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Guide to drafting and judging *resolutions*

bluesteel
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1/25/2015 6:57:59 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
After having my third major issue with someone who complained about RFD's when the problem could have *easily* been taken care of with resolution drafting, I decided to write this guide, since I already typed part of it out on one of the debates.

== ENTIRE GUIDE ==

Type out your *full* resolution through DDO when instigating your debate. You know, where it says "Topic." If your topic is too long and DDO will not let you type out the full thing, then type out a *shortened* version and put "Full Resolution: ....." in your first round.

That's it. That's the entire guide. It's so simple and it saves so many people headaches.

== THINGS NOT TO DO ==

*I mean no offense to the people whose examples I use, since it is somewhat standard on DDO not to draft full resolution or to make these mistakes, but this guide seeks to remedy that. I use these examples only because they are most salient to my mind at the moment.

(1) One or two word resolution

Examples: "border fence," "gay parenting," "homosexuality."

None of those can *possibly* be the full resolution. What does it mean to be "Con" on "border fence?" Does it mean you are against building a *new* one? Does it mean you want to knock down the one we already have? Does it mean a border fence in the United States? In Germany? Does it mean you are Con against the Berlin Wall? What does it mean????

What does it mean to be Con "gay parenting"? Does it mean that gay people should be banned from being parents? Should we confiscate their kids? Should we sterilize them so they can't have kids through in vitro and surrogacy? Does it mean they are just as good parents as straight parents if you look at aggregate statistics? Does it mean that on an individual level, nothing about a gay person makes them a less fit parent?

Be....more.....specific. Otherwise, you are asking for bad RFD's because you are requiring every single judge to decide what the full resolution is on their own. You might not like the results (see below for how judges should deal with these poorly drafted resolutions).

(2) Attempt to limit the debate using non-resolutional limitations

(a) Definitions

In real life debate, all definitions are contestable. Merely stating a definition in Round 1 does not guarantee that the Contender accepts that definition by accepting the debate. Definitions are considered an argument, which can be rebutted. Unless you specify that one of your *rules* is that definitions cannot be contested, the default is that Contender can contest them. So definition based restrictions are not real restrictions.

Even if you specify that acceptance means accepting all definitions, that doesn't mean it's true, as the following examples illustrates.

(b) Incoherent rules-based restrictions

The topic has to make *some sense* to your judges. Your restriction can't be completely incoherent or else the judge will adopt your opponent's definition.

For example, on the topic "China should become a Federal Republic," Jifpop09 imposed the following rule, "You may not argue the republic part." So the topic becomes "China should be a Federal." This is *incoherent.* A federal what??? "Federal" used in this context is an adjective. And China is already a "federal" system, in that it has a federal government. So as a judge, suddenly the restriction means there is no resolution.

Annoyingly, as an aside, jifpop argued that China should become a *federalist* *democracy* and then argued his opponent broke the rules for doing the same.

(c) Ambiguous restrictions

If you are going to use a definition or rule to limit the scope of the debate, you better make *d@mn clear* that's what your'e doing. For example, on the topic "Mafia is a waste of time," the definition of mafia as "a forum game often played on DDO" is ambiguous as to whether it is a restrictive definition because (a) it doesn't say in the rules that acceptance constitutes accepting all definitions, and (b) the definition is a descriptive definition, not an exhaustive definition. An "exhaustive definition" attempts to define the entire scope of a word. An exhaustive definition of "debate" might be "an activity in which two sides clash with various arguments and attempt to persuade a third party that their arguments are better." A "descriptive definition" attempts only to give an *example* of one instance of how the word could be applied. For example, "debate" is an activity often done on DDO in text form. The latter definition is clearly not the *actual* definition of "debate." It is just one example.

Same with "mafia" being "an activity done on DDO in text form." Mafia is not only played on DDO. And it is not only played via text (there is live mafia via Hangouts and a version is played in real life as well in many pre-schools and kindergartens) (where a special handshake is used by the mafia to kill their victims).

The problem with an ambiguous definitional restriction is that neither the contender nor the judges know whether it was intended to be limiting. So it's unfair to apply it as a limit on the debate.

All of this can be avoided if you simply adopt a policy of always typing out the full resolution.

(d) "I will argue..." restrictions

I've seen this twice now in the recent past where someone types an ambiguous resolution and tries to clarify what the topic is by saying "I will argue X and Y." The reason that's really ambiguous is because that's just an argument, one the contender will attempt to rebut. As I said before, there are "argument-based restrictions" (that can be rebutted) and "rules-based restrictions" (that cannot). Saying "I will argue X and Y" seems to allow the contender to argue "Z." It's very ambiguous as to whether the Instigator saying "I will argue X and Y" means that "X and Y" are the only permissible arguments on the topic. In fact, such an interpretation is anathema to debate, where the general presumption is that the Contender gets to choose his or her own arguments and is not merely obligated to rebut the Instigator's case.

tl;dr WRITE OUT THE FULL RESOLUTION PEOPLES, IT'S SO MUCH SIMPLER THAT WAY

== JUDGING AN AMBIGUOUS RESOLUTION ==

If for some reason people refuse to follow my very simple guide, here's how to judge the debate when you have no idea what the resolution is.

Methodology: Decide on a resolution that is (a) reasonable, and (b) fair to the contender.

Why fair to the contender?

Because there is a general rule of contract interpretation that ambiguities are interpreted against the drafter. The drafter had the chance to be more clear and there is a worry that the drafter benefits from the ambiguity by having duped someone into accepting the contract thinking their interpretation was the correct one. The person *accepting* is not at fault for the ambiguity and accepted thinking their interpretation was the correct one. So that is the interpretation that should prevail.

The situation is exactly the same in a debate. The Instigator had a chance to be more clear, and the Contender accepted thinking that his or her interpretation of the full resolution was the correct one.

As a judge, you should attempt to see what the Contender's interpretation was based on the arguments the Contender ran in the first round where he or she could argue.

