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A Question on Judging

Snaga

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Its come to my attention that one participants in debates has, on an MSN discussion, admitted to deliberately taking quotes out of context in order to try to win a debate. I don't like this tactic and it makes me want to go back and revisit the debates I judged in which this person has posted, and check the quotes used to see if they were used out of context. It may or may not affect my verdict, but I feel, that in good conscience I would like to do this. I guess that it would be preferable to take quotes used on trust but if I know I can't do this, extra care in judging will be required.

But I don't know whether this is within the rules or not?
 

Arvedui

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If this is true, I know what tactics to employ from now on!:mad:

Hopefully, this is not a widespread tactic. But even if it isn't, the person doing so has misunderstood the idea behind debating totally. IMO, debating is also supposed to give new insight. And that can't be done if debators are taking quotes out of context.

Maedhros stated in one of the debates that it was up to the judges to decide if the quotes given were valid or not. What I have seen from him so far, I find it hard to believe that they are not.
On the other hand, if the opposing team don't have enough insight to call the bluff, then I don't see why the judges should discover this.
But what is it to take a quote out of context? Is it to quote just enough from a paragraph to make it fit into your own reasoning? I don't think so.
 

Aulë

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I know who this person is who Snaga is referring to, and he/she certainly knows of the morals of debating since he/she debates quite often.
I don't believe that this person does it too often, but it quite tiresome to find out that I believed this person's quotes (from HoME- which I haven't read) and resulting conclusions, which lead to a disadvantage for me and my team.
 

baragund

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Gaggone It!! (I am cussing a blue streak right now, I am so angered and saddened by this.)

If the person who is taking quotes out of context, and he/she is knowledgable enough about the material to know what the correct context is, then they should be "outed", any victories or points earned by that Guild should be ruled null and void, and that person should be kicked out of the rest of the tournament.

If the out of context quotes are from the HOME series, I suspect many judges (including me) will not know one way or the other. Many of the participants have not read the whole HOME series (I'm only about halfway through BOLT II) and we have no choice but to assume that the one providing the quotes was using the correct context.

This is cheating, plain and simple, if the quotes were purposefully taken out of context. The most applicable of the debate tournament rules addresses overall courtesy and sportsmanship and that's good enough for me. The offender's knuckles need to be rapped HARD!!
 

Maedhros

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But what is it to take a quote out of context? Is it to quote just enough from a paragraph to make it fit into your own reasoning? I don't think so.
That is a good question, what is this? I have seen people post a sentence of a parragraph to enhance their side, but if I see that the whole parragraph goes against his reasoning, I will just simply post a greater quote.
If people are making up quotes, then it is another thing all together different. That is just wrong. When I quote I try to provide the book where I got it.
Maedhros stated in one of the debates that it was up to the judges to decide if the quotes given were valid or not. What I have seen from him so far, I find it hard to believe that they are not.
Not what valid. ;)
Hehe. The thing is that the participants cannot know is what books have the judges read. I try to make points by using quotes that I believe are relevant and in context with that part of the story/book, but I can only speak for myself.
 

Aulë

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I'm not saying that this person made something up. I'm saying that they took a quote out of a book, and 'twisted' its meaning a little bit, to suit their purpose (like Maedhros said- by only quoting a small section of the paragraph).
It's nothing serious, and I'm sure that most of us do it occasionally, but its just annoying when someone does it with the HoME books, since most people haven't read them.
 

baragund

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It is still taking a piece of writing and putting a different spin on it than what was the intended meaning by the author.

Granted, the HOME series is pretty dense stuff and I'm sure there are parts where two people can reasonably draw different conclusions, but if JRRT was clearly portraying a "apple" in a passage of the books and one of the debators represents that passage as an "orange", then that person is at best a dummy and at worst cheating.
 

Arvedui

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But if that is the case, then it is not only up to the judges, but also to the opposing team to call the bluff!
 

Aulë

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Originally posted by Arvedui
But if that is the case, then it is not only up to the judges, but also to the opposing team to call the bluff!
But how are they suppost to do that with quotes from HoME?
Very few people have copies to that. Same with the Osanwe kenta or other minor essays.
 

