Hello, and welcome to this debate about whether or not voting restrictions here on DDO should be reduced or removed entirely. I will be arguing for reduction or removal of those rules here. Here is how the rounds should work:
R1: Acceptance and Definitions
R2&3: Arguments and Rebuttal
R4: Full Rebuttal and Conclusion
The only round one definition I am making is:
Voting Restrictions: What is required in order to vote on for debates on this website. The current voting restrictions are to connect with a mobile device and to have participated in 3 or more debates.
I await your acceptance.
The voting requirements here on DDO are quite interesting. If you go to where you get the privilege, it tells you this:
"These steps, although annoying, are in place to protect the integrity of the debates by ensuring that only confirmed, unique accounts have voting privileges." Let's break that up a bit. They admit that these steps are indeed annoying. The other factor is about "confirmed, unique accounts" Haven't we already confirmed ourselves with email? Isn't every account unique?
The fact that you are required to have completed 3 or more debates does make sense. However, this means that the people who do these debates will not quite have the knowledge of how the audience might act. I am inclined to mostly agree with this rule.
The second rule is much worse. It requires you to connect with a mobile device, or to "Confirm Identity." In the mobile section, it tells you that you must have a mobile phone with the ability to receive messages. Without this, it is impossible to vote on debates. The FAQ's say nothing about if you don't have one, and the customer support is only to add carriers. Not everyone has a mobile phone that can receive messages. That is all I have to say for this round.
Burden of Proof
Pro is advocating for a change to the current rules in DDO, and as such, the BoP is on Pro to prove that the reduction or removal of DDO voting requirements is more beneficial than the status quo.
DDO's voting requirements are :
1. Completing Three Debates
2. Confirming Identity
Contention 1: Completing Three Debates is Important
I was about to present my argument of why three debates is essential for DDO. It appears however that my opponent agrees with the rule. Therefore this contention simply stands.
But I want to note that Con's argument is not clear. He argues that 3 debates make sense, but complains "However, this means that the people who do these debates will not quite have the knowledge of how the audience might act." I don't understand the complaint. But since Con dropped this argument, this debate really hinges on the second contention: The importance of Confirming Identity.
Contention 2: Confirming Identity is Vital for DDO
DDO FAQ states that: "The numbers are used to ensure that each debate vote belongs to a unique individual. This helps Debate.org maintain the quality of our debates. Your cell phone number will not be used for any other purposes." 
If Confirming Identity was not put in place, it would not be so difficult for someone to create many accounts in DDO with voting privileges. This would lead to an increase in vote bombing! While creating 3 debates will definitely make this task more cumbersome, and that's why it's important, however it's still possible to create many silly debates or posting debates with only one round (Here's an example )! So while the 3 debates requirement is great, the rule can still be manipulated.
To illustrate this, I can create 5 accounts (or even 10 accounts to avoid suspicion) and create 3 one round debates for each account. After that, I'd vote bomb all my debates using these dummy accounts. To reduce suspicion even further, I could even have some of the dummy accounts vote against myself.
It's not difficult to see how this would damage the integrity of DDO. Debaters who spend a lot of time analyzing, researching and presenting their arguments would be frustrated, and it wouldn't be surprising if they leave DDO. The value of RFD's will he diminished.
This is why "Confirming Identity" is vital. It requires that a debater must have a phone number for the person to be authenticated. It will not be easy for most people to create multiple accounts because they'd require different phone numbers which is not easy to attain. While the system is not perfect, it would definitely reduce the possibility of vote bombing.
Pro's only complaint about this system are the following:
1. Not everyone has a mobile phone that can receive messages.
2. Customer Support is only to add a carrier
I agree with Pro that not everyone has a mobile phone. But we know very well that the majority of people have text messaging capabilities. As much as 97% in the US have used text messaging . So this can't be seen as a large problem.
However, if someone genuinely doesn't have a phone number, they can contact Customer Support, and the issue can be sorted out manually. It's explained here . Pro is mistaken that Customer Support is only to add a carrier. So in essence, no one will be blocked from voting on DDO if they are unique members and have finished three debates.
Pro agrees that the three debates rule is good, but complained about "Confirming Identity" steps. I've demonstrated that it's essential to maintain the integrity of DDO and prevents vote bombing.
Pro also thought that some people might be blocked due to this requirement, but I've explained that this incorrect, and there's a manual process to handle such exceptions.
Therefore I Negate. Over to Pro.
