The Instigator
kvaughan
Pro (for)
Losing
15 Points
The Contender
Darth_Grievous_42
Con (against)
Winning
21 Points

open voting on debate.org should be abolished or curtailed

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/19/2007 Category: News
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,584 times Debate No: 703
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (12)

 

kvaughan

Pro

I've been skimming the arguments here and I notice a common trend. People who have interesting, but controversial opinions tend to start their arguments with "PLEASE ACTUALLY READ THIS INSTEAD OF JUST VOTING AGAINST MY POSITION". It is really sad that these kind of statements are necessary.

Thus, I suggest that debate.org appoint moderators who can patrol debates and vote on the winner. These people would be the cream of the debate.org crop or simply people well versed in argumentation and they could provide reasonable decisions with actual reasons for decision.

Or, at a minimum, it should be optional. The debates progenitor should be able to make voting open or closed depending on preferences.
Darth_Grievous_42

Con

I do not think open voting should be banned from this site.
A Clarification: I do think its a shame that many debates need to clarify that the people should vote for the better debate, not their favorite side. I myself have started to do that for my latest debates.
That said
I do not think moderators or it being optional are the answers to this "crisis". If we take away the open voting we take away opinions, and taking that away takes the essence of this site away. The people have the right to choose which side they felt was better according to the side that made a better point. This site is brand new, and eventually it will settle in that the voting is not about which side they agree with personally but which side presented its case better. Most of the people on this site are fairly intelligent. If they have the will to be on a web site that is all about debating then chances are they are smart. No one who doesn't have the place of mind to read long strenuous paragraphs, counter point after counter point, is probably not here just for fun, with some exceptions. From what I've read so far, generally all the debaters have something to say, including those who just comment. And what would taking the vote away accomplish? Taking that person who probably read the debate, agreed or disagreed, and saying they cannot express their opinion which is exactly why they came on this site in the first place. I may be wrong, but it is probably why you are here, kvaugham, and it very well is why I am here. I personally enjoy taking in the different sides of a topic, and being able to say who I thought won. I've voted pro-beastiality, I've voted pro-abortion, I've voted con-America. Are these things I agree with as a person, no, but I voted for who I thought was better, and I think with time, those who don't take this place seriously will leave, probably from sheer boredom, and those who enjoy this site for what it is will take over.
On the point of moderators: Who is to say who moderates? Should it be the first ten to join debate.org? Should it be those with a 100.00% win ratio? Perhaps a computer? Or maybe only those within a 5% disagreement ratio should be able to vote. Those who are superior in other words. Let those with the real brains figure stuff out. Much like those really smart white guys who made black guys do slave labour for hundreds of years, they where smarter right? Even like those countries that split Germany 5 ways after WW2, who where of course more brilliant as they just won a war, and where only doing what was in the war torn countries best interest. Do you see where I am getting at? No one is above anyone else, and that includes some vote numbers that will hardly effect your life tomorrow.
But change is needed. That much is for sure, and rumors have it that changes are coming in the next generation of this site. I think that if something is necessary, then the only change should be a rationale box, where voters need to explain why they voted the way they did. Personally, I try to do this every time I vote as a courteously. But if something needs to be mandatory, then I think reason should be just that. As I see wingnut2280 has already expressed this idea, I will only build on that saying that I do not think a moderator should be allowed even for that. If someone is needed, it should be the debaters themselves. If one of them finds a certain rationale to be insufficient or illegitimate for that vote, there should be a button that he/she can press to bring it to the attention of the other debater to see if they agree, with a place to express reasons of their own for why or why not this vote should count. This would call upon the maturity and logic of both parties, and I do not think it is absurd to ask that. Personally, I would be more than happy to let go of a vote if the reason they voted for me where things like "they used the letter "r" a lot" or "I think Ronald Reagan quotes are cool, so I chose this guy". I don't want to win for these reasons, rather, I like to know that intelligence won me that debate, or likewise, lost. I'd rather be on the side of 1 genius, than a nation of morons. I don't think this site is comprised of a bunch of morons, so once again, I do not think it out of the question to ask for that.

My fingers hurt now.
Debate Round No. 1
kvaughan

Pro

I think that at a fundamental level, the people who have a right to determine how the debate is adjudicated are the debaters. They are the ones who spend the time to carefully read opponent's arguments, do research when necessary and type out arguments. They should have their debate judged however they want. I think this would be especially useful on counter-intuitive or controversial debates where asking people to release preconceptions is a much more difficult task.

I also do not think that anything is lost by allowing an option for non-open voting. You gain the same education and still get to take in different sides of an argument by reading the arguments and not voting because there is nothing about clicking that little button that improves your experience in any reasonable way. At a minimum, why not include a "what the people say" box and a "what the judges say" box and just do both?

