceptance
Rd - 2: Opening Constructives
Rd - 3-4: Constructives & Rebuttals
Rd 5: Rebuttals only, no new evidence please.
Note: I actually accepted 15 hours ago, but until one judge accepted, I wasn't even able to post this, hence the delay.
1. Open Voting is susceptible to varying forms of corruption
a. Voting blocs
b. Shadow Accounts
c. Biased non-debater voters who "vote bomb"
2. The Winner of a Debate Matters
a. Winner should reflect superior argumentation, analysis, and better use of evidence
b. When a weaker debater "wins" through corrupt means it demeans the rigor of debate by giving debaters an incentive to cut corners by finding corrupt ways to win
3. Open Voting Allows Weak Debaters to Achieve a High Ranking and ELO score which....
a. Makes it difficult to debate the best debaters because it's easy to inflate an ELO score through corrupt means
b. Encourages debaters to go for quantity over quality debates
The judge select winner option is welcome, but most still choose the default of open voting. Open voting is entirely illegitimate and problematic so it shouldn't even be available. It will always be in the interest of corrupt debate instigators to create weak debates and use "open voting."
Choosing a judge, or ideally an odd-number panel of judges, is best because the challenger must approve the judges nominated before accepting insuring that both sides respect the expertise and impartiality of the presiding judge(s).
PLAN: Debate.org should abolish open voting and only allow judge "select winner" voting.
SOLVENCY: It would be easier. Many debaters already pride themselves for being objective "tabula rasa" judges. Debaters would probably take pride in being good judges and try to build good reputations online for being objective and neutral judges.
Debate.org = More Educational for All Users
Advantage 1: Ranking would be more accurate and meaningful
Advantage 2: Debaters would be encouraged to have the best debates possible, and to not cut corners, thus increasing the overall education of debate.
Advantage 3: Having a pool of good judges who have the option to approve or disapprove a debate might help the website curate better by encouraging the best debates and discouraging trolls and circular debates about that have no real clash.
Since my opponent has run into some troubles, I will also be outlining my constructive arguments, so as not to profit from their time shortage. Examples will this be presented later.
A short foreword: The resolution contains multiple arguments. I do not have to disprove all of them to win this debate, one alone would be sufficient to break the chain of evidence. I will try to formulate a broad stance nonetheless.
I agree that Open Voting is to be abolished.
Yet, in favour of something else! I will argue below why Select Judge Voting is just as worthless. For now, I present my case for an Expert Jury system.
PLAN: "Expert Jury" system allows debaters to nominate themselves as experts on certain broad fields (science, trivia, entertainment, religion, philosophy etc.). To qualify, they have to participate in at least three debates on that topic WITHOUT ANY FORFEIT FROM EITHER SIDE before being granted voting privileges FOR THAT FIELD. (Note: for the transition period from the current system to the new one, we will accept the current judging systems until a sufficiently large board of experts has been built up. The candidates will retain voting privileges for the old system while it is in place. Then, when enough jurors are found, the new system is introduced completely. The exact number has to be determined at another time.)
Once a debate enters the voting period, an uneven number of jurors is selected and notified. To guarantee that only active users will be selected, the system picks the first jurors who log in and are not currently judging a debate. If we do not have enough jurors to make that work, this site is going down anyway. Voting is mandatory. Whoever enlists for the Expert Jury has to vote and can only quit after judging the ongoing debate. Solutions for problems that are to be expected are at hand, but will be presented in a successive round.
Judging should follow the 7-point-system, but the Expert Jury would still work with the "Select Winner" option.
ELO scores are to be abolished.
SOLVENCY: "Debaters would probably take pride in being" EXPERT "judges and try to build good reputations online for being objective and neutral judges." (I thank my opponent for this great way of putting things, but I believe my concept supersedes his). This leads to a higher involvement of the judges, and pointless arguments in the comments and forums about the qualification of the judges would become less frequent.
Unvoted debates would not have to be announced in the forum. They have become a matter of politics, with the current president making it a campaign goal to have no unvoted debates. The problem would be completely solved by an Expert Jury system, leading to less frustration among users.
