The Instigator
Pro (for)
9 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
7 Points

Star Trek: Get rid of holodecks.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/30/2013 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,767 times Debate No: 34345
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (22)
Votes (5)




Full Resolution:
Star Trek: Starfleet ships should not be standardly equipped with recreational holodecks.

(please request any changes or additions, before we begin):
From the
  • Holodeck is "A Holographic Environment Simulator, or holodeck for short, is a form of holotechnology designed and used by Starfleet. They are installed aboard starships, space stations, and at Starfleet institutions for entertainment, training, and investigative purposes. A typical holodeck consists of a room equipped with a hologrid containing omnidirectional holographic diodes, enabling holographic projections through the manipulation of photons contained within force fields." [1].
  • Starfleet is "the deep-space exploratory and defense service maintained by the United Federation of Planets. Its principal functions included the advancement of Federation knowledge about the galaxy and its inhabitants, the advancement of Federation science and technology, the military defense of the Federation, and the practice of Federation diplomacy." [2].

Con may begin in round 1. No new arguments past round 3 (giving a round to refute round 3, and a final round to defend those refuted points).



I thank my opponent for creating this debate, and look forward to a lively discussion.

I will begin by establishing why holodecks have been included, and should continue to be included:

1) Holodecks provide rest and relaxation for the crew
By having a holodeck available to starship crews, starfleet officiers can have longer tours of duty, less frequent shore leave, and still avoid homesickness and other morale problems.

2) Problem solving simulations
There are several cases where the holodeck has proven to be instrumental in saving a starship. We'll explore these throughout the debate.

3) Training simulator
Swordfighting skills, piloting skills, bostaff skills, whatever... they can all be honed in the holodeck. This is an invaluable tool to have a top notch and well trained crew.

There are three main objections which I predict my opponent may be likely to use to justify the idea that holodecks should not be installed on Federation ships. I will pre-emptively disarm each one.

1) The problem of holodeck addiction among the crew:
Commander Barclay is one of the most obvious example of an officer who struggled with addiction.

It could be argued that the holodeck was an impediment to his social development, but I take a different view. It was an escape, yes, but it was one that allowed him to explore possibilities in a semi-realistic environment. Therefore, the holodeck may in fact have contributed to giving him the confidence that he needed to confront the challenges of the real world. It wasn't only fantasy, it was also a kind of practice simulation for the social situations he found himself in; one where the stakes were low enough that he could explore different possibilities. It was a sandbox not unlike this one, in fact! Our reputations as authors, politicians, and so on is not really at stake. If we lose a debate, we learn from it, but it won't permanantly cost us. Couldn't the same logic be applied for Barclay and those like him?

2a) Safety protocols disabled/malfunctioning:
Risk is a part of any system on a starship. Should there be no warp drive because it can also put the ship or crew in danger?

2b) AI arising and competing for control of the ship
There is an ethical side to this argument in addition to the more practical aspects, but for now I'll leave that alone. The issue of holographic sentient life spontaneously forming is another aspect of the risk of using a holodeck. This phenomenon is so rare as to be almost not worth considering, and now that safety guidelines are in place the problem is highly unlikely to re-occur.

3) Power expenditure/storage space use
While the holodeck does require a large use of power, the ship is equipped to handle it, and in the event of an emergency, power to the holodeck can be shut off. This means the power expenditure argument is not a strong one. In a small ship like a shuttle craft, or a bare bones combat ship like Defiant, holodecks would be out of place. But for large exploration ships, they are extremely worth the space for reasons stated above.

I think I've presented a strong argument that the benefits of having holodecks, at least for large vessels, clearly outweighs their drawbacks. Over to you, pro.
Debate Round No. 1


I wholly agree that holodecks are useful, but believe safety considerations outweigh their place on most ships. I shall of course address a few other points.

First appearing in the 23rd century (in TAS/Animated Series), then called Rec Rooms... By the late 24th (Voyager), even after every lesson and upgrade from the Enterprise-D (TNG/The Next Generation) and countless other ships, on the most advanced ship we spent much time with in Starfleet history, they remained unreliable deathtraps.

