Voting Policy

How to vote

Voter Eligibility

In order for users to be eligible to vote on debates, user's current accounts must reflect that they have read the site's COC AND either completed at least 2 non-troll debates without any forfeits or posted 100 forum posts. Any user who attempts to vote without having these criteria met will have their vote removed. If a user repeatedly attempts to vote without having these criteria met, their voting privileges may be suspended until they meet this criteria.

Sufficient Votes

A sufficient vote is one that states why one debater was better than the other in a particular respect and explains why the voter thought that. The last part of that definition is crucial. It is not sufficient to merely state that "Pro had better arguments", because nothing in that statement explains why Pro had better arguments. The requirements for a sufficient vote are explained in more detail below. Votes that are reported and which are deemed insufficient will be deleted.

A. The Point-based System

1. Argument Points

In order to award argument points, a voter must explicitly, and in the text of their RFD, perform the following tasks:

  • Survey the main arguments and counterarguments presented in the debate

  • Weigh those arguments against each other (or explain why certain arguments need not be weighed based on what transpired within the debate itself)

  • Explain how, through the process of weighing, they arrived at their voting decision with regard to assigning argument points

Weighing entails analyzing how the relative strength of one argument or set of arguments outweighed (that is, out-impacted) and/or precluded another argument or set of arguments. Weighing requires analyzing and situating arguments and counterarguments within the context of the debate as a whole.

2. Sources Points

In order to award sources points, a voter must explicitly, and in the text of their RFD, perform the following tasks:

  • Explain, on balance, how each debater's sources impact the debate

  • Directly evaluate at least one source in particular cited in the debate and explain how it either bolstered or weakened the argument it was used to support

  • Must explain how and why one debater's use of sources overall was superior to the other's

Mere appeals to quantity are not sufficient to justify awarding sources points.

3. Spelling and Grammar Points

In order to award spelling and grammar (S&G) points, a voter must explicitly, and in the text of their RFD, perform the following tasks:

  • Give specific examples of S&G errors

  • Explain how these errors were excessive

  • Compare each debater's S&G from the debate

S&G errors are considered excessive when they render arguments incoherent or incomprehensible.

4. Conduct Points

In order to award conduct points, a voter must explicitly, and in the text of their RFD, perform the following tasks:

  • Provide specific references to instances of poor conduct which occurred in the debate

  • Demonstrate how this poor conduct was either excessive, unfair, or in violation of mutually agreed upon rules of conduct pertaining to the text of the debate

  • Compare each debater's conduct from the debate

Misconduct is excessive when it is extremely frequent and/or when it causes the debate to become incoherent or extremely toxic. In the case of awarding conduct points solely on the basis of forfeits, there is an exception to these steps: a debater may award conduct points solely for forfeited rounds, but only if one debater forfeited half or more of their rounds or if the voter also awards argument points (or explains their decision not to award argument points in a manner which meets the argument points voting standards).

5. Explaining all Points

A sufficient vote must explain all points awarded. If you award argument and conduct points, but explain only the former, your vote will be removed for being insufficient.

B. The Select Winner System

In cases where the debate instigator opts to use the "winner selection" (or "select winner") system, a voter must explicitly, and in the text of their RFD, perform the following tasks: (a) survey the main arguments and counter arguments presented in the debate, (b) weigh those arguments against each other (or explain why certain arguments need not be weighed based on what transpired within the debate itself), and (c) explain how, through the process of weighing, they arrived at their voting decision with regard to assigning argument points. Weighing entails analyzing how the relative strength of one argument or set of arguments outweighed (that is, out-impacted) and/or precluded another argument or set of arguments. Weighing requires analyzing and situating arguments and counterarguments within the context of the debate as a whole.

Vote Bombs

Vote Bomb (VB)

A vote bomb is a vote cast without a sufficient argument, a vote cast without regard for the content of the debate, a vote which literally doesn't make sense (e.g. "it's contradictory"), or a vote cast based on a prejudgment of or prior opinion on the topic. Vote bombs that are reported will be removed.

Counter Vote Bomb (CVB)

A counter vote bomb is a vote cast to reverse the effect of a vote-bomb or a vote which the CVBer found illegitimate. CVBs which are reported will be removed, along with the original vote-bomb (if indeed the original vote-bomb counts as such).

Vote Rigging

Vote rigging is when someone solicits deliberately biased votes in order to rig the outcome of a vote. Votes stemming from vote rigging will be removed. It is not vote rigging to ask for someone to cast a fair vote. Vote trading may or may not be vote rigging, depending on whether the outcome of the traded votes is fixed or agreed upon before the debates are evaluated by the voters.

Votes Considering Outside Content

The voter must assess the content of the debate and only the debate, any reasoning based on arguments made or information given outside of the debate rounds is unacceptable. This includes reasoning that stems from already-placed votes, comment sections, and separate forums. Votes that impermissibly factor in outside content and which are reported will be removed.

Special Circumstances

There are some special circumstances which may exempt an otherwise removable vote from removal. These special circumstances are listed here.

Full-forfeit (FF)/Conceded Debates

A full-forfeit debate is defined as a debate that has no argument presented by one side following the opening round, resulting in all subsequent rounds being forfeited. When this is the case, these debates are considered full-forfeit debates and are not moderated unless a voter votes for the forfeiting side. Similarly, a conceded debate is any debate in which on side clearly concedes the debate to their opponent. These debates are considered conceded debates and are not moderated unless a voter votes for the side that concedes.

Troll Debates

If a debate is publicly designated as a troll debate, or if both sides present arguments that are done for the sake of trolling, then the debate is not moderated.

Statute of Limitations

When voting on a debate has already been completed for a period exceeding one month, we deem it as being past the statute of limitations and therefore do not moderate votes on those debates.

Unreported Votes

A vote which has not been reported will not be moderated. Votes must be reported in order to be considered for moderation.

Reported Votes and Voters

Moderator Notifications

If a vote is reported for moderation, moderation will post a notice in the comments of debate explaining what if any moderation action was taken on that vote and why that action/inaction was deemed appropriate.

Voting Privilege Revocations

If a voter consistently has their votes removed by moderation, or a user engages in vote rigging, that voter/user may have their voting privileges revoked. Such revocation is temporary, and will be reinstated once a voter has satisfied moderation that they are willing and capable to cast sufficient votes moving forward or once moderation is satisfied that a user will no longer engage in vote rigging, respectively. A member who consistently has their votes removed by moderation shall receive a warning before having their voting privileges revoked.

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