Total Posts:14|Showing Posts:1-14
Jump to topic:

How Are We Supposed to Judge Debates?

F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Posts: 18,324
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/1/2011 10:38:06 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
Everybody does it differently, so expect a lot of different responses. I'll tell you what I do. When I look at the debate, I classify it (in my mind) as forfeit, average or great.

If it is a forfeit/obvious, I give conduct to the non-forfeiter. If they were the only one that argued, they get arguments too. If only they used sources, they get sources as well. RFD is usually 1 sentence or less.

If it is average, I would read once and see whose argument was more convincing. It is their strongest argument that matters. Once I decide that one person has a winning argument, I check back just to make sure that the other person didn't refute it anyway. If they didn't, then the first person gets arguments. My RFD usually fits within the 500 characters.

If it is great, I spend a lot of time reading it. Usually read it twice, but sometimes more than that. I evaluate every argument to see which side had stronger arguments. I note which were the strongest and the weaker arguments. I am usually typing my RFD in notepad during my second reading. I determine a winner for the major arguments that actually matters and on balance determine an overall winner based on the strength of arguments won. Don't usually miss anything. RFD usually spills over into the comments section and may take up multiple comments. However, based on the advice of other members, my recent RFDs would actually be a summary in the voting tab and an expanded explanation in the comments.
000ike
Posts: 11,196
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/1/2011 10:48:20 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
Forfeiture: I take off conduct always. If the entire debate was forfeited, then arguments go too, if not that is judged using standard methods.

Standard Debate: Pro has a resolution is affirm. Con has a resolution to negate. I judge entirely on the degree to which both contenders meet their obligations.

Professional Debate (b/w top tier members): I judge strictly as the criteria reads. "who was more convincing?" The reason being, both members debating will have complex arguments, and most likely fulfill their obligations to high degrees that makes it difficult to judge who did better. Taking it up a notch, one should have arguments that are not only in line with their burdens, but compelling as well.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
Double_R
Posts: 4,886
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/2/2011 3:26:26 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
Who told you that you are not doing it right, and what was their justification for this? While voting should be objective, subjectivity is inevitable therefore it is almost impossible to "do it wrong". Also, I took a glance at a few of your RFD's and you seem to be doing fine.

The only way you can do it wrong is if you vote based on personal opinion or prior knowledge rather then which debater made the stronger argument, assuming of course that you read and understand the debate itself. If you are interested in reading a little more, I had a debate on a similar subject that might help further:
http://www.debate.org...
Raisor
Posts: 4,462
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/2/2011 3:36:25 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
I told him he was not doing it right.

Here is what I said to him, beginning with wiploc's quoteI was responding to.
////////////
"What I do know is that it doesn't seem to me that Pro met his burden of proof. He doesn't have a prima facia case, so I need not even look at Con's case."

There should be no way for a fair judge to vote one side down without reading the opponent's case. If you read Pro's case and decide PRIOR TO READING CON'S that he hasnt met his BOP and so cant win, then that means the only thing you have weighed Pro's case against is your own judgment or opinions. It means you are arguing against Pro in your head, thinking of replies to his arguments and then voting on how these stack up. It is not the role of the judge to decide which side is "correct" it is the role of the judge to weigh the cases made in a round and vote for the side that made a better case.

The fact that this is exactly what you are doing, constructing your arguments against Pro and not judging the arguments in round, is given away by your RFD. In your RFD you list two arguments not even made in round- one about trusting parents leading to contradictions and killing a king. These were not arguments made in round, they shouldnt be anywhere near your RFD.

In debate there is no such thing as one person being "prima facie" without a case. It is always comparative, it as always between two sides. "Prima facie" evaluation occurs without comparison.

Basically your RFD just seems to confirm what was suspected. You didnt vote for pro because you didnt agree with his metaethical framework. You said as much in your RFD when you say Pro "doesnt have a prima facie case, so I need not look at Con's case."
wiploc
Posts: 1,485
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/2/2011 9:01:43 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
Raisor, thanks for participating in this thread, and thanks for articulating the problem.

