Instigator / Pro

Instant Loss Due to Forfeiture Feature


The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

Winner & statistics
Better arguments
Better sources
Better legibility
Better conduct

After 2 votes and with 6 points ahead, the winner is...

Publication date
Last updated date
Number of rounds
Time for argument
Two days
Max argument characters
Voting period
One month
Point system
Multiple criterions
Voting system
Contender / Con

In edeb8, there's an interesting feature where you can let the debate loser be the person who forfeits first (if it occurs).

I will be supporting this feature to implement on DART, assuming zero economic costs. Con will argue that it should not be implemented.

Round 1
My argument is very simple. This feature allows for a strong penalty, but at the same time it's logical when applied to real life. As Oromagi, the top debater of the site elo wise testifies in the comments: "I strongly advocate forfeit=auto loss. No real world debate would move on after one debater has failed to show."

Indeed, even itself has noted that they will implement this feature. With replication of real world time constraints and strong encouragement of participation, this would no doubt create a strong high quality debate. Accepters can easily ask the instigator to lengthen the debate if necessary, and even waiving a round shows that they are at least trying to post, rather than procrastinating their days away. Just take a look at all my debates as 9spaceking ( . Or Or Oromagi's noob sniping. I've noticed most noobs who forfeit one round forfeit all rounds (and completely utterly lose the debate anyways), I see very little harm in implementing this feature, so that you don't have to wait too long for the debate outcome.
RESOLUTION: Instand loss due to forfeiture feature

Thank you Gugigor for the competition, I look forward to a productive conversation, and I thank any voters in advance for giving this debate a read-through.

My opponent has thus far suggested no terms, in absence of defined terms, the negative position has the responsibility to provide useable definitions. Given the context of the debate, I will argue with improper definitions, as I could easily win this debate with out-of-context definitions - like defining instant as happening without delay. 

  • Instant - "To happen as soon after"
  • Loss - "To fail the process of debating"
  • Forfeiture - "To not submit an argument before the allotted time is run out, in debates


  • The position my opponent is taking can be summarized as such: " should implement the feature which results in instant loss upon forfeiture." Such an interpretation is gathered implicitly from the comments and debate description.
  • The actual resolution "Instant Loss Due to Forfeiture Feature" Is not descriptive in the realm of establishing BoP, therefore it is the responsibility of both debaters to establish the burden of proof that the other must overcome in order to win the debate.

It's simply untrue that forfeiting a round is enough of a breach of conduct to warrant losing the entire round, keep in mind voters, such a penalty system already exists. The conduct point is most often penalized from a debater due to a forfeited round, my opponent would have to argue that there is a warrant for upheaving the status quo. Cross-reff. my definition of forfeiture, to argue that one has lost a debate because they were not able to submit an argument in time is absurd. 

For example: My debate with Mall regarding if anybody accepts homosexuality- I overwhelmingly won that debate, yet I did in fact forfeit the third round. The simple fact that I was unable to provide an argument in time, due to my mental health and IRL occurrences did not change the fact that my opponent lost to my rhetoric in the debate itself. Simply put, the mere act of forfeiting is not enough to warrant such a severe penalty, and my opponent's argument has done nothing to change that.

My opponent primarily argues that such a thing makes sense in occurrence with real-life debates, and that it would effectively end debates where new users end up forfeiting the entire debate, making it far more convenient if users do in fact forfeit. However, both arguments are fraught with flaws - the first is more easily debunked - we are not debating in a live environment,  to argue that forfeiting is not allowed in physical debate is conflating internet debating and physical debating.

Furthermore, the fact that a solution can solve a problem, does not mean that one should use it. To be elaborated
Round 2
Con's argument begins with one of his own debates where he laments that he unfortunately had to forfeit a round due to personal circumstances rather than anything related to the debate. As it seems that this case is very rare, the net detriment would be very little. Extend the overarching idea that it would generally enhance debates (where the option is selected) by forcing people to continually push out arguments and participate. 

Con claims that my argument is inapplicable because this is not real life, but applying real standards to online environments seems logical. You set up potentially high standards ahead of time and you can prepare to meet deadlines quicker and better. With the stronger push to write out your argument, you also prepare yourself for real life debating. It can be genuinely helpful, and stop wasting time of the debaters. Con says that just because the instant loss feature can be done, does not mean it should be done. I'm very confused. If we can solve a problem, I don't see why we shouldn't. And improving site quality means potentially drawing in more users, especially more serious ones who don't want to see their opponents forfeiting half the debate.
For the sake of conserving character space, I am foregoing my traditional intros and jumping straight into rebuttals:

My opponent has fundamentally misinterpreted my argument - which is to say that forfeiting a round is not equivalent in losing a debate. My opponent's argument is ignoring this point and instead opting for pragmatics, however, as I was going to argue in the last round (I simply did not have the character room too) - the ability to solve a problem does not mean that you should. What do I mean? I mean that solving an issue without fully analyzing the impact that it will have can often cause more problems. My opponent is arguing that it "rare" for a debater to be unable to debate due to personal problems, yet provides no evidence of that assertion.

My opponent next argues that such a change will force debaters to push out writing faster and meet deadlines; however, this is assuming that the reasons for someone missing a deadline is through poor time management, completely ignoring the fact that IRL often gets in the way of debates. Furthermore, my point was that online debating and face-to-face debating are fundamentally different. In face to face debating, you have everything prepared before the debate and have a rather short intermediate time period to come up with rebuttals, however here, you have upwards of weeks to come up with rebuttals, and because the two debaters are not face-to-face the same rules don't apply.

To say that a debater not showing up is the same as a debater forfeiting here is to make a false equivalence- as there, there is no instigation without somebody showing up- you do not randomly have tests in the middle of an in-person debate, or suddenly injure yourself, or become depressed, or get a new job - all of these things can and do happen because of the intermediary time between rounds - as such  - sometimes those things happen and debaters should not lose their debate because of these occurrences. Fundamentally however, my opponent is arguing that to forfeit is the same as losing the debate, yet I have proven that is not the case.

Finally my opponent argues that it would "generally enhance debates (where the option is selected) by forcing people to continually push out arguments and participate." This argument is flawed from many perspectives, forcing people to continuously push out arguments is a way of diminishing the quality of a debate - it will also only encourage less people to debate as they have much less leeway to argue, anybody who feels even a little busy will always refrain from debates. This would cut down the debates from highly skilled debaters even more than they already have been - see: MisterChirs, Intelligence_09, etc..

  • A demonstration that the "problem" warrants upheaving the status quo
  • that the current penalty system is inadequate in penalizing forfeitures

Round 3
Con once again argues that the same or similar rules to live debating should not apply online, however, it is hard to see why the virtues of being punctual and keeping your dedication would be frowned upon. Furthermore, he agrees that you may have days or even weeks to post your argument. This undermines his logic by making it extra unlikely that your depression or momentary accident would force you to lose the entire debate. Other than Con's debate, if you browse through any amount of arguments from the leaderboard (vs forfeiters) arbitrarily, the users never even bother to apologize or explain their forfeits -- even with my 9spaceking account or Oromagi's statistics. I obviously can't analyze them in great detail, but even back on where everyone was more active, Blade-of-Truth was a renowned noob sniper where the opponents forfeited the majority of debates (or once they started forfeiting, they never gave a reason and forfeited every following round).

Con continues by saying that forcing the debaters to push out arguments on time would reduce arguments qualities, but I hardly see the case where even one sentence or two can be weaker than the word "Forfeited". Therefore even if I felt forced to deliver a single sentence to note a generic flaw in the opponent's argument, this would still be superior in manners and even in convincing ability than the forfeit. He argues that truly busy people would be swayed away from debates, but the top tier debaters have almost never forfeited an argument. Granted, someone like Undefeatable might be pressured to deliver arguments in 30 minutes flat, but it's his own fault for taking up 5 debates at a time, such that he misses key takeaways (or otherwise weakens his arguments). Regardless, the best debaters on the site almost never forfeit for any reason and extending the time allotted for debates makes it extra unlikely that we would lose out on skilled debaters.

If I had the option to, I would set the instant loss due to forfeit on this debate. Not because Con is untrustworthy, but rather debaters can be finnicky. I don't want to waste my time waiting three days for a newbie to give nothing. I would much rather Con deliver a singular sentence recommending voters to vote for him, and waive the round. Even that shows courteous respect, rather than forfeiting. It's understandable that some extreme situations and specific debates, this instant loss option would cause a slight problem. However, keep in mind that only some debates would be instant loss due to forfeit. And even fewer still with people accepting said debates. If we can arbitrarily already restrict to specific skill set (using Elo rules, description rules, etc.), I don't see any big difference with instant loss due to forfeit option being available.

The code of conduct is there for a reason. We have rules set in place to ensure your manners are acceptable, and this is merely a far stricter version of that rule.

Vote for Pro.
  • A demonstration that the "problem" warrants upheaving the status quo
  • that the current penalty system is inadequate in penalizing forfeitures
My opponent has continued on with only assertions and has done nothing more to actually prove that his claim is true, he has yet to prove why the current penalty system isn't enough, and he has yet to prove that their is a major problem that this change in rules would solve. Simply put, Pro has essentially argued that because the rule could save time if people forfeit all of their rounds, and that it could reinforce punctuality - however - this is, again, ignoring so many different situations.

My opponent seems to not realize that people have different priorities at different times - that people forget about debates - or simply do not have the time to even log in at all - these occurrences could be caused by numerous IRL events, as I have argued this entire debate. Fundamentally speaking - Pro has an incorrect interpretation of the reason why people forfeit rounds, he is clearly biased towards thinking that it is only the noobs who forfeit, and provides a self-claimed arbitrary "example", note that Pro did not actually have a tangible example - whereas I did indeed have one - and in my example, I did indeed apologize in the comment section for my absence. 

Furthermore, my opponent has failed to actually defend against my attack - that forfeiting a round is not equivalent to losing a debate, the two are clearly not the same - to push forward with this feature regardless of this truth, is to argue that we should be winning and losing debates, not on merit of argument, or persuasiveness of rhetoric, but on an arbitrary timer that can be missset, or outdated due to personal circumstances. Simply put, my opponent wants to undermine the principles of what ensure the victory and loss of a debate round - all for the sake of "punctuality" - not that my opponent has actually proved this to be the case (that his feature would encourage it).

Finally, my opponent, and I did mention this previously, has argued that "other rules are arbitrary, why not add in another" - my opponent is arguing that this website should be allowed to fall into the mindset of arbitrarily adding rules because it appears to work - that because we have in the past added in arbitrary rules, we should continue, now - ignoring the fact that the rules added were not arbitrary - this will only set this website on a fast-track to be like, arbitrary rules are never a good idea in the long run, it sets a precedent. To recall the points my opponent dropped:

He has not proved that the current penalty is inadequate, he has not proven that there is even a problem to be solved - we have nothing but Pro's assertions and rhetoric to to fulfill his BoP, something which I have proven is fundamentally flawed. Pro has failed his BoP, whereas I haven't