Instigator / Pro
0
1473
rating
100
debates
32.0%
won
Topic

DART Should Increase Its Character Limit

Status
Voting

Participant that receives the most points from the voters is declared a winner.

The voting will end in:

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Parameters
More details
Publication date
Last update date
Category
Miscellaneous
Time for argument
Two days
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One month
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
30,000
Contender / Con
0
1546
rating
24
debates
62.5%
won
Description
~ 92 / 5,000

I'm assuming that making the limit higher is costless and easy. The current limit is 30,000.

Round 1
Pro
Thanks K_Michael.

INTRODUCTION
You might be wondering why precisely more than 30,000 characters may be necessary. When I revisited Edeb8, I found that unlimited characters were still living on strong. The creator Larz, was not convinced that it was a bad thing. Because he could enforce rules and prevent illogical hogwash of arguments, he was able to establish a strong basis for Edeb8 to hold unlimited characters. I thought it over, and with the bigger moderation of DART, it is definitely plausible that they would also be able to enforce quality debate, and allow for greater amount of characters.

With that being said, let me present my case.

1) Freedom of Speech

Who are we to restrict people who like to be precise with their arguments, and require lengthy research as well as display of eloquence? Indeed, there are certain rules set in place. But increasing the characters does not necessarily mean that there will be insults, threats, so on and so forth. On the contrary. Higher character limit infers that the debaters are both serious as they are willing to extract much information, depending on their style, and talk at length about some detailed issue. 30,000 character limit is good, but a bit stifling. There is no requirement that someone MUST accept the debate with incredibly high character limit. And so we would have two reasonable people who would be able to prove their expertise and puff their chest, expressing their ability to research a depth of information within a limited amount of time. 

2) Ability to Engage

Utilitarianism is an incredibly difficult philosophy to negate, at its simplest form. When there is more enjoyment, with no amount of harm, the action should be taken. This is a simple and logical idea. We wish to make DART the most enjoyable debating platform possible, whether for readers or for debaters. Recent Pew Research studies have confirmed that longer articles keep readers on there longer. 

"All in all, they found cellphone users spend more time on average with longer articles. Which, at first blush, makes intuitive sense. Longer articles are, well, longer. So, sure, people take a longer to read them. But the larger takeaway is that not only are people are reading the news on their phones, they’re more engaged with longer articles. Pew found an average of 123 seconds of interaction time (scrolling, clicking, and presumably reading) for stories longer than 1,000 words compared with 57 seconds for stories shorter than 1,000 words. (Which, okay, even two minutes isn’t a very long time, but we’re talking averages here, and averages include the people who click then immediately stop reading.) “Readers spend about twice the time with long-form news content on their cellphones as with short-form,” Pew said.

Relatedly, Pew found engaged time steadily goes up along with word count. Stories under 250 words garner an average of 43 seconds of engagement time; whereas stories that exceed 5,000 words draw people in for a whopping 270 seconds—or four-and-a-half minutes." 

3) More information presented

Often, debates are unable to find enough words to explain exactly what they want to go detail on. Consider if I only had 100 characters. Even the mighty Oromagi could only provide one simple syllogism in his debate against me. When we each had 30,000 or more, it's clear from that debate that he wanted to quote every word I said so to thoroughly negate my ideas. And what if we had even more? We guarantee that no ideas are missed out on. Oromagi who is one of the top debaters on the site offers his wise wisdom through experience. He notes:

One doesn't have to devote mental energy towards summarizing and paraphrasing.  Some arguments are so poorly written or difficult to parse that summarizing and paraphrasing has the deleterious  effect making the opponent's argument more cogent to VOTERs.  Better to cut & paste the whole quote to remind readers of what they couldn't understand in the last round and improve your own argument by favorable contrast.


"On multivariate analysis with the logarithm of citations as the dependent variable, only article length [regression coefficient: 14.64 (95% confidence intervals: (5.76–23.50)] and JIF [3.37 (1.80–4.948)] independently predicted the number of citations. The variance of citations explained by these parameters was 51.2%.

Conclusion

In a sample of articles published in major General Medicine journals, in addition to journal impact factors, article length and number of authors independently predicted the number of citations. This may reflect a higher complexity level and quality of longer and multi-authored studies."

Let me ask con: how can he explain this? How else, than the fact that more information means that more articles can draw from your studies? Would you negate the idea that longer ideas are more complex? Why is this so? 

4) Encourages establishing Foundation

Context is often very important within a debate. A lot of times, debaters feel like they must only include the core information and miss out on the additional ideas that may extend from a topic. With even higher character limit, it encourages us to fulfill all the information. After all, we have the ability to do so. Even though we don't have to, if we desire, we are able to make our arguments seem stronger. 

Now this may seem like gibberish, so let me clarify. (Ahhh, are you starting to see a bit of the benefits from having more characters?) In recent studies, it's been suggested that journalism had declined in quality. “Our research provides quantitative evidence for what we all can see in the media landscape,” said Jennifer Kavanagh, a RAND senior political scientist and lead author of the report, the second in a series on the phenomenon of “Truth Decay,” the declining role of facts and analysis in civil discourse and its effect on American life. “Journalism in the U.S. has become more subjective and consists less of the detailed event- or context-based reporting that used to characterize news coverage.

As you can see, the event and context combined together is quite important for news, events. These very events that can shape the way we debate, and garner evidence from. With lesser characters, it feels a lot of this is lost upon debating. 

SUMMARY: I do not have to prove I personally need 30,000 characters or more. I only need to prove that it would be a beneficial adding to DART. As noted in the description, it is assumed that this is EASY and FREE to add, so con cannot say that it would cost too much time or effort. We have the freedom of speech to post as many arguments as we want, and 30,000 characters seems like an arbitrary limit, especially given that Code of Conduct prevents gish gallops or countless illogical arguments. Any problems con would argue are resolved.
Con
Making the limit is not (strictly speaking) costless.

PRO states in the debate description that he assumes "that making the limit higher is costless and easy." 

Costless: without cost.
Cost: something that is given, needed, or lost in order to get a particular thing.[1]

I have it from the most reliable possible source that the maintenance of this website is not free. 
To put it bluntly, reality is a bitch and even simple websites like ours require some funds to maintain, especially if the developers try to apply the best practices and techniques which make the websites, among other things, easy to monitor and deploy.
To be more precise, here's the list of the services that we currently use and which, more often than not, require monthly payments in order to work in production environment:
  • Virtual private server: ~10$ and more
  • Files storage and access: ~3$ and more
  • Emails delivery: ~2$ and more
  • Monitoring: ~15$
  • Continuous integration: Free, but may change in the future as our requirements rise
(Bolds added by me)[2]
Storage is not free. Every character in every argument on DArt is stored on a server somewhere, and every character is one byte[3] In other words, a 30,000 character argument takes up 30 kb of data (in ASCII without any HTML or links to other documents) On a side note that has nothing to do with this debate but I thought was interesting, since the average word is 4.79 characters, a single picture (let's say 500x500 pixels since that's the minimum profile picture size on DArt) is worth about 52 words, not the proverbial 1,000.

There is no need for 30,000+ characters.
I have never personally witnessed a debate where someone actually met the 30,000 character limit. Unless PRO can provide evidence of a debate where the 30,000 character limit was met (excluding spam), then there is no evidence that a higher limit has any demand. If there is no demand, then it is not worth doing, and your 1st argument is not valid.
This is only early evidence, but I asked the members of DArt if they had seen any 30,000+ character arguments on this site, and they said no.[4]

30,000 is already the upper limits of attention span.
Common estimates of the attention span of healthy teenagers and adults range from 10 to 20 minutes [5]

Many resources indicate that the average reading speed of most adults is around 200 to 250 words per minute. College students, probably because they must practice reading, move that pace up a notch to around 300 words per minute. [6]
if we take the upper estimates here, (20 minutes x 300 wpm = 6000 words x 4.79 avg characters per word [7] = 28740 characters) we get just under 30,000 characters as the very HIGHEST ESTIMATE to how long readers (and therefore voters) will pay attention.

Counters:
P1) Freedom of Speech

Conclusion: 
1 (Kritik): A higher character limit is not technically costless.
2: There is no evidence of a demand for a higher limit. 
3: 30,000+ character arguments detract from voters.
Rebuttals will follow in the next round but I have the SAT tomorrow. Good night.



Round 2
Pro
1) Freedom of Speech
dropped

2) Ability to Engage
K_Michael only considers a one time read through. If you are interested in the argument and it keeps on going, then you can always take a breather and come back later. How else would books receive critical acclaim and have movies made about the entire plot?

3) More information presented
dropped. 

4) Encourages establishing Foundation
dropped.

Keep in mind that K_Michael had the maximal limit, 30,000 characters, and still dropped three of my arguments. This goes to show an example of why we should extend the character limit.

Rebuttals

maintenance of this website is not free. 
Okay, that doesn't mean that adding a bigger limit will cost more.

There is no need for 30,000+ characters.

There very well may be. There is no telling if someone as serious as Whiteflame, or Larz, or even more serious, will join the site and need to bolster an incredible argument. Consider the question asked, what is the length of a journal article, possibly and potentially acceptable into a serious academic level? https://www.researchgate.net/post/What_should_be_the_minimum_number_of_pages_for_a_manuscript_before_it_can_be_submitted_for_publication_in_high_Impact_Factor_Journal_indexing_in_ISI argues, 4000-5000+, 5000~6000, maybe 7000, maybe 8000, etc. If the average word is 7 letters, that means some people may want 35,000 or even 40,000 characters. As proof that these people's opinions are supported, official statements have noted that for proper experts you would need at least 5,000~10,000 more characters:

"The journal publishes several types of articles: Full length Research article, Review article,Invited article,Technical note, Short communication, Comments on a published paper, Book Review, Corrigendum and Erratum should not exceed 6000words. Normally articles will be up to 5000 words including end notes and references"

Larztheloser personally managed to use a staggering 46540 characters in his debate against Whiteflame, and the latter did not complain about any useless arguments as far as I could see. 

As I cannot copy paste his arguments directly (due to *ahem* certain restrictions) I will summarize his argument and note why every part was crucial to clarify or prove his idea. 

P = Main Paragraph

P1: Introduces overall structure and ideas
Mass medication
P2: Salt is low in human bodies
P3: Oral health
P4: Vitamin C
P5: Vitamin E
P6: " Our society's health problems are no longer all physical"
P7: "any kind of mass medication follows the same kind of model"
P8: "It is certainly possible to mass medicate"
P9: Is there no better way of running our society?

Human Rights
P10: what Human rights are
P11: "most basic of these human rights is the right to life"
P12: "right to life is different from an obligation to life"
P13: clarify medication
P14: "Policy decisions made on the basis of rights as opposed to obligations are just as compatible with sound scientific research"
P15: "there are of course reasonable limitations to that in the context of a fair and just society."
P16: "There is no such case that can be made, in a rights-based analysis, for mass immunizing everybody regardless of the decisions that they have made"
P17: "the UDHR is protected by international law..."
P18: " I chose the UDHR because of its universality"

We're not the same
P19: "the presumption is that everybody deemed eligible carries the same risk and rewards."
P20: "Nobody - and I mean nobody - knows my body better than me"
P21: "these things do not occur when the system allows you to make these decisions yourself"
P22: "There are alternative options that people have if they want to live healthy lives"
P23: "none of these is in any way exclusive with sound science."
....

Okay, I gave up half way through because this paraphrasing is seriously very difficult and time consuming. If con feels like he can accurately summarize the debate without missing out on key details using only 30,000 words and two days, well, he is free to go crazy, but that would take far more effort than citing major paragraphs of Larz's argument without worry of reaching the limit. You can start to see why it's important to be able to copy paste entire ideas so as to prove your point without being exhausted or worrying about typing up to the limit of the debate. As proof that Larz did not do any hodge podge shenanigans, he is the main creator of edeb8 so he establishes the very standard for his site and what debating should be. Throughout the entire argument, Whiteflame only asked if something was irrelevant ONE TIME. ONCE. That's how good Larz's argument was. The conversation went like this: 

admin: You are losing rights whenever the vaccination is mandatory. The side effects are irrelevant to the question. There you're losing rights to the government. Rights analysis is about obligations people hold towards one another. To say viruses have human rights is absurd.
admin: Looking at pneumonia. If I get measles, what's the chance I will develop pneumonia?
whiteflame: Based on the CDC's numbers, 1 in 20 children get pneumonia, though I can't find specific numbers for adults. http://www.cdc.gov/measles/about/complications.html This year, between January and May, there have been 5, which represents slightly less than that. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6322a4.htm
whiteflame: I guess I didn't get as clear of an answer to this as I'd thought earlier. You now say that the side effects are irrelevant to the question. Are you now saying that those side effects that result from mandatory vaccination are not abrogations of the rights of those individuals who acquire them?
As you can clearly see Whiteflame did not complain about Larz's argument being too long, despite being 15,000 characters extra too long to fit into a DART round. That debate, especially with CX included, could not possibly fit into DART at all. Even if we don't trust Larz as a reliable idea, Whiteflame himself responded with an even more impressive round with 50,000+ characters included. And Whiteflame is a current active member on DART. Which implies that he could definitively use that many characters. His profile background with PhD in Microbiology definitively infers that he had some dissertation, worthy of being a journal article or longer, at least 35,000 characters, maybe more. But unfortunately, he would be forced to split it between at least two rounds, making a lot of hopping back and forth, which would restrict his expertise and his ability to debate. As such, we would be downplaying Whiteflame's knowledge and restricting his freedom of speech, while also gating experts or other well-researched arguments (such as Larz's) from occurring on DART.
Con
First, I will note that the arguments were not dropped, as PRO claims, only postponed due to TIME CONSTRAINTS, not a CHARACTER LIMIT. I used only about 3,000 characters, a tenth of the limit.
Keep in mind that K_Michael had the maximal limit, 30,000 characters, and still dropped three of my arguments. This goes to show an example of why we should extend the character limit.
This is a blatant falsehood. The character limit in no way affected my ability to respond to any/all of PRO’s arguments. This is a prime example of a non sequitur. PRO connected two completely unrelated facts (1. the character limit, and 2. my “dropping” of three arguments) and then claims that there is a causal relationship.

Rebuttals

1) Freedom of Speech
PRO has clearly never read the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution states
AMENDMENT I
   
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
(Bolds and underlining added by me.)[1]

The 1st amendment only restricts the federal government from passing laws that restrict freedom of speech, not any private organizations, companies, or media platforms. DebateArt has no legal obligation to uphold freedom of speech.

2) Ability to Engage 

PRO’s statistics claim that engagement goes up when an article is longer than 1,000 words or is higher at 5,000 words than it is when compared to articles that are less than 250 words, because. However, these statistics do little to support PRO’s view. The same statistics suggest that reading engagement is actually of a lower quality, even though the time spent reading goes up. If the reading time for a 250-word article is 43 seconds, then the average reading speed is 348 wpm, which is already more than 100 wpm than the average high-level comprehension reading speed of 200-250 wpm. A 5,000+ word article, on the other hand, with 270 seconds’ reading time, is 1,111 wpm. This indicates that reader attention and comprehension goes down, rather than up, as an article increases in length. 1,111 wpm is barely skimming, which would obviously detract from the quality of votes on this website.

3) More information presented

As I stated in R1, there is little to no evidence that any debaters on DArt have had trouble presenting their entire argument within a 30,000 character round. 
"On multivariate analysis with the logarithm of citations as the dependent variable, only article length [regression coefficient: 14.64 (95% confidence intervals: (5.76–23.50)] and JIF [3.37 (1.80–4.948)] independently predicted the number of citations. The variance of citations explained by these parameters was 51.2%.
This statistic only indicates that longer scholarly articles are cited more often. As debates on DArt are not scholarly articles, they are not cited in the same way. This statistic regarding scholarly articles is unable to be applied to anything that is not a scholarly article, so it is irrelevant regardless.

4) Encourages establishing Foundation

Once again, unless PRO can provide evidence that there is a need for a higher character limit on DArt, this argument makes little difference. PRO could make an argument that users of DArt should be less reticent with contextual information, and then see if the character limit becomes a problem. Until then, this argument has no basis.

~~~~~

maintenance of this website is not free. 
Okay, that doesn't mean that adding a bigger limit will cost more.
I may be wrong about this since I’ve never run a website before, but I would imagine that since there is a cost to save the information on a server, and longer arguments mean more information to be saved, it would cost more to have a higher character limit. There are probably cost tiers on storage rather than paying by the gigabyte or something. In theory, however, my point stands, and can only be disproven if you get told by the site owner otherwise. This was only a minor Kritik anyways. You have still not countered my 2nd and 3rd points.


Summary of PRO's arguments:
  • PRO tried to claim that my personal schedule constraints constituted as evidence that I needed a higher character limit, even though I barely used a tenth of the character limit in that round.
  • PRO inadvertently tries to claim that DArt is the United States Congress.
  • PRO provides a source that says a longer article has a higher reading time, which at first glance would seem to support PRO's argument, but when you break down the numbers of the article length and the time spent reading, it becomes clear that reader engagement goes DOWN, not UP, as articles increase in length.
  • Essentially PRO argues that since longer scholarly articles are cited more often, the non-scholarly articles on DArt that are not cited should be longer for unspecified reasons.
  • Even though arguments rarely so much as come within 5,000 words of the max character limit, we need a higher character limit so that people can establish context for their arguments.

Round 3
Pro
[Sorry about weird formatting, DART died on me]

1) Freedom of Speech


Naturally, there are exceptions, and certain restrictions. As a news article notes

We see all of those freedoms expressed on the internet with stunning regularity. Religious websites of all kinds abound; people can and do say almost anything, sometimes with reckless abandon; newspapers are now surviving almost exclusively because of their internet presence; social media websites and online forums allow anyone to “assemble”; websites, such as petitions.whitehouse.gov, exist to streamline our legally-required right to petition the government.

Yet much of what happens on the internet falls more specifically under the broad concept of “free speech”. However, the definition of “speech” has expanded in the past 200 years to now include far more than just written or spoken words. Actions themselves can constitute free speech. This broad definition makes interpreting the freedoms, and subsequent limitations, all the more vague as some actions are certainly harmful to others in ways that infringe on their rights.

According to USCourts.gov, the First Amendment does not cover:

Words or actions meant to incite violence or that influence others to commit acts of violence (including “fighting words”)  (Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47 (1919))
Libel and slander (New York Times Co v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964))
Child pornography (New York v. Ferber 458 U.S. 747 (1982))
The creation or distribution of obscene materials (Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476 (1957))
The burning of draft cards as an anti-war protest (United States v. O’Brien, 391 U.S. 367 (1968))
Students printing articles in a school newspaper over the objections of the school administration (Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260 (1988))
Students who make obscene speeches at school-sponsored events (Bethel School District #43 v. Fraser, 478 U.S. 675 (1986))
Students who advocate illegal drug use at a school-sponsored event (Morse v. Frederick, 200 U.S. 321 (2007))
So definitely, if one were to swear an unusual amount, or post an obscene image, or threaten to expose information/damage someone online, that can be detrimental to the ideas presented on the website. However, other than that, there is no limitation to the debate topics, so long as the Rules of Conduct are followed. In fact, I will exercise my freedom of speech to demonstrate I can say something, while still adhering to Rules of Conduct.


Here I will paste the Rules of Conduct to show that I can indeed, paste the Rules of Conduct as long as I didn't say it was written by me. (It was not written by me. DART staff wrote it)


Basics

By using DebateArt.com, you are bound and agree to be bound by this Code of Conduct and the Privacy Policy, as well as any other rules that may be published from time to time. If participating in debates, you are also bound by the Voting Policy.

In essence, treat others as you wish to be treated. If someone makes a wholly reasonable request of you, please try to comply.

User Accounts

All users must be a minimum of 13 years of age when creating an account, or older to help comply with any local laws pertaining to Internet usage.

You may not use hateful, harassing, or obscene language or imagery in your username or avatar.

Multi-accounting and any action indistinguishable from it is prohibited. Dispensation may be granted on a case-by-case basis, such as for multiple users within a single residence; but they will have certain restrictions applied (e.g., never voting on each other’s debates).

Users are free to transition a new account or back to a former, so long as they demonstrate no exploitative intent, and inform moderators to ensure only one is active.

Account bans may be appealed by emailing: [email protected]

Authenticity

You may not impersonate individuals, groups, or organizations in a manner that is either intended to or likely to deceive others. Parody accounts are acceptable, so long it is clear that they are parodies and do not parody other site users.

Extravagant lies, not to be confused with mere context issues, may rise to the level of constituting impersonation.

You may not violate others intellectual property rights.

Harassment

Targeted harassment of any member prohibited, as is inciting others to do so at your behest. This includes wishing or hoping that someone and/or their loved ones experiences physical harm.

Creating threads to call-out specific users qualifies as targeted harassment, as does obsessive attempts to derail unrelated topics with impertinent grudges. However, criticising statements within an ongoing discussion, is fair game.

Threats of lawsuits are not allowed, and by using this site you agree to waive any rights to file civil suits against fellow site users for any non-criminal actions.

If a member politely requests that you leave them alone, do so. Repeated failure to comply, is a clear aggravating factor regarding the content of said posts.

Violence and Criminal Behavior

You may not threaten or promote violence against any person or persons, barring hyperbole against public figures (e.g., “all politicians should be shot”). Advocacy in favor of terrorism and/or violent extremism, especially as related to hate groups as generally defined by the SPLC, is likewise prohibited.

You may not promote or encourage suicide or self harm.

You may not engage in or promote criminal activity.

You may not engage in or promote the sexual exploitation of minors.

Safety and Privacy

Doxing is strictly forbidden. Without their express permission, you may not post, threaten to post, nor encourage others to post, anyone’s private or identifying information no matter how it was obtained.

You may not share any content from private messages, without the consent of the respective authors; or with moderator approval (such as for dispute resolution).

Objectionable Content

You may not post or link to media that is excessively gory or violent.

You may not post or link to pornography or other explicit adult sexual material.

You may not engage in commercial advertising anywhere on the site.

Spam is prohibited, and any overtly repetitive nonsensical posts are considered spam.

Unwarranted systemic vulgarity and invectives, which may include off topic personal attacks and/or hate speech, are subject to disciplinary actions.

Consequences

The moderators retain the authority to interpret and apply all policies in the best interests of the site and users therein. In most cases, a “reasonable person” standard will be utilized.

The specific consequence will depend on the severity and frequency of the violations, along with user history, context, and other relevant factors. Any violation of the Violence and Criminal Behavior policy will result in an immediate indefinite ban.

Consequences for violations include:

Nothing, as most perceived violations are too minor to constitute a true offense.

Written warnings, which are most common for first-time violations.

Restraining orders, which will always be mutual to ensure neither may antagonize the other.

Revocation of abused privileges, such as loss of the ability to create threads due to creating too many spam threads.

Temporary bans, with increasing duration for subsequent violations, up to 90-days.

Indefinite bans, which have no set expiration, but may be appealed every 90-days.

In addition to the above measures, moderators reserve the right to:

Delete any content in violation of the above rules.

Lock threads with frequent noteworthy violations of the above rules, or as a preventative measure when such are assuredly imminent.

Now, unless I was banned (which would be evident on the top of this debate) while still following the said rules, it's clear that Whiteflame should be able to post above 30,000 characters if he follows all the Rules of Conduct. Why? Because he should be able to. Nothing in the rules say that you cannot post above 30,000 for whatever reason. This alone should carry the debate and win my argument.


2) Ability to Engage 


Now obviously, reading and voting should be held to two different levels of standard. When I read Harry Potter I do not expect to afterwards be asked, if Harry's actions were moral, immoral, better than Hermione's, and so it does not matter how quickly or slowly I read it, enjoyment is key. Similarly, DART having more users would help its traffic receive attention and potentially boost donations to the site. It has been suggested that longer form content is shown more often in search engine results. Many business websites use similar strategies to attract users and gain more money. Now I know DART isn't primarily profit based, but if it really, really needs that little extra bit, I'm sure most people wouldn't mind a small sidebar ad.


As SEO-Hacker notes, "Satisfied customers become returning visitors and customers, and they might even become the promoters of your brand if they are really satisfied. Whether they are people that are simply satisfied with your products or content and recommend you to their friends, or full-on fans, they are worth their weight in gold." Even if we aren't talking about products, the content is key to DART, and seeing the expertise and information available could help people learn about countless different topics, as well as how to debate.


3) More information presented


Con thinks merely because we are not scholarly articles that this does not apply. Logic makes me feel like the more content you have, the more information you provide, and the more other people can draw from it. Is not the learning experience an invaluable gain? Consider if, I had to summarize Larz's argument in only 100 characters. It would be improbable. And my quality of debating would be far lower with only 20 words (approximately) available to try to concisely state Larz's entire case. Whiteflame's rebuttal would be all the more impossible to present.


4) Encourages establishing Foundation


Con refuses to look at the evidence stated right in front of him. Remember that Con has not even negated my summarizing of Larz's case. It is up to con to refute, and show they are irrelevant, despite even Whiteflame unable to find a context that was unnecessary (and responding with a longer argument!) Here I will post just part, just part of his argument to make the point to voters to glance or read over to accept that my paraphrasing was not off:

Mass medication
The idea of forcing everybody to take medicine to prevent disease is nothing new. Iodine is often added to salt, because people in inland areas where fish is not generally a big part of the diet often lack iodine (most of us used to get it naturally from the soil, but then we started over-fertilizing everything so we can't rely on getting iodine from there any more). The impact of that is that these populations find their average IQ drops about 10 points, and many become cretins. The idea behind using salt is that everybody generally eats it - it is not designed to target only those people who have insufficient iodine in their diet, but everybody. By no means am I trying to dismiss issues related to iodine being low in people's bodies - this is an issue that affects 40% of people worldwide.

Then people decided that human oral health isn't that great either. Water supplies are often fluoridated to ensure that we get enough fluoride even when some of us are too lazy to brush our teeth. And again - I don't want to dismiss the terrible harms to public health when even young children routinely require root canal work to be done. Ironically, fluoride makes it harder to use iodine.

One can go even further. Vitamin C is also required for living. Some people don't eat enough oranges and thus become sickly. This allows illnesses to spread more easily among the general population. Thank goodness there are convenient vitamin C tablets available that one could simply require the entire population to regularly take. Having sufficient Vitamin A in the diet is almost as good a defense against measles as the vaccination itself, and particularly in the third world has shown itself to be more effective.

More people are deficient in vitamin E than are deficient in iodine. This makes them more susceptible to disease. But on the other hand, too much vitamin E (or zinc, which is another mineral many are deficient in that this happens with) and your immune system becomes worse again (incidentally, if you take HEAPS of iodine then that's actually poisonous - Brazil recently had to lower the level of iodization in their salt because in Brazil they apparently eat heaps of salt). Unsafe sex often leads to the transmission of really serious, terrible diseases - but too much safe sex and you end up with a low birthrate.

One can also take the same principle even further. Our society's health problems are no longer all physical. Mental health issues are a big problem, and it's not just the lack of intelligence like iodine solves for. It would not be hard to imagine a society where everybody was sent a package from the government every week, containing antidepressants, supplements etc. One would get even better health results if the government just mandates a diet for everybody because some people are anorexic or obese. And even that is meaningless unless the government mandates a minimum and maximum level of exercise for everybody with strict enforcement.

It's true that one can make pretty much anything sound bad when you take it to extremes. But in principle at least, any kind of mass medication follows the same kind of model. It's the government deciding that they know best how everybody ought to treat their health. This is, of course, informed by genuine science identifying genuine problems. But that doesn't mean that it's good as a social policy. This is the same genuine science that tells us some genes are generally superior to other genes. There's no problem with that. But there might be a problem with replacing all humanity with genetically-modified super-humans made of the optimal gene combination (once we figure out exactly how all the genes work, of course). Or of course the original plan for how to do that - which, again, really came from genuine science - commonly known as "eugenics".

It is certainly possible to mass medicate every time somebody so much as sniffles a little. I'm even sure that if the plan was implemented perfectly, the average health of society would usually improve when you did so. In much the same way, eugenics would reduce certain genetic diseases, and I could even accept it would improve the capabilities of the human race slightly. It's certainly one way to run a country. But it's not the future that most of us really want to see. Hence why mass medication generally only comes around in response to certain alarmist outbreaks. For example - alarmingly high number of people are mentally retarded? Solution: give everybody medicine to cure the whole world. Lots of people with bad teeth? Make everybody drink one of the key ingredients of toothpaste.

This is the strategy that is unfortunately generally used by vaccine campaigners. They see an epidemic, develop a vaccine, and then make everybody take it. Hence why vaccines for Ebola are being trialed now, MMR came after the epidemics in the 60s and 70s, and so on. But let's consider the alternative. Is there no better way of running our society?

Human Rights
Ironically developed largely as a response to eugenics, human rights is all about the idea that because we're people, we get some basic entitlements. These are rights afforded to all humans equally (or at least, among those who come from nations signatory to the "Universal" Declaration of Human Rights). There's no real scientific justification for human rights. But in ethics they one of the most important ideas. You can read the UDHR here.

Now I'll start by acknowledging that the most basic of these human rights is the right to life. Depriving somebody of that right (at least directly) is called murder and is generally the most serious crime a person can commit. When people die, that certainly impacts upon the rest of society as well. I think my opponent and I will agree, therefore, that people have a right to live healthy lives, not get sick etc. An effective immune system is the best way to achieve that, and immunization's role is to get the immune system to a point where if it encounters a disease, it can deal with it. So we both agree that people should have every access to immunization that humanity can afford them. This is, in principle, enshrined in article 25 of the UDHR:
Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services...

The difference is that the right to life is different from an obligation to life. We are not required, in human rights analysis, to be maximally healthy. If we want to enjoy a delicious tub of ice-cream every so often, we can do that. The right belongs to us - we can choose to exercise it or to ignore it. When government bureaucrats make healthcare decisions on your behalf, they're really taking that right away from you. They're using it for their own purposes, and often to promote their own agenda (this becomes more so the case in less democratic countries, which might be further influenced to adopt such a model if it takes off in the USA). In a rights-based nation, the human rights belong to you. They are not the property of the government.

This could be a point of confusion for some people, so let me clear it up. I'm all for bringing medicine to the masses. What I oppose is forcing pills into their mouths and making them swallow. "Mass medication", though it probably literally means the former, generally means the latter, and it's in this sense that I'm using it in this debate.

Policy decisions made on the basis of rights as opposed to obligations are just as compatible with sound scientific research. It's simply a different approach. An example of a rights-based policy might be to provide free nurse visits for poor mothers, because they have the right to healthcare. Or you could oblige all poor mothers to visit a nurse whether they like it or not. In terms of practical outcome, the two are almost the same. One could argue that with rights you'd get a few uninformed people falling through the cracks, and with mass medication some people might be uncooperative or resentful. But in terms of the morality of it, respecting somebody's right to life is definitely the high ground. There's no real way to prove morality (at least until we invent the crystal ball), but we all tend usually to agree that life is a pretty great thing to have, and that in general we should make our own destiny.

This is called "bodily autonomy". Your life = your body = your decision.

Now, there are of course reasonable limitations to that in the context of a fair and just society. For example, people who are unable to make a decision (such as young children). It's also not unreasonable to impose certain kinds of limitations on it for people who enter into certain kinds of contracts (such as an actor who needs to dye his hair for a role). There is also an argument to be had - although even this is really controversial - for restricting the bodily autonomy of those who have broken certain laws (principally these arguments concern the death penalty). The reason such restrictions are perhaps warranted in a rights-based analysis is because the decision still rests with the individual and not the state - they can choose to not enter into the contract or break the law. Or alternatively, because they cannot make the decision they cannot exercise their rights to which they are entitled.

There is no such case that can be made, in a rights-based analysis, for mass immunizing everybody regardless of the decisions that they have made. It's effectively exactly like the state is presuming everybody guilty of the "crime" of being a possible carrier for the disease (that is to say, the crime of being human) and thus forcing them to undergo medical treatment, a rather unusual punishment. In times past, peoples diagnosed with certain illnesses (particularly mental illnesses) were often operated on or shipped off to asylums without anyone's consent being obtained. Hence a big part of the reason as to why such institutions have such a bad reputation in this day and age. We've moved beyond that as a society. Kings used to force their subjects to do stuff indiscriminately, but now we can do better.

One final point. To a certain extent, the UDHR is protected by international law, unlike the principle of mass medication which is generally only protected by big pharma vaccine companies accountable more to their shareholders than any given government (thanks in no small part to them actually being bigger than many governments). This demonstrates that even government doesn't really want power over people's lives, and wants them to generally handle this kind of stuff themselves. This legitimizes human rights as a moral framework for the debate, especially in the USA where the government is a democracy (pretty much), and thus reflects the will of the people.

As an aside, I chose the UDHR because of its universality. It is of course not the only model for human rights that exists, but the right to life is pretty broad in its adoption by practically every human-rights focused document on earth. In fact, it's also foundational to the declaration of independence of the United States (along with liberty and the pursuit of happiness), and of course over there such documents are pretty much the word of God.

We're not the same
This is one of those arguments I shouldn't really have to prove, not least because my opponent actually tacitly builds the presumption into his model, by providing some very reasonable exceptions to the "mandatory" vaccinations (which, incidentally, largely just so happen to be the very same people most at risk of actually contracting those illnesses). But the idea that the government is working only off a checklist to decide who is or is not to be vaccinated basically devalues our individuality. Even if - hypothetically speaking - doctor's could just use their professional discretion (which would probably be slightly preferable in that the government can hardly account for every single other medication or lifestyle factor a person may be involved with) - ultimately the presumption is that everybody deemed eligible carries the same risk and rewards.

Nobody - and I mean nobody - knows my body better than me. Just as nobody knows your body better than you. Let me take an obvious example - say somebody secretly indulges in a prescription drug, but their doctor doesn't know (in case your wondering, the reason the doctor wouldn't know about a prescription - of all things - is that people routinely take legitimately prescribed medication from their friends to abuse it). It may well be that whatever risky behavior you're dealing in could react poorly with the vaccination. Assuming doctors are, in general, reasonably competent, they would of course be able to recognize that right away. But they're not you. And you're not exactly going to admit to your doctor what you've been up to, perhaps partly because you're ashamed of it, but mostly because this doctor is literally acting as an agent of the government at the time. Conversely, there may also be perverse incentives to lie and get the vaccine even though it is not safe for you to do so, as society plays up the harms of the diseases. Or to not vaccinate and pretend you are vaccinated  based on the free rider principle, since proving a person is not vaccinated isn't easily done.

It goes without saying that these things do not occur when the system allows you to make these decisions yourself. But these implications only expose the underlying flaw of the entire system, and that's that it's based on a false premise. Mass medication relies on this idea that one treatment will work well on everybody, with a goal of achieving a universal standard of health. Not only does this not work, but it's not even a good standard. As distinct people, it's dehumanizing to be engaged in a ritual activity for the sole purpose of making us more similar.

There are alternative options that people have if they want to live healthy lives. It's not - by any means - a foregone conclusion that everybody who is not immunized will get sick and will die as a result of that. In fact, it's extremely unlikely. Even back when these diseases were epidemics across the world, you were still significantly more likely to die of something that WASN'T measles, mumps or rubella. And that's not because these diseases were ineffective at killing people or being terribly contagious. It's because one's risk level does not depend solely on the vaccine. I had measles once and recovered in a couple of days with nothing more than playing video games on my bed (I like to joke that Gran Turismo cured me). In fact there's a surprisingly strong correlation between dying from the complications of the diseases that this particular vaccine addresses, and being heavily malnourished. But the principle is the same for any vaccine. Don't want tetanus? Avoiding puncture wounds and cleaning needles in hospitals is an even better defense than immunization.

I need to stress once again that none of these is in any way exclusive with sound science. This isn't some quackery I'm just making up to sell you some snake oil. I'm just making the point that remedies are also, to a significant extent, lifestyle choices. Some random person could stop smoking to avoid cancer, or they could eat more fruit. There is real, scientific evidence I could link that both actions would reduce the risk of them contracting certain types of cancer. But the impact on their lifestyle would be quite different. One could choose to get an injection to combat M/M/R (plus a recommended booster shot every 10 years), AND/OR one could live healthily. The impact of each may have repercussions to you, and your life, other than just a doctor's visit. And these things will impact us in different ways.

This is the flaw with that assumption I listed earlier. We are all different. For the government to treat us as if this is merely just a magic cure to solve the problem of MMR once and for all is ignorant of the role that medicine plays in our society. I see this as a moral issue as well as a pragmatic one. The moment that we decide a one-size-fits-all solution is a great idea for solving a problem is the moment that we forget society is made up of real people with real lives. The decision to mess with any of our lives in any way the government wants, and the decision to medicate us in the way the government wants is the same thing. People should have the right to decide what means of avoiding sickness is right for them. Of course there should be sound advice from trusted doctors and research made available, but governments should not choose one option over any other and force that on people based just on arbitrary criteria that they define.

Fun fact before I finish this point. There is in fact a weak correlation between taking more vaccines and dying, popularly known as "vaccine overload". This cannot possibly be anything the vaccines are doing. There have been a lot of very good studies showing that vaccines, administered properly, pose no health risk at all even if you take a lot of them, despite some claims by alarmist health groups (many of whom go on to talk about autism, which is kind of annoying since that isn't even a direct correlation, but I'll talk more about this in my rebuttal). The much more likely explanation is really very simple: less-vaccinated kids are more likely to seek healthcare in other ways. The necessity for them to be health-conscious actually seems to make a difference to their health. Now like I said it's a weak correlation, and you can't establish anything definitely out of it, but it goes to show that vaccinations policies sometimes can have unforeseen social impacts as well.
...

and I've run out of characters.


Also, Con keeps asserting that the storage would far too costly, however, this is not the case. Even Whiteflame's debate against Larz is only 200,000 characters. Google notes that this is merely 0.0002 GB. With cloud storage costs of text, 0.02$ per GB. This adds to an astonishing amount of.... 0.000004$ for Whiteflame's debate. Ok. No wonder even Larz accepted the unlimited character limit on his site. It costs nearly nothing. You would need 10,000 Whiteflames simultaneously debating in order for it to even cost 4 cents. NEGATED.


Conclusion: 30,000 characters seems like a lot.... but not for the likes of Larz and Whiteflame. Encouraging more people to join would make this a bigger community and more active with debaters, potentially increasing revenue for those who are willing to pay a bit for DART's suffering, in case we somehow reach 10,000 Whiteflames. There is no problem with freedom of speech, and this does not violate the rules of conduct in any way. I could not even paste Larz's argument to prove my point that every paragraph he had was necessary. Here, even while exercising my freedom of speech within the realm of DART's rules, I have demonstrated that in order to fully analyze Larz's argument [or Whiteflame's counterargument] I would need far more than 30,000 characters. Thanks, and vote for pro.








Con
1) Freedom of Speech

Naturally, there are exceptions, and certain restrictions.
PRO completely ignores my argument. I quoted the ENTIRETY of the 1st Amendment that defines the Consitutional Right of Freedom of Speech. Here it is again as a reminder.
AMENDMENT I
   
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Once again, as you can see, the 1st amendment only restricts CONGRESS (i.e., the federal legislature) from passing laws that restrict the freedom of speech. In NO WAY is debateart.com obligated to uphold freedom of speech. In other words, this argument is STILL invalid no matter how long of a quote you behind it.
Now, unless I was banned (which would be evident on the top of this debate) while still following the said rules, it's clear that Whiteflame should be able to post above 30,000 characters if he follows all the Rules of Conduct. Why? Because he should be able to. Nothing in the rules say that you cannot post above 30,000 for whatever reason. This alone should carry the debate and win my argument.
First of all, "I" (referring to the author, PRO) being banned would have no effect on whiteflame's ability to make an argument. I will assume that this is an error rather than a non sequitur. If this was intentionally the wording, then PRO should make it clear in the next round.
Now, the rest of this statement; PRO claims that because something isn't specifically against the rules it should be allowed. There is no law against marrying an animal in the United States, though most animal abuse laws will prevent you from engaging in sexual intercourse. However, this doesn't mean that you should do it.

It would be a simple fix to adjust the character limit, but it would be just as easy to update the Code of Conduct. From Twitter's Terms of Service:
We also retain the right to create limits on use and storage at our sole discretion at any time.
Storage, of course, means saving every single tweet that isn't deleted by a poster, just as DArt saves every debate that isn't requested to be deleted by a mod. DArt could easily add this clause or something else to the effect of agreeing to the imposed character limit. Furthermore, PRO has STILL not provided any evidence that a higher character limit is desired by the DArt community. Changing the character limit on DArt because edebate users have 30,000+ character arguments is exactly analogous to Twitter changing their character limit solely because Facebook users have a higher limit. Until a user complains that they were unable to fully express their argument, there is no reason to change it.
The fact that there is no demand for it (beyond PRO, who is only using 30,000 characters because he is quoting huge blocks of edebate arguments as evidence, rather than just linking them and showing the character count.) should carry the debate and win my argument.

2) Ability to Engage 


Now obviously, reading and voting should be held to two different levels of standard.
One of the primary reasons for DArt is voting, so it is unreasonable to ignore it as you are doing. Since you dropped my contention that reader engagement decreases in longer articles (and instead wasted your more than sufficient character limit quoting chunks of a debate regarding an entirely different subject), you cannot deny that a longer argument will detract from voting because readers will not read as comprehensively.

When I read Harry Potter I do not expect to afterwards be asked, if Harry's actions were moral, immoral, better than Hermione's, and so it does not matter how quickly or slowly I read it, enjoyment is key. Similarly, DART having more users would help its traffic receive attention and potentially boost donations to the site.
You are not asked to judge anyone's moral actions after reading a debate either (unless that is the subject of that specific debate), so this is incomparable. Furthermore, Harry Potter is explicitly written as entertainment, whereas a debate is also written with the intent of winning votes through logical reasoning and appealing rhetoric. This is more comparable to a persuasive essay, though the format is different and there is a larger emphasis placed on logical reasoning here at DArt than the average persuasive essay. 
Similarly, DART having more users would help its traffic receive attention and potentially boost donations to the site.
How is the fact that Harry Potter is a fictional novel meant to entertain similar to more users boosting donations? This is a complete non sequitur.
The rest of this argument goes into the importance of making entertaining content, but as I have already, said, voting is ALSO a key aspect of DArt.

3) More information presented

Con thinks merely because we are not scholarly articles that this does not apply.
It DOESN'T. A study is only applicable to the subject matter, and a debate is inherently different in many aspects from a scholarly article. For one, the reading audience will be very different. The standards that scholarly articles are held to are also very different. Both are written pieces that inform and try to prove a point, but at best you are comparing apples to pears, if not apples to oranges. You cannot generalize information about apples to apply to pears, even though they are similar, without conducting a similar study about pears (so if you have another study on debate arguments, please do post that.)
Logic makes me feel like the more content you have, the more information you provide, and the more other people can draw from it. Is not the learning experience an invaluable gain? Consider if, I had to summarize Larz's argument in only 100 characters. It would be improbable. And my quality of debating would be far lower with only 20 words (approximately) available to try to concisely state Larz's entire case. Whiteflame's rebuttal would be all the more impossible to present.
So now a debate's purpose is to inform, not entertain? This only reinforces my reader engagement argument, as low reader engagement means that readers will learn little. It is better to use fewer words and get the same amount of information across, not to the point of losing context or meaning, but as Shakespeare put it, "brevity is the soul of wit." 

4) Encourages establishing Foundation

Con refuses to look at the evidence stated right in front of him. Remember that Con has not even negated my summarizing of Larz's case. It is up to con to refute, and show they are irrelevant, despite even Whiteflame unable to find a context that was unnecessary (and responding with a longer argument!) Here I will post just part, just part of his argument to make the point to voters to glance or read over to accept that my paraphrasing was not off:
The evidence is that whiteflame has made no complaint about the character limit on DArt. This implies that whiteflame has no complaint at all. Neither I or PRO speaks for whiteflame, however, so I can only assume based on what he's said. PRO is only capable of filling the character limit by posting entire chunks of other debates and then claiming that they cannot be summarized any better.

FINAL CONCLUSION:
  • Making the limit is not (strictly speaking) costless (minor Kritik, not an essential argument)[Based on costs of digital information storage]| Refuted | Contended (Held to be neutral by CON | Dropped (PRO doesn't address this argument after this)
  • There is no need for 30,000+ characters. [Based on lack of complaint regarding character limit as it currently stands.]| Dropped (PRO has provided no evidence that there is a demand on DArt for a higher character limit)
  • 30,000 is already the upper limits of attention span. [Based upon avg. attention time and reading speed]| Refuted (PRO provided statistic that shows a longer reading time for longer articles)| Contended (PRO's statistic was shown by CON to actually suggest the opposite of what PRO claimed, namely that reader engagement is lowered due to skimming) Dropped (PRO doesn't address this argument again after this)
PRO has failed to address CON's second argument, and dropped CON's contention of PRO's rebuttals to 1 and 3, leaving all of CON's arguments unchallenged. 
Thank you for reading and please vote. 

***As a final note, I used less than 10,000 characters in this round. It is the second-longest round I have ever written on DArt.***