Innomen sent me a message about your discussion, and said that we take voting right seriously here at DDO. In other words---as I interpret his message---he has no objection to my being vote bombed for bad voting.

I'm new here, but I get the impression that he's, you know, somebody. In charge or something.

So this is a real issue.

Great link, Double_R. In that debate, you gave a link to a DDO article on How To Vote: http://www.debate.org...

This article says:

Remember, the basis for decision should NOT include:

Opinions held you, but not mentioned by the debaters.

I have trouble with the implementation of that rule. Seems to me that if the judges are blank slates, then the troll NoNo, who accepts debates and just posts, "No! No!" as Con, is actually doing a good job. Ought to be winning debates for this comprehensive demurrer. Never drops an argument.

To a blank-slate judge, one argument is as good as another.

Let's have an example, from here: http://www.debate.org...

I will be advancing and defending a version of the
cosmological argument for the existence of God. [1]

The argument is simply formulated as follows: [2]

(1) Every contingent fact has an explanation.
(2) There is a contingent fact that includes all other contingent facts.
(3) Therefore, there is an explanation of this fact.
(4) This explanation must involve a necessary being.
(5) This necessary being is God.

The argument itself is plainly logically valid in that the conclusion
logically follows from the premises.

Seems to me that a blank-slate judge would accept this argument as valid unless Con claims that it isn't. But an intelligent judge would reject the claim that it is valid, on the grounds that it is obviously not valid. The judge would take judicial notice of the error.

If Pro accepts the burden of proof, and if Pro's argument is fundamentally unpersuasive, if it weighs zero on the scale of persuasiveness, then Pro has to lose.
wiploc
Posts: 1,485
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/2/2011 9:09:06 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
Another forinstance:

Suppose Pro sets up a debate with this resolution:

Resolved: Intelligent design is the real explanation.

And suppose his opening statement consists entirely of this:

After all, how likely is evolution?

That has to be a loss, right? He hasn't even mentioned intelligent design, hasn't made any kind of an argument for it. And---for his own benefit---the judges need to let him know this.
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Posts: 18,324
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/2/2011 10:32:03 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
Each year, the DDO community elects a President to represent the members of this site and help organize iniatives to enhance the environment of the community. Listed below is the elected President for 2010 and his appointed officials.

http://www.debate.org...

That answers your question about the "in charge" part.

Judges are smart enough to use their discretion and never let the trolls win. A better idea is to not vote on nono debates at all and just report them. However, trolls sometimes win as can be seen in the link below.

http://www.debate.org...

Notice how the judges put aside their personal bias and voted for the better arguments.

It doesn't matter if Pro's argument is "fundamentally unpersuasive." What matters is whether it is more persuasive than Con's.

"Suppose his opening statement consists entirely of this:
After all, how likely is evolution? That has to be a loss, right?"

It is a loss if and only if Con exposes it as being fallacious and makes arguments that are more convincing than those, and rebuts Pro's argument saying that no argument was made at all.
Raisor
Posts: 4,462
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/2/2011 3:15:33 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Wiploc,

Seems to me that a blank-slate judge would accept this argument as valid unless Con claims that it isn't. But an intelligent judge would reject the claim that it is valid, on the grounds that it is obviously not valid. The judge would take judicial notice of the error.

If Pro accepts the burden of proof, and if Pro's argument is fundamentally unpersuasive, if it weighs zero on the scale of persuasiveness, then Pro has to lose.

There are a couple of ways to look at this. First, yes the judge makes notice of the error, but the judge cant vote on the error unless the opponent points it out. Since the debate is a competition, it is up to the other side to capitalize on the error. A good judge will be able to notice the error but will only take it into account on the ballot if the opponent points it out. This may seem counterintuitive, but really if the opponent is unable to point out egregious errors, does he deserve to win the debate? Second, consider a debate in which both sides make terrible errors that the judge can see are wrong. At the end of the debate neither side has made a coherent and persuasive argument. Well guess what, there still needs to be a winner. If you as a judge discount all the errors you yourself noted, then neither side would deserve to win. So instead the correct approach is to compare the two sides and see who did a better job of pointing out the other side's shortcomings. Finally, what is "fundamentally unpersuasive" depends on the judge's own opinions, it will be perceived as different depending on your view point. So a better solution is to enter the round with a blank slate and let the debaters TELL you how to judge. This keeps the focus on in round merit rather than your own opinion.
Double_R
Posts: 4,886
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/2/2011 8:33:23 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/2/2011 9:01:43 AM, wiploc wrote:
Seems to me that a blank-slate judge would accept this argument as valid unless Con claims that it isn't. But an intelligent judge would reject the claim that it is valid, on the grounds that it is obviously not valid. The judge would take judicial notice of the error.

