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Rules for Debates


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#1
bben46

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Bben's debate rules

A good debate can be fun. Just remember that everyone is allowed their own opinion whether you agree or not. You do not have to agree. You do have to respect each others opinions.

Like any referee, The moderators (supposedly) have no interest in the outcome. Our job is to keep it fair - or as fair as we can. So, No hitting below the belt, no gouging, no head butting, no hair pulling. When we say break, break clean and step back. Any attack on the referees will be fatal.

Terms of engagement:

Stay on topic. trying to drag in some other topic as a part of your argument shows a lack of focus. And poor focus can hurt in a debate.

The first one who degenerates to a personal attack - such as name calling - loses. if you have to attack the individual, you obviously have no real counter to their argument. If the attack is serious it could get you banned.

If you don't really know anything about the subject, it's probably a good idea to refrain from posting until you do. It's no fun being caught in a crossfire.

If you cannot argue with respect for the opposite side, then don't argue. You will lose.

When you throw out a statement be prepared to back it up with documentation - You will be called on it.

Don't try to 'prove' anything with statistics - It will blow up in your face. The first thing I was taught in a graduate level statistic course was how to spin statistics to show whatever I wanted to show.

Don't expect to convince anyone that your side or your idea is right and theirs is wrong. Most people have already made up their minds and no amount of reason or logic will sway them.

These rules are very general and subject to change on my whim. Any suggestions for changes or additions are appreciated and may even be considered.

One last rule - Play nice - or else.

Bben46, Moderator

#2
Ancient Aeon

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I think most of us knew these rules, but it's great for you to start a topic about it.

#3
Maharg67

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A suggestion based on experience.

GANGING! As in ganging up together to attack others.

This is my private term for when somebody posts in such a way as to seemingly talk to only one or a few others who post but does so in a fashion that is negatively judgemental of others who are posting on the same topic.

Normally those negatively judged do not share the same point of view as the poster.

The post pretends to be private at some level but of course it is not.

Such a post often overtly or covertly suggests that those it is jugding are not worthy of being addressed directly.

When posters who are referred to in the post (one of the chosen few) respond in the same fashion, the negative action is made worse.

When posters who are not referred to in the post respond, they are too often ignored or spoken of in the same negative fashion.

Please consider banning such activity.

#4
Trandoshan

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The message board has functioned properly without a sword hanging over our heads. We have never had a problem, as all of the moderators (emphasis on Vagrant) has done a superb job of stopping it before it ever became a problem. Discussions get heated, and this is true with any debate.

Perhaps a more appropriate task is to ask bben what is the maximum level of a personal attack that is accepted by this new addendum?

The following sentences are examples of different levels of attacking. Please list whether you think each breaks the rules.

1.No <Insert Name> you are so wrong it makes me want to puke.

2.No <Insert Name> the point you are trying to make is quite stupid.

3.No <Insert Name> your opinion is flawed, and you should leave this topic to the pros.

4.No <Insert Name> your post reflects your intelligence level, <Insert Intelligence Level>

5.No <Insert Name> your opinion is noted, but quite wrong.

6.No <Insert Name>, you obviously don't care about <topic>. So go away.

7.No <Insert Name> although your opinion holds a valid point, Nobody really cares what happens in that aspect.

8.No <Insert Name> your opinion has very little merit at all.

9.No <Insert Name> don't compare this to that, comparing this to that is like comparing crap to gold. ***Guilty***

10.No <Insert Name> I see where you are going, but your opinions/facts are still wrong.

11.No <Insert Name> I don't care whether you have this or that. THIS is all that matters ***Guilty of doing this myself***

12.No <Insert Name> take your religious philosophy and get packing.

13.No <Insert Name> this debate is useless, worthless, and has no merit. It should be closed.

14.No <Insert Name> apparently you don't understand ANYTHING. Perhaps you should go grab a book, and read it before bringing your merit-less opinion here. *This happened to me the first day I started posting in the debates forum. Mods thankfully got him, and removed him.*

15.No <Insert Name> I think your opinion could use some work... wait, scratch that... It Needs a lot of work.

16.No <Insert Name>, and I'll tell you why. (ANGRY RANT) ***Very Guilty***

17.No <Insert Name>, your post is just crap rehashed from earlier in the thread. How about you start from page 1, and work your way up! *I sometimes post without reading thread, luckily nobody has attacked me for it*

18.No <Insert Name> Despite your undeniable intelligence... (Enter Eloquent words that describe a poor intellect, while telling the poster he/she is wrong)

19.No <Insert Name> I've never heard of it. Post a reference. (Poster says he/she can't find reference) Oh, really? Then it's completely false.

20.No <Insert Name> your statistics, although supported by facts, have no merit.

.... I could go on, but I have seen many of these on this board. Out of those 20, which ones fall into the category of personal attack? BTW, I have seen at least 15 of these appear on this debate board.

#5
Maharg67

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Thank you for responding so promptly and I both read an appreciated your post. I have also been guilty of some of those things. Perhaps banning would go too far and what is needed is more information. I have been on forums with too many restrictions and they are not a great place for good debating.