Only users with some experience on this site will be able to judge, making troll votes less frequent and nigh impossible. The quality of the votes will improve. Apology posts containing reasons for not voting will stop. Everything will become easier and less subject of conflict after voting.
With the 7-point-system for voting, RFDs (reasons for decision) are more elaborate, building trust in the experts and educating inexperienced users on how to avoid certain mistakes the next time. Education is the main task of the Jury, while delivering a good debate is the job of the participants. Only with detailed RFDs, containing a judgement on conduct and language skills as well, can members improve their debating skills. Shorter RFDs leave them to learn all by themselves, slowing down improvement.
Being judged by certified experts will encourage debaters to give it their all, increasing the quality of debates overall.
It would also lessen the stress of wondering whether the selected judges from "Select Judge" will understand the topic at hand. This is particularly useful for new users who cannot select judges for lack of familiarity with the established members.
The Expert Jury system has the definite advantage of basically having been tested in the real world: in court trials, the layman jury is given time and materials to become experts before passing their verdict. They are chosen randomly to prevent any corruption. So, the verdict is reached by randomly chosen laymen who familiarized themselves with a subject at hand. This is what my system would mimic, and there's little reason to suggest a system of that kind would not be just.
Against "Select Judge" with ELO in place and "Select Winner" option
1. Select Judge Voting, once made mandatory, is susceptible to varying forms of corruption
a) favoritism towards established members due to established friendships
b) double accounts - we have several users who own parallel accounts. They could nominate themselves as judges, and nobody could tell. Only in randomizing the selection of judges are we relatively certain that no one votes for themselves!
c) bloc parties - people who want to belong to the inner circle of established users, who want to work themselves up through the ranks, may easily be nominated as judges by friends of those members and be promised a place in those ranks for voting for a certain member. This is a particular risk since the established users communicate with each other outside of this site and can thus make promises surreptitiously. This leads to the formation of bloc parties that unanimously will support certain high-ranking users.
2. The decision how the winner was chosen has to be transparent to counter any form of corruption
a) Choice of a winner will always be influenced by multiple factors, including personality/conduct. Voting should always represent the actual process of opinion-forming in order to prevent mere sympathy votes.
b) When a weak debater wins over a new user because he is friends with the judges, this discourages people from debating on this site at all, since they get the feeling they can never beat the established debaters. We will thus have less members willing to stay on this site, and that would be totally against the very idea.
3. ELO ranking deceives new users
a) Since ELO increases steadily even when beating new users, the ELO score tells nothing about the actual quality of a debater. The longer you stay, the higher the ELO.
b) New users who don't know anyone on this site will believe that a high ELO makes a better judge, and will not question the choice of judges or nominate own candidates for judging, thus turning voting over to the "elite" of the site completely, giving them too much power.
4. Delays are discouraging
a) In the "Select Judge" system, you cannot simply start debating, just like it happened in this debate. Once a user accepts, they cannot even type "I accept" before at least one judge has agreed. Now, if the selected judges are on vacation or something, the debate may never start. If the time for giving arguments is short, a user might involuntarily forfeit a round, lest they check the site over and over again, to find out whether they finally may officially accept the debate. This is very frustrating, especially to new users. They come here to debate, not wait for judges they do not know. Selection of the judges has to be randomized among qualified experts AFTER the debate.
b) If the judges do not accept, a lot of time passes, only for the debate to be cancelled. This would discourage even more experienced users.
This site needs new users, and happy ones at that. The "Select Judge" system is only of slight advantage to established users, to new ones it is a discouraging disaster.
It is thus better to abolish ELO than the 7-point-voting, and corruption can only be countered by randomizing voting. In this respect, both existing voting systems show the exact same weaknesses, and neither is of advantage over the other. My opponent's proposal would not ON AVERAGE deliver an improvement.
As long as people can voluntarily decide to judge on a debate, there will always be a change of corruption and trolling. That is the core problem, and my opponent's proposal does nothing to remedy it. New users will still be at a distinct disadvantage, and that causes the current flood of new users who start debates, maybe finish one, but then never return or deliver multiple forfeits.
