The Instigator
lamerde
Pro (for)
Winning
8 Points
The Contender
Nonsense
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

The practice of only voting in favour of your friends should not be acceptable

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
lamerde
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/9/2015 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 637 times Debate No: 83697
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (10)
Votes (3)

 

lamerde

Pro

Full resolution: The practice of choosing only to vote in favour of another user, while withholding your vote if you believe that user lost the debate, should not be acceptable on DDO.

Pro will argue in favour of the resolution, that it should not be acceptable for DDO users to selectively vote only in favour of another user if they refuse to ever vote against that user.

Con will argue the position that it should be acceptable for DDO members to selectively vote in favour of another user, while consciously choosing to never vote against that user.

The character limit is 5000 per round to encourage concise arguments.

Rules:

Round 1: Con will accept and present his or her arguments.
Round 2: Pro will present her arguments. Con will defend his or her arguments, and rebut Pro's arguments.
Round 3:Pro will defend her arguments and rebut Con's arguments. Con will conclude (no new arguments).
Round 4: Pro will conclude (no new arguments). Con must forfeit the last round.
Nonsense

Con

I accept this debate and will now present my arguments.

1. Any user of this website is (and should be) entitled to not vote on a debate without having to give a single justification for it.

2. Banning being the best, this is the second best deterrent of troll-type members who aggravate the community as a whole from doing so.

3. Unless private PMs occurred and privacy rights of users are violated for no reason other than suspicion of vote conspiring, there is simply no morally acceptable way to prove this is occurring.

I will now expand on these points:

Since anyone can choose not to vote on a debate for no reason whatsoever without any punishment, the intentional refraining of voting on a friend's debate where the user believes they have lost is absolutely acceptable and should be if we don't want to force users to vote on debates. In fact, this is far more preferable than someone who would go so low as to look for the slightest scrap of RFD to write in order to justify voting for their friend when they believed they voted wrong. Nonetheless, even if they voted against their belief rather than refraining from voting, that is still fine as long as the RFD meets the requirements, to suggest differently would be to encourage the very favoritism that the resolution seeks to avoid but rather it would be reversed favoritism in that anyone suspected of voting for their friends owuld have to meet higher requirements for their RFd which is simply unfair and would be open to extreme corruption by the vote mods.

The second point I raise is that other than banning, this is the next best deterrent of nuisances to the site. The reason is that if they consistently annoy enough people, their win rate will naturally go down and while you can argue that this is somehow wrong or reducing hte integrity of debating on this site, this is not a professional debating site and was never intended to be either. This website is very clearly a social forum that is based around the sharing of opinions, debating is a major part of that but it is not the main thing that attracts the clientele. The forums, opinions and polls sections are clearly not designed for competitive debating and it is important for a community to worry about all aspects of its wellbeing, not just what it does on a superficial level. If this site gets disrupted, very few people will use it and those people will be severely antisocial which would make the entire point of this website defeated since the vile trolls left behind would all be extremely abrasive to one another and have no respect for each other's opinions. The best way to get rid of them is to ban them but the second best way is to pressure them into leaving. The reason why banning doesn't always work is that not only is it possible to troll without breaking any rules but the nature of gang-voting means that it would be possible for a socially acceptable member to lose regularly but it would be impossible for an antisocial one to win regularly and this is the key point.

Last but not least, this entire concept would be impossible to enforce. The only way to ever catch people out would mean violating certain privacy settings and that would just encourage them to use off-site means of communication immediately which would defeat the purpose and would also drive many users away due to the snooping that the mods would have to have done to confirm the gang-voting. Users have a right to privacy, that is why the site allows users to select several alterations to their privacy settings if they are happy to be open or not.
Debate Round No. 1
lamerde

Pro

In the comments, Con and I agreed to the following debate structure:

Round 1: Con will accept and present his arguments.
Round 2: Pro will present her arguments. Con will rebut Pro's arguments.
Round 3:Pro will rebut Con's arguments. Con will defend his arguments and conclude (no new arguments).
Round 4: Pro will defend her arguments and conclude (no new arguments). Con must forfeit the last round.

=Introduction=

Voting on debates is an integral part of debate.org (DDO). There are not only rules around voting (1), but these rules are intensely enforced through vote moderation (2). Individuals are also required to provide a reason for decision (RFD) or risk having that vote removed. It is clear that DDO users take pride in a voting system that decides the winner of debates based on merit.

However, there are users--past and present--who have argued that it is acceptable to vote only in favour of their friends and never vote against them. This practice should be unacceptable because:

=Arguments=

1. If everyone engaged in the behaviour, debates would be decided by who has the most friends.

If we apply Kant's maxim of universalizability (3), "an act is only permissible if one is willing for the maxim that allows the action to be a universal law by which everyone acts." With everyone refusing to vote against their friends, DDO users with many friends would have an unfair advantage to win debates.