My main point, perhaps I did not put it clearly enough, is that 'GANGING' promotes much of what you have written down. I myself have been in many group discussions (live and no online) and as soon as the above happens, other forms of negavity arise. As soon as small 'cliques' formed, any positivity in the debate at all is pretty much gone. There is a difference between positively responding to one or more other positing in a direct manner than in forming a kind of 'block' to use against others.

Thanks again. :thumbsup:

#6
WoogieMonster

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The message board has functioned properly without a sword hanging over our heads. We have never had a problem, as all of the moderators (emphasis on Vagrant) has done a superb job of stopping it before it ever became a problem. Discussions get heated, and this is true with any debate.

Perhaps a more appropriate task is to ask bben what is the maximum level of a personal attack that is accepted by this new addendum?

The following sentences are examples of different levels of attacking. Please list whether you think each breaks the rules...


How about just NOT attacking people at all? This is a forum, not a chatroom and not a live discussion, you do not have to respond the instant you see something, so if something excites you to the point that you feel the need to retaliate with an attack, you have absolutely no excuse for not simply closing the browser/tab and returning later after you've cooled down. As far as "what is the maximum level of a personal attack that is accepted" there is no possible way to judge that. What you might consider a mild jab, might be interpreted by someone else as intense insult, prodding them to respond the same, resulting in you both being banned. Anybody who needs to attack someone as their response probably has nothing of value to contribute to the debate and trying to see how close you can get to the line without crossing it is asking for trouble.

#7
Lisnpuppy

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I agree 100% with Woogie. A debate is an argument presented backed up with factual information in an attempt to sway another persons opinion. You should not EVER attack the poster and in fact you really do not ATTACK anything. A rebuttal is provided in which someone should oppose and further support their side of the argument with facts or provide (with facts) reasons why another debater's argument is false.

A good debater should be able to support either side of an argument. I believe any personal attack should be grounds for either blocking a poster from that debate topic up to banning from the forum. It isn't needed, necessary or welcome.

#8
bben46

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@Maharg67. What you call ganging - a good word for it - is covered under personal attack, even if it is a third party attack. However, if someone makes an irrelevant, off topic or just off the wall comment and is just ignored by the majority of the debaters, That may well be justified. Not every comment needs to be debated equally.

@ Trandoshan, Try common sense. Not every possible situation can be covered by the guidelines. And as Woogie says

How about just NOT attacking people at all? This is a forum, not a chatroom and not a live discussion, you do not have to respond the instant you see something, so if something excites you to the point that you feel the need to retaliate with an attack, you have absolutely no excuse for not simply closing the browser/tab and returning later after you've cooled down. As far as "what is the maximum level of a personal attack that is accepted" there is no possible way to judge that. What you might consider a mild jab, might be interpreted by someone else as intense insult, prodding them to respond the same, resulting in you both being banned. Anybody who needs to attack someone as their response probably has nothing of value to contribute to the debate and trying to see how close you can get to the line without crossing it is asking for trouble.


Always reread your post before hitting the add reply button. Read from the perspective of not just the person you are addressing, but the other people who will read it also. You might find you said something you really did not mean. And it sucks having to defend something you didn't mean to begin with. That also gives you a chance to correct grammar and spelling so your post says what you really meant it to.

Every one of your examples could be rewritten in an acceptable form that is not condescending, insulting or flamebait. I do understand your desire to 'skool' the target. However, it can be done in a polite way, usually with much better results. One of the objectives of debate is make the opposition think about what you say or propose, and possibly come around to agree with your point. Insults will just harden their resolve to not agree with anything you say.

@ Woogiemonster & Lisnpuppy: thanks for your support. :thumbsup:



#9
Maharg67

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Thank you for you valuable feedback.

Am mulling over it but already see the positive practicality of it.

#10
LHammonds

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Everyone replying in this thread and reading it are all low-grade idiots.

I am much smarter than all of you combined and here is why...

The above two lines, if read as an actual response, will likely aggravate you into formulating a similar response and causing whatever is being talked about to be forgotten (and get you into just as much trouble as the trouble-maker is going to incur). Also, if you are thinking about saying something that sounds anything like an attack in various forms (look at Trandoshan's examples), then you can probably guess that whatever you are saying won't matter one bit because an insult has been thrown down which evokes an emotional response. There are quite a few that can see through this and completely avoid the situation which is a Kobayashi Maru (No-Win) scenario. But even those people sometimes have bad days and something like this can be the straw on the camels back...especially if it revolves around a personal pet peeve. This is why bben (and the rest of the staff) say that if you resort to any kind of personal attack, YOU LOSE...and the moderators on this site will remind you that you lose...so don't go there.

As it has been said already, this is a forum, not a chat page. If you feel any bit enraged by something DO NOT REPLY. Go do something else until you have regained control over your emotions. If you can respond without getting emotional or displaying hostility, it will show in your response. But please re-read what you type before hitting submit...maybe even do something else and come back to what you had typed if you think something is risky. Time away from the subject matter can allow you to adjust your perspective.

LHammonds




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