However, some Contenders interpretations may be absolutely bogus, so that's why there is a second requirement that the Contender's interpretation be "reasonable." If the Contender's interpretation is one of the possible interpretations that *you* thought made sense when reading the topic and the Instigator's R1, then adopt that interpretation.

If Contender is being unreasonable, adopt a reasonable interpretation that is closest to the Contender's understanding.
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
bluesteel
Posts: 12,301
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1/25/2015 7:03:09 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
The full resolution, for the mafia topic, would be "Resolved: DDO Forum Mafia is a Waste of Time."
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
bluesteel
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1/25/2015 7:15:45 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
In case it wasn't clear, the point of the guide is: any limitation you intend to put on the resolution, draft that limitation *into* the resolution.

Do not use non-resolution-based restrictions. Period.


They tend to be confusing, annoying, and ambiguous. And they lead to debates in which no one (judges, instigator, nor contender) seems to agree on what the topic is.
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
Zarroette
Posts: 2,951
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1/25/2015 7:23:56 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/25/2015 7:03:09 AM, bluesteel wrote:
The full resolution, for the mafia topic, would be "Resolved: DDO Forum Mafia is a Waste of Time."

Thanks for making an example out of me...
bluesteel
Posts: 12,301
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1/25/2015 7:41:16 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/25/2015 7:23:56 AM, Zarroette wrote:
At 1/25/2015 7:03:09 AM, bluesteel wrote:
The full resolution, for the mafia topic, would be "Resolved: DDO Forum Mafia is a Waste of Time."

Thanks for making an example out of me...

Sorry, I needed an example and it's easier to use a real one than try to make one up. You are by far not the only person to try to use definition-based restrictions on DDO. Of all the above practices, it is the one used most commonly on here. Anyone who gives you grief is ignoring the times they also did it. I'm trying to critique a common practice on here, not say particular people have gone off the rails.
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
bluesteel
Posts: 12,301
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1/25/2015 7:44:55 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/25/2015 7:23:56 AM, Zarroette wrote:
At 1/25/2015 7:03:09 AM, bluesteel wrote:
The full resolution, for the mafia topic, would be "Resolved: DDO Forum Mafia is a Waste of Time."

Thanks for making an example out of me...

And for the record, our debate was not the most recent problem I had (the one that prompted me to type up this guide).
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
KhaosMage
Posts: 1,475
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1/25/2015 7:52:43 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
The instigator defining terms, and someone accepting the debate, is accepting those terms. Thus, if the definitions are provided, they should not be argued, IMO.

Further, if they are not provided, and the challenger defines them in their first round, and they are acceptable definitions, then they should not be challenged either.
Wylted
Posts: 21,167
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1/25/2015 8:21:57 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
It seems the instigater actually abuses the definitions less. I mean you come on here and make a topic when your drunk or in a rush and then everybody knows the common sense interpretation of the resolution and then somebody accepts who interprets the resolution in a way that is not conducive to common sense.
bluesteel
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1/25/2015 8:25:44 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/25/2015 7:52:43 AM, KhaosMage wrote:
The instigator defining terms, and someone accepting the debate, is accepting those terms. Thus, if the definitions are provided, they should not be argued, IMO.

Further, if they are not provided, and the challenger defines them in their first round, and they are acceptable definitions, then they should not be challenged either.

Sorry, you're just wrong about the convention in the first case and *absurdly* wrong in the second case.

Let's say I Instigate: "Resolved: the United States should ban abortion" and take Pro, and don't define anything because it seems self-explanatory. Contender comes in and defines "ban" as imposing the death penalty on abortionists for committing murder. Do I have to endorse this as Pro? Who gets to say whether Contender's definition was "reasonable" (and therefore uncontestable) or "unreasonable" (and therefore contestable)? Judges are going to disagree. People who think abortion is murder might think that Con's definition is reasonable, which ironically, makes it harder for me to win as Pro (as my devil's advocacy position) since it's such an extreme position.

The default rule is: *everything in a debate is contestable, unless otherwise specified.* I mean this in the nicest way possible, but someone with zero real life debates and zero DDO debates is not really in a position to define what the convention should be.

The very idea that everyone can have a different opinion (i.e. when you say "IMO") about whether definitions are contestable is what creates the very ambiguity that I was complaining about in the OP. As a judge, I will never agree that the default is that R1 definitions are uncontestable. So put all restrictions in the resolution. This is the only sane, non-ambiguous standard.

The current system, where we cannot even agree on basic conventions (like whether R1 definitions are contestable) is not a sustainable or smart state of affairs. We need to establish a clear customary rule on DDO, which is what I am attempting to do here.

So coming in and saying you have a different opinion about what the convention should be kind of ignores the whole point of the OP. Especially when you don't justify why your convention is a better rule for debate and merely state that it's your personal opinion.
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
Wylted
Posts: 21,167
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1/25/2015 8:27:09 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/25/2015 7:44:55 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 1/25/2015 7:23:56 AM, Zarroette wrote:
At 1/25/2015 7:03:09 AM, bluesteel wrote:
The full resolution, for the mafia topic, would be "Resolved: DDO Forum Mafia is a Waste of Time."

Thanks for making an example out of me...

And for the record, our debate was not the most recent problem I had (the one that prompted me to type up this guide).

Well, the definition I provided in the first round wasn't contested in any round. I actually went out of my way in the first round to encourage my opponent to contest it. I think you tried to use a fair interpretation of the definition when it wasn't necessary because my opponent had every opportunity to contest the definition and completely refrained from doing so, despite the fact the definition was brought up in 3 rounds.
bluesteel
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1/25/2015 8:30:11 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/25/2015 8:21:57 AM, Wylted wrote:
It seems the instigater actually abuses the definitions less. I mean you come on here and make a topic when your drunk or in a rush and then everybody knows the common sense interpretation of the resolution and then somebody accepts who interprets the resolution in a way that is not conducive to common sense.

