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TTF Debate Tournament - UNOFFICIAL Rules Draft

Eriol

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TTF Debate Tournament - UNOFICCIAL Rules Draft

Dragged out of retirement by my Guild-Master...

:eek:

I wrote down some rules for the TTF Debate Tournament. These rules are, obviously, not official yet, since I (thankfully) have no official position. This draft is meant to be a suggestion. Any modifications are more than welcome. After all, I did this rather quickly over this morning. I'm sure a lot of loopholes and deficiencies will be found ;).

I think this is "in line" with the first rounds of the Tournament.

Even if these rules are thrown in the garbage can, fellows, I strongly urge you (i.e., us) to write down a set of rules to prevent -- or at least minimize -- further hassles. (By the way, these rules are directed to the round-robin phase -- perhaps they have to be changed a bit for the final rounds -- EDIT: I was under the impression that there would be a final round between the leading Guilds, after the Round-Robin phase . Am I right? I have no idea...)

And I hope that the final draft of the Rules is agreed upon by members of EVERY Guild, otherwise it won't be fair... you know the drill.

So, here they are:

TTF Debate Tournament Rules – Round-robin phase

1.This tournament will be contested by the Debating Guilds already inscribed by the Tournament Organizer:

The Guild of Dwarves/Elves
The Guild of Ost-in-Edhil
The Guild of Outcasts
The Guild of the Periaur
The Guild of Scholars
The Guild of Tolkienologists

This is to say that any breach by an individual member of a guild can and will be regarded as a breach by that particular guild. All Guild-Masters have the duty to publicize these rules inside their own Guilds to prevent inadvertent breaches, possibly resulting in penalty for the Guild.

2. In the debates of the Round-robin phase, the following procedure must be followed:

a) A Host shall be selected by the Guild responsible for hosting that particular debate, according to the rotation previously established by the TO (Tournament Organizer);
b) The Host will select 4 judges among the other neutral Guilds, and 1 Neutral (Guild-less) Judges;
c) The Debating Guilds shall select teams of 4 members, among its own members;
d) Members of more than one Guild cannot debate for two different Guilds in the Tournament - the penalty for breaching this rule is forfeiting the match in which he played for a second Guild, with further penalties for the offending Guild under the discretion of the Tournament Organizer.

3. DUTIES OF THE HOST

a) To open the debate thread in the Home Guild (see below);
b) To choose a topic, following the procedures established below;
c) To conduct the debate;
d) To set the time for the end of the Debate, usually 7 days after the first post of the Debate proper (the Host can adjust this period slightly for convenience purposes, according to his Time Zone)
e) To close the thread, or ask a moderator to do so, after the debate is over;
f) To open a Judging thread in which the Judges’ opinions will be publicized;
g) To report the result to the Tournament Organizer;
h) To deal out penalties, in accordance with Rule 9.

4. DUTIES OF THE GUILDS

a) There will be a Home Guild and a visiting Guild in each debate, according to the rotation established by the TO;
b) The Home Guild shall choose the side it wants to defend in the debate, and make the first post;
c) The Visiting Guild shall defend the other side in the debate;
d) The members of the Debating Teams of both Guilds shall be named before any post is made addressing the topic itself – it is a duty of both Guilds to announce the teams as quickly as possible.

5. DUTIES OF THE JUDGES

a) Each judge shall examine the debate thoroughly once it is over, and post a considered opinion in support of his vote;
b) There shall be no time limit for the presentation of the vote, but each judge must agree beforehand to devote his full consideration for the debate. The position of Judge is very demanding, and members who do not feel they will have the time to do it should refuse the duty before the Debate begins.

6. SELECTION OF TOPICS

a) As was set out in 3b, the Host must select a topic. Maedhros is the sole person in charge of the topics. Any topic must be pre-approved by him. If the Host does not want to offer any topic of his own, Maedhros shall supply him with a topic;
b) If any of the involved Guilds does not agree with the topic, he must inform the Host;
c) The Host is the sole person in charge of accepting or not the Guild’s plea for a change of topic, and he shall not, under any circumstances, accept this plea after there has been a post from each Guild in the Debate thread.

7. DEBATE PROCEDURES

a) There is no restriction as regards the order of posting, or length of posting, in any case.
b) The Rules of Conduct set out below apply at all times.