Holodeck Malfunctions are so common, that a popular TV trope is named for them [3].

TNG had the single best most perfect crew in Starfleet history. In fact with a rotating crew of over a thousand, the first and only known member to get a unsatisfactory evaluation, was Lieutenant Reginald Barclay (con's link). It was only the Mary Sue like perfection [4], that saved this crew from the many dangers leaking out of the holodecks time and again.
  • Holograms have a habit of becoming sentient, which is likely only spotted when some misbehave (those who fail to misbehave, in essence die when the program is turned off). These programs can take over a ship [5], and likely flush the living crew out the airlock.
  • Not only can fake bullets really kill you, but when safety protocols are actually on a stray holographic bullet can damage the holodeck controls, disabling the safeties.
  • For some strange reason on Starfleet ships, there is not simply a power cord which can be unplugged to turn off the programs.
  • Teleporters are often unable to pull trapped crew members out.
  • Safe words fail... Right there that's a huge problem.

Unlike playing fantasy games with a partner (admittedly also dangerous), the holodeck is supposed to have a Safe Word. Several in fact. Yet about once a season on each show these all fail, and it's only through the brilliance of the characters that disaster is averted. Imagine this happening on a ship that doesn't have such fine officers?

I am not overly worried about this, but since it was mentioned... On the Enterprise-D there were about 1014 crew members, and 2 holodecks [5]. Assuming neither are used for anything else, that allots only 1.4 hours per month per crew member. Minus any downtime between programs for cleanup of non-holographic substances.

The bridge crew on TNG was seen constantly using the holodecks [7]. This may have been them saving up their time allotment for a year (thus making those malfunctions occur about every time they used it), or more likely them abusing their ranks to monopolize a very limited resource. To me this suggests Lieutenant Barclay may not have had any abnormal problem, but they were outraged over who he was fantasizing about in there.

End of round remarks:
None of this is to say the technology should be banned, but it has been proved time and again to be too dangerous on starships where there's no easy off switch, and it doesn't reliably listen to the safe words. Were this a commercial product today, it would be recalled before it could go to market.

As for the question about should there be no warp cores, it's a blatant Faulty Comparison fallacy [8], bordering on Red Herring. A starship actually needs to go faster than light to remain practical and competitive. Otherwise it would take several generations of crew to reach even a nearby destination.

Sources (sorry for the link errors on a couple of these):



I spent hours writing a very nice rebuttal several hours ago, one filled with far zippier humor than this one will have, but because of computer problems I lost it all. I apologize to readers if this round feels rushed, but with only a half hour left of these short rounds, I must be brief.

My opponent objects to a warp drive as being a faulty comparison, and I would grant that my remark is a bit of a stretch; Ten Forward is probably a better one. Now it is hypothetically possible that barfights could break out at Ten Forward, and it is even possible that it could be ground zero for a mutiny. Does my opponent think that establishments such as Ten Forward should thus be removed from ships as well?

Part of the reason why the best and brightest are attracted to assignments like Enterprise is the possibility to have access to perks like the holodeck. My opponent suggests that use of such a facility should be equally distributed amongst all the crew, and that the enterprise leadership is abusing their power if they do otherwise. This communist utopia does not resemble any actual military organization I am aware of. The officers have earned some measure of executive privilege and the holodeck is one of their prizes, but they still have the option to allocate some time in a holodeck as a reward to hard working team members in their various departments. That kind of motivational management tool is obviously one reason why there ought to be holodecks on starships. With there being only two, the scarce nature of who is allowed to use a holodeck and when is a kind of safety protocol in and of itself, especially if only officers and responsible crew who are receiving some kind of commendation are the only ones allowed to use the facility, as I have suggested is a legitimate possibility.

Additionally, can you imagine hosting dignitaries of other civilizations and not providing access to holodecks? For galaxy class vessels, some comforts such as holodecks are necessary in light of the frequent diplomatic missions that class of ship is called upon to perform.

