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Sourcing in a Debate

Danielle
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12/25/2009 3:16:38 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
I just wanted some general discussion on the topic.

I noticed that the "Sources" vote is worth 2 points when judging a debate. It kind of annoys me. Truth be told, I don't even use sources for most of my debate arguments and thus just look for ones to quote so as to not lose the Sources category with the voters. I think this is an unnecessary waste of time. If your opponent wishes to discredit your arguments, then they can look for sources that do so (and can mention them in their round). In return, you may want to cite sources that attempt to prove your opponent wrong. But I think making them a cornerstone of judging or something to vote on is retarded.

I also think that people don't really even know how to judge this category. For instance, if one cites a Fox or MSNBC site, sometimes people will comment, "Well that source is obviously biased so I awarded the points to your opponent." In some cases they're right, but in many cases they're not right so to make those kinds of voting assumptions is wrong. Another example: People complain when debaters use Wiki as a source, and I've seen comments where people automatically discredit a debater - at least in that Sources category - if they've used Wiki. I think that's lame. If the Wiki is wrong, then it's up to the opposing debater to point that out (and prove it). But sometimes Wiki is right. And in that case, to penalize someone for using it is just silly.

I also know that a lot of people don't even bother to read their own sources; I actually check people's sources, and so many times I notice that their sources are irrelevant or sometimes even counter-productive to their position. My point is - sources are great, but to award almost half of the possible points based on them is stupid. I mean if sources are relevant to the soundness or validity of one's position, then they should of course include them to strengthen their position. But to award points as to who had the "better" sources seems kind of retarded and often produces biased results. Plus, it pressures debaters into finding "good" sources when I think that sometimes just back and forth discussion is really the goal... at least for me. Thoughts?
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Danielle
Posts: 21,330
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12/25/2009 3:32:47 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
To clarify: If you're quoting someone or taking information from somewhere, you should of course source it so as to avoid plagiarism. However, to award points based on who had the "better" sources seems unnecessary in many cases. I think this category should be eliminated.
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wjmelements
Posts: 8,206
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12/25/2009 4:17:38 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Agree with the fact that source judging is weak, inconsistent, and occasionally misguided.
Disagree with the removal of the sources category.

Having sources as a category encourages research in a debate and making statements verifyable, just as having grammar as a category checks bad English. Should it be weighted two-thirds that of arguments? Probably not, but it should carry more weight than grammar.
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LeafRod
Posts: 1,548
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12/25/2009 4:21:44 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
What's annoying is when someone (mongeese) cites a bunch of stupid, meaningless sources like defining "suicide" in order to win that category.
theOverman
Posts: 2
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12/25/2009 7:39:44 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/25/2009 4:21:44 PM, LeafRod wrote:
What's annoying is when someone (mongeese) cites a bunch of stupid, meaningless sources like defining "suicide" in order to win that category.

As does Derrida, because Derrida is a lie.
Then I spoke.
Volkov
Posts: 9,765
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12/25/2009 7:55:18 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
The problem with using Wiki is that Wiki can be fairly unreliable at times. The information is usually incomplete and sometimes completely unsourced and wrong. When you start treating Wikipedia as an official source, then you are essentially validating everything in it - including the stuff that is just clearly wrong.

Wikipedia should be used as simply a compilation of the information, and if you want to use that information in an argument, you use the actual sources within Wikipedia. It's already been verified and is the raw information. It clears up any issues with the unreliability, and is just a little more proper. I think its worth it to have such standards.
mongeese
Posts: 5,387
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12/26/2009 8:33:20 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
How to Vote:
"Which debater, on balance, proved their argument with sufficient quantity and appropriate interpretation of evidence? Was the evidence easy to read? Did it support the correct argument or was it just a link tossed in to try and fool the unsuspecting?"
I think that some people take "sufficient quantity" and try to use that to just tally up sources. For example, this debate:
http://www.debate.org...
WJM gave Sources to CON for having 57 sources as opposed to 49, even though each side obviously used sources sufficiently.

Personally, I think that if a person uses a bunch of arguments that require no sourcing, then they should not be penalized, but if they start pulling events, statistics, etc. off the top of their head, then they need proof.
LeafRod
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12/26/2009 10:25:57 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/26/2009 8:33:20 AM, mongeese wrote:
http://www.debate.org...
WJM gave Sources to CON for having 57 sources as opposed to 49, even though each side obviously used sources sufficiently.

