The Instigator
TheSkeptic
Pro (for)
Winning
42 Points
The Contender
Logical-Master
Con (against)
Losing
41 Points

The "Conduct" Voting Category Should be Removed or Replaced

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/10/2009 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,580 times Debate No: 7322
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (15)

 

TheSkeptic

Pro

The resolution should be self-explanatory: I am arguing that the "conduct" category you decide on, when voting on a debate, should be removed.

My argument is simple. This is a DEBATING website, and therefore DEBATING should be the primary concern. An argument should be judged on the effectiveness of the rhetoric, the amount of reliable sources, and the overall strength of the argument. Conduct is an impotent category that shouldn't be a voting category, but at best something that is rule of thumb.
Logical-Master

Con

OFF TOPIC:Once again, I don't have much time (due to college related matters, but this won't be a problem after now since spring break starts for me after class today)
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My opponent is correct in regards to the notion that conduct has nothing to do with the actual arguments. To suggest otherwise would be committing the style over substance fallacy. With that said, enforced conduct is a means of preventing debaters from going into areas that do not really concern the debate (as a poster in the comment section has indicated . . . an "insult fest" if you will) and keeping the debate focused on nothing more than the actual arguments at hand. In other words, conduct being enforced by some means is an incentive to do nothing more than actually debate.

Of course, let us assume that my opponent is correct regarding the relevance of conduct. This does not warrant it's removal. Rather, I could very well compromise while upholding the resolution by agreeing that no points should be counted towards conduct. In other words, "conduct" would be no more effective than "who did you agree with before/after the debate." This would please my opponent in that the conduct category does not impact the judging to determine who had won and would uphold my side of the resolution (in that conduct is neither removed or replaced, but simply given no weight in determining the debate's winner).

Due to time constraints, that's all I shall be saying for now. Keep in mind that the above points may need some elaboration depending on PRO's rebuttal.

Engage.
Debate Round No. 1
TheSkeptic

Pro

I thank my esteemed opponent for accepting this open debate, and I hope it goes well! Also, I understand that my opponent is currently being clogged up by college -- I too, have finals next week D: But no more formalities, to the debate!

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An inventive to avoid petty insults, and focus on debate
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I agree with my opponent that ignoring one's conduct can lead to a bad debate. If we were to throw insults back and forth, then we'd simply go nowhere. However, the other aspect of "good conduct" rests on the premise that "bad words" or "attitudes" should be something censored, or prevented. In the same way censorship in media and banned books should be done away with, being voted down for cursing should be removed also.

But this leads us the point my opponent uses: while one's conduct may be irrelevant to the actual debate, it helps because people can make petty insults and lower the quality of the debate. I fully agree with this assessment, but the conclusion is wrong. As the resolution allows, "conduct" should be replaced by other voting categories, such as "clarity" or any other numerous possible categories.

If my opponent agrees with my assessment that conduct is only useful for helping the debate become more focused on the actual topic (and not agreeing to disagree), then we can see that there are much more useful replacements.

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Don't need to remove it anyway
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If that's my opponent back up plan, then I argue that we should simply remove unnecessary points such as that.

If, as my opponent says, these categories don't constitute anything towards the vote, then WHY put them there? If they are simply for polls, then it shouldn't be a "voting category", as the resolution clearly states.

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Conclusion
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My opponent need not worry about time restraints, for I have them too. %#$& finals!
Logical-Master

Con

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An inventive to avoid petty insults, and focus on debate
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Ladies and gentleman, my opponent doesn't have a problem with conduct being employed so that two people won't feel inclined to talk bad about each others' mommas or the characteristics of each others' craniums. Rather, his problem rest on those who view conduct in terms of those who make use of "bad words" or have "bad attitudes". However, what my opponent does not understand is that this objection serves to be a two edged sword for him.

In other words, let us take into account that there are people who view "convincing arguments" to mean the individual who actually "convinced" just as there are people who view "convincing arguments" to mean the side whom they believe provided the better argument. Heck, there are even those who view convincing arguments as "the user who I like more" or "the one user who posted the most text." Do these different interpretations honestly warrant removal and/or replacement of the "convincing argument" category? Heavens no. People are expected to have different interpretations of "conduct" just as people are expected to have different interpretations of "convincing."

