The Instigator
darkcity
Pro (for)
Losing
2 Points
The Contender
philochristos
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points

People instigating debates not accepting newbie opponents is elitist

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
philochristos
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/7/2012 Category: Technology
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,362 times Debate No: 26983
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (4)

 

darkcity

Pro

I am arguing Pro, that people instigating debates that won't accept newbies is elitist. The site will have less participants, as there is no starting point for new comers. This is especially true as other facilities are restricted such as voting and Identity conformation. Note, I am not arguing that voting should be open to everyone.

--terms--

"people instigating debates" = People starting a debate on http://www.debate.org...
"newbies" = People who have just joined the site

"elitist" = Long term members of the site deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect and social status.

"1. The belief that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources."
http://www.thefreedictionary.com...

--Rounds (Pro/ Con)--

1. Offer/ Acceptance
2. Opening Statement/ rebuttal
2. Rebuttal closing statement/ Rebuttal closing statement
philochristos

Con

I accept and look forward to a productive debate since this is a practical topic.
Debate Round No. 1
darkcity

Pro

Thanks for accepting the debate Philochristos. I made the mistake of checking your profile, seems I have a formidable opponent who is strong on logic. Anyway, back to the debate to find out how practical it is-

I have another term to propose to make debating easier
time-waster = someone who accepts a debate without serious commitment to fulfill the instigators criteria.

The main point of my argument is that people setting the criteria for opponents so that new comers can't join in is elitist. It is off putting to new comers who after signing up can't join any debate. They can't vote. The only way to join in (with the debate portion of the site) is by starting a debate, or commenting on a debate. Starting a debate may seem too formidable, and commenting too little. Some new users will be put off. Not necessarily based on their debating skills or commitment to debating. Thus debate.org become an elite of users who have been able to over come this barrier.

I believe the first reason instigators do this is because they are worried people with low ratings will have poor skills and are likely to forfeit, they will in effect be "time-wasters". I understand this is annoying, however high ratings isn't the way to correct this problem. Instead they should petition the site's owners to add features that mitigate the effects of time wasters. Feature which could mention if it will add to the debate?

I believe the second reason instigators do this because they think it will some how improve the quality of debates on the site.

Not only is it wrong to assume new comers will be a time-wasters, it is wrong to assume someone who has a high rating won't waste your time.

An analogy might be Wikipedia. It does not assume that a new editor is a bad editor, rather it uses features in the software to mitigate the effect of bad editors.
http://c2.com...
philochristos

Con

Thank you for coming to tonight's debate. I know that some of you had to get up really early this morning to make it to tonight's debate, so I will try to make it worth your while.

I am honored to share this platform with darkcity because his name makes me think of Batman, and that's cool.

Before I begin my arguments, I would like to urge the readers to keep their eye on the ball. Keep in mind what we are debating here. The question is whether or not people who initiate debates but who don't allow newbies to accept are elitist. My opponent defines elitism as deserving favoured treatment because of one's percieved superiority with regard to their intellect, social status, or financial resources.

There is no question that some long time members restrict their debates so that newbies can't accept. But whether they do it out of a sense of elitism or not depends on whether they do it because they perceive themselves and their fellow old-timers as having superior intellect, social status, or financial resources. With that in mind, it will be hard to conduct this debate without engaging in a bit of motive-mongering, which a speculative enterprise.

The way I intend to argue my case is to give an alternative motive to explain why old-timers initiate debates but don't allow newbies to accept. The question will them come down to which explanation is more plausible--the elitist explanation or my explanation.

My explanation is that with people who restrict newbies from accepting their debates do so, not because they think newbies are inferior in any way, but rather, because newbies are wildcards. With newbies, you don't know what you're going to get. At least with people who have been here for a while and have participated in debates, you know what you're going to get. There are many people who join the site, participate in maybe one debate, and you never see them again. The people who stay are people who want to debate and strive to make meaningful contributions. But when somebody first joins, you don't know which category they're going to fall under. They might be brilliant people or they might be trolls. You just don't know. Since newbies are wildcards, restricting one's debate so that only old-timers can accept increases your chances of getting a good opponent, but it is not because old-timers percieve themselves as superior or newbies as inferior.

Interestingly enough, my opponent seems to already agree with some of what I said. He said he understands that people limit who can accept their debates in order to avoid "time wasters" and beause they think it will improve the quality of debates on this site. And he's right. But notice that does not entail that people who limit their debates are elitist.