And you're basing this on what?

I'm basing the OP on debates by jifpop, danielle, and zarroette. All of them were instigators. All tried to impose a restriction after the debate had already started that was *unclear* from their R1's.

Anyways, I already explained how a judge should not adopt a contender definition that is "not conducive to common sense." You're describing a state of affairs where someone tries to n00b snipe by using a trollish or absurd definition. I never said judges should adopt unreasonable definitions.
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
bluesteel
Posts: 12,301
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1/25/2015 8:33:22 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/25/2015 8:27:09 AM, Wylted wrote:
At 1/25/2015 7:44:55 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 1/25/2015 7:23:56 AM, Zarroette wrote:
At 1/25/2015 7:03:09 AM, bluesteel wrote:
The full resolution, for the mafia topic, would be "Resolved: DDO Forum Mafia is a Waste of Time."

Thanks for making an example out of me...

And for the record, our debate was not the most recent problem I had (the one that prompted me to type up this guide).

Well, the definition I provided in the first round wasn't contested in any round. I actually went out of my way in the first round to encourage my opponent to contest it. I think you tried to use a fair interpretation of the definition when it wasn't necessary because my opponent had every opportunity to contest the definition and completely refrained from doing so, despite the fact the definition was brought up in 3 rounds.

lol, see below. I actually wasn't even thinking of your debate with Emilrose *at all* when I made this post. But now that you mention it, that is a perfect example of an instigator trying to use an "I will argue...." restriction in an extremely abusive manner. So it is now *really* ironic that you would suggest that contenders are the ones who more often abuse topic-ambiguity, when you recently tried to abuse topic-ambiguity in one of the most unfair ways I've ever seen.
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
Wylted
Posts: 21,167
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1/25/2015 8:38:36 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/25/2015 8:30:11 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 1/25/2015 8:21:57 AM, Wylted wrote:
It seems the instigater actually abuses the definitions less. I mean you come on here and make a topic when your drunk or in a rush and then everybody knows the common sense interpretation of the resolution and then somebody accepts who interprets the resolution in a way that is not conducive to common sense.

And you're basing this on what?

I'm basing the OP on debates by jifpop, danielle, and zarroette. All of them were instigators. All tried to impose a restriction after the debate had already started that was *unclear* from their R1's.

I thought it was clear that Zarroette was trying to debate forum based mafia. I Mean she b1tched about forum based mafia on the forum, in about 1/3 of her total posts. The definition she provided I thought was obvious from the context to restrain the debate to forum based mafia which takes place on DDO.

Anyways, I already explained how a judge should not adopt a contender definition that is "not conducive to common sense." You're describing a state of affairs where someone tries to n00b snipe by using a trollish or absurd definition. I never said judges should adopt unreasonable definitions.
Wylted
Posts: 21,167
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1/25/2015 8:40:52 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/25/2015 8:33:22 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 1/25/2015 8:27:09 AM, Wylted wrote:
At 1/25/2015 7:44:55 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 1/25/2015 7:23:56 AM, Zarroette wrote:
At 1/25/2015 7:03:09 AM, bluesteel wrote:
The full resolution, for the mafia topic, would be "Resolved: DDO Forum Mafia is a Waste of Time."

Thanks for making an example out of me...

And for the record, our debate was not the most recent problem I had (the one that prompted me to type up this guide).

Well, the definition I provided in the first round wasn't contested in any round. I actually went out of my way in the first round to encourage my opponent to contest it. I think you tried to use a fair interpretation of the definition when it wasn't necessary because my opponent had every opportunity to contest the definition and completely refrained from doing so, despite the fact the definition was brought up in 3 rounds.

lol, see below. I actually wasn't even thinking of your debate with Emilrose *at all* when I made this post. But now that you mention it, that is a perfect example of an instigator trying to use an "I will argue...." restriction in an extremely abusive manner. So it is now *really* ironic that you would suggest that contenders are the ones who more often abuse topic-ambiguity, when you recently tried to abuse topic-ambiguity in one of the most unfair ways I've ever seen.

I'm not saying the definition was fair. I kinda left it there as an escape clause, but she had every attempt to contest that definition.
bluesteel
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1/25/2015 8:44:12 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
I guess I may as well use that as another example now that it was raised.

Resolution: "The Israeli Military intentionally attacked the USS Liberty"

Pro's R1: "More specifically, I'm stating that the Israeli military, portions of or personnel knew the ship they were attacking was American either before the attack or sometime during the attack and continued attacking anyway."

This is your typical "I will argue X" restriction. Later in the debate, Pro tried to transform it into a "rule" that as long as Pro proved that any person in the Israeli military saw an American flag at any time prior to or *during* the attack, then Pro won the debate. Which exhibits a lot of the above-mentioned problems. (1) It was unclear that this was a topic-restriction from the get-go. (2) The restriction is unfair to the Contender. (3) The restriction is nonsensical to the judge because you cannot prove that an organization "intentionally" did something merely because one person had knowledge about something, but failed to convey that knowledge to the organization as a whole. It asks the judge to adopt a completely absurd definition of organizational intentionality which runs counter to basic understandings of the term "intentionally."
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
Wylted
Posts: 21,167
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1/25/2015 8:56:59 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/25/2015 8:44:12 AM, bluesteel wrote:
I guess I may as well use that as another example now that it was raised.

Resolution: "The Israeli Military intentionally attacked the USS Liberty"

Pro's R1: "More specifically, I'm stating that the Israeli military, portions of or personnel knew the ship they were attacking was American either before the attack or sometime during the attack and continued attacking anyway."

