The Instigator
Rabid.Penguin
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
MuKen
Con (against)
Winning
9 Points

Toilet Paper Orientation

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
MuKen
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/18/2011 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,751 times Debate No: 17553
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (3)

 

Rabid.Penguin

Pro

The argument will be over whether placing the toilet paper in the holder so that the toilet paper hangs over the roll when pulled toward the user (i.e. the position with which the hanging toilet paper is closest to the user, henceforth known as "over"), is superior to placing the toilet paper in the holder so that the toilet paper hangs under the roll when pulled toward the user (i.e. the position with which the hanging toilet paper is farthest away from the user, henceforth known as "under").

Pro (me) will be arguing that "over" is superior to "under."
Con (you) will be arguing that "under" is superior to "over."

Superior will be defined as quicker in initial setup and retrieval of the new piece of toilet paper while sitting on the toilet, with emphases being on retrieval. Since the goal of the individual should be to get into and get out of the bathroom as quick as possible.

Round one is for acceptance.
Round two is for opening arguments.
Round three is for rebuttal.

I feel three rounds should be more than enough for this topic.
MuKen

Con

I accept this debate. I will further clarify the definition of 'superior' by claiming that 'quicker' should be determined as an expected value of average time spent extracting paper from the roll across the total of all your interactions with the roll for its full lifetime.

I look forward to your arguments!
Debate Round No. 1
Rabid.Penguin

Pro

I accept your addendum to the definition of "superior" and I would like to thank you for accepting this debate. I would like to add that I will be providing ice water and oranges at the conclusion of the debate. However, you must provide your own transportation to and from the refreshments. Thank you, and now on with the debate!

Initial Setup
Initial setup is only done once during the life of the toilet paper roll. It is defined as 1) placing the toilet paper roll onto the toilet paper holder, and 2) disconnecting (peel away) the first sheet of paper from the roll. The peeling can be done before or after the placing.

In the initial setup there is no real difference between the two systems.

Retrieving a New Piece of Toilet Paper
Once the next sheet of toilet paper is in hand, tearing it from the roll is trivial in either system, so I will argue that locating and grabbing hold of the next piece is where all the time is spent.

Consider the following equation [1]:
T = D / S
Where T is the time it takes to reach the next sheet on the roll, D is the distance between the occupant and the roll, and S is the speed at which the occupant reaches for the roll.

Now assuming that S is constant between both systems (over and under), you will reach the sheet in the over system quicker simply because D will be smaller.

Also, taking into account that in the over system the next sheet is easier to locate and can be quickly spotted at a glance without any guess work, fiddling around, or scraping your knuckles against the wall, and we can clearly see that grabbing the next piece on the roll is quicker in an over system. And this speed gain applies to the entire life of the roll.

[1] http://mathforum.org...
MuKen

Con

I would graciously accept your refreshments, however given the time and travel costs involved, I am afraid I will have to defer as to such time as we have developed cost-effective teleportation technology.

I concur with your analysis of initial setup time.

However, the distance to sheet is based highly upon the current state of the roll. You consider problems such as knuckle scraping, however this is a rare problem, entirely avoidable with proper technique, and seems to indicate a worst-case analysis (1) of the system. However, given that we wish to consider total expected expenditure over the lifetime of the system, we would do better to consider average-case analysis (2), and to do so we need to individually analyze each of the possible states of the roll, and furthermore what the probability of the roll being in those states is given either under or over configuration. I will discuss three common states: 9 formation (slightly unrolled), spaghetti formation (greatly unrolled), and 0 formation (entirely rolled).


'9' formation

The most efficient state for the roll to be in, and hence the one the user should aim to leave the roll in after retrieving paper, is partially unrolled, with a small tail of paper hanging off. I shall henceforth refer to this as the '9' formation (which can either be 'over' or 'under' depending on what side you're looking at the '9' from). From 9 formation, the user need only pull a set amount of paper, then separate it. Separation can be done either by the two-handed tear method, by the one-handed angled rip across method, by the one-handed shift-and-rip method, or by the two-handed stop-and-tear method. Regardless of the method used, the difference in time spent retrieving paper given an over-configuration, versus an under-configuration, is insignificant. What can differ is the probability that the roll will be left in different formations.

