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YYWs Brief Guide to Being a Judge

YYW
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5/17/2015 8:29:39 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Judging debates can be hard. I know this, you know this, and if you don't know this then you're lying to yourself. But, there is hope. Hope exists in knowing the basics of how to judge. Let's explore those together.

Why I am Writing This:

I am tired of seeing bad RFD's. Just because an RFD is minimally adequate not to be deleted does not mean that it is good. However, judging debates is like playing sports, drawing, or playing an instrument. To be good at it requires practice, and practice entails a whole barrage of failure. Sometimes people get it right, sometimes people get it wrong. This is because no one is perfect, therefore everyone can improve. I do not hold myself out as "the best" judge, and there are times where I write short RFD's. Length is less important than sufficiency, however. Sufficiency is what matters.

I. Sufficient RFD's

Sufficient RFD's do several things: (1) they correctly articulate the salient arguments raised, (2) they weigh the relative strength of those arguments, and (3) they explain who won on the basis of the debaters' arguments' relative strength.

(1) What It means to correctly articulate a salient argument in an RFD

A sufficient RFD always captures the precise meaning that the debaters were advancing; nothing more and nothing less. Sometimes, that meaning is hard to get at when the debaters suck at writing. Many debaters suck at writing, and therefore close and careful reading is necessary to understand what both debaters meant. This must be done "as objectively" as possible, or at least as fairly as possible.

A sufficient RFD never imposes or ignores salient meaning advanced by the debaters. So, if a debater has an argument that actually impacts the resolution, it must be considered in the RFD. However, a sufficient RFD never imports meaning from outside the debate itself either by favorably or unfavorably misconstruing what the debaters ***actually*** said, or considering arguments which were included in the debate but which have no bearing on the resolution itself. Understanding what impact arguments have on a resolution requires close and careful reading.

(2) A sufficient RFD always weighs the relative strength of salient arguments

An argument may be really strong but totally irrelevant to the resolution. This argument should not be considered. See (I)(1), articulated above. Arguments may be very close; or they may be meaningfully stronger or weaker than another. The strength of arguments in no way depends on how much you as a judge like them. The beginning and end of an argument's strength is the argument itself. Nothing extraneous to that argument may be considered.

A really strong argument is one where the premises entail the conclusion, clearly and plainly. However, a strong argument may be more nebulously construed. Close reading, therefore, is necessary to understand the precise meaning of premises such that their impact on the resolution may come to light in your brain. This may require reading, or rereading the debate.

Sufficient RFD's must weigh the totality of the salient arguments' strength against one another. This requires identifying areas of clash. Clash exists where conflicting arguments directly or indirectly implicate one another. Direct clash makes your task easy, as a judge. Indirect clash makes your task much harder, because you have to -again- figure out what the debaters meant based on the words they used. Again, many debaters suck at writing. You, nevertheless, must not neglect your responsibilities as a judge.

(3) Explaining Who Won: Why one Debater's Arguments are Relatively Stronger Than Another's

In that debate is an undertaking of objective persuasion (read: not merely subjectively telling people why something is nice or good or horrible or bad), and in that we are not all equally talented in that endeavor, it is exceedingly likely that one debater is going to be better than another. You must explain why that is.

If a conclusion was broader than the evidence used to support it, that argument might be weak. If a rebuttal mischaracterized an opponent's essential point(s), that rebuttal may fall short. If one debater misused a lot of terms and concepts, it's unlikely that they were able to make objectively persuasive arguments at all... they probably just sounded like a babbling buffoon. While unnecessary to point out that a debater sounded like a babbling buffoon, it may be necessary to point out misused words/terms, or any other extant weakness in a debater's case as contrasted with the other's. In an ideal world, the winner points out why he won. That doesn't always happen, though. You, nevertheless, must explain why the winner won and why the loser lost.

II. Insufficient RFD's

1. Garbage

Some insufficient RFD's look like garbage. Garbage, for purposes of adjudicating debates, exists in many forms. It could be that an RFD explicitly or implicitly indicates that the judge didn't give the winner the win because they were more effective, but because the judge disagrees with the loser. This is an insufficient RFD. If an RFD uses language like "PRO was more persuasive." and that's it, that RFD is insufficient. If an RFD mischaracterizes the arguments advanced by the debaters themselves, that RFD is insufficient. If an RFD rambles on incoherently about nothing without ever getting to the point of why the winner won and the loser lost, it's a tragedy in and of itself, and is insufficient. I could go on, but in general you get the point.

2. Idiocy

Idiotic judging is the variety of judging that produces an "outcome" (whether it awards points or not) based on anything other than the salient arguments of the debate. Some RFD's may be idiotic garbage, but idiocy necessitates independent consideration. Examples of idiotic judging include, but are not limited to, awarding any kind of points on the basis of conduct of the debaters alone. This defeats the purpose of debate. If a person could win a debate based on simply being nice, there is no incentive to engage in any substantive discussion at all. Flattery and pleasantries would suffice.

Other varieties of idiocy include judging that mischaracterizes and interposes/injects new meaning into the debate (read: arguments and/or rebuttals on both sides) that does not exist in the debate's actual language. This is idiotic garbage, and it is idiotic garbage of an especially insidious variety. The dumb boys who have recently undertaken the study of symbolic logic generally are the ones most predisposed to this. It is like cancer to debate, and must be avoided at all costs, because to the extent that a judge's verdict is not based on the actual happenings of the debate, the decision is arbitrary. Idiotic garbage is always arbitrary, and it is maddening to see it.

3. Other Varieties of Fail

What I have listed above is not an exhaustive list, nor should it be read as such.

III. Conclusion

Hopefully, you are now on your way to being a better judge. Happy voting. If you are unsure about a debate, ask for help. It is better to ask for help than screw someone over.