The most debaters can (and should do) is know their audiences (which is what lawyers, members of the senate and presidential candidates do) so that they may know how to reason and dictate in a way that is appealing to them. I After all, is it not the audience whom we debaters are serving when it comes to this voting system? Sure, there may be some interpretations which we may consider outrageous, but this is the art of persuasion which we are dealing with. If you feel you cannot persuade an individual through appealing to their beliefs, simply persuade them to your own.

In terms of there simply being a new voting option (clarity), as I've implied above, this would be flaccid and ineffective at best. Just as there are different interpretations of "conduct", there are different interpretations of clarity as well. There are different interpretations for all terms. The most a debater can do is get to know their audience (which [by participating enough on this website] is not difficult to do).

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Don't need to remove it anyway
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#1. My opponent request to know of what purpose there would be to place vote options that have no effect on who won the debate. Answer: The purpose is quite simple. #1. It allows users to voice their opinions officially. Whether or not conduct ought to be valued here, it is valued mostly every place else. Just as is the case in mostly every place else, voters will be able inform the debater of whether or not they liked the way they behaved during the debate. Of course, why should the debater care? This is simple. #2. Because it is valued in mostly every other arena, debaters ought to be concerned with it. Just because bad/good conduct may no longer influence the voter turnouts on debate.org, it doesn't mean the same will occur elsewhere. If debaters are well practiced in having good conduct, then debating in other arenas should not be much of a problem. Ergo, debaters can practice their conduct skills here and be rated by the voters so their performance so that they can be better equipped when debating in other arenas. Those who intend to have bad conduct no matter what arena they are in (and likely risk failing to come off as persuasive or successfully in other arenas) can debate here without caring for conduct to their heart's content.

#2. To further negotiate with my opponent while upholding my side of the resolution, I argue that rather than remove or replace conduct, the webmaster could simply add in some information on the side of the page that explains "conduct" in more detail. Through being defined in a way at which my opponent favors (a way that explicitly leaves out "curse words" and other forms of "bad conduct" which my opponent does not deem bad), this would appease my opponent and win me the debate at the same time.

And that'll do it for now. :D
Debate Round No. 2
TheSkeptic

Pro

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An inventive to avoid petty insults, and focus on debate
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A simple read of my opponent's argument boils down to this: he argues that people should be expected to have 4. different interpretations of the various voting categories, and that debaters should make a conscious effort to figure out what the majority "interpretation" is.

Right at the onset, there are several problems:

1. Voting categories should NOT be open to wide spread interpretation. A little leeway is acceptable, like some people weighing "grammar" more than "spelling" int he S&G voting category. But to allow different interpretations such as "convincing arguments" meaning "the user who I like more" is not fruitful at all to the debate process - in fact, examples such as my opponent has given is reminiscent of vote-bombing. While we can't fully prevent it from happening - as people will vote in a biased manner - we shouldn't encourage it.

2. Making voting categories open to interpretation defeats the purpose for the score. If we allow the total sum of scores to equal a wide amount of different interpretations of the voting categories, then we don't get a honest representation of who won (in the public eye). What if someone valued humor for winning the debate? What if someone valued how many times someone said "ergo"? There could be myriads of trivial reasons why people would vote for someone, and this obviously shouldn't be encouraged. Likewise with the interpretations. Not only would we not know who won in the public eye - since all voting categories are open to interpretation - but it would undermine the point of having a set of categories. Heck, why not just give them a blank field where they can give the debater how many points they want, for whatever reason?

I realize there are RFD's (Reasons for Decision), but then why vote? To simply give debaters a number saying who won (which is inherently flawed because all the categories are open to interpretation)?

3. Setting a standard definition for each of the categories not only makes it easier, but it helps debaters improve (perhaps a new version will show debaters how many points they get per category). For one of the biggest uses of debating is intellectual discourse. Allowing categories to be flexible defeats this.

4. "The most debaters can (and should do) is know their audiences (which is what lawyers, members of the senate and presidential candidates do) so that they may know how to reason and dictate in a way that is appealing to them."

This would be an inappropriately large burden for the debaters. They have to conscious of the general majority opinion, and then watch out for those few debaters who have different "interpretations" Not only so, but this isn't some politician training site - it's a debate site. Honest, intellectual debate needs a standard and stable system of feedback/review. The debaters shouldn't be expected to "know their crowd", they should be expected to hone their argumentative skills, critical thinking, and logic.