8. RULES OF CONDUCT IN THE DEBATE

a) The TTF general rules of conduct apply at all times – no personal attacks, no use of offensive terms, etc.
b) Sarcasm and irony are accepted, and perhaps even encouraged :D; as long as they are directed to the arguments, and not to the people involved;
c) No posts in the debating thread shall be made in an attempt to influence the judges, either by the debating members or by other members of any Guild; the Judging thread shall be a place in which opinions are set out as simply as possible, and only the Judges shall expound on their reasons for a vote;
d) Any and all “bashings” of any participant (Judges or Host or Members) outside the respective Guild of the person posting the “bashing” shall be subject to penalties according to Rule 9; the provision that a post inside the Guild is exempt of penalty does not apply to directly-related threads (Debate, Judging);
e) All members participating directly in the debate shall be held up to the strictest conditions of courtesy and good sportsmanship;
f) Posts by non-participants (Debators, Host, Judges) in the Debate thread shall be frowned upon and can subject the offending Guild to penalty, as set out under Rule 9.

9. PENALTIES IN THE DEBATE

a) Breach of any of the above rules, and particularly breaches of the Rules of Conduct (Rule 8), shall be subject to penalty;
b) The Host of the Debate is the person in charge of dealing out penalties – no penalty shall be given without his assent;
c) The first penalty for any Guild after a Rule breach must, in all cases, consist of a Warning, with no further effects;
d) The third penalty, and subsequent penalties for any Guild after the same Rule has been breached three times must, in all cases, consist of the loss of 1 point in the overall standings;
e) The second penalty for any Guild after the same Rule has been breached two times is left at the discretion of the Host – either Warning or Loss of a point in the overall standings.

10. APPEALING PENALTIES

a) An appeals committee must be established by the Tournament Organizer, including:

The Tournament Organizer himself;
A Member appointed by the Guild of Dwarves/Elves
A Member appointed by the Guild of Ost-in-Edhil
A Member appointed by the Guild of Outcasts
A Member appointed by the Guild of the Periaur
A Member appointed by the Guild of Scholars
A Member appointed by the Guild of Tolkienologists
A Neutral (Guild-less) Member.

b) Any member of the appeals committee who is a member of an appealing Guild (either defendant or plaintiff) in a given appeal must excuse himself from participating in the appeals process;
c) If there is any appeal the Tournament Organizer will open a thread in the Member Announcements Forum to hear both sides of the story; in this thread, after a period not over three days since its opening, the arguments for the appeal by defendant and plaintiff must be presented;
d) After the argument phase is over the members of the appeals committee shall vote. In case of a tie the Neutral member has the tie-breaker vote; if he refuses this duty, the tie-breaker vote goes to the Tournament Organizer;
e) The members of the Appeals Committee shall take no more than 3 days after the end of the argument phase to vote;
f) There shall be no consideration of any appeal if the reason for the warning/penalty was a breach of the TTF general rules of conduct.





Whew. I hope this can lead to something.

Probably not... ;)
 
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Aulë

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Wow,
Very good work Eriol. :)

Minor nitpicking:
4c) I don't think the 'away' Guild should be privilaged the last post. It would be too hard to manage, since the other Guild wouldn't know when to stop posting.
And the rule hasn't been enforced from the beginning either.

That is all that I can find wrong with it. :)
But I'm sure I'll remember something else later on. ;)

I suppose when this is complete, we can post in in the Scoreboard thread that I just put up.

I am also thinking of adding a Best & Fairest award into the Tournament too, which would require another task for the Host. But I'll go into that in the Discussion thread.

We could also add the scoring system to it. The rules of which can be found in the Scoreboard thread.
 

Lhunithiliel

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EXCELLENT JOB, Eriol !!!! :D

I have read carefully all and really do not have ANY objections whatsoever.
If these Rules receive the confirmation of all the debating Guilds, I think it would be only just to consider them OFFICIAL.
 

Mrs. Maggott

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I would only make one suggestion based upon years of experience. When we were children and there was only one large piece of cake left, my mother would ask one of us to cut it so that both my sister and I would have a piece. However, to prevent the "cutter" from dividing the piece in such a way that she got the much larger piece, my mother made the following caveat: one of us would cut it, but the other got the first choice of the two pieces! This meant that the cutter made quite sure to be as even-handed as possible to prevent being stuck with the much smaller piece.

