The Instigator
MassDebator255
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
Double_R
Con (against)
Winning
54 Points

Debate.org should reform its voting criteria

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Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision - Required
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/12/2011 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,654 times Debate No: 18317
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (9)

 

MassDebator255

Pro

The voting system here is not designed to ensure objectivity...it focuses and awards points for arbitrary things like spelling and grammar. The voting process focus should be mainly on whether or not one persons arguments were better or more convincing than the others. The current way the voting is structured, you could have the better arguments, the better logic and reasoning, but because you have made a grammatical error, you are penalized. This should have no bearing on whether you win or lose a debate or whether your arguments are sound. There are other flaws, that will be covered in rnd 2.

First round for acceptance and preliminary statements.
Double_R

Con

Thanks to my opponent for instigating this challenge.

Criteria(n): a standard of judgment or criticism; a rule or principle for evaluating or testing something. (1)

Note that we are not debating whether the voting system is perfect, but whether the criteria used to decide a winner should be changed. Debate.org (DDO) has put together an article that explains each individual point(2). If my opponent has not yet done so, I encourage him to be familiar with it before posting his Round 2 response.

Opening Statement

DDO has put together a system that includes everything necessary to determine who should rightfully be considered the winner.

Convincing arguments
: Obvious, and agreed by Pro and I

Spelling and Grammar
: Helps to determine who made their arguments easy to understand. Substance is extremely important, but you can not convince someone to agree with your position if you do not effectively communicate that position.

Sources
: Anyone can make stuff up or get their information from websites that make stuff up. Reliable sources are crucial if any fact oriented debate.

Conduct
: Proper conduct is necessary for a quality debate. Poor conduct distracts the reader from the issue being debated and lessens the credibility of their arguments.

Each of these criterion are necessary for properly determining the winner and DDO should not consider changing it.

Debate Round No. 1
MassDebator255

Pro

Thank you to my opponent for a swift response...

I do agree that structure is important when evaluating a debate. But the most import part of deciding who has won a debate is their arguments. Grammar and spelling are not big enough to take away the meaning of a debate. If a persons grammar and spelling is so bad as to render an argument unreadable, or not understandable, then the rightful vote would be placed anyways. What I'm saying is that if I cant understand or read what PRO writes, but can understand what CON writes, then I would vote for CON. But lets say I make a few grammatical mistakes, though my arguments are better, then I should still win despite my grammatical errors. This is not the case at times with this website.

Also, there is no clear definition in voting of what Conduct is...in one debate, I had to forfeit a round(out of 4) because my power went out from a Storm. Nevertheless, I was not hindered in any way by this forfeit, I was still able to complete all other rounds and make clear and concise arguments. Yet I was penalized because I forfeited one round.

Another point...in two debates, the voters have my opponent and I tied in the effectiveness of our arguments...yet both agreed with me at the end of the debate...there are no points awarded for agreeing at the end of the debate...it would be reasonable for that to be the tiebreaker. If the voters agree with me at the end of the debate, that means that my opponents arguments were not convincing enough to sway the voters opinion and since they couldn't decide who had the better arguments, by default (since they agreed with me) the points for arguments should go to me....there should be no tie for arguments. Unless the result was a tie for the category" who do you agree with after the debate" and a tie for who had the better arguments.".

vote PRO
Double_R

Con

In round one I posted a link that outlines the voting criteria on DDO and encouraged my opponent to read it. Judging by his round two response it does not appear he has done so. I will post it again:


(1) http://www.debate.org...


Arguments


Pro states that the most important part of deciding any debate is the arguments. I agree and so does DDO. This is why the question of most convincing arguments is worth more points then the other questions.


Grammar


When evaluating the grammar aspect of voting Pro seems to agree that grammar in terms of understanding the argument should be considered. He states that a not understandable argument would not be considered convincing, which is true. But what about a difficult to understand argument? This is the point where grammar comes in. Many voters can understand an argument because they have knowledge of the subject or because they put in the time needed to understand what was being written. If a debater is not clear and his readers barely understand what he is saying then his arguments would still stand, but he did not communicate them effectively. This is an obvious aspect of debating that should be judged.


Conduct


Pro states that there is no clear definition of conduct in voting. The following is the explanation provided in the article I referenced in round one and again above(1):


Conduct: “Which debater, on balance, was more composed, and used fewer or no personal attacks against their opponent? Improper conduct includes personal insults, profanities, and bad sportsmanlike behavior.”


It is true that many members do not vote on conduct based on this definition but this is no fault of DDO’s voting criteria.


