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Iluvatar
August 3rd, 2005, 06:25 PM
This is an option that we have considered since the beginning, with varying levels of interest. Recently, we've had a bit more desire for this, so we are considering how to implement it. So, it is usually wisest to ask the people who will be using something how it should be done. Thus, we have a few issues to be decided:

I. Judging
How do we want to have these debates judged? The two best options at the moment are:

A: Popular Vote
At the conclusion of a debate, there would be a vote, by anyone willing to take the time, to decide the winner. The problem with this is that it would be way too easy for people to come in, skim a debate on, say, contraception, and then just vote with their own views on the subject.

A solution that was proposed was to have people who voting give an explanation of their vote. It might have a requisite length, say 1 or 2 paragraphs. This would encourage people to look over the debate in more detail, and increase the likelihood that they would vote based on the quality of the argument, as opposed to the position.

The downfall of this solution is that it would decrease participation. Many of us recall the failed "Debater of the Month" awards, which required explanations. It was just too much work for people to be bothered. This would be a problem if we complete a debate, and have 1 person vote on it.

B:Moderator Judged
This is a simple system. At some point during the set-up of a debate, a moderator 'claims' that debate. That moderator monitors that debate, and posts a decision at the end. The moderator would post a relatively detailed analysis of the debate. Alternately, this could be done by 3 moderators. This has the advantage that the judging would be done by people who were selected specifically for their participation, fair-mindedness, and ability to separate their opinions from their acts as mods (or in this case, judges).

II. Format
How do we want these debates run? With what level of structure? The main options are as follows:

A:Free-Flow
This is what we have now. Anyone involved in a given debate can post whenever, for any length, etc.

This has the advantage of having the best flow of ideas, the easiest and freest way to battle it out.

It has the disadvantage of being less regimented, and thus, potentially less fair. The winner may be the winner because he had more time to post gigantic rants. Also, in team debates, 1 team member may end up dominating the debate, winning or losing it without much say from the other member(s) of the team.

Furthermore, it has no distinct ending point. We'd have to wait until the debate fizzled out before judging it.

Example:
CliveStaples: I hereby challenge all you foo's who think that there is no god! Teams of 2
Booger: I'm with you, CS.
RTShatto: I will pwn you. I accept the challenge, with the atheistic side.
CC: I'll take you on, CS. I'm with RT.
CliveStaples: Ok, begin. Theists side = CliveStaples and Booger. Atheist side = CC and [solor=darkred]RTShatto[/color]
CliveStaples: There is a god!
CC:There is no god!
RTShatto: Dern straight. There is definitely no god.
CliveStaples: You're wrong, there is a god.
Booger: Yup, there's a god.
Booger: Definitely a god.
Booger: Really.
CC: I disagree.


B:Semi-Structured
This is a relatively simple set-up. The opening poster sets:
-number of people per team
-time limit for debate
-order of debaters (must alternate).

Thus, no person can post again unless everyone else has posted. Example:

Zhavric: Ok, I think contraceptives are for squares. So let there be 2 person teams. There'll be a 3 week time limit on this.
Apok: I'll take up Zhavric's side.
Fyshed: I think YOU are square, Zhavric! I accept the challange.
XM: I'll take the pro-contraceptives side.
Zhavric: OK, then the order is Zhav, then Fysh,, then Apok, then XM.
Zhavric: Contraceptives suck! (Longwinded explination)
Fysh: Do not!
Apok: Do too!
XM: Do not!
Zhavric: Do too!
Fysh: Do not!
and so on, until the specified time limit is up.

This has the advantage of having a distinct ending point, and is relatively fair in terms of post-frequency and whatnot. It is also relatively free compared to true formal debating, as seen in real-life debating competitions.

It has the disadvantage of being somewhat structured. If one person takes a while to post, everyone has to wait.

C: Fully Structured
This is a system similar to formal debates, such as the presidential debates. People familiar with competitive debating might recognize this. There are set posts, and set post lengths. The idea is to give everyone an exactly equal shot at presenting their case.

We would have to decide on a specific set of rules, but here is a hypothetical set:

Each team gets 1 opening statement, not to exceed 2000 words.
Each team then gets 3 rebuttals, not to exceed 1000 words.
Finally, each team gets 1 closing statement, not to exceed 1500 words.
The first person to post for a given side becomes the team captian, and is responsible for deciding who does which posts.

This creates maximum fairness, but minimum freedom.

In this example, I'll use the above hypothetical rules. Example:
DED: I am starting a debate on the quality of coke versus that of pepsi. I say Pepsi is best. Teams of 2.
CC: I'll take the coke side.
Telex: I'll take pepsi.
Mog: I'll take Coke with CC.
DED: Ok, for my side, I'll do the opening statement, the second rebuttal, and the closing statement. Telex, you are doing the first and third rebuttals.
CC: I'll do first and third rebuttals. Mog, you're on the opening statement, second rebuttal, and closing statement.
DED: Ok then. My thread, so I go first.
DED:Yadayada (1945 word opening statement)
Mog: Blahblah (1991 word opening statement)
Telex: Yadayada (897 word rebuttal #1)
CC: BlahBlah (944 word rebutal#1)
DED: Yadayada (997 word rebuttal #2)
Mog: BlahBlah (976 word rebutal#2)
Telex: Yadayada (889 word rebuttal #3)
CC: BlahBlah (952 word rebutal#1)
DED:Yadayada (1455 word closing statement)
Mog: Blahblah (1498 word opening statement)


So...these are the main issues and options that need to be decided. However, any additional options to these issues, or any additionally issues, ideas, questions, comments, concerns, jokes, anecdotes, recipes, or points of historical interest are welcomed. The above is simply what we've come up with so far.

Telex
August 3rd, 2005, 06:30 PM
I think fully structured, moderator-judged would be best. The "FS" style would offer the biggest change of pace from normal debating, and allow the judging to be easier. I think moderators should judge, because I don't trust the masses.

PerVirtuous
August 3rd, 2005, 06:54 PM
I like the idea of formal or semi formal debates. I also like the idea of having teams that stay together for a period of time and have several debates together, kinda like a bowling league. Each week two different teams debate. Have a round robin. Score points.

This would foster relationships between team members and after a few months change teams and meet new people.

Snoop
August 3rd, 2005, 07:20 PM
Here's my 2-cents .... too many rules spoil the fun. Team debating would be fine but the thrill would soon wear off. Why not start a team debate and judging and all that and see how it goes - just add it as a feature on ODN. Most of us will probably list more topics at a furious pace so there will always be enough antagonism to go around.


The word "formal" just scares me - like wearing a tuxedo - I'm not a penguin.

FruitandNut
August 3rd, 2005, 08:26 PM
I think moderators should judge, because I don't trust the masses.

Even ODNs moderators can show a face of predetermined bias. It's a bit like being judged by a panel of High Court judges installed by the President.

Meng Bomin
August 3rd, 2005, 08:45 PM
Even ODNs moderators can show a face of predetermined bias.
What are you talking about. All ODN moderators receive special operations that remove any bias with regard the judging before they accept their jobs.;)

More seriously, the Judging option could be open-ended: debaters in a formal debate could choose either to have the moderators judge or to have a popular vote, depending upon which they think is more fair. The benefit of moderator judging and analysis is that moderators are expected to be fair and representative in their analysis. As well, they would have to provide reasons for why one side out-debated the other and it would be evident if there was a bias based on personal views rather than the actual course of debate. I think if there were a moderator analysis, multiple moderators would be the best option.

KevinBrowning
August 3rd, 2005, 11:07 PM
I think the best way would be four moderators, two on both sides of the issue, judging, with Apok breaking any ties.

Nouvelian
August 4th, 2005, 04:09 AM
I like the idea of formal debates, teams, and appointed, objective judges. I would ask that someone involved in beginning the date attempt to set out the bone of contention. For example, you could debate 'Abortion' in a million ways. It would be more effective should the debate-starter offer, say, ''when does life begin, theologically?' or 'when does life begin, secularly?' I think you could try and work towards something more concrete over the course of the debate.

Iluvatar
August 4th, 2005, 06:03 AM
I like the idea of formal or semi formal debates. I also like the idea of having teams that stay together for a period of time and have several debates together, kinda like a bowling league. Each week two different teams debate. Have a round robin. Score points.
In interesting idea. However, I would to decide on the rules of bowling before we start bowling teams. ;) Once we have this set up and it becomes well established, then we might add continuous teams to the mix.

BTW: These don't HAVE to be between teams. It's up to the person starting the debate. You can do 1-1, 8-8, whatever.


Here's my 2-cents .... too many rules spoil the fun. Team debating would be fine but the thrill would soon wear off. Why not start a team debate and judging and all that and see how it goes - just add it as a feature on ODN. Most of us will probably list more topics at a furious pace so there will always be enough antagonism to go around.
I dunno, rules can help regulate a debate, make it more interesting. Of course, this is not going to replace normal debates, but will be an extra section. We plan to add it, but we want to get inout on how it should be before we nail done a set of rules for it.


More seriously, the Judging option could be open-ended: debaters in a formal debate could choose either to have the moderators judge or to have a popular vote, depending upon which they think is more fair.Ah yes, forgot about that. We can have whoever starts the thread decide which method of judging they prefer.


think the best way would be four moderators, two on both sides of the issue, judging, with Apok breaking any ties.
Well, the more mods we have, the fairer it's likely to be. However, the more mods we have have, the longer it will take, and the harder it will be to get enough mods to do it. 1 would be the easiest. 3 would be good, there would be no ties. Your suggestion of 5 would be more reliably fair, but that would be most of the mods we have. We're hoping to have this section be pretty active; 5 mods per debate might not be feasible.


I like the idea of formal debates, teams, and appointed, objective judges. I would ask that someone involved in beginning the date attempt to set out the bone of contention. For example, you could debate 'Abortion' in a million ways. It would be more effective should the debate-starter offer, say, ''when does life begin, theologically?' or 'when does life begin, secularly?' I think you could try and work towards something more concrete over the course of the debate.Well, that's up to the person starting the debate. The broader the debate, the more generic it will be. The more specific, the harder it will be to do a good debate. However, giving at least a little direction to a debate is always a good idea, formal or not.

Nouvelian
August 4th, 2005, 06:53 AM
Since this is your thread, Iluvatar, why don't you suggest a debate topic, and ask volunteers to take either side?

Set out the conditions on judging, asking for moderators or for popular vote, or leave it to the volunteers. Try it out. You don't need a new forum, and you could urge people outside the debate to form a new thread if they wish to comment on it.

Iluvatar
August 4th, 2005, 03:54 PM
Set out the conditions on judging, asking for moderators or for popular vote, or leave it to the volunteers. Try it out. You don't need a new forum, and you could urge people outside the debate to form a new thread if they wish to comment on it.
I'd love to do that, but I still don't know how we plan to do it. If we are going to start an example thread, we need some example rules. That's what we're trying to decide on first, before we can really get started.


BTW, my views:
I would vote mod-judging, for the benefits outlined in that section. I would also vote for semi-formal or formal, since free-flow would be too hard to manage, imo.

Iluvatar
August 13th, 2005, 10:15 AM
Ok, I've received a good deal of input, but not much in the way of a consensus, either here, or at the evil moderator high-council (EMHC). So... I'm going to implement this in a single thread, the way I feel meets the suggestions of a reasonable amount of people. Afterward and during, give me your feedback in this thread. I plan to moderate the discussion, as one of three moderator judges. Thus, I need:

-2 Moderators, Supermoderators, or Admins to volunteer to mod and judge this initial, testing-the-water formal debate. If interested, post in the EMHC forum. If you volunteer, you can't be a participant though.

-4 people to take the two sides (2 to a side). Post in this thread to volunteer. If this is implemented long-term, it would be open to anyone, first-come, first-serve. However, as we are just testing this out, I'm going to try to select relative veterans, of those who volunteer, to show what an ideal debate off this type might run like. When you volunteer, specify which side you want to be on. It need not be the side you actually believe in.

------
The Debate:

I've decided to go with something simple and easy for a start to this: Capital Punishment. I'll it at that.

We'll do semi-structured, for a 2-week period, starting at the first debating post.

For the purposes of this initial formal debate, I'll create two threads: "FD: Capital Punishment (Mod=Iluv, X, X)" and "FD: Capital Punishment (peanut gallery)"

In the debate thread, I will appoint a leader. In a full implementation of this, the leader would be the person who starts the debate. In this case, it will be decided by a rolled dice.

For the moderation: at the conclusion of the debate, which I will announce (2-weeks), Each moderator will formulate their response and their vote. No discussion, no deliberation. Each of the three mods will post their decisions before reading the others. They will give the side they feel has debated the best, and an explanation of why. The side to get 2 or more votes will win.

So, who's up for it?

Quack
August 14th, 2005, 09:07 AM
Yeh I'd be up for it - I'm probably not the "reletive veteran" that you're looking but I have debated formally in real life. No worries if you don't want me. Am I right in assuming that each person would make just one post to the formal debate thread rather than it being the typical free-for-all?

Iluvatar
August 14th, 2005, 09:21 AM
Quack, the format will be semi-structured, as shown above. Basically, there will be an order, and the poster's will cycle:

poster1
poster2
poster3
poster4
poster1
poster2
poster3
poster4
poster1
poster2
poster3
poster4
etc, until the designated end date. Less formal then really formal debates, but more formal than normal debates here.

BTW, Quack, what side would you want to take?

FruitandNut
August 14th, 2005, 09:32 AM
Either formal or semi-structured has the vote for my ten cents.

Iluvatar - BTW, that operation on the moderators you were referring to is known as a full frontal lobotomy. :yes: :tup:

Iluvatar
August 14th, 2005, 09:39 AM
So FN, you want to volunteer for the trial formal debate (see vote 11)?

Nouvelian
August 15th, 2005, 02:47 AM
Iluvatar,

A priori, I'm up for it, but before commiting myself, would appreciate a little clarification on the precise subject of the debate. Capital Punishment is a big topic. There are religious, ethical/moral, and legal aspects to its implementation. Also, are we going to be debating hypotheticals (ie should a sane, calculated multiple-murderer who, if released would undoubtedly kill again, be put to death?) or would it debate our reality?

Quack
August 15th, 2005, 04:27 AM
Illuv - I'll take the anti-CP side if thats OK. Are there going to be 4 or 8 posters in total?

Iluvatar
August 15th, 2005, 06:06 PM
A priori, I'm up for it, but before commiting myself, would appreciate a little clarification on the precise subject of the debate. Capital Punishment is a big topic. There are religious, ethical/moral, and legal aspects to its implementation. Also, are we going to be debating hypotheticals (ie should a sane, calculated multiple-murderer who, if released would undoubtedly kill again, be put to death?) or would it debate our reality?
I'm leaving that up to the debaters, they can take it in whatever direction they want. I guess The debate question will be:
Should capital punishment be used?

They can use whatever hypotheticals they want, whatever angle they want. However, I would mention that taking a religious angle will likely not get you any points, as any argument which relies on the existence of god is not valid, because you would first have to prove conclusively that there exists a god; this is not a given. Someone may, at some time, create a debate where this is an assumed given, but it is not in this one.

There are going to be 4 debaters in this, if anyone ever posts. so far, we have only 2 volunteers.

PerVirtuous
August 15th, 2005, 06:17 PM
I'll take any spot, any side, anytime. I'm a mercenary for hire. Have keyboard will travel.

Apokalupsis
August 15th, 2005, 06:53 PM
Same here. I'll argue any subject and be on any position of it (for this test run). Just pm me the details (subject, position, my role, date/time of debate, etc...).

DOPPLER
August 15th, 2005, 07:04 PM
I'll do it - any side. I have never done formal debating before, but I'll catch on.

If you still need people, that is :)

nanderson
August 16th, 2005, 08:37 AM
I think semi-formal, moderator judged debates would be fun....

Also, I'm in for the "trial" formal debate...whatever side, doesn't matter just tell me the details

Iluvatar
August 16th, 2005, 09:28 AM
You can find the details of the trial debate Here. (http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/showthread.php?p=97433#post97433)

I'll give it a bit longer, see if anyone else is interested. When this gets started, I'll announce the teams and PM those involves.

FruitandNut
August 16th, 2005, 09:52 AM
On a CP debate I am happy to go 'for' or 'against'. I think you might know by now my personal stance.

Quack
August 16th, 2005, 01:27 PM
I'm always up for debating either side - might be fun to make the sides random so not everyone is arguing what they beleive.

emtee10
August 16th, 2005, 05:49 PM
All of this sounds really cool. My favourite would probably be semi-structured, mod-judged debates. However, perhaps there should be some sort of scoring system in place (eg. there could be 20 points for the strength of the arguments, 20 points for the strength of the rebuttal, and 10 points for the debator's style, for a hypothetical total of 50 points). That way, it would be less arbitrary and debators would also have a better idea of their strengths and weaknesses.

I can see debators having alot of fun with this new feature... :D

Iluvatar
August 16th, 2005, 06:04 PM
I like emtee's idea of categories fora scoring system. At this point, I'm going to just do a normal judging, but we may do that when/if this becomes a feature.

BTW, so far, we have:
Apok
FN
Nanderson
Doppler
PV
Quack

So, once I can get the judges straightened out at the EMHC, I'll get started. Until that point, feel free to keep volunteering!

mercury
August 16th, 2005, 10:49 PM
I have some experience with one-on-one (Lincoln-Douglas style) online debates and I think that they are fun and easier to handle at least initially.
Also it would be cool to have double rating system - moderator and popular vote. We may even can vote for the best moderator at the end of the tournament.

Quack
August 17th, 2005, 11:12 AM
BTW, so far, we have:
Apok
FN
Nanderson
Doppler
PV

*cough* *cough* :)

Iluvatar
August 17th, 2005, 01:10 PM
Don't know what you're talking about, quack. ;)

As for LD debates, those are considerably more formal and rigid than what we're looking at here, and even more-so compared to normal ODN debates. We may, at some point, institute a fully formal LD type debate section, but at this point, we're going more with a semi-formal debate.

A double rating system might happen. However, in this trial debate, we'll just stick with the mod-judging to keep it simple.

Nouvelian
August 18th, 2005, 01:20 AM
Ahem,

...seconding Quack's suggestive coughing bout with an expectoral tirade of my own.

*HA-CHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO**splutter* *sniff*

Resigned to the side-lines, am I? Grand old time to be had in the peanut gallery anyway.
...
I'm also a bit surprised that you folks are all up for swapping hats. Where's all the zealotry gone?

Iluvatar
August 21st, 2005, 06:06 PM
Nouvy, I'm setting up the debates right now. What side would you prefer? Hopefully I can get a response before I finish the threads. If not, you may be out o' luck.

KevinBrowning
August 21st, 2005, 09:11 PM
There are already many volunteers and I am late coming into the game, but if someone backs out I will take up the pro-capital punishment side, since of course if I try to argue opposite my belief on such an issue I'm going to lose. However, I would be approaching it strictly from the standpoint of justice and government responsibility to society, so if I'm expected to address issues of cost or other more trivial factors, I'll most likely ignore that angle of it and "lose" anyway. Add me to the roster anyway for an eventual formal debate, if not any of the first few.

Nouvelian
August 22nd, 2005, 03:40 AM
Iluvyoumyatar,

I'm fervently, zealously, avidly, and demosntrably against the judicial use of capital punishment.

Milla gracia.

Iluvatar
August 22nd, 2005, 06:24 AM
The time has come to test the waters for semi-formal debates. This is a debate with 2 teams of 2, judged by a panel of 3 mods. Depending on how this goes, this may become a feature. So, go show your support, view the debate, and tell us what you think!

The Debate (http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/showthread.php?t=3893)
The Peanut Gallery (http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/showthread.php?t=3894)
The Feedback (http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/showthread.php?t=3895)

OK, the threads are ready, the teams have been PM's, we are ready to begin. The volunteers chosen are:

FruitandNut
Nouvelian
KevinBrowning
Nanderson

Sorry to those not picked. When/if this becomes a feature, anyone can join any debate they would like.