Note:

There is no ego associated with judging. It doesn't matter who you are or what you believe or what your values are when you are judging. What matters is that you judge fairly, and correctly.
Tsar of DDO
whiteflame
Posts: 1,378
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5/17/2015 10:16:48 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/17/2015 8:29:39 PM, YYW wrote:
Judging debates can be hard. I know this, you know this, and if you don't know this then you're lying to yourself. But, there is hope. Hope exists in knowing the basics of how to judge. Let's explore those together.

Why I am Writing This:

I am tired of seeing bad RFD's. Just because an RFD is minimally adequate not to be deleted does not mean that it is good. However, judging debates is like playing sports, drawing, or playing an instrument. To be good at it requires practice, and practice entails a whole barrage of failure. Sometimes people get it right, sometimes people get it wrong. This is because no one is perfect, therefore everyone can improve. I do not hold myself out as "the best" judge, and there are times where I write short RFD's. Length is less important than sufficiency, however. Sufficiency is what matters.

I. Sufficient RFD's

Sufficient RFD's do several things: (1) they correctly articulate the salient arguments raised, (2) they weigh the relative strength of those arguments, and (3) they explain who won on the basis of the debaters' arguments' relative strength.

(1) What It means to correctly articulate a salient argument in an RFD

A sufficient RFD always captures the precise meaning that the debaters were advancing; nothing more and nothing less. Sometimes, that meaning is hard to get at when the debaters suck at writing. Many debaters suck at writing, and therefore close and careful reading is necessary to understand what both debaters meant. This must be done "as objectively" as possible, or at least as fairly as possible.

A sufficient RFD never imposes or ignores salient meaning advanced by the debaters. So, if a debater has an argument that actually impacts the resolution, it must be considered in the RFD. However, a sufficient RFD never imports meaning from outside the debate itself either by favorably or unfavorably misconstruing what the debaters ***actually*** said, or considering arguments which were included in the debate but which have no bearing on the resolution itself. Understanding what impact arguments have on a resolution requires close and careful reading.

(2) A sufficient RFD always weighs the relative strength of salient arguments

An argument may be really strong but totally irrelevant to the resolution. This argument should not be considered. See (I)(1), articulated above. Arguments may be very close; or they may be meaningfully stronger or weaker than another. The strength of arguments in no way depends on how much you as a judge like them. The beginning and end of an argument's strength is the argument itself. Nothing extraneous to that argument may be considered.

A really strong argument is one where the premises entail the conclusion, clearly and plainly. However, a strong argument may be more nebulously construed. Close reading, therefore, is necessary to understand the precise meaning of premises such that their impact on the resolution may come to light in your brain. This may require reading, or rereading the debate.

Sufficient RFD's must weigh the totality of the salient arguments' strength against one another. This requires identifying areas of clash. Clash exists where conflicting arguments directly or indirectly implicate one another. Direct clash makes your task easy, as a judge. Indirect clash makes your task much harder, because you have to -again- figure out what the debaters meant based on the words they used. Again, many debaters suck at writing. You, nevertheless, must not neglect your responsibilities as a judge.

(3) Explaining Who Won: Why one Debater's Arguments are Relatively Stronger Than Another's

In that debate is an undertaking of objective persuasion (read: not merely subjectively telling people why something is nice or good or horrible or bad), and in that we are not all equally talented in that endeavor, it is exceedingly likely that one debater is going to be better than another. You must explain why that is.

If a conclusion was broader than the evidence used to support it, that argument might be weak. If a rebuttal mischaracterized an opponent's essential point(s), that rebuttal may fall short. If one debater misused a lot of terms and concepts, it's unlikely that they were able to make objectively persuasive arguments at all... they probably just sounded like a babbling buffoon. While unnecessary to point out that a debater sounded like a babbling buffoon, it may be necessary to point out misused words/terms, or any other extant weakness in a debater's case as contrasted with the other's. In an ideal world, the winner points out why he won. That doesn't always happen, though. You, nevertheless, must explain why the winner won and why the loser lost.

II. Insufficient RFD's

1. Garbage

Some insufficient RFD's look like garbage. Garbage, for purposes of adjudicating debates, exists in many forms. It could be that an RFD explicitly or implicitly indicates that the judge didn't give the winner the win because they were more effective, but because the judge disagrees with the loser. This is an insufficient RFD. If an RFD uses language like "PRO was more persuasive." and that's it, that RFD is insufficient. If an RFD mischaracterizes the arguments advanced by the debaters themselves, that RFD is insufficient. If an RFD rambles on incoherently about nothing without ever getting to the point of why the winner won and the loser lost, it's a tragedy in and of itself, and is insufficient. I could go on, but in general you get the point.

2. Idiocy

Idiotic judging is the variety of judging that produces an "outcome" (whether it awards points or not) based on anything other than the salient arguments of the debate. Some RFD's may be idiotic garbage, but idiocy necessitates independent consideration. Examples of idiotic judging include, but are not limited to, awarding any kind of points on the basis of conduct of the debaters alone. This defeats the purpose of debate. If a person could win a debate based on simply being nice, there is no incentive to engage in any substantive discussion at all. Flattery and pleasantries would suffice.

Other varieties of idiocy include judging that mischaracterizes and interposes/injects new meaning into the debate (read: arguments and/or rebuttals on both sides) that does not exist in the debate's actual language. This is idiotic garbage, and it is idiotic garbage of an especially insidious variety. The dumb boys who have recently undertaken the study of symbolic logic generally are the ones most predisposed to this. It is like cancer to debate, and must be avoided at all costs, because to the extent that a judge's verdict is not based on the actual happenings of the debate, the decision is arbitrary. Idiotic garbage is always arbitrary, and it is maddening to see it.

3. Other Varieties of Fail

What I have listed above is not an exhaustive list, nor should it be read as such.

III. Conclusion

Hopefully, you are now on your way to being a better judge. Happy voting. If you are unsure about a debate, ask for help. It is better to ask for help than screw someone over.

Note:

There is no ego associated with judging. It doesn't matter who you are or what you believe or what your values are when you are judging. What matters is that you judge fairly, and correctly.

Here, here!

One small addition: when it comes to length, YYW is right, your RFD need not always be long. What informs the decision itself and why other arguments didn't inform the decision can often be explained in a short space. If you're like me, you'll be exhaustive in that, which produces really long RFDs. You are not required to be exhaustive. Just ensure that you give the arguments, and the debaters, their due.
YYW
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5/17/2015 10:18:46 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/17/2015 10:16:48 PM, whiteflame wrote:
One small addition: when it comes to length, YYW is right, your RFD need not always be long. [Just make sure that you sufficiently explain.]

This is exactly right, yeah.
Tsar of DDO
1harderthanyouthink
Posts: 13,102
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5/17/2015 10:44:47 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
YYW's brief guides are not brief.
"It's awfully considerate of you to think of me here,
And I'm much obliged to you for making it clear - that I'm not here."

-Syd Barrett

DDO Risk King
ResponsiblyIrresponsible
Posts: 12,398
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5/17/2015 10:47:58 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I was thinking the same thing as Chris, lol.

But this was a great read - very helpful and insightful. Thanks for this.
~ResponsiblyIrresponsible

DDO's Economics Messiah
bluesteel
Posts: 12,301
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5/17/2015 11:36:12 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/17/2015 8:29:39 PM, YYW wrote:


I try to enforce #3 as much as possible in requiring that judges provide some sort of coherent explanation for why they think the person they voted for won.

I have an idea though for #2. You, me, bsh1, and whoever else wants can draft up a set of voting requirements, e.g. that the voter evaluate clash, and debaters can *opt in* to these voting requirements by linking to the voting guide in Round 1. I'm pretty sure everyone would be on board with more stringent moderation on debates where the instigator makes a higher standard clear in Round 1.
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
bsh1
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5/17/2015 11:41:08 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/17/2015 11:36:12 PM, bluesteel wrote:
At 5/17/2015 8:29:39 PM, YYW wrote:


I try to enforce #3 as much as possible in requiring that judges provide some sort of coherent explanation for why they think the person they voted for won.

I have an idea though for #2. You, me, bsh1, and whoever else wants can draft up a set of voting requirements, e.g. that the voter evaluate clash, and debaters can *opt in* to these voting requirements by linking to the voting guide in Round 1. I'm pretty sure everyone would be on board with more stringent moderation on debates where the instigator makes a higher standard clear in Round 1.

This is actually something I want to work on pretty soon if elected.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

Follow the DDOlympics
: http://www.debate.org...

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bluesteel
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5/17/2015 11:44:43 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/17/2015 11:41:08 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 5/17/2015 11:36:12 PM, bluesteel wrote:
At 5/17/2015 8:29:39 PM, YYW wrote:


I try to enforce #3 as much as possible in requiring that judges provide some sort of coherent explanation for why they think the person they voted for won.

I have an idea though for #2. You, me, bsh1, and whoever else wants can draft up a set of voting requirements, e.g. that the voter evaluate clash, and debaters can *opt in* to these voting requirements by linking to the voting guide in Round 1. I'm pretty sure everyone would be on board with more stringent moderation on debates where the instigator makes a higher standard clear in Round 1.

This is actually something I want to work on pretty soon if elected.

I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but I think the idea is pretty brilliant to have people opt in to a more stringent form of moderation. It answers the main objection to raising the standard, which is that there's no notice to new users of all these requirements. In general, I think good ideas can die through inaction. If it's good, implement it immediately. I never liked the idea of the presidency, or more specifically that users were only willing to do things if elected. I only mentioned your name because you've been talking about implementing a "sufficiency" standard for a long time, but if you won't be involved unless you're elected, then it is what it is. I think we can get the guide written without your input. If people like the idea, I'd rather do it now than wait.
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
bsh1
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5/18/2015 12:03:54 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/17/2015 11:44:43 PM, bluesteel wrote:
At 5/17/2015 11:41:08 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 5/17/2015 11:36:12 PM, bluesteel wrote:
At 5/17/2015 8:29:39 PM, YYW wrote:


I try to enforce #3 as much as possible in requiring that judges provide some sort of coherent explanation for why they think the person they voted for won.

I have an idea though for #2. You, me, bsh1, and whoever else wants can draft up a set of voting requirements, e.g. that the voter evaluate clash, and debaters can *opt in* to these voting requirements by linking to the voting guide in Round 1. I'm pretty sure everyone would be on board with more stringent moderation on debates where the instigator makes a higher standard clear in Round 1.

This is actually something I want to work on pretty soon if elected.

I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but I think the idea is pretty brilliant to have people opt in to a more stringent form of moderation. It answers the main objection to raising the standard, which is that there's no notice to new users of all these requirements. In general, I think good ideas can die through inaction. If it's good, implement it immediately. I never liked the idea of the presidency, or more specifically that users were only willing to do things if elected. I only mentioned your name because you've been talking about implementing a "sufficiency" standard for a long time, but if you won't be involved unless you're elected, then it is what it is. I think we can get the guide written without your input. If people like the idea, I'd rather do it now than wait.

I never said I wouldn't be involved in it unless I was elected. Plus, at this point the election is in less than a month (which isn't really that long). But, I have been waiting to act on it in case I was elected. I don't like the idea of an opt-in, because it creates uneven voting standards across the site. Besides, from what I've seen, most users that vote often and vote poorly are new users. It is precisely that group that would not opt-in that most needs to be subjected to greater scrutiny. There are ways to work on informing new users about voting standards, and those are worthy of discussion, but, irrespective of whether I am elected or not, I would like to contribute. I certainly wouldn't like to be excluded just because I was president.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

Follow the DDOlympics
: http://www.debate.org...

Open Debate Topics Project: http://www.debate.org...
bluesteel
Posts: 12,301
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5/18/2015 12:05:30 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/18/2015 12:03:54 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 5/17/2015 11:44:43 PM, bluesteel wrote:
At 5/17/2015 11:41:08 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 5/17/2015 11:36:12 PM, bluesteel wrote:
At 5/17/2015 8:29:39 PM, YYW wrote:


I try to enforce #3 as much as possible in requiring that judges provide some sort of coherent explanation for why they think the person they voted for won.

I have an idea though for #2. You, me, bsh1, and whoever else wants can draft up a set of voting requirements, e.g. that the voter evaluate clash, and debaters can *opt in* to these voting requirements by linking to the voting guide in Round 1. I'm pretty sure everyone would be on board with more stringent moderation on debates where the instigator makes a higher standard clear in Round 1.

This is actually something I want to work on pretty soon if elected.

I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but I think the idea is pretty brilliant to have people opt in to a more stringent form of moderation. It answers the main objection to raising the standard, which is that there's no notice to new users of all these requirements. In general, I think good ideas can die through inaction. If it's good, implement it immediately. I never liked the idea of the presidency, or more specifically that users were only willing to do things if elected. I only mentioned your name because you've been talking about implementing a "sufficiency" standard for a long time, but if you won't be involved unless you're elected, then it is what it is. I think we can get the guide written without your input. If people like the idea, I'd rather do it now than wait.

I never said I wouldn't be involved in it unless I was elected. Plus, at this point the election is in less than a month (which isn't really that long). But, I have been waiting to act on it in case I was elected. I don't like the idea of an opt-in, because it creates uneven voting standards across the site. Besides, from what I've seen, most users that vote often and vote poorly are new users. It is precisely that group that would not opt-in that most needs to be subjected to greater scrutiny. There are ways to work on informing new users about voting standards, and those are worthy of discussion, but, irrespective of whether I am elected or not, I would like to contribute. I certainly wouldn't like to be excluded just because I was president.

The person who chooses to opt in is the instigator, not the voters. If it says in Round 1 what standards voters have to follow, then anyone who chooses to vote on the debate will be held to that standard, whether a new user or older one.
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
bsh1
Posts: 27,504
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5/18/2015 12:08:55 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/18/2015 12:05:30 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 5/18/2015 12:03:54 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 5/17/2015 11:44:43 PM, bluesteel wrote:
At 5/17/2015 11:41:08 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 5/17/2015 11:36:12 PM, bluesteel wrote:
At 5/17/2015 8:29:39 PM, YYW wrote:


I try to enforce #3 as much as possible in requiring that judges provide some sort of coherent explanation for why they think the person they voted for won.

I have an idea though for #2. You, me, bsh1, and whoever else wants can draft up a set of voting requirements, e.g. that the voter evaluate clash, and debaters can *opt in* to these voting requirements by linking to the voting guide in Round 1. I'm pretty sure everyone would be on board with more stringent moderation on debates where the instigator makes a higher standard clear in Round 1.

This is actually something I want to work on pretty soon if elected.

I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but I think the idea is pretty brilliant to have people opt in to a more stringent form of moderation. It answers the main objection to raising the standard, which is that there's no notice to new users of all these requirements. In general, I think good ideas can die through inaction. If it's good, implement it immediately. I never liked the idea of the presidency, or more specifically that users were only willing to do things if elected. I only mentioned your name because you've been talking about implementing a "sufficiency" standard for a long time, but if you won't be involved unless you're elected, then it is what it is. I think we can get the guide written without your input. If people like the idea, I'd rather do it now than wait.

I never said I wouldn't be involved in it unless I was elected. Plus, at this point the election is in less than a month (which isn't really that long). But, I have been waiting to act on it in case I was elected. I don't like the idea of an opt-in, because it creates uneven voting standards across the site. Besides, from what I've seen, most users that vote often and vote poorly are new users. It is precisely that group that would not opt-in that most needs to be subjected to greater scrutiny. There are ways to work on informing new users about voting standards, and those are worthy of discussion, but, irrespective of whether I am elected or not, I would like to contribute. I certainly wouldn't like to be excluded just because I was president.

The person who chooses to opt in is the instigator, not the voters. If it says in Round 1 what standards voters have to follow, then anyone who chooses to vote on the debate will be held to that standard, whether a new user or older one.

Okay, so it still generates problems with unequal standards across the site. That is problematic because it means that users who are not aware of this new standard will get votes of poorer quality on their debates (which is unfair to them). I would rather have a universally applied standard.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

Follow the DDOlympics
: http://www.debate.org...

Open Debate Topics Project: http://www.debate.org...
bluesteel
Posts: 12,301
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5/18/2015 12:19:47 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/18/2015 12:08:55 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 5/18/2015 12:05:30 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 5/18/2015 12:03:54 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 5/17/2015 11:44:43 PM, bluesteel wrote:
At 5/17/2015 11:41:08 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 5/17/2015 11:36:12 PM, bluesteel wrote:
At 5/17/2015 8:29:39 PM, YYW wrote:


I try to enforce #3 as much as possible in requiring that judges provide some sort of coherent explanation for why they think the person they voted for won.

I have an idea though for #2. You, me, bsh1, and whoever else wants can draft up a set of voting requirements, e.g. that the voter evaluate clash, and debaters can *opt in* to these voting requirements by linking to the voting guide in Round 1. I'm pretty sure everyone would be on board with more stringent moderation on debates where the instigator makes a higher standard clear in Round 1.

This is actually something I want to work on pretty soon if elected.

I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but I think the idea is pretty brilliant to have people opt in to a more stringent form of moderation. It answers the main objection to raising the standard, which is that there's no notice to new users of all these requirements. In general, I think good ideas can die through inaction. If it's good, implement it immediately. I never liked the idea of the presidency, or more specifically that users were only willing to do things if elected. I only mentioned your name because you've been talking about implementing a "sufficiency" standard for a long time, but if you won't be involved unless you're elected, then it is what it is. I think we can get the guide written without your input. If people like the idea, I'd rather do it now than wait.

I never said I wouldn't be involved in it unless I was elected. Plus, at this point the election is in less than a month (which isn't really that long). But, I have been waiting to act on it in case I was elected. I don't like the idea of an opt-in, because it creates uneven voting standards across the site. Besides, from what I've seen, most users that vote often and vote poorly are new users. It is precisely that group that would not opt-in that most needs to be subjected to greater scrutiny. There are ways to work on informing new users about voting standards, and those are worthy of discussion, but, irrespective of whether I am elected or not, I would like to contribute. I certainly wouldn't like to be excluded just because I was president.

The person who chooses to opt in is the instigator, not the voters. If it says in Round 1 what standards voters have to follow, then anyone who chooses to vote on the debate will be held to that standard, whether a new user or older one.

Okay, so it still generates problems with unequal standards across the site. That is problematic because it means that users who are not aware of this new standard will get votes of poorer quality on their debates (which is unfair to them). I would rather have a universally applied standard.

The perfect is the enemy of the good. I don't think you're going to get a higher standard for everyone.
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
bsh1
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5/18/2015 12:20:41 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/18/2015 12:19:47 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 5/18/2015 12:08:55 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 5/18/2015 12:05:30 AM, bluesteel wrote:
The person who chooses to opt in is the instigator, not the voters. If it says in Round 1 what standards voters have to follow, then anyone who chooses to vote on the debate will be held to that standard, whether a new user or older one.

Okay, so it still generates problems with unequal standards across the site. That is problematic because it means that users who are not aware of this new standard will get votes of poorer quality on their debates (which is unfair to them). I would rather have a universally applied standard.

The perfect is the enemy of the good. I don't think you're going to get a higher standard for everyone.

I don't think it's impossible, actually. It's worth a shot.
Live Long and Prosper

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bluesteel
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5/18/2015 12:24:52 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/18/2015 12:20:41 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 5/18/2015 12:19:47 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 5/18/2015 12:08:55 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 5/18/2015 12:05:30 AM, bluesteel wrote:
The person who chooses to opt in is the instigator, not the voters. If it says in Round 1 what standards voters have to follow, then anyone who chooses to vote on the debate will be held to that standard, whether a new user or older one.

Okay, so it still generates problems with unequal standards across the site. That is problematic because it means that users who are not aware of this new standard will get votes of poorer quality on their debates (which is unfair to them). I would rather have a universally applied standard.

The perfect is the enemy of the good. I don't think you're going to get a higher standard for everyone.

I don't think it's impossible, actually. It's worth a shot.

That wasn't my opinion as a member of DDO. That was my opinion as a vote mod. A change requires airmax's approval and theoretically, some sort of site consensus. From what I've seen working with max and with the site generally and their specific concerns, I don't think you're going to get a change approved system-wide.

Whatever ... you've successfully sh*tted all over my idea, which was more work for me anyway. I don't really feel like pursuing it anymore if prominent members - who themselves argued for a higher standard - are going to oppose me.

Just remember this conversation in 6 months when nothing has changed. You'll owe me an "I told you so."
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
bsh1
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5/18/2015 12:36:18 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/18/2015 12:24:52 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 5/18/2015 12:20:41 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 5/18/2015 12:19:47 AM, bluesteel wrote:
At 5/18/2015 12:08:55 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 5/18/2015 12:05:30 AM, bluesteel wrote:
The person who chooses to opt in is the instigator, not the voters. If it says in Round 1 what standards voters have to follow, then anyone who chooses to vote on the debate will be held to that standard, whether a new user or older one.

Okay, so it still generates problems with unequal standards across the site. That is problematic because it means that users who are not aware of this new standard will get votes of poorer quality on their debates (which is unfair to them). I would rather have a universally applied standard.

The perfect is the enemy of the good. I don't think you're going to get a higher standard for everyone.

I don't think it's impossible, actually. It's worth a shot.

That wasn't my opinion as a member of DDO. That was my opinion as a vote mod. A change requires airmax's approval and theoretically, some sort of site consensus. From what I've seen working with max and with the site generally and their specific concerns, I don't think you're going to get a change approved system-wide.

I think it's a project worth undertaking, though. I think that if there is enough community consensus, it could be realized.

Whatever ... you've successfully sh*tted all over my idea, which was more work for me anyway. I don't really feel like pursuing it anymore if prominent members - who themselves argued for a higher standard - are going to oppose me.

I never said that your idea was terrible, bluesteel. Rather, I think that a universal option would be best. If we cannot get a universal option (though I think we should try that first), then an opt-in like you said would be nice--better than the status quo.
Live Long and Prosper

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"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

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YYW
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5/18/2015 12:45:33 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Supplement to the Brief Guide:

I have been trying to go to sleep for some time now. This is apparently a failed endeavor. While I attempt to count sheep, or perhaps as a precursor to that, let me take this moment to explain what a sufficient RFD is: historical, analytical, and descriptive.

There doesn't need to be a new standard for what a sufficient RFD is. Sufficiency has always existed "as a standard" even if it has been neither officially recognized nor (or perhaps therefore) enforced.

Sufficiency is adequacy; determining whether an RFD is sufficient is no more complicated than asking whether an RFD does what it is supposed to do. If an RFD does what an RFD is supposed to do, then it is sufficient. If an RFD fails as an RFD, then it does not. This is incredibly simple.

For an RFD to not fail as an RFD, it must do the following: show conceptual grasp, weigh relative strength of arguments, and explain that evaluation.

I. The Historical Component: Demonstrate the judges conceptual grasp of the clash between salient arguments. (Do I know how to read?)

Demonstration requires that you actually write out what you're saying. Conceptual grasp is reflected in precisely recording and transcribing, as mentioned above, the precise meaning conveyed by the debaters. Clash is that area where the debater's arguments implicate one another; it may be indirect clash (usually pre-rebuttal) or direct clash (usually in rebuttals/conclusions). Salient arguments are those which impact the resolution. Irrelevant arguments should not be considered in an RFD. Irrelevant arguments are arguments that do not affect the resolution.

Note: A summary of the facts of the debate (read: what happened) is not necessary, but helpful, in determining whether the judge has a clue what happened in the debate. (See footnote 1.) The reason that fact summaries -aside from helping moderation- are useful is for the same reason that Daniel Day Lewis is a bad actor: he shows his work. It is less polished but more "graspable" such that if I am evaluating your RFD, I don't have to go through the mental labor of inferring what you must have known. I can just see where you went right, or where you went wrong, in understanding the debate.

II. The Analytical Component: Weigh relative strength. (Which argument is stronger?)

When considering relative strength, you are asking which argument is objectively better reasoned, not which debate you like more. This is the analytical part that most judges -even the ones whose reading comprehension levels are beyond minimally adequate- get screwed up. That's because it's tricky. Some might even call it "subjective." This would be erroneous.

Weighing means balancing; consider one against the other. Relative reiterates the comparative nature of this part of the RFD. Strength is evaluated objectively; the issue is not whether you subjectively agree with the debate or not, it's whether the debate -if viewed by a person of reasonable intellect and persuadability- would vote for one or the other. Thinking of weighing arguments in this way will or at least should enable you to step outside of yourself to evaluate the debate. (2)

III. The Descriptive Component: Explain the evaluation in weighing relative strength. (How is one argument stronger than another?)

This is another part that a lot of judges screw up; although it's most typically screwed up indirectly because the second part is screwed up or the first part of the RFD is screwed up such that the third is necessarily doomed. Let not your RFD be doomed; judge correctly.

This third part is the part where you have to explain how one argument triumphs over the other. This does not mean that you debate with the loser or disparage his argument. It means that you describe the shortcomings in the losing side, and the superiorities of the winning argument.

For example, if the winner negated an essential premise of the loser such that the loser lost, but the loser only indirectly rebutted a necessary implication of the winner's case, the winner has the stronger argument for that reason. This third part is descriptive not analytical or historical.

Comments:

Substance matters more than form. Thus, your RFD need not do this in order, but if you do it in this order your RFD will come across as more logical. I (YYW) will also judge you less harshly even if you do screw up. but, form is still important. Thus, you should try to conform your RFD to the requirements I've outlined here. Most of this stuff is intuitive. It's not rocket science, but critical reading is a skill that has to be cultivated. It's not something that comes naturally to most people.

There are some (few) debates that can objectively go both ways. Most (almost all) have a clear winner and a clear loser. To the extent that a debate is an objective win, deviation from that is erroneous. (3)

--------------------------

Footnotes:

(1) I think factual summaries are redundant and irritating, but then again I was one of those kids who hated to show their work in math class. A factual summary will be very helpful for any moderator who is tasked with the unpleasant, tedious and altogether mundane task of reviewing your RFD for sufficiency. In general, if your RFD's are suspect, including a fact summary is necessary.

(2) Stepping outside of yourself is not just checking bias at the door. It's leaving it behind when you walk in. The reasonably intelligent judge does not disregard his knowledge of basic facts, however, when he endeavors to evaluate a debate. For example, if a debater makes a plainly idiotic claim, a judge need not award him any kind of credit in the way of relative strength even if the opponent doesn't specifically call the debater whose actions offend reasonable perceptions of objective reality.

(3) An objective win is like a TKO in boxing... sort of. I have written about this extensively before.
Tsar of DDO
ESocialBookworm
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5/18/2015 9:29:35 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/18/2015 12:45:33 AM, YYW wrote:
Supplement to the Brief Guide:

I have been trying to go to sleep for some time now. This is apparently a failed endeavor. While I attempt to count sheep, or perhaps as a precursor to that, let me take this moment to explain what a sufficient RFD is: historical, analytical, and descriptive.

aww lol
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YYW
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6/25/2015 8:13:35 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
I am bumping this because it is manifestly clear that it is necessary for the general community.

I am always amazed at how ostensibly bright people can cast manifestly incompetent votes.

I will write a supplement later on, regarding "relevant" v. "irrelevant" arguments.
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Defro
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6/26/2015 9:52:16 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/25/2015 8:13:35 AM, YYW wrote:
I am bumping this because it is manifestly clear that it is necessary for the general community.

I am always amazed at how ostensibly bright people can cast manifestly incompetent votes.

I will write a supplement later on, regarding "relevant" v. "irrelevant" arguments.

If someone is a bad voter, chances are he or she wouldn't bother reading this lol
philochristos
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6/26/2015 11:26:53 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
I agree with everything YYW said, but I would add a little more. Here is how I judge a debate.

First, I try to figure out who has what burden of proof. Before looking at the strengths and merits of the arguments and counter arguments, I first make sure each person did what they had to do at a minimum. For example, if Pro has the burden of proof, then Pro has to make at least one argument for their position, be it ever so fallacious. And Con has to AT LEAST attempt a refutation of that argument. If neither meets that bare minimum requirement, then they cannot get argument points.

Once I've established that each debater has done their minimum, THEN I start looking at the strengths and weaknesses of their arguments and rebuttals, like YYW suggests.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
YYW
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11/26/2015 4:40:27 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
I am bumping this because I have been profoundly disappointed by the crap RFDs I've been seeing.

An RFD has got to tell you, at the very minimum, why the winning side won, why the losing side lost, and ground those reasons in events that happened in the debate. These RFD's that get caught up in insignificant trivialities, circuitous ramblings, and generally garbage arguments just irritate me. It's the reason why there are literally maybe three people on this site I would trust to cast an RFD on my debate... but everyone can improve.