Pro’s strongest argument seems to be on the issue of safety, but only because he exaggerates the frequency of the likelihood of injury. Holodecks are on average far safer than alternative activities, such as the mountain climbing that James Kirk was fond of. In real life, there are no safety protocols when you fall. You have to simply be extremely lucky to have a rocket powered Vulcan available to lend a helping hand at the right place and time.

If the possibility of causing sentient life were a reason to avoid holodeck programming, one wonders what Pro thinks of bedroom fantasy he alludes to with his conversation on safe words. To my knowledge, only the Moriarty program ever posed any potential threat to a Federation crew. If my opponent would like to elaborate further on this point, I will respond as well, but the mere fact that a potentially dangerous and rebellious form of life has been produced is not at all uncommon to human experience. We routinely call such beings “teenagers.” Couldn’t hacker teens could breach security subroutines and take over control of the ship. From that point of view, having young people on the ship seems a bigger liability than the holodeck.

I’m out of time, over to you, Pro.

Debate Round No. 2


"Does my opponent think that establishments such as Ten Forward should thus be removed from ships as well?"
Ten Forward has much the same function as a mess hall on smaller starships [9]. So no, I am not suggesting removing mess halls, even if there's been a few cases of food related injury (such minor subplots as Q overeating, and some alien on Voyager who could not handle alcohol). Further "Ten Forward is the hub of the ship's social activity. Everyone on board comes here." -Captain Picard [9]. While I do agree it's the most likely place mutiny would be plotted (should the bridge crew abuse their "communist utopia" too much, thus actively causing it), and bar fights (which are awesome) have almost certainly happened there. It is however safe enough to have a real place named after it in Hollywood CA [10], with an average Yelp rating of 4.5 stars. The alternative to Mess Halls, is locking the crew up when not on duty, and maybe feeding them through Borg Alcoves.

"The officers have earned some measure of executive privilege and the holodeck is one of their prizes,
Stratification of resource allocations. Of the very few people who have access, is the one crew member to receive a bad performance review. This would only enable the holodecks to poison morale outside the clique. Plus holodeck privileges are not revoked from these people, no matter how many times they manage to place to whole ship in danger with it (or accidentally lock themselves in it, when the ship has an emergency).

"Can you imagine hosting dignitaries of other civilizations and not providing access to holodecks?"
Quite easily. While a holodeck could simulate their homeworld (risking insult in any detail is wrong), plus risk cultural objections to the technology (like if they dislike anything that resembles slavery, or a host of other reasons). It would be far preferable to show them real samples of starfleet culture such as Ten Forward. Putting dignitaries into a holodeck knowing it's prone to malfunction, would risk war. Then there is the problem of races (Klingons, etc.) who would likely object to safety protocols; as displayed by even a half-Klingon child who needed to decrease the safeties for it to be fun, nearly getting Lieutenant Worf and Commander Troi killed [11].

"Young people on the ship seems a bigger liability than the holodeck."
I'm all for flushing Wesley Crusher out the airlock, but that's a separate argument.

Back to ethics.
Not only can a small error in phrasing cause programs to become both sentient and hostile [5], but leaving them on too long causes sentience, and all the dangers thereof. James Moriarty attempted to gain freedom, and was imprisoned for all time. The Emergency Medical Holograms developed distinct personalities if left on too long, and were sent to the Dilithium Mines as self aware slaves. One of them stranded in deep space even wrote a book covering their maltreatment (in addition to other abuses in Starfleet, damaging the reputation of the whole, hurting diplomacy), Photons Be Free [13].

Even these EMHs are a danger, Lieutenant Torres having once been crippled and tortured by one wanting her to alter his program, and throwing another crew member off a real cliff (resulting in them having to lobotomize him for safety) [14].

A side note: When designing a safer EMH, the best candidate (Doctor Bashir) was rejected as a model, due to discovery of his ethnic group.

Photonic Wars.
A species the Lokirrim actually destroy holograms when discovered, since they they had a violent civil war when their own holodecks rebelled (not the same, but a danger of the technology) [12]. The Hirogen were nearly wiped out by using Starfleet holodecks with disabled safeties.