Two-handed tear method

The two-handed tear method is characterized by grabbing two adjacent squares with separate hands and separating them meticulously along the perforation. This is the most time-consuming method, however has the advantage of providing a near-guarantee that the roll will return to 9 formation. If this method is used, it does not matter if the user has configured the roll to over or under.

One-handed rip method

The one-handed rip method is characterized by leaving the single grasping hand in the pulling location and using a quick and violent ripping motion to attempt to separate the squares. This is the fastest method, however has two disadvantages: firstly the number of squares removed is unreliable, and secondly the likelihood that the roll will be left in spaghetti formation is high. This is largely based on the ease with which the squares separate. Now, if the roll is in over configuration, the angle of the paper rip is less extreme since the point of separation from the roll is on the same side as the user's hand. Thus, over configuration is disadvantaged in that it is more likely to leave the roll in an undesired spaghetti formation.

One-handed shift-and-rip method

Like the one-handed rip method, this is characterized by a violent one-handed ripping of the paper off the roll. However, this is preceded by first sliding the gripping hand up to the desired perforation of separation. This is more time consuming, but less likely to result in spaghetti formation. Regardless of if the roll is in an under or over configuration, the angle of rip is extreme enough to make differences in likelihood of producing this undesirable formation insignificant.

Two-handed stop-and-tear method

This method is characterized by pulling the paper out with one hand, then stopping the spinning of the roll with the other, and tearing off the paper with the pulling hand (possibly preceded by a shift-up). This method provides a good balance between speed and guaranteeing the roll does not go into spaghetti formation. It does, however, leave the roll in 0 formation with high frequency, regardless of if the roll is in over or under configuration. It is, nonetheless, the method that users should be using most of the time.

Full analysis
Although the differences between under and over configuration are slight when in 9 formation, it is never disadvantageous to be in under, and depending on what ripping method is used, can be bad to be in over configuration.


Spaghetti formation

The least desirable state for a roll to be in, this is characterized by having an excessive amount of paper hanging off the roll, often puddling into a spaghetti-like pile on the floor. This is both wasteful of paper (as for sanitary reasons the excess often needs to be discarded), and for time purposes as it now requires two rips to retrieve a usable section of toilet paper from the roll. Generally, the user proceeds by resetting the roll to 9 formation with either a two-handed tear, or a two-handed stop-and-tear. The difference between over and under configuration in this state is negligible, it is only interesting to note that this state occurs more frequently from other states if the roll is in over configuration.


'0' formation

A frequent and undesirable state of the roll, this is characterized by the paper having no dangling material from the roll. A roll will often reset itself to 0 formation between bathroom visits by the user, even if it was last left in 9 formation. As discussed previously, it is a frequent result of using the two-handed stop-and-tear method from 9 formation. The user must now precede paper extraction by locating the tail-end of the paper, and can then proceed using the methods described in the 9 formation section. Thus, the likelihood that the roll will be left in various states mirrors the discussion in 9 formation. What differs is the time spent locating the end, based on the method used.

One-handed spider crawl

This method is characterized by placing the fingers of one hand on the roll, then running them along the roll to make it spin until the end appears and grasping it. It is most efficient to do this such that when the end appears, the fingers rather than the thumb can slip under the edge and pull it off. If this is done under-handed palm facing up, that will occur in over configuration. If this is done over-handed with palm facing down, then that will occur in under configuration. Since the over-handed method allows greater visibility of the fingers (and thus the point of grasping relative to the edge of the roll), it is superior to have the roll in under formation and do an over-handed roll.

Two-handed palm roll

This method is characterized by flattening one hand out and rolling it along the roll from fingertips to palm to spin it, while using the other hand to grasp the end when it appears. It is really only practical to do this with the rolling hand sliding down under the roll while the other hand grasps the end on top. When doing this, it is easier to grasp the end when the roll is in under configuration, because then the opening you wish to grasp is further away meaning you can grip it with your fingertips rather than your thumb as you would have to do in over configuration.