My opponent makes the observation that limiting who can accept debates makes it difficult for newbies to get their foot in the door. I agree with him, but notice that is irrelevant to the question of this debate because it doesn't tell us anything about the motives of the people who intiate these debates.

But besides that, it isn't that hard to get your foot in the door. You can initiate your own debate or accept a debate that isn't restricted to old-timers. Once you've participated in three debates, you can start voting.

Also, making it initially difficult weeds out new comers who actually are time wasters, so there's a practical advantage to it. If you must initiate a debate before accepting one, the other members of debate.org get to see how you write and how you argue before you accept a debate and before anybody else agrees to accept one of your debates. It seems like a good system to me.

Since none of these considerations entail that a person who initiates a debate with newbie restrictions entails any assumption that newbies are inferior, people who initiate such debates are not elitist.



Debate Round No. 2
darkcity

Pro

"There is no question that some long time members restrict their debates so that newbies can't accept. But whether they do it out of a sense of elitism or not depends on whether they do it because they perceive themselves and their fellow old-timers as having superior intellect, social status, or financial resources. With that in mind, it will be hard to conduct this debate without engaging in a bit of motive-mongering, which a speculative enterprise." (con)

An elitist system can be created even if no one sets out to create such a system (ie. that is the motivation). In fact I would argue elitist system rarely evolve from people wishing to create elitism. For example, some people argue that entrance exams to secondary/high-school high establishments are elitist. This is because people from poor backgrounds will have had less opportunity to develop there intellect and exam skills. Not many people would say the motivation/purpose for entrance exams are to exclude students from poor backgrounds. Rather they are to allow the best students to have access to to appropriate education where they can use their intellect. Hence, the exams create an elitist system, without that ever being the intention. And why some people suggest affirmative action as a solution. http://ccms.ukzn.ac.za...

Now I wish clear up an issue some people may find with my definition,
""elitist" = Long term members of the site deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect and social status." (pro)
The word "deserve" may lead some people to conclude that elitism must have people consciously creating a system which flavors certain people. I reject this as stated above. It should also be seen from the way I have argued. No where have said long-term-members "are" elitist, I have stated that elitism is NOT long-term-members motivation. Rather the system is "elitist". I stated there are ways to change the website, the system, to mitigate the long-terms-members concerns.

"Interestingly enough, my opponent seems to already agree with some of what I said. He said he understands that people limit who can accept their debates in order to avoid "time wasters" and because they think it will improve the quality of debates on this site. And he's right. But notice that does not entail that people who limit their debates are elitist." (con)

Indeed, that the issue is not long-terms-members motivation. Maybe the site-owners are elitist by allowing this system to go on, but I doubt this is what motivates them. Rather I believe their motivation is to create a good experience for all users.

"My opponent makes the observation that limiting who can accept debates makes it difficult for newbies to get their foot in the door. I agree with him, but notice that is irrelevant to the question of this debate because it doesn't tell us anything about the motives of the people who initiate these debates." (con)

My opponent states he agrees there is a level of difficultly for new-comers. It is this that creates the elitist system, so it is far from irrelevant to the debate.

"Also, making it initially difficult weeds out new comers who actually are time wasters, so there's a practical advantage to it. If you must initiate a debate before accepting one, the other members of debate.org get to see how you write and how you argue before you accept a debate and before anybody else agrees to accept one of your debates. It seems like a good system to me." (con)

The trouble is the process also "weeds out" people who aren't time-wasters. It also allows people who are time-wasters to continue using the site. It encourages people to start debates they aren't really interested just so they can access being a "Contender" and voting.

"Since none of these considerations entail that a person who initiates a debate with newbie restrictions entails any assumption that newbies are inferior, people who initiate such debates are not elitist."(con)

Here you have to look at how the rating system works. If you win debates your rating is going to increase, and the longer you're been around the more likely you are to pick up some points. This is how the system measures debating skill (arguly related to intellect), and how long you're been around (related to social status). Elitist = "...favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect and social status." The long-term-member may not assume newbies are inferior but this is exactly what the rating system does. It is the use of this rating to exclude new-comers that creates the elitist system.