Consider the following scenario: 10 members vote on a debate. Half believe Pro won, and half believe Con won. In an unbiased judging scenario, we would observe a tie.

In a biased judging scenario where each of the aforementioned judges will only vote for Pro if they think he won and abstain from voting if they think he lost, the worst Pro can do is tie, and the best Con can do is tie.

This system would be unfair if even a single user engaged in such favouritism. Close debates are often decided by the presence (or absence) of a single vote, and thus depend on the impartiality of voters. Predeterminations regarding who individuals will or will not vote for necessarily imbalance the voting field and undermine the very purpose of debate.

Such is the outcome of a preference-based voting system: Friends are benefitted at best, and unharmed at worst. When users withhold their votes, non-friends tie at best, even if they win. This is the very definition of unfair voting.

2. It will discourage users from debating against certain opponents.

People put time and effort into their debates, and expect the voting process to be fair and balanced. However, when one contender has allies on the site who only vote in their favour and never against them, it is likely to create an atmosphere of favouritism around voting and discourage other members from debating against that person. Consider it yourself: If you knew that a particular user had friends who would not vote against him, would you bother to debate him? Would you at least request that the biased voter not judge the debate? Not only is this sort of bias a detriment to the debating process, but it also has a negative impact on users' enjoyment of the site, which in turn would have a negative impact on the site's quality as a whole.

3. It reduces voter credibility.

Users should rightfully question the credibility of those who selectively votes for other users. By selectively voting based on their relationships, these users introduce outside information into the debate, which sways their decision-making. Thus, they demonstrate that they cannot be impartial judges and that their votes for their friends cannot be trusted.

Although some would like to believe there is only one "true" winner of a debate, the nature of debate is that each side often believes they have won. Many debates are close, due to the nature of ethics, rhetoric, and similar levels of skill (4). If the winner of a debate were always cut and dry, there would be no need for debate. As such, there is a lot of subjectivity involved in deciding the winner of a debate. Subjectivity allows room for bias, and a DDO user who has such a close relationship with another user that he refuses to vote against the other user, will likely subjectively determine that the user won more often than not.

=Conclusion=

I have demonstrated that the process of selective voting damages multiple areas of the site; it harms debaters (who would be unfairly judged), and it harms the reputation, purpose, and enjoyment of DDO as a whole. What makes DDO a "community" is that several members have formed relationships with the people they meet here. What makes DDO a quality website, however, is that the users have the integrity not to allow such relationships to unfairly taint the act of unbiased judging and debating. To do otherwise should be unacceptable!

=Sources=

1. http://tinyurl.com...
2. http://tinyurl.com...
3. http://tinyurl.com...
4. http://tinyurl.com...
Nonsense

Con

Nonsense forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
lamerde

Pro

=Introduction=

I would like to thank Nonsense for accepting the debate and for his quickly posted first round. Unfortunately it looks as though his account has been closed and I've been informed that he may be a permanently banned member. Even though he will likely be unable to complete the debate, I will still address the arguments he put forth.

Before I address Con's arguments, I would like to remind the reader of the resolution: The practice of choosing only to vote in favour of another user, while withholding your vote if you believe that user lost the debate, should not be acceptable on DDO.

As you can see, there are two components that we are talking about here--we are referring to the specific practice of a user refusing to vote against a friend who lost AND ALSO votes when they believe the friend to have won the debate. None of Con's arguments actually address the resolution; Con's first two arguments do not address both components of the resolution (A & B). For example, if the resolution were "Children should not be allowed to go out while they are grounded" and Con argued that children should be allowed to go out, he has missed the resolution of the debate.

=Con's Arguments=

1. "Any user of this website is (and should be) entitled to not vote on a debate without having to give a single justification for it."

Here, Con has addressed the part of the resolution referring to not voting, but has not addressed the resolution in its entirety, which is the combination of not voting because your friend lost, and only voting because your friend won. The issue is not simply about withholding a vote; it's about selective voting. You may not have to justify the votes you don't place, but you do have to justify the votes you DO place. If a user abstained completely from voting for their friends or loved ones, there would not be a problem.

Con argues not voting in your friends' debates when you believe they lost is better than voting in favour of your friends when you believe they lost. This does not address the resolution. Both actions should be discouraged.

Con's argument that requiring more from an RFD of a user would be "reverse favouritism" is a straw man (1), since I never once argued in favour of that and it does not address the resolution. In fact, I would prefer that if a user cannot be impartial, then they should refrain from voting for their friends completely. However, the resolution is that the practice of voting selectively for your friends should be discouraged, and Con's argument is both a straw man and out of the scope of this debate.

