The Instigator
jm_notguilty
Pro (for)
Winning
13 Points
The Contender
Mestari
Con (against)
Losing
9 Points

NEWBIE TOURNEY: Executing Criminals is Justified. (Death Penalty Debate)

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
jm_notguilty
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/13/2011 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,928 times Debate No: 17895
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (13)
Votes (7)

 

jm_notguilty

Pro

Greetings to my opponent.

I wish him luck as we participate in this DDO Tourney.

Debating Standards:

Standard debating rules/ethics will apply. 72 hours of argumentation in this 3 round debate. 8K character limit, RFD voting style lasting 2 weeks.

R1- Opening Statements (No evidence should be presented yet).
R2- Arguments/Rebuttals
R3- Final Rebuttals/Summary/Closings

Definitions:

Death Penalty/Capital Punishment- is the sentence of death upon a person by judicial process as a punishment for an offence. [1]
To execute- to inflict capital punishment on; put to death according to law. [2]
Criminals- a person guilty or convicted of a crime.[3]
Justified- to show (an act, claim, statement, etc.) to be just or right. [4]


Opening:

I will argue that the death penalty gives justice to the ones who were victimized in the past, it's justified to a victim's point of view. It's better than life without parole, and LWOP doesn't exactly mean 'life sentence'. Because anything can happen; what are the chances of the serial rapist breaking out of prison and never coming back, or laws being changed, it can affect the sentencing laws which affects prison.

Saying that, killers may be out in no time because of the change. More people will be victomized, innocent lives will be affected. Murder/rape can occur.

What about the chances of a lunatic maniac going on a killing spree? Criminals are likely to commit more crimes when out, that's why DP is better, it can save potential lives, outside/inside prison, it prevents the criminal to commit more crimes, it prevents murder and death.

I might be presenting more arguments not mentioned here later on, and I will provide evidence to support my claims in the next round. Good luck to my opponent.

Sources Used:

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://dictionary.reference.com...
[3] http://dictionary.reference.com...
[4] http://dictionary.reference.com...

Nothing further for now.
Mestari

Con

Okay, I had originally written an 8000 word case, knowing that I would have a clear advantage as you would have to respond to that and I would have the ability in the 2nd round to add completely new contentions that require evidence. I decided it would be poor sportsmanship though, and decided to copy it to a word file to be used in round 2. I will instead only use this round to outline my arguments as you did to be fair, even though the only requirement was to not have evidence presented.

Opening

The burden of proof lies entirely with the pro. Something that is unjust is not just. There can be infinite conceptions of why something may be just, therefore it is impossibe to negate all of them. I can only negate what my opponent presents in his arguments and prove the death penalty unjust through conceptions of justice introduced within the round.

C1: Justice is egalitarian in nature. The criminal justice system is arbitrary and racist when applying the death penalty. Therefore executing criminals is not justified.

C2: Justice is a mechanism to apply morality. Morality doesn't exist, therefore justice doesn't exist. If justice does not exist then actions cannot be just, and therefore cannot be justified.

C3: Justice is utilitarian in nature. For an action to be justified it must increase overall utility. The universe is infinite, meaning that there is an infinite amount of utility. Thus, no action can increase utility as infinity + 1 still equals infinity. Therefore no action is justified.

C4: Justice is defined by social contract theory. While harming others engaged in the same contract may require you to lose some individual freedoms and go to jail, you can never be removed from the contract by the government.

C5: Justice is defined as libertarianism. The death penalty denies individual liberties and thus is not just.

C6: Epistemic skepticism. We don't know anything, therefore we cannot know if executing criminals is justified.

I understand that my arguments are contradictory. They are designed like that for a reason, as to test the affirmative position. If any of my contentions hold true at the end of the debate, that is a reason why the Pro has not upheld his burden of proof in convincing the judges that the death penalty is justified. In essence, I'm testing all of the alternatives to affirmation. If my opponent challenges my decision to run arguments that are contradictory in nature, I ask him to let me know in round 2 and I will introduce an argument of my own in round 2 that explains why multiple world theory is good for debate.

I reserve the right to "kick" or stop defending any argument in my case at any point within this debate. Each of my arguments serve as an independent reason to vote Con. Thus I only need to win 1 contention to win the debate. Also, if my opponent turns a contention, I may stop defending it and it will no longer be considered by the judges. If my opponent is opposed to this strategy he should let me know in round 2 so I can introduce an argument explaining why conditionality is good for debate.

