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Voting Discussion: Past, Present, and Future

airmax1227
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2/7/2016 3:06:02 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
In an effort to facilitate a productive discussion about voting and vote moderation on the site, I have decided to provide as comprehensive a look at voting and vote moderation as I can. To that end, I will arrange this thread to discuss voting past, present and future. I will do my best to provide my thoughts on each of these areas, to best explain where we have been, why it has brought us where we are, and what the plans are for the future. Some of these thoughts will be a bit scattered in these areas, but the intent is to touch on the way voting used to be, how vote moderation procedures are done now, and what we can do to improve things in the future. In addition, I have touched on several aspects of voting that come up from time to time, simply for the sake of addressing those issues in a clear and official manner.

I hope you will conclude reading this thread with a better understanding for the way things were, but more importantly, understand why things are the way they are now. With that greater understanding, I hope everyone will have a greater ability to provide productive feedback, and constructive criticism. Furthermore, through that understanding and this discussion, I hope that we can optimize vote moderation in a way that will facilitate the most enjoyment for the greatest number of people.
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airmax1227
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2/7/2016 3:12:49 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
Voting Past:

There's a lot of material to cover here, so please excuse me for simplifying, or outright missing, some aspects of the way debate voting has evolved on the site over the years. Please feel free to add anything you feel is important to note about voting in the past, since I will just be hitting on the major points necessary here.

The 7 Point System


This is one of the crucial aspects of voting on the sites that is well intended, can act as a method to encourage fairness, but also potentially encourages the very worst type of voting.

The idea here, is that through having a weighted system that allow voters to award debaters based on things like conduct and grammar, that debaters would be encouraged to better perform in these areas. To the extent that debaters are cognizant of this fact and that they do their best to source their arguments, write properly, and display good conduct, this system of voting is hugely successful.

To the extent that this system can be abused, which has been the case for the majority of the sites existence, this system acts as a way where voters can unfairly and arbitrarily award points to whichever side they like. Ultimately, it is debatable whether the pros of this system (flexible point awarding) outweighs the cons of this system (easily abused), and that debate utlimately led to the up/down type of voting system (something I'll touch on in a later section). Suffice it to say, it's important to be cognizant of the inherent flaws built-it to this system. While we would all like voters to be fair and honest in their voting, this historically hasn't been the case, and voters have been forced to vote based on the conventions of the site. Whether this means voting all 7 points for ones self (as used to be standard (when self-voting was allowed) as it was assumed both sides would do this), voting all 7 points for the side the voter thought won since the other side would do the same, or simply just awarding 7 points for the side of the resolution the voter agreed with.

To put it simply, this former era of voting was open to all manner of abuses. Since any voter could simply vote all 7 points arbitrarily, it mostly defeated the entire point of the system. While some voters certainly only gave the points that were appropriate, or some may have voted more creatively (perhaps giving 4 points to one side and 3 to another in a close debate), these are exceptions rather than the norm, but also reflect part of the problem inasmuch as the former example represented a deficit of points for the perceived winner (as other voters would give the other side 7 for the sake of it) and a misuse (however well intended) of the system in the latter example.

RFDs


In part to combat this problem, but also to provide more content and feedback to debaters, RFDs (Reasons for decision) were eventually added. This forced (if RFDs were made mandatory for that debate) voters to explain their vote. Now, if a voter was voting for Pro, they had to explain why. While this was a great new feature of the site, it was also easily abused since no enforceable standard was adopted. An RFD could consist of anything, and any number of points could still be awarded, meaning the system was still too arbitrary, and the winner of debates often came down to which side gained the most votebombs (VBs - votes unfairly awarding too many points.).

Counter Voting


To combat votebombs, members would take it upon themselves to counter vote (vote an equal amount for the other side) any vote they thought was unfair. This is, of course, the natural evolution of a system which requires concerned individuals to counter that which is perceived as unfair.

The problem with this is that the system becomes largely chaotic. Counter votes could be placed simply for ideological reasons - rather than based on resolving a clearly unfair vote. We then get situations where counters are countered, and counters on counters are countered and so on. This ultimately then becomes a race for which debater will get the most people to place a vote on their side, and these votes needn't have any particular merit, other than to be justified by whatever can be at the moment. The problem with this should be very obvious, and while this system of voting that required almost no effort, consisted of votes that didn't provide any reasonable feedback, and often just contained votes stating ideology, did increase the volume of votes, debaters are justified in feeling that these voting free-for-alls made the results of debates more random than they needed to be.

At this point I want to point out that there is a decent argument in favor of this type of an anarchic voting system. While a majority of votes may lack any substance, there is an argument to be made that the volume of votes should favor the side that actually won. If one is going to make an argument for a less strict system than we have now, it's worth keeping this in mind. The other benefits of this is that members can enjoy voting more easily (In other words, putting less thought and less time into their votes) and debaters can benefit from seeing more votes on their debates. The problems are of course what I've described above, but a balance between permissiveness and reasonable standards is what is sought on this issue.

The current standards, in their simplest terms, have been designed specifically to mitigate the very worst of what is described above, and that is why (again, describing it in it's most basic way) the standard is that a voter 'must explain every point awarded'. In theory, this standard is supposed to prevent a voter from just throwing in a random S&G or conduct point. This removes the most prevalent abuses of this voting system, which prevents an ideological voter from just throwing in extra points, or a lazy voter from just voting 7 points without explaining it. Furthermore, the standard is also supposed to allow an impartial third party (a moderator) to determine the validity of votes so that debates don't become a back and forth of counters and counter counters. There is a bit more to this, but I'll touch on that in a later section.

For now, it's important to recognize the intent of the voting standards. If you disagree with what I have said above in describing the intent or the results of this standard, that's perfectly fine, and I hope you will provide thoughtful feedback about it.

To reiterate, it's very easy to place a vote without any thought put into it, and while some voters might find it fun to offer their opinion on a resolution, or the actual debate, in the form of a vote, I believe it's important to note that voting is not ultimately intended for the gain of the voter. Debaters put a lot of time into their debates, and votes are the way in which they gain feedback, and hopefully conclude their efforts in results reflecting the actual debate. The quickest way to alienate people on this site is to be a lazy or ideological voter and simply vote your thoughts on the resolution, to award unfair points, or to simply vote with an RFD that doesn't explain anything. Again, the standards in place are designed to mitigate that in the best way possible, but further to reduce the unfortunate history of vote related drama in the sites history.
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airmax1227
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2/7/2016 3:17:13 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
Vote Related Drama

Regardless of how many rules are put in place, or whatever policies and standards we apply to voting; drama, conflict and disagreements are going to happen. That's just part of the reality of a group of people - especially when those people are passionate about something, and especially when those people are all inclined to argue about it. DDO will inevitably have drama in many ways, and voting will always be one area in which there are disagreements between members, and sometimes those disagreements will manifest in public in very unfortunate ways.

That said, the types of voting related issues in DDO's past pretty well eclipses any drama that has happened during the entire time most current members have been members of the site.

The evolution of the voting system led to organized efforts to make voting more "fair" through the eyes of those attached to that particular agenda. Groups like the CWO persisted, and then controversy led to counters of them, and ultimately to The Cleaners and the types of controversy I believe has been unseen since then. Vote bombers were persistent, would create multi accounts for that purpose, and though this reflects a greater issue with a more anarchic moderation style of the site back then, the direct relation to voting can't be ignored. It was only a matter of time until some member motivated enough would turn to vigilante justice to discourage members perpetuating these types of problems, and that ultimately culminated in even more drama and conflict.

It can certainly be argued that drama is good for the site to some degree, and I'm not going to disagree with that in principle. It is however difficult for me to simply disregard attempts at order and a method for pursuing justice and fairness in favor of a system whereby members can only attempt to gain a preferable outcome by creating hostile threads and getting into flame wars unlikely to lead to any positive results whatsoever.

I understand if you disagree, and feel free to share your thoughts on that.

So with that said, I will wrap this "voting past" section with a summary. Current vote moderation is designed to mitigate the ideological and lazy voting inevitable to voting on the site. By having a standard, which in its most basic definition, simply asks that members explain all points they award, it is my opinion that voting will be more fair, will more likely lead to productive feedback from voters, and will more likely lead to a debate resulting in a win for the side that debated better. Furthermore, the vote moderation policies mitigate the unnecessary drama caused by the conflicts of voting, and provide members with reasonable recourse should they feel a vote is unfair.

Again, the entire purpose of this thread is to gain feedback so that we can adjust voting moderation standards, policies and procedures to best comply with what the membership feels is optimal. So if you disagree with anything I have said so far, or would like to offer any feedback or suggestions, you are strongly encouraged to voice your thoughts.
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airmax1227
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2/7/2016 3:30:20 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
Vote Moderation Present

I've already touched on why vote moderation approaches the standards the way it does in the previous section, so now I will touch on the specifics of how vote moderation procedure actually works.

Every evening I go through the sites reports, and every* vote that is reported is posted into a PM that includes myself, the vote moderator (currently Whiteflame) and the deputy vote moderator (currently Blade-of-Truth).

*I should point out at this point that there is a limitation on votes that are reported. Vote moderation does not review votes from before the current voting standards were established. If you see a vote bomb from 2 years ago and think it should be removed, while you would be justified in feeling this way, there's no way for us to fairly apply a standard that didn't exist at the time - meaning, votes from the vote bombing/counter VBing era are there forever and wont be removed. Further, we also limit what votes we will review by applying a statute of limitations on all votes to approximately one month (there are exceptions in the gray area and for debates still in the voting period). The reason for this is that we have to draw a line somewhere, and month one is as good an arbitrary line as any. Furthermore, vote moderation is first and foremost intended as a way for debaters who feel they have been voted against unfairly, to have a reasonable way to seek recourse. It is reasonable to expect that someone who has had a vote placed unfairly against them, to report that vote within a month.

Votes that are reported from before the standards were in place, or that are older than a month on a debate with a closed voting period, are dismissed summarily, and no review of them will ever take place, and the vote moderator will be unaware that they were ever reported. This ultimately means that something like a couple dozen or so votes reported will not be posted to the vote moderation PM, and no record of that report will be kept by vote moderation.