Arvedui

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Are you sure there are noone to ask for help if that is needed?
And there are always book-stores, you know. Even in the northern part of the world it is possible to get hold of HoME. I have gotten 11 out of the 12 books this year, just by walking in to a book-store and bying them.
And there is also one other method, but I can't say anything about it as it would probably illegal...;)
 

Snaga

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Originally posted by Arvedui
But if that is the case, then it is not only up to the judges, but also to the opposing team to call the bluff!
This statement is undoubtedly true. Moreover, when someone does get caught out taking quotes out of context, it usually looks pretty bad in the debate for the person concerned. However, it also lowers the tone and quality of the debate in general, because it tends to lead to an emphasis on point-scoring and not greater elucidation of the truth.

The question is whether or not I should be allowed to go back and review my verdicts, taking greater care over whether quotes have been fairly used. It comes down to:

(1) Is this greater diligence than a judge should exercise, and checking of quotes is ONLY the responsibility of the opposition?

(2) Since the verdicts have been posted, is wrong to go back and reconsider, given that it could affect the scoreboard?

In any event, I WILL be treating quotes will a good deal of skepticism in future!
 

Maedhros

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(1) Is this greater diligence than a judge should exercise, and checking of quotes is ONLY the responsibility of the opposition?
I think it is the responsability of the opposition only. The only way, IMO, one would interfere is that the quote is bogus.

(2) Since the verdicts have been posted, is wrong to go back and reconsider, given that it could affect the scoreboard?
I think that it would set a bad precedent. That is precisely why judges need to take their time in order to make a decision they can live with.
 

Snaga

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Fair enough. But if I do spot this happening in any debate I'm judging in, I WILL call the culprits on it.

I guess in fairness I would have to look askance at a team that failed to spot this dirty tactic being used against them:(, but the least that this tactic deserves is for someone doing it to be feel some shame.

Several people have asked me to name the person who has been doing this. However I won't be saying who it is. It was only reported to me indirectly, so if I said who it was it would actually only be hearsay. I don't want to tarnish the considerable reputation of this distinguished debator on the basis of rumour.

Lets hope there is no more that needs to be said on this subject.:)
 

Dáin Ironfoot I

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I've been thinking of joining the debates under the Guild of Eruhini, but I am confused what you mean snaga when you say 'taking quotes out of context'? :confused:

By taking a quote out of context, isnt that how you win a debate? By really delving in deep into the quote and extracting a meaning that can benefit your case? How is that a bad thing? Judging by the other people's reactions, I assume my definition is flawed... could you explain it to me?
 

Snaga

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Originally posted by Dáin Ironfoot I
I've been thinking [....] I am [...] a bad thing[...], flawed.
Does this help? I just quoted you. Was this what you meant to say? Or did I just contrive a new meaning you never intended. An extreme example, to illustrate the point.

And no, winning isnt EVERYTHING. Yes, its a competition but this is not a good way to go, if the forum as a whole is about shedding greater light on Tolkiens works.
 

Dáin Ironfoot I

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Hehe, snaggy, you funny little orc you! That must have taken a while to think up, no? :p

But though the insult was creative, I still dont have an answer to my polite and reasonable question. Would anyone mind giving me an answer please? By the way Snaga, hows the wedding coming along? :) Still planned I hope!:)
 

Snaga

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The problem with taking quotes out of context is that it changes the sense of that the author was trying to convey. That is dishonest. Therefore it is wrong. Clear?:rolleyes:
 

Confusticated

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Originally posted by snaga1

Originally posted by Dáin Ironfoot I
I've been thinking [....] I am [...] a bad thing[...], flawed.
Does this help?
hahaha! :D x 1,000.


I agree with Maedhros that the opposing team should spot this stuff when it happens, but I think judges who are aware of it happening should take the misuse of the quote into consideration when making a decision on who won the debate.

I think it is wrong to wittingly take a quote out of context, but at the same time I wouldn't gasp in horror about it being done.

In these debates we have to support sides that we do not agree with, and put out arguements even when we know how the other team might argue back to show that we are wrong. Just posting an arguement while being aware of its flaw may be dishonest. Not much less worse than abusing quotes, I think.

Being aware of a passage that can disprove a point we make while failing to mention it, is not entirely honest either. While it may not be twisting the author's words, it is presenting a conclusion that is based on selected evidence while ignoring other evidence that is no less valid. Is this honest?

I guess that is just the nature of these set up debates.
 

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