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Dropped arguments are concessions?

F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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12/11/2012 11:51:19 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I've seen some debaters specify in their rules that dropped arguments are concessions while other specifically say that they aren't. My view is that since both debaters have the same amount of character space, dropped arguments should be counted as having been conceded and weighed into the debate RFD as such. It only makes sense.

Off the top of my head, the only objection I can see to this is that not counting dropped arguments as concessions protects debaters against shotgun argumentation i.e. when a debater posts a ton of arguments with little to no proof, and claims that unrefuted, those arguments are points in his favor. To defend against that, it is far easier for intelligent voters to simply identify such tactics and discount them.

Why then do some debaters say that dropped arguments aren't concessions? If you do, can you share your thoughts? I naturally assume that if an opponent doesn't respond to an argument, it must be ruled in your favor by default.
DoctorDeku
Posts: 162
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12/12/2012 12:00:24 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Silence is compliance, it's as simple as that.

If judges 'use their own common sense' as you argue, then it takes the debate out of the debater's hands and into the judges'.
Maikuru
Posts: 9,112
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12/12/2012 12:50:09 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
If some of my opponent's arguments are strawmen or non-resolutional, sometimes I'll purposefully ignore them and instead bolster my own case and attack their remaining arguments. On occasion, they've then dropped the aspects of their case I rebutted because they can claim I've lost by concession. I can then point out that I didn't respond to those points because they are irrelevant and then they're left with nothing. It's been a successful strategy for me.
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BlackVoid
Posts: 9,170
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12/12/2012 1:12:42 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Yeah, drops are concessions is the first thing they teach in real life debate. It makes sense. I mean, if the judge sees an argument dropped, what else are they going to do with it? Count it as true?
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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12/12/2012 10:24:16 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
There is no site rule on dropped arguments, so each person judging a debate gets to decide how to treat it.

Suppose Pro makes an argument in R1, and Con doesn't respond in that round. Some debaters will start R2 claiming that the point has been conceded. I don't think that's a good rule for a written debate subject to character limitations. The opponent can respond at any time, except that a new argument cannot be made in the final round.

The next question is whether a dropped argument is fatal to the case. In other words, does it concede the debate? I think that's also a judgement call. If the argument is an unsupported assertion -- a claim made without citing facts -- then it ought to carry very little weight. It needs to be prima facie to require refutation. It may be better to ignore a trivial argument and spend the space on a serious one.
Stephen_Hawkins
Posts: 5,316
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12/12/2012 10:47:44 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/12/2012 1:12:42 AM, BlackVoid wrote:
Yeah, drops are concessions is the first thing they teach in real life debate. It makes sense. I mean, if the judge sees an argument dropped, what else are they going to do with it? Count it as true?

First thing I've been taught, and always have been taught, and shall teach, is that drops are not concessions. Dropping an argument means either that someone has conceded it and think that there's more important things, in which case if it is then brushed under the carpet everyone must ignore it. Second, if saying "argument X has been dropped" it promotes an idea that debating isn't about convincing people but is simply about shotgun debating. In actual debates, I pretty much ignore this because it's silly and sounds terrible. Bringing it up ruins flow, tempo and content (which is far more important). Only in LD debates (which are poor in and of themselves) does it matter. Finally, and most importantly, I usually run completely different arguments to my opponent, so it's irrelevant what they say. For example, on a recent debate on whether we should regret the Olympics, my opponent said no by running it made economic gains. I ran no via Marxist critique of Capitalism/Imperialism. If I brought up "also, the Olympics made us lose money" then this would make no sense. A reasonable response is that I'm unhappy how the Olympics made the bourgeois lose power, which doesn't fit with my argument. A contradiction in speech is far worse. I didn't concede that the Olympics should not be regretted because it brought us money: I simply ignored the entire topic by making a prima facie more important case. In other words, drops can be essential to an argument standing up, and forces certain arguments to be illegitimate and irrelevant.
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drafterman
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12/12/2012 11:37:41 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
If some point (be it an argument, counter-argument, rebuttal, refutation, etc.) is not addressed or acknowledged by an opponent by the end of the debate, it should be counted as a concession.

If such a point is meritless, it is inappropriate (not to mention unwise)to rely on the voters to see, recognize, and agree that it is meritless, since that requires the voters to argue against the point (even if just in their own heads) for you. Voters should be voting on the merits of the points made as they are made.

There have been plenty of times, when reading a debate, I came up with objections to points made, that the debater did not. How am I to vote? How the debater actually did, based on the arguments they actually presented? Or based on my own, internal and private responses I come up with to the points made? I believe voted is about the debate as it is, not how I would have done it myself. Otherwise we're basically just voting based on whether or not we agree with the resolution, which is why we have the Opinions section.