Not to mention arbitrary stuff like counting videos as two.
wjmelements
Posts: 8,206
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12/26/2009 10:36:34 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/26/2009 10:25:57 AM, LeafRod wrote:
Not to mention arbitrary stuff like counting videos as two.

That's dumb. Personally, I only count videos if there are no other sources.
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alto2osu
Posts: 277
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12/26/2009 11:15:56 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
I like the fact that there is a sources category, as I think that researching one's debate will always lead to a superior argument, or at least better education, as GOOD debaters will have bibliographies to consult if they come across new concepts and whatnot. Granted, that's a pretty perfect world (I mean, how many of us suspect that our opponents actually sit down and read the sources that we go find).

However, I don't think that sources should be worth 2 whole pts. That's kind of crap.
Danielle
Posts: 21,330
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12/26/2009 11:46:52 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/26/2009 8:33:20 AM, mongeese wrote:
How to Vote:
"Which debater, on balance, proved their argument with sufficient quantity and appropriate interpretation of evidence? Was the evidence easy to read? Did it support the correct argument or was it just a link tossed in to try and fool the unsuspecting?"

Again, this is rubbish. First, the quantity of sources shouldn't really matter. Again, it forces the debaters to focus on finding a bunch of sources rather than select based on quality... and they have to waste character space listing them and stuff. Plus, if one doesn't understand a topic too much, then of course the source might not seem "easy to read" for them. I think having this category worth 2 points (or any at all) just fosters easy vote bombing, or can even lead to the person with the inferior arguments walking away with more points. It's just my $.02 on the subject.
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mongeese
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12/26/2009 12:44:17 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/26/2009 11:46:52 AM, theLwerd wrote:
At 12/26/2009 8:33:20 AM, mongeese wrote:
How to Vote:
"Which debater, on balance, proved their argument with sufficient quantity and appropriate interpretation of evidence? Was the evidence easy to read? Did it support the correct argument or was it just a link tossed in to try and fool the unsuspecting?"

Again, this is rubbish. First, the quantity of sources shouldn't really matter.
It just has to be sufficient. If you only really need one source, and you use one source, great. If you need about twenty, but you don't use any, shame on you. And if you only need five, and you source a hundred, you're crazy.
Again, it forces the debaters to focus on finding a bunch of sources rather than select based on quality... and they have to waste character space listing them and stuff. Plus, if one doesn't understand a topic too much, then of course the source might not seem "easy to read" for them. I think having this category worth 2 points (or any at all) just fosters easy vote bombing, or can even lead to the person with the inferior arguments walking away with more points. It's just my $.02 on the subject.
I guess this is answered with my explanation of "sufficient."

In conclusion, sources should be used where needed; no more, no less.
LeafRod
Posts: 1,548
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12/26/2009 1:20:31 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/26/2009 10:36:34 AM, wjmelements wrote:
At 12/26/2009 10:25:57 AM, LeafRod wrote:
Not to mention arbitrary stuff like counting videos as two.

That's dumb. Personally, I only count videos if there are no other sources.

LOL?

Posted by wjmelements 5 months ago
wjmelements
COND: TIED (no major infringements)
S/G: TIED (no major infringements [mongeese, come on])
ARG: TIED (neither debater had much of an organized argument, as it was not much more than a large hodgepodge. I'm sure a few points went each way, but it was nothing but a stalemate)

So, it comes down to sources. I counted videos as 2.

SRC: CON (49-57)
Danielle
Posts: 21,330
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12/26/2009 1:32:14 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
I agree with mongeese, and I also believe that sources shouldn't count as "points." If so, then only 1 - not 2/7.
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Volkov
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12/26/2009 1:46:46 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/26/2009 1:32:14 PM, theLwerd wrote:
I agree with mongeese, and I also believe that sources shouldn't count as "points." If so, then only 1 - not 2/7.

I disagree. Sourcing your arguments is a big part of an argument, because if you don't show where your proof is coming from, then your argument is essentially pointless - from an official standpoint, anyways. I couldn't care less of I was arguing on the forums, but these aren't forum debates, are they?

I'll stick by Joe on this one; if you don't want the sources to count, then mention it in the debate and have your opponent agree. Otherwise, its proper as is.
wjmelements
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12/26/2009 1:54:19 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/26/2009 1:20:31 PM, LeafRod wrote:
At 12/26/2009 10:36:34 AM, wjmelements wrote:
At 12/26/2009 10:25:57 AM, LeafRod wrote:
Not to mention arbitrary stuff like counting videos as two.

