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Internet vs. In-Person Debate

MTGandP
Posts: 702
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11/25/2009 12:27:46 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Yesterday, we had a debate in History class. It was basically in Lincoln-Douglas format, except that our teacher gave us the topic ten minutes before we were starting. I have known that I was a good debater since eighth grade, and I won by a large margin in my last real-life debate (I had time to prepare), but in this debate it was roughly a tie. I think these were the two main problems:

1) At one point I said something along the lines of "You made argument A. But if you do that, then I can make argument B. Don't go down that route, or you lose." At another point my opponents made a fallacious argument and I called it "crap". At the end of the debate, I said something along the lines of, "We win." This is all standard practice as far as I am concerned, but my opponents -- and the rest of the class, i.e. the judges -- considered them to be insults and "took points off."

2) In online debates, there can be many threads of argument. It's easy to quote just one sentence of your opponent's speech. But in real life, this is much harder to do. My partner and I had numerous arguments and we didn't blend them together very well, so we were essentially shouting out one bullet point after another. The judges didn't like this.

What can I do about these issues, especially #2? It's not as though I can have a pre-written speech that flows through arguments really pleasantly when I only have ten minutes to prepare.
I-am-a-panda
Posts: 15,380
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11/25/2009 12:32:19 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Generally, organise your points under 3 main headings. Besides, IRL people arent' aware for fallacious arguments, and you dont' have the Wiki link to explain them, other an the Circular argument mayhaps. Also, being polite is considered a merit for some reason.

Essentially, you have to be a politician and appeal to the masses.

What was the topic anyhow?
Pizza. I have enormous respect for Pizza.
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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11/25/2009 12:35:19 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Never state "Crap." Just reductio their fallacy to something clever sounding. Works online too, but it's even more important in person.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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11/25/2009 12:36:05 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
As for 2, that sucks for me too, so I just try to get by on the clever sounding reductios.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
USAPitBull63
Posts: 668
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11/25/2009 4:03:26 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
1.) Know your audience.

Here, people understand lingo like "you lose" and tone that playfully talks down to oppositional faulty logic, etc. That said, "here" isn't most places, most people. Be sure to adjust yourself accordingly to the situation. Defer to professionalism.

2.) Understand the context.

Here, for example, you may be 100-0 in debates. To someone who doesn't know this web site, that isn't worth a hill of beans. Don't allow ego-inflation from fora like this to seep into your "real-world" interactions. Here, many of us can appreciate a pompous blowhard now and then; in the real world, conceit---or even just that which comes across as such---is a major turn-off.

3.) Don't go for bravado.

If you're talented enough, let your talent do the talking. The debate should take care of itself, so long as you comfortably trust in your ability and stick to your guns.

Good luck. Don't suck.
InsertNameHere
Posts: 15,699
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11/25/2009 4:58:14 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
I generally suck at debating, but I'm slightly less suckish online as you often have the sources more readily available. Plus I'm a very visual person. I tend to do alot better with stuff If I'm able to see it. Just hearing something isn't enough for me to absorb it.
MTGandP
Posts: 702
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11/25/2009 8:28:17 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/25/2009 12:32:19 PM, I-am-a-panda wrote:
What was the topic anyhow?
We were debating whether John Brown's actions at the Harper's Ferry rebellion were morally justified. (This topic was actually my idea, but I only thought of it twenty minutes before I had to debate it.) I was Negative.

Thanks for the tips, guys. Helpful stuff. RR, about trying to sound impressive, my partner and I did spend a good chunk of time talking about Consequentialism (probably too much time in fact).
leet4A1
Posts: 1,986
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11/26/2009 8:56:28 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/26/2009 8:48:49 PM, theLwerd wrote:
Can't help ya, mate.

Planning on becoming an honourary Aussie or Brit Lwerd? :D
"Let me tell you the truth. The truth is, 'what is'. And 'what should be' is a fantasy, a terrible terrible lie that someone gave to the people long ago. The 'what should be' never did exist, but people keep trying to live up to it. There is no 'what should be,' there is only what is." - Lenny Bruce

"Satan goes to church, did you know that?" - Godsands

"And Genisis 1 does match modern science... you just have to try really hard." - GR33K FR33K5
Danielle
Posts: 21,330
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11/26/2009 9:05:50 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/26/2009 8:56:28 PM, leet4A1 wrote:
At 11/26/2009 8:48:49 PM, theLwerd wrote:
Can't help ya, mate.

Planning on becoming an honourary Aussie or Brit Lwerd? :D

No, a pirate.
President of DDO
leet4A1
Posts: 1,986
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11/26/2009 9:07:09 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/26/2009 9:05:50 PM, theLwerd wrote:
At 11/26/2009 8:56:28 PM, leet4A1 wrote:
At 11/26/2009 8:48:49 PM, theLwerd wrote:
Can't help ya, mate.

Planning on becoming an honourary Aussie or Brit Lwerd? :D

No, a pirate.

Hahaha, good call. :)
"Let me tell you the truth. The truth is, 'what is'. And 'what should be' is a fantasy, a terrible terrible lie that someone gave to the people long ago. The 'what should be' never did exist, but people keep trying to live up to it. There is no 'what should be,' there is only what is." - Lenny Bruce

"Satan goes to church, did you know that?" - Godsands

"And Genisis 1 does match modern science... you just have to try really hard." - GR33K FR33K5