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Judging long debates

DoctorDeku
Posts: 162
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12/28/2012 4:50:46 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I just read and voted on a 5 round debate with a character limit of 8,000. To be honest after the first two rounds it became a chore, and there seemed to be too much content to focus on.
I almost got a sheet of paper and started flowing.

When I instigate debates I never put the max character count 8000, as it's a hassle to both write that much and have to read that much; and based on the voting habits of this community it seems I'm not along in that regard.

So then my question, and the purpose of this thread is this; why is there such an accepted tendency to have such long debated if we know that getting people to read and vote on them is like pulling teeth?
Stephen_Hawkins
Posts: 5,316
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12/28/2012 5:36:13 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
because the voting isn't the most important thing. On this site, without live speaking and live thinking, there is no spectacle of the event. The majority of the debate is for the benefit of the two debaters, not the audience. I would prefer it being more of a spectacle for the audience, but the sacrifice of length is terrible.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
Raisor
Posts: 4,461
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12/28/2012 6:15:43 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I would really like to see a shift take place where the standard is to have the least round or the last two rounds be half length or a little longer than half length.

This would not only make debates a little bit shorter but force more critical rebuttals to take place rather than just a final full length argument.
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Posts: 18,324
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12/28/2012 6:17:14 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I agree with what Stephen said.

Also, I've instigated about 3-4 debates that had the max character length as 6000 characters to attract voters more. I've also instigated about 2-3 debates with a 4000 character length. From my experience 4000 is too short but 6000 works just fine. You just have to be very concise.
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Posts: 18,324
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12/28/2012 6:18:48 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/28/2012 6:15:43 PM, Raisor wrote:
I would really like to see a shift take place where the standard is to have the least round or the last two rounds be half length or a little longer than half length.

This would not only make debates a little bit shorter but force more critical rebuttals to take place rather than just a final full length argument.

Yeah, I've thought about this. I think it is perfect if we limit the last round to 3000 characters or maybe have 3 regular rounds and add an extra 1000 character round in round 5. That even helps limit the last word advantage as well.
BlackVoid
Posts: 9,170
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12/28/2012 6:49:46 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/28/2012 4:50:46 PM, DoctorDeku wrote:
I just read and voted on a 5 round debate with a character limit of 8,000. To be honest after the first two rounds it became a chore, and there seemed to be too much content to focus on.
I almost got a sheet of paper and started flowing.

When I instigate debates I never put the max character count 8000, as it's a hassle to both write that much and have to read that much; and based on the voting habits of this community it seems I'm not along in that regard.

So then my question, and the purpose of this thread is this; why is there such an accepted tendency to have such long debated if we know that getting people to read and vote on them is like pulling teeth?

Because a lot of people feel like they couldn't get their point across in anything less. Heck, some people say that even 8,000 isn't enough. I disagree with both groups, but thats probably why.

I'm with F-16. I've started to prefer 6,000 character limits and will probably be using it on any future debates.
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Posts: 18,324
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12/28/2012 9:00:16 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/28/2012 6:49:46 PM, BlackVoid wrote:

Because a lot of people feel like they couldn't get their point across in anything less. Heck, some people say that even 8,000 isn't enough. I disagree with both groups, but thats probably why.

Mostly this. Regardless of whether the character limit is 6000 or 8000, I've had to truncate huge portions of my arguments and reword them in a concise way. It will be the same if there are 10,000 or 12,000 or even 20,000 characters as the limit. What most debaters don't realize is that with an increase in space, their opponent will get thew space increase as well so regardless of the length, they are going to have to cut out chunks of text and increasing the character limit for both sides isn't going to change that. Their opponent will make further arguments for them to respond to.

I'm with F-16. I've started to prefer 6,000 character limits and will probably be using it on any future debates.

I think our debate on military was very well fleshed out and researched even with the low character limit. Re-reading, it didn't feel like a short debate at all so maybe I'll use it in most of my debates from now - although I feel that some topics require 8000 characters. Good rule of thumb is to make your opening case and post the character limit at however many characters you used. It is sneaky but it forces your opponent to play on your terms.
BlackVoid
Posts: 9,170
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12/28/2012 9:20:13 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/28/2012 9:00:16 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
At 12/28/2012 6:49:46 PM, BlackVoid wrote:

Because a lot of people feel like they couldn't get their point across in anything less. Heck, some people say that even 8,000 isn't enough. I disagree with both groups, but thats probably why.