That's dumb. Personally, I only count videos if there are no other sources.

LOL?

That's = That was

Posted by wjmelements 5 months ago
wjmelements
COND: TIED (no major infringements)
S/G: TIED (no major infringements [mongeese, come on])
ARG: TIED (neither debater had much of an organized argument, as it was not much more than a large hodgepodge. I'm sure a few points went each way, but it was nothing but a stalemate)

So, it comes down to sources. I counted videos as 2.

SRC: CON (49-57)

That was a long while ago. I've changed my policy sinse then.
in the blink of an eye you finally see the light
Danielle
Posts: 21,330
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12/26/2009 1:59:00 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/26/2009 12:39:32 PM, MTGandP wrote:
I think 2 points for grammar, 2 points for conduct, 3 points for sources, and 6 points for arguments.

Disagree.

First of all, why have things worth 2 points when you can just have it be worth 1? Plus, as I've been saying (I think in another thread I made here about voting categories) it's kind of useless to have a grammar vote. Who cares if one doesn't use perfect spelling or grammar as long as their arguments are cohesive? I haven't seen one person here use perfect grammar, and I think it's lame to look and count as to who made more grammatical errors (what a waste of time). Since theoretically that category should almost always result in a tie, it then becomes just another way to vote bomb someone. I think "convincing arguments" are really what's most important. You can see why I think sources souldn't be worth "points" as they should be a supplement to a debate - not a focal point for it regarding points. And conduct? Psht.
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LeafRod
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12/26/2009 2:00:42 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/26/2009 1:59:00 PM, theLwerd wrote:
First of all, why have things worth 2 points when you can just have it be worth 1?

It's relative. There's no common factor of all those point values to reduce them with.
Danielle
Posts: 21,330
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12/26/2009 2:04:51 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/26/2009 1:46:46 PM, Volkov wrote:
At 12/26/2009 1:32:14 PM, theLwerd wrote:
I agree with mongeese, and I also believe that sources shouldn't count as "points." If so, then only 1 - not 2/7.

I disagree. Sourcing your arguments is a big part of an argument, because if you don't show where your proof is coming from, then your argument is essentially pointless - from an official standpoint, anyways. I couldn't care less of I was arguing on the forums, but these aren't forum debates, are they?

So many sources are BS that it's hard to distinguish what actually counts as "proof" anyway. When you're quoting someone, for instance, that's not proof - that's citing someone else's opinion which sources so often are used for. Plus, sources may be important, but not always. Some debates are just meant for back and forth discussion, and there are some things you can argue without having to look anything up (as I'm sure you know). Anyway, as I said, I agree that sources can be a critical part of your argument but I don't think it should be awarded as to who had the "better" sources. I think it's just a way to vote bomb in 1/2 of the cases, and in the other 1/2 the point is awarded as a tie so it's really useless (and more leaning towards negative because of the vote bombing aspect).

Again, if one's argument needs proof, it should be up to the person's opponent to point out that no proof was given to uphold the position -- not for the audience to take away points for. This is just my opinion on this one thing; my real thoughts regarding voting categories is in my other thread lol. I believe that different debates should be judged on different things as agreed upon by the debaters (see my Voting Ideas thread). However, I realize that it's never gonna happen so it's a waste of time to even bother talking about it. Haha, so nevermind, I guess.
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wjmelements
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12/26/2009 2:04:53 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
theLwerd

If we eliminate those categories, then they'll be weighed in when voting in the other categories. If there are no spelling points, people will be penalized in arguments. If there are no sources points, people will be penalized in arguments. If someone forfeits a round, they will be penalized in arguments.
Having these categories allows us to isolate these variables. Having one or two categories only shifts those categories elsewhere. We still judge peeple wit badd spellng, we still penalize forfeits, except we'd do it in the arguments section, and all those points would go against someone instead of a few points.
in the blink of an eye you finally see the light
Danielle
Posts: 21,330
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12/26/2009 2:05:48 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/26/2009 2:00:42 PM, LeafRod wrote:
At 12/26/2009 1:59:00 PM, theLwerd wrote:
First of all, why have things worth 2 points when you can just have it be worth 1?

It's relative. There's no common factor of all those point values to reduce them with.

2 points for grammar, 2 points for conduct, 3 points for sources, and 6 points for arguments

can be changed to...

