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Fullmetal Alchemist Discussion Board > General Discussions > Open Talk > Debate District
MonsterEnvy
Really, I've noticed in my past few visits here that this subforum has gone drastically downhill. When it was created, it was a great way to get high-traffic argument threads out of open chat and somewhere where many of us could use it to easily get updates on a number of debateable issues. However, now it's been flooded with hundreds of posts by n00bs who can't spell, define, or use sentence syntax and think that each of their opinions is important enough to deserve it's own mispelled, horrendously phrased posts. I've stopped posting in this area due to the fact that I rarely, if ever, get an intelligent response and find the topic corrupted by trolls. (This also means you, Popo. Show some responsibility.) So- shall we institute measures to preserve the forum? Are 'we' happy with it as it is? I'd like to hear well thought out opinions and arguments. If anyone has a question as to what that is, then please look at Nepharski's first post in the Time Travel thread. I consider it a stunning example.
Edamame
Although I am not a frequent visitor to the forum, I agree that a great deal of the responses in the Debate sub-forum have declined in intelligence. I was reading some of the earlier Debate threads and was impressed with the quality of posting; some people obviously took time to research and think over what they were going to post. Currently, people who take the time and effort to make an intelligent post usually get a half-ass response, which leads to the thread getting off-topic. As you have addressed, the majority of these poor responses are made by Noobs. Most of them appear to be younger tweens, and they post random crap just to get their post count up.
Unfortunately, I am seeing this take place beyond the Debate-subforum; one member will make an intelligent post and a younger newcomer will quote that member's entire post and generally respond: "I agree with so-and-so." I understand that it is not always possible to make an incredible post every time, but people can at least learn to use proper grammar and spelling. I agree that measures should be taken to correct this problem, but I am uncertain as to what. I was going to suggest 'grammar moderators' or a 'grammar team', but I am not sure if they already exist in this forum. (I know that there is a thread dedicated to reporting poor posting, and that the moderators already do a great deal to make newcomers aware of 'posting etiquette')
I apologize for not being able to offer any suggestions for fixing the problem, but the majority of the poor posting does appear to be coming from the younger members.
Envy's lil' miniskirt
Maybe we should have posting guidelines. I too am tired of good threads here being de-railed by n00bs going off topic or just posting nonsense.
Popogeejo
QUOTE
I've stopped posting in this area due to the fact that I rarely, if ever, get an intelligent response and find the topic corrupted by trolls. (This also means you, Popo. Show some responsibility.)
Sorry about that. I don't go out of my way to troll thinking "This will piss them off." I just make posts that seem to be trollish. Still I'll try and stop it.

QUOTE
f anyone has a question as to what that is, then please look at Nepharski's first post in the Time Travel thread. I consider it a stunning example.

The problem is that some people (me included) tend to have a hard time putting their thoughts in a structured manner on paper. I know what I think, I know my opinions and I can see logical flaws in other people but when I try and get all on the page it generally comes out as very condensed or inconsistent.
Also, not everyone wants to write out small essay just to say why they think Feminism is great but they still want to make there voices heard.
By imposing standards on Debate responses, yes you will get nicers posts and more intellectual debates (which is great and what I'd love) but think how much more infrequent these posts will be.
We have pretty much come a wall now. The "big" debates about homosexuality, Abortion, suicide/Euthanasia and Evolution have all run their course.
All we have left are debates about current events (I note the lack of discussion on Saddam's death death though), one sided debates about racism, sexism and the like and debates about subjects that are generally not very interesting to the masses (time travel is an intersting subject to afew but not many people are going to follow the abstract concepts discussed within.)

If you were going to impose standards though they should still be lenient (remember that almost 45% of the forum is between 12 and 15 years old.)
I'd recommend:
*No posts like "I agree." These posts don't forward discussion and just get in the way (like me smile.gif )
*No one word answers unless the question asked only allows for such an answer. This avoids "Is racism bad?" type debates to be flooded with posts that just say "Yes." If this rule is impractical then how about all posts must be more than one sentence.
*No flaming (I know I'm shooting myself in the foot here.) While it is true that debates can result in very heated exchanges there is no need to call each others stance stupid.
*Where possible cite your sources. While it is fine to make whole arguments based on personal thoughts and ideas if you are going to say "45% of the members are between 12-15" then you should probably try and show some proof.

Sorry if this post doesn't make any sense, I am kinda groggy and my thoughts are having a hard time focusing themselves.
Vash_the_Gunslinger
I agree with Popo that it is hard to put some things into context. Since this is the debate district, you want to prove your thoughts by putting good information in your posts, but sometimes things can sound ridiculous. I try to show some intelligence in my posts, but if I don't, well, I hope its not to stupid.
ἀρχή
Most of the debates aren't meta-critical enough for me laugh.gif

I think it's better to have faultering language in trying to express a complex and fairly well thought out concept than to just write the "I agree/disagree" statements. Even worse are those who get upset because others disagree.

My forum standard contribution: No matter what you believe, someone will believe something different. You don't have to like it, but you must respect it otherwise dialogue is ueless.
MonsterEnvy
I agree that a rules and guidelines section would probably work best. The general rules that govern the rest of the forum are good, but they need to be stricter here.

So- What I've got so far from all of you-

No matter what you believe, someone will believe something different. You don't have to like it, but you must respect it otherwise dialogue is ueless. (Arche)

I like this one. I'll add it verbatim. It's so true, and one of the core problems with having a good debate.

*No posts like "I agree." These posts don't forward discussion and just get in the way (like me )
*No one word answers unless the question asked only allows for such an answer. This avoids "Is racism bad?" type debates to be flooded with posts that just say "Yes." If this rule is impractical then how about all posts must be more than one sentence. (Popo)

These two can be combined. I'd suggest a rule along the lines of-

Each post must further the discussion, either by enlightening an earlier point or contributing new information. Posts should be at least one short paragraph, and show some evidence of logical thought. (i.e., if one says, 'Abortion is wrong' the sentence should be followed with 'because...' and should not end with 'the Bible says so.' A more appropriate way to finish this sentence is 'each baby has the right to be born and live.')

No flaming. (Popo)

Yes, this is good. It ties into Asu's rule, but is simpler and easier to understand for n00bs. I'd like to add, though- there are some instances where flaming is perfectly appropriate. I'll cite, as an example, Shell in the child abuse thread with her obviously fabricated sob story. I most definately made posts there which could be categorized as flaming... however, tossing 'sometimes flaming is appropriate' into the rules would only lead to disaster.

*Where possible cite your sources. While it is fine to make whole arguments based on personal thoughts and ideas if you are going to say "45% of the members are between 12-15" then you should probably try and show some proof. (Popo)

Again, good. We could, for example, cite the 'How old are you' thread, while remembering that it's gone on for a long time and members who where 14 two years ago are 16 now.

As far as the 'faultering argument' goes- sure, it's a lot better to attempt to explain your reasoning than a simple 'I agree/disagree' post. Even if what you write at the moment doesn't end up making much sense, if people ask intelligent questions about it it can easily contribute a lot to a discussion.


I'll add-

As a guideline, quotes should take up no more than two-thirds of your post. If you quote a long post, your reply should be at least half that length. If you can't type that much, then don't quote that much. Also, it is unnecessary to quote from directly above you unless you wish to make detailed comments on multiple parts of that person's post. (See some of the posts around 30-35 in Evolution/Creation and Chapter 57, 58, and 59 discussion threads in FMA Manga for examples of long, detailed comments.)

On new topics- Make sure that it's not a dead topic or a topic which will not further discussion. For example, 'Who really Shot Kennedy' is not in the public eye at the moment and will therefore not invite discussion. On the other hand, if new evidence was suddenly uncovered, there could be a flurry of responses on the topic.

My guidelines are long- feel free to cut them down so people will read them.

And, finally-

Flaming will be tolerated for consistently poor grammar and spelling after multiple requests to be more accurate with regards to the above. Poor grammar and spelling make the entire thing look bad and hard to read.

1337 and IMsp33k will not be tolerated.

I think that just about covers it- feel free to add anything you think that it needs.
ἀρχή
potential other rules of thumb (not standards, but things that can help you survive real world debates):

Be honest when you make mistakes and be honest when you change your opinion. If you state the change up front, you will diffuse the character assasination flames.

Be honest when you are guessing/assuming. It's ok to assume and guess, but don't state it as fact when it's not. If challenged about an assumption/guess/feeling/etc... just state that you have it even if you can't justify it. This will strengthen your integrety in the debate.
000_neji
Maybe,all of thosse who will post in a certain topic in Debate District must have long and meaningful statements so that nonsense posts will be known...Others just post off topic so members who will not do this will receive a certain punishment or warning..is that alright?
MonsterEnvy
It's not necessary for posts to be long... just to show some evidence of coherent thought. I've seen so many posts lately that include quotes with responses like 'So?' 'Your point?' 'Why am I in the hospital, anyway?' and various other short phrases that contribute nothing.

I also agree with Arche- while often things like that aren't real codified rules, knowing some ways to help debates proceed smoothly could help eliminate a lot of these problems. Hopefully, with some stricter rules and a few more guidelines, we'll eventually end up with a healthier debating community.
Vash_the_Gunslinger
QUOTE(000_neji @ Jan 4 2007, 04:17 AM) [snapback]491154[/snapback]
Maybe,all of thosse who will post in a certain topic in Debate District must have long and meaningful statements so that nonsense posts will be known...