Let me begin by thanking my opponent for his gracious request (in the comments section) to the voters that S&G not be voted on for this debate. I explained my computer problems to readers primarily out of embarrassment, as I knew that round two would be a rough one, but also out of a need to vent my frustration. Pro’s courtesy in this regard is both unexpected and welcome. But now, missa be needin’ gettin’ to round threeso!

This is an extremely important round because it is our last opportunity to post new arguments. Before I introduce any new lines of attack, let’s note key components of earlier rounds. Perhaps one of the most important is that Pro admits “None of this is to say the technology should be banned, but it has been proved time and again to be too dangerous on starships where there's no easy off switch, and it doesn't reliably listen to the safe words.” While I don’t agree with the exact wording of his statement above, I note that neither of us thinks the technology in general should be banned; Pro’s problem is only with them being on starships.

A statement which might help us clear up some confusion is if we could both agree on the principle “if the drawbacks outweighed the benefits, or if the potential drawbacks were so likely and so severe that they rendered the benefits moot, then in such a case holodecks should not be on starships.” I invite my opponent to agree or disagree with the above statement. I’ll proceed under the assumption that he will most likely agree.

I stated the benefits of holodecks at the outset, and the points were largely uncontested. The aspect of holodeck drawbacks has been much more contentious subject in this debate, and so that is where I will continue to devote the majority of my time.

Behavior issues, like Barclay not losing holodeck privilages, are supervisory in nature. They are also largely irrelevant to our conversation. That is to say, assuming Barclay’s behavior is that extremely bad (and I don’t think it was), then a much simpler and better approach which could be found by simply asking Geordi LaForge, his commanding officer, to be more strict. One wouldn’t need to go to the lengths of removing all holodecks from all starships to correct such a problem. Indeed, it could create new ones, for angry and now holodeck-less would surely shank Barclay in the rough and tumble deck Ten.

The most important drawback is probably that of safety. We have both established that holodeck safety can be compromised in several key ways, but most likely:

1) Accidents caused by safety protocol malfunction. This is very rare, but as I commented earlier, a mountain doesn’t have safeties either. At least on a ship’s holodeck, you are much more likely to finish safely.

2) Spontaneously generated sentience. This odd event does sometimes happen, but when it does it could actually end up being a good thing. Vic Fontane [1] and The Doctor [2] were both benevolent, and their ability to do good things was probably enhanced by their self awareness. Even Professor Moriarty was not malicious. [3] Any cases of conflict between holograms and biological life forms seem to have occurred from the mishandling of relations with a sentient life form, and not necessarily because of the nature of that life form itself. The big ethical problem is not so much in the creation of holographic life forms, but in their mistreatment. Even so, there should be restrictions of what kind of characters crew are allowed to recreationally create in holoprograms just to err on the side of caution. For example, it would probably be a very, very bad idea to run lots of Khan programs. Again though, this could be thought of as a supervisory more than technological issue.




Debate Round No. 3


While my argument is focused heavily on the dangers and ethics of the technology (which overlap quite a bit), I am not actually suggesting banning it. The problems come up when it is used recklessly, which even the absolute best crew does frequently; thus I believe that the recreational ones should not be a standard feature on ships. Obviously ships intended for deep space exploration would greatly benefit from them (requiring a far greater ratio than seen on TNG, where we've agreed it's an incredibly limited resource).

"If the drawbacks outweighed the benefits, or if the potential drawbacks..."
Agreed. I'm pretty sure this is what we've been arguing.

"Behavior issues ... are supervisory in nature."
I should have clarified, I actually like Barclay. His singular spotted record shows issues of standards and their measurements. His 'addiction' may brush against ethical issues, but to my knowledge never lead to anyone being placed in danger. Someone like chief La Forge, who has been directly responsible for multiple near fatal holodeck incidents, has not even gotten an unsatisfactory evaluation for it. Nor lose any of his arbitrary power over the resource allocations.

Mountain Climbing:
A holodeck would be a bad choice for this. First of all it being a very limited resource, stacked with the hours/days needed to scale a peak; would cause a long que behind that one program (leading to more crew unrest). If anyone can join in, the suspension of disbelief would be ruined every time someone new walks in the door, over thin air thousands of feet up, and then joins in having just reminded everyone where the real floor is. The experience could not compare.