Thanks all for reading. I look forward to my opponent's complete arguments and rebuttal.
Hierocles forfeited this round.
It appears my opponent is still tied up.
Since we still have several rounds to go, I will not take advantage of this, and delay my rebuttal for one round, hoping that my opponent will return to this debate.
Hierocles forfeited this round.
Well, since my opponent seems unable or unwilling to return, all that's really lef tfor me is to refute his arguments and offer the examples I promised.
1. "Select Judge" voting is no less susceptible to corruption, so this point is moot, see below.
2. a. In order to prove that winner indeed reflects what they should, a detailed RFD is very helpful. The Seven-point-Vote encourages very detailed RFDs, increasing the credibility of the judgement.
Here's an example: http://www.debate.org...
"2. He attackdc both Mikal's and TUF's integrity -- accusing Mikal of "hand-picking judges" and TUF of votebombing, even though he typed out a three-page RFD. Why isn't anyone responding to how utterly asinine that assertion is?"
b. That can happen in "Select Judge" debates, too.
3.a. I say there is no reason to believe this, as I can't really follow without an example. I would like to see any proof offered for this.
b. Same here. I don't even understand what this means.
Open voting has long since been the standard on this site. The site has prospered with this style of voting, so it cannot be called "illegitimate" at all.
Since the instigator pickes the judges, my opponent fails to show how "Select judge" voting does anything to remedy the problems he sees. Taken from the same context of the above example: http://www.debate.org...
"Posted by ESocialBookworm 7 months ago: Why isn't this allowing me to vote? Did you guys choose specific people?
Posted by The_Scapegoat_bleats 7 months ago: Mikal hand-picked his favorite judges."
This was a "Select Judge" debate, and it apparently led to 8 pages of aruments in the comments, a lengthy discussion in the forum (see above link) and a member leaving this site in frustration, accusing the selected judges of conspiring and being incompetent.
As long as judges can be picked, there is a high risk that the loser will suspect foul play afterwards, causing unrest and dissent on this site. Do we wish every debate to end like this? Spamming the forums, heating up tempers in the debates? No, that would be detrimental to the site.
"Choosing a judge, or ideally an odd-number panel of judges, is best because the challenger must approve the judges nominated before accepting insuring that both sides respect the expertise and impartiality of the presiding judge(s)."
This is faulty on several levels. Since I pointed out that the "Select Judge" option easily leads to dissent, whereas things are relatively peaceful with Open Voting, it can hardly e the best option.
Approval of judges requires knowing the judges. This will put new users at a distinct disadvantage, since they can neither really nominate judges for lack of knowledg, nor disapprove of a judge if that said judge has a very high ELO ranking, which makes the judge seem reliable.
"Advantage 3: Having a pool of good judges who have the option to approve or disapprove a debate might help the website curate better by encouraging the best debates and discouraging trolls and circular debates about that have no real clash."
If we allow judges to disapprove a debate, new users will never get a chance to improve. We'd be giving judges way too much power over the content of debates. Power that only belongs with the moderators.
For these reasons, I say "Select Judge" voting is a very bad idea.
There are further disadvantages that can partly even be derived from this very debate here. I will follow my own list from the earlier round now.
Harms 1.a) See the above link, where a user accuses the judges of being friends with the instigator and blames his defeat on that fact.
b) The recent election has shown us that we have double users joining for events of personal interest, especially hindering the win of certain people: http://www.debate.org...
If judges can volunteer for a debate, that's most likely going to happen, too.
4.a) THIS debate, see in the comments and my round 1. The voting system delayed the debate, and most likely those delays made it impossible for my opponent to realize in advance that he wouldn't have time for this debate. I, for one, want to accept a debate and then dive right into it! And isn't that fun what we all want? If we need to wait for several judges to accept before actually starting, most of the fun is already gone.
I extend all arguments and turn this over to my opponent for a last chance to turn this around.
Thanks all for hanging in with me in this tiring debate.
Hierocles forfeited this round.
All that remains is to extend all arguments and hope my opponent is well.
Thanks all for reading.
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