Many debates use a coin flip to determine who starts the debate. This is common in debates that don't have a specific resolution, ie evolution vs i.D. Or socialism vs capitalism. I think this would be an interesting addition to DDO. I don't propose that it be used for all debates. But having an option to have a simulated coin flip. The winner can then choose to start the debate or have the last round.
I can see some concern over stating rules and definitions in the opening round. However that could easily be resolved by placing the rules and definitions in the comments or having a specific section that rules and definitions are placed.
Maybe the resolution would have shared BoP, then the debate would be fair and more exciting. Debaters may have a hard time deciding who has the last words and who states the rules and definition. Well, no more arguing over who goes first--coin flip makes it possible! Of course, we have to make the middle 0% instead of that 1 out of 6000 chance of course. See: http://math.stackexchange.com/questions/69400/calculating-the-probability-of-a-coin-falling-on-its-side
As long as this is never mandatory, it could be an exciting option. Why not allow a maximum number of formats to keep both the site and the content growing. I would be interested inn doing this in some of my debates. Also, as a technical matter, this would be very easy to introduce.
It would be a great addition. No one would know who goes first. Burrden of Proof would stay the same as it will determing weather or not the person who accepts willl argue first in their first round vs. Having the instigator argue first in the second round. All in all it would definately cause a great amount of unknowingness and that would cause the debate to be very interesting.
There is a reason that we have first round acceptances. It's make sure that Pro is making his case first. Pro is the on trying to make a case for his burden. If the coin flip made Con go first, he would have nothing to do because he has no argument to refute.
Even if the burden is shared, there's no reason to leave it up to chance. The instigator should be the one to set up the debate and provide starting arguments. It doesn't make sense to leave setup to someone who didn't initiate the debate.
I definitely agree with AlexanderOc in this. There would be a wasted round. Unless there is a separate section for shared Burden of Proof debates, this would be bad because the person without bod would have less time to argue. Maybe somebody should make a debate about this, and have the person without bod go first.
The people that control this site, I believe are active in debating as a manner of controlling the youth that they see as prospects in their hierarchy. I have run into some might polished newbie debaters, and that is no coincidence. Do not trust a coin flip unless it is a real coin and you see it flipped. Not gonna happen on electronic image, unless you are a fool.