2. "Banning being the best, this is the second best deterrent of troll-type members who aggravate the community as a whole from doing so."

I am not sure what this argument means. Con claims that the practice of selectively voting for your friends will make antisocial people leave DDO. It appears he is advocating a system where the most popular members win by virtue of having the most friends willing to vote for them and unwilling to vote against them. This goes against the spirit of debate, and the spirit of the rules around voting.

If what Con means is that users will only vote against trolls, this is not resolutional. This debate is about not voting against your friends; it is not about purposely voting against other users.

3. "Unless private PMs occurred and privacy rights of users are violated for no reason other than suspicion of vote conspiring, there is simply no morally acceptable way to prove this is occurring."

This point is probably the closest to addressing the resolution, but still misses the mark. First of all, if we based all rules and laws on whether people would admit things, then we wouldn't have any rules or laws. But more importantly, the question is not whether we can or cannot prove someone is engaging in this practice; the question is if this practice should be acceptable. If a user does admit to engaging in this behaviour, it should not be acceptable, and Con's argument does not address that.

=Conclusion=

None of Con's arguments thus far have addressed the resolution, which is that the practice of choosing only to vote in favour of another user, while withholding your vote if you believe that user lost the debate, should not be acceptable on DDO.

=Sources=

1. http://tinyurl.com...
Nonsense

Con

Nonsense forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
lamerde

Pro

Arguments extended.
Nonsense

Con

Nonsense forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Maikuru 1 year ago
Maikuru
He asked Airmax to close it because he was intimidated by your arguments. Used to happen in my debates all the time.
Posted by lamerde 1 year ago
lamerde
Why was Nonsense's account closed??
Posted by lamerde 1 year ago
lamerde
Great. I'll make the correction in my next round.
Posted by Nonsense 1 year ago
Nonsense
I love things being more fair for me. ;)
Posted by lamerde 1 year ago
lamerde
I realized I screwed up the set-up of the debate.

I have it like this:

Round 1: Con will accept and present his or her arguments.
Round 2: Pro will present her arguments. Con will defend his or her arguments, and rebut Pro's arguments.
Round 3:Pro will defend her arguments and rebut Con's arguments. Con will conclude (no new arguments).
Round 4: Pro will conclude (no new arguments). Con must forfeit the last round.

But I realize that in Round 2, Con won't be defending arguments because I won't be rebutting them in round 2 (which is my first round). This means, the way it's currently written, I get an extra rebuttal and this isn't fair.

Nonsense, I just want to clarify with you whether the following format (what I'd originally intended) is okay:

Round 1: Con will accept and present his or her arguments.
Round 2: Pro will present her arguments. Con will rebut Pro's arguments.
Round 3:Pro will rebut Con's arguments. Con will defend his or her arguments and conclude (no new arguments).
Round 4: Pro will defend her arguments and conclude (no new arguments). Con must forfeit the last round.

This way, we each get the same number of rounds for everything. Please let me know if this change is okay - it's more fair to you.
Posted by lamerde 1 year ago
lamerde
@nonsense - My mistake, it was supposed to be 4 rounds. I'll send you a challenge.
Posted by Maikuru 1 year ago
Maikuru
This reminds me of the good ol' days when there were roaming bands of voters who exclusively voted for each other, but would claim otherwise. Lots of laughs were had when the votes tab was eventually created.
Posted by Nonsense 1 year ago
Nonsense
I will accept this if you challenge me.
Posted by lamerde 1 year ago
lamerde
I know users in the past who have done this, and current users have admitted to doing this.
Posted by kasmic 1 year ago
kasmic
So far as I know it is not acceptable on this website.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by famousdebater 1 year ago
famousdebater
lamerdeNonsenseTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by Maikuru 1 year ago
Maikuru
lamerdeNonsenseTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: lamerde asked me not to vote on this debate multiple times but 1) she's not the boss of me, 2) this is a clear-cut case, and 3) the multiple forfeits of her opponent mean this thing is bound to sink into voteless obscurity. Conduct goes to Pro for multiple forfeits on the part of her opponent. Arguments go to Pro, as well. First. each of her arguments were extended over multiple forfeits. Second, as Pro pointed out, none of Con's arguments were resolutional -- they each either addressed only one part of the resolution (Contention 1) or were completely irrelevant to the resolution (Contentions 2 & 3). With no relevant case, Con cannot win arguments. With relevant contentions, Pro takes arguments. Sources go to Pro, as her links included site rules on voting and examples of debates where biased voting would sway the results.
Vote Placed by EverlastingMoment 1 year ago
EverlastingMoment
lamerdeNonsenseTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture.