The Instigator
solo
Pro (for)
Losing
40 Points
The Contender
Raisor
Con (against)
Winning
41 Points

Grammar, spelling and punctuation should be taken into consideration when voting upon a debate.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/2/2008 Category: Education
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,203 times Debate No: 1274
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (19)
Votes (23)

 

solo

Pro

If a debater wants to be taken seriously on this site, they should have respect for the voters and use good grammar, proper spelling and punctuation. Sentences that start with lower-case letters tell me that the debater does not wish to be respected, as s/he doesn't have to respect to present their arguments in a respectful and respectable manner.

Debate.org has members that know English as their second language. I've noticed that some of these users put users that speak English as a first language to shame in more debates.
Raisor

Con

First I will address your points:

1)Lets assume that you are right that "If a debater wants to be taken seriously [or respected]…they should use good grammar, etc." So, debaters with poor grammar, etc. don't want to be taken seriously. How does that impact the judges voting? If the debater is debating well, what does it matter if she does not want to be taken seriously? A parallel case: If a boxer is holding his own or winning in a boxing match, what does it matter if he wants to be taken seriously? The only relevant factor is the punches made in the ring.

2)How is grammar, etc. the criteria for presenting arguments in a respectable manner? Who decided that and on what authority? Why should capitalization change the respectability of a good point? More importantly, what role does respectability play in a judge's decision?

3)Your mention of members with English as a second language is noted but irrelevant.

My underlying point is this: How does anything you said mean that a judge's decision should be based on grammar? You talk about respectability and being taken seriously but make no attempt at explaining how these relate to judge decision. At this point in the debate you have not made ANY connection to how grammar should affect judge decision.

My offense:

4)i. The purpose of grammar, punctuation, and spelling is clarity. Ultimately these are all near-arbitrary norms set by society. They are only important insofar as they are useful. They are only useful insofar as the preserve clarity. If grammar, etc. has no impact on the clarity of an expression, then it is irrelevant.

ii. CLARITY should be taken into account when a judge votes. Clarity is relevant to the debate because it is a part of how well the debater expresses and defends his position. Clarity is an indicator of style and skill. Grammar, etc. are only relevant with relation to clarity.

5) The only considerations a judge should have is the quality and skill of the points being made. The point of debate is to beat an opponent in argument. The only thing the judge needs to do is see which debater better defended his position.
Debate Round No. 1
solo

Pro

<< 1)Lets assume that you are right that "If a debater wants to be taken seriously [or respected]…they should use good grammar, etc." So, debaters with poor grammar, etc. don't want to be taken seriously. How does that impact the judges voting?>>

It impacts the judges' voting just as the individual judge sees fit.

<>

Irrelevant. I posted, "If a debater wants to be taken seriously on this site, they should have respect for the voters and use good grammar, proper spelling and punctuation." I didn't not post anything about debaters not wanting to be taken seriously, so that point is moot to this debate.

<>

This is clearly not a parallel case, as the physicality of your boxing analogy has nothing to do with the academics of debating on Debate.org.

<<2)How is grammar, etc. the criteria for presenting arguments in a respectable manner?>>

It is the way that society's respected express their thoughts and opinions; it has been this way for centuries.

<>

Society decided that on their own authority.

<>

Lack of capitalization, when it is due, screams idiocy. How many people can really respect an idiot? There are not that many.

<<3)Your mention of members with English as a second language is noted but irrelevant.>>

You are totally and completely wrong. It is very relevant that the debaters that learn proper English as a second language are mentioned. They don't learn it haphazardly. Linguistic structural constants are observed and they are what allow these individuals to effectively communicate with not only people that speak English as a first language, but also people that speak English as a second language as well, as they do not all speak the same first language. Good grammar is essential to arguing in online debates because it is too easy to misunderstand someone even when it is used. To abandon it only promotes confusion.

<>

Do you give respect to people that don't give you the same respect? I don't. The point is, if someone isn't going to give you respect, then do the same. If a debate seems to be a draw and one of the debaters couldn't be bothered to use capital letters, then vote against that argument. It's just that simple.

<>

My apologies. I forget that sometimes when I explain things that seem as easy as "2 + 2 = 4", that others require it to be as easy as "1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 4". I hope you've made the necessary connections to move forward now, as this is the final round.