Regarding size (a factor to the above):
Based on how far characters are able to spread out in the holodeck (literally getting lost), it is likely far larger than the waiting area seen before programs load, which raises the potential quality, but at a price of ship design. On a space station this is less of an issue. DS9 (Deep Space 9) once had a full sized baseball game, the camera showing a couple dozen people spread out at least 500 feet, with the play area closer to 25,000 square feet feet [15].

Vic Fontaine:
A self aware program on DS9. The design of a space station allows for the holodeck to not be constantly networked to every other system, and most often uses a monetary system to pay for it (as opposed to pulling rank). Seven years, with only a single holodeck malfunction I could find mention of [16], one which did not place the station in jeopardy. Thus mention of Vic Fontaine only enhances my argument.

"The Doctor"
See Emergency Medical Holograms under Ethics in round 3. Even a benevolent program like an EMH, can torture and murder crew members.

"The big ethical problem is not so much in the creation of holographic life forms, but in their mistreatment."
The mistreatment has been habitually done on Starships time and again. The solution after Moriarty was lobotomizing all the programs as a precaution to ensure it never happened again, which since we seem to agree they are a lifeform, is pretty ugly.

Benefits (mentioned in round 3, but listed in round 1):
  • R&R: Too small a fraction of the average crew benefits, at the cost of creating a divided caste system (as covered previously).
  • Problem solving sims: No examples yet to counter. In addition to the design needs for such problems, being unlikely to warrant a full scale recreational holodecks on ship.
  • Training sims: [Insert Straw Man fallacy about "swordfighting skills" and "bostaff skills" here]... But seriously, using the technology for actual skill maintenance for the whole crew (instead of sexing and/or killing real seeming people by the upper caste), is a clear benefit to having holoemitters on ship.
Holodecks are a wonderful tool, but complacency has turned them into not merely an abused resource, but a true danger.


Pro's position is becoming ever more muddled, and at this point I'm not actually sure where he stands. In his Rd. 4 Opening, he seems to support holodecks for deep space missions. Before we go any further though, I need to correct some misunderstandings that Pro has about Galaxy Class Starship design. Yes, we agree that the resource is scarce, but Pro misrepresents how scarce. There are 4 holodecks which can be shared by multiple users, but there are 22 holosuites which are essentially the same, but are designed for individual use. Only officers are normally permitted to use these facilities. This means there's quite a lot more access to holodecks than he implies, as he has been treating holodecks as if they are single user (see his discussion on mountain climbing) and holosuites as if they don't even exist. See the reference for more information. [1]

Officers Only:
Pro complains that it is unfair to only allow officers to use the facilities, but at the same time contends that if holodecks are misused they can be dangerous. So which is it, should cadets be allowed to waltz into a holodeck and, feeling frisky and full of teenage invincibility, turn the safeties off? Obviously not; stay out, Wes. Officers are commissioned for demonstrating responsibility, dependability, respect for the chain of command, and an ability to follow instructions. They are therefore the only ones starfleet has approved to be using this sensitive but worthwhile technology for recreation, and since safety is an issue Pro has called into question, one would think he ought to support this.

La Forge:
This is another complaint about preferential treatment shown for certain members of the Enterprise crew, but that really just boils down to being an issue of questioning Picard's command. It is non sequitur to the discussion of holodeck technology aboard starships.

Mountain Climbing:
In addition to my rebuttal above, the technology works in such a way as to make the user feel as if the space is larger than it actually is, so no, space is not nearly the concern Pro tries to make it.

Vic Fontaine/DS9:
How does an absence of holodeck malfunctions enhance his argument? He deems the technology as being safe to use on a space station by a similar crew, so thus holodecks should not be used on starships because they're unsafe? That doesn't logically follow. Moriarty was an extremely rare incident, but as I said before, that sort of problem can be avoided by having restrictions on how many times a character can be initialized, as well as by the nature of the character (no Khans). Compliance to protocol is partly accomplished by restricting access only to officers, making starship holodecks even more safe than casual ones that anyone can pay to use.

