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  1. #1
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    Reputation & Policy Changes

    It has come to my attention that there are some things which need to stated, things which need to be clarified, and things which need to be reinforced.

    ODN has, for at least as long as I have been a member, enjoyed a generally positive atmosphere despite being a very diverse community in terms of ideology, religion, race & ethnicity, etc. We maintain it by encouraging our members to focus on the debate and not the debater. This is what makes us ODN and not other debate sites.

    The all-volunteer staff of ODN exists to help encourage that atmosphere and to keep the peace, as it were. We have developed a set of rules that we believe, if followed, will help keep ODN pointed in the right direction. In addition, staff will not hesitate to stop, without warning, any behavior which we feel threatens that "peace." Remember a lot of what we do relies on your post reports.

    Lastly, I'm going to take this opportunity to reinforce the idea that you are responsible for everything you post on ODN, especially that which is visible in public, has a measurable impact on the community. This includes but is not limited to...

    • Posts (even and especially those in response to spam)
    • Thread Titles
    • Blogs
    • Question directed to Staff
    • Commentary in Reported Posts
    • Profile Comments
    • Reputation Comments...


    Which leads me back to Rep.

    There has been much discussion about the definition of "reputation," its purpose, and how best to establish and maintain that purpose. The purpose of rep is (to my understanding) to encourage good debate and discourage bad debate.

    To this end, we have decided that the most efficient way to insure that rep is used for its proper purpose is to treat rep the same as all other posts in debate threads. This means they will be subject to the same rules and expectations, such as:

    • Flaming, Vulgarity, Proper English - This should go without saying, but I'm going to say it anyway.
    • Trolling & Harassment - Obviously, we did this before as well, but we will include rep when deciding whether or not a member is guilty of these two.
    • Supporting Claims* - As with debate posts, "I agree" is not sufficient. If you make a claim or leave a rep, you MUST support it-which in the case of rep means giving an explanation as opposed to leaving it blank (more about this to follow).
    • Spam* - Your rep comment must always be apparently (again, more to follow) relevant to the post it's given to.


    *differences from the most recent announcement regarding rep


    Lastly, if a rep doesn't appear fall within guidelines, it will be subject to removal. Staff may elect to ask for clarification before removal, but just like with other spam or flame issues, we don't generally do so. You guys know what constitutes flames and spam, so this isn't something new.

    I know that we offered the ability to challenge rep ratings for a time. Our conclusion on this front is that if a rep violates the rules of ODN (any of them), the rep should be reported and staff will deal with it. If it doesn't violate the rules and you want to challenge the reason it was given (for instance, if you were charged with a fallacy you don't feel you committed), posts in reply to that rep in the thread should be "on-topic" if the rep itself was "on-topic." Obviously, if this completely takes over the thread, we're going to stop it.

    So, in summary, before you rep, think "would this fly as a post in and of itself?" If so, you should be fine.

    The Reputation System will be turned back on in the next day.
    "And that, my lord, is how we know the Earth to be banana-shaped." ~ Monty Python


  2. #2
    ODN Community Regular

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    Re: Reputation & Policy Changes

    So...if I agree with what someone has said, but dont feel like I can form my own supporting arguments in that thread (which is often) I cannot leave a rep?

    You can only leave a rep in a thread you intend to post in? Have I got that right? Correct me if I'm confused...
    Frozen In Time Yearning Forbidden Wishes Damned And Divine
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  3. #3
    ODN Community Regular

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    Re: Reputation & Policy Changes

    On occasion, I will give reputation to a member for a good thread, with the caption "for the thread" or "ftt". Will this no longer be allowed?

    I agree that the reputation should be held to the social standard of posting, i.e. language, ad homs of the board. But reputation goes beyond the individual post as it is displayed with the user's profile and is a reflection of the member's standing within the board. Therefore, I feel that we should somehow allow recognition for threads in general without a reputation comment necessarily pertaining to the repped post.

    If I want to pat someone on the back, do I really need to justify doing so?

    Is there any software mod out there that would allow users to "agree" or "disagree" with posts? Also, is it possible to change the language in the rep box from "agree / disagree" to something else like "Add Positive Reputation / Add Negative Reputation"?
    Only what can happen does happen. ~Watchmen
    When the Standard is defined you will know how right or wrong you are.

  4. #4
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    Re: Reputation & Policy Changes

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarja View Post
    So...if I agree with what someone has said, but dont feel like I can form my own supporting arguments in that thread (which is often) I cannot leave a rep?

    You can only leave a rep in a thread you intend to post in? Have I got that right? Correct me if I'm confused...
    No, you do not need to be involved in the thread itself in order to rep somebody. You do need to support your rep. In other words, you need to give a valid reason for your rep. This can be done in the rep comment itself.

    In your example, the reason would be something like "Excellent job! Well sourced and argued. I could have never done it better". That comment constitutes support of your rep.
    "I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world" - Richard Dawkins

    "If you could rationalize with Religious people there would be no more Religious people" -Gregory House

  5. #5
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    Re: Reputation & Policy Changes

    I think it would cause more benefit to the community if it encouraged neutrality.

    ------------ Based on my assumption that the following is correct ----------

    -being too nice in debates will cause misrepresentation of ones beliefs more then 50% of the time

    -being too mean in debates will cause misrepresentation of ones beliefs more then 50% of the time

    -Perhaps we should have a poll to decide which way would encourage debates more than 50% of the time.

    A poll would decide which way is best for the community when assuming that the majority of people will accurately represent themself.
    Last edited by Martyr; January 8th, 2010 at 05:19 PM. Reason: added a fourth and - followed by logic.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Reputation & Policy Changes

    Quote Originally Posted by tool229 View Post
    I think it would cause more benefit to the community if it encouraged neutrality.

    ------------ Based on my assumption that the following is correct ----------

    -being too nice in debates will cause misrepresentation of ones beliefs more then 50% of the time

    -being too mean in debates will cause misrepresentation of ones beliefs more then 50% of the time.
    First, let me say that in some cases, I definitely agree with you. There are a fair number of debaters here who will intentionally misrepresent your arguments simply because they disagree with them, can't find a suitable rebuttal to your actual argument, and want to rebut a weaker argument successfully.

    That said, the two assumptions you have made are only correct in the context that one or more of the debaters is not debating properly. People misrepresent another person's arguments for lots of different reasons, some of them unintentional. Some of them are genuinely because the person simply misunderstood the post. However, the most frequent ones I have encountered are an unwillingness to actually engage points that are destructive to their arguments, an unwillingness to concede points that have been effectively disproven, and personal hostility toward the interlocutor or his position.

    When an interlocutor misrepresents your beliefs, that's what the negative reputation system is for. Someone who isn't engaging you properly according to the rules of good debate deserves to have his arguments penalized by the community at large by the quantitative expression of their disapproval - i.e. neg reps. Someone flames? Neg 'em. Someone holds onto a point they can't sustain and bogs down the debate ? Neg 'em. Someone engages in repeated ad homs? Neg 'em. Someone trolls? Neg and report. Only by a cooperative and consistent effort to use both neg and positive reps to police bad posts and encourage good ones can we effectively end the trends that have emerged here.

    The biggest problem I've seen with reps is that most people tend to use pos reps more as a way of encouraging someone who has stated a point they agree with strongly rather than rewarding skillful debating. Similarly, neg reps are too-often used to penalize forceful opposing opinions, even if they are well-argued... sometimes *because* they are well-argued (though, admittedly, this second scenario doesn't happen very often). A "fair-and-balanced" use of rep seems to be the best solution to the problem, but everyone would have to agree to stop using it for other reasons than the appropriate uses.

    I've given pos reps to opponents in a debate because of a well-written post, but I've never seen anyone else do it. I may have just missed those threads, but it seems to me that if it happens that seldom, maybe something's wrong. I've also seen too many very well-written and well-researched posts go totally unacknowledged or simply given the "helpful" pat on the back. I can only give one rep at a time, so my contribution is limited.

    Tool - as for the poll.... that was already done several months ago. The results were inconclusive at best and represented only a tiny fraction of the population of active users.
    Last edited by Talthas; January 8th, 2010 at 05:27 PM. Reason: responding to edited addition after post was made.

  7. #7
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    Re: Reputation & Policy Changes

    Response to Talthas: Everything you have stated seems irrefutable to me, but do you think a poll should be reconducted in a manner of self criticism to determine that your belief is irrefutable?
    Last edited by Martyr; January 8th, 2010 at 08:17 PM. Reason: To include who the message is being sent to.

  8. #8
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    Re: Reputation & Policy Changes

    Quote Originally Posted by Martyr View Post
    Response to Talthas: Everything you have stated seems irrefutable to me, but do you think a poll should be reconducted in a manner of self criticism to determine that your belief is irrefutable?
    Not really... and there are several reasons why:

    1) User response to such a poll has historically been very low. Without a significant majority response, the results of the poll would be meaningless.

    2) The structure of the poll itself, unless carefully done, would bias the results. While there are ways to control for this, they're not necessarily easy to do if you're looking to prove a point. The last poll was fairly neutral in its structure and still produced inconclusive results.

    3) A poll will not prove my points to be "irrefutable." It will show only that other people do or do not share my opinion. This is a classic fallacy called "argumentum ad populum" since it is relying purely upon the popularity of a given statement with those who hear it for support.

    4) I have absolutely no doubt that there are more than a few members here who will either disagree with me or believe that I am guilty of the very thing I have "called out" in others. Whether they are correct or not is somewhat difficult to judge, and the truth most likely lies somewhere in the middle.

 

 

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