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Common debating mistakes.

adrianiscorrect
Posts: 7
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9/20/2010 10:58:51 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
hey ho.....I have said this a few times in various places on the site but I am a n00b looking for tips. My first debate is rounding is coming to an end and I have realised that I have made many terrible mistakes and have embarrassed myself no end. Anyone care to share any terrible mistakes newbies tend to make so maybe I could learn before getting trounced in my next debate?
I-am-a-panda
Posts: 15,380
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9/20/2010 11:03:42 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
You didn't do too bad actually. Generally, a good argument will have sources to match its claims and will make clear, concise points in relation to he evidence about why they are indeed correct. It is important to address your own points and refute your opponents, giving equal measure to both where possible. Often you can fail if you focus too much attention onto one.
Pizza. I have enormous respect for Pizza.
adrianiscorrect
Posts: 7
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9/20/2010 11:07:43 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/20/2010 11:03:42 AM, I-am-a-panda wrote:
You didn't do too bad actually. Generally, a good argument will have sources to match its claims and will make clear, concise points in relation to he evidence about why they are indeed correct. It is important to address your own points and refute your opponents, giving equal measure to both where possible. Often you can fail if you focus too much attention onto one.

Thats good advice and thanks for the vote of confidence...think my first debate was too much of a challenge for a newbie and I had no idea how much research was needed to make a good argument. I have never read so much in three days...
Korashk
Posts: 4,597
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9/20/2010 1:25:33 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/20/2010 10:58:51 AM, adrianiscorrect wrote:
hey ho.....I have said this a few times in various places on the site but I am a n00b looking for tips. My first debate is rounding is coming to an end and I have realised that I have made many terrible mistakes and have embarrassed myself no end. Anyone care to share any terrible mistakes newbies tend to make so maybe I could learn before getting trounced in my next debate?

I haven't read your debate, but here are some general tips:

- Cite your sources exaustively.
- Affirm clear, concise contentions to support your resolution, or refute your opponent's
- Use paragraph breaks often.
- Start all debate rounds like this:
.
.
.
.
So that your argument isn't staggered because of your avatar picture.
- Don't use logical fallacies. Here's a list of them: http://www.nizkor.org...
- Don't exhibit poor conduct.
When large numbers of otherwise-law abiding people break specific laws en masse, it's usually a fault that lies with the law. - Unknown
minervx
Posts: 25
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9/22/2010 11:59:47 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Here is my tip:
Be relevant on the subject. I've read many arguments which were both cogent and correct, but did not address the subject.
Pirate
Posts: 71
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9/23/2010 11:04:03 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
I made tons of mistakes in my debate too. I don't know which ones tho, since i'm the one who made them. But i surely did, since not that many people changed mind by reading the debate.

http://www.debate.org...

You can vote if you want :p.
innomen
Posts: 10,052
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9/23/2010 11:45:02 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/23/2010 11:04:03 AM, Pirate wrote:
I made tons of mistakes in my debate too. I don't know which ones tho, since i'm the one who made them. But i surely did, since not that many people changed mind by reading the debate.

http://www.debate.org...

You can vote if you want :p.

I'm guessing English is not your first language. If that's the case, i give you credit. However, your opponent had far superior writing skills, and his line of reasoning was direct as was the language he used. Just reading your opening sentences made me stop and try and figure out what your point was. It was a little hard to understand whereas your proponent's language flowed very nicely as did his argument.
Rob1Billion
Posts: 1,338
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9/23/2010 12:48:15 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
If winning is your thing, you can do pretty well just accepting other people's challenges, since the voters are much more likely to vote against the instigator if they feel he or she failed to make their case. A lot of people just accept other's challenges and then play semantical games with them to try and deny them their burden of proof.

Never, ever, ever, start a one-round debate.
Master P is the end result of capitalism.
Pirate
Posts: 71
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9/23/2010 12:55:52 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/23/2010 11:45:02 AM, innomen wrote:
At 9/23/2010 11:04:03 AM, Pirate wrote:
I made tons of mistakes in my debate too. I don't know which ones tho, since i'm the one who made them. But i surely did, since not that many people changed mind by reading the debate.

http://www.debate.org...

You can vote if you want :p.

I'm guessing English is not your first language. If that's the case, i give you credit. However, your opponent had far superior writing skills, and his line of reasoning was direct as was the language he used. Just reading your opening sentences made me stop and try and figure out what your point was. It was a little hard to understand whereas your proponent's language flowed very nicely as did his argument.