That isn't going to happen. I mean, topics like "do you believe in abortion" or "Creation or evolution" are topics where your posts can say yes/no or religious/not religious. Either way, we would get their point.
Popogeejo
QUOTE
I mean, topics like "do you believe in abortion" or "Creation or evolution" are topics where your posts can say yes/no or religious/not religious. Either way, we would get their point.

Those are the replies we want to avoid. just because you can make a one word answer doesn't mean you should.
With both the threads you mentioned you should be giving reasons to support your stance.
Envy's lil' miniskirt
So it sounds like everybody would like posting guidelines and have made good suggestions. I'll write it up an put it in a pinned thread in Debate District but I want to make sure we have a good set of guidelines not too picky but not to leinent either.

I would like everybody to finish discussing what they think would be best before I post one.
Vash_the_Gunslinger
QUOTE(Popogeejo @ Jan 5 2007, 12:40 AM) [snapback]491500[/snapback]
QUOTE
I mean, topics like "do you believe in abortion" or "Creation or evolution" are topics where your posts can say yes/no or religious/not religious. Either way, we would get their point.

Those are the replies we want to avoid. just because you can make a one word answer doesn't mean you should.
With both the threads you mentioned you should be giving reasons to support your stance.


Well, naturally they wouldn't just give a yes or no answer. People usually post what they think about the topic anyway.
Edamame
I believe that we need to make clear the difference between a Debate and a Discussion. I believe that some topics lend themselves to heated debates whereas some topics are better as discussions where people post their own opinions. Debates are not one sided and should invovle people responding and challenging other people's posts. There appears to be more discussion in the debate forum rather than people arguing and trying to prove their point. (Heck, I'm guilty of it.) So, perhaps you could include a definition of Debate in the forum guide-lines Monster Envy. Perhaps the cause of this is the result of all the 'larger' debatable topics having run their course.
Vash_the_Gunslinger
I hope that people(including myself) will be able to follow the guidelines that we have agreed on so far. I like a good debate, but sometimes there is discussion within the debate. Which I think is fine as long the discussion doesn't take over the debate.
ἀρχή
I think debate district is really a misnomer. I would prefer to think of it as a discussion area that allows for either a debate or challenging discussion.
Tombow
QUOTE(arche @ Jan 11 2007, 07:40 PM) [snapback]493399[/snapback]
I think debate district is really a misnomer. I would prefer to think of it as a discussion area that allows for either a debate or challenging discussion.

I agree. debate district is a good name for this sub-forum and I like it, but in reality this is becoming more of debate/discussion district, I think.
As others have pointed out, we've had a series of "serious" topics, and seems the threads we get recently are more "lighter" topics and calling for "discussions" rather than debates.

Since I'm not the regular participants in this sub-forum I'd like to stay on the sideline for the discussion about how this sub-forum should be, but so far I do like the idea of having pinned guidelines for this sub-forum. I think that will be helpful for everyone.
Maybe you can ask Mini-san to go ahead and post/pin the Guidelines. ^^
000_neji
I like Debate District since I was a member of this forum,...I agree that meaningful sentences should be posted instead of a simple yes/no answers...In short,they must justify clearly their answers in the Debate district.
Popogeejo
Proposed rules for Debate District. (Condensed version)

QUOTE
While you don't have to agree with others views please treat them with respect or debates are pointless.

Only make posts that further the discussion. If you want to make a post saying "Abortion is wrong." for example please give reasons so we can discuss it further. posts should be at least one short paragraph and show things of logical reasoning.

Flaming will not be allowed.

Where possible cite sources. While it is fine to make posts based soul on personal thoughts and beliefs if you are going to make specific claims like "45% of the forum is under 12" then show where you got this number from.

Quotes should not be more than two thirds of your posts. (That's quoting members, not sources.) If you quote a long post, your reply should be at least half that length. If you can't type that much, then don't quote that much. Also, it is unnecessary to quote from directly above you unless you wish to make detailed comments on multiple parts of that person's post.

On new topics- Make sure that it's not a dead topic or a topic which will not further discussion. For example, 'Who really Shot Kennedy' is not in the public eye at the moment and will therefore not invite discussion. On the other hand, if new evidence was suddenly uncovered, there could be a flurry of responses on the topic.

No text speak, leet speak or IM speak.

Spell to the best of your ability, make sure you use good grammar and double check your posts. Poor spelling and grammar make debates needlessly difficult and unwelcoming.


How's that?
Naivete
Any reason/s in particular as to why this isn't pinned up yet?
GothGirl
Nice condensed version of rules, Popo. I like the debate district, but it just seems like no one is here half the time.
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