Full analysis

As we have seen, regardless of method used, under configuration for the roll always results in faster retrieval time. This is largely due to the fact that it makes it easier to exploit the greater dexterity that fingertips have over thumbs.


Conclusion

While not every state and method results in improvements using under configuration for the roll, under configuration is never a bad thing, and often shows efficiency advantages. There is no reason to use over configuration. Each of these method/state combinations could merit further discussion, however in the interest of brevity I shall hold off on that pending which points you wish to contend.

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org...
(2) http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Rabid.Penguin

Pro

First I would like to thank my opponent for his well thought out arguments.

Pro has focused on the finding and grabbing of the paper as the most time consuming aspect of either system, while Con has focused on the tearing of the paper as the most time consuming aspect. I believe I have clearly demonstrated why the over system is faster in terms of finding and grabbing the paper, but I will attempt to shed more light on why the finding and grabbing is the most time consuming aspect of the whole endeavor and why the time it takes to tear is negligible and as Con pointed out, in many cases it's equal.

"The average American spends half an hour per year looking for the end of the roll. National agreement would save Americans $300 million per year in productivity..." [1]

As we've determined, and as [1] points out, one of the advantages of the over system is that the end is easier to find. So most of the time spent finding the end must be due to either someone expecting the over system and getting the under system (where the national agreement would come in), or someone expecting an under system and getting an under system but still having trouble finding the end.

So you could save a considerable amount of time by employing a national agreement on which system to use. And as pointed out in my earlier argument the over system would still be quicker to locate and grab the end due to it's easier access and distance from the occupant.

On the tearing of the paper. As pointed out by Con the 9 formation is the most desirable. Spaghetti formation is rare and easily avoidable unless you let your cat or child play with the roll, but this is a worst-case scenario. Con mentions the roll "resetting" itself to the 0 formation when left idle, and that the 0 formation is an undesirable state. While I can agree the 0 formation is an undesirable state, even in public restrooms I find this is an extremely rare state to come across and have never witnessed this "resetting," except maybe in the cheapest of cheap, one-ply, "John Wayne" toilet paper. And in such an event that you do come across a 0 formation it is easier to find the end and reset to the 9 position in an over system. But I would argue that the 9 formation is the average case scenario. And in such scenario, as with most of the scenarios really, the tearing of the toilet paper has little to no difference between the systems. And again I argue that the majority of the time is spent locating the end and reaching for and grabbing it.

Again, I want to thank Con for a wonderful, well-spirited, debate, and I hope you will vote Pro. Thank you.

[1] http://images.engineeringdegree.net.s3.amazonaws.com...
MuKen

Con

As we close, I would like to thank Pro for a proposing thought-invoking debate that we all have no doubt spent much sitting time contemplating.

While I do provide extensive analysis on the time consuption of tearing paper, this is not the lone focus of my argument, in fact a central point is the time taken to find and grasp the end of the paper in 0 formation. Pro contends that 0 formation is rare, but I would argue that his own citation supports the idea that it is not, and I am sure many users have often found it necessary to rotate a roll with no dangling end to find the end of it. Pro also contends that seek time is faster in 9 formation because the end is closer to the user. I would argue that the difference between moving one's hand to the front of the roll versus the back is negligible, far moreso than the differences in tear time I discuss which Pro himself disregards as insignificant.

This is supported by Pro's own citation, "The average American spends half an hour per year looking for the end of the roll..." [1]. I wish to point out that the majority of this citation is in the form of a positional piece, not a scientific study, and hence adds no additional credence to the statements it makes beyond an appeal to an unverified authority. What may be taken as fact is the lone statistical figure, that the average american spends half an hour per year seeking the end of the roll. The proposed idea that this is primarily due to locating the ends of paper in a 9 formation is highly unlikely, in 9 formation the end is always easy to find as it is dangling from the roll. Far more likely is that this constitutes seek time in 0 formation rolls, as this is the only situation where it is actually time consuming to find the end of the paper. Thus the fact that self-reporting indicates noticeable time spent seeking the end of the roll indicates that the roll is often in 0 formation.