So, all points should be addressed lest you intend to concede them, even if it is just to point out that they are meritless/baseless/without support, which then places the ball in the court of the other person, to either defend their point or rebut your dismissal of it.
Zaradi
Posts: 14,124
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12/12/2012 12:07:44 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
@S_H:

I actually vastly disagree with you here. Drops do count as concessions to the argument so long as the debater advocates it as such. If both people drop the argument then there's no need to give it a second look since neither of them are extending offense off of it, but if one person drops an argument and the other person keeps extending offense off of it, there really isn't a way to look at it as not a concession.

Running different arguments from your opponent is good and all, but you still have to be careful about drops. For example, if you and I debated the Olympics thing and I ran that the Olympics gained us money and you ran your Marxist critique, you generally wouldn't need a response. But what happens if you read your critique and I just completely sit down and take a big, smelly dump on it? Just five-point refute everything with card analysis and empirics and just leave you nowhere to go? You lose, UNLESS you can get offense from somewhere else. That's the arguments agains your opponent's case. That's where you say "But even if you aren't buying my critique, lets respond directly to his case" and read off responses to his case. That way you have two different layers that you can win on and gives your opponent the burden of refuting both, since you can win off of either independent layer.
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Ren
Posts: 7,102
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12/12/2012 12:13:36 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Why wouldn't one hold the relevance/viability of an argument under consideration with dropped arguments?

I would think that debate outcomes would be comprehensive determinations, not whether one side "disproved every single point by the other side."

In other words, lets say that the argument is whether Parngs exist:

Rnd 1 - Parngs exist.
- no they don't.

Rnd 2 - It is clear that Parngs exist, as evidenced by this reference: xxx
- That reference is dubious. Moreover, Sally ate Jim for breakfast.

Rnd 3 - The reference is authoritative, as evidenced by xyz.
- Indeed, however, Sally still ate Jim.

Con wins?
Ren
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12/12/2012 12:14:28 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I would think that given there are space/time constraints in debates, it should go without saying that the winner is whoever is most convincing, not whoever was most anal about the arguments presented.
GeoLaureate8
Posts: 12,252
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12/12/2012 12:16:39 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
You will know when I have conceded if I have responded to your argument with "Your face," a tactic which I have already employed several times.
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Ren
Posts: 7,102
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12/12/2012 12:19:03 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/11/2012 11:51:19 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:

Why then do some debaters say that dropped arguments aren't concessions? If you do, can you share your thoughts? I naturally assume that if an opponent doesn't respond to an argument, it must be ruled in your favor by default.

...because debates have time/space constraints and approaching every argument is not necessary to prove a point.
BlackVoid
Posts: 9,170
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12/12/2012 4:32:12 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/12/2012 10:47:44 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
At 12/12/2012 1:12:42 AM, BlackVoid wrote:
Yeah, drops are concessions is the first thing they teach in real life debate. It makes sense. I mean, if the judge sees an argument dropped, what else are they going to do with it? Count it as true?

First thing I've been taught, and always have been taught, and shall teach, is that drops are not concessions. Dropping an argument means either that someone has conceded it and think that there's more important things, in which case if it is then brushed under the carpet everyone must ignore it. Second, if saying "argument X has been dropped" it promotes an idea that debating isn't about convincing people but is simply about shotgun debating. In actual debates, I pretty much ignore this because it's silly and sounds terrible. Bringing it up ruins flow, tempo and content (which is far more important). Only in LD debates (which are poor in and of themselves) does it matter. Finally, and most importantly, I usually run completely different arguments to my opponent, so it's irrelevant what they say. For example, on a recent debate on whether we should regret the Olympics, my opponent said no by running it made economic gains. I ran no via Marxist critique of Capitalism/Imperialism. If I brought up "also, the Olympics made us lose money" then this would make no sense. A reasonable response is that I'm unhappy how the Olympics made the bourgeois lose power, which doesn't fit with my argument. A contradiction in speech is far worse. I didn't concede that the Olympics should not be regretted because it brought us money: I simply ignored the entire topic by making a prima facie more important case. In other words, drops can be essential to an argument standing up, and forces certain arguments to be illegitimate and irrelevant.

Correction: LD, PF, and CX all have the rule, not just the former.

The scenario you describe isn't really a criticism of drops being concessions, its just a reason that dropping something can be justifiable. What you did was to drop the economic harms, but implicitly argued that your critique of Inperialism was more important, so the economic harms wouldn't matter if your critique was correct. That means that yes, you conceded that there were economic harms, but for debate purposes it didn't matter since your argument was stronger. So that example doesn't argue against the OP, it just means you can drop certain things and still win.