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CON: Don't need to remove anyway
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"It allows users to voice their opinions officially. "

This can be done WITHOUT conduct being a *voting* category. Rather, a polling category for the interests of the debaters if they wish - just like the "I agree before this debate". This applies to my opponent's other point. If it's for the purpose of other "arenas" or "activities", then at best it should remain as a poll that does not affect the vote turnout.

"To further negotiate with my opponent while upholding my side of the resolution, I argue that rather than remove or replace conduct, the webmaster could simply add in some information on the side of the page that explains "conduct" in more detail."

Again - the only other purpose of the conduct vote is to prevent debates from turning into messy insults. A new category, such as clarity, can be implemented. As anyone should know, being clear in one's debating is great argumentative skills.
Logical-Master

Con

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An inventive to avoid petty insults, and focus on debate
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PRO states that I'm basically insisted that "people should be expected to have 4. different interpretations of the various voting categories, and that debaters should make a conscious effort to figure out what the majority "interpretation" is." This is only partially correct. What I'm insisting is that people should be expected to be aware of the different interpretations for the voting categories (specifically, how people determine conduct, given that this is what the debate concerns) and that they should make an effort to be aware of their audience (ideas of other DDO members) so they can be more persuasive (having an idea of how someone thinks can help you in persuading them).

As for PRO's problems with my assertion:

1. PRO states that voting categories should NOT be open to wide spread interpretation. I don't necessarily agree or disagree with this assertion, however . . . I will point out that it is no consequence of what SHOULD be the case as the fact of the matter is that voting categories ARE open to wide spread interpretation (as I've already pointed out in the previous round). Individuals DO IN FACT have different connotations on vocabulary; just because you generally think of a word one way, it does not mean that everyone else adheres to your thought process. Nothing my opponent has advised will ever change this fact. Changing to "voting conduct" to clarity is simply throwing in a new term at which people will have many different interpretations of.

2. For the most part, I've covered this in #1. However, I will go on to add that nothing which my opponent is advocating shall encourage people not to have different interpretations as his plan merely involves replacing "Conduct" with "Clarity" or just removing conduct entirely (which has nothing to do with encouraging users not to possess different interpretations). A debaters best bet is the handle the situation as one would in real life (and that is through getting to know your audience so that you may appeal to their mindset or know how to change it) or to follow up on my second suggestion and have the webmaster implement a CLARIFICATION section of the terms used. And just to vanquish my opponent's position entirely, I've added in that his own interpretation could be used in this clarification section, hence rendering his case meaningless.

As for voting, it generally gives the debater an idea of the number of people who were persuaded by his/her position. This helps one in developing his/her persuasion/charismatic skills.

3. Given I myself made this argument in R2 (in attempt to show how PRO's ideas could be appealed to while negating the resolution), I will take this a concession. Indeed, Phil could set a standard in depth explanation for each of the categories. This would render having to replace or remove the conduct category extremely pointless.

4. It's the trade off for expecting to win over the votes of a plethora of people whom you don't know or haven't even heard of. Sure, you can come on to this website and debate to your hearts content while hoping that people will somehow understand what you're talking about. However, if you do this, you will have little to not legitimate clue of how the votes are generally going to turn out. Sure, you may believe in your position with very high hopes, but who is to say this is the case for other users? What I've provided is a sure way method on winning over the votes of other users who may not agree with your own interpretation on what it means to win, have better conduct or present more reliable sources in a debate.

BASICALLY: If you merely wish to hone your argumentation skills, critical thinking and understanding of logic, relying on debate.com voter turnouts is NOT what you should be doing. You should merely be concerned with debating (not the votes). Debating again and again and again will improve your aforementioned skills. However, if you're attempting to win over as many votes as possible, you HAVE TO BE at least somewhat familiar with how these people whom you are attempting to persuade are thinking, as once again . . . we don't all share the same thought process. PRO labels this as political training, but that is essentially what individuals are doing when they are attempting to win over numerous people to support them. You can't just run for office, appeal to your own mindset and not give a crap about how the people (whom you wish to vote in favor of you) think.

As I've pointed out (and contrary to what PRO wants you to believe), this really isn't much a burden. To be familiar with the members on debate.org, you need merely participate as a member of the community. Browse through the forums, browse through the comments sections and occasionally browse through other debates and it becomes a relatively simple process. Of course, if this is too much of a burden for you, you have no business attempting to win favor with the community in the first place.

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Don't need to remove it anyway
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RE: "This can be done WITHOUT conduct being a *voting* category. Rather, a polling category for the interests of the debaters if they wish - just like the "I agree before this debate". This applies to my opponent's other point. If it's for the purpose of other "arenas" or "activities", then at best it should remain as a poll that does not affect the vote turnout."

Um . . . polling and voting are the same thing. They are both merely the instance of people expressing their thoughts so that the thoughts can be made up into a census concerning the thoughts of the community in question. Basically, my opponent has pretty much conceded to my argument here.

RE:"Again - the only other purpose of the conduct vote is to prevent debates from turning into messy insults. A new category, such as clarity, can be implemented. As anyone should know, being clear in one's debating is great argumentative skills."

Both PRO and I have agreed that there are different interpretations of conduct. PRO has claimed that the reason leaving conduct as a voting category is bad is because of the different interpretations, hence has opted to simply use a synonym of conduct which he believes as being more specific to what users should be concerned with in terms of conduct. However, rather than waste time, the question mark box on the left of conduct (the one which contains explanations for each category) can simply be modified to merely provide an explanation concerning clarity. Once again, this would appease my opponent while upholding my side of the resolution.

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WHY YOU SHOULD VOTE CON
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#1. I've provided an alternative to appeases my opponents arguments while negating the resolution. This renders his case meaningless.
#2. PRO conceded to #1 as can be shown in point #3 in the "An inventive to avoid petty insults, and focus on debate" section of the debate in my R3.
#3. Replacing conduct with clarity is pointless given that people have different interpretations of clarity just as they have different interpretations of conduct (which PRO pointed out as a problem for conduct).

These are the main three; you can find others in the debate, but I deem these as being the most important.

Thanks for the debate. Vote CON.
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Logical-Master 7 years ago
Logical-Master
No, it doesn't
Posted by Zetsubou 7 years ago
Zetsubou
Does agree Before & After accually give you points?
Posted by Logical-Master 7 years ago
Logical-Master
Changed my vote for convincing arguments just now. Not sure why I had it listed as a tie.
Posted by TheSkeptic 7 years ago
TheSkeptic
Heh, L-M, there is a distinction from polling and voting - at least what I intended it to mean. Voting would constitute points to whoever won this debate, while polling would not constitute points to this debate but rather just show the opinion of debaters, as does voting.
Posted by PoeJoe 7 years ago
PoeJoe
"Conduct is an impotent category"
I laugh every time I hear that word.
Posted by TheSkeptic 7 years ago
TheSkeptic
Sorry for the late and crappy response - I JUST got down with my last final (procrastination for the win!).
Posted by TheSkeptic 7 years ago
TheSkeptic
It is possible that some people couldn't submit their argument due to occurrences in their personal life. Docking them down for "Convincing arguments" can suffice.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
There is nothing to be gained by renaming the conduct category when the message needs to be conveyed that the debater showed poor conduct. I don't buy the excuse that a person cannot get on some computer for five minutes in three days to type a line saying, "Sorry, I must continue my arguments." It is a simple courtesy. Forfeiting is like walking out in the middle of a live debate without giving a word of explanation.
Posted by TheSkeptic 7 years ago
TheSkeptic
Yes, some purposes of being civil and courteous is to have a clear and diligent debate. However, that can easily be accounted for by other voting categories, such as perhaps "clarity".

Forfeiting isn't always a form of bad conduct (internet problems, etc.), and forfeits usually mean the debater will lose in categories such as "convincing arguments". The conduct vote has some uses, but that can easily be circumvented with other categories.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
I was inclined to agree with the resolution until seeing just how much bad conduct would result. The problem is that logical argument can easily be put aside in favor of the easier game of trading insults. Maybe that shouldn't happen, but the temptation seems to be too great. Aside from trading insults, the other main bad conduct is forfeiting. That wastes the diligent debater's time and ought to be penalized. I think point penalties should be assessed by software, and forfeiting two rounds an automatic loss. Civility really is an integral part of debate.
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Vote Placed by Demauscian 7 years ago
Demauscian
TheSkepticLogical-MasterTied
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Vote Placed by Logical-Master 7 years ago
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