If Pro accepts the burden of proof, and if Pro's argument is fundamentally unpersuasive, if it weighs zero on the scale of persuasiveness, then Pro has to lose.

The debate is between Pro and Con, not Pro and the voters. There is no way for Pro to answer to your rebuttals because Pro would not know what those rebuttals are. The burden of proof does not mean that the instigator must persuade you, it means that they must make a case. The challenger's role is to nullify that case. There is no way to determine who did better at fulfilling their role if you did not read the challengers counter argument.
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Posts: 18,324
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/2/2011 8:43:51 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/2/2011 8:33:23 PM, Double_R wrote:
At 10/2/2011 9:01:43 AM, wiploc wrote:
Seems to me that a blank-slate judge would accept this argument as valid unless Con claims that it isn't. But an intelligent judge would reject the claim that it is valid, on the grounds that it is obviously not valid. The judge would take judicial notice of the error.

If Pro accepts the burden of proof, and if Pro's argument is fundamentally unpersuasive, if it weighs zero on the scale of persuasiveness, then Pro has to lose.

The debate is between Pro and Con, not Pro and the voters. There is no way for Pro to answer to your rebuttals because Pro would not know what those rebuttals are. The burden of proof does not mean that the instigator must persuade you, it means that they must make a case. The challenger's role is to nullify that case. There is no way to determine who did better at fulfilling their role if you did not read the challengers counter argument.

I agree with that mostly. Sometimes though, if you read three rounds of debate and in the last round Pro did not negate Con's argument or his counter was too weak, and you already know that Con won having made the better arguments, do you really need to read Con's last round as well? Yes, it is common courtesy to read but I'm not sure it should be absolutely required if the debate was a landslide in favor of Con.
wiploc
Posts: 1,485
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/3/2011 12:14:45 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/2/2011 10:32:03 AM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
Judges are smart enough to use their discretion and never let the trolls win. A better idea is to not vote on nono debates at all and just report them. However, trolls sometimes win as can be seen in the link below.

http://www.debate.org...

Notice how the judges put aside their personal bias and voted for the better arguments.

That's a nice short debate. I undertake to judge it both ways, my way and Raisor's way. We'll see how that works out.

Oh, I see I already voted on this one. Nonetheless, I'll give it a line by line analysis.

---

Resolved: The agnostic approach is superior to the atheistic approach.


He's probably talking about the difference in strong atheism and weak atheism. But I don't own the language; he can call them atheism and agnosticism if he wants.


atheism: The position that there are no deities.

"Position?" Fine. I'd have said "belief," but fine.


How can one know with certainty that god doesn't exist.

Now he's moving the goalposts. He's trying to equate the belief that gods don't exist with the knowledge that gods don't exist. This is hypocritical unless he'd also claim that all theists know that gods do exist.

I'm going to dismiss this argument, because his resolution attacks the belief that god don't exist rather than the knowledge that they don't exist. This is either off topic and irrelevant, or it is a deliberate attempt to confuse the voters by emotionally tarring strong atheists with the brush of gnostic strong atheism.

We'll assume it's just a mistake. Off topic. Ignorable.


There are big debates and arguments on the existence of god, there are
philosophy professors who believe in god.

A fallacy. "Ad Populum"? He's saying, in effect, that if a bunch of people believe in something, then it may be true, independent of your own reasoning. If he could find a bunch of people who were wrong about what two plus two equaled, would he reserve judgment himself?

This argument weighs nothing in the scales of persuasion. It is to be dismissed.

How can one claim to Know with certainty that there is no god.