Who do you agree with?


Finally Pro states that the question of who a voter agrees with should be considered in certain circumstances. The whole point of judging a debate is to decide who made the stronger arguments, which in most cases has nothing to do with who the voters agree with in the end. This is because people will agree or disagree for a number of different reasons. Take this debate for example. The very first comment left on this debate reads:


"I agree with Pro for now, but for different reasons.”


If I do not address these “different reasons” this member may not agree with me at the end of this debate. But I can’t address his reasons if I do not know what they are. As a debater my responsibility is to refute the arguments made by my opponent, not the voters. In one debate in particular (I will not post because I do not want to sound like I’m whining) I made an argument in round one that showed why my interpretation of the resolution was valid. My opponent conceded my validity argument by not answering to it. Yet I had two voters vote against me because they did not agree with my interpretation of the resolution. I was fully prepared to defend my validity argument but my opponent did not challenge it. The voters by disagreeing with me gave my opponent points for an argument he never made or defended.


Voters will rarely if ever change their opinions because of reading a debate. This should not be a burden placed on any debater. The last piece of evidence I will give to support this fact is this forum post:


http://www.debate.org...


In this post the topic asks if anyone has ever changed their mind as the result of a debate. Many members made it clear that they have either never changed their minds because of one or rarely ever do, which just goes to show how little this has to do with who made the stronger argument.

Debate Round No. 2
MassDebator255

Pro

I want to thank my opponent for his swift response.

I applaud my opponent, he makes a convincing argument, except it only sounds good on paper, not in real life... I have read DDO's rules and voting criteria, but that still doesn't make the voting system more objective.

There are no safeguards to insure objectivity. People vote without even reading the debate. Some people know you have won, but will look for anything to site you for, such as a misspelled word, or a tiny grammatical error. They want to appear impartial, but still find fault so they don't have to vote for you.

Why is the first two criteria even included if there are no points awarded for it?

If you agree with pro BEFORE the debate, but change your mind to agree with CON after the debate, then Con deserves point for swaying the opinion of the voter. Yet this is not the case with this site.

And links...why does links really matter? The argument is what is most important..I cant stand reading some debates, where every 2 or 3 sentences there's another link...if there "fact" seems sketchy, I have Google at my fingertips to validate his claim..if its bunk, then he probably wont get my vote...I'm not saying links should not be considered, or that they should be removed as a criteria, but maybe should not be as many points, or should be combined with another criteria...anyone can find a .gov link to make it look official. This does not make their argument better.

Conclusion....

This system is flawed because there aren't enough points given to a person who has the most convincing argument. Points awarded are 3. Points for everything else combined is 4. So basically you could have the better argument, (which is what is the most important in a debate) but because maybe you had a few grammatical errors, maybe your "conduct" wasn't as good(basically you didn't kiss your opponents but) and your links didn't have .gov at the end, and you still lose because the system puts more value on trivial things....The system should award enough points the argument to equal the sum of all the rest..so that way a person cant win even though their argument is weaker...
This should be modelled after oral debate. IN oral debate, the MOST important thing is your argument. In an oral debate, all other things are secondary. You can fail at the rest as long as your argument is best, and still win....

well I hope this is enough, the system is flawed and should be reformed...if you have ever been burned in a debate that you KNOW YOU SHOULD HAVE WON, the vote PRO.

Vote PRO.
Double_R

Con

The resolution states that the voting criteria of DDO should be reformed. It does not state that the point allocation should be adjusted or that votes on this site are often objective. Pro has made few arguments in this round to affirm his resolution.

Rebuttals

Pro starts off by stating that there are no safeguards to ensure objectivity, and supports this by stating that people vote without even having read the debate. What does this have to do with voting criteria? Pros argument here is against the voters not the system, which is completely irrelevant to this debate.

Pro asks: “Why is the first two criteria even included if there are no points awarded for it?”

The point of asking the first two questions (who do you agree with before/after the debate?) is to separate the concept of who you agree with, from the concept of who made the stronger arguments. I made my point very clear on why this is important in round 2. Pro did not refute my argument but instead seemed to applaud it (on paper). Fortunately for me this is a debate, and is therefore judged on paper.

Pro then states: If you agree with pro BEFORE the debate, but change your mind to agree with CON after the debate, then Con deserves point for swaying the opinion of the voter. Yet this is not the case with this site.”

This is a very illogical statement. There is no possible scenario where a debater can change a voters mind on an issue without making a stronger argument.