I described above why in 0 formation the under configuration always leads to faster retrieval time on a case-by-case basis depending on how you roll the paper. I will summarize it more succintly here: regardless of how you rotate the roll, it is easier to visually locate and grasp the end when it appears on top. And it is physically easier to grasp it with fingers slipping under the edge, rather than thumb, a simple consequence of human anatomy. This is the position that occurs in under configuration; over configuration leads to the under-edge facing the user, making it awkward to use anything but the thumb to grasp it with the non-rolling hand.

Furthermore, while not applicable to all users, the fact that over formation makes it easier for a toddler or pet to unravel the roll and result in spaghetti formation[1] is applicable to a large set of users. This must thus be factored into the total average, and is a penalty suffered primarily by those who advocate over configuration. In short, there have been no significant advantages demonstrated for over configuration in terms of retrieval time, and many significant advantages demonstrated for under. I urge you all to vote Con.

[1] http://images.engineeringdegree.net.s3.amazonaws.com...;
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by MuKen 5 years ago
MuKen
I would like that very much, RP, I thoroughly enjoyed our debate and your argument style is very solid. Hope to see you around.
Posted by Rabid.Penguin 5 years ago
Rabid.Penguin
Unless the votes start flooding in for me last second, it appears I've lost this debate. I would like to congratulate my opponent on his victory. He did a much better job of articulating and arguing his case than I did, and I tip my hat to you.

I'm personally an advocate of the loose roll. However, if you're married or in public that's kind of a taboo thing. Not something that should be talked about or practiced. I just don't think society is ready for the loose roll yet.

Anyway, thank you for the wonderful debate. And may our paths cross again.
Posted by darkkermit 5 years ago
darkkermit
This debate was just filled with epic win!!! I've never seen such detail and technical analysis on such a topic.
Posted by MuKen 5 years ago
MuKen
I do not begrudge you a final say, but I must respond as well in that case. First, I made a large argument in my final statement as to why 0 formation is in fact a common case. And second, worst-case scenarios are a part of average-case analysis. "Average-case" analysis does not imply analysis of only the most common case, it implies an averaging over all possible cases weighted by the frequency of those cases.

Either way, thank you for a very fun debate!
Posted by Rabid.Penguin 5 years ago
Rabid.Penguin
I would like to note that Con had said the following during his initial arguments:
"However, given that we wish to consider total expected expenditure over the lifetime of the system, we would do better to consider average-case analysis"

And that if we are to only consider average-case and not worse-case scenario, then both 0 formation and Spaghetti formation should not be considered in the final vote since both are worst-case scenarios regardless of whose position (if any) they may favor.

If this statement is seen as unjustified arguing in the comments than I apologize and this post should be stricken from the record and your mind.

Whichever side you vote for, over or under, I'd like to wish you all a happy BM and may you always find the end.
Posted by freedomsquared 5 years ago
freedomsquared
I'm definitely an "over" man.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by mongeese 5 years ago
mongeese
Rabid.PenguinMuKenTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Great debate for both participants. My vote goes to Con because he sufficiently demonstrated why human anatomy favors "under," and why the distance is itself insignificant to the time, as most time is spent searching for the roll, rather than moving the hands to the roll.
Vote Placed by darkkermit 5 years ago
darkkermit
Rabid.PenguinMuKenTied
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Reasons for voting decision: CON provided extensive analysis why an under roll will lead to 0 formation or spaghetti formation.
Vote Placed by Double_R 5 years ago
Double_R
Rabid.PenguinMuKenTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con Provides an extensive argument showing how the under system is more efficient and Pro's responds with a few generalizations that do not succeed in refuting Cons case. Pro relies on the concept of the 0 formation being rare but provides no support for this assertion. After all it happens to me all the time. Con wins argument, but I'm still sticking with the over system.