I also reserve the right to introduce arguments not listed in this outline in round 2, as it is a round designated for arguments to be presented.
Debate Round No. 1
jm_notguilty

Pro

I thank my opponent for his response.

Thank you for pointing out your contradictory statements, I am okay on challenging them and I have no objections to your strategy.

As you stated, you will need to negate all my following arguments regarding this debate, weather the DP (Death Penalty) is justified or not, is it acceptable or justifiable to execute criminals (particularly murderers) or not, does it give justice to the victims, etc.

MY ARGUMENTS:

Morality and the Death Penalty

The definition of morality is the conformity to the rules of right conduct; moral or virtuous conduct [1]. We are human, and humans are moral beings in nature, and in our nature, we appreciate, honor and glorify good deeds and kindness, and we punish and condemn the ones who do bad deeds and cruelty.

It is commonly considered morally wrong to kill people, but when does it become justified or right in a way that it is considered moral?

We consider self defense, in homicide cases, take for example, where a 14 year old teen shoots two paranoid schizophrenics raping his mother and sister and potentially killing them, the boy saves them from harm and violence, or consider a surgeon seperating conjoined twins, whereas one twin is weaker but can harm the other twin, the doctor kills the weaker child in order to save the other.

Do we consider these immoral?

If your answer is yes, then do we consider executing criminals acceptable?

As I stated in my opening, LWOP (Life Without Parole) has its disadvantages, anything can happen, more potential victims are at risk whereas executing criminals prevents the criminals from committing their crime again, and thus protects the victims.

The good overshadows the bad, and the executioner is morally justified in executing the criminal. If you argue that killing is always wrong, then you must agree and accept that killing in self-defense or killing to save another is wrong and unacceptible.

Murderers forgo their rights as humans at the moment when they take away the rights of another human, their loss of freedom cannot compare to a loss of life. If you sentence someone for a few years for theft/robbery, then the punishment for murder should be more severe, because human life is more valuable and sacred than money or any item.

Some people view that LWOP is much more harsh and hell-like since some prisons are overcrowded. Some people in solitary lose their minds, they become insane, imagine you wake up, eat breakfast, do nothing, eat lunch, do nothing, eat dinner then go to sleep. Nothing to pass the time, nothing to do but seat or lie down.

Executing people is not murder. As a moral society of people, we have the moral and ethical duty to punish those who condemn and commit the most heinous of crimes.

Therefore, Capital Punishment can be morally justifiable.

Financial Issues

There are some prisons where prisoners serve their LWOP sentences in a clean air-conditioned room with cable TV and a fancy bed where the prisoner is served breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday, gets personal leisure time and gets the privilege to be visited by relatives and friends. [2]

Now, let's say for example that that prisoner is a rich white entrepreneur who murdered two innocent five-year-olds in front of their house, since he is a wealthy guy, he can afford some guys who can handle his legal and sentencing problems and thus, got this prison room. The family of those two victims will be among the taxpayers that pay for his meals and prison electric bills. There are some offers and other activities that the prison offers to the prisoner, and if the prisoner takes advantage of that, then the family will be paying for those via taxes. Now, is that justice?

Some people say that DP is more costy than LWOP, but it's not. I'd like to point out that Dudley Sharp, director of JFA stated that the JFA estimates that LWOP cases will cost $1.2 million - $3.6 million more than equivalent death penalty cases. [3]

In addition, I'd like to add that some people ignore the fact that the taxpayers cause a long line of appeals from the attorneys of the prisoner serving LWOP.

Why should the taxpayer have to pay and support a murderer for an entire lifetime?

Preventing More Murders

LWOP has some flaws, like a convict going out of prison. As I said, innocent people are at risk by being killed by prisoners when released or escaped from prison. In 1994, the US DOJ found out that 1.2% of those convicted of homicide were arrested for another homicide within three years of their release. [4]

So what to do with them? According to a recent study in the Heritage foundation, a few murders can be prevented by executing a person.

More studies say that each execution deters an average of 18 murders, (that's according to Emory University professors). They also stated that speeding executions, can strenghten the deterrent effect, if we cut 3 years of death row time, we can deter one potential murder.

In conclusion, the DP is 100% effective to prevent more crimes; that killer cannot commit any more crimes once he's executed. It saves lives through prevention and we have statistical evidence to suggest so. [5][6]

Biased and Racist?

The DP is not biased, it does not punish the poor, it is not racist against people [7].

It is fair, if you say it's unfair, then you would be saying that all punishments are unfair.

Do you blame the DP or the Judicial System? The system, like all other systems, are not perfect and we do not know anything, we make mistakes and therefore we learn from those mistakes and fix them.

The system is run by the human race and weather we like it or not, some issues against it will occur.

Some people also say that some innocent people are being executed, that's not somewhat true, since we do not no if they're innocent or not. We do not know if people are guilty or not.

But before we put them on death row, we put them in a fair and righteous trial by an unbiased jury or an unbiased judge. They need to decide, beyond reasonable doubt, that the defendant is guilty or not.

The chances of innocent people being executed are extremely low, and it will go lower with the improvement of forensic evidence and technology.

If any discrimination against the prisoners happen, it should be corrected, we need to equalize the people, by perhaps making it mandatory to all people with different races charged with capital offense, it's not the poor being punished severely more than the rich, it's the rich not being punished enough.

Conclusion

The death penalty is a justifiable way of punishing the people who commit the most heinous of crimes, executing them can protect other innocent people. It is moral in a way.

SOURCES USED:

[1] http://dictionary.reference.com...
[2] http://www.theatlantic.com...
[3] http://deathpenalty.procon.org...
[4] http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov...
[5] http://www.heritage.org...
[6] http://www.cbsnews.com...
[7] http://edition.cnn.com...

Mestari

Con

Overview of the Debate

"As you stated, you will need to negate all my following arguments regarding this debate"

My opponent misrepresents what I stated in round 1. I argued that it impossible for me to refute theories of justice which are not presented in the round, thus the burden of proof is on the Pro. If negating one Pro argument causes the rest of his case to collapse, it is sufficient to negate.

Also remember that any argument stemming out of the Con case that is won by myself at the end of the round serves as an independent reason to negate. My opponent conceded that he is okay with this strategy by refusing to refute it, which I explicitly brought to his attention when deploying this tactic in round 1.

Case

I'm kicking contentions 1-5. My opponent conceded that he was okay with this strategy. Because part of this concession includes that these contentions are no longer considered when writing your RFDs, my opponent is unable to link offense into any of the theories of justice I have listed. He also should have done that in round 2 if he was going to at all, as no new arguments are allowed in round 3.

Contention 6: Epistemic Skepticism

We do not know that we know anything. There is a possibility that life is all within our imagination, or that we live within a hyperreality. We only think we know what we believe we know because we have held these ideas as true out entire lives. Critical Rationalism holds that all theories should be criticized until proven true. The argument that something is true because it has not been disproven does not stand under Critical Rationalism because there is also another alternative: that we do not have enough information to either prove or disprove it. That is to say, we cannot accept that we know anything until it is proven true, and all other alternatives are proven false. My opponent has to prove that not only are we real in a world which allows for justice to exist, but that we can know that to be true. If he fails to do that, then even if all of his arguments stand, we cannot truly know if they are right or if they even apply, thus you must negate.

Rebuttal

Overview of the AC

My opponent tries to argue whether or not the death penalty is justified throughout this debate. Please note that he never provides us with a framework for how to evaluate justice. What is justice? We have the definition of justified stating that the action must be just or right, but he does not make claim to what is just, what is right. Because he has not done this, he has failed to meet his burden of proof. This is true because if we do not know what justice is, we cannot know whether or not an action is justified. The closest link we have is when he states that "It is moral in a way." However, there is no bridge constructed between justice and morality, nor is there a conception of morality presented.

If we are unable to determine if actions are justified then it logically follows that it is impossible for any of my opponents contentions to justify the death penalty. Thus, they are rendered irrelevant.

Do not let me opponent introduce a theory of justice in the final round as he designated rounds 1 and 2 for making arguments, not 3. Round 3 is simply the final rebuttals/crystallization of the round. He also stated himself that standard debating rules/ethics will apply, including the tradition of disregarding new arguments in the final round.
Debate Round No. 2
jm_notguilty

Pro

I thank CON for his response.

REBUTTAL

I have adressed the conclusion that we do not know everything when we execute people.

"...like all other systems, are not perfect and we do not know anything, we make mistakes and therefore we learn from those mistakes and fix them."

Yes, we are in the real world, we believe that justice exist in the real world. But how can we bring justice? We are human, our knowledge and power is limited, it's not infinite.

That's why we have a system of laws that may bring justice by means of retribution, compensation and prevention when talking about the death penalty.