Still off topic. He wrote the resolution; he's stuck with it. He can't win the debate by talking about something else. Ignore this.

To take a definite position on such an important and unclear matter
is in my opinion foolhardy.

Again hypocritical. He's taking a definite position himself. And would he apply the same logic to condemn theists? Should we all be undecided about all important issues, like whom we are married to?

This argument fails.

Even if you have arguments against god. There are counter arguments
and great geniuses who devote their life to debating this.

Does he think there are no geniuses on our side? He doesn't care what our actual reasons are, so long as there is someone opposed? This is not an argument. It is not a reason to side with him. It is not a refutation of any strong atheist line of reasoning.

This has been going on for thousands of years.

Adding a time dimension to the ad populum fallacy. Worthless.

How can it be clear that there is no god.

Still irrelevant.


The agnostic approach is therefore more appropriate
for such a matter.

A conclusion that cannot flow from any of the preceding irrelevancies.

It is the approach of open mindedness and objectivity.

"Objectivity" is an abused catchword, with no meaning apparent in this circumstance. So long as his meaning remains secret, we can't give this weight.

The open minded thing, though, is the best thing he's said so far. But there's still the issue of whether open-mindedness is good. Is this one of the times that it's good? Or does he think we should always be open minded about everything, including what two plus two equals and whom we are married to?

This argument, like all that went before it, has no persuasive weight.

Pro would lose this if Con forfeited, because Pro has the burden of proof, and he failed to prove anything. No reasonable person could read Pro's argument, and conclude therefrom that agnosticism is actually superior to atheism.

The only way that Pro can win this is if Con shoots himself in the foot.

So, let's look at Con. (And note that, for all my talk about not having to even look at Con's case after a Pro case like this, when I voted, I actually did give my vote to Pro.

---

Con opens with definitional fraud. He accepted this debate about whether atheism (what izbo and I call "strong atheism) is better than agnosticism (what isbo and I call weak atheism), but he refuses to discuss that topic.

Isbo doesn't own the language any more than I do. Pro's issue was clear, even though he didn't effectively address that issue himself. Con has no business pretending that Pro was talking about something else. And this is the last (as well as first) round of debate. Pro never has opportunity to respond to this new topic.

This act of major assholeism is absolutely unpersuasive. It can be ignored.

said:

In conclusion, when asked if this was about belief in god, my
opponent clearly said yes.

And he's right that Pro doesn't substantively address this issue. But he doesn't either. He talks about whether the other kind of agnosticism (not weak atheism) is better than atheism (weak and strong atheism together). That's not what the debate is about.

Yet, his entire position being of the
root word gnostic has to do with knowledge not belief.

Folk etymology, not on topic.

Upshot: Con was no more on topic than Pro was. Nobody carried a burden of proof---but Pro was the one who had the burden of proof.

On the other hand, where Pro's argument merely failed, Con's argument was fraudulent. Con thought (rightly, as it turns out, given that most people voted for him) that he could steal a debating victory by trying to change the topic after Pro had no more chances to talk.

So I called the arguments a wash, and gave Pro the victory on behavior.

----

Now, if we analyze this debate the way I'm being told we should we get a different result.

Pro introduced several worthless lines of argument ...
- Lots of smart people have been wrong about this for a long time, so why not you?
- If you believe something, how can you withstand my insinuation that you are certain?
... and Con never bothered to refute these arguments. Therefore, according to the rules as I understand them, Pro should have gotten a big win.

True, Con introduced equally bad arguments himself, but Pro had no chance to address them.

By the rules of DDO, this should either have been a tie because neither side talked about what the other did, or a big Pro win because Con dropped every Pro argument.

But that didn't happen, which makes me wonder whether anybody follows the rules as prescribed.
Double_R
Posts: 4,886
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
10/3/2011 1:04:10 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 10/3/2011 12:14:45 AM, wiploc wrote:
By the rules of DDO, this should either have been a tie because neither side talked about what the other did, or a big Pro win because Con dropped every Pro argument.

But that didn't happen, which makes me wonder whether anybody follows the rules as prescribed.

http://www.debate.org...