The Contention has certainly made good points. Here is my rebuttal:
When you first log in to DDO, you are required to confirm your email. In order to create multiple accounts, you would also need to create multiple emails, which is a deterrent to the vote bombing that has been suggested. Also, using your mobile phone to confirm your identity may be ineffective. What if a person has multiple emails accounts and multiple mobile phones? While unlikely, this could create the same situation of having 5 dummy accounts.
With the fact that 3% of people do not have mobile phones that can receive texts, this 3% is not 0%. It means that there are people, perhaps a small amount, that don't have one. I am one of those people. Do remember that manual processing
here takes time, and during that time, the owner will remain unable to vote.
Those are all the arguments I have for now, back to Con.
Defense of Negative Case
Pro provides these challenges to my argument:
Rebuttal 1: Creating multiple email accounts is a deterrent to vote bombing
Pro doesn't disagree that vote bombing is not good, but argues that creating multiple email account is a deterrent. I don't disagree with Pro that it is somewhat of a deterrent. However Pro didn't specify how much of a deterrent it is. So I'll explain below why the use of "email accounts" only is not efficient to deter vote bombing.
1. Many people have multiple email accounts. Statistics show that 17% of Americans create a new account every 6 months . So it's not difficult for someone to have multiple email accounts to help up vote himself. I personally have 4 email accounts. I only use two (personal and work email), but if I want to up vote myself, it's not difficult at all to submit 3 votes for every debate I generate.
2. Creating a new email account is extremely easy. Mail.com requires 7 easy steps , which are basically the same steps for Gmail, hotmail and yahoo. In fact, you can use " fakemailgenerator.com" which would generate a fake email and even receives the confirmation email back . It explains it services as follows:
"The Fake Mail Generator is an absolutely free disposable email system. By simply visiting this site the above address has already been activated. Enter it into any form on a website that requires email verification, and when the email is received it will pop up instantly on this page."
So it's extremely easy to create 10 accounts in less than an hour. What kind of a deterrent is that?
Rebuttal 2: Phone confirmation may be ineffective
Pro argues that phone confirmation may be ineffective because one can create multiple accounts if they have different numbers. I agree that the current system is not perfect, and it can be manipulated. But it's quite obvious that having multiple phone numbers with text messaging capabilities is not that easy to obtain. Mostly because obtaining phone numbers is not free, and that's why it's a good deterrent.
Rebuttal 3: Manual process for those who don't have a phone account takes time
Pro doesn't explain why this is bad. I argue that the time it takes someone to verify themselves serves to deter people from abusing the site and reduces vote bombing. If a new member of DDO, like my opponent, doesn't have a cell phone, he can contact Support to resolve this issue. While this may take a day or so, but a member only needs to do this once. So if a new member truly values the integrity of DDO, this little annoying step shouldn't be cause for so much stress. Providing a bit more convenience by removing one step doesn't outweigh the damage caused by vote bombing.
Therefore I Negate. Over to Pro.
The voting restrictions on DDO should be reduced or removed for the following reasons:
1) The mobile phone confirmation requires a person to own said mobile phone, or else they may have to go through a manual process. Con has indeed suggested that it is possible without a phone, but one may note that it is not immediately obvious, having to realize that you must head to 'articles' and realize that 'cell phone confirmation' is indeed what you are looking for.
2) If anyone was indeed dedicated to vote bombing, then said person could possibly own more than one mobile phone. This can be used to vote bomb, even with the current restriction. Con has pointed out that not many people would do this, however, anyone dedicated to vote bombing could and quite possibly might do this.
And that's about all the arguments I have. Back over to Con for the last round.
I want to thank my opponent for instigating this debate.
Pro's main concern with the current restrictions is that "Phone Confirmation" would limit debaters without a phone from joining the site. Pro acknowledges that there is a manual process to get past this requirement, but complains that "It is not immediately obvious, having to realize that you must head to 'articles' and realize that 'cell phone confirmation' is indeed what you are looking for." I actually agree with Pro here. We should make it more clear to new members of the site. This suggestion however doesn't mean that we should reduce or remove of DDO's restrictions.
Pro's other concern is that vote bombing can still be done if someone intends to do it. As I said earlier, while this process is not perfect, it does help deter users from abusing it. Having multiple phone numbers is much harder than having multiple email accounts as I've demonstrated earlier. This doesn't mean that all abuse would be eliminated. Nevertheless, the fact that it deters and limits vote bombing, is sufficient to justify maintaining these restriction. It may even call for increased restrictions, but that's not what we're debating today.
I've demonstrated that these requirements are important to reduce vote bombing and maintain the integrity of the site. It would ensure that certain individuals find it difficult to vote themselves into winning every debate.
Therefore, I negate. Vote Con.