Its similar to this example: The resolution is "We should do X instead of Y". Pro says doing X would save 100 people. Con drops that argument, but says that doing Y would save 1000. By dropping it, he concedes that doing X would save 100, but his argument outweighs and he wins the round. That doesn't mean he didn't drop Pro's argument though.
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Posts: 18,324
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12/12/2012 4:47:36 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/12/2012 10:47:44 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
At 12/12/2012 1:12:42 AM, BlackVoid wrote:
Yeah, drops are concessions is the first thing they teach in real life debate. It makes sense. I mean, if the judge sees an argument dropped, what else are they going to do with it? Count it as true?

First thing I've been taught, and always have been taught, and shall teach, is that drops are not concessions. Dropping an argument means either that someone has conceded it and think that there's more important things, in which case if it is then brushed under the carpet everyone must ignore it.

How is that a fair way to debate? One of my pet peeves is when an opponent spends tons of times addressing weaker arguments while hoping that the stronger ones get buried under a mass of text. Technically, if voeters competency of judging is extremely high and they tend to read every word of the debate (some voters do), then this is a non-issue. In reality though, voters often skim through debates and it is unfair for debaters to not only bury arguments but make declaratory statements like "I have destroyed your argument" etc. I hate such people and would likely take off conduct if anyone makes such claims. Anyways, back on topic, I understand it is a problem with the voters rather than debaters if they forget dropped arguments as opposed to weigh them in favor of the opponent but considering the standard of voting on the site, I don't like the fact that debaters can brush things under the rug.

Second, if saying "argument X has been dropped" it promotes an idea that debating isn't about convincing people but is simply about shotgun debating. In actual debates, I pretty much ignore this because it's silly and sounds terrible. Bringing it up ruins flow, tempo and content (which is far more important). Only in LD debates (which are poor in and of themselves) does it matter.

Debate is not about being convincing overall. It is about specific arguments you make being convincing.

Finally, and most importantly, I usually run completely different arguments to my opponent, so it's irrelevant what they say. For example, on a recent debate on whether we should regret the Olympics, my opponent said no by running it made economic gains. I ran no via Marxist critique of Capitalism/Imperialism. If I brought up "also, the Olympics made us lose money" then this would make no sense. A reasonable response is that I'm unhappy how the Olympics made the bourgeois lose power, which doesn't fit with my argument. A contradiction in speech is far worse. I didn't concede that the Olympics should not be regretted because it brought us money: I simply ignored the entire topic by making a prima facie more important case. In other words, drops can be essential to an argument standing up, and forces certain arguments to be illegitimate and irrelevant.
wiploc
Posts: 1,485
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12/13/2012 12:23:55 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I have some sympathy to the idea that dropped arguments are concessions. But I have reservations too.

- For one thing, they aren't actual concessions. If I forget to address an argument, I'm not actually conceding it. So I never say, "Joe dropped this argument, so he conceded it." The most I'll argue is that Joe "effectively conceded it." I don't make it a rule. I do point it out to the readers so that they can give it such weight as they think appropriate.

- Many debaters here border on incoherent. You may be in round three before you figure out what your opponent was arguing in round one. I don't want to be told that I can't respond in a later round to something that wasn't clear in earlier rounds.

- Many Pros keep introducing new arguments as the debate progresses. They'll even close round one by saying they'll come up with new ideas for round two. Clearly, if dropped arguments were concessions, this would be impossible. And there would be no need for anyone to say, "No new arguments in the final round." But people do say that all the time. So it's fair to say that there is no presumption in DDO culture that dropped arguments count as concessions.

Incidentally, and this is a change of topic, I hate it when people say that forfeits count as concessions.
YYW
Posts: 36,250
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12/13/2012 12:43:29 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/11/2012 11:51:19 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
I've seen some debaters specify in their rules that dropped arguments are concessions while other specifically say that they aren't. My view is that since both debaters have the same amount of character space, dropped arguments should be counted as having been conceded and weighed into the debate RFD as such. It only makes sense.

Off the top of my head, the only objection I can see to this is that not counting dropped arguments as concessions protects debaters against shotgun argumentation i.e. when a debater posts a ton of arguments with little to no proof, and claims that unrefuted, those arguments are points in his favor. To defend against that, it is far easier for intelligent voters to simply identify such tactics and discount them.

If dropped arguments are concessions then to win a debate competitors need only shotgun haphazard claims that muddle the BOP to the extent that proper refutation as such would require far more than 8k characters. That to say this, I completely agree, F16.

I would add, though, that if all dropped arguments are to be counted as concessions, then it would also be the case that even logically fallacious arguments, wether they are refuted or not, would count in the favor of he who offers them. Surely, this is absurd. Moreover, to refute a logically fallacious argument must be done by demonstrating how it is a logically fallacious argument -that is an argument imbibed with logical fallacy- is itself ad hominem against the fallacious argument, in that it merely calls the argument by its name, rather than demonstrating how such an argument is, in fact, fallacious. But to do that, again, requires a whole lot of character space -and at the expense of other, more substantive points, should they merit refutation.