Sources

Pro never argued against my sources contention in round one, and has chosen to bring it up here in round 3. He claims that by having google at his fingertips he can validate any claim being made. First of all fact checking an argument is the responsibility of the debaters not the voters. But more importantly, Pros assertion that valid links do not make an argument any better is blatantly false. An argument supported with facts is clearly better then an argument with no factual support.

Pros conclusion

Pro now changes the resolution from reforming voting criteria, to reforming the point system. Of course even this argument is deeply flawed. Pro states that you can have the more convincing argument and still lose. This is actually true, and it should be that way. Debating is not about who has the more convincing argument, it is about who makes the more convincing argument. To make the more convincing argument you should be able to not just have it, but also communicate it (grammar), support it with facts (sources), and keep the attention focused on it instead of distracting personal attacks (conduct). The person who does all of this better on balance should get the victory, which is the way the current system works.

My Conclusion

Pro gave it a good effort but he did not have a rebuttal to any significant argument I made and resorted to changing the criteria of his own debate to keep his arguments alive. His entire case is nothing more then a collection of his personal opinions of what a debate should be with no practical solutions to any of the problems he addressed. Voters do not always follow the voting system when deciding the winner of a debate. In this case the voters are the issue not the system, therefore reforming the system would have no positive effects and take away from what I have established is in fact a just system.


Id like to thank my opponent for this debate and wish him the best of luck.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by YYW 5 years ago
YYW
"Much like if Larry Craig came on DDO to debate against homosexuality." -OrEle

OMGLOL
Posted by Double_R 5 years ago
Double_R
MassDebator255, WTF? I debated this topic with you thinking you actually cared about fair votes. How in Gods name do you actually defend your voting record?
Posted by Double_R 5 years ago
Double_R
Funny you mention it. Someone actually voted for me like that:
http://www.debate.org...

Although he did not give me the most convincing argument I don't think that was really what he thought. I think it was just his way of giving the more convincing argument to the person he agreed with while giving more points to the person who made the better argument. Seabiscuits case however was a clear excuse to votebomb me.

BTW Notice my (uh hum) validity argument in round 1.
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
I agree with Con. Who has ever won arguments but lost the overall vote? I've never seen anyone give a 4-3 with the 3 being for arguments.
Posted by BlackVoid 5 years ago
BlackVoid
I agree with Pro for now, but for different reasons.
9 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Vote Placed by wierdman 5 years ago
wierdman
MassDebator255Double_RTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Not much competition.
Vote Placed by Lordknukle 5 years ago
Lordknukle
MassDebator255Double_RTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Obvious
Vote Placed by BlackVoid 5 years ago
BlackVoid
MassDebator255Double_RTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Whats there to say that hasnt already been said...
Vote Placed by Ore_Ele 5 years ago
Ore_Ele
MassDebator255Double_RTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: It may be "outside" evidence, but massdebator255's own voting record shows that he does not care about quality votes. As such, his arguments hold no weight. Much like if Larry Craig came on DDO to debate against homosexuality.
Vote Placed by larztheloser 5 years ago
larztheloser
MassDebator255Double_RTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:33 
Reasons for voting decision: Arguments to pro in a very close debate. Pro had to show one issue with the voting system that required reform. I felt pro could have had more of a model (how it will change), but ultimately gave good reasons why it should change - trivialization and objectivity. Con shot himself in the foot right at the end when he admitted voters do not always follow the system, suggesting some sort of problem. Con did show the trivial matters were important, but failed to tell us why they merited more points.
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 5 years ago
Man-is-good
MassDebator255Double_RTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
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Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Massdebater constantly tried to change the resolution (from a reform in the voting criteria to that of a points system) and lost conduct for that. He made several illogical claims, such as a) voters should have the job of determining an argument's validity and could not address the resolution (his argument about the system's inability to cover objectivity, while valid, concerns VOTERS, not the system itself)..
Vote Placed by ReformedArsenal 5 years ago
ReformedArsenal
MassDebator255Double_RTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's argument's are not compelling enough to outweigh Con's critiques.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
MassDebator255Double_RTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Arguments to Con for effectively showing the importance of sources, and communication. The assertion of making rather than having the more convincing args was made very well. Sources to Con for actually pointing out that the voters personal opinions don't change and backing it up with DDO surveys. SG to Con for better organization and presentation. Pro should learn to break up his arguments into points. Conduct to con just for the heck of it. And let's face it, Pro was trolling anyway.
Vote Placed by kohai 5 years ago
kohai
MassDebator255Double_RTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
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Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Bombing the bomber (this was obvious anyway)