I will now state some alternative methods to avoid elitism whist at the same time addressing long-term-members frustration with time-wasters. The ability to duplicate a debate. This would make it easy to debate the issue again if the first debate wasn't satisfying. The ability to terminate the debate if both parties agree or somebody forfeits. Avoids debates going on if people feel it is no longer satisfying. The ability to extend submission time if both parties agree. This would allow people with genuine reasons for not making the deadline not to "spoil" the debate. Lastly there could be a new statistic relating to how satisfying you found your opponents debating. After the debate you would rate your opponent. Newbies could start at say 50% and the default acceptance be 25%. This would be a better measure of whether someone is a time-waster, rather than Debate skills and Activity level.
philochristos

Con

I want to thank my opponent for sticking with this debate. I've had a couple of people bail on me since I've been here and forfeit without an explanation. As time was getting short for my opponent, I was concerned he would, too. I was delighted when I woke up this morning and found that he had posted his arguments before his time ran out.

The original resolution of this debate is that "People instigating debates not accepting newbie opponents is elitist." That means what's at issue in this debate is behavior, not the effects of the behavior. What is being called "elitist" is the behavior of instigating debates but not allowing newbies to accept them. In his opening, he said, "The main point of my argument is that people setting the criteria for opponents so that new comers can't join in is elitist." Whether this behavior leads to an "elitist system" is irrelevant to the resolution of this debate.

Whether a behavior is elitist or not depends on the attitude, idea, or disposition that motivates the behavior. My opponent defined "elitist" as "Long term members of the site deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect and social status." That means an elitist attitude is an attitude coming from a sense of deserving favoured treatment and of perceiving oneself as superior in intellect and social status." So motive has everything to do with this debate.

I argued in my first post that the motive for instigating debates and not allowing newbies to accept was not elitist, but practical. My opponent has not disputed that and has, instead, changed the subject. Instead of calling it elitist when somebody initiates a debate without letting newbies accept, he's saying the initiation of these debates leads to an elitist system. And instead of elitism being a belief or attitude had by the folks who initiate these debates, elitism is a property of the system created by these debates.

But let's give my opponent the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he worded the resolution in an ambiguous way so as to give me the wrong idea. Perhaps he intended all along to argue, not that the initiators of these debates are elitist, nor that their initiating these debates is an elitist thing to do, but that their initiation of these debates leads to an "elitist system." Even then, I don't think my opponent has carried his burden of proof.

If initiating these debates leads to an elitist system, which my opponent defines as a system in which the members have "favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect and social status," then we should expect debate.org to be composed of nothing but elite members. But debate.org is not composed of nothing but elite members. Therefore, initiating these debates does not lead to an elitist system.

Debate.org is abuzz with every range of member, from newbie to oldie, from genius to troll, etc. Most of the debates that are initiated here do not have newbie restrictions on them, so even if the people initiating these debates did it out of elitist motivations, it would still not lead to an elitist system.

My opponent says that initiating debates that exclude newbies "encourages people to start debates they aren't really interested just so they can access being a 'Contender' and voting," but I submit that doesn't even make sense. If there is some debate a newbie is interested in that somebody else has initiated, and they cannot accept it, all they have to do is initiate a debate of their own with the same topic, and they are guaranteed to be interested in it. None of these restriction discourage newbies from initiating topics they are interested in.

Well, that is pretty much all I have to say. Thank you for reading, and thank you for voting.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by baggins 4 years ago
baggins
All the issues raised by Pro were adequately rebutted by Con...
1. There is a more plausible motive for users restricting debates to old timers (avoiding time-wasters).
2. This system does not lead to 'elitism' indirectly since (a)Many debates don't have these restrictions (b)Newbies can initiate their own debates.

No significant differences in spelling, conduct etc. Nice effort from Pro, however he was clearly out-debated.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by baggins 4 years ago
baggins
darkcityphilochristosTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments...
Vote Placed by TrasguTravieso 4 years ago
TrasguTravieso
darkcityphilochristosTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro made a good debate, but the wording of the resolution did him a bad turn. Con had merely to show there is no elitism on the part of those who restrict their debates and was done with it.
Vote Placed by RationalMadman 4 years ago
RationalMadman
darkcityphilochristosTied
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Total points awarded:23 
Reasons for voting decision: obvious.
Vote Placed by Ore_Ele 4 years ago
Ore_Ele
darkcityphilochristosTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Neither side had a significant conduct, nor spelling issue worth costing either point. While con didn't have any sources, Pro's sources were related to examples and not directly to the debate. It really came down to the wording of the resolution. Pro did word it so that it was the people, not the results, that were elitist. I would highly recommend Pro trying this debate again under a resolution that the results are elitist.