Mostly this. Regardless of whether the character limit is 6000 or 8000, I've had to truncate huge portions of my arguments and reword them in a concise way. It will be the same if there are 10,000 or 12,000 or even 20,000 characters as the limit. What most debaters don't realize is that with an increase in space, their opponent will get thew space increase as well so regardless of the length, they are going to have to cut out chunks of text and increasing the character limit for both sides isn't going to change that. Their opponent will make further arguments for them to respond to.

Out of curiosity, how many debates have you done where you struggled to fit everything in? Struggled as in, it was legitimately hard to get a certain round under the limit.
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Posts: 18,324
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12/28/2012 11:36:21 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/28/2012 9:20:13 PM, BlackVoid wrote:

Out of curiosity, how many debates have you done where you struggled to fit everything in? Struggled as in, it was legitimately hard to get a certain round under the limit.

A better question would be how many debates I didn't find hard to fit in. I'd say about 5-6. All of the rest, I had to do some form of structural rephrasing to make it fit.
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Posts: 18,324
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12/28/2012 11:37:30 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/28/2012 11:36:21 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
At 12/28/2012 9:20:13 PM, BlackVoid wrote:

Out of curiosity, how many debates have you done where you struggled to fit everything in? Struggled as in, it was legitimately hard to get a certain round under the limit.

A better question would be how many debates I didn't find hard to fit in. I'd say about 5-6. All of the rest, I had to do some form of structural rephrasing to make it fit.

I had a debate with Ragnar where he was extremely concise so rebutting under the character limit wasn't difficult but I'd say most people are long-winded like me. Some are even famous for being long-winded if you know who I am talking about.
RationalMadman
Posts: 354
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12/28/2012 11:52:42 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Long debates are like long sex sessions, really nice until the climax... then only women want more.
The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

We didn't fight our way to the top of the food chain to be f***ng vegetarians.
Logic_on_rails
Posts: 2,445
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12/29/2012 12:03:12 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Some have said that brevity is the soul of wit.

Reading long debates is good for the learning process, but is very difficult to do. I'm also well aware that we always feel like we are pushing the character limit - I routinely am able to cut out 500 characters through grammatical fixes and adjective deletion alone.

As for why I support keeping the character limit in place... it's because it replicates the debate spectacle better, in some ways. Look at the first sentence of this post again. It's concise, but it's no argument; persuasive styles, explanations and language techniques suffer through lower character limits I find. Now, this is not an argument for longer rounds, but I find that memory retention can be improved by things like fleshed out explanations, analogies and such which are often cut.

Now, what's the bet this post could be only 2/3 as long as it is if I wrote better? I think it could be less than that...
"Tis not in mortals to command success
But we"ll do more, Sempronius, we"ll deserve it
BlackVoid
Posts: 9,170
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12/29/2012 12:32:44 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/28/2012 11:36:21 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
At 12/28/2012 9:20:13 PM, BlackVoid wrote:

Out of curiosity, how many debates have you done where you struggled to fit everything in? Struggled as in, it was legitimately hard to get a certain round under the limit.

A better question would be how many debates I didn't find hard to fit in. I'd say about 5-6. All of the rest, I had to do some form of structural rephrasing to make it fit.

Really? I figured otherwise since your sentence structure in debates is usually pretty direct.

I'm pretty much the opposite. I've only had one debate where I had a hard time fitting a round in (the Africa debate). Believe it or not, I didn't even know this site had a character limit until like 20 debates in. I was typing up the final argument of the round, when all of a sudden the character max alert popped up onto the screen. I was like "wait, there's a character limit?". Lol. Of course, thats not necessarily a good thing, because not being long-winded enough can be just as much of a disadvantage as the opposite. But regardless, thats part of the reason that I have a hard time sympathizing with the people that want an even higher limit than we have now. Its just hard to relate to their struggles.

Something that helps me is to keep the character limit in mind from the start of the debate. Rather than writing everything you want to say and then trimming, try to be as concise as possible from the very first sentence. Thats what I started doing when I realized there was a limit.

Logic is right though, one disadvantage to shorter limits is that you can't fit in as many justifications as you could otherwise. With 6,000 instead of 8,000, you might have to cut out an analogy, a second warrant, or some rhetoric, but obviously you can still have a pretty good debate without those extras.
Chuz-Life
Posts: 1,789
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12/29/2012 12:34:52 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/28/2012 4:50:46 PM, DoctorDeku wrote:
I just read and voted on a 5 round debate with a character limit of 8,000. To be honest after the first two rounds it became a chore, and there seemed to be too much content to focus on.
I almost got a sheet of paper and started flowing.