With that clarified, I will detail how vote reviews take place. As mentioned above, every evening I go through the sites reports and post the reported votes into the vote moderation PM. Vote report submissions look as follows:

....

Link to debate

-Member who placed the vote-

Member who reported the vote(any comments made by the reporting party)

....
_________

So the following is what an actual vote report submission looks like (this is an actual case for review, though the reporter's name has been changed):

....

https://www.debate.org...

-Airmax1227-

Member1234(The voter is a troll)

....

On an average evening, there will be a half dozen to a dozen total votes reported (though most will be reported multiple times, so it's a bit time consuming to go through all of them, regardless of how many unique vote reports there are), sometimes there are only a few, sometimes there are many more.

Once all of the vote reports are posted to the vote moderation PM, the vote moderator then goes through all of those votes at their earliest convenience. This can sometimes vary based on when the vote moderator can get to them, but in most cases, the votes are reviewed within the next few hours (and in nearly all cases, votes are therefore reported, posted and reviewed within 24 hours)

Once the voting moderator has reviewed the votes, they post them with the results of that review. In the case of the above, the review of the above would look like the following:

https://www.debate.org...

https://www.debate.org...

*******************************************************************
>Reported vote: airmax1227// Mod action: NOT Removed<

3 points to Con (Arguments). RFD in comments. Short version: the crux of this debate came down to Con sufficiently explaining that the treaty has a significant chance of success, and that while Pro effectively shows we should reasonably be concerned, it is not enough to overcome this opportunity to effect the status quo. Con further argues the point that even if some of those concerns argued by Pro come to fruition, there are provisions within the treaty to mitigate the negative consequences. Ultimately then it's hard to concur that the treaty is a mistake, based on the arguments presented in this debate. Argument points to Con.

[*Reason for non-removal*] This vote is more than sufficient, exhaustively analyzing the arguments and showcasing a strong comprehension of the debate. And no, he is not a troll.
************************************************************************

On an average night, as mentioned above, there will be around a half dozen to a dozen of these vote review results posted by the vote moderator. Once they are posted to the vote moderation thread, I then go through those vote review results to make sure they are accurate to the standards and for technical issues. Regarding the former, this is pretty straight forward. I can look at the RFD and see whether or not it complied with the standards. It's not too common that reviewing the review requires even skimming the debate since, firstly, the vote moderator has already done so, and secondly, the standards generally objectively apply to the content of the RFD itself. This is important since accusations of some type of ideological bias don't really even make a lot of sense since the individual (usually myself) making the final call on removal of the vote, rarely knows what that person was actually voting on - since that is rarely actually relevant. I'll expand on this a bit later.

As for the second aspect regrading technical issues, since we review so many votes on a regular basis, it's to be expected that occasionally something can be missed. Perhaps a result from the vote moderator was in error because the vote was beyond the statute of limitations, or it was a troll debate, or the wrong RFD was listed by the vote or any other reason. This final review by myself lets us catch those rare instances. On occasion those errors get through, but based on the volume of reviews those are most certainly the exception by any standard.

Once I have looked through all of the reviews, which is generally a pretty quick process, I go through and delete the appropriate votes, make notes regarding any complications, and remove voting privileges where recommended as appropriate. This is usually done when a member has had several votes removed and displays no understanding for the standards. I'll touch on this in a bit more detail later.

Just a note on the example above: The vote used as an example here was a vote I placed. This is an inherent conflict of interest. In these cases, the final call on these votes is removed from the individual who placed the vote. So in cases where the Vote Moderator's vote is reported, that vote's review is done by myself or the deputy. Similarly it would be the vote moderator's final call on a vote I placed (like the one above) or a vote placed by the deputy.
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airmax1227
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2/7/2016 3:38:58 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
Once all of the reviews have been posted, and the result of the reviews have been posted (that they have been deleted, or a correction has been made etc), the deputy vote moderator posts that they have sent friend requests to those that have had votes/voting privileges removed (since the average member has messages blocked to everyone but friends), and/or contacted those members via PM, and/or an update regarding contact they have had with those members, and that they have updated the spreadsheet keeping track of all removed votes and the members who need to be contacted about their removed votes and/or voting privileges.

The goal here, and as such the main responsibility of the deputy voting moderator, is to keep in contact with members who have had votes removed (so that they can revote), or voting privileges removed (so that they can get them back), or to have the voting standards explained to them (so that they can place proper votes).

At some point following my confirmation regarding the vote removals/non-removals, the vote moderator then posts the results of that review in the debate in which it was placed explaining the reason for removal or non-removal.

This whole process takes a few hours every evening. Votes are generally posted by 8pm central, with the comments about those votes being removed/not removed being posted by 10-11 pm central. This time can vary, especially on certain days, and weekends, but that's the average time frame. The important thing is that outside of extenuating circumstances, every vote reported is acknowledged and reviewed if appropriate, within 24 hours.

So that's policy and procedure, the standards have already been mentioned in short, and a more in-depth explanation of those standards can be read in the "Voting thread" stickied in the main forum.

Vote Moderator Bias


I want to touch on this again, since it comes up every so often. I alluded to this just above, but I feel it's worth expanding on. I want to say that in very clear language, the vote moderation team (whoever it happens to be made up of at any time) does not care about the ideological content of the debate or the vote in question. While I understand the desire to believe this, especially with the knowledge that as people we all have some sort of bias, it can not be overstated that vote moderation does not have any desire to pursue any personal agenda regarding votes, in an effort to see the side they agree with win. Every head vote moderator to this point (Bluesteel, F-16, Whiteflame) has read so many debates, and been involved in debate to an extent, that separating their personal beliefs and biases from their responsibilities as vote moderator is intuitive. Their reaction to every debate, even the most controversial, is mostly one of indifference and simply reading it for the sake of reading it, and nothing else.

Even if this wasn't the case, the system procedures are designed in such a way that any bias should be simple enough to notice, and any of the other 2 individuals involved would opine that a vote review was less than accurate. This is especially true in the final vote review (the review of the review) where the debate itself, and the side in which the voter voted for is almost always entirely irrelevant (and thus unknown), thus any ideological sway is extremely unlikely.

To further explain this, I will provide actual vote review results (which are then reviewed by me for final deletion) to show why bias isn't really an issue for the most part. The following reviews are all real, and were all placed into the comment sections of debates. I have removed the name of the voter so that no one is being unfairly called out here though. These are also all going to be average vote report review results picked at random. This should show, to some degree (this isn't scientific obviously, but should suffice for this point) that the average vote review result, doesn't require knowledge of any position displayed.

1:

*******************************************************************
>Reported vote: member123// Mod action: Removed<

5 points to Pro (Arguments, Sources). Reasons for voting decision: I felt like I was watching an LD debate. I hate the idea but I have to admit pro had better argumentation and sources.

[*Reason for removal*] Not an RFD, merely restates the decision and the voter's views on the way the debate went rather than evaluating the arguments. Doesn't explain arguments or sources.
************************************************************************

2:

*******************************************************************
>Reported vote: member123// Mod action: Removed<

7 points to Pro. Reasons for voting decision: Con tried to make up people profile and scenarios to go with them, although they were a good attempt, it is a farcry from realistic and his only rebuttle for getting called out on it was basically saying "pro is stupid for not being able to understand" cons scenarios sound like they are coming from a movie. Shooting at a gun range and playing video games is not enough to keep you calm under a surprise attack, even regular military a surprise attack still affects you - speaking from combat medical experience. The drop in suicide rate is Australia is surprising which really caught my attention. I've known too many people that committed suicide by guns. And that 74% drop is too big to say it's not beneficial to citizens.

[*Reason for removal*] The voter doesn't explain conduct, S&G, or sources.
************************************************************************

3:

*******************************************************************
>Reported vote: member123// Mod action: NOT Removed<

1 points to Con (Conduct). Reasons for voting decision: Pro ff a round, so conduct to Con.

[*Reason for non-removal*] Voters are allowed to solely award points for conduct if they wish, and this does so validly.
************************************************************************

4:

*******************************************************************
>Reported vote: member123// Mod action: NOT Removed<

5 points to Pro (Arguments, Sources). Reasons for voting decision: Sources go to Pro due to him being the only one who used them in this debate and had used them to show a study that turned out to be a key point in this debate. Pro brings up this study that shows a corrilation between guns and low crime. Con's response was a trying to apply Pro's logic to other items, whether to ban a plane, car, or whatever simply because it could kill you. Pro attacks this by showing that people are generally violent and this can be solved if we take guns away from these violent people. The debate seems to move from "Gun Control" to "Gun Ban." I have to give the debate argument points to Pro on the grounds that not only did he argue on topic, but he refuted all of Con's points and more. Spelling and Grammar is tied since both users had poor grammar. Conduct is tied as both users were both well behaved. With a 5-0 score, I give this debate to Pro.

[*Reason for non-removal*] The voter clearly explains source points. While arguments are somewhat thinly analyzed, they are specifically addressed and therefore sufficient.
************************************************************************

5:

*******************************************************************
>Reported vote: member123// Mod action: Removed<

3 points to Pro (Arguments). Reasons for voting decision: I agreed with Pro before and after the debate

[*Reason for removal*] The voter doesn't explain why Pro's arguments were better, merely providing their viewpoint on the topic and saying it didn't change.
************************************************************************
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airmax1227
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2/7/2016 3:44:01 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
So while the above isn't an exact reflection on the totality of vote report review results, those are the typical vote review types and results, and it should be clear that from simply reading the point allocation, RFD provided, and review result, that no other information is needed. To reiterate, even if the voting moderator were pursuing some type of agenda in line with his personal views, this would be noticed in the final review based on the objective reality of what makes a vote sufficient or not. The standards are what they are specifically in part just for this reason. The standards are not all encompassing, and certainly the standards (in theory) could demand excellent RFDs beyond what is expected currently, containing more specific requirements, but instead, they ask simply that a voter comply with an objective standard, and that standard is in almost all cases very easy to recognize with a minimum of knowledge (or even no knowledge) of what is the subject matter on what is being voted on. This is intentional, and I believe very much necessary.

I want to stress that even though I have just minimized the difficulty in recognizing the validity per the standards of any particular vote, that reviewing all the reported votes, determining their validity, and all of the other aspects of vote moderation are time-consuming, often difficult and require commitment, reliability, and responsibility that can not be overstated. I do not want it to appear that I am minimizing the challenge facing any vote moderator. It is, in its totality, a very challenging endeavor that I imagine very few would do for very long.

To summarize, vote moderation is an often difficult and time consuming thing, but the policies, voting standards and procedures that have been put in place over time make it very unlikely that personal bias is ever a factor in determining whether a vote is removed or not.

Freedom of Speech


I'm going to touch on this just briefly, since it has come up several times in the past year or so.

Your vote is not protected speech on this website. Your speech is not protected on a privately owned website, and while the US government will not prosecute you for what you say here (since that is what the first amendment actually protects you from), this does not mean that anything you say or any way you vote, is protected from scrutiny or the rules of the site.

You can not claim freedom of speech to protest your vote being removed - I suppose you can, but it doesn't really make any sense. You can not sue me or anyone else for removing your vote. Your votes, and your speech in general, must comply with the sites rules, and any site moderation related consequence from failing to do so, is not infringing on your first amendment rights.

If you really are very passionate about the first amendment, please learn what it actually is, and how it actually applies. Do not demean it by trying to apply it in ways that make no sense whatsoever.

Rate Of Properly Reviewed Votes


I've seen it mentioned a couple times that the percentage of votes reviewed properly has decreased from when Bluesteel and I enacted the current vote moderation policies and procedures, and Bluesteel was the acting vote moderator.

I considered posting the last few months vote review results to show that claims of an error rate of something like 20% or greater is entirely ridiculous, given that something like probably close to 80% of votes are objectively bad votes anyway (really based on any standard other than none), but have decided against this due to the time consuming aspect of providing this, those removals are public anyway, the ludicrous nature of these claims, and the fact that the burden of proof isn't on me.

I am genuinely looking for reasonable feedback, and criticism of vote moderation in general is certainly more than welcome. If you believe the standards are too strict, let us know. If you believe that other standards would be better, please share what you think those should be. If you believe that the anarchic system described much earlier is better, please feel free to share that while knowing that such a view is respected by me - honestly, I understand that view and am happy to engage in a discussion on returning to that.

If however you believe that vote moderation quality has decreased from when it began, I challenge you to provide sufficient evidence that this is the case. Vote moderation has maintained essentially the same exact standards and policies since it began, hundreds of votes are reviewed every month, and while some errors are made, I don't believe the quality of vote moderation has changed in any significant way - if you disagree, please provide more than an assertion saying as much.
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2/7/2016 3:51:36 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
Aspects of voting issues, voting privileges removal, policy and procedures

There are many debatable aspects of the current status of things, and certainly various areas which could be improved upon - that's the entire point of this thread, and your feedback and criticism is entirely necessary to improve vote moderation in many areas. With that said, I want to point out areas in the current state of things that, I believe, have meant significant improvement. In doing so I want to contrast many of the difficulties of the former state with the current, but also point out that if we were to start from scratch and technical issues were no obstacle, there are dozens of ideas that we could implement - but that's not the case. While I appreciate technical suggestions, we need to recognize that most advancements of vote moderation are going to be confined to policy, procedure, and standards, and not site coding changes or additional features. With that said, I do want to mention site functions that have changed things for the better and brought us to where we are today.

One of the biggest problems with the former anarchic systems described in the Voting Past section, was with regards to what to do with people who just constantly vote bombed debates. The immediate result was counter voting, which dealt with the obvious bad votes, but it didn't deal with those who didn't care about the integrity of debates/voting, and would do it as a matter of personal interest, whether out of boredom, trolling or any other personal motivation is specific to the individual, but it doesn't matter. These individuals activity, in these objective cases, were objectively bad for the site. So what could be done about them?

I do believe that the previous moderator would contact these individuals and tell them to vote better, and a lack of compliance with this would lead to a ban. I too followed this as moderator, and those who refused to comply with some degree of fairness in their votes, and who constantly would vote bomb debates were banned as well. One of the most significant changes to this was the addition to "vote banning" in the moderation options. No longer did I have to ban someone for being a detrimental voter, but instead, ones voting privileges could simply be taken away. I can not over emphasize how important I think this is, and how the punishment far better reflects the crime. I didn't want to ban anyone for poor voting, but with a refusal on the member's behalf to comply with some standard of voting, there was little choice. Now, with the ability to stop a member's ability to vote, moderation can simply stop the negative aspects of a member's activity where it matters.

How this directly pertains to current voting moderation is the policy to remove a member's voting privileges when they have had a sufficient number of votes removed, and show a clear lack of understanding for the sites voting standards. In other words, when someone has placed around 3 votes that have been removed that clearly show a lack of understanding for the standards, their voting privileges are removed, and they are contacted about it.

Members who have their voting privileges removed are then given the opportunity to get them back through the procedure designed specifically for that. This involves the member posting 3 RFDs in the comments of "Decent" debates. As long as these RFDs are sufficient, and these debates are of a reasonably high quality (we don't want vote comments on just troll debates, or 2 round spam debates) then the member can have their voting privileges returned.

I certainly want feedback on this procedure. In my experience this has worked out rather well. Newer members without knowledge of the standards are inclined to vote poorly, and frequently. This procedure stop this deluge of poor votes, and insists that these members show a proper understanding for how to vote before they can again. In many cases, these members just wanted to vote in a lazy manner for their own entertainment - something I think most agree that we shouldn't allow (though let me know if you disagree) - and therefore would never take the time to place a few proper votes to get their voting privileges back. In my opinion, this is for the best since these voters would ultimately have had a negative impact on debates/voting anyway. On the other hand, a decent amount of new members appreciate having the standards explained to them, go through the returning voting privileges procedure and become decent voters. In many cases they simply said they didn't realize there was a standard (something we understand, which is why we contact them directly to explain it) and are happy to comply and vote as they can.

I believe this procedure accomplishes two major things. 1) Those that just wish to vote ideologically or lazily have their voting privileges removed and can no longer negatively effect debates through voting, and 2) Those that wish to be decent voters are explained the standards and can then be respected, high quality voters.

Again, I'd like to hear whatever you have to say about this policy. Certainly there are areas it can be improved, and if you have any ideas on how to do so, I would very much like to hear it.

I don't think that it can be said too often that voting is one of those areas on the site whereby a member can earn or lose respect very quickly. If you are a good voter than places many thoughtful votes on debates, then members - even those whom you vote again - will respect you, and so to will the community in general. Conversely, if you just want to vote for your own entertainment, vote your ideology, be lazy with your voting, and provide no feedback on the debate itself, then you will find yourself very quickly as one of the least respected member's of this site.

I understand that voting can be fun, and we want it to be one of the fun features of this site, but its most important aspect is as a method of fairly determining the results of debates, and providing feedback to the debaters. If your vote is entirely intended for you to state your opinions - especially to advocate some particular ideology you may have - then you are doing it incorrectly. By having the ability to remove voting privileges, vote moderation is able to quell the large number of people that simply want to use votes for this purpose, and I happen to believe that this is a good thing. If you don't, you are more than welcome to believe this, and are encouraged to say so and explain your reasoning.
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airmax1227
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2/7/2016 3:58:43 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
Significant changes

In an ideal situation, I would have been able to fully implement about a dozen changes to voting on the site - and I tried. One of the major aspects to this was in the form of a voting leaderboard, that not only would have displayed quantity of votes, but more importantly, the quality of votes places by a particular voter. This system would have allowed members to place up/down votes on votes in debates. This would have created a weighted effect for certain voters, and democratically removed the effects of votes that were viewed overwhelmingly as poor. There were many other aspects to this to deal with some of the problematic issues, but that's the gist. This was intended to be phased in by taking each step in making these changes, and ultimately bring to fruition a dramatic change to things. The above idea was the result of many discussions both private and public, and at the time there was a complex outline for how everything would work and how to get it to work. Suffice it to say that, while being overly ambitious is never a bad thing, this change was in the end, overly ambitious and by the day my time as membership president had ended, I wasn't able to achieve it.

I was however able to implement the early stages of what I had envisioned, by having a voting leaderboard added, and by necessity, the ability for moderators to remove votes. While this was short of the entirety of what I wanted, it was in the end the most significant change to voting. The leaderboard was added, encourage members to vote to climb the leaderboard, and predictably, members began placing more votes of varying quality, or just voted (and continue to vote) on every forfeited or easy debate they can. While there's nothing wrong with that, quantity certainly doesn't mean quality, and the encouraging of a lot of votes meant that it was necessary to add the ability to remove the oncoming deluge of spam/bad votes simultaneously. In other words, one could not be added without the other, lest we just concede to more voting being the ideal, and ignore the inevitable decrease in quality. Certainly the view that, more is better and forget about the quality of them, is a valid one, and feel free to say as much.

As mentioned above, the intent was for this to be a first step among several others, though without knowing how likely, or when, those other steps would be coming, it was important to implement vote moderation alternatives in the interim. This eventually became known as the "voting review board". Shortly after the new functions became available, I posted a thread asking for whoever was willing to volunteer to be put into a PM, where all votes reported would be posted, and those members could opine on whether they should be removed or not. Anyone who wanted to be a part of this process was welcome to, and everyone who expressed interest was added to the PM.

The standards of voting was essentially as it is today, 'explain every point awarded', though those standards weren't explained in much detail beyond that, to the detriment of this system. Furthermore, this system wasn't well publicized, and there were certainly several problematic aspects with it. Eventually I decided to drop that system, and for a time I unilaterally handled votes, by just removing the worst votes reported - again, those were determined by the simple standard 'explain every point awarded'. I pretty much let slide every grey area, and members with this understanding could and did take advantage of it by awarding extra points like S&G and Conduct without explaining them fully. There was certainly plenty of controversy in the VRB model, and while there wasn't much (if any) in the unilateral model following it, it wasn't as consistent, fair, or open as the model we have now.

In any case, the current model is the result of much trial and error, discussions both public and private, and an acknowledgement of what tends to work and not work. Certainly, I realize, there are disagreements with aspects of this, but it's important to recognize that there are specific reasons for the way things are done, and when offering feedback or criticism it's important to keep this in mind. If you don't like X, feel free to say so, but recognize it probably exists for reason Y, and if you are going to suggest removing X, please also offer a suggestion for how to deal with the results of Y.

Up/Down voting, Judge voting

I believe the next most important additions to voting have been in the form of the up/down voting system and the judge voting system. These both give a lot of flexibility to voting, and should allow any debater to hone the exact standards of voting that they would like on their debates.

I mention this because right now, debaters have the ability to determine, more than at any other time, exactly how strict they want the standards of voting to be on their debates.

If you want to go with quantity over quality, you have the option to choose "NO RFD" for votes. Voters will then just vote however they feel, and since voters love to vote without having to put too much thought into it, you will be assured many votes. If this is what you want, that option is readily available. Furthermore, if you don't want "no effort" votes to unfairly be weighted by the 7 point system (and VBs), you could choose "No RFD, up/down" voting. This creates the easiest way for a debate to be decided simply based on which side gets more voters, without the concern that either side has voters more likely to write proper RFDs or give "bonus points" to either side.

The next step to higher standards is the up/down voting option with RFDs. This removes the 7 point system, meaning members can't juice their votes with extra points, and merely have to provide some simple explanation for why the side they voted for won. It should be easy enough to provide some explanation, and this system provides a fair and easy enough voting method.

If you want to go further and make sure every vote placed on your debate is of high quality, you can even nominate members whom you know will place high quality votes, by selecting them as judges. This method is the most restrictive, but it assures high quality votes, and no risk of any types of troll-voting.

Finally, we now have the option to include even greater standards in the form of an opt-in guide created by the Bsh1 administration. All debaters have to do is link to the guide in the first round of the debate, and any vote not complying with this higher standard will be removed.

With all that said, it should be clear that voting on this site has an almost limitless amount of options for any particular preference - from the most lenient to the most strict. I do believe that the only thing preventing the ideal for every debater is a lack of understanding and knowledge of this, and education and awareness programming is something being worked on and I'll talk about that later.
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airmax1227
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2/7/2016 4:07:39 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
I believe that touches on all of the current issues I can think of. If you have any questions, or need any clarification regarding what I have stated above please ask. More importantly, now that I have explained some of the reasons for why things currently are done the way they are, please provide feedback and criticism with the above explanations in mind. Truly, all criticism is welcome and encouraged. If you want to voice approval of current vote moderation efforts, feel free to do so as well.

The entire goal here is to lay out exactly where we have been, where we are now, how, what and why, so that anyone that has any issues, feedback, criticisms, or wants to contribute something productive to voting on this site has the knowledge to do so in the most productive way possible. I'm sure there are some aspects of the past and present that I have missed, but I believe I have hit on the most important points. If you have any questions about something in the past, or want to inquire about something done currently, feel free and encouraged to ask.

Voting Future

As I have said repeatedly, the entire point of this thread is to improve the prospects for voting in the future. Through your feedback and criticisms, things will be considered and possibly adjusted to better fit the needs of the site and better cater to the enjoyment of everyone. Only by knowing how you feel about voting moderation and voting in general can we begin to make the appropriate changes. So if you don't like something, please say so. If you do like something, feel free to say so as well.

With that said, there are certain things already planned to better accommodate the current state of things. Bsh1 and I plan to work on education and awareness programs. The former is intended to provide members (especially new ones) with information and guidance that will facilitate making them the best voters possible. The latter is intended to better expose members to the standards so that they have a better awareness of what good voting is, and what the sites standards are.

To further pursue voting and vote moderation awareness, Imabench and I are currently working on a series of videos that are intended to explain to members the various aspects of vote moderation and voting. While these videos are still early in their development, anyone familiar with any previous Imabench/Airmax production should be excited about them - I know I am. If you have any suggestions for what we should include in these videos, please share.

Conclusion


I happen to believe that the current state of vote moderation deals with some of the worst aspects of voting in a fair, open and efficient way. This system has been designed through many iterations, a lot of feedback, and trying many different things. I believe we have found an ideal way to deal with voting problems so that voting is more fair, and more importantly, gives a method for members to pursue a fair and reasonable approach to votes they feel are problematic. I believe this, because this has been what the majority of members have told me, both publicly and privately. I also believe it because I experience how well this system works on a daily basis.

But what I currently believe does NOT matter. What matters is what you believe, and this thread is intended for you to state your feelings on all things voting related and especially as it pertains to vote moderation.

Do not feel discouraged to voice your opinion. Whatever you feel is perfectly fine, and it will be taken seriously.

All I ask is that you familiarize yourself with most of what I have written above. I realize I just wrote something very lengthy, and it may take you more than one sitting to get through it, but I strongly encourage you to understand where we have come from in terms of voting, and why we are where we are now so that you can be better prepared to offer reasonable criticism and feedback. I didn't write this thread for my own sake, but for yours. I want to make vote moderation (and other aspects of the site that will in the future get similar treatment) as good and acceptable as possible. Your feedback and thoughts are 100% necessary to facilitate that, so opine as much as you can.

As I mentioned earlier, while I appreciate all feedback, please restrict feedback to policy, standard, and procedural things. I realize that there are technical things that could be changed on the site that could have a dramatic impact for the better, and I assure you that I have likely thought of the same things you would suggest. I'd like to keep this discussion realistic, so suggestions of that nature aren't what I am looking for here.

I'd like to thank anyone who read this thread. I am hoping for a lengthy and productive discussion so that DDO can facilitate the enjoyment of the greatest number of its members. Your feedback and suggestions are strongly encouraged and I look forward to a productive discussion with as many of you as possible.

Thank you.

Airmax1227
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Briannj17
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2/7/2016 4:17:51 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/7/2016 4:07:39 AM, airmax1227 wrote:
I believe that touches on all of the current issues I can think of. If you have any questions, or need any clarification regarding what I have stated above please ask. More importantly, now that I have explained some of the reasons for why things currently are done the way they are, please provide feedback and criticism with the above explanations in mind. Truly, all criticism is welcome and encouraged. If you want to voice approval of current vote moderation efforts, feel free to do so as well.

The entire goal here is to lay out exactly where we have been, where we are now, how, what and why, so that anyone that has any issues, feedback, criticisms, or wants to contribute something productive to voting on this site has the knowledge to do so in the most productive way possible. I'm sure there are some aspects of the past and present that I have missed, but I believe I have hit on the most important points. If you have any questions about something in the past, or want to inquire about something done currently, feel free and encouraged to ask.

Voting Future

As I have said repeatedly, the entire point of this thread is to improve the prospects for voting in the future. Through your feedback and criticisms, things will be considered and possibly adjusted to better fit the needs of the site and better cater to the enjoyment of everyone. Only by knowing how you feel about voting moderation and voting in general can we begin to make the appropriate changes. So if you don't like something, please say so. If you do like something, feel free to say so as well.

With that said, there are certain things already planned to better accommodate the current state of things. Bsh1 and I plan to work on education and awareness programs. The former is intended to provide members (especially new ones) with information and guidance that will facilitate making them the best voters possible. The latter is intended to better expose members to the standards so that they have a better awareness of what good voting is, and what the sites standards are.

To further pursue voting and vote moderation awareness, Imabench and I are currently working on a series of videos that are intended to explain to members the various aspects of vote moderation and voting. While these videos are still early in their development, anyone familiar with any previous Imabench/Airmax production should be excited about them - I know I am. If you have any suggestions for what we should include in these videos, please share.

Conclusion


I happen to believe that the current state of vote moderation deals with some of the worst aspects of voting in a fair, open and efficient way. This system has been designed through many iterations, a lot of feedback, and trying many different things. I believe we have found an ideal way to deal with voting problems so that voting is more fair, and more importantly, gives a method for members to pursue a fair and reasonable approach to votes they feel are problematic. I believe this, because this has been what the majority of members have told me, both publicly and privately. I also believe it because I experience how well this system works on a daily basis.

But what I currently believe does NOT matter. What matters is what you believe, and this thread is intended for you to state your feelings on all things voting related and especially as it pertains to vote moderation.

Do not feel discouraged to voice your opinion. Whatever you feel is perfectly fine, and it will be taken seriously.

All I ask is that you familiarize yourself with most of what I have written above. I realize I just wrote something very lengthy, and it may take you more than one sitting to get through it, but I strongly encourage you to understand where we have come from in terms of voting, and why we are where we are now so that you can be better prepared to offer reasonable criticism and feedback. I didn't write this thread for my own sake, but for yours. I want to make vote moderation (and other aspects of the site that will in the future get similar treatment) as good and acceptable as possible. Your feedback and thoughts are 100% necessary to facilitate that, so opine as much as you can.

As I mentioned earlier, while I appreciate all feedback, please restrict feedback to policy, standard, and procedural things. I realize that there are technical things that could be changed on the site that could have a dramatic impact for the better, and I assure you that I have likely thought of the same things you would suggest. I'd like to keep this discussion realistic, so suggestions of that nature aren't what I am looking for here.

I'd like to thank anyone who read this thread. I am hoping for a lengthy and productive discussion so that DDO can facilitate the enjoyment of the greatest number of its members. Your feedback and suggestions are strongly encouraged and I look forward to a productive discussion with as many of you as possible.

Thank you.

Airmax1227
Debate.org Moderator

Airmax I am quite satisfied with the voting the way it is. I know the moderators can be trusted to come to a consensus that is the most correct. I have reported votes in the past and they all were responded to satisfactorily. The fact that this site has such a good system in place makes me wish to one day become a part of it. I wish to be a moderator one day. Until then I thank you for the success that the voting system has brought to this site, and the success that the cabinet(s) have brought. This is a place that I always look forward to coming too. (An addiction in a sense:-). Thank you very much.
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airmax1227
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2/7/2016 4:38:59 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/7/2016 4:17:51 AM, Briannj17 wrote:

Airmax I am quite satisfied with the voting the way it is. I know the moderators can be trusted to come to a consensus that is the most correct. I have reported votes in the past and they all were responded to satisfactorily. The fact that this site has such a good system in place makes me wish to one day become a part of it. I wish to be a moderator one day. Until then I thank you for the success that the voting system has brought to this site, and the success that the cabinet(s) have brought. This is a place that I always look forward to coming too. (An addiction in a sense:-). Thank you very much.

I appreciate that, thank you.

If you have any thoughts on particular areas that you think could use improvement, or (based on your positive feedback) areas where you think vote moderation is particularly excelling, feel free to offer some specifics.

In any case, I appreciate your feedback. Feel free to offer any other thoughts you might have.
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SeventhProfessor
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2/7/2016 4:42:47 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
Have I read any of these posts? No.

Do I know they're bad? Hell yes.
#UnbanTheMadman

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#BetOnThett

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imabench
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2/7/2016 4:49:17 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
Here's the TL;DR version for anyone who doesnt want to read it all:

At 2/7/2016 4:07:39 AM, airmax1227 wrote:

To further pursue voting and vote moderation awareness, Imabench and I are currently working on a series of videos that are intended to explain to members the various aspects of vote moderation and voting. While these videos are still early in their development, anyone familiar with any previous Imabench/Airmax production should be excited about them - I know I am. If you have any suggestions for what we should include in these videos, please share.
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PetersSmith
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2/7/2016 5:33:59 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
And this, my friends, is why mass action works http://www.debate.org.... Even Tyrants have to listen when their people rally against them. Marx said that when the revolution was imminent and necessary, the ruling class would have to decide whether to draw arms or lay them down. The Tyrant may finally be choosing the latter.
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whiteflame
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2/7/2016 7:28:54 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
I think this is a fantastic thread, and a fantastic opportunity.

Airmax laid out a lot of why vote moderation is the way it is today. Admittedly, I have not been with the site long enough to have seen all of these problems first-hand, but I've been made aware of them, and I know voting has come a long way since the early days of the site. I've seen it come even further since I joined. Airmax clearly put a lot of time into writing this up, and that effort certainly goes a long way towards explaining why vote moderation exists in its current form. I really appreciate that he took the time to write this, and I hope other members do as well.

The way to show your appreciation, guys, is to read it and give some response. Whether that response is positive or negative, it's something that Airmax and I will read and consider. We won't dismiss any ideas outright so long as you take the time to explain them and consider the context posted above. I know that it's a long post (I just read it in one sitting), but if you really feel that your ideas have merit, then you'll take that time. Airmax made this effort because he genuinely wants to crowdsource ideas on how to improve the site.

Many of you have been here a while and have seen the system evolve, watching as many of the pieces Airmax has talked about here came into being and went out of practice. You know how this works. You've been a part of it for long enough to understand how we moderate and why. If you've kept your opinions to yourself on it, don't be afraid to state them here. We would be glad to see all manner of responses, so long as they're constructive. If you've been vocal in the past, this is an opportunity to organize your thoughts and bring them to an open forum where they can be discussed.

Many of those reading this are likely rather new to the site. You bring outside experience, maybe from other debate sites, maybe from real life debate or other past knowledge. Let us know about what worked and what didn't in those circumstances. Just because you're new doesn't mean that your views will be disregarded as naive. You've got the vast majority of this site's background on voting written here, so acquaint yourselves with that history. If you're upset with voting moderation practices, this is your chance to explain why and have your voices heard.

We're all debaters here. Airmax, Blade-of-Truth and I are debaters as well, and we know how to accept criticism. That's a large part of why we've improved to where we are as debaters and voters, and why the site has continued to develop as it has. We're happy to accept support as well, but we're not looking for a pat on the back. We want honest opinions, and real suggestions based in the realities of the site. So please, add your thoughts, and we will give them their due.
PetersSmith
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2/7/2016 8:49:57 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
Alright, let me actually write something useful for once. I probably misread something here, but that up/down vote thing sounds really nice. My opinion probably doesn't matter since I never debate and can't even vote, but I don't like the 7-point voting system. It's really where all the problems seem to be stemming from her with the moderation. An up/down voting system is definitely interesting, especially with Max's tier idea. The first tier is the quantity over quality, people just "vote" for whomever. Then the second tier we have up/down voting with RFDs. And then the third tier up/down votings with RFDs and judges.

However, I would like to modify this a bit. The first tier is fine if you just want your debate voted on. For the second one, I most resonate with the polls section here. Let's say in a face-off poll you have two options, "yes" and "no". In general, in a poll people will just vote willy nilly, but some provide their explanations. What poll makers look for usually is the votes with the actual descriptions. So as an added tier we can make one where people "thumb up" certain RFDs that weigh extra (maybe to a max of five votes). This would encourage other users to make stronger RFDs to have their side win as well, yet we can also have guys vote without RFDs. So what I'm saying is that add a tier where some votes literally could count as more than one if their RFDs are really legit. Like you know how whiteflame makes those massive RFDs yet his vote only still counts as one (technically)? Well, his in this proposed tier would count as five. But of course we have to decide who decides how "good" an RFD is. We could let voters "vote" on RFDs, but the problem here would be spamming, although you could easily see which RFDs are being unjustly voted up and just remove them as troll votes. And if you would allow normal users to vote on RFDs, certainly don't let them be able to vote on two negs or two affs, only one on each side that they can choose to vote up. Or you could just have judges who could "rate" the RFDs and see if it warrants "bonus points".

You could even just have this system as another tier where there are no votes without RFDs. So that means everyone who votes has an RFD, and, depending on the method, some of those RFDs can be "worth" more than others if they're really good (kind of like opinion votes).

In sum, implement a possibility of votes on RFDs that could lead to additional points if they're really good, this will encourage better RFDs and also gives reason behind people writing lengthy RFDs. You could even have RFDs practically have their own comments attached to them too. That'd be interesting.

I wrote this at 4AM.
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airmax1227
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2/7/2016 9:34:55 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/7/2016 8:49:57 AM, PetersSmith wrote:
Alright, let me actually write something useful for once. I probably misread something here, but that up/down vote thing sounds really nice. My opinion probably doesn't matter since I never debate and can't even vote, but I don't like the 7-point voting system.

There are a lot of problems with the 7 point voting system, which were detailed above, and it's the reason the up/down voting system was eventually added. The 7-point system is inherently flawed, especially if no standards are even enforced while it is used. Unfortunately, it is still the system used most often, requiring the current vote moderation policies.

It's really where all the problems seem to be stemming from her with the moderation.

Yup, that's why it was the first portion and main focus of the "voting past" section of my OPs. If more members were to utilize up/down voting, and especially judge voting, then poor voting would be far less of an issue. The 7-point system does however seem to remain the most appealing, especially to new members, and therefore moderation has to accommodate that reality.

I imagine as part of the education/awareness programs in the near future, that encouraging (or at least making new members aware of them) of the use and benefits of other voting systems will be included.

An up/down voting system is definitely interesting, especially with Max's tier idea. The first tier is the quantity over quality, people just "vote" for whomever. Then the second tier we have up/down voting with RFDs. And then the third tier up/down votings with RFDs and judges.

I just want to point out that this isn't some kind of idea that I'm suggesting. This is the actual state of the site. We currently do have all of these option available, and members are free to use any combination of them right now. The point was that there is a lot of flexibility regarding the quality of voting on debates, members just have to be aware of how to optimize this to their preferences.

However, I would like to modify this a bit. The first tier is fine if you just want your debate voted on. For the second one, I most resonate with the polls section here. Let's say in a face-off poll you have two options, "yes" and "no". In general, in a poll people will just vote willy nilly, but some provide their explanations. What poll makers look for usually is the votes with the actual descriptions. So as an added tier we can make one where people "thumb up" certain RFDs that weigh extra (maybe to a max of five votes). This would encourage other users to make stronger RFDs to have their side win as well, yet we can also have guys vote without RFDs. So what I'm saying is that add a tier where some votes literally could count as more than one if their RFDs are really legit. Like you know how whiteflame makes those massive RFDs yet his vote only still counts as one (technically)? Well, his in this proposed tier would count as five. But of course we have to decide who decides how "good" an RFD is. We could let voters "vote" on RFDs, but the problem here would be spamming, although you could easily see which RFDs are being unjustly voted up and just remove them as troll votes. And if you would allow normal users to vote on RFDs, certainly don't let them be able to vote on two negs or two affs, only one on each side that they can choose to vote up. Or you could just have judges who could "rate" the RFDs and see if it warrants "bonus points".

You could even just have this system as another tier where there are no votes without RFDs. So that means everyone who votes has an RFD, and, depending on the method, some of those RFDs can be "worth" more than others if they're really good (kind of like opinion votes).

In sum, implement a possibility of votes on RFDs that could lead to additional points if they're really good, this will encourage better RFDs and also gives reason behind people writing lengthy RFDs. You could even have RFDs practically have their own comments attached to them too. That'd be interesting.

I addressed this specific idea (thumbing up/down good/bad votes) as part of this thread to explain that if we could implement new features requiring technical updates without concerns for what is realistic at the moment, that there are many changes and updates I would have made long ago. If this were realistic, this conversation wouldn't likely even be necessary. I appreciate you detailing your thoughts on that though, but technical updates are intentionally meant to be outside the scope of this discussion.

I wrote this at 4AM.

I appreciate you sharing your thoughts
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PetersSmith
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2/7/2016 9:42:48 AM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/7/2016 9:34:55 AM, airmax1227 wrote:
At 2/7/2016 8:49:57 AM, PetersSmith wrote:
Alright, let me actually write something useful for once. I probably misread something here, but that up/down vote thing sounds really nice. My opinion probably doesn't matter since I never debate and can't even vote, but I don't like the 7-point voting system.

There are a lot of problems with the 7 point voting system, which were detailed above, and it's the reason the up/down voting system was eventually added. The 7-point system is inherently flawed, especially if no standards are even enforced while it is used. Unfortunately, it is still the system used most often, requiring the current vote moderation policies.

It's really where all the problems seem to be stemming from her with the moderation.

Yup, that's why it was the first portion and main focus of the "voting past" section of my OPs. If more members were to utilize up/down voting, and especially judge voting, then poor voting would be far less of an issue. The 7-point system does however seem to remain the most appealing, especially to new members, and therefore moderation has to accommodate that reality.

I imagine as part of the education/awareness programs in the near future, that encouraging (or at least making new members aware of them) of the use and benefits of other voting systems will be included.

An up/down voting system is definitely interesting, especially with Max's tier idea. The first tier is the quantity over quality, people just "vote" for whomever. Then the second tier we have up/down voting with RFDs. And then the third tier up/down votings with RFDs and judges.

I just want to point out that this isn't some kind of idea that I'm suggesting. This is the actual state of the site. We currently do have all of these option available, and members are free to use any combination of them right now. The point was that there is a lot of flexibility regarding the quality of voting on debates, members just have to be aware of how to optimize this to their preferences.

However, I would like to modify this a bit. The first tier is fine if you just want your debate voted on. For the second one, I most resonate with the polls section here. Let's say in a face-off poll you have two options, "yes" and "no". In general, in a poll people will just vote willy nilly, but some provide their explanations. What poll makers look for usually is the votes with the actual descriptions. So as an added tier we can make one where people "thumb up" certain RFDs that weigh extra (maybe to a max of five votes). This would encourage other users to make stronger RFDs to have their side win as well, yet we can also have guys vote without RFDs. So what I'm saying is that add a tier where some votes literally could count as more than one if their RFDs are really legit. Like you know how whiteflame makes those massive RFDs yet his vote only still counts as one (technically)? Well, his in this proposed tier would count as five. But of course we have to decide who decides how "good" an RFD is. We could let voters "vote" on RFDs, but the problem here would be spamming, although you could easily see which RFDs are being unjustly voted up and just remove them as troll votes. And if you would allow normal users to vote on RFDs, certainly don't let them be able to vote on two negs or two affs, only one on each side that they can choose to vote up. Or you could just have judges who could "rate" the RFDs and see if it warrants "bonus points".

You could even just have this system as another tier where there are no votes without RFDs. So that means everyone who votes has an RFD, and, depending on the method, some of those RFDs can be "worth" more than others if they're really good (kind of like opinion votes).

In sum, implement a possibility of votes on RFDs that could lead to additional points if they're really good, this will encourage better RFDs and also gives reason behind people writing lengthy RFDs. You could even have RFDs practically have their own comments attached to them too. That'd be interesting.

I addressed this specific idea (thumbing up/down good/bad votes) as part of this thread to explain that if we could implement new features requiring technical updates without concerns for what is realistic at the moment, that there are many changes and updates I would have made long ago. If this were realistic, this conversation wouldn't likely even be necessary. I appreciate you detailing your thoughts on that though, but technical updates are intentionally meant to be outside the scope of this discussion.

I wrote this at 4AM.

I appreciate you sharing your thoughts

Okay, sorry...
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airmax1227
Posts: 13,240
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2/7/2016 12:03:07 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
Vote Moderation on forfeited debates

This is an issue that I failed to address here, and for the sake of this discussion being all-encompassing, I will now address it.

Firstly, I want to say that this issue is (for lack of a better idiom coming to mind at the moment) clearly nibbling at the edges of vote moderation. I don't say that to demean the issue in any way. To the contrary, resolving this issue should be a rather simple and easy thing to do. But to this point, I feel like the few conversations I've had on it have been marred with misunderstanding - so I'd like to use this opportunity to clarify what the actual policies are, and insist that those with a grievance with those policies suggest a reasonable alternative.

Currently, vote moderation on forfeited debates falls into two categories.

1) Votes on debates that are considered "Full Forfeits", are not moderated at all.


A "full forfeited" debate is any debate in which one forfeits all rounds after the opening round.

Here are some examples of full forfeited debates:

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

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

(It's worth noting that in the example of this debate, an exception to non-vote moderation is made where a voter voted for the side that full-forfeited)

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

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

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

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

____________

I believe that we can all accept (feel free to disagree if you like) that the results of the above debates are all objectively obvious, and that the policies in place with regards to them is appropriate. One side forfeited nearly every round, and one side didn't. Therefore it's not worth quibbling over how many points are awarded to the side that didn't entirely forfeit - whether those points are sufficiently justified or not. In other words, a 7 point votebomb makes no practical difference whatsoever, so it's not considered. I don't believe this is a controversial position on full forfeited debates, and I haven't heard any complaints about it. Certainly feel free to disagree if you like, or if you believe that a change is needed with regards to full forfeited debates, but that is currently how they are handled, and that's not the reason for the issue here.

The reason for this issue is with regards to the way other forfeited debates are handled, and these fall into the second category.

2) Votes on debates with forfeits, that are not "full forfeits", are moderated like any other debate.

A non-full forfeited debate is any debate featuring a forfeit in which neither side has forfeited all rounds after the opening round.

Here are some examples of non-full forfeited debates:

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

The above debate is a pretty good example of a non-full forfeit debate, especially since the Pro side forfeited his final round. The question therefore becomes, and something everyone that would like to provide feedback on this issue should consider, is the following: Does this final round forfeit (and entirely for this reason) mean that all votes on this debate now should become unmoderated? In other words, is votebombing this debate (voting any number of points without any explanation), now entirely justified?

Simply for the sake of having a consistent policy in these cases, vote moderation takes the position that all votes on forfeited debates outside of full forfeits are moderated. If that's not the position we should take, then I am more than happy to change that policy, but a reasonable policy regarding what makes a debate ok for votebombing needs to be defined before we make that change.

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

The above debate is a better example for the "forfeit-reform" position. The above debate is not a full-forfeit, but it certainly has an objective winner due to the fact that one side forfeited their final 3 rounds, and therefore a majority of the debate. I do believe that a fair case could be made that this debate should be considered as a full-forfeit, justifying votebombs and a lack of vote moderation entirely.

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

The above debate is again, more of a grey area of forfeited debates. One side forfeited their final round, but does this justify allowing them to be votebombed?

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

Same as above.

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

Similar to the other debate that favors the "forfeit-reform" position, the Con side here forfeits three rounds, so while this isn't a full-forfeit, and the Con side did actually present arguments in this debate, there is clearly an objective winner here, justifying a position where voters could have a less than thorough approach to their point allocation - in other words, votebombing in favor of the side that didn't forfeit - has no practical negative consequences.

_______

So I haven't exhaustively presented the various types of forfeits here, I just chose 5 non-full forfeit debates from the vote moderation PM, but I think these give us a good view of the variance.

I believe that there is plenty of room for altering the way these forfeited debates are handled, but I do want to have a well defined policy for doing so. While I understand that discretion is a position to take in these cases, it is simpler for us to actually have a well defined standard, since this is one area where the variables are so limited anyway. In other words, there is a finite number of ways in which forfeited debates will conclude, so it's easy to just pick what the threshold is for an unmoderated debate due to forfeit, rather than simply leave it open-ended.

One of the suggestions I've heard is that if one side forfeits a majority of their rounds, that should be considered an unmoderated debate, and I think that's perfectly reasonable. I think the examples above show there isn't an argument that could be made for the forfeiting side. One thing to consider is with regards to a debate fitting that standard, but where the other side forfeits as well. Again, these are finite circumstances, but it's worth considering how we should make a policy fit for these circumstances.

Ultimately this is a very simple issue to resolve, and just a few opinions and suggestions should result in some reasonable change. I don't personally think this is a huge issue, since just awarding conduct/arguments to sides that don't forfeit will pretty much assure them of the win anyway, but since this is an issue of determining at what point we should allow debates to be unmoderated, I feel it is important that this issue is one that is ultimately resolved here.
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RainbowDash52
Posts: 294
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2/7/2016 3:11:52 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
@airmax1227

Would the following hypothetical debate still count as a full forfeit:

R1: Pro makes substantial arguments - Con makes only non-arguments
R2: Pro forfeits - Con again makes non-arguments

In this example, Pro technically forfeited every round after the first, even though it was just one round. Would vote bombs against Pro still be justified for the single forfeiture despite Pro being the only one to make an argument?

Also in this other example:

Pro forfeits all rounds, while Con forfeits all rounds but 1.
Does Con automatically win for making one less forfeit?
Peepette
Posts: 1,237
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2/7/2016 3:45:54 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/7/2016 12:03:07 PM, airmax1227 wrote:
Vote Moderation on forfeited debates

This is an issue that I failed to address here, and for the sake of this discussion being all-encompassing, I will now address it.

Firstly, I want to say that this issue is (for lack of a better idiom coming to mind at the moment) clearly nibbling at the edges of vote moderation. I don't say that to demean the issue in any way. To the contrary, resolving this issue should be a rather simple and easy thing to do. But to this point, I feel like the few conversations I've had on it have been marred with misunderstanding - so I'd like to use this opportunity to clarify what the actual policies are, and insist that those with a grievance with those policies suggest a reasonable alternative.

Currently, vote moderation on forfeited debates falls into two categories.

1) Votes on debates that are considered "Full Forfeits", are not moderated at all.


A "full forfeited" debate is any debate in which one forfeits all rounds after the opening round.

Here are some examples of full forfeited debates:

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

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

(It's worth noting that in the example of this debate, an exception to non-vote moderation is made where a voter voted for the side that full-forfeited)

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

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

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

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

____________

I believe that we can all accept (feel free to disagree if you like) that the results of the above debates are all objectively obvious, and that the policies in place with regards to them is appropriate. One side forfeited nearly every round, and one side didn't. Therefore it's not worth quibbling over how many points are awarded to the side that didn't entirely forfeit - whether those points are sufficiently justified or not. In other words, a 7 point votebomb makes no practical difference whatsoever, so it's not considered. I don't believe this is a controversial position on full forfeited debates, and I haven't heard any complaints about it. Certainly feel free to disagree if you like, or if you believe that a change is needed with regards to full forfeited debates, but that is currently how they are handled, and that's not the reason for the issue here.

The reason for this issue is with regards to the way other forfeited debates are handled, and these fall into the second category.

2) Votes on debates with forfeits, that are not "full forfeits", are moderated like any other debate.

A non-full forfeited debate is any debate featuring a forfeit in which neither side has forfeited all rounds after the opening round.

Here are some examples of non-full forfeited debates:

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

The above debate is a pretty good example of a non-full forfeit debate, especially since the Pro side forfeited his final round. The question therefore becomes, and something everyone that would like to provide feedback on this issue should consider, is the following: Does this final round forfeit (and entirely for this reason) mean that all votes on this debate now should become unmoderated? In other words, is votebombing this debate (voting any number of points without any explanation), now entirely justified?

Simply for the sake of having a consistent policy in these cases, vote moderation takes the position that all votes on forfeited debates outside of full forfeits are moderated. If that's not the position we should take, then I am more than happy to change that policy, but a reasonable policy regarding what makes a debate ok for votebombing needs to be defined before we make that change.

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

The above debate is a better example for the "forfeit-reform" position. The above debate is not a full-forfeit, but it certainly has an objective winner due to the fact that one side forfeited their final 3 rounds, and therefore a majority of the debate. I do believe that a fair case could be made that this debate should be considered as a full-forfeit, justifying votebombs and a lack of vote moderation entirely.

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

The above debate is again, more of a grey area of forfeited debates. One side forfeited their final round, but does this justify allowing them to be votebombed?

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

Same as above.

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

Similar to the other debate that favors the "forfeit-reform" position, the Con side here forfeits three rounds, so while this isn't a full-forfeit, and the Con side did actually present arguments in this debate, there is clearly an objective winner here, justifying a position where voters could have a less than thorough approach to their point allocation - in other words, votebombing in favor of the side that didn't forfeit - has no practical negative consequences.

One of the suggestions I've heard is that if one side forfeits a majority of their rounds, that should be considered an unmoderated debate, and I think that's perfectly reasonable. I think the examples above show there isn't an argument that could be made for the forfeiting side. One thing to consider is with regards to a debate fitting that standard, but where the other side forfeits as well. Again, these are finite circumstances, but it's worth considering how we should make a policy fit for these circumstances.

Ultimately this is a very simple issue to resolve, and just a few opinions and suggestions should result in some reasonable change. I don't personally think this is a huge issue, since just awarding conduct/arguments to sides that don't forfeit will pretty much assure them of the win anyway, but since this is an issue of determining at what point we should allow debates to be unmoderated, I feel it is important that this issue is one that is ultimately resolved here.

Single round forfeit debates occurring in any round should not be decided on a conduct point alone and should be moderated. As pointed out, it can lead to vote bombing or personal bias toward one side or the other, especially on the hot button topics. This negates the time and effort put into a debate. Sometimes it appears that voters didn't bother to read the debate when awarding a conduct point for a win. If more than one round has been forfeited by the same side it's obvious that this side no longer has serious interest in the debate, therefore conduct point alone is justifiable and need not be moderated
RainbowDash52
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2/7/2016 4:31:41 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/7/2016 3:45:54 PM, Peepette wrote:
Single round forfeit debates occurring in any round should not be decided on a conduct point alone and should be moderated. As pointed out, it can lead to vote bombing or personal bias toward one side or the other, especially on the hot button topics. This negates the time and effort put into a debate. Sometimes it appears that voters didn't bother to read the debate when awarding a conduct point for a win. If more than one round has been forfeited by the same side it's obvious that this side no longer has serious interest in the debate, therefore conduct point alone is justifiable and need not be moderated

Would you prefer single round forfeit debates go unvoted instead of being decided by the forfeit? Because that is what would happen if people were not allowed to vote on conduct based on forfeit alone.
whiteflame
Posts: 1,378
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2/7/2016 4:36:24 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/7/2016 3:11:52 PM, RainbowDash52 wrote:
@airmax1227

Would the following hypothetical debate still count as a full forfeit:

R1: Pro makes substantial arguments - Con makes only non-arguments
R2: Pro forfeits - Con again makes non-arguments

In this example, Pro technically forfeited every round after the first, even though it was just one round. Would vote bombs against Pro still be justified for the single forfeiture despite Pro being the only one to make an argument?

Also in this other example:

Pro forfeits all rounds, while Con forfeits all rounds but 1.
Does Con automatically win for making one less forfeit?

I can answer these. In the first scenario, I'll take a look at the arguments made by Pro, and if they really do look substantive (i.e. they aren't just assertions), then we moderate it as we would a normal debate. In that case, it actually doesn't matter whether the other side's arguments are good or bad - so long as the forfeiting side has a substantial argument, even if it's just made in the first round, I've been requiring more thorough RFDs.

As for the second, a full forfeit is usually treated as "worse than" the all but 2 (assuming neither side forfeited the acceptance round) round forfeit. I'd not moderate that as it's a full forfeit, though again, if there are substantive arguments in the few rounds posted, I'd require voters to be more thorough.
Peepette
Posts: 1,237
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2/7/2016 4:38:49 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/7/2016 4:31:41 PM, RainbowDash52 wrote:
At 2/7/2016 3:45:54 PM, Peepette wrote:
Single round forfeit debates occurring in any round should not be decided on a conduct point alone and should be moderated. As pointed out, it can lead to vote bombing or personal bias toward one side or the other, especially on the hot button topics. This negates the time and effort put into a debate. Sometimes it appears that voters didn't bother to read the debate when awarding a conduct point for a win. If more than one round has been forfeited by the same side it's obvious that this side no longer has serious interest in the debate, therefore conduct point alone is justifiable and need not be moderated

Would you prefer single round forfeit debates go unvoted instead of being decided by the forfeit? Because that is what would happen if people were not allowed to vote on conduct based on forfeit alone.

If the debater feels strongly enough about his/her position and quality of debate, that person can request votes from the voter's union. This would ensure that at minimum a debate is read; not a merely viewing of a single forfeit and determining a winner on that basis alone.
whiteflame
Posts: 1,378
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2/7/2016 4:52:10 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/7/2016 3:45:54 PM, Peepette wrote:

Single round forfeit debates occurring in any round should not be decided on a conduct point alone and should be moderated. As pointed out, it can lead to vote bombing or personal bias toward one side or the other, especially on the hot button topics. This negates the time and effort put into a debate. Sometimes it appears that voters didn't bother to read the debate when awarding a conduct point for a win. If more than one round has been forfeited by the same side it's obvious that this side no longer has serious interest in the debate, therefore conduct point alone is justifiable and need not be moderated

This is an issue a lot of people have with what's currently allowed under the voting standards, i.e. if you forfeit a round you've practically surrendered the conduct point, and therefore people can simply vote with an "ff" as their RFD and a conduct point as the only awarded point. That's part of the reason that Bsh1 presented the new standards - such a vote would not be sufficient under those standards.

But for the general standards, there's certainly something to be said about conduct only votes skewing debate results, particularly if the arguments given lead many to vote for the forfeiting side. I've seen quite a few debates where a large number of people voted based on forfeits alone and turned a debate that would have been decided for the forfeiting side into one where the forfeiting side lost based on single point allocations. There is also a legitimate concern for vote bombing that results, as voters can easily add the extra point and give their RFDs more weight than those that award based solely on arguments. This might involve some bias, though admittedly it would be difficult to suss out whether bias is involved in these cases.

However, there are two sides to this issue. Many would argue that a forfeit does constitute a very real lack of conduct, and thus the loss of a point is appropriate. As RainbowDash pointed out, there is some need to allow "easy" votes on debates by allowing voters to vote solely based on conduct in certain instances. It would be ideal if more voters would assess arguments on any given debate and take the time to produce a solid vote, but the reality is that there aren't that many voters that are willing to take that kind of time on every debate, and it's much simpler and quicker to just vote conduct with an easy RFD. I'm not saying that that necessarily makes their votes good, and you're correct that it negates the time spent on the debate simply because one round was dropped due to unknown concerns, but there is a balance between wanting to get more votes and wanting to get higher quality votes.

This is one of the areas where we err on the side of quantity over quality, the reason being that it's a single point. If there really is a substantive argument that voters would be willing to pick up based on arguments alone, that vote would outweigh conduct only votes 3 to 1. Moreover, if conduct only voters decide to allocate arguments, they have to explain them. Those votes are moderated, and as such, vote bombs are prevented. That's not to say that no one will vote with 4 point votes that meet the standards, which would outweigh the 3 point arguments only votes for the other side, but in those cases the conduct point is still justified, and arguments are explained sufficiently.

But maybe there should be a higher standard for voting conduct only, so I'd like to hear your thoughts on that. You said that if one side forfeits multiple rounds, that's a reason to award conduct. What if the other side also forfeits, but forfeits fewer rounds? How do you think that should be assessed?
RainbowDash52
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2/7/2016 4:52:52 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/7/2016 4:36:24 PM, whiteflame wrote:
At 2/7/2016 3:11:52 PM, RainbowDash52 wrote:
@airmax1227

Would the following hypothetical debate still count as a full forfeit:

R1: Pro makes substantial arguments - Con makes only non-arguments
R2: Pro forfeits - Con again makes non-arguments

In this example, Pro technically forfeited every round after the first, even though it was just one round. Would vote bombs against Pro still be justified for the single forfeiture despite Pro being the only one to make an argument?

Also in this other example:

Pro forfeits all rounds, while Con forfeits all rounds but 1.
Does Con automatically win for making one less forfeit?

I can answer these. In the first scenario, I'll take a look at the arguments made by Pro, and if they really do look substantive (i.e. they aren't just assertions), then we moderate it as we would a normal debate. In that case, it actually doesn't matter whether the other side's arguments are good or bad - so long as the forfeiting side has a substantial argument, even if it's just made in the first round, I've been requiring more thorough RFDs.

As for the second, a full forfeit is usually treated as "worse than" the all but 2 (assuming neither side forfeited the acceptance round) round forfeit. I'd not moderate that as it's a full forfeit, though again, if there are substantive arguments in the few rounds posted, I'd require voters to be more thorough.

Ok. Just wanted to clarify since airmax made it seam otherwise.
whiteflame
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2/7/2016 4:58:57 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/7/2016 4:52:52 PM, RainbowDash52 wrote:
At 2/7/2016 4:36:24 PM, whiteflame wrote:
At 2/7/2016 3:11:52 PM, RainbowDash52 wrote:
@airmax1227

Would the following hypothetical debate still count as a full forfeit:

R1: Pro makes substantial arguments - Con makes only non-arguments
R2: Pro forfeits - Con again makes non-arguments

In this example, Pro technically forfeited every round after the first, even though it was just one round. Would vote bombs against Pro still be justified for the single forfeiture despite Pro being the only one to make an argument?

Also in this other example:

Pro forfeits all rounds, while Con forfeits all rounds but 1.
Does Con automatically win for making one less forfeit?

I can answer these. In the first scenario, I'll take a look at the arguments made by Pro, and if they really do look substantive (i.e. they aren't just assertions), then we moderate it as we would a normal debate. In that case, it actually doesn't matter whether the other side's arguments are good or bad - so long as the forfeiting side has a substantial argument, even if it's just made in the first round, I've been requiring more thorough RFDs.

As for the second, a full forfeit is usually treated as "worse than" the all but 2 (assuming neither side forfeited the acceptance round) round forfeit. I'd not moderate that as it's a full forfeit, though again, if there are substantive arguments in the few rounds posted, I'd require voters to be more thorough.

Ok. Just wanted to clarify since airmax made it seam otherwise.

Airmax was speaking in broad strokes. These are rather uncommon circumstances, so I'll be happy to address specifics like this.
dsjpk5
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2/7/2016 5:13:28 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/7/2016 3:38:58 AM, airmax1227 wrote:
Once all of the reviews have been posted, and the result of the reviews have been posted (that they have been deleted, or a correction has been made etc), the deputy vote moderator posts that they have sent friend requests to those that have had votes/voting privileges removed (since the average member has messages blocked to everyone but friends), and/or contacted those members via PM, and/or an update regarding contact they have had with those members, and that they have updated the spreadsheet keeping track of all removed votes and the members who need to be contacted about their removed votes and/or voting privileges.

The goal here, and as such the main responsibility of the deputy voting moderator, is to keep in contact with members who have had votes removed (so that they can revote), or voting privileges removed (so that they can get them back), or to have the voting standards explained to them (so that they can place proper votes).

At some point following my confirmation regarding the vote removals/non-removals, the vote moderator then posts the results of that review in the debate in which it was placed explaining the reason for removal or non-removal.

This whole process takes a few hours every evening. Votes are generally posted by 8pm central, with the comments about those votes being removed/not removed being posted by 10-11 pm central. This time can vary, especially on certain days, and weekends, but that's the average time frame. The important thing is that outside of extenuating circumstances, every vote reported is acknowledged and reviewed if appropriate, within 24 hours.

So that's policy and procedure, the standards have already been mentioned in short, and a more in-depth explanation of those standards can be read in the "Voting thread" stickied in the main forum.

Vote Moderator Bias


I want to touch on this again, since it comes up every so often. I alluded to this just above, but I feel it's worth expanding on. I want to say that in very clear language, the vote moderation team (whoever it happens to be made up of at any time) does not care about the ideological content of the debate or the vote in question. While I understand the desire to believe this, especially with the knowledge that as people we all have some sort of bias, it can not be overstated that vote moderation does not have any desire to pursue any personal agenda regarding votes, in an effort to see the side they agree with win. Every head vote moderator to this point (Bluesteel, F-16, Whiteflame) has read so many debates, and been involved in debate to an extent, that separating their personal beliefs and biases from their responsibilities as vote moderator is intuitive. Their reaction to every debate, even the most controversial, is mostly one of indifference and simply reading it for the sake of reading it, and nothing else.

Even if this wasn't the case, the system procedures are designed in such a way that any bias should be simple enough to notice, and any of the other 2 individuals involved would opine that a vote review was less than accurate. This is especially true in the final vote review (the review of the review) where the debate itself, and the side in which the voter voted for is almost always entirely irrelevant (and thus unknown), thus any ideological sway is extremely unlikely.

To further explain this, I will provide actual vote review results (which are then reviewed by me for final deletion) to show why bias isn't really an issue for the most part. The following reviews are all real, and were all placed into the comment sections of debates. I have removed the name of the voter so that no one is being unfairly called out here though. These are also all going to be average vote report review results picked at random. This should show, to some degree (this isn't scientific obviously, but should suffice for this point) that the average vote review result, doesn't require knowledge of any position displayed.

1:

*******************************************************************
>Reported vote: member123// Mod action: Removed<

5 points to Pro (Arguments, Sources). Reasons for voting decision: I felt like I was watching an LD debate. I hate the idea but I have to admit pro had better argumentation and sources.

[*Reason for removal*] Not an RFD, merely restates the decision and the voter's views on the way the debate went rather than evaluating the arguments. Doesn't explain arguments or sources.
************************************************************************

2:

*******************************************************************
>Reported vote: member123// Mod action: Removed<

7 points to Pro. Reasons for voting decision: Con tried to make up people profile and scenarios to go with them, although they were a good attempt, it is a farcry from realistic and his only rebuttle for getting called out on it was basically saying "pro is stupid for not being able to understand" cons scenarios sound like they are coming from a movie. Shooting at a gun range and playing video games is not enough to keep you calm under a surprise attack, even regular military a surprise attack still affects you - speaking from combat medical experience. The drop in suicide rate is Australia is surprising which really caught my attention. I've known too many people that committed suicide by guns. And that 74% drop is too big to say it's not beneficial to citizens.

[*Reason for removal*] The voter doesn't explain conduct, S&G, or sources.
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>Reported vote: member123// Mod action: NOT Removed<

1 points to Con (Conduct). Reasons for voting decision: Pro ff a round, so conduct to Con.

[*Reason for non-removal*] Voters are allowed to solely award points for conduct if they wish, and this does so validly.
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As someone who has lost their voting privileges twice, I have to say I believe you are a fair moderator. I also think whiteflame is an excellent voting rights moderator. I also recognize my vote above, and appreciate it not being removed!
If that was the only issue, then vote moderation could be avoided more often, since a vote in which the voter does explain sufficiently how at least one point a debater made swung their vote, would be considered sufficient. -Airmax
famousdebater
Posts: 3,940
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2/7/2016 5:41:45 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/7/2016 3:06:02 AM, airmax1227 wrote:

Vote moderation is a lot stricter than it should be. If people want extensive feedback and votes on their debates then they can say that they want people to vote using the opt in voting system or they could put on elo restrictions to prevent bias voters. I don't believe that people should feel as if they have to address large portions of the debate with extensive feedback. I understand that it has been repeatedly said that votes don't have to be long but the reality is that if you're judging a long 4 - 5 round debate where debaters have used 8-10K characters per round then it's very difficult to give an adequate vote in 1000 characters under the current standards. There is also a lot of pressure on users to provide extensive feedback. If a member is requested to vote on a debate and sees that there are already votes on the debate that are pages long then there is pressure on that user to provide a vote to the same standard as that user because otherwise their vote may not be as appreciated. Whilst the concept of the current voting system is good, I believe that it is mitigating the quantity at which votes should be coming in. If the site was bigger and had more active voter's then this system would work but I think that until then voting needs to be relaxed a bit.
"Life calls the tune, we dance."
John Galsworthy
Peepette
Posts: 1,237
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2/7/2016 6:05:36 PM
Posted: 10 months ago
At 2/7/2016 4:52:10 PM, whiteflame wrote:
At 2/7/2016 3:45:54 PM, Peepette wrote:

Single round forfeit debates occurring in any round should not be decided on a conduct point alone and should be moderated. As pointed out, it can lead to vote bombing or personal bias toward one side or the other, especially on the hot button topics. This negates the time and effort put into a debate. Sometimes it appears that voters didn't bother to read the debate when awarding a conduct point for a win. If more than one round has been forfeited by the same side it's obvious that this side no longer has serious interest in the debate, therefore conduct point alone is justifiable and need not be moderated

This is an issue a lot of people have with what's currently allowed under the voting standards, i.e. if you forfeit a round you've practically surrendered the conduct point, and therefore people can simply vote with an "ff" as their RFD and a conduct point as the only awarded point. That's part of the reason that Bsh1 presented the new standards - such a vote would not be sufficient under those standards.

But for the general standards, there's certainly something to be said about conduct only votes skewing debate results, particularly if the arguments given lead many to vote for the forfeiting side. I've seen quite a few debates where a large number of people voted based on forfeits alone and turned a debate that would have been decided for the forfeiting side into one where the forfeiting side lost based on single point allocations. There is also a legitimate concern for vote bombing that results, as voters can easily add the extra point and give their RFDs more weight than those that award based solely on arguments. This might involve some bias, though admittedly it would be difficult to suss out whether bias is involved in these cases.

However, there are two sides to this issue. Many would argue that a forfeit does constitute a very real lack of conduct, and thus the loss of a point is appropriate. As RainbowDash pointed out, there is some need to allow "easy" votes on debates by allowing voters to vote solely based on conduct in certain instances. It would be ideal if more voters would assess arguments on any given debate and take the time to produce a solid vote, but the reality is that there aren't that many voters that are willing to take that kind of time on every debate, and it's much simpler and quicker to just vote conduct with an easy RFD. I'm not saying that that necessarily makes their votes good, and you're correct that it negates the time spent on the debate simply because one round was dropped due to unknown concerns, but there is a balance between wanting to get more votes and wanting to get higher quality votes.

This is one of the areas where we err on the side of quantity over quality, the reason being that it's a single point. If there really is a substantive argument that voters would be willing to pick up based on arguments alone, that vote would outweigh conduct only votes 3 to 1. Moreover, if conduct only voters decide to allocate arguments, they have to explain them. Those votes are moderated, and as such, vote bombs are prevented. That's not to say that no one will vote with 4 point votes that meet the standards, which would outweigh the 3 point arguments only votes for the other side, but in those cases the conduct point is still justified, and arguments are explained sufficiently.

But maybe there should be a higher standard for voting conduct only, so I'd like to hear your thoughts on that. You said that if one side forfeits multiple rounds, that's a reason to award conduct. What if the other side also forfeits, but forfeits fewer rounds? How do you think that should be assessed?

You have made some good points. In such cases where each side both forfeit a single round, then what; how would that be considered and various other scenarios. The fix probably would require a matrix of rules that would be more problematic than the bigger issue of too few voters. I don't believe anyone wants more complicated voting rules. The only solution that comes to mind would be if the debate instigator were to make a rule note that a conduct point for win or loss cannot be based on a single round forfeit. This puts responsibility directly on the participants rather than moderation or voters. Moderation would only be involved if such a rule was ignored. This would eliminate biased or lazy votes and show these debates are to be weighed on broader criteria.