Ethics and Morality:
They can be ugly and full of difficult choices. So what? If that sort of thing interests you, you may enjoy this talk about the morality of murder by Michael Sandel. [2]

1) "Caste system" is both ad hominem and straw man. There is no "caste," crewmen can be promoted to officiers by demonstrating their reliability and working hard.
2) Problem solving sims: There are some examples [3] [4]
3) Pro contends that there are clear benefits to using holodecks for training purposes, not just for officers but for the whole crew. If I concede his point here, and I do, that means we agree that there should be MORE holodecks on starships, rather than none, and that at least some of them should be fully devoted to crew training. This point clearly strengthens my position towards the resolution, not his.


Debate Round No. 4


"Pro's position is becoming ever more muddled, and at this point I'm not actually sure where he stands."
I stand with the resolution: "Starfleet ships should not be standardly equipped with recreational holodecks."

"He seems to support holodecks for deep space missions"
A deep space mission has different needs, than those on a standard ship.

Reply to New Ship Design Argument:
I believe our debate is over the TV franchise, not the unlicensed role-playing game 'Star Trek: A Call To Duty' my opponent has linked. Which describe their information coming from their source
section plus "our heads. In reality, these specs are just great fiction, and are original works created by the members of our team" [17].
It states there's four holodecks all on "Deck 11." while Memory Alpha (which Con continues to use) states they are on "Deck 10 and Deck 12" [6]. However if I misread the information, and there's really four, that only raises the ratio to 2.8 hours per month.

"But there are 22 holosuites which are essentially the same"
  1. From his source: "Only these Holosuites can't handle as many variables and are less detailed." Thus not essentially the same.
  2. Never heard of them. Which episode is this from?
  3. These holosuites can handle less variables, and thus sound safer than the holodecks this debate is about.

"He has been treating holodecks as if they are single user"
Simply not true. I've given plenty of examples of several users in the holodeck. As much as the suspension of disbelief would be utterly ruined in some programs, by people coming and going.
(hoping this is not how they normally dress)

Officers & Caste
See dignitaries argument in round 3, as stated children of officers (three-year-old Alexander) may play with the safety levels [11]; which nearly got two officers killed.
Con admits it's communism. Communism is a caste system exemplified by Kim Jong-un, or even Kirk. That it's not rigid doesn't change it from "a division of society based on differences of wealth, inherited rank or privilege, profession, occupation, or race" [18].

"La Forge"
Preferential treatment for personnel with a history of reckless holodeck use (such as disabling the safeties on serial killer programs like Moriarty [5]), is an issue with leaving the toy they've abused within reach. As for passing the buck on up to Picard instead of La Forge, that blame game leads on up to the admiralty who are not present on Starships to oversee safe handling of the technology.

It's some holograms and force fields, with a real floor right under you; not a Tardis.

"He deems the technology as being safe to use on a space station"
Yes where there's never been an issue with the off switch, or being unable to transport people out, or programs taking over other systems, or holograms hitting the controls causing the safeties to turn off, etc.. The resolution deals with ships, where they've been proved to be a danger time and again.

"Restrictions on ... characters"
More safety protocols would be a very good idea, however it for some reason people can turn those off, in addition to the holodecks accidentally turning them off. So 'Please don't make violent characters, and certainly don't give them weapons' is a great starting point for safety protocols, which the officers would certainly ignore too. Also would it still be the same holodeck in question without lasting save files and violent characters?

An hour long, and not related to Star Trek.

Links 3 & 4:
Not enough information to refute.

"MORE holodecks"
Valid skill training does not equal recreation. No dangerous holodeck errors have originated in a useful training sim.

If Starfleet's flagship cannot handle them responsibly without annual incidents, recreational holodecks should not be available on most ships until great improvements are both made and tested.

If shipboard holodecks are not a danger, vote against me.




"If shipboard holodecks are not a danger, vote against me."
Okay, but that is not the only condition under which you should vote against him, and voters should avoid the false insinuation that if the opposite is true, you should vote in favor of him.