This is your typical "I will argue X" restriction. Later in the debate, Pro tried to transform it into a "rule" that as long as Pro proved that any person in the Israeli military saw an American flag at any time prior to or *during* the attack, then Pro won the debate. Which exhibits a lot of the above-mentioned problems. (1) It was unclear that this was a topic-restriction from the get-go. (2) The restriction is unfair to the Contender. (3) The restriction is nonsensical to the judge because you cannot prove that an organization "intentionally" did something merely because one person had knowledge about something, but failed to convey that knowledge to the organization as a whole. It asks the judge to adopt a completely absurd definition of organizational intentionality which runs counter to basic understandings of the term "intentionally."

No it's not. It's actually an attempt to clarify the resolution further so it's clear exactly what we're supposed to be debating.
bluesteel
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1/25/2015 8:57:11 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/25/2015 8:38:36 AM, Wylted wrote:
At 1/25/2015 8:30:11 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 1/25/2015 8:21:57 AM, Wylted wrote:
It seems the instigater actually abuses the definitions less. I mean you come on here and make a topic when your drunk or in a rush and then everybody knows the common sense interpretation of the resolution and then somebody accepts who interprets the resolution in a way that is not conducive to common sense.

And you're basing this on what?

I'm basing the OP on debates by jifpop, danielle, and zarroette. All of them were instigators. All tried to impose a restriction after the debate had already started that was *unclear* from their R1's.

I thought it was clear that Zarroette was trying to debate forum based mafia. I Mean she b1tched about forum based mafia on the forum, in about 1/3 of her total posts. The definition she provided I thought was obvious from the context to restrain the debate to forum based mafia which takes place on DDO.

I thought she just thought "mafia" was a waste of time, and the after-the-fact restriction to exclude live mafia was a convenient way to exclude my responses relating to learning body language.

You're just proving the point: people read these vague definition and "I will argue X" restrictions differently because each person literally makes up their own rules as to how binding or non-binding they are. You can see that from our difference of opinion as to whether Zarroette meant her definition of an example of where and how mafia is played or as a rule that meant, "bluesteel cannot argue other types of mafia besides DDO forum mafia." And it's evidenced by khaos popping in to say he has a completely different opinion about whether R1 definitions become binding.

The only sensible rule is that all limitations must be placed into the resolution. This ensures that you don't ask judges to adopt a nonsensical resolution, i.e. "China should become a federal Republic" but you can't argue the "Republic" aspect. And it ensures that there's zero ambiguity about whether something is contestable or not.

A non-recommended way of restricting is Jifpop's way. Put "RULES" in big bold letters and list all the arguments your opponent cannot make and all the things he or she cannot contest. But that is still disfavored because it makes it really hard for the judge to the extent that you ask the judge to apply a completely nonsensical definition of a certain word.

And I think judges being willing to enforce that is bad for debate. If you want a more narrow topic, restrict the resolution. The very idea of being able to dictate to your opponent what arguments he or she can and cannot make is bad for debate. Especially when a rule is ambiguous and the instigator claims the right to evaluate rules violations.

For example, BoggyDag had a "no insults" rule against Rev. It was clear that it was a "Rule," but what was unclear is who gets to decide if something is a rules violation. Rev typed "DB" to refer to BoggyDag. BoggyDag interpreted that as an insult, and demanded that the judges (or actually me, as the tournament director) award him the win for a rules violation.

So one major problem with rules is still that they are ambiguous (what is an "insult" and what rises to a high enough level of insult to result in an auto-loss) and you have the additional problem of instigators reserving the right to decide for themselves whether a rules violation has occurred.

The best rule is simply: as a site custom, you cannot place substantive restrictions on the debate in any way. Everything is contestable. If you want to restrict the debate, place those restrictions into the resolution.

Adopting such a rule forces people to do the sensible thing.


Anyways, I already explained how a judge should not adopt a contender definition that is "not conducive to common sense." You're describing a state of affairs where someone tries to n00b snipe by using a trollish or absurd definition. I never said judges should adopt unreasonable definitions.
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
Wylted
Posts: 21,167
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1/25/2015 8:58:19 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/25/2015 8:33:22 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 1/25/2015 8:27:09 AM, Wylted wrote:
At 1/25/2015 7:44:55 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 1/25/2015 7:23:56 AM, Zarroette wrote:
At 1/25/2015 7:03:09 AM, bluesteel wrote:
The full resolution, for the mafia topic, would be "Resolved: DDO Forum Mafia is a Waste of Time."

Thanks for making an example out of me...

And for the record, our debate was not the most recent problem I had (the one that prompted me to type up this guide).

Well, the definition I provided in the first round wasn't contested in any round. I actually went out of my way in the first round to encourage my opponent to contest it. I think you tried to use a fair interpretation of the definition when it wasn't necessary because my opponent had every opportunity to contest the definition and completely refrained from doing so, despite the fact the definition was brought up in 3 rounds.

lol, see below. I actually wasn't even thinking of your debate with Emilrose *at all* when I made this post. But now that you mention it, that is a perfect example of an instigator trying to use an "I will argue...." restriction in an extremely abusive manner. So it is now *really* ironic that you would suggest that contenders are the ones who more often abuse topic-ambiguity, when you recently tried to abuse topic-ambiguity in one of the most unfair ways I've ever seen.

It's actually listed as part of the definitions, in the category labeled DEFINITIONS
bluesteel
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1/25/2015 9:01:46 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/25/2015 8:56:59 AM, Wylted wrote:
At 1/25/2015 8:44:12 AM, bluesteel wrote:
I guess I may as well use that as another example now that it was raised.

Resolution: "The Israeli Military intentionally attacked the USS Liberty"

Pro's R1: "More specifically, I'm stating that the Israeli military, portions of or personnel knew the ship they were attacking was American either before the attack or sometime during the attack and continued attacking anyway."

This is your typical "I will argue X" restriction. Later in the debate, Pro tried to transform it into a "rule" that as long as Pro proved that any person in the Israeli military saw an American flag at any time prior to or *during* the attack, then Pro won the debate. Which exhibits a lot of the above-mentioned problems. (1) It was unclear that this was a topic-restriction from the get-go. (2) The restriction is unfair to the Contender. (3) The restriction is nonsensical to the judge because you cannot prove that an organization "intentionally" did something merely because one person had knowledge about something, but failed to convey that knowledge to the organization as a whole. It asks the judge to adopt a completely absurd definition of organizational intentionality which runs counter to basic understandings of the term "intentionally."