So, who would become a moderator? Good question, but I don't think this is some sort of argument against my position, it's just a quandary to consider. Fact is, some people actually are better at judging debates than others. For example, on weekends I judge high school debate tournaments for extra cash and I can say that experienced judges do a much better job at staying impartial and giving reasonable RFDs than do random parents. In fact, where I judge they don't even let people without some experience either judging or debating work for them. Sure, poor judgments do not affect my life, but if we're going to allow voting, it needs to be with competent people.

I think moderators should probably be chosen by the webmaster or whoever runs this site. It could be chose by simply looking at the comments and debates by people on here and deciding who is a positive contributor to the debate.org community and then asking them to judge.

Ok, so what about the rationale box suggestion? While I would much prefer this to the current system, I don't think it's better than my suggestion. It's entirely likely that people could just put absurd or ridiculous RFDs in the box. Now, you have suggested some sort of waiver, but if someone's really trying to win, why waive a dumb opinion in your favor?

The judge system has the advantage of accountability and responsibility. People who get to be moderators would have a name to protect and they would be more likely to do a good job because they would feel like they were chose because of their skills.
Darth_Grievous_42

Con

But the fundamental question is, who would be the moderators? You mention them in your only two suggestions (moderators and progenitors choice). If it is to be fair then the debate.org staff would need to choose these moderators. They could not, however, be open members. This is giving people responsibility for an open and public site, in other words, making it mandatory. Anyone should have the ability to decide whether they want to get on this site at anytime. Myself, you, and everyone else on this site is not obliged to do anything. Should we choose, we can drop everything, not finish any debates and never come back here. If you place responsibility on a member you take that away, and are in a sense, forcing that person to come to read and judge debate after debate on abortion, gay rights, and the Iraq war, with some exceptions. Furthermore, they would be doing it for free, and not for petty cash (unlike the events you attend) because, once again, this is a public site, and the administrators have no obligation or rights to pay any member who joined for free and are doing something in their own time. They also may not have the credentials or general knowledge on other certain topics such as bio-fuels or individual Presidential candidates. To be a judge would require them to do their own research to determine who's facts are right/better, once again, on their own time. To summarize: this is a public site, with regular people, who have outside lives, and do not have an obligation to read or vote on any topic, no matter how good or bad they are at debating. We are all equals here, and this is exactly why there is open voting, so that any regular Joe, who even has the slightest passion for making, reading, and deciding debates can come and do just that. As I said before, most people on this site are mature enough to be able to make intelligent decisions on who they felt won, which is exactly what any judge would do. If moderators where to be chosen they would have to be staff of debate.org that the administrators chose and compensate for their time. They cannot be members of the site, but staff with an actual job. They may be less qualified then some members, or more so. But no member here can or should be held in higher regard than other members. Better scores or debates does not constitute ones ideas to be better than another. Only a totally impartial judge, with the specific duty to decide these debates can be the moderators, and this falls solely on the behalf of the debate.org staff, not on the public. The question of who would be the moderator is extremely important if your position includes saying there should be (and it does). I would not mention it otherwise. It is a definite factor in this debate, and must be addressed.

I do agree that the progenitors should have the ability to decide whether or not they want their debate to be voted on or not. But, debating is a competition, and I find it unfair to the opponent (unless they too, consent) if there cannot be a determinable way for there to be a victor. This site is just for fun, and it is nice to win, even if it is not all the time.

I'm glad you agree with the rationale box, and I see your point. With the rational box it is more than possible that people will put ridiculous reasons as to why they voted. But they do now already, and write it in the comment boxes (your second paragraph). I believe this is why you started this debate in the first place. Some people will write the exact reasons why they felt an argument is stronger or better (whether ridiculous or not), but you'll also notice that the votes are usually much higher than comments. This leaves a huge variation of people who's reasons go unchecked, save for the check in a box. A rationale box would cause everyone to give a reason why, and most will be legitimate. But for those who do write inconclusive reasons, the debaters should be able to do something about it. I think any reasonable person would not mind letting a vote go because "I voted for the one my church thinks, so there" or "SO and so had more words". But you are right, there is no way to make either voter relinquish a vote, because who doesn't want that extra point? But I do think that both sides should have the place of mind to decide if that voter made a decision for the right reason and whether it should count or not. I personally, would gladly see all my debates be losses because the voting was done right, rather than win on a technicality. I think this should be mindset of all peoples here, but that is another discussion for another day.
Debate Round No. 2
kvaughan

Pro

I think you present a huge false dichotomy in the first half of your argument. Let me clarify the moderators proposal. The debate.org people would peruse the boards and determine who is a good candidate. Then they would invite these people to be judges. Then, for each debate voting would be open until a preset number of judges voted (maybe 3). They would write RFDs and this would determine the winner. No money need be involved, they don't need to be staff or anything. It's a simple and highly plausible proposal.

