The Instigator
regebro
Con (against)
Winning
18 Points
The Contender
ccstate4peat
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points

Is twitter a useable debating form?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
regebro
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/30/2009 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,007 times Debate No: 9081
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (9)
Votes (4)

 

regebro

Con

I have several times seen people making blatantly incorrect statements on twitter, usually about political subjects. Trying to help the issue by correcting them tends to start a debate. When this happened the last time, I suggested the debate was moved to a better debating forum, and a third party suggested debate.org. However, the second party refused to move, and claimed that Twitter was a fine debating forum.

I will here try to argue that Twitter is in fact one of the worst online forums for debating imaginable.

1. The character limitation of 140 characters means that you either has to split arguments into multiple postings, or oversimplify so much that your arguments turn into bad parodies of themselves. This argument would for example have to be split into over twenty tweets. This is like a debating forum where you only have five seconds to make the argumentation. The only argumentation possible to do in that time is to call your opponent names, and it is also as a result noticeable that debating on Twitter quickly resorts to name calling, distorting the opponents viewpoints and other bad behaviour.

2. Tweets end up in the wrong order, with last tweets first, making argumentation hard to follow, as you have to browse down to the start of the argument, and then read 140 characters, back up and read the next 140 characters, and so on until you get to the last part. This makes it hard to follow the other sides argumentation. Making it hard to follow the argument of the other side is not conductive to a good debate.

3. There is no connection between the arguments of the different sides. It is therefore impossible to see what argument a counter argument counters, unless you quote it in it's entirety. Which of course makes the tweets even longer, turning a twenty-tweet argument into a thirty-tweet argument. This would be equivalent to recording a public debate on TV; but only transmitting it publicly after having edited the debate so that all arguments of one opponent is transmitted first, and all the arguments of the other opponent last, irrespective of their real order.

4. There is no separation between different debates, or even between debates and other tweets. That means different discussions becomes mashed up and hard to separate. Also, since other tweets are mixed in, this is like having a debate in a subway car, with the opponents screaming at each other from different ends of the car, over the hubbub and noise in the car, while simultaneously also talking to every one else in the car.

All in all, debating on Twitter is like recording a debate in an environment where you can hardly hear each other, are limited to ten seconds argumentation, that then are cut up and played in reverse, one person at a time, all discussions at once, mixed in with random conversations that person had that had nothing to do with the conversations. It is hard to imagine worse forums for debating, except forums that are physically dangerous.

I therefore ask anybody who proposes discussion on Twitter to explain why it is a good forum for debate, and just as good or better as a standard discussion forum or debate.org or similar.
ccstate4peat

Pro

Twitter is no where near being one of the worst websites to debate on. http://www.dwcconsultants.com.... This is a website where you can't even type anything. Twitter is clearly better than dwcconsultants.com because you can voice an opinion to the world. http://debate.com... Here is another one. You cannot type anything and therefore, you cannot share your opinions.

If you were to look at every website in the world, twitter would be one of the best simply because you can prove your point to the entire world. Even if it's 140 characters, more people see it and debate it. Twitter is a good site to debate on simply because you can. Even if you wanted to, you can't debate on sites like http://www.webcorp.com.... (Sorry Phil)
Debate Round No. 1
regebro

Con

I would first like to thank my opponent for his considerable bravery in taking on this topic.

Indeed, there are websites where you can not type. There are locations where you can not speak. But are these debating forums at all? Debate is about exchanging arguments in support for various positions. If you can not do that, I would claim it simply is not a debating forum at all. The examples ccstate4peat are not examples of debating forums that are worse than Twitter, it's examples of things that are not debating forums at all.

And of course, even if there would be a forum that is worse than Twitter, that does not make Twitter good.

My opponents says that Twitter is good because you can prove your point to the world. I say Twitter is bad because you can not. The way Twitter is designed makes is practically impossible to argue in a fair and factual manner, and that therefore, the only think you can prove on Twitter is how good you are at insulting others.
ccstate4peat

Pro

I'm judging sites on a curve, this means twitter is one of the best. There are sites that are made for debating that are worse than twitter. http://www.convinceme.net... is an example of this. Anyone can post an argument whenever they want and it is difficult to piece it back together. Wait, that's just like twitter, but you can use more than 140 characters, wouldn't that make it better? NO, there are only 8,187 people on convinceme and odds are, you don't personally know any of them [1]. 8,187 people is nothing compared to the 12.1 people on twitter [2]. You can show your opinion to far more many people, and there is a better chance that the people who see your debate and pick a winner of it are unbiased.

What was the time limit for posting an argument for this? I have 8 hours and 50 minutes left and I accepted this debate yesterday.