<< 4)i. The purpose of grammar, punctuation, and spelling is clarity. Ultimately these are all near-arbitrary norms set by society. They are only important insofar as they are useful. They are only useful insofar as the preserve clarity. If grammar, etc. has no impact on the clarity of an expression, then it is irrelevant.>>

Again, you are wrong. If that were true then books would be partially punctuated from start to end.

<< ii. CLARITY should be taken into account when a judge votes. Clarity is relevant to the debate because it is a part of how well the debater expresses and defends his position. Clarity is an indicator of style and skill. Grammar, etc. are only relevant with relation to clarity.>>

I agree and clarity does rely on good grammar, proper spelling and punctuation.

<< 5) The only considerations a judge should have is the quality and skill of the points being made. The point of debate is to beat an opponent in argument. The only thing the judge needs to do is see which debater better defended his position.>>

Again, I agree that quality and skill are vital to winning a debate. My point is that more things should factor into determining a winner.

Thanks for the debate!
Raisor

Con

I am going to keep the argument groupings I used in R1.

1) You still have provided no reason why grammar, etc. should influence a judge's decision. The topic of debate is "Grammar, etc. should be taken into consideration when voting up," so it is your job as Pro to demonstrate that a judge should consider grammar etc. when voting. If you fail to do this, you lose.

Your response to how "being taken seriously" should affect voting: "As the individual judge sees fit."

If the judge should decide whether or not the issue should affect voting, you have failed you job as pro. You must demonstrate that the judge should take the issue into account. Demonstrating that the judge should do whatever he thinks is right is entirely different.

Later you come close to answering the issue: "The point is, if someone isn't going to give you respect, then do the same. If a debate seems to be a draw and one of the debaters couldn't be bothered to use capital letters, then vote against that argument. It's just that simple."

Once again, what does owing debaters/judges respect have to do with voting? Whether or not you respect someone is a personal issue. Voting based on respect for a person is voting based on a personal issue. Voting should be based on the quality of the arguments, not the judge's opinion of the character of the debater.

You object to my boxing example. My point was simply to show that what matters are the events that relate to the competition, i.e., punches and arguments. The opinions of the quality of the competitor are irrelevant. You can think a debater is a sleazy crook, but if he makes better arguments, he has won the competition. Respect has nothing to do with winning.

I'm sorry for being so slow and not seeing what you claim is as obvious as "2+2=4" Perhaps if you had explained the connection at some point in the round, I would understand how you think the two connect.

2) I will concede that poor grammar, etc. shows that someone is an idiot or isn't respectable, but only because I don't need to win this point to win the debate. My opponent still has not provided a connection between being unrespectable and deserving to lose.

3) The point of some people having English as a second language is still irrelevant. I appreciate that you want to bring attention to the importance of grammar in teaching languages, but that does not explain why grammar should affect voting.

4) To prove my point that the purpose of grammar is clarity and that grammar has no independent value, lets look at my opponent's statements:

"Linguistic structural constants are observed and they are what allow these individuals to effectively communicate. . . Good grammar is essential to arguing in online debates because it is too easy to misunderstand someone even when it is used. To abandon it only promotes confusion."

Grammar is needed "to effectively communicate." This means that grammar is valuable BECAUSE it enables communication. If clear communication occurs without the use of proper grammar, then no harm has been done.
Why can't we abandon grammar? Because it "promotes confusion." However, if someone is not using grammar and confusion does not ensue (i.e., they aren't using grammar but their meaning is still quite clear), then the lack of grammar is unimportant.

Look at it like this:

Grammar is good because it lets us communicate clearly. Grammar is the means to the end of clear communication. If the "end" can be achieved through a different means, that is fine.

My opponent wants to know why books are published with proper grammar if what I say is true. The answer: publishers follow norms that were contingent products of history. It just happens that books are published the way they are and the fact has no impact on this debate.

5) I stand by my point that quality and skill of argument are the ONLY relevant points of consideration for a judge to have. I clearly state my reason: these are the only two issues relevant to the purpose of debate.

My opponent did not contest that the purpose of debate is to beat the opponent in argument.

My opponent provided no reason why the judge should look beyond the two factors relevant to the goal of a debate when voting.