Why then do some debaters say that dropped arguments aren't concessions?

At the risk of sounding base, probably for the same reason they say "no semantics" when, in reality, arguments of things like "justice" or "rights" are inherently semantic arguments, in that they quibble over conceptual meaning. To say, "no semantics," presupposes an agreement of semantic meaning, which is... really.. quite bold in the absence of provided definitions.

If you do, can you share your thoughts? I naturally assume that if an opponent doesn't respond to an argument, it must be ruled in your favor by default.

I think that in most cases, that is a safe way to go, but for certain circumstances -like shotgunning, and especially doing so with a plethora of logically fallacious arguments.
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Danielle
Posts: 21,330
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12/13/2012 10:46:30 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/12/2012 10:24:16 AM, RoyLatham wrote:
There is no site rule on dropped arguments, so each person judging a debate gets to decide how to treat it.

Suppose Pro makes an argument in R1, and Con doesn't respond in that round. Some debaters will start R2 claiming that the point has been conceded. I don't think that's a good rule for a written debate subject to character limitations. The opponent can respond at any time, except that a new argument cannot be made in the final round.

If the argument is responded to later in the debate, then it's not dropped. If the argument is dropped entirely, it should be weighted as a concession IMO. In highlighting a missed argument throughout the debate, perhaps the debaters can refer to the missing rebuttals by saying "Extend Point 4..." instead of "Point 4 has been conceded" -- something I've done in the past, and has caused problems with one of my most recent debates (with MouthWash). He simply didn't feel my arguments were important, so didn't respond, and when I called him out for concession he said I was lying and strawmanning him. While he didn't technically concede, as far as I can tell not responding to an argument means the audience should accept it as true. After all, even if the readers don't believe it's true, a debate is supposed to be about what the DEBATERS put forth - not personal opinion - so if the debater didn't address the point, it ought to be considered a legitimate argument that was conceded.
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InquireTruth
Posts: 723
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12/13/2012 2:42:35 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/13/2012 10:46:30 AM, Danielle wrote:
At 12/12/2012 10:24:16 AM, RoyLatham wrote:
There is no site rule on dropped arguments, so each person judging a debate gets to decide how to treat it.

Suppose Pro makes an argument in R1, and Con doesn't respond in that round. Some debaters will start R2 claiming that the point has been conceded. I don't think that's a good rule for a written debate subject to character limitations. The opponent can respond at any time, except that a new argument cannot be made in the final round.

If the argument is responded to later in the debate, then it's not dropped. If the argument is dropped entirely, it should be weighted as a concession IMO. In highlighting a missed argument throughout the debate, perhaps the debaters can refer to the missing rebuttals by saying "Extend Point 4..." instead of "Point 4 has been conceded" -- something I've done in the past, and has caused problems with one of my most recent debates (with MouthWash). He simply didn't feel my arguments were important, so didn't respond, and when I called him out for concession he said I was lying and strawmanning him. While he didn't technically concede, as far as I can tell not responding to an argument means the audience should accept it as true. After all, even if the readers don't believe it's true, a debate is supposed to be about what the DEBATERS put forth - not personal opinion - so if the debater didn't address the point, it ought to be considered a legitimate argument that was conceded.

I don't think dropping arguments counts as a concession. I think the goal of a judge is not to be mindless, as if they must take as truth any drivel that was not afforded a response, but to be objective. I drop all arguments that I know any careful and objective reader can observe as irrelevant or egregious.
RoyLatham
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12/14/2012 12:15:56 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
The general approach to shotgun arguments is to respond to them at the depth with which they were argued. So if Pro says "X is a reprehensible, lying, traitorous, evil creature deserving no respect" that's a list of unproved assertion. The level of response to match is unproved denial, "X is not reprehensible, doesn't lie, is a patriot, and while not perfect, isn't evil." Now suppose that Con forgets to or chooses not to deny that X is a liar, and the point doesn't come up again until the last round, when Pro says, "Con has conceded that X is a liar, so I win the debate."

In that case, I'd say that the raw assertion is not a prima facie argument, so it need not be refuted. That's easy, but suppose that instead of no argument is made, Pro makes a weak one with an obvious fallacy. "X is evil because he is a Y." Were Y is some irrelevant characteristic. I maintain that Pro still doesn't win the point by concession. The reader doesn't have to be mindless and should recognize a fallacy that leaves the argument unproved.

It's debatable how far a judge should go in recognizing logical flaws that make an argument that's defective on its face. Certainly inserting a whole refutation unsaid in the debate is too much.

Back when the Reverend Jesse Jackson was a major political figure he was a master of shotgun arguments. In the first minute of an interview he could blast out a dozen accusations. Most of the time an opponent would get through refuting about three of them in his time given to respond.