Jump to content
Banner by ~ Zero

Critique on The Debate Pit of Tartarus


EpicEnergy
 Share

Recommended Posts

I decided to give a critique on the relatively new debate section here. As a participant and observer of both the former and current debate sections, my experience should be sufficient enough for this to be valid and credible. Also, before I begin, I wanted to say that I highlighted each paragraph's general topic for organization purposes.

So, to begin with, I noticed numerous arguments with flaws. One such flaw is fallacy usage. Now, there are numerous fallacies, some worse than others, but I will only focus on the common ones being used here. The strawman fallacy is the most used one that comes to mind, as it is highly bothersome to a debater for another debater to post a refute to an argument that really isn't refuting the argument at all. It also often leads to off-topic discussions. The reason for me bringing that up is that those consequences for using the strawman fallacy could have been avoided entirely if both debaters refuted each other's arguments correctly. In the end, the solution to fallacy usage is education; therefore, I propose that the staff post educational resources about debating for debaters to use. Now, I wouldn't advocate the staff requiring those educational resources to be used before engaging in a debate, but rather that it be recommended before engaging in debates.

Another topic I wanted to address is snarky and passive-aggressive remarks. Now, there is a rule against passive-aggressive behavior in the debate section, but I've noticed some very subtle and indirect passive-aggressive behavior that occurs anyways. Such behavior comes in the form of snarky remarks. For some reason, a few times debaters have gotten away with throwing in a snarky remark or other subtle passive-aggressive behaviors. I've noticed this is happening more frequently, and I would guess that "massive walls of text" in the form of argumentation is one of the reasons this happens. As such, I suggest that debaters pay close attention to what their opponents are saying and that readers also pay attention to detail in the debate they are reading, and that both readers and debaters report what they think are violations of the rules, because reading a large amount of argumentation is tedious for staff and may even put a strain on their productivity.

I also wanted to say that some topics have been temporarily locked for the sake of "clean-ups" and "cooldowns". I think that this is a good idea, since debates often get heated and before you know it, a massive "wall of text" exists that needs moderation. To let a massive debate go on unmoderated is dangerous, but these clean-ups and cooldowns assist in allowing everyone to catch up with what is being discussed. I suggest, however, that these clean-ups and cooldowns not last too long, or it might get too cold and no one resumes debating or posting their thoughts.

Lastly, I will write about banning debaters. I think that there should be some mercy in banning debaters, like allowing them a second chance after having been banned for a certain period of time, depending on the severity of the violation. I say that because everyone makes mistakes sometimes, and that people can change their behavior. I would also suggest, in the event that a debater is perceiving another debater of having passive-aggressive behavior, that the staff carefully examine the accusation, since perceived passive-aggressive behavior and actual passive-aggressive behavior are different from each other.

With that said, I conclude that while the new debate section is flawed, it is also much better than the former debate section. The flaws would be subtle passive-aggressive behavior and numerous argumentation flaws, while the improvements would be temporarily locking topics, rejecting emojis, and rejecting passive-aggressive behavior. In the end, all that I have said is feedback, and my purpose in saying all that is to convey to staff and users my thoughts on what the new debate section is doing right and where it is going wrong.

  • Brohoof 3
  • Pondering 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Badges

@EpicEnergy

I don't see any real issue with the way the debate pit itself is designed and run. It's immeasurably better than the previous one. I do not like the idea of the having things being 'recommended' for debates, as anyone going there, has surely debated elsewhere so I do not feel as if there is a need for the staff to babysit the section more than it already is, so to speak. 

Quote

, because reading a large amount of argumentation is tedious for staff and may even put a strain on their productivity.

I am not so sure about this. There isn't much to moderate on this forum. The activity on this forum has been in a steady decline and nothing from what I have seen so far has changed this. I suppose that's just the nature of the fandom as a whole. I do not really see much on this forum, as well is in the Debate Pit, that struck me as truly unruly. There have been exceptions, but generally, the majority of people on this forum seem mature enough to not resort to things which were seen in the previous Debate Pit.

From my own posts in the debate pit, in my eyes I try my best to not seem aggressive. What other people see is different, and we cannot really control what other people see - unless if it is direct insults or obvious rule violations. When it comes to the way the posts themselves are moderated, so far it seems so good, and I am pleased with the way the staff have handled it.

Another thing I will mention is that I see users often ignoring aspects of debates. One user posts lots of sources and links, and another user replies, without engaging with the long content that was posted, or ignoring things the other person said and not addressing them in their post.

I would also suggest for terms such as 'conspiracy theories' to be banned or recommended to not use, because it strikes me as a poor argument to just say something is a 'conspiracy theory'. I've seen that a few times in the Debate Pit and it struck me as rather strange. Saying buzzwords like "Alt right" or "Alt left", etc, strikes me as aggressive and un-necessary and could probably need further clarification in the rules. I admit there were a few times where I was guilty of this, and that my posts are not as high quality as I could make them, and it's something for me to keep in mind in the future. I feel as if people could be more careful for the terminology that is used, the term 'conspiracy theory' is used too much to have any real value in discussion.

I would also suggest for locked topics to remain locked. In the Debate Pit Recently, there was a thread that was locked - and that thread seemed to take up the majority of the activity in the debate pit and nothing new was truly discussed there, so when topics reach a point in discussion where nothing new is discussed, and where off topic things rise about, it should be locked and remain locked, as the topic of discussion has passed. 

I would also like to suggest the removal of the anonymous feature. Really, I don't know why this exists. If you aren't comfortable having your username and profile picture in your posts, maybe you shouldn't be posting? Nobody really seems to use the feature anyway, so I don't think it has a point in existing.

That's just my two cents. 

Edited by WinterS
  • Brohoof 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites


The following is something participants sometimes do: they include an article or video in their post as a way to delegate the task of arguing to their source instead of arguing themselves. This is not necessarily to say one ought not to use said sources--it is good to have sources when needed. However, I think it would be better to summarize or quote directly from said source in one's post so that it is better integrated into one's argument. That is, instead of essentially saying "watch this 30 minute video that supports my position", instead one should summarize the key points (or explain at length depending on the context) and then mention the source in case the reader is interested to look into the matter further. I would guess that in most cases, whatever is not on a user's posts directly on the forums will not be read/watched; whenever someone leaves a lengthy article or video in their post, I would guess that it will not be read in most cases.

20 minutes ago, WinterS said:

I would also suggest for terms such as 'conspiracy theories' to be banned or recommended to not use, because it strikes me as a poor argument to just say something is a 'conspiracy theory'. I've seen that a few times in the Debate Pit and it struck me as rather strange. Saying buzzwords like "Alt right" or "Alt left", etc, strikes me as aggressive and un-necessary and could probably need further clarification in the rules. I admit there were a few times where I was guilty of this, and that my posts are not as high quality as I could make them, and it's something for me to keep in mind in the future. I feel as if people could be more careful for the terminology that is used, the term 'conspiracy theory' is used too much to have any real value in discussion.

l do not oppose recommendations, but I do oppose an outright ban. If the staff is to intervene in some way, I am of the position that it ought to be as close to laissez-faire as possible so that discussion is minimally inhibited. The debate section has been open for about a month now which is more than enough time for each of the regular participants to have developed some kind of reputation anyway. If one has a habit of accusing others of, for example, pushing "conspiracy theories", "Alt-this", "Alt-that", etc. without elaborating on it... that is to use a dismissive response as a substitute for actual argumentation, then other users will recognize this and their opinion on the user will be affected accordingly; people can distinguish between someone who strongly disagrees with them but is fair (or at least it is apparent that they are trying), as opposed to another who seems to try to "win the argument at all costs" which includes acting in bad faith.

17 minutes ago, WinterS said:

I would also like to suggest the removal of the anonymous feature. Really, I don't know why this exists. If you aren't comfortable having your username and profile picture in your posts, maybe you shouldn't be posting? Nobody really seems to use the feature anyway, so I don't think it has a point in existing.

This would decrease the total activity in the section. I oppose abolishing this feature.

  • Brohoof 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Badges

As a suggestion for ease of discussion and simplicities sake, I think it would be best for debaters to keep their answers and retorts relatively short.

I would have considered myself a pretty active user in the former debate pit, with about a third of my posts being devoted to it.

It was easier to engage more before I became into a relationship, full time work, and all the other things that come with adulthood. I would like to be more active than I am currently and intend to go through the existing topics in the near future.

However, it also felt quite daunting when I saw a topic with well over a hundred responses to it. It brings me joy to see such an active discussion, but that could hours to read and process. Apologies to the moderators for my whining of what they endure so graciously.

This feeling also made me recall back to a time when I took a break from the pit. I had lost myself in it, become obsessed and stayed up late, night after night, typing away, building walls of text with such fury as though I were constructing a fortress of argumentation. I lost sight of the goal at hand, struggled to function as a person and fulfill my responsibilities in day to day life. It was maddening.