Ultimately, I am satisfied with the conclusion that SOMETHING must change, so I think we basically agree. My concern is that if the RFD idea wouldn't stop people form just stating their position on the topic. That is, they might use their own opinions as an RFD. This wouldn't solve any of the current problems. Overall, I;m just glad we fundamentally agree
Darth_Grievous_42

Con

I'm sorry that you do not feel the topic of moderators is not important. I do not feel the same way. I think it is incredibly important, if moderators are used, that the decision on who they are does not put some members about others, as we are all equal here. Unless the three judging positions are open to all (including those with less debating prowess) I don't think that it is fair. Everyone is equal here. I feel very strongly about letting any kind of moderator, aside from the public, be allowed to judge anyone unless they are debate.org staff with credentials.

Bur yes, something must be done. I do agree with you on that front kvaughan. Whether it is something that we, the people, must change (the first priority) or if a mandatory change must be made to the structure of the site. I would hope that the people can get past their own belief system and be more open minded when it comes to debating. If we can do that then no change need be made. If people change, then open voting will no longer be an issue. I think that it has many merits, and is ultimately a good polling system. But if the abuse and misuse does not stop, then yes, I think some structural change must occur. Though, I hope it doesn't come to that. Darth_Grievous_42 out.
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Gato 9 years ago
Gato
The winner tag means nothing to me.

I've yet to debate a topic but upon reading some of the other debates, I've found that the side that "wins" in my opinion is the side that I think makes the most coherent and well rounded arguments. It has nothing to do with how many votes the person has.

As the site gets bigger I think the idea of a referee is a good one. There should maybe even be an appeal system where if you don't agree with the ref's decision, you can fight it.
Posted by bcaldwell100 9 years ago
bcaldwell100
I'm glad someone finally did this topic, I too have seen problems with getting both wins and losses based of arbitrary opinion. On to the debate.
OK, so the topic is "open voting on debate.org should be abolished or curtailed" so the central question is 1) Is their a change needed? 2) Should it be the abolition of open voting?
You both agree on the 1st question, so it's on to the second.
The Pro's central argument is that it is detrimental to debate.org, if we allow average Joe's to give arbitrary votes. The moderator question is secondary to this debate.
The con's main argument is the moderator question, but he makes this important by impacting to the sites equality and integrity.
I'm an LDer, so I don't normally like voting on issues of policy. But the con really manages to make his application issues effect the central impact on debate.org, so essentially he makes the moderator question matter.
Even though I agree with the pro's ideas, the holes the con pokes in the pragmatism of the policy really turns the round. Especially when he manages to impact it. I vote con.
Posted by sethgecko13 9 years ago
sethgecko13
Perhaps instead of abolishing open voting, Debate.org could ask voters what their stance on the issue is and then ask them who won the debate (so that those interested in registering affirmation or disapproval for a particular position can have that position recognized and then actually render judgment on the quality of the debate that took place). AND/OR they could ask whether or not the debate prompted them to change their position on the issue (and if so, by how much).

That would be a higher complement to the winning debators; that they could get the support of someone who doesn't share their views because of their persuasive abilities.
Posted by revleader5 9 years ago
revleader5
I think there should be open voting. That is the point of the site, no?
Posted by wingnut2280 9 years ago
wingnut2280
These RFD's would give the debators insight as to how to improve as well.
Posted by wingnut2280 9 years ago
wingnut2280
In order to post a vote you should have to give a 50 word(ish) Reason For Decision. Moderators could be used to patrol these RFD's instead. If the moderator feels your RFD is baseless or not related (not whether its right/wrong) they can suspend or revoke your voting priveleges.
Posted by LandonWalsh 9 years ago
LandonWalsh
maybe have it to where you had to be on the site long enough to read it to be able to vote on it.
Posted by sammer_the_hammer 9 years ago
sammer_the_hammer
this case is abusive at its core in that it is undefeatable. too many options are given that cannot all be denied with any kind of reasonable argument.
Posted by Cindela 9 years ago
Cindela
I agree that there shouldn't be open voting, however, I believe that instead we should only allow those who know how to debate formally or in an actual debate setting to vote. Debate.org could come up with a way to prove that you know structured debate, like a quiz, or they could look at debates and choose people who make the best arguments or best constructed ones. Or something along those lines.
Posted by schoolglutton 9 years ago
schoolglutton
I agree that voting should be optional according to the progenitor. Same thing with the opinion poll comment. I keep getting told to go get saved or go kill some babies. Hey, this is a debate. What's going on? It took time to come up with my position. Those arguments on the screen did not think themselves!
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