As you'll recall from rd. 3, we agreed on the criteria that “if the drawbacks outweighed the benefits, or if the potential drawbacks were so likely and so severe that they rendered the benefits moot, then in such a case holodecks should not be on starships.” I suggested this because in Pro's original resolution, the word "should' was a little too open to interperetation for my taste. Pro and I agree that there is some measure of danger associated with holodecks, but that is true for every aspect of the ship, including 10 Forward.

"A deep space mission has different needs, than those on a standard ship."
What does he think the Enterprise is, if not a deep space ship? There have been occasions where it has been necessary to keep the Enterprise on extended missions, use it as a hidden asset in covert operations, guard the neutral zone for unknowable lengths of time, and the list goes on and on. So which is it? Is Pro's definition of a "standard ship" the tugboat that stays close to a space station, or the Enterprise? Are "new life and new civilizations" or "boldly going where no one has gone before" supposed to be found just around the corner, or does oe have to take the Enterprise into "deep space" to find new things? Voters will decide.

Ship design as per Star Trek: A Call To Duty
Even within the series itself there were discrepancies and inconsistencies, so it is not surprising that fans such as ourselves are left in confusion to speculate and debate. Most of this part of the conversation is moot, however, in that it doesn't actually support my opponent's original contention that recreational holodecks shouldn't be on the Enterprise. Instead of wanting them off this ship, his point seems to be that there aren't enough of them and there should be more so that everyone can have a turn.

My opponent accuses me of telling a mistruth. My point was that he seems to have asserted that the archway and comings and goings of participants so completely ruins the experience for the user, which should considerably limit participation even if it doesn't make it decrease all the way down to "single user" as I suggested. At any rate, the point was that holodecks are actually safer than many of the real life experiences they simulate, and Pro didn't object to this, instead he changed the subject. I contend that they do simulate these experiences well enough that officers do seem to enjoy holodecks and like to go back.

Morality Video
While not Star Trek related, Michael Sandel does have quite a bit to say about the messiness and confusion of moral dilemma's, and this was pertenent to the conversation point raised by my opponent. The video was long, but that is moot since I only shared it as something that may be of interest to him or the readers. I did not demand that it must be answered to.

Officers, La Forge, Worf's Son & Caste
Again, this has nothing to do with the technology itself, these are issues of social justice. Pro seems pretty side tracked here. Nevertheless, his own reference to the definition of caste undermines him, because unchangeability or the inherited nature of social status is an important feature of castes. I don't ever recall agreeing to the description of the Enterprise command structure as being "communism." I may have said "that would be communism" if everyone got a turn.

Safe on a Space Station
I didn't see anything here that counters my point, except to say that both my opponent and I would favor an "off switch" to the recreational holodecks, which by the way does not require their removal from the ship.

Conclusion: Recreational holodecks are a valuable tool, and there are better ways to make them safer than complete removal from starships.
Debate Round No. 5
22 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Ragnar 3 years ago
Maikuru's was pretty last minute, however Gaurdian_Rock's fit the formula of fluff votes (awarded an extra point to avoid it being a tie). However that bladerunner060 voted against me is pretty much proof that con was the better debater.

I wish I could actually say I'm a better debater now. I'm polished, no way I would include so many side tangents... Yet there is something to be said for having passion.
Posted by 9spaceking 3 years ago
dang, Ragnar was *this* close to losing
Posted by Ragnar 4 years ago
Thank you all. I do believe that calculated1sk won on argument, as my own drifted way too far into side stuff that was irrelevant (or near so) to the conclusion.