No it's not. It's actually an attempt to clarify the resolution further so it's clear exactly what we're supposed to be debating.

It's still ambiguous. That sentence appears near the definitions section, but you didn't make clear that the sentence was a "definition." You didn't even make clear what word it applied to or how it had anything to do with the definition you just offered. I think the fact that Emilrose never contested it shows that she didn't think it was actually an attempt to alter the *resolution.* The entire thing reeks of ambiguity. To me, it just looks like you outlining your argument. It doesn't look like you're saying, "By accepting the debate, Con is agreeing that if a single Israeli personnel saw the American flag during the attack and failed to *immediately* stop firing, Con loses the entire debate."

Had you made it more clear what you were doing Wylted, no sane person would have accepted. It's obvious that you meant it to be ambiguous in R1 whether those words were a topic-restriction or merely an argument. You knew no one would accept if you made it clearer how abusive you were trying to be with topic-limitations.
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
bluesteel
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1/25/2015 9:06:40 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/25/2015 8:58:19 AM, Wylted wrote:
At 1/25/2015 8:33:22 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 1/25/2015 8:27:09 AM, Wylted wrote:
At 1/25/2015 7:44:55 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 1/25/2015 7:23:56 AM, Zarroette wrote:
At 1/25/2015 7:03:09 AM, bluesteel wrote:
The full resolution, for the mafia topic, would be "Resolved: DDO Forum Mafia is a Waste of Time."

Thanks for making an example out of me...

And for the record, our debate was not the most recent problem I had (the one that prompted me to type up this guide).

Well, the definition I provided in the first round wasn't contested in any round. I actually went out of my way in the first round to encourage my opponent to contest it. I think you tried to use a fair interpretation of the definition when it wasn't necessary because my opponent had every opportunity to contest the definition and completely refrained from doing so, despite the fact the definition was brought up in 3 rounds.

lol, see below. I actually wasn't even thinking of your debate with Emilrose *at all* when I made this post. But now that you mention it, that is a perfect example of an instigator trying to use an "I will argue...." restriction in an extremely abusive manner. So it is now *really* ironic that you would suggest that contenders are the ones who more often abuse topic-ambiguity, when you recently tried to abuse topic-ambiguity in one of the most unfair ways I've ever seen.

It's actually listed as part of the definitions, in the category labeled DEFINITIONS

No, it's a random sentence that looks like you're transitioning into the next section, which is "THE EVENT." No mention is made of what word you're talking about, or that this random roadmap of yours is actually a restrictive definition that Con is not allowed to contest.

"More specifically, I'm stating that...." still just looks like an argument to me. You didn't say "more specifically, the definition of intentionally means that if a single Israeli personnel at any time before or during the attack knew the ship was American, I win."

Had you been more clear, EmilRose either would not have accepted or would have contested your definition. As I said, NO SANE PERSON would have accepted if it was completely unambiguous that by accepting you agree to that framework for the debate.
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
Wylted
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1/25/2015 9:08:49 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/25/2015 8:57:11 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 1/25/2015 8:38:36 AM, Wylted wrote:
At 1/25/2015 8:30:11 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 1/25/2015 8:21:57 AM, Wylted wrote:
It seems the instigater actually abuses the definitions less. I mean you come on here and make a topic when your drunk or in a rush and then everybody knows the common sense interpretation of the resolution and then somebody accepts who interprets the resolution in a way that is not conducive to common sense.

And you're basing this on what?

I'm basing the OP on debates by jifpop, danielle, and zarroette. All of them were instigators. All tried to impose a restriction after the debate had already started that was *unclear* from their R1's.

I thought it was clear that Zarroette was trying to debate forum based mafia. I Mean she b1tched about forum based mafia on the forum, in about 1/3 of her total posts. The definition she provided I thought was obvious from the context to restrain the debate to forum based mafia which takes place on DDO.

I thought she just thought "mafia" was a waste of time, and the after-the-fact restriction to exclude live mafia was a convenient way to exclude my responses relating to learning body language.

Really? I thought it was you just trying to get around what she was trying to argue. I felt she used the definition as a way to further clarify the resolution. The part of where you type in the subject isn't big enough to actually type out the full resolution that's why definitions are needed to further clarify it.

I think it's typically obvious which definitions are used to further clarify the resolution and which ones are actually debatable. For example the definition of waste was clearly debatable there and the definition for mafia was just a way to further clarify the resolution, since space doesn't permit a bigger one.

You're just proving the point: people read these vague definition and "I will argue X" restrictions differently because each person literally makes up their own rules as to how binding or non-binding they are. You can see that from our difference of opinion as to whether Zarroette meant her definition of an example of where and how mafia is played or as a rule that meant, "bluesteel cannot argue other types of mafia besides DDO forum mafia." And it's evidenced by khaos popping in to say he has a completely different opinion about whether R1 definitions become binding.

The only sensible rule is that all limitations must be placed into the resolution. This ensures that you don't ask judges to adopt a nonsensical resolution, i.e. "China should become a federal Republic" but you can't argue the "Republic" aspect. And it ensures that there's zero ambiguity about whether something is contestable or not.

A non-recommended way of restricting is Jifpop's way. Put "RULES" in big bold letters and list all the arguments your opponent cannot make and all the things he or she cannot contest. But that is still disfavored because it makes it really hard for the judge to the extent that you ask the judge to apply a completely nonsensical definition of a certain word.

And I think judges being willing to enforce that is bad for debate. If you want a more narrow topic, restrict the resolution. The very idea of being able to dictate to your opponent what arguments he or she can and cannot make is bad for debate. Especially when a rule is ambiguous and the instigator claims the right to evaluate rules violations.