The sytem is not perfect, but I mentioned that before we put criminals on death row, we put them on trial to know how it happened. We do not need to provide clear and 100% full-proof evidence to convict or aquit, we just need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant is guilty or not. Because it is impossible to know what happened since are human, and our knowledge is limited, we cannot change back time.

Mistakes happen, as I said, and if they do happen, we fix it. We cannot avoid the upcoming mistakes.

I've proven that the DP is a justified punishment, it is justified in a way since it is in accordance to morality, and I said that morality is the conformity to the rules of right conduct, I've proven that the DP is moral, meaning it is right, making it justifiable.

In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, my arguements are considered relevant in this debate and my opponent has not refuted them, I have proven that capital punishment is justified in the previous round, it is deterrent, we all know what is just or right because the DP is just and right. We don't need to know for a 100% certainty to execute and make it justifiable, we just need to know beyond a reasonable doubt.

Therefore, vote PRO. Thanks.

I wish my opponent good luck.
Mestari

Con

Burden of Proof

"My opponent tries to argue whether or not the death penalty is justified throughout this debate. Please note that he never provides us with a framework for how to evaluate justice. What is justice? We have the definition of justified stating that the action must be just or right, but he does not make claim to what is just, what is right. Because he has not done this, he has failed to meet his burden of proof. This is true because if we do not know what justice is, we cannot know whether or not an action is justified. The closest link we have is when he states that "It is moral in a way." However, there is no bridge constructed between justice and morality, nor is there a conception of morality presented."

If we are unable to determine if actions are justified then it logically follows that it is impossible for any of my opponents contentions to justify the death penalty. Thus, they are rendered irrelevant."

My opponent's only response to this argument is a restatement of his definition of morality. This is insufficient to uphold his burden of proof. As stated earlier, there is no conception of morality presented. My opponent effectively claims that he affirms through morality. However, without explaining what morality is, he has failed to explain how he affirms. My burden of proof argument thus still stands and you must negate.

Epistemic Skepticism

My opponent never mentions my epistemic skepticism argument. I stated clearly in the contention that: "[W]e cannot accept that we know anything until it is proven true, and all other alternatives are proven false. My opponent has to prove that not only are we real in a world which allows for justice to exist, but that we can know that to be true. If he fails to do that, then even if all of his arguments stand, we cannot truly know if they are right or if they even apply, thus you must negate." He never refutes this claim, nor does he prove that we are real and in a world where justice actually exists, o even that we have the ability to know this to be true. A very explicit part of my argument was that if it stands, you negate immediately. As he has not refuted the argument, it must be conceded as true, and thus you vote Con.

Conclusion

The resolution asks if the death penalty is justified. I have established in this debate that the burden of proof is on the Pro. Because he has failed to explain what the concepts of 'justice' or 'morality' actually are, and opts to assume that we accept a universally identical image of each, he has failed to uphold his burden and thus has lost the debate. Even so, I have also proven that we cannot know anything to be real, and thus cannot hold justice to be real. If justice is not real, actions cannot be justified and you must negate.
Debate Round No. 3
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Mestari 5 years ago
Mestari
I still don't get why my arguments are disregarded because they are provided in round 2 when my opponent clearly allocated round 2 for making arguments...
Posted by PartamRuhem 5 years ago
PartamRuhem
IT automatically cut off what I was saying.....anyway, basically Pro didn't deal with Con's case in a way that made his sound more convincing; Pro needs more confidence. But Con really didn't provide a proper debate, which is why he doesn't "win".
Posted by Mestari 5 years ago
Mestari
Seraine, he could have refuted my argument as round 3 was the final "rebuttal." He just couldn't make new arguments as planks of his case. Also, I told him epistemic skepticism was something I was considering running in round 1. He specifically said round 2 allowed for case-work, that's not my fault. As for my argument about him not defining justice/morality thoroughly enough, I wasn't even allowed to present that until round 2 based on the structure he provided for the debate. But even if he couldn't respond, he structured the debate how he wanted it to be run. How is it fair to disregard my arguments when any flaws in the debate's structured was caused by how he set up the rounds?
Posted by BlackVoid 5 years ago
BlackVoid
Also, I don't really have a problem with Con running this argument because the DP debate has been done a million times, and its good to spice things up a little.