I realized no one enjoys a great wall of text, so I've done my best to keep thoughts and retorts short and to the point.

  • Brohoof 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites


12 minutes ago, SharpWit said:

I realized no one enjoys a great wall of text, so I've done my best to keep thoughts and retorts short and to the point.

It is good to be as concise as possible.

And I know well how time consuming it can be to participate in the section. I would like to participate more than I currently am.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Badges

@Luna the Great of all the Russias
 

Quote

This would decrease the total activity in the section. I oppose abolishing this feature.

I don't see how that would decrease the activity, as there have been only like...5 or so total posts with it, as I remember?

@SharpWit

For me my response length depends on interest. I can easily do multiple paragraphs, but most of the time, I do not see the point in doing so unless I am feeling motivated. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites


8 minutes ago, WinterS said:

I don't see how that would decrease the activity, as there have been only like...5 or so total posts with it, as I remember?

That is still a decrease, and there may possibly be greater use of it in the future. There may be various reasons why people do not wish to be associated with their arguments. With how the feature has been used so far, it has not been abused in any way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Badges

The debate pit developed a massive amount of issues before and it seems that those problems still exist in the new one. There is clearly a particular bias in terms of the moderation as well. I see no purpose to bringing something back when it is handled so poorly.

  • Brohoof 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Badges

Moments ago, WinterS said:

@Kyoshi

What examples would you have, of those problems? From my perspective, I haven't seen any issues with the moderation.

I did inform you of the main example via DM. There isn't much point of me going into specifics here, lest I say something some staff may not like.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Badges

7 minutes ago, WinterS said:

@Luna the Great of all the Russias

I suppose what I am saying is, if one does not want to be associated with their arguments - then why even make them? With how this site is declining, I am not too sure if things will be relatively more active in the future, in the sense of new users being pulled in.

Perhaps it is not a feature you or most of the debate participants would use, but it was still valued by the few who did use it. Instead of removing the feature, users can choose to not use it and ignore anonymous users.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Badges

your princess enjoys this 'debate pit' :P although there's something funny seeing all these cute pony avs/sigs debate things like gun control  

my only real issue is with the complete ban on emotes, but I guess I understand why that's needed. 

I have to second the people who are preferring concise points. A text wall can be great if people are on a similar page and are trotting a position together (and there are some great text walls in there), but when we have people starting with very different positions often one will feel that the premise of the other's position is wrong and no amount of extra detail will do.

strongly agree with @WinterS about the name-calling. If you think the other pony believes in conspiracies, then challenge the reality of their points rather than label them. Similarly, if you think they adopt a position that you think is unfair towards some individuals (a common stance against 'right wingers') or degrades personal/national character (a common stance against 'left wingers'), then just make those points rather than label etc.

not feeling the lack of moderation @WinterSor bias of moderation @Kyoshi personally. If anything, I sometimes feel there's a lil more moderation than needed, but overall I think the amount of moderation is just right. In terms of bias, I've seen posters all over the political spectrum have posts modded and it is always clear which rules are broken (I guess it might help if you had an equally active mod to the great @The Wife of Levi but whose politics were more on the left... but it's just not much of an issue to me).

  • Brohoof 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites


9 hours ago, Kyoshi said:

I did inform you of the main example via DM. There isn't much point of me going into specifics here, lest I say something some staff may not like.

I’m afraid not elaborating makes your argument fall into ad omnes fallacy as, unless I’ve missed something, mods showed impartiality overall

 

8 hours ago, abrony-mouse said:

my only real issue is with the complete ban on emotes, but I guess I understand why that's needed. 

 

Yeah, it all started with ONE user who abused the feature to enhance sarcastic and passive aggressive comments. Now if you excuse me, I have to look myself at the mirror for a bit ;)

  • Laugh 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites


1 minute ago, Steve Piranha said:

I'm afraid not elaborating makes your argument fall into ad omnes fallacy as, unless I’ve missed something, mods showed impartiality overall

I don't know what the limits are anymore on what I I'm allowed to say around here. Might as well not even bother. 