When I instigate debates I never put the max character count 8000, as it's a hassle to both write that much and have to read that much; and based on the voting habits of this community it seems I'm not along in that regard.

So then my question, and the purpose of this thread is this; why is there such an accepted tendency to have such long debated if we know that getting people to read and vote on them is like pulling teeth?

I'm so guilty. :/

The only reason I like the 8000 character limit is because I (in the past) like to quote my opponent and then comment on what they said so the reader doesn't have to scroll back and verify what I'm responding to.

I've been told that doesn't play well in my favor either so I'll probably try something else next time.

One thing I would like to see would be an occasional "moderated debate." I think that would increase both views AND voter participation.
"Sooner or later, the Supreme Court of the Unites States is going to have explain how a 'child in the womb' is a person enough to be recognized as a MURDER victim under our fetal homicide laws but how they are not persons enough to qualify for any other Constitutional protections" ~ Chuz Life

http://www.debate.org...
TheTraditionalist
Posts: 28
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12/29/2012 12:46:39 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Would it be in bad conduct to post video commentary on the debates we have made, where we can go into the tangents and asides that are unnecessary to the core of our arguments? I was going to do this for another debate, but I felt it may be in poor conduct as the characters limits are agreed to prior to accepting a debate.
Logical-Master
Posts: 2,538
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12/29/2012 1:20:31 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
If the 'long debaters' aren't keeping their reader's engaged, that's their fault and voters should feel inclined to judge accordingly. A debater's goal should be to make his/her rounds nice/simple for the reader.
Logical-Master
Posts: 2,538
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12/29/2012 1:24:35 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
The character limit is good. If you know what you're talking about, you should be able to sum up your entire case (no matter what the topic) in a single prompt paragraph if need be.
larztheloser
Posts: 857
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12/29/2012 3:01:33 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I always use paper, both in RL debates and online. It makes a lot of sense not because it's necessarily boring, but just to keep up with everything. I'm also not sure lower character limits makes debates less boring. I've seen some very boring debates with only a few thousand characters per round, which were boring because the limited characters made it difficult to debate the more interesting, finer points of the cases.

Personally I think the best way to solve this problem is team debates. Different styles make things inherently interesting to keep being engaged with.
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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12/29/2012 10:45:55 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I think five rounds of 8000 characters is too much. DDO evolution has produced acceptance plus three rounds of 8000 characters as a very good compromise between having enough space to make the needed arguments and forcing the debater to focus their thoughts.

If two debaters want to debate solely for their own satisfaction, I don't have a problem with that. It does no harm. They should expect a 0-0 tie, as few will wade through the verbiage.

However, public debates in real life are done main to inform viewers, like the presidential debates or Oxford-style debates or TV debates between pundits. The chance of convincing a debate opponent of your viewpoint is vanishingly small, but there's a good chance that someone in the audience may be convinced.

An experienced wordsmith has a big advantage in severely character limited debate. Skill in expressing ideas succinctly dominates such debates.
Apeiron
Posts: 2,446
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12/29/2012 12:09:47 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
In debating with unitedandy, I learned that perhaps it's better to cash out the finer points of what the 2 debaters disagree upon in the forums, THEN debate those finer points and it will prove to be concise.
Stephen_Hawkins
Posts: 5,316
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12/29/2012 4:03:59 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Hmmm... Who is then going to try to create a culture of 6000 character debates then?

Personally I use around 7000 most times, occassionally more. It all depends on how you address the points made.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
Man-is-good
Posts: 6,871
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12/29/2012 9:06:05 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/28/2012 5:36:13 PM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
Because the voting isn't the most important thing. On this site, without live speaking and live thinking, there is no spectacle of the event. The majority of the debate is for the benefit of the two debaters, not the audience. I would prefer it being more of a spectacle for the audience, but the sacrifice of length is terrible.

I agree. I'd like to add that the most important experience of debating is savoring the experience, be it intellectual--perhaps the debate has stimulated a furthering of knowledge, a furthering or application of our faculties in ways that we have both become accustomed to, and yet wish to hone and refine in the long run, of the debate.

Of course, the expenses of such jubilation, particularly the sacrifice of length, is unnecessary: one can only find how redundant he is after every little scrutiny he directs to his writing, whilst proofreading and revising it, although such a chore should not be equal to sanitizing a sentence or to reduce a sentence and distort an original meaning through unrestrained abstractions. In other words, I should say--simplify scrupulously. :)
"Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto." --Terence

"I believe that the mind can be permanently profaned by the habit of attending to trivial things, so that all our thoughts shall be tinged with triviality."--Thoreau