In the spirit of my mother's insight into human nature, might I suggest that while the host of the debate gets to pick the topic (or at least have the right to reject a particular topic), that the other side then gets to choose which side they wish to defend? This way, no one can say that the host chose a "slam-dunk" topic and then took the easier side leaving the opposition to see itself as being in a "no win" position. Knowing that the other team will be able to choose which side they will defend will assure that the host will do his or her best to choose a topic that affords both sides the possibility of victory.

Anyway, it's just a thought.
 

Mrs. Maggott

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Oh, and one other thing. Perhaps it was mentioned in the rules and I just didn't see it, but I would request that there be at least 48 hours between the presentation of a topic and the beginning of a debate. That will allow time for the sides to be chosen, some preparation to be made by the side that posts first and also for the topic to come under discussion if it is problematic. This topic to instant debate leads to problems (see present GoT/GoP debate!).
 

Aulë

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Originally posted by Mrs. Maggott
I would only make one suggestion based upon years of experience. When we were children and there was only one large piece of cake left, my mother would ask one of us to cut it so that both my sister and I would have a piece. However, to prevent the "cutter" from dividing the piece in such a way that she got the much larger piece, my mother made the following caveat: one of us would cut it, but the other got the first choice of the two pieces! This meant that the cutter made quite sure to be as even-handed as possible to prevent being stuck with the much smaller piece.

In the spirit of my mother's insight into human nature, might I suggest that while the host of the debate gets to pick the topic (or at least have the right to reject a particular topic), that the other side then gets to choose which side they wish to defend? This way, no one can say that the host chose a "slam-dunk" topic and then took the easier side leaving the opposition to see itself as being in a "no win" position. Knowing that the other team will be able to choose which side they will defend will assure that the host will do his or her best to choose a topic that affords both sides the possibility of victory.

Anyway, it's just a thought.
I think you misinterpreted something, Mrs. M.
The host (eg, Arvedui in the GoP v GoT debate) choses the topic (with the permission of Maedhros).
The home Guild (eg, GoT in the GoP v GoT debate) choses the stance.
To even this out, the Guilds play each other twice in the Tournament, with the 'home Guild' position being swapped,
 

Mrs. Maggott

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I understand that. But I still say that whomever chooses the topic (unless it is simply "given" and both sides have to accept it) should not have the right to choose the side his/her Guild will defend. Again, it will put a stop to anyone believing that a topic (and side) was chosen so as to make the other side's position impossible.

If I might somewhat gently remind you, that is indeed the position that was taken by your own Guild in the present debate; that is, that our Guild chose an unworthy topic as well as the only "arguable" side. As I recall, you did not seem to derive much consolation in the fact that the positions would be reversed in a later debate!

It is just such feelings and allegations that I had hoped to address in my suggestion, given that they led to considerable ill will on both sides. Of course, if it is not acceptable, I have no problem. I merely wished to avoid another debate such as the last one between our two Guilds. I find that I have quite enough aggravation and "hassle" at home without going afield to find it.
 

Arvedui

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Hold it just a sec!

that our Guild chose an unworthy topic
I am not a member of the Guild of Tolkienology.:mad: ;)

I am a proud member of the Ost-in-Edhil, so there is no way that anyone could have thought that the Tolkienologists choose the topic themselves.

To the topic:
With the already proposed alterations, I think we have a fair set of rules. Great work, Eriol!

I find that I have quite enough aggravation and "hassle" at home without going afield to find it.
Amen!
 

Lhunithiliel

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I would VERY MUCH wish to see this thread FREE of confrontations!

The rules are carefully thought of and it's a matter of just discussing the opportunites of accepting them as they are or and IF needed some cchanges to be done...

So, I'd suggest we stick to this subject.
 

Mrs. Maggott

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Originally posted by Arvedui
Hold it just a sec!