The dropping contention strategy could have been much more abusive than it turned out to be. Theoretically, Con could have ran all 6 contentions in round 2. Then he would pick up whichever one Pro didn't refute adequately in round 3, drop the rest, and run 8000 characters of text supporting that contention. Thankfully Con did not do this, though it would have been interesting.
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Pro effectively argued that the DP prevents murders, that LWOP is flawed and that any arguments of racism or bias must be directed at the justice system as opposed to the DP itself. Con's only rebuttals seems to be to play on the word "just" and argue from a moral standpoint whereas morality was only a small part of a much broader argument from Pro. Con also never argues the many reasons why the DP should be abolished which are argued in most other DP debates instead presenting just one contention of "epistemic skepticism" which doesn't really address the death penalty at all.

Pro's round two argument is the only argument that spent more time actually arguing about the death penalty rather than the structure of the debate or the burden of proof. Unfortunately, too much time was spent on worrying about who could kick contentions and when they introduce evidence. While it is okay to talk about how the debate works, debaters should spend more time actually debating on the death penalty. For an 8000 character round, I don't think it was adequately used to address the DP.

I also found it somewhat unfair that Con reserved the right to kick contentions. However, Pro surprisingly agreed with this strategy, so Con does not lose any conduct points.
Posted by Mestari 5 years ago
Mestari
I can't get my R3 up before going to school today. I will try to get it posted when I get home. Worst case scenario will hopefully be Friday afternoon so that voting can start for the weekend.
Posted by jm_notguilty 5 years ago
jm_notguilty
OK, I'm done with R3 (finally), good luck Mestari on your R3 rebuttal and your upcoming high school debate.
Posted by jm_notguilty 5 years ago
jm_notguilty
ok i appreciate it, sorry for the favor, i too am busy since I need to settle some RL issues and my internet connection is a bit laggy and lame since today.

ill post arguments in a few hrs, again thanks.
Posted by Mestari 5 years ago
Mestari
Okay, I waited for as long as I could for you jm_notguilty. I only had about 5 hours left, so I hope you have time to respond. Sorry for not being more thorough. I've been busy with school starting and having to research for high school debate.
Posted by Mestari 5 years ago
Mestari
Actually I haven't haha. We don't have a policy circuit where I live, as much as I wish we did. I am fluent in Policy though, due to my very policy-esque LD style.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by PartamRuhem 5 years ago
PartamRuhem
jm_notguiltyMestariTied
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Total points awarded:21 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro never gave that important definition of just, but that didn't give Con the win automatically, nor did Con's debate style help his cause; as a reader, I didn't enjoy reading this, for it was a lot more structure and unfairness on Con's part then an actually debate of wits and intellect. Con gets S
Vote Placed by freedomsquared 5 years ago
freedomsquared
jm_notguiltyMestariTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I feel like to much time was spent discussing the structure and purpose of the debate rather than the actual topic. CON introduced an interesting argument, but it was in the last round. Neither side overwhelmed me with their assertions, although CON had an unorthodox but interesting style.
Vote Placed by Lickdafoot 5 years ago
Lickdafoot
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Reasons for voting decision: Con was clever to point out the necessity of some form of measure for something being just. looking at the definitions, the word just is used to define justified, and there is not much else from pro providing a more clear assessment of the word. Therefore his BOP cannot be met.
Vote Placed by seraine 5 years ago
seraine
jm_notguiltyMestariTied
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Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Con had a decent argument, but he brought it up after Pro could respond. (Can't respond in R3) In addition, Pro spent most of his time making argument about the DP, while Con didn't really say much til R2, when Pro couldn't respond. 3:1 Pro
Vote Placed by YYW 5 years ago
YYW
jm_notguiltyMestariTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Sound debate, though nothing groundbreaking from either side. Pro's rhetoric was superior, and con's attempt to trap pro with a disproportionate BOP was, not impressive. The crux of debate is a shared BOP (50/50). Similarly, con's unconventional debate style should be re-evaluated in the future.
Vote Placed by BlackVoid 5 years ago
BlackVoid
jm_notguiltyMestariTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro completely drops Skepticism. This means an auto-loss because it now becomes impossible to affirm. Con makes a correct argument in saying that Pro didn't explain what justice or morality really is. So even if Justice or morality existed, we wouldnt know if the DP is justified by it because its not defined properly. Also, Pro doesn't contest that he has the BoP, which means that if you can't affirm, we negate. The Skepticism drop makes voting Pro impossible, so the only option is a con vote.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
jm_notguiltyMestariTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: See the comments section.