[1] http://www.convinceme.net...

[2] http://mashable.com...
Debate Round No. 2
regebro

Con

Thank you for you answer, but unfortunately it does not take us forward. Evidently my answer must have been very unclear, as you just repeat your previous argument, as if my answer did not exist

Again the question is not if there are websites that are less conductive to debate, as this is irrelevant.

The question is if Twitter is usable as a debating form. I claim that it isn't, and that it is in fact one of the worst debating forums there is. A web site on which you can not debate is not a debating forum at all, and therefore irrelevant to this question.

I excuse my self for this repetition and hope I was clearer this time.

But if we take a look at your question, that there are sites that are worse for debate, because you can't write on them at all, in fact I do not agree with that either. These sites are of course not debating forums at all, and therefore irrelevant to the question, but even if we do accept them as debating forums, I am forced to conclude that they still are better than Twitter. Because a site where you can not write an argument nor answer to that argument, you also can not misunderstand, misinterpret or distort the oppositions arguments. Nor can you make strawmen, intentionally go off topic, or insult your opponent. Obviously this doesn't make those sites good, because you can also not argue logically, factually, convince your opponent or readers. So they are still horrible for debating. But on Twitter, because the format forces you to be short or split up arguments, you must be emotional, oversimplifying or confusing.

In a good site you can choose if you want to oversimplify or not. In a bad site you can not oversimplify, and also not not oversimplify, as you can do nothing. Twitter is worse than this as it *forces* you to oversimplify or go for emotional arguments. The result is that any debate on Twitter will turn to mudslinging within a couple of exchanges. I would therefore say that Twitter is a worse debating site even compared to sites where debates are simply impossible.

But in the end, this digression can be ignored. This is not about websites, it's about forms of debate. And most websites are not forms of debate, and therefore irrelevant to the question.
ccstate4peat

Pro

Someone didn't read my argument. First of all you didn't answer my question about how long I had to post an argument which I think is 24 hours. Second of all, I did not repeat my entire argument, I further proved part of it with nifty things called sources which you didn't use, and I added to it. You did not follow the link to http://www.convinceme.net.... This site is clearly worse than twitter as I proved in my last argument. When you try to find sites that are for debating, you find sites like this one, convinceme, and http://www.createdebate.com.... Create Debate doesn't even let you debate 1 on 1. 1 person posts a debate and a bunch of random people post their arguments for whichever side they agree with. On that site, you can't debate a friend, (or foe).

Out of the three apparently most popular sites specifically made for debate, this site, convince me, and create debate, twitter beats two of them. If you are talking about forms of debate, twitter is in the top half.

Vote Pro!
Debate Round No. 3
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by ToastOfDestiny 7 years ago
ToastOfDestiny
8,187 people is nothing compared to the 12.1 people on twitter.

PHAIL.
Posted by regebro 7 years ago
regebro
And I didn't answer the question about how long to answer the argument because it's off topic, and you get to know it when you accept the challenge. And I find ending the debate with "You didn't answer" when i did kinda... well, weak.
Posted by regebro 7 years ago
regebro
And twitter is still worse, as all the negatives he took up with the other sites are true for Twitter as well. But.... I forgot to mention that. :-) I should have had more rounds. Ah well, you live and learn.
Posted by MTGandP 7 years ago
MTGandP
RFD
Conduct: TIE.
S&G: TIE.
Args: CON. Pro didn't really make the case that Twitter is good, only that other sites are worse.
Sources: PRO. Pro had many more than Con, most of which were relevant to the debate.
Posted by TheSkeptic 7 years ago
TheSkeptic
Just because there may be worse debating forums than Twitter, doesn't mean that Twitter itself isn't still a horrible debating website. PRO got this confused, and thus lost the debate in the beginning.
Posted by regebro 7 years ago
regebro
Meh, I forgot to counter the convinceme argument. Bleh. My bad.

Anyway, all of the drawbacks of convinceme are also drawbacks on twitter, but twitter has more drawbacks. So good effort, but it doesn't hold up.
Posted by Clockwork 7 years ago
Clockwork
Semantics *are* destined. For some reason my internal spellcheck is off.
Posted by Clockwork 7 years ago
Clockwork
Semantics is destined to dominate this debate.
Posted by JBlake 7 years ago
JBlake
Interesting and unique topic. Agreed with Con. I'll be back to see how this debate unfolds.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by crushilista 7 years ago
crushilista
regebroccstate4peatTied
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Vote Placed by rimshot515 7 years ago
rimshot515
regebroccstate4peatTied
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Vote Placed by MTGandP 7 years ago
MTGandP
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Vote Placed by JBlake 7 years ago
JBlake
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