I win this debate for the following reasons:

1)My opponent may have won that poor grammar makes you look dumb and unrespectable, but he failed to show why a judge should consider grammar in deciding the winner of a debate round.

2)I have demonstrated that the judge should only look at factors relevant to the goal of debate: beating an opponent in argument. Grammar is not a factor relevant to this goal, so it should not be evaluated.
Debate Round No. 2
19 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by solo 9 years ago
solo
I'm sorry that the manner in which I write thoroughly confuses you, AREA. I thought common sense allowed the person to determine that "spelling and punctuation" weren't a pair. Thanks for the comment. I'm sure all the voters appreciate you clearing this matter up, as they probably confused the three (grammar, spelling, and punctuation) to be three items, as opposed to one and a pair. Thanks again!
Posted by AREA 9 years ago
AREA
Rich89, Solo

It is often thought to be optional, but in fact, there is anuance to it that rings wrong for me.

List 1: A, B, and C.
Each is independent.

List 2: A, B and C.
A is independent of B and C.
But B and C are a pair.

Example: There are four houses on this street:
My house, her house, Jack's house, and Sara and Michael's house.

If you add a comma between Sara and Michael's house, then it seems like there are actually 5 houses. This, Sara and Michale share ownership. They are linked through that shared ownership in a way that they are not linked with Jack, etc.

Sandwiches I eat:
Banannas and peanutbutter, chicken, cheese and ham, and peanutbutter and jelly.

The existance of the comma matters a lot. If we go by the rule that the comma is optional, then how can we be sure that the true meaning of the example above isn't that I like jelly sandwiches, and also peanut butter sandwiches?
You are better off using the comma.

BTW, I realize that the views expressed in debate are not necessarily our own. I just don't want anyone to share the view solo's expressed in this debate, thus I argue vs it.
Posted by rich89 9 years ago
rich89
no it's definitely required. Commas are optional sometimes, like when setting off a prepositional phrase or the second to last item in a list of compound subjects or compound objects. Commas are definitely needed when you have multiple clauses in a sentence....but whatever it's not really a big deal. Either way...you get my point.
Posted by bamadebater 9 years ago
bamadebater
Exactly. I misspelled grammar and it didn't change anyones life. And you still got the point of my message. So there's the point I was trying to make.
Posted by solo 9 years ago
solo
rich89, thank you for creating an account just to tell me that, but you are wrong. The comma is optional. Perhaps you should finish your high school education, even though I'm sure kids learn that before Junior High School.

Oh, and if you missed that, I'm questioning the authenticity of your account. Thanks for voting on this particular debate!
Posted by Pluto2493 9 years ago
Pluto2493
"My feeling is that grammer and punctuation are important but not life altering. "

I love when people spell GRAMMAR wrong. It cracks me up.
Posted by bamadebater 9 years ago
bamadebater
And on another note I voted for the Con. I believe he did the better debating.

Loved the boxing analogy by the way. :)
Posted by bamadebater 9 years ago
bamadebater
I'm really sure why this topic was even created but whatever. My feeling is that grammer and punctuation are important but not life altering.

The fact that Pro said because someone doesn't have proper grammer or spelling makes them an idiot is absurd and very DISRESPECTFUL! Ironically I believe this person was talking about respecting someone. That was not shocking though. Judging someone based on how well they can spell or use grammer is wrong. There are lots of people that can not speak well that are brilliant. There are people I know that can not spell worth a darn but they can spin circles around you in Math or Science. My point being: Everyone has their own talents. Just because someone doesn't have the same talents and concerns that you do doesn't make them an idiot and they should be RESPECTED for THEIR talents.
Posted by rich89 9 years ago
rich89
>I agree and clarity does rely on good grammar, proper spelling and punctuation.

Solo,

This is a compound sentence composed of two independent clauses. Because of this fact, there should be a comma between the first independent clause and the conjunction "and". Somehow, I was able to see past that and understand the point you were trying to convey.

According to raisor's interpretation, I should look past this mistake. However under your interpretation, which you have convinced me is correct despite your grammar, I must take into account sloppy grammar. Consequently, I can't vote for you because you haven't effectively engaged in "respectable" communication techniques.

thats weigh irOnic!!1
Posted by solo 9 years ago
solo
Thanks for your comment Capt.Herp! It's appreciated!
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Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
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Vote Placed by Grandma 9 years ago
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