1 point for grammar, 1 for conduct, 2 points for sources and 3 or 4 for arguments.
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wjmelements
Posts: 8,206
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12/26/2009 2:09:57 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
1-1-2-5 would be ideal, in my opinion. Someone with the stronger arguments with a few spelling mistakes, no research, and a forfeit would still win. If an even amount of votes were for each person were made in the arguments category, the other categories would be tie-breakers.
in the blink of an eye you finally see the light
Danielle
Posts: 21,330
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12/26/2009 2:10:47 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/26/2009 2:04:53 PM, wjmelements wrote:
theLwerd

If we eliminate those categories, then they'll be weighed in when voting in the other categories. If there are no spelling points, people will be penalized in arguments. If there are no sources points, people will be penalized in arguments. If someone forfeits a round, they will be penalized in arguments.

I don't think spelling or sources is important. If people's spelling sucks to the point where their argument is incohesive, then their argument fails. Similarly, if one needed sources but didn't include any (which hurts their argument), then their argument fails.

Having these categories allows us to isolate these variables. Having one or two categories only shifts those categories elsewhere. We still judge peeple wit badd spellng, we still penalize forfeits, except we'd do it in the arguments section, and all those points would go against someone instead of a few points.

Again, all of this is related to the arguments. If we do a debate and you forfeited 2 rounds, then most likely you were not able to make your own argument or combat mine thus meaning your arguments fail (and I win). Similarly, if I forfeit a round of debate, but my arguments in 2 rounds are better than yours in 3 rounds, then who cares if I forfeit? Why should I lose a conduct point when nothing was really done to affect the outcome of the debate?

There's really no use in arguing about this; my point is that these voting categories for the most part just exist as a way to vote bomb. For instance, if we debated and you had the better arguments, but my spelling was better - who friggin cares? I don't deserve a point for knowing how to use Spell Check. That's not the point of a debate.
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Danielle
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12/26/2009 2:15:05 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Again, there's really no point in even discussing this. It's not like anything is going to be changed even if Phil agreed with me (which he probably doesn't). So I guess at the very least the point of this thread is to draw attention to being more aware and fair regarding your sources vote :)
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LeafRod
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12/26/2009 4:27:03 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/26/2009 2:05:48 PM, theLwerd wrote:
2 points for grammar, 2 points for conduct, 3 points for sources, and 6 points for arguments

can be changed to...

1 point for grammar, 1 for conduct, 2 points for sources and 3 or 4 for arguments.

No it can't, from a mathematical perspective. If you're arguing with the value he's assigned to each category, that makes more sense, and I might have just misunderstood your post.
Puck
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12/26/2009 4:38:53 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Honestly I think it rarely becomes an issue until someone uses vague internet resources to support a claim when more is needed. Debating the merits of a scientific premise, for example, should have the appropriate sources as backing, and not opinion pieces.
RoyLatham
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12/29/2009 12:54:57 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
How could one debate fact-based topics without sources? For example, debates on evolution and 9/11 Conspiracy inevitably involve facts versus the made-up stories of Creationists and Truthers. In the current health care discussions, the are frequent allusions to health care company profits and executive salaries being a major factor, when it's fairly easy to find data that shows those costs are less than 0.4%. It's an important point tha depends upon what the facts are.

Saying that one's opponent should have the burden of contradicting assertions means that there is no burden of proof and no need to make a prima facia case. If I claim that the Flying Invisible Spaghetti Monster rules, then that ought to stand until disproved? Nonsense. It is fair to make some reasonable assertions that are unsourced until challenged, but key factual arguments ought to supported by references.

Wikipedia is reliable for some things and not for others. That's the situation with most sources. Part of the debate is to question the reliability of sources. an ad hom attack on the general source is usually not convincing. It's better to counter with another source and explin why it is more credible.

Sources are worth at least two points in general. There are some topics, like philosophical musings, where all the arguments can be recited on their own merits. In those cases, the "sources" category is a tie -- irrelevant. In fact-based debates, failure to provide sources ought to lose the debate entirely. In those cases it is really worth more.

Without factual references, the debate is often who can build a more appealing fantasy world. That's not productive.
LeafRod
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12/29/2009 11:29:02 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
I was thinking about this today, and the number of sources should most certainly NOT be what to base a vote on. In fact, it should actually mean nothing. What a voter should do is assess the number of claims each debater made that would require sourcing, and then look at which ones were sourced, and vote accordingly. I also think that sourcing definitions and stuff should mean nothing.

If PRO made two arguments that required sourcing and sourced them both, and CON made fifty arguments that required sourcing and sourced forty-nine, then PRO should get the vote.