  • Hug 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Badges

2 hours ago, Steve Piranha said:

I’m afraid not elaborating makes your argument fall into ad omnes fallacy as, unless I’ve missed something, mods showed impartiality overall

 

Yeah, it all started with ONE user who abused the feature to enhance sarcastic and passive aggressive comments. Now if you excuse me, I have to look myself at the mirror for a bit ;)

your princess wants to see this previous debate section, filled with all this delicious drama and emotes >:3

  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites


1 hour ago, abrony-mouse said:

your princess wants to see this previous debate section, filled with all this delicious drama and emotes >:3

Gone from public eye, I’m afraid :sunny:

  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites


1 minute ago, Steve Piranha said:

Gone from public eye, I’m afraid :sunny:

I remember that back then, my posts compared to now, were relatively low quality. I do not miss the old debate pit personally - but I wouldn't mind seeing it in an archived section. 

  • Excited 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites


1 hour ago, abrony-mouse said:

your princess wants to see this previous debate section, filled with all this delicious drama and emotes >:3

My memory of the old debate section is vague, but I managed to save a very limited selection of the old debate section; these were tabs I still had open after the old section was permanently closed. Despite the increasing hostility in the current debate section, it still seems that the quality of the posts are still notably higher than it used to be (based on what I have saved) as it was more blatant that the debate section was used as a means to vent instead of arguing about certain topics.

  • Brohoof 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Badges

I want to directly address this topic and all the comments more in depth, but I want to tackle a few general ones now. 
 

1. Anonymous Posting - This feature was the key reason we reopened Debate. Members can’t see the user who posts, but we can. Some staff also use it since in the past people have levied insinuations that the staff leans one way or the other so strongly that it biases moderation and replies to any opinions posted. 
 

Also, several users are known to exclusively report fellow users who are on the opposite end of the political spectrum so often that it feels like a targeted approach. Allowing people to post anonymously in there may have the effect of preventing revenge reporting. As of now this feature is staying. 

 

2. Passive aggressive remarks - Staff should be catching these. However, I really would like have cases of this reported. 
 

3. Bans - I will fully admit to being aggressive with moderation when I am skimming the Debate section. I want cordial discussion that stays focused on the topic. Mods and Admins can kick a user from a specific topic or the section. If a user wants back in they need to create a support ticket or message an Admin. We will consider lifting the restriction. Permanent bans from the area will be rare, and usually done if there is a noticeable inability to maintain a level of conduct. 
 

4. Maintaining actual academic debate rules would be far too strict and manual an approach. I’m not even sure how many members can name all the logical fallacies that are typically seen and marked in an academic of professional debate. Most take cues from social media and traditional media which, frankly, have destroyed the notion of legitimate debate structure. I don’t even know how many on staff would be able to recognize when a user is using an ad-hominem for instance. 
 

5. I just yawned hard. I must do Jeric sleep. 

 

  • Smile 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites


On 2022-08-30 at 1:10 PM, WinterS said:

I remember that back then, my posts compared to now, were relatively low quality. I do not miss the old debate pit personally - but I wouldn't mind seeing it in an archived section. 

This may be possible and something I’ll think over

  • Excited 2
  • Hug 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites


1 hour ago, Jeric said:

Bans - I will fully admit to being aggressive with moderation when I am skimming the Debate section. I want cordial discussion that stays focused on the topic. Mods and Admins can kick a user from a specific topic or the section. If a user wants back in they need to create a support ticket or message an Admin. We will consider lifting the restriction. Permanent bans from the area will be rare, and usually done if there is a noticeable inability to maintain a level of conduct

What I'm curious about is the number of these you've done so far and if that decision is made through a process of discussion with other admins. From whom I've talked with, the latter part of that statement doesn't happen. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Badges

  • 2 weeks later...

While I'm happy with the 'no sassing others' rule, I am less sure with a rule against sassing world leaders. For example,  

8 hours ago, The Wife of Levi said:

eh, I don't think the West hates Russians, just their idiot ‘leader’.

I think calling a leader 'an idiot' and similar sass (provided it's non-profane etc) should be allowed. Not because it is fun (although it totally is), but because ridicule actually serves a purpose sometimes. Putin has created a cult of personality around himself and carefully crafted an image as a strong-man, which I find to be pompous - ridicule is a good way of cutting them down to size. The same goes for many figures at the top, and ridicule (eg caricature) of them is something most societies have in spades. So I want our pony debate society to also be allowed to do this! 

'Course I will accept the rule, but I think this one should change.

  • Pondering 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites


@abrony-mouse

I disagree. I think that the rule creates a better and more serious atmosphere. It is easy to find insults for leaders, that doesn’t make any of it a good argument though. One can argue without the use of insults. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...