I am not a member of the Guild of Tolkienology.:mad: ;)

I am a proud member of the Ost-in-Edhil, so there is no way that anyone could have thought that the Tolkienologists choose the topic themselves.
It was not I who made allusions to the "ease" (unworthiness) of the topic, but others in the debate discussion thread (see quotes therein). We were told that the topic was "too easy" and that we had chosen the only position that could be argued (obviously not, as it turns out). This is my first debate and therefore I assumed that we as the "home" Guild had the right to "choose" or reject the topic - and we chose it, whomever offered it to us.

If this is not the case, then all the contretemps that took place on the debate discussion thread was silly, erroneous and a waste of everyone's time since we had no choice about the topic in the first place. But in the end, one cannot have it both ways! Either the GoP is correct in their assertions about the topic and how it came to be part of the debate, or you are and they were wrong. I don't care which is the case, personally, I simply wished to avoid another such dispute.
 

Eriol

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Well, at least the ball is rolling... good!

To Aulë: you are right. (gasp!). :D ;) 4c has been amended. (see below)

To Mrs. Maggott: The Host and Maedhros are the only persons responsible for the selection of the topic, at least under these rules (what happened in the first rounds, I believe, followed them, but I can't affirm that for sure). Their Neutrality must, thus, be assumed from the start. The Home Guild only selects the side it wants to defend. It most assuredly has no choice in the topic. We all know what you are talking about, or at least everybody who have posted so far in this thread know it. But this thread is not the proper venue to discuss it, in my opinion.

I think the most welcome effect of this thread, for me at least, was to "let the steam out" and renew some friendships. But this is not its purpose. Folks, we have to agree on some rules, as quickly as possible! Any delay may mean a further hassle.

I am a long-time defendant of the necessity of every Guild ratifying the Rules. Can the Organizer (FoaT if Aulë has already left) PM the Guild-Masters and tell them about this thread? I guess we can establish a time limit for alterations, 5 days for instance, after which all Guilds will be presumed to agree with the rules. But all Guild-Masters will have to be notified of this time limit.

As for the rules, themselves, I left some questions in the open -- after all I can't presume to decide anything, most of this work is based on what I've seen in the debates so far (the people's rules, hehe). But a major point that must be agreed upon is, precisely, WHO decides in the case of any major interpretation problem in the rules. My position is that the Appeals Committee should have that power (besides judging appeals from penalties, it should be the final interpreter of the rules).

And now for a proposal for the NEXT Tournament, in 2004

The matter of closing posts is rather arbitrary at the moment. What do you think of both Guilds sending their closing posts in a PM to the Host, who would then post them in the thread once he got both? This would prevent "counter-closing posts", which give an advantage to the last posting Guild, and results in a lot of tension and perhaps problems in the last moments of a debate.

What do you think?
 

Lhunithiliel

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The matter of closing posts is rather arbitrary at the moment. What do you think of both Guilds sending their closing posts in a PM to the Host, who would then post them in the thread once he got both? This would prevent "counter-closing posts", which give an advantage to the last posting Guild, and results in a lot of tension and perhaps problems in the last moments of a debate.

What do you think?
I don't know... but I fail to see the reason for doing this, Eriol... Could you give more details on your reasons?:rolleyes:
Because even if the host posts the closing posts of the teams there's always going to be #1 and #2... They can't go simultaneously.

I have seen however a good practice by some hosts - When the time is right they post a warning message - sth.like "Teams, it's time for your closing posts". After the teams do so, the host then closes the debate.

Posting such a message, speaks to the debators that all countering-posts should be finalized and that the team should decide who of the 4 participants is to prepare the closing post stating the strongest arguments of the team.

Just a thought...:rolleyes:
 

Eriol

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My reasons are simply that the guild posting last has an enormous advantage as it is, being able to rebut his opponents without a re-rebutting. My scheme would allow for "simultaneous" posting of the closing post. They would be composed without looking at the opponents' closing post. It would then be much more objective, a summing up of the arguments offered so far, and a rebuttal of the arguments presented by the opponents -- but both Guilds would be on equal grounds.

That's my main consideration.

The order of the posts in the thread is not really important. The point is allowing (or not) arguments to be refuted without rebuttal. My scheme, I think, would prevent it -- or at least give an equal footing for both Guilds, allowing BOTH to rebut their opponents without re-rebuttals.

As it is, if a Guild has time-zone problems and can't post in the finishing hours, it gives a big advantage to the opponents.
 

Lhunithiliel

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Oh! I see what you mean...
Yes... Perhaps it can be a good step...

And don't I know about time-differences! :) :D

Now I have been also thinking on another issue - the TOPICS themselves.

I have been reading through the debates in the passed 2 rounds and I think that some topics leave too much space for personal opinions rather than providing facts from the writings.

So, the point is that a topic should give the opportunity to not speculate on and build "scenarios" different from the events as given in the books, but somewhat more "suitable" for objective view at the issue it forwards.

Of course, the teams will always defend their side and search for facts to back up their arguments. But it can be possible IMHO only when and if the topic itself has less to deal with personal individual understandings and interpretations.

Therefore, I think that maybe it would be a nice idea to build up a "Topic suggestions - bank" as some kind of a closed thread, viewd only by Maedhros and the Coordinator(s). The Hosts will PM their suggestions to Maedhros >> he enters it into that closed thread (closed = in the meaning NOT available for reading by all the TTF-members) and then discuss it probably with the Coordinator.

Just a thought....

Oh! And Aule, FoAT, I think it is HIGHT TIME to include Eriol as a Co-ordinator as well!!!!

I would even advise to think about including even more people for this job.
I mean it quite seriously!

The Tournament is long and it can help.
 

Eriol

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Originally posted by Lhunithiliel


Oh! And Aule, FoAT, I think it is HIGH TIME to include Eriol as a Co-ordinator as well!!!!
:eek:

These were my thoughts when I read that:

" 'No', said Gandalf, 'not willingly. He might do so, if all the free folk of the world begged him, but he would not understand the need.' "
:D

No, Lhun, I'd rather not, but thanks for the "appointment" ;). I'll help as I can, and I can do it if all the free folk of the world begs me, but I don't understand the need -- Aulë and FoaT are doing well by themselves.

I prefer to stay on the sidelines... as a matter of habit.

Seriously now, if Aulë and FoaT need any help, they have only to ask.
 

Lhunithiliel

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Originally posted by Eriol
[BSeriously now, if Aulë and FoaT need any help, they have only to ask. [/B]
Oh! Be sure that as long as you put it this way (them - needing your help!!!) you are sure to never get the job!!! :p :D

But I still think that the Tournament should have some kind of a Board or a Committee... or sth.similar.... :rolleyes:
 

Beleg

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I have been reading through the debates in the passed 2 rounds and I think that some topics leave too much space for personal opinions rather than providing facts from the writings.
The topics IMO have been good enough. If everything revolved around giving providing facts from the writings then these things won't be called debates. Personal logical interpretation based up on some kind of canonicaal evidance and possibly backed up with some logical and canonical facts is what IMO a real debate is.
There should be space for personal arguements, remember subjective renderings are based upon some kind of facts and the real fun of the debate is to present our own opinions and interpretations in such a way that they sound convincing and victorious.
WE are to prove what is correct, It has not allready been proven.

My reasons are simply that the guild posting last has an enormous advantage as it is, being able to rebut his opponents without a re-rebutting. My scheme would allow for "simultaneous" posting of the closing post. They would be composed without looking at the opponents' closing post. It would then be much more objective, a summing up of the arguments offered so far, and a rebuttal of the arguments presented by the opponents -- but both Guilds would be on equal grounds.
I think we should let the way things are. I am saying this because usually the Guild which is the home one has the choice of the topic and posts first. This allready counts as a disadvantage on part of the opponent Guild. However this disadvantage can be levelled if the opponent Guild is allowed to make the last post. Which is the way It should be and It is.
 

Lhunithiliel

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Originally posted by Beleg_strongbow
WE are to prove what is correct, It has not allready been proven.
And do you expect personal attitude to prove this?
Only facts can, not personal interpretations.
IMO, personal understanding of facts is fit for discussions. But in a debate, I think facts should rule if we wish to reach the truth.
And facts should be provided and taken into consideration viewing the overall "picture", drawin in and about Tolkien's writings. Separate and isolated, facts can only serve personal interpreatation, NOT the truth itself.
 

Mrs. Maggott

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Or you could limit the last post in any debate to a summary of that side's points and forbid rebuttals or new arguments. That would remove the necessity of being concerned about the side who actually posts last being able to bring up a new argument or make a rebuttal to which the other side is unable to respond.
 

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