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  1. #1
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    Rules Update: Challenges

    The staff has updated a section of the rules page, found here: http://www.onlinedebate.net/index.php?page=odnrules


    Specifically, we've changed the way we respond to challenges. Quite a few of you have often complained about the lack of resolution on challenges or the over reaction by the staff to an issue. As such, we've modified the rule to (hopefully) account for both.

    Challenges will now be more aggressively adjudicated by the staff and the consequences will (initially) be a bit lighter. The exact text of the rule can be found below.

    We welcome any feedback you may have in the Ask the Staff forum or via PM. Expect more changes coming in the next couple of months as we wrap up a pretty extensive re-write that will hopefully be a lot more simple and more flexible. Our goal is to have a wide range of forums with different rule sets so that individuals can find a place that best fits them.






    Quote Originally Posted by Rules Change
    ODN is distinguished from other debate spots by its requirement to offer support for claims. This keeps discussions on ODN from devolving into the “nu-uh” type responses so common elsewhere. As such we have a relatively strident support requirement here.

    All claims, both positive and negative, must be supported if an opponent requests it (generally, but not exclusively with the challenge tags, Challenge to support a claim.). A claim can be supported either by a relevant piece of external evidence or a sound logical deduction. When challenged to support a claim there are two options, offer relevant support or retract the claim.

    If support is not offered (or if the support is irrelevant to the claim) the staff will, at its discretion, strike through the text and post a red letter in the post to the effect that the claim has not been supported and cannot be further used without support. This is, of course, embarrassing, so we encourage you to research your claims before making them or if you realize your claim is unsupportable to retract them. The courage to retract a claim is laudable and often praised here.

    To be clear, the staff only judges these matters on whether or not the claim was supported, not how well the claim was supported. Proving the sky is blue by linking a picture is not particularly great support (for a whole host of reasons), but it is support. Proving the sky is blue by referencing your Aunt’s apple pie (without one heck of an explanation) is not support.

    Continued use of a claim after staff moderation will result in an infraction and possible banning from that particular thread.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  2. #2
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    Re: Rules Update: Challenges

    I think this is a good idea though it seems that all you're doing is clarifying something that is already understood. However, I don't think it goes far enough because there has to be a formal acceptance of the result of a successful rebuttal to a challenge. Often, when someone meets the challenge, the challenger just moves on and ignores that the whole thing ever took place. How about that one of the rules of putting forward a challenge is that you are also obliged to acknowledge the response?

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  4. #3
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    Re: Rules Update: Challenges

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    I think this is a good idea though it seems that all you're doing is clarifying something that is already understood.
    I'm not sure this accurately reflected the old rule. In the old rule system, the Mods would be less likely to intervene, following the "incontrovertible proof" type rule. When they did, they wouldn't publish in thread very often, they would simply issue an infraction.

    Now they are more likely to intercede and the repercussions are lower. Here the moderators are acting more like, well, moderators. Adjudicating the discussion and preventing stalemates.


    Quote Originally Posted by JJ
    However, I don't think it goes far enough because there has to be a formal acceptance of the result of a successful rebuttal to a challenge.
    That's an interesting idea. I think it depends on exactly what you mean.

    Do you mean that a challenger must acknowledge that his opponent has met the minimum standard of evidence to be compliant with the rules?

    Or do you mean that the challenger must acknowledge that his objection has been "rebutted?"


    The first interpretation could be useful, showing the discussion has moved from insistence the proponent make a defended argument to a rebuttal of that argument.

    The second I think is largely unworkable. Just because a person has offered sufficient evidence to meet the rule requirement does not mean they have rebutted any doubts. There is a very large line between relevant evidence and good evidence.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  5. #4
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    Re: Rules Update: Challenges

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post



    That's an interesting idea. I think it depends on exactly what you mean.

    Do you mean that a challenger must acknowledge that his opponent has met the minimum standard of evidence to be compliant with the rules?

    Or do you mean that the challenger must acknowledge that his objection has been "rebutted?"


    The first interpretation could be useful, showing the discussion has moved from insistence the proponent make a defended argument to a rebuttal of that argument.

    The second I think is largely unworkable. Just because a person has offered sufficient evidence to meet the rule requirement does not mean they have rebutted any doubts. There is a very large line between relevant evidence and good evidence.
    That's a good distinction. I think the point of the challenge is to show that there is some basis to some statement. If that is shown then the response should be accepted and the challenge formally dropped.

    If there the response is still invalid then that is another matter and would have to prompt further discussion. But the original challenge would still have been met.

    My point is that it's polite to let the person know that the challenge period is over. I see it as a sort of timeout.

  6. #5
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    Re: Rules Update: Challenges

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    That's a good distinction. I think the point of the challenge is to show that there is some basis to some statement. If that is shown then the response should be accepted and the challenge formally dropped.
    Agreed, we would need to be careful in how we do it or we will simply make each side dig in further. Part of the problem is that not many debaters understand the distinction between acknowledging a person has met a rule requirement and conceding the point.

    Do you have any thoughts on what the language could be?
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


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  8. #6
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    Re: Rules Update: Challenges

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Agreed, we would need to be careful in how we do it or we will simply make each side dig in further. Part of the problem is that not many debaters understand the distinction between acknowledging a person has met a rule requirement and conceding the point.
    Guilty as charged on that one. Perhaps, if we take the notion that a challenge is a time out then maybe the rest of the debate can be stopped until the challenge is addressed.

    I think it helps with the flow of the debate and then it also stops people from having multiple challenges.

    Do you have any thoughts on what the language could be?
    1. Only one challenge allowed at any one time. Resolving one may resolve others so it saves time. In addition, challenges are really forks and multiple forks just derail the original debate.
    2. A challenge discussion will end in either a formal acceptance that the challenge has been met OR the challenges statement formally dropped.
    3. Meeting a challenge means that it has been supported by a third party source or an additional argument. Discussion of the effectiveness of the support viz-a-viz the debate is forbidden whilst in challenge mode - the only goal is to establish whether the statement being challenged has been sufficiently supported.

  9. #7
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    Re: Rules Update: Challenges

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    Guilty as charged on that one. Perhaps, if we take the notion that a challenge is a time out then maybe the rest of the debate can be stopped until the challenge is addressed.
    Perhaps, I'm not really sure that is necessary, except in the case where other claims/deductions rely on the veracity of the claim. Key point being that even if the mods thumb up a claim as supported, that doesn't necessarily mean it is accepted.


    Quote Originally Posted by JJ
    1. Only one challenge allowed at any one time. Resolving one may resolve others so it saves time. In addition, challenges are really forks and multiple forks just derail the original debate.
    2. A challenge discussion will end in either a formal acceptance that the challenge has been met OR the challenges statement formally dropped.
    3. Meeting a challenge means that it has been supported by a third party source or an additional argument. Discussion of the effectiveness of the support viz-a-viz the debate is forbidden whilst in challenge mode - the only goal is to establish whether the statement being challenged has been sufficiently supported.
    1 seems problematic in that a claimant might make several unsupported claims at a time, in which case multiple requests for support simultaneously aren't unwarranted.

    3 might work. We need to be careful about the effectiveness clause, relevancy would seem to border that discussion and relevancy is important to whether or not a challenge has been met.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  10. #8
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    Re: Rules Update: Challenges

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    Perhaps, I'm not really sure that is necessary, except in the case where other claims/deductions rely on the veracity of the claim.
    Good point but to have more than one challenge I think tends to be distracting. That said, the claimer could just tackle them one at a time.

    Key point being that even if the mods thumb up a claim as supported, that doesn't necessarily mean it is accepted.
    Agreed - then should mods have to arbitrate all challenges?


    1 seems problematic in that a claimant might make several unsupported claims at a time, in which case multiple requests for support simultaneously aren't unwarranted.
    True I guess it could be up to the individuals to decide whether to handle them simultaneously or not.

    3 might work. We need to be careful about the effectiveness clause, relevancy would seem to border that discussion and relevancy is important to whether or not a challenge has been met.
    Well, the purpose of the challenge is to get some kind of closure on a particular point. Perhaps the challenger should make a statement on what exactly is being challenged so that if the challenged has answered it then the challenge period is considered closed.

  11. #9
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    Re: Rules Update: Challenges

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    Good point but to have more than one challenge I think tends to be distracting. That said, the claimer could just tackle them one at a time.
    Agreed, and it would be the opponent's job to reinforce challenges if he felt they were critical.

    Quote Originally Posted by JJ
    Agreed - then should mods have to arbitrate all challenges?
    I think we should give the two parties a chance to discuss the issue amongst themselves. If, as happens, the claimant does produce support then there is certainly no reason for the mods to step in. They really only need to step in if the challenger doesn't feel the challenge has been met and therefore reports it. Or if the claimant feels they have met the challenge, and reports the post.

    Regardless, we should be clear that the Mods are not adjudicating quality of support. They are only looking to see if valid, relevant support has been offered, not whether it is compelling or complete.

    Quote Originally Posted by JJ
    Well, the purpose of the challenge is to get some kind of closure on a particular point. Perhaps the challenger should make a statement on what exactly is being challenged so that if the challenged has answered it then the challenge period is considered closed.
    I would propose a different purpose. I wouldn't say the challenge rule is necessarily to get closure on a point, rather it is more about ensuring that our debaters do some due diligence on their claims before posting them. It helps keep the debates from degenerating into simple claim fests. It also promotes active debate by requiring a source for the opposition to discuss or counter.

    As for clarity, remember that a claimant can always request a clarification from the challenger before answering the challenge.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


 

 

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