Definitions are a way to narrow the resolution, though.


For example, BoggyDag had a "no insults" rule against Rev. It was clear that it was a "Rule," but what was unclear is who gets to decide if something is a rules violation. Rev typed "DB" to refer to BoggyDag. BoggyDag interpreted that as an insult, and demanded that the judges (or actually me, as the tournament director) award him the win for a rules violation.

It's 1 thing to narrow the resolution with definitions but the rules within a debate are definitely contestable. Being instigater doesn't make you God.

So one major problem with rules is still that they are ambiguous (what is an "insult" and what rises to a high enough level of insult to result in an auto-loss) and you have the additional problem of instigators reserving the right to decide for themselves whether a rules violation has occurred.

The best rule is simply: as a site custom, you cannot place substantive restrictions on the debate in any way. Everything is contestable. If you want to restrict the debate, place those restrictions into the resolution.

Adopting such a rule forces people to do the sensible thing.

I don't think it has to be so formal though. It should be obvious which definitions are meant to restrict the debate and which ones are contestable. I think misinterpretations of which is which are typically intentional.


Anyways, I already explained how a judge should not adopt a contender definition that is "not conducive to common sense." You're describing a state of affairs where someone tries to n00b snipe by using a trollish or absurd definition. I never said judges should adopt unreasonable definitions.
Wylted
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1/25/2015 9:15:01 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/25/2015 9:06:40 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 1/25/2015 8:58:19 AM, Wylted wrote:
At 1/25/2015 8:33:22 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 1/25/2015 8:27:09 AM, Wylted wrote:
At 1/25/2015 7:44:55 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 1/25/2015 7:23:56 AM, Zarroette wrote:
At 1/25/2015 7:03:09 AM, bluesteel wrote:
The full resolution, for the mafia topic, would be "Resolved: DDO Forum Mafia is a Waste of Time."

Thanks for making an example out of me...

And for the record, our debate was not the most recent problem I had (the one that prompted me to type up this guide).

Well, the definition I provided in the first round wasn't contested in any round. I actually went out of my way in the first round to encourage my opponent to contest it. I think you tried to use a fair interpretation of the definition when it wasn't necessary because my opponent had every opportunity to contest the definition and completely refrained from doing so, despite the fact the definition was brought up in 3 rounds.

lol, see below. I actually wasn't even thinking of your debate with Emilrose *at all* when I made this post. But now that you mention it, that is a perfect example of an instigator trying to use an "I will argue...." restriction in an extremely abusive manner. So it is now *really* ironic that you would suggest that contenders are the ones who more often abuse topic-ambiguity, when you recently tried to abuse topic-ambiguity in one of the most unfair ways I've ever seen.

It's actually listed as part of the definitions, in the category labeled DEFINITIONS

No, it's a random sentence that looks like you're transitioning into the next section, which is "THE EVENT." No mention is made of what word you're talking about, or that this random roadmap of yours is actually a restrictive definition that Con is not allowed to contest.

It wasn't a restrictive definition. She was allowed to contest it but chose not to. The fact she didn't contest it despite it being brought up a total of 3 times means the definition should've been accepted by the judge.

That sentence was definitely meant as part of the definition. The added part even worked to make the debate harder for me because it can't be contested that the attack was intentional. It clearly was. The only thing that there is room for debate on is whether the Israelis knew the ship they were attacking was American. So my definition actually made it harder for me to win but I left even that definition contestable and brought it up a few more times to give her a chance to contest it anyway.

The definition probably needed to be more clear but that's not the point.

"More specifically, I'm stating that...." still just looks like an argument to me. You didn't say "more specifically, the definition of intentionally means that if a single Israeli personnel at any time before or during the attack knew the ship was American, I win."

Had you been more clear, EmilRose either would not have accepted or would have contested your definition. As I said, NO SANE PERSON would have accepted if it was completely unambiguous that by accepting you agree to that framework for the debate.
bluesteel
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1/25/2015 9:17:00 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Wylted, your response to me is mess.

You argued that:

(1) All rules are contestable in every debate.
(2) Some definitions are for "clarification" and are therefore uncontestable.
(3) Other definitions offered in R1 are clearly not for clarification and are therefore contestable.

Your #1 conflicts with #2 completely.

Your definition of what is unambiguously a "clarification" definition is non-existent, and it's an extremely ambiguous distinction.
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
Wylted
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1/25/2015 9:26:14 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/25/2015 9:17:00 AM, bluesteel wrote:
Wylted, your response to me is mess.

You argued that:

(1) All rules are contestable in every debate.
(2) Some definitions are for "clarification" and are therefore uncontestable.
(3) Other definitions offered in R1 are clearly not for clarification and are therefore contestable.

Your #1 conflicts with #2 completely.

Your definition of what is unambiguously a "clarification" definition is non-existent, and it's an extremely ambiguous distinction.

I mean that the definitions meant to clarify the resolution shouldn't be contestable but the ones used to define certain words in the resolution are. I think it's important to look at the intent behind the definitions.

It's one thing to contest the rules, it's quite another to contest the resolution.

It's like if somebody has the resolution:

"Gay marriage should be banned"

And further defines marriage to mean civil marriage.

Marriage definition- Civil marriage

That definition is clearly meant to further narrow the resolution. If they defined marriage the following way..

Marriage definition- between a man and a woman

Then it wouldn't be a definition meant to clarify the resolution and therefore would be contestable.

I know you're discussing crafting resolutions in a way that eliminates all ambiguity as to what is actually being attempted to be debated but another way to get through that ambiguity is to also demand that everybody interpret things in a common sense way.

Demanding common sense seems like the quicker and easier way to cut through the ambiguity.
bluesteel
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1/25/2015 10:06:47 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/25/2015 9:26:14 AM, Wylted wrote:
At 1/25/2015 9:17:00 AM, bluesteel wrote:
Wylted, your response to me is mess.

You argued that:

(1) All rules are contestable in every debate.
(2) Some definitions are for "clarification" and are therefore uncontestable.
(3) Other definitions offered in R1 are clearly not for clarification and are therefore contestable.

Your #1 conflicts with #2 completely.

Your definition of what is unambiguously a "clarification" definition is non-existent, and it's an extremely ambiguous distinction.

I mean that the definitions meant to clarify the resolution shouldn't be contestable but the ones used to define certain words in the resolution are. I think it's important to look at the intent behind the definitions.

It's one thing to contest the rules, it's quite another to contest the resolution.

It's like if somebody has the resolution:

"Gay marriage should be banned"

And further defines marriage to mean civil marriage.

Marriage definition- Civil marriage

That definition is clearly meant to further narrow the resolution. If they defined marriage the following way..

Marriage definition- between a man and a woman

Then it wouldn't be a definition meant to clarify the resolution and therefore would be contestable.

I know you're discussing crafting resolutions in a way that eliminates all ambiguity as to what is actually being attempted to be debated but another way to get through that ambiguity is to also demand that everybody interpret things in a common sense way.

Demanding common sense seems like the quicker and easier way to cut through the ambiguity.

There is still a ridiculous amount of ambiguity in what you consider a "clarifying" definition. Does it always mean the way the dictionary would define it? What if there are multiple definitions in the dictionary (i.e. a primary, secondary, and tertiary meaning)?

And it still makes no sense that you say "all rules are contestable" but that certain definitions aren't. As if a definition is more sacrosanct than a "rule."
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
16kadams
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1/25/2015 10:23:53 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/25/2015 7:44:55 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 1/25/2015 7:23:56 AM, Zarroette wrote:
At 1/25/2015 7:03:09 AM, bluesteel wrote:
The full resolution, for the mafia topic, would be "Resolved: DDO Forum Mafia is a Waste of Time."

Thanks for making an example out of me...

And for the record, our debate was not the most recent problem I had (the one that prompted me to type up this guide).

Hint: it's in my sig
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Wylted
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1/25/2015 10:50:04 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/25/2015 10:06:47 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 1/25/2015 9:26:14 AM, Wylted wrote:
At 1/25/2015 9:17:00 AM, bluesteel wrote:
Wylted, your response to me is mess.

You argued that:

(1) All rules are contestable in every debate.
(2) Some definitions are for "clarification" and are therefore uncontestable.
(3) Other definitions offered in R1 are clearly not for clarification and are therefore contestable.

Your #1 conflicts with #2 completely.

Your definition of what is unambiguously a "clarification" definition is non-existent, and it's an extremely ambiguous distinction.

I mean that the definitions meant to clarify the resolution shouldn't be contestable but the ones used to define certain words in the resolution are. I think it's important to look at the intent behind the definitions.

It's one thing to contest the rules, it's quite another to contest the resolution.

It's like if somebody has the resolution:

"Gay marriage should be banned"

And further defines marriage to mean civil marriage.

Marriage definition- Civil marriage

That definition is clearly meant to further narrow the resolution. If they defined marriage the following way..

Marriage definition- between a man and a woman

Then it wouldn't be a definition meant to clarify the resolution and therefore would be contestable.

I know you're discussing crafting resolutions in a way that eliminates all ambiguity as to what is actually being attempted to be debated but another way to get through that ambiguity is to also demand that everybody interpret things in a common sense way.

Demanding common sense seems like the quicker and easier way to cut through the ambiguity.

There is still a ridiculous amount of ambiguity in what you consider a "clarifying" definition. Does it always mean the way the dictionary would define it? What if there are multiple definitions in the dictionary (i.e. a primary, secondary, and tertiary meaning)?

The clarification would be to further narrow the resolution because the space to state it is overly limited. What do you think of the example I gave in the gay marriage example.

Isn't it clear if you look at it that one is meant to further narrow the debate.

I think it's like saying "I intend to argue" in a debate. The intention is meant to further narrow the resolution. I lot of people mistype or accidently say things the incorrect way. It seems unfortunate to punish them for that. A debate isn't supposed to be nitpicking about the resolution in an attempt to win by distorting your opponents position. It should be about who had better arguments to support their position.

I'd rather spend my time debating my position than trying to craft an extremely specific resolution that people should have interpreted that way with far less words.

For example in your debate with Zarroette. A common sense interpretation of her definition is that it's meant to clarify the resolution. Why not just interpret it in the common sense way as opposed to arguing it's meant as a descriptive definition?

if we don't use common sense than it doesn't matter how clear with the resolution you are. It's actually infinitely regressive because you could always argue the resolution can be more clear, where as if you just use common sense than you take away the issue of infinite regression.

How do you determine perfect clarity, without using any argument that could end up being infinitely regressive?

I think applying common sense actually eliminates the problem of infinite regression.

And it still makes no sense that you say "all rules are contestable" but that certain definitions aren't. As if a definition is more sacrosanct than a "rule."
Maikuru
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1/25/2015 11:07:33 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/25/2015 7:52:43 AM, KhaosMage wrote:
The instigator defining terms, and someone accepting the debate, is accepting those terms. Thus, if the definitions are provided, they should not be argued, IMO.

Further, if they are not provided, and the challenger defines them in their first round, and they are acceptable definitions, then they should not be challenged either.

I agree!
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bluesteel
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1/25/2015 11:20:19 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/25/2015 10:50:04 AM, Wylted wrote:
At 1/25/2015 10:06:47 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 1/25/2015 9:26:14 AM, Wylted wrote:
At 1/25/2015 9:17:00 AM, bluesteel wrote:
Wylted, your response to me is mess.

You argued that:

(1) All rules are contestable in every debate.
(2) Some definitions are for "clarification" and are therefore uncontestable.
(3) Other definitions offered in R1 are clearly not for clarification and are therefore contestable.

Your #1 conflicts with #2 completely.