Next month I think I might try another Star Trek themed debate, focused on the likelihood that Captain Picard was one of Khan's people (his inhuman Klingon killing abilities being my key warrant).
Posted by Ragnar 4 years ago
@Gaurdian_Rock: In future you may wish to better explain your votes, doubly so when specifying areas other than argument. On this one I suggest improving your RFD to include mention of my questionable conduct and/or good conduct from con (great conduct can earn the point, as much as bad conduct can cost it). As things currently stand, your vote is on shaky ground.
Posted by Maikuru 4 years ago
I'll be reading and voting on this today.
Posted by Ragnar 4 years ago
@Bladerunner: I am not at all surprised to learn there are technical manuals published for these shows somewhere (I think I heard something about no bathrooms, but it is the future so who knows how awesome those uniforms really are). Also great point about ship classifications.
Posted by bladerunner060 4 years ago
The technical manual included the information that there were 20 holosuites, on decks 12 and 33. More "canonical" than a game, I think. Though I do think limiting the "canonicity" in question would have made this a better debate, if only because there would have been a greater familiarity. Not everyone knows the apocryphal or semi-apocryphal sources as much as the show.

As regards to the Enterprise not being a deep-space ship, Ragnar, I think you should remember that it was a member of a class...they weren't all flagships, y'know?
Posted by calculatedr1sk 4 years ago
The full round 4 comment of yours was "I believe that the recreational ones should not be a standard feature on ships. Obviously ships intended for deep space exploration would greatly benefit from them (requiring a far greater ratio than seen on TNG, where we've agreed it's an incredibly limited resource)"

While you probably made that comment with the intent of arguing that Enterprise D is not an element of the set {ships intended for deep space exploration}, you inadvertently opened up an opportunity for me to argue that in fact it is an element of that set, and thus my argument was considerably strengthened.

I did counter your point of holodeck scarcity within the debate itself by stating that there are 4 holodecks, but I happened to have done it using the Call to Duty link rather than the youtube link. I hope that voters will note the consistency between both of those sources, which strengthens the case that the Call to Duty site I referenced is a credible source.
Posted by Ragnar 4 years ago
Again not upset, but which round 4 comment so that I can improve my future arguments?

Also IMO that would have been a great source inside the argument (as stated, changing my math to 2.8 hours per month).

As for my lack of a provision against in inclusion of fanfiction, that is entirely my bad. I really did not mean to mislead anyone when I argued the TV shows.
Posted by calculatedr1sk 4 years ago
I was responding to a comment you made in round 4, not opening my own new line of argument.

I wasn't aware of any provision that "only information directly from the show is permissible". Was that a rule? I don't recall seeing it. Holosuites were available all over the alpha quadrant. But you suppose the flagship wouldn't have any? It's you vs. the creators of a star trek game on an issue that should be irrelevant to the vote in the first place for reasons I stated in the closing round.

But regardless, if you want to fault me for that, look first to your own round 2 claim that there are only 2 holodecks, then look at your reference which says nothing of the sort, and then watch this clip of Riker telling us that there are at least 4 holodecks on the Enterprise.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Maikuru 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Great debate. The fact that the resolution is about recreational holodecks specifically eliminates Con's arguments on training and problem solving. We must focus, then, on the room's entertainment value vs its dangers. I did not buy into Pro's caste system argument; as Con pointed out, military ships are necessarily divided and nothing is stopping senior officers from gifting holodeck hours. The dangers, however, seem very real; injuries, including the near fatal, and ship takeovers abound on the Federation's top starships. As Pro pointed out, the users for these particular holodecks are the Federation's best and brightest. Counter arguments claiming that better off switches or user supervision are needed can't apply when considering that the technology and users being described are literally the best Starfleet has to offer. The holodecks, designed as they are now and catering to the crews they do now, are proven hazards, especially considering they are a luxury per the resolution.
Vote Placed by Gaurdian_Rock 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: He's right, the goods of holodecks far out weigh the problem associated with them, and that all components of that ship are equally dangerous.
Vote Placed by drafterman 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro made a convincing argument for the long-term threat holographic entities pose to non-holographic life. While the current incidence of such events (a la Moriary) is low, it seems that, on a long enough timeline, holograms become more and more sentient, and more and more of a threat.
Vote Placed by utahjoker 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro was able to show the real danger of having holodecks on a ship. Also Pro showed while having holodecks has benefits it also has draw backs. Round 2 was a waste for con so Pro was able to get some footing that con lost. Overall a really good debate Pro just convinced me a littler more on his side.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments