Reasons I Do Not Vote on Debates

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  • coal
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    First and primary reason: Low Quality. 

    Most debates are poorly done, involve low effort, and look boring.  I think most of you just don't understand how to substantively engage in fact/reason based discourse.  There are presumably many reasons for this, tangential to the observation I make here, but reading bad writing is to me like listening to music out of tune.  I'm just not interested in it.

    I think as well most of you just aren't very good writers.  Obviously maybe you could improve a bit here if you wrote a bit more, but it is really hard for me to be invested enough in any of you to be willing to spend the time to teach you how to do something.  Even if I did, I think there's an alarmingly high number of you who would resent my pointing out your lack of excellence. 

    Too many of you have the idea that judges should just praise debaters for their effort, which I think is stupid.  Many of you struggle to form coherent sentences.  Your writing is bad.  Your arguments are contradictory.  You do not know how to use evidence to support arguments.  You do not know how to structure arguments in support of conclusions.  You do not know how to even engage in thesis-driven writing.

    I blame your lack of education.  Teaching people to write clearly and effectively takes time and skill, which I am confident nearly all of your school teachers lack.  I think in twelve years of public education, I had not more than three teachers who could write coherently themselves, and one who knew how to teach others to do it.

    Despite this, if I pointed this out to you, would you not resent me for it?  Do you not already resent me now for pointing out this fact?  Of course you do, because when you hear criticism you don't take it as "this person cared enough to tell me how not to continue to be stupid."  You interpret it as a personal attack, which you respond to inappropriately.  So, why should I bother? 

    Second Reason: RFDs take too much time

    I used to write long RFDs, and I had lots of reasons for that.  I wrote the gold standard for what counts for a sufficient RFD, back on DDO.  Some of you may still have that thread.  Now, my time costs money, and the rare chance I have to do something leisurely I'm going to do something I enjoy.  I do not enjoy writing RFDs for low quality debates. 

    If I could just give a three sentence RFD evaluating the major points and weighting them, I'd vote more.  Surely most people couldn't and shouldn't do that, but that's all I have time to do.  However, there are likely so called voting mods (lol) who would think that wasn't enough, and I'm not going to deal with that bullshit.  

    Third Reason: Debate topics are uninteresting

    Most of you chose stupid topics for debates.  Either you're biting off more than you can chew, the resolution is vague or unclear, or you've done some other weird shit that fucks it up for everyone -- debaters and judges alike.  This is uninteresting to involve myself in.  If you want my attention, pick a topic that's interesting.  

    Here are some interesting topics:

    Alan Moore at DC was better than Marvel anything.
    The United States should make substantial efforts to curb China's expansion in Africa.
    China's ascendence places the United States at a geopolitical disadvantage.
    Vladimir Putin has been bad for Russia.
    Tarkovsky was a better film director than Kubrick.
    Dostoevsky was a better author than Dickens.
    Canada should substantially increase military expansion in the arctic.
    More than anyone else, American media are to blame for Hillary Clinton's loss in 2016. 
    The United States should pull out of Syria.
    Bashir Al Assad should remain in power in Syria.
    Bibi Netanyahu's indictment is justified.
    The United States has a moral obligation to support pro-democracy efforts in Hong Kong.

    The list goes on...

    I can think of dozens, but you get the point.  Topics that have been beaten to death, where the political fault lines are so firmly cemented that no one is going to move on them, are not interesting.  Figure out what you think, and then be gracious enough not to inflict it on the rest of us. 

    Fourth Reason: Nothing in it for me

    This is the one you all should be focusing on.  What does it benefit me to judge what you write?  Am I more likely to be subject to your emotional reactions, or am I more likely to be thanked?  Even if thanked, why should I bother?  Really, sell me on it.  Maybe there's something I'm missing here beyond the so called reward of simply "giving back" or whatever other bullshit you can come up with.  If so, tell me why I'm wrong.  But from where I'm standing, voting is electing to draw the short end of the stick while knowing that's what you're doing.  No thank you. 
  • SupaDudz
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    --> @coal
    You get a healthy dose of clout and a medal that sements a virtual status in a lassiez fair type system
  • SupaDudz
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    Canada should substantially increase military expansion in the arctic.

    Oh yea mate they gotta get after those polar bears mate. 

    I actually know why don't worry
  • SupaDudz
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    --> @coal
    I agree with second reasoning. I just don't have the time to do a full blown RFD anymore. Strict school, etc.
  • SupaDudz
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    I blame your lack of education.  Teaching people to write clearly and effectively takes time and skill, which I am confident nearly all of your school teachers lack.  I think in twelve years of public education, I had not more than three teachers who could write coherently themselves, and one who knew how to teach others to do it.
    My English teachers were critical of my work and dialect, so I had to improve to get better. I went from a low B first semester in Honors English to an A just cause I improved my style of writing. I agree. Sometimes teacher are soft, and I hate hard graders, but they make my life easier when I get teachers who are easier graders. A lot of people are also 16/17 and do not have the maturity
    Despite this, if I pointed this out to you, would you not resent me for it?  Do you not already resent me now for pointing out this fact?  Of course you do, because when you hear criticism you don't take it as "this person cared enough to tell me how not to continue to be stupid."  You interpret it as a personal attack, which you respond to inappropriately.  So, why should I bother

    I would love a professional lawyers criticism of arguments I would make. Fuck yeah. My dad is a lawyer and I let him rip apart my entire case one time so I can improve it. Hearing advice from you would make me so happy, knowing your background
  • coal
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    --> @SupaDudz
    Don't care.  Seems more worthless than Reddit karma.

    Now, here's an example of a terrible debate topic:

    "The Bible is internally inconsistent."

    Of course it is.  No reasonable person could possibly disagree with that. But, to what end? Doesn't mean that Christianity is an invalid religion, or anything else.  It means that religion like everything else in life is complicated.  Ill considered low quality, unsophisticated debate topic.  You'd have to be biologically or emotionally a child to desire to debate such nonsense.

    Here's a worse topic:

    "Moses did not write the Torah"

    This is worse for the same reason that the above topic is stupid.

    More stupid topics:

    "No one needs an AR-15"
    "Creationism should be taught in science class"
    "Are all Arabs terrorists?"
    "Is the trinity pagan?"

    Like damn... 



  • David
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    Ironically enough, I agree with pretty much everything you said, especially reason 2. With my time in class, I really don't have enough time to read a 5-round debate and thoroughly analyzing it. Sadly, most debates are either ff, concessions, or troll debates. For point 2, I've been thinking about making a pinned post on topic suggestions. Your suggestions are quite interesting and will be incorporated in the thread if and when that is made. 

    As for the final point, I'm open to suggestions on what we can do to incentivize voting. 

  • coal
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    --> @SupaDudz
    In my experience, the hardest graders are among the least competent.  They are "hard" to compensate for the fact that they are bad teachers, as a way to encourage students to teach themselves.

    Also, maturity has little to do with writing skill.  You can be 14 and still be a good writer, if properly taught and practiced. 
  • SupaDudz
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    Yea I agree for that point. I will never do a religious debate in myself. I will be a stubborn prick about my religion, and why? Because I love it. I don't wanna debate my religion when I clearly have a bias toward it versus other religions. Because I was taught that my religion is the purest and most right.

  • SupaDudz
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    My Sophmore Year was a tough and bad teacher. She was Asian and did not know how to speak a word properly in English, and graded super strict. Class was outright a mess and never improved my craft.

    Freshman Year teacher was amazing. Taught us how to improve craft in an Honors class and made us to drills to practice. She worked my ass off, and she was a great teacher. Kind soul too.

    I agree with most part. Chem teacher was like that.

    Kind of curious to see what you think of my writing style.
  • coal
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    --> @David
    Being the irrelevant member that I am, these are some of the reasons I continue to remain irrelevant... especially with respect to votes. 

    The best way to incentivize voting would be to reduce the barrier to entry.  You have two choices: maybe potentially higher quality votes or more votes, but never both.  Pick one.

    So far, the site picks the former.  

    I just finished reading Malcolm Gladwell's "Talking to Strangers" (which, for reasons beyond the scope of this thread I recommend to all).  There, he discusses how most people default to believing people are telling the truth.  The world gets along better when we assume others are cooperative and act in good faith until we see clear evidence otherwise.  

    A short, three sentence RFD is NOT evidence of bad faith voting or vote bombing or whatever else.  There were problems on DDO that I think are unlikely to be problems here.  The obvious question is: when the reason for the rule no longer exists, should still the rule?  Most people would probably say no, because most people prefer maximal freedom to the alternative.

  • coal
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    --> @SupaDudz
    I have no opinion on your writing style.  If you want my opinion, give me a 1000 word (or thereabout) writing sample.  I may read it, eventually.
  • David
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    The best way to incentivize voting would be to reduce the barrier to entry.  You have two choices: maybe potentially higher quality votes or more votes, but never both.  Pick one.

    This is something I'm willing to consider. What would your suggestion be? 
  • coal
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    --> @David
    My suggestion would be to stop moderating votes.  Let anything go, and see what happens. 

    If specific people abuse the process, deal with them appropriately; but do it outside the context of "voting moderation".  It's a user harassment issue at that point. 



  • David
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    My suggestion would be to stop moderating votes.  Let anything go, and see what happens. 

    If specific people abuse the process, deal with them appropriately; but do it outside the context of "voting moderation".  It's a user harassment issue at that point. 


    I respectfully have huge problems with the anything-goes solution. First, it drives away quality members of the site. Why would I waste a whole month of work on a debate knowing that most of them are going to be vote bombs or counter vote bombs? Secondly, it will significantly deteriorate the quality of votes cast on the site. Every "counter vb" vote cast is a vote that could have been a real and thorough RFD.

  • SupaDudz
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    About what?
  • coal
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    The notion that a "policy" or "regulation" is needed to "prevent abuse" is misguided, bureaucratized nonsense.  Policies do not make people do the right thing, setting a cultural expectation that doing the right thing is what it takes to be a part of any community is what gets people to do the right thing.  

    This is the big picture; at once, the forest and the trees.  

    I have yet to see any evidence, at all, that voting moderation accomplishes anything good; here, on DDO, or anywhere else a similar concept has been tried. 

    The bottom line is that before any group goes off to try to write policies and procedures, they never think to ask: "What is it we are really trying to do here, and why?"

    On DDO, vote moderation was a reaction to obnoxious people like Mikal and others who did some immature things he probably would not repeat now.  But, the result of that was that every voter got treated like a potential Mikal.  Yet, some votes were removed and others weren't.  The community demanded answers, because of what many decried as "inconsistency."  Most of that bitching and moaning was just self serving, because Mikal and others wanted to keep vote bombing.  

    To redress this, a discussion was had -- of which I was a part -- to come up with something resembling a policy on what counts for a sufficient vote.  Bluesteel tried to write something out, and implement it.  By all counts he did a fairly good job of that.  Then the problem stopped.  But, the new rules didn't stop.  They got worse, tighter, and their enforcement more intrusive.  As a result, the number of votes declined. 

    It turns out that when otherwise fine votes cast in good faith get treated like Mikal's infamous bullshit vote bombs (some of which were funny, mind you, but I digress), people stop voting.  So, the new complaint became... why doesn't anyone vote?  Obviously because  voters don't like being harassed for voting.

    Whiteflame -- though I still like him as a person -- was infamous for removing votes that shouldn't be.  Bsh1 was absolutely terrible for this as well.  Most everyone who got involved in any aspect of vote moderation, from reporting to enforcing, fucked it up.  

    Why might that be?  Could it be that voting moderation just shouldn't exist? 

    That's what it looks like to me. 
  • coal
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    --> @David
    Your assumption that "anything goes" drives off quality members is belied by the OP I just wrote, and my response to your prior comment.  I said that a reason I don't vote is because RFD's take too long to write.  

    The reasons I don't debate, however, is different... it's because I don't care.  Apathy isn't something I think you could overcome.  I think most other potentially quality members are in the same boat.  We've got other things to do.

  • Discipulus_Didicit
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    More stupid topics:

    "No one needs an AR-15"
    "Creationism should be taught in science class"
    "Are all Arabs terrorists?"
    "Is the trinity pagan?"

    Resolutions worded as questions in general always rub me the wrong way.

    Basic fucking grammar assholes...
  • coal
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    I am quite serious in my skepticism of the claim that the absence of voting standards would drive away quality members from both potentially voting or debating. 

    We need to define who a quality member is.  This person is someone who would put a reasonable amount of effort into what they wrote, snd try to do the best they could under the circumstances.  Their motivations to contribute here are hard to meaningfully speculate on, but I think enjoyment would be at the top of their list. 

    The thing about debating is that it's not really about winning or losing any specific debate, but about being invited to debate again.  So this would be like John McCain and Barack Obama.  Both were respectable people in their own rite who treated those with different opinions than them respectfully and fairly.  The same would be true of voters.  A quality voter treats both debaters fairly and respectfully.  More can't really reasonably be asked.

    Is this person going to be turned away because of the absence of rules and regulations?  No.  He is going to assume that people are going to do the right thing and probably won't be disappointed unless he encounters someone truly hideous or trollish.  This does not generally seem to be, with few exceptions, a problem here.

    What, then, would turn this person away from participating?  Being treated like a potential Mikal, and having a vote cast in good faith removed for some arbitrary reason from some meaningless policy that shouldn't exist.  That would turn them away fast. 
  • coal
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    --> @Discipulus_Didicit
    I don't have a problem with questions, generally.  I only have a problem with stupid questions, like whether anyone needs an AR-15.  
  • Discipulus_Didicit
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    --> @coal
    I understand the question mark is not what bugged you about those examples, just pointing out it bugged me.

    Like, pro means 'in favor of' and con means 'against' (in the context of debating at least). Purely from a grammar perspective it makes sense to be in favor of the idea "Everyone should have guns" but what does it mean to be in favor of "Should everyone have guns?" Like, you support asking the question?

    I know what they actually mean and this might seem nit picky but it is just something that always bothers me.
  • Discipulus_Didicit
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    I am quite serious in my skepticism of the claim that the absence of voting standards would drive away quality members from both potentially voting or debating.

    Also, not sure how many people would consider me a quality member but I do agree with this sentiment. I would personally vote more if I was less concerned about the effort going to waste because my 10k character RFD didn't meet some specific and obscure requirement as has happened to me before.
  • ethang5
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    My solution is in between Coals and Virt. (Posted originally on Squid's "How to get more people to vote thread)

    Here is my idea.

    Right now, the voting process is too difficult. I understand that we have voting rules to curtail vote bombs and frivolous votes, but what good is a system that refines votes AND discourages votes?

    Voting in America is not restricted at all, and no one needs to give a reason for their vote. Now I understand this is possible partly because there are millions of votes, not a case that is true for Dart.

    We can free the votes, making it super easy to vote, but still having it be counter-productive to vote unfairly. How?

    Assign value to votes.
    Let every voter have a vote designation. Liberal, conservative, libertarian, etc. This designation cannot be changed except by petition to a mod.

    A vote by a conservative for a conservative gets the conservative debater one vote point.

    A vote by a liberal for a liberal gets the liberal debater one vote point.

    But a vote by a conservative for a liberal gets the liberal debater 2 vote points. And a vote by a liberal for a conservative gets the conservative debater 2 votes.

    Here are the advantages of this system.

    1. It forces debaters to consider the POV of people who do not share his view, it makes him a better debater.

    2. It forces debaters to be more civil to the view he is debating against, as voters with that view hold a heavier vote.

    3. Better debaters win more often because their wins will be due more often to having convinced more people with an opposing view.

    4. Because voters will not have to post essentially another entire debate, more people will vote.

    5. This system will greatly reduce the work the mods have to do in monitoring and managing votes.

    6. It will greatly reduce the drama in voting as any vote, regardless of RFD will be viable as long as the voter meets the voting requirements.

    Mods will still have the authority to remove votes they think are fraudulent in some way, or ask a voter to further explain his vote.

    Mods will refuse frivolous changes of designations simply to give bigger votes to whom that voter likes. Either by restrictions on how long a designation must be kept before it can be changed, or how many times it can be switched at all.

    Both liberals and conservatives MAY be tempted to mis-designate themselves so that their votes for their real choices carry more weight. But then that would conversely mean they get lesser votes in their own debates.

    One weakness would be the people who never debate, but mis-designate themselves and vote.

    The solution to that is having the 2 tiered voting system apply only for members who have a certain number debates themselves in a certain time period.

    And if ones debate topics consistently contradict ones requested designation, mods will catch it and refuse that designation.

    Anyone will still be able to give as long and as detailed an RFD as they want.

  • coal
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    --> @ethang5
    This is nonsensical and needlessly complicated.