You're right, it's not. But I don't really have any excuse, I learned it when i was about 9/10 and I'm 14 now.
innomen
Posts: 10,052
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9/23/2010 1:11:11 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/23/2010 12:55:52 PM, Pirate wrote:
At 9/23/2010 11:45:02 AM, innomen wrote:
At 9/23/2010 11:04:03 AM, Pirate wrote:
I made tons of mistakes in my debate too. I don't know which ones tho, since i'm the one who made them. But i surely did, since not that many people changed mind by reading the debate.

http://www.debate.org...

You can vote if you want :p.

I'm guessing English is not your first language. If that's the case, i give you credit. However, your opponent had far superior writing skills, and his line of reasoning was direct as was the language he used. Just reading your opening sentences made me stop and try and figure out what your point was. It was a little hard to understand whereas your proponent's language flowed very nicely as did his argument.

You're right, it's not. But I don't really have any excuse, I learned it when i was about 9/10 and I'm 14 now.

Well, that's probably another reason, your opponent was 18? maybe? You did okay, but you need to keep your argument clear and straight. Look at this sentence: " Humans, the species to which you and me belong to, are currently not considered animals by society. This is not the point on which Con should argue, but rather on the fact that they should or not be considered animals." Okay, so you are taking the pro right? Shouldn't you simply state as pro - 'Humans should be considered animals by our society.'? Your sentence is a mess, and this is more clear.
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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9/23/2010 1:54:06 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
1. Pick topics that you either know well or you are willing to research.

2. Write resolutions that are statements you will defend. The advantage of initiating a debate is that you get to pick a topic upon which you are knowledgeable. Don't write a resolution as a question. Make an opening argument that defines what the issue is and why you are affirming the resolution. A resolution without an opening argument allows your opponent to misinterpret what you are arguing.

3. If your opponent makes a good point, concede it and move to the points you dispute.

4. Cite references to support facts you are asserting, however if something seems common knowledge you don't need to provide a reference until your opponent challenges it. Make sure that references are linked to the specific claims they are supporting.

5. Don't give unsupported feelings or beliefs. Give the logic behind what you are saying.

6. Run the spell checker.

7. Number your arguments and put an extra line after each paragraph.

8. Don't question the wording of something if you really understand what it means. However, watch carefully for your opponent taking what you say out of context.

9. Always take the side of the debate you believe in, with the exception being school debate topics where you are preparing for both sides.

10. Don't ever use personal insults, even if your opponent really fits the description. You can call an argument illogical, but you cannot call your opponent illogical.
I-am-a-panda
Posts: 15,380
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9/23/2010 2:44:38 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/23/2010 1:54:06 PM, RoyLatham wrote:
1. Pick topics that you either know well or you are willing to research.

2. Write resolutions that are statements you will defend. The advantage of initiating a debate is that you get to pick a topic upon which you are knowledgeable. Don't write a resolution as a question. Make an opening argument that defines what the issue is and why you are affirming the resolution. A resolution without an opening argument allows your opponent to misinterpret what you are arguing.

3. If your opponent makes a good point, concede it and move to the points you dispute.

4. Cite references to support facts you are asserting, however if something seems common knowledge you don't need to provide a reference until your opponent challenges it. Make sure that references are linked to the specific claims they are supporting.

5. Don't give unsupported feelings or beliefs. Give the logic behind what you are saying.

6. Run the spell checker.

7. Number your arguments and put an extra line after each paragraph.

8. Don't question the wording of something if you really understand what it means. However, watch carefully for your opponent taking what you say out of context.

9. Always take the side of the debate you believe in, with the exception being school debate topics where you are preparing for both sides.

10. Don't ever use personal insults, even if your opponent really fits the description. You can call an argument illogical, but you cannot call your opponent illogical.

11. Don't take one of Roys debates :P.
Pizza. I have enormous respect for Pizza.
Rob1Billion
Posts: 1,338
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9/23/2010 3:33:27 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/23/2010 2:44:38 PM, I-am-a-panda wrote:
At 9/23/2010 1:54:06 PM, RoyLatham wrote:
1. Pick topics that you either know well or you are willing to research.

2. Write resolutions that are statements you will defend. The advantage of initiating a debate is that you get to pick a topic upon which you are knowledgeable. Don't write a resolution as a question. Make an opening argument that defines what the issue is and why you are affirming the resolution. A resolution without an opening argument allows your opponent to misinterpret what you are arguing.

3. If your opponent makes a good point, concede it and move to the points you dispute.

4. Cite references to support facts you are asserting, however if something seems common knowledge you don't need to provide a reference until your opponent challenges it. Make sure that references are linked to the specific claims they are supporting.

5. Don't give unsupported feelings or beliefs. Give the logic behind what you are saying.

6. Run the spell checker.

7. Number your arguments and put an extra line after each paragraph.

8. Don't question the wording of something if you really understand what it means. However, watch carefully for your opponent taking what you say out of context.

9. Always take the side of the debate you believe in, with the exception being school debate topics where you are preparing for both sides.

10. Don't ever use personal insults, even if your opponent really fits the description. You can call an argument illogical, but you cannot call your opponent illogical.

11. Don't take one of Roys debates :P.

12. Don't ever use personal insults against Roy unless he is being an a**hole.
Master P is the end result of capitalism.
badger
Posts: 11,793
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9/25/2010 8:16:31 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/23/2010 3:33:27 PM, Rob1Billion wrote:

made that mistake before lol.. touchy subject for me at the time though.
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darkkermit
Posts: 11,204
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9/28/2010 2:30:17 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
I've been losing a lot of debates lately. I am therefore trying to figure out what my main problems are. I have figured out what a main issue is, which might come as a surprise. The percentage of passive sentences make a difference.

This might be a correlation, but I have been comparing "good" debaters between "bad" debaters. Using Microsoft word statistics, I came up with a few differences.

1) The bad debaters (those that constantly lose) have more than 20% of passive sentences. Good debaters have less than 10%, even 0%. Passive sentences are usually bad writing form, especially in debating.
2) Bad debaters also tend to score badly on reading ease. A readability ease of 50 is the target. Scores lower than that indicate that the sentence is very difficult to read. The more difficult it is to read, the less likely your arguments will sink in with the readers.
Open borders debate:
http://www.debate.org...
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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9/28/2010 2:58:51 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
darkkermit, That's an interesting result, but I suspect that it is more of a symptom than a cause. Clear writing tends to follow from clear thinking, so I wouldn't expect someone with a poor case to be able to write it up forcefully. Still, paying attention to writing well has to be helpful.
darkkermit
Posts: 11,204
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9/29/2010 8:09:25 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/28/2010 2:58:51 PM, RoyLatham wrote:
darkkermit, That's an interesting result, but I suspect that it is more of a symptom than a cause. Clear writing tends to follow from clear thinking, so I wouldn't expect someone with a poor case to be able to write it up forcefully. Still, paying attention to writing well has to be helpful.

Clear writing dos tend to follow clear thinking. However, clear and good writing also makes the person look more intelligent. Therefore the readers will take his or her points more seriously.

Active sentences have a stronger, more assertive writing tone then passive sentences. This is why it is favorable to use active sentences over passive ones.

Making good contentions and rebuttals are important. However how one writes is just as an important as what one writes.
Open borders debate:
http://www.debate.org...
bluesteel
Posts: 12,301
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10/5/2010 2:47:55 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Depends if you're talking about this site or as a competitive communicative event. This site is good for isolating certain problems (as far as basic logic) but because 80% of human communication is non-verbal, if you're asking about common mistakes in competitive debate events, check your eye contact, body posture (stand straight and wide) and speaking fluidity first.

Common bad arguments include:
1. Generalizing from too small a sample size (usually one example)
2. Red herring (a distraction that actually doesn't answer the argument at all, but seems to on the surface level)
3. Empirically denied (an argument that can be proved untrue by examining the historical record)
4. No impact (an argument that does not prove the resolution true, or is purely defensive - tries to answer your opponent's argument without making your own case)
5. Straw man (making your opponent's argument into something that it actually is not, so it is easier to answer. Opponent should simply extend his argument correctly in a later speech)
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
Chrysippus
Posts: 2,173
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10/5/2010 5:50:12 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/20/2010 10:58:51 AM, adrianiscorrect wrote:
Anyone care to share any terrible mistakes newbies tend to make so maybe I could learn before getting trounced in my next debate?

Newbies tend to post a little, debate four or five times, and leave. Terrible mistake. I made it, too. Put your heart into it, and stick around.

You might as well; this site is like hard cocaine. Once you join, if you don't leave right away, you're hooked for life. No-one ever truly escapes.

"Abandon hope, all ye who enter here..."
Cavete mea inexorabilis legiones mimus!