Your definition of what is unambiguously a "clarification" definition is non-existent, and it's an extremely ambiguous distinction.

I mean that the definitions meant to clarify the resolution shouldn't be contestable but the ones used to define certain words in the resolution are. I think it's important to look at the intent behind the definitions.

It's one thing to contest the rules, it's quite another to contest the resolution.

It's like if somebody has the resolution:

"Gay marriage should be banned"

And further defines marriage to mean civil marriage.

Marriage definition- Civil marriage

That definition is clearly meant to further narrow the resolution. If they defined marriage the following way..

Marriage definition- between a man and a woman

Then it wouldn't be a definition meant to clarify the resolution and therefore would be contestable.

I know you're discussing crafting resolutions in a way that eliminates all ambiguity as to what is actually being attempted to be debated but another way to get through that ambiguity is to also demand that everybody interpret things in a common sense way.

Demanding common sense seems like the quicker and easier way to cut through the ambiguity.

There is still a ridiculous amount of ambiguity in what you consider a "clarifying" definition. Does it always mean the way the dictionary would define it? What if there are multiple definitions in the dictionary (i.e. a primary, secondary, and tertiary meaning)?

The clarification would be to further narrow the resolution because the space to state it is overly limited. What do you think of the example I gave in the gay marriage example.

Isn't it clear if you look at it that one is meant to further narrow the debate.

I think it's like saying "I intend to argue" in a debate. The intention is meant to further narrow the resolution. I lot of people mistype or accidently say things the incorrect way. It seems unfortunate to punish them for that. A debate isn't supposed to be nitpicking about the resolution in an attempt to win by distorting your opponents position. It should be about who had better arguments to support their position.

I'd rather spend my time debating my position than trying to craft an extremely specific resolution that people should have interpreted that way with far less words.

For example in your debate with Zarroette. A common sense interpretation of her definition is that it's meant to clarify the resolution. Why not just interpret it in the common sense way as opposed to arguing it's meant as a descriptive definition?

if we don't use common sense than it doesn't matter how clear with the resolution you are. It's actually infinitely regressive because you could always argue the resolution can be more clear, where as if you just use common sense than you take away the issue of infinite regression.

How do you determine perfect clarity, without using any argument that could end up being infinitely regressive?

I think applying common sense actually eliminates the problem of infinite regression.

Your gay marriage example is fine except "marriage" has one clear definition. But what about a debate related to the KCA about "Something can cause itself to exist." The entire debate centers around what the word "cause" means. There are plenty of cases where a word in the resolution is contested. The reason the "gay marriage" analogy is a bad one is because no one would ever bother to contest that "marriage" means a "civil marriage."

You're arguing that if a definition is to "clarify" and is "common sense," it should be uncontestable. I'm arguing that all definitions should be contestable, but that as with any arguments, judges should adopt the one that is more common sense. The difference is that you are attempting to cut off debate, but without the debaters arguments, there is no guide to what "common sense" should be. You and I are going to differ about whether we think a definition is "common sense" or completely non-common sense.

For example, "mafia is a game played on DDO via text." Is that really a *common sense* definition of mafia?? Today, when I hear "mafia," I think of live mafia because that is what I play more commonly. It's no more common sense than defining "debate" as an activity solely performed on DDO. To me, limiting the term mafia to DDO forum mafia is completely non-common sense. It asks the judge to define "mafia" incorrectly just because Pro has asked the judge to do so. You would say this is a "clarifying" definition that is uncontestable. But as both a judge and a debater, I have absolutely no way to know when a definition is "clarifying" and when it is "contestable."

I expect raisor will pop in at some point and agree that just because a definition becomes subject to being contested does not mean that the debate suddenly becomes ridiculous and wasteful of time. Debaters generally only contest a definition when they think they can convince the judge that their interpretation of the topic is reasonable.

It's not an infinite regress. Be as specific as you can with the topic, and then offer definitions that are extremely reasonable. Judges will agree with you. If you have to argue your definitions, so be it. If your opponent really wants to waste his or her character space on a ridiculous topic interpretation, he or she is just making it easier for you to win.

All the examples I gave in the OP are attempts to move the goal posts by being intentionally or accidentally ambiguous about the scope of the resolution, and then invoking your "power" as the instigator to define the topic *later in the debate.*

It seems so obviously common sense that you shouldn't be able to do this. I don't get how even your advocacy allows the type of tactic that you took in your Israel debate against Emilrose. But regardless, your approach to topics and definitions is completely incapable of being applied because there is no single "common sense" definition of certain words, and people are going to disagree using their "common sense" when a definition is to "clarify" and when it is being used in an unfairly restrictive way.

The mere fact that you think it's reasonable to define "mafia" as "only DDO forum mafia" proves that there's just absolutely no ability to agree on what is a common sense clarification. Whiteflame didn't agree that it was commonsense to inherently limit "mafia" to those terms. I didn't agree. Your approach is inherently going to lead to bad judging. It allows the judge to ignore arguments about what definition is more "reasonable" and instead go with whatever definition they think is "common sense" to them, with a preference for the instigator's definition.

It kind of boggles my mind that there can even be a "contender advantage" on the site when the current practice is to give the instigator the power to move the goalposts mid-debate by redefining the resolution they wanted.
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
bossyburrito
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1/25/2015 12:47:14 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Debates wherein strict definitions aren't established r1 and agreed upon by both debaters just shouldn't be done. There are too many ways to be abusive when arguing about definitions, as shown by the fact that common sense apparently doesn't exist. In 99% of cases the meaning of the resolution is completely obvious to any person who isn't actively trying to find loopholes, but those people have to be stopped somehow, I guess.

Seriously, none of this would be an issue if people didnt judge debates as if they were actively looking for flaws in how things are worded. Even if the debate doesn't explicitly say something like "these definitions cannot be contested", any reasonable person would assume that since the intention of the instigator would be clear. All of these problems arise from judges looking only at the literal meaning of words.
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