What topics would you like to discuss in the CD Town Hall on 6/26 at 4PM EDT?
So far CD has worked really well... for the dozen or so who actually participate. There are too few 'quiet' members in proportion to active members. And those members who are active often create large numbers of pointless debates. The number of debates per category that one can create should be controlled, somehow. And it'd be nice if the responses were good for something more than just bragging rights. Maybe a freebie (star, sticker, badge, pin, whatever) for every x# of posts? Or maybe workout a deal with ebay or amazon or someone where those points are redeemable against purchases? Just ideas to make this worthwhile. Incentives don't have to be material or financial, but those are the most obvious and widely appealing.
One thing that might draw more people is to have the arguments are rss feeds or some way to post a discussion to blogs or other forums.
You might want to think about removing an argument after it goes below -x points. Like if it's voted down 10 times, it goes away permanently. Maybe if you vote down enough arguments for the same person that automatically flags them as potential enemy or hostile?
An option that might be nice is a "neutral" response where you aren't sure if you agree or disagree but have either a point of order, clarification, or other non-sided input.
Maybe you should have an append function. Say you post an argument and later realize you missed or forgot something... you could go back and append a thought to your argument instead of posting a new one.
Other the new functionality, I hope you discuss where you expect this website to go.... what are you plans? who is leading this? what can we do to help? are or will you be hiring? what other goodies are in store for debaters?
The idea of automatically flagging someone as a potential enemy is intriguing because sometimes it's hard to tell if someone is an "ally" or "enemy." Maybe CD could add "suggestions" of people to add to either groups. CD already keeps track of which arguments you voted up or down anyways, so this shouldn't be too hard to add.
I think you should consider creating some sort of "widget" that webmasters can easily use to display a debate on their web site. This could be similar in design to survey/poll widgets. The users on the other web site would interact with the widget view/vote/etc. This way you can harness the power of other web sites' traffic to add more debates to your own web site. Since the widget would be branded, this would increase CreateDebate brand awareness and traffic (the widget content would be hosted on your servers). Finally, you would market the widget to web sites in key verticals (listed in the CD "Research" menu).
Good good. I was expecting this to come up a little later. Everyone loves outsourcing and I think this would bring a lot of new users to CD as well as add usability to those of us who already use it.
I would love to have a widget for my google dashboard (or my dashboard on OS X ;^P )
First off, I am a function over form type of guy, but also a minimalist. This means that I care more about function so long as it's function doesn't degrade it's usability, or make the main process of the site (which is creating debates and arguing points) tedious or counter-productive. Also, I find needless "look" unappealing. For instance, there is a CD logo in the main menu bar on the right hand side that just don't need to be there. It has no function whatsoever seeing as both the menu bar is always there, along with the createdebate logo and link to home page on the upper left hand side of the page (which has the function of bringing you home). So, there are too many logos. Not a huge issue, just a small example of what I'm talking about... it seems to clutter the page with useless "stuff".
Now that I'm talking about look and feel, I'd like to point out something else I've noticed. On the right hand side of the home page, there is a filter of sorts as a side bar. It's really only one bar, but it seems to be split because there is no visible table for all of it. So initially, it looks as though there are 4 different side bars lined up vertically. I would have that unified, and maybe so far as to link both the upper main menu and the lower menu (the categorical menu) in one table and then have a separate obviously unified side bar table. With everything just floating around in a white field, it just looks too cluttered.
About the adverts, I like them. Not what they are advertising, which is usually something about McCain (why!?), but I like that it's not intrusive. They are always at the bottom (if you're in a debate, they are near joecavalry, which is good because they are both a distraction).
The main menu is rounded and glassy looking, by which I mean it is reflective like the CD home link at the top left. The lower categorical menu though, doesn't have the same shine as the upper, and it squared, unlike the upper menu... they just don't mash well.
Here's a quick illustration of what I've been talking about:
- Now, as far as layout, I like it. I like that when you get to the home page, you can easily log in without reloading the entire page, and it gives you your updates immediately. The top debates are below, and that's the whole page. Tools and debates.
- The only issue with that is, the quality of the debates on the front page. I know that I've made it there with only one debate, and I don't understand how the system selects which to push to the front and which not to. Ultimately though, I think the user should have more control over what makes it to the front page than some sort of algorithm... I mean, it's not bad so let whatever you have working, work, but give the power to the people, to decide what is on the front page and what isn't. I know that I've explained that before, but that's an issue for me.
- Now, for the "popularity contests" I wish it was more clear to the user, that they must tag their opinion for it to be counted from the home page view of the debate. I didn't know that you could do that until I saw some of the CD masters do it... and there's no real "Hey, do this in order to that". You know?
- I would like to see (and one may disagree with this) a category for philosophy.
- I would also like to see a way to effect someone's efficiency or overall rating by submitting a report to their profile. What I mean is, if I think someone is damn good at arguing, and I often find myself having to think when arguing with someone, I would like to report that to his or her profile as a sort of prop, and then be able to link to the individual argument.
In this case, linking to an argument is crucial because it acts as proof that other people can read over to get an idea of what the person is getting props for. If a person argues the good argument, he or she will get props that increase his efficiency more than just a vote (and this wouldn't throw things off too much because not a lot of people want to take the time to link to someone's argument and then prop them on their profile, you know what I mean?
Also, this would be GREAT for reporting people as well. If someone is doing something or attacking people in argument or something like that, you can submit a report to their profile that cites the argument that they posted along with a short comment. That way people like joecavalry