Reading this guide is a good way to make progress in learning how not to suck as a judge.
Tsar of DDO
fire_wings
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4/17/2016 7:13:22 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
bumping
#ALLHAILFIRETHEKINGOFTHEMISCFORUM

...it's not a new policy... it's just that DDO was built on an ancient burial ground, and that means the spirits of old rise again to cause us problems sometimes- Airmax1227

Wtf you must have an IQ of 250 if you're 11 and already decent at this- 16k

Go to sleep!!!!- missmozart

So to start off, I never committed suicide- Vaarka
Emmarie
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4/17/2016 10:43:47 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 5/18/2015 12:45:33 AM, YYW wrote:

Weighing means balancing; consider one against the other. Relative reiterates the comparative nature of this part of the RFD. Strength is evaluated objectively; the issue is not whether you subjectively agree with the debate or not, it's whether the debate -if viewed by a person of reasonable intellect and persuadability- would vote for one or the other. Thinking of weighing arguments in this way will or at least should enable you to step outside of yourself to evaluate the debate. (2)

III. The Descriptive Component: Explain the evaluation in weighing relative strength. (How is one argument stronger than another?)

https://docs.google.com...#
Since no one will evaluate this, I will post this here. I need feedback to know if it's accurate.

BoP Equations for Awarding *Argument Points*
.................................................................................................................................................
When the Instigator Takes the Pro = (for) Position of the Resolution in a Debate
Instigator + Pro
Contender - Con
Resolution + Positive Statement
= BoP equally shared
[1]Pro needs claims that support resolution.
[2]Con needs to argue to negate Pro"s claims.
[3]Con should also make counter claims that weaken Pro"s claims.
[4]Pro needs to defend original claims after Con"s rebuttal and argue against any counterclaims by Con
*actual equation*
(10) Resolution / Positive Statement +
(5) Instigator / Pro +
(-5) Contender / Con -
10r x 5p = 50rp
10r x -5c = -50rc
50 + -50=0
Products are added since resolution is positive
Equilibrium
Equally share BoP
....................................................................................................
Instigator + Pro
Contender - Con
Resolution - Negative Statement
= BoP equally shared
[1]Pro needs claims that negate resolution.
[2]Con needs to argue to against Pro"s claims to win..
[3]Con can make counter claims that weaken Pro"s claims but doesn"t have to.
[4]Pro needs to defend original claims after Con"s rebuttal and argue against any counterclaims by Con to win.
*actual equation*
(-10) Resolution / Negative Statement
(5) Instigator / Pro
(-5) Contender / Con
-10r x 5p = 50
-10r x -5c = -50
50 - -50 = 0
Products are subtracted since resolution is negative Equilibrium
Equally share BoP
..................................................................................................................................
When the Instigator Takes the Con = (against) Position of the Resolution in a Debate

Instigator - Con
Contender + Pro
Resolution - Positive Statement
= BoP equally shared
[1]Con needs claims that argue against the resolution.
[2]Pro needs to argue against Cons claims to win.
[3]Pro needs claims that support resolution.
[4]Con needs to defend original claims and rebut Pro"s claims.
*actual equation*
(10) Resolution Positive Statement
(-5) Instigator / Con
(5) Contender / Pro
10r x -5c = - 50
10r x 5p = 50
-50 +50 = 0
Products are added since resolution is positive
Equilibrium
Equally share BoP
...............................................................................................................................
Instigator > Con
Contender > Pro
Negative Statement
= BoP on Con
[1]Con needs claims that affirm the opposite of the stated resolution.
[2]Pro needs to argue against Con"s claims to win.
[3]Pro need not make counter claims that affirm a negative resolution.
[4]Con needs to not only defend original claims but also refute pro"s rebuttals.
*actual equation*
(-10) Resolution / Negative Statement
(-5) Instigator / Con
(5) Contender / Pro
-10r x -5c = 50
-10r x 5p = -50
-50 -50 = -100
Products are subtracted since resolution is negative
Not Equilibrium
Full BoP on Con

...............................................................................................................................................
Equating BoP
A formula for deciding who has a greater BoP (burden of proof) is calculated by using specific criteria. Understanding BoP can help you contemplate how to argue in your own debates as well as help you to determine a winner in debates that you vote on. Some Claim that BoP is always shared but that is mathematically impossible given the positions of the Instigator/Con (sequential order); who is Pro/Con, and whether or not the resolution is a positive or a negative statement. This formula can help you decide who satisfied affirming or negating the resolution thru claims, counterclaims and rebuttals.
tejretics
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4/19/2016 10:46:02 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/17/2016 10:43:47 PM, Emmarie wrote:

I'd appreciate a tl;dr but I get the basic point, so let me address it.

BOP analysis -- unless it's some deep metaphysical issue like the existence of God -- is fairly simple. There are two kinds of resolutions: (1) fact claims and (2) normative resolutions. A fact claim is stating something as a fact; a normative resolution is an appeal to what would be ideal. Examples of fact claims include a resolution like "germ theory is false." Examples of normative resolutions are "the US should abolish capital punishment" and "affirmative action is desirable/justified." In normative resolutions, the burden of proof is shared by default, since it would be arbitrarily unjust to impose the burden on either side when neither side is self-justifying. It's incoherent to expect offense only from one side. Note: the BOP is only shared by *default* and if the rules specify otherwise, you can do whatever you want. (I usually hold debaters to the burden that they decide to keep, but some judges judge based on a different, more accurate, burden.)

When it comes to a fact claim, most judges place the burden of proof on Pro (even on a negative statement, e.g. "germ theory isn't true"). Issues like the existence of God and epistemic nihilism make it really hard to make BOP analysis; I'd go with deciding those burdens on whatever is argued within the debate.
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass
Emmarie
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4/19/2016 2:27:52 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/19/2016 10:46:02 AM, tejretics wrote:
At 4/17/2016 10:43:47 PM, Emmarie wrote:

I'd appreciate a tl;dr but I get the basic point, so let me address it.

BOP analysis -- unless it's some deep metaphysical issue like the existence of God -- is fairly simple. There are two kinds of resolutions: (1) fact claims and (2) normative resolutions. A fact claim is stating something as a fact; a normative resolution is an appeal to what would be ideal. Examples of fact claims include a resolution like "germ theory is false." Examples of normative resolutions are "the US should abolish capital punishment" and "affirmative action is desirable/justified." In normative resolutions, the burden of proof is shared by default, since it would be arbitrarily unjust to impose the burden on either side when neither side is self-justifying. It's incoherent to expect offense only from one side. Note: the BOP is only shared by *default* and if the rules specify otherwise, you can do whatever you want. (I usually hold debaters to the burden that they decide to keep, but some judges judge based on a different, more accurate, burden.)

When it comes to a fact claim, most judges place the burden of proof on Pro (even on a negative statement, e.g. "germ theory isn't true"). Issues like the existence of God and epistemic nihilism make it really hard to make BOP analysis; I'd go with deciding those burdens on whatever is argued within the debate.

Thanks for responding. The actual debate process is more complex than I would have imagined. The more I learn, the more confused I become. There are so many factors to consider when voting, especially when both sides are experienced debaters. I've read quite a few debates without voting, because I want my vote to be fair if I do vote.

One thing that baffles me on this site is how many members here, support Donald Trump as president, when he is the worst debater I've ever seen. He fails to directly address issues and insults his opponents. I would think on a debate website, that more members would rail on his lack of debating skills.
FourTrouble
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4/21/2016 3:11:32 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/19/2016 10:46:02 AM, tejretics wrote:
BOP analysis -- unless it's some deep metaphysical issue like the existence of God -- is fairly simple.

It is "fairly simple," but virtually everyone on DDO, including yourself, seems to get it wrong.

There are two kinds of resolutions: (1) fact claims and (2) normative resolutions. A fact claim is stating something as a fact; a normative resolution is an appeal to what would be ideal. Examples of fact claims include a resolution like "germ theory is false." Examples of normative resolutions are "the US should abolish capital punishment" and "affirmative action is desirable/justified."

I'm with you up until this point.

In normative resolutions, the burden of proof is shared by default, since it would be arbitrarily unjust to impose the burden on either side when neither side is self-justifying. It's incoherent to expect offense only from one side.

This is wrong. The problem with your discussion, and with most discussions on this topic, is that you lack any clarity about the difference between the phrases "burden of proof" and "burden of persuasion." Although these phrases are often used interchangeably on DDO, they refer to different things.

"Burden of proof" refers to an obligation to present evidence to support a specific claim. Each side has a number of proof burdens, depending on the specific arguments they choose to make. Each position that a debater takes has an attendant burden of proof. These burdens, however, shift based on the particular issues at stake. This is an important point -- burdens aren't "shared," they "shift."

Consider an example. In a drug legalization debate, Pro argues that legalization benefits the economy. To make that argument, Pro must provide evidence that supports his claim. This is what we call a burden of proof. The burden is NOT shared. In other words, Con is under no obligation to produce evidence against Pro's claim until -- this is a key point, until -- Pro meets their burden of proof. But once Pro satisfies their proof burden, the burden shifts to Con. At this point, Pro's claim is taken as true unless Con produces evidence showing otherwise.

While proof burdens inevitably "shift" throughout a debate, they are never "shared." If the evidence is evenly balanced, it means that whoever made the initial claim has failed to adequately support their claim. In that circumstance, a rare circumstance, a judge must discount the claim. This is where the "burden of persuasion" enters the picture. The "burden of persuasion" tells you which side bears the risk of losing the debate as a whole if the arguments are evenly balanced. In the event that neither side is able to prove anything, there nonetheless must be a winner. The "burden of persuasion" tells you who the winner is. Unlike proof burdens, the "burden of persuasion" is non-shifting.

YYW seems to think that the burden of persuasion is "equal" on both sides. This is where the notion of "shared proof burdens" comes from. It is a mistaken notion. It defeats the entire purpose of debate, which is to resolve an issue, normative or otherwise. Any debate that places value on resolving the issue -- as any debate worth its salt must -- cannot allow judges to announce a tie. This is especially so in the context of a debate tournament where the need (and duty) to announce a winner is even greater than normal. Yet under YYW's logic, under the notion that the burden of persuasion is equal on both sides, debates will inevitably end in ties. And indeed YYW has judged debates tied on a number of occasions, including in the context of debate tournaments where a definitive winner was needed. Again, this defeats the purpose of debate. There is a reason, after all, that we frame debates in terms of "resolutions."

Of course, this still leaves open the question of where to put the burden of persuasion. The default is that the person arguing for a change in the status quo has the burden of persuasion, because while the status quo is not "self-justifying," it nonetheless poses less "uncertainty" than change. That is simply a fact. Change entails uncertainty. If the evidence is evenly balanced, judges should err on the side of certainty. That means voting for the side that supports the status quo. The other default is that the first person to argue has the burden of persuasion, not because they are the one making an affirmative claim (not always the case), but because they are the person framing the discussion and thus dictating, in large part, the direction of the debate. The first person to argue generally has much more control over a debate than the second person to argue (unless you follow bsh1's utterly idiotic setup but that is another issue).
tejretics
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4/21/2016 3:16:11 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
At 4/21/2016 3:11:32 PM, FourTrouble wrote:

In a legal sense, "burden of proof" is "obligation to provide proof." In a debate sense, it can be interpreted as that or the obligation to provide *offensive* evidence and arguments. The former definition is the definition in the legal sense, versus its application in debate. In other words, there are debates where only one side needs to present any offensive arguments (e.g. fact claims), but in most situations where there are normative resolutions, both sides need to provide reasons. Sure, judges disagree on the burden of persuasion, but that isn't what I was talking about at all. "Shared" means "both sides carry a burden to provide offense."
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass
tejretics
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4/21/2016 3:17:13 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
Note: not necessarily in the "legal" sense -- also in the fields of science, et cetera.
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass