Raltar's avatar


A member since


Total topics: 3

Those of you who have encountered me surely know I don't hold a high opinion of this site. In fact, it would be accurate to say that I outright despise this site, the way it is being run, and a hefty majority of the trolls who ply their trade here.

The mods do nothing productive on a daily basis, but secretly keep Santa-Style "Naughty Lists" against certain users, who are slapped with temp-bans months later for some minor incident that finally made the list long enough to justify a temp ban, even though none of the earlier offenses were apparently worthy of doing anything about. Myself and numerous other users have lobbied the mods to have this practice stopped, but temp bans continue to get handed out on a near daily basis. Numerous users have asked for immediate action to be taken when a rule is broken, specifically suggesting that posts which break the rules should simply be deleted. Mods refuse to do this, and will even lie and claim "the community" is stopping them from complying with the very requests the actual community is making.

Meanwhile, trolls are running amok everywhere. Every single forum thread eventually falls prey to trolling. No matter what the original topic happened to be or how serious it may have been, the thread will eventually decline into a pointless name-calling and insult competition. Old grudges carried over from DDO are almost always the cause of this, as people inevitably resort to bringing up someones past rating on DDO or accusations of years-old doxxing incidents. The debates themselves aren't immune to this either, as outright troll debates with absurd claims and blatant abuse of the rules are shockingly common. Moderators actually encourage this abuse of the system, always voting in favor of the trolls, who are often their personal buddies. I saw one moderator describe a debate as "the worst troll debate in the history of bad troll debates" and still voted to let the troll win!

But, let's say hypothetically that you want to have a serious debate here and just try to ignore the corrupt moderators, trolls and general idiots. Good luck! Even if you start a serious debate, the three most common strategies you will encounter are...

1. A massive filibuster of verbage, followed by the claim that you lost based on some minor technicality. (Mods are big fans of this strategy.)

2. Your opponent will lie about what you said, insult you and encourage their buddies to come vote for them.

If you made a good argument and legitimately won those debates, you will still likely get a narrow margin of the votes on your side... but it will feel like a hollow victory, because beating someone who either didn't fight back or could only fight back by fighting dirty isn't really much of a win to brag about.

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In the past, I've suggested/requested a more robust blocking feature on the site, so that people would not just be prevented from sending you private messages, but also prevented from interacting with your content (such as commenting on your debates and continuing to pester you that way).

Now, while I still like that idea, I do see one major area where it could backfire; Blocking people from voting.

Lets say a feature were to be added to the site where you could mechanically block a person from voting on your debates. What would then stop a person from blocking all the major active users of the site, except for one person whom they had made a previous agreement with to vote in their favor?

Let me give you an example of how this kind of abuse could (hypothetically) work;

  • I create a debate where I allege that "Dogs are made of Golden Cheese!"
  • I then contact my friend "Bob" and tell him to accept the debate.
  • Bob agrees to debate really badly and make a total ass of himself.
  • At the same time, I go through and block all the serious voters on the site from voting, including moderators.
  • After the debate ends, I contact my friend "Joe" and tell him to come vote for me.
So I have this obviously absurd debate, but I've rigged it in a way that prevents me from losing because I've blocked anyone who may vote against me, and I know at least one guy who is guaranteed to vote for me. A few newbies who I neglected to block may throw in their votes, but I can probably get most of their votes removed by reporting them, and I'll just be more careful to block them in the future.

Now, I've already started to see an example of a user who engages in behavior similar to this. In another thread, I talked about a user who tries to harass and intimidate voters to prevent them from voting against him. It seems that user is now keeping a list of everyone who voted against him anyway after his attempts at intimidation failed, and is declaring that those users are no longer allowed to vote on his debates. His argument basically goes like this...

Bob, Joe and Frank are no longer allowed to vote on this debate... because the fact that they voted against me in the past PROVES THEY ARE DISHONEST!

Moderators will be REQUIRED to remove any votes that I disagree with and my opponent, by accepting this debate, must also agree to go along with everything I say and also demand that votes be removed if they are against me in any way!

Furthermore, votes will be removed if they do any of the following;

1. Interpret my argument in a way that I later decide isn't what I really meant!

2. Claim my sources are bad (even if they are).

3. Claim my arguments are bad (even if they are).

4. Claim my opponent won for any reason.

5. Award any points to my opponent at all!

6. Fail to hold my opponent accountable for 115% of the burden of proof and remember that I'm right before the debate even starts.

Those are all DISHONEST things to do! You can't do any of that!
I mean... Really? Who would ever accept a debate with "rules" like that? And yet, that is exactly what I'm starting to see happen more and more often on this site.

I'm actually engaged in a debate right now where my opponent ignored most of the debate description and decided to argue a topic other than what the actual topic of the debate was. So I definitely understand the temptation to engage in these sorts of shenanigans where setting up an obscene number of rules appears to funnel your opponent into the type of argument you wanted them to make.

But there has to be some sort of reasonable limit on this kind of thing. And when we get to the point where debaters have banned people from voting simply because they disagree with them, and are requiring their opponent to agree to some insane standard before the debate even starts, haven't we gone a little too far?

So here are my questions;

1. If debaters create these sorts of rules, including lists banning specific people from participation, are those rules actually going to be enforced?

2. What prevents the type of abuse I described before, where a sinister user may attempt to ban everyone that is likely to disagree with them, allowing only people to vote that are likely to vote in their favor?
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Currently, DebateArt has a rule against 'Vote Rigging', as follows;

C. Vote Rigging
Vote rigging is when someone solicits deliberately biased votes in order to rig the outcome of a vote.
I propose that there is also an inverse possibility. Instead of "rigging" votes by asking biased individuals to vote on your behalf, it is also possible to harass, pester, intimidate or otherwise try to influence an unbiased voter to vote in your favor, or prevent them from voting entirely. This can be used to either influence people to vote for you in a circumstance where they would otherwise vote for your opponent, or simply not vote at all, thus preventing a vote for your opponent. 

This would essentially be the debate-world equivalent of real-world Voter Suppression and/or Voter Intimidation.

I believe this sort of behavior should be against the rules.

I have seen at least one user (whom I shall not name here) engaging in this behavior.

Recently, there was a debate which was worded in a very sneaky way to make it impossible for anyone to reasonably "win" the debate. The wording worked something like this;

The sun... rises... IN... "The West" *snicker**snicker*
Naturally, this was a troll debate designed as a trap. When Con argues the widely accepted scientific fact that the sun rises in the direction of East and sets in the direction of West, Pro merely says he was actually talking about the location East and the location West, meaning because the sun does indeed rise in "The East" at some point in time, so Pro's argument must be correct by default.

One of the moderators described that debate in these exact terms;

This was the worst troll debate in the history of bad troll debates.
In spite of that fact, the instigator of that debate has been arguing with, insulting and attacking every single person who has cast a vote against him in that debate. He started doing this even before the debate was over by insisting that Con had "conceeded" the debate (which Con denied) and then threatening anyone who disagreed that their vote would be removed by the moderators if they dared to vote for Con.

After the debate was over and people began voting, he continued to call out and harass specific individuals in the comments by insisting their their votes were "dishonest" and that he was going to get moderator's to remove them. I'm not sure to what extent he may have harassed other users, but he even contacted me via a private message. He later posted the contents of that private message into the comments (which I believe may violate a separate rule about 'PM Doxxing').

The troll debate wasn't the only circumstance where this particular user engaged in this sort of behavior either. He has done similar things in other debates he was a participant in, often attacking everyone who voted against him as "dishonest" and praising everyone who votes for him as "honest" in the comments section. He regularly tries to argue with people about their reasoning for casting certain votes and virtually attempts to start the debate all over again in the comments against anyone who disagreed with his logic (keeping in mind that his "logic" is rarely more than clever wordplay).

Frankly, I don't think this kind of behavior should be tolerated. Harassing people and attempting to intimidate them into changing their vote is just as bad as soliciting biased voters in the first place. And while I'm sure everyone is going to be inclined to think their argument is better than their opponent's argument, that doesn't give you the right to start contacting people via private message to argue with them over it. If you think a vote is bad or against the rules, report it to the mods and let them do whatever they will do with it. Otherwise, just shut up and take your lumps if the voters decided to vote against you.

In a best case scenario, this kind of behavior is "backseat modding" at the least, and in a worst case scenario it is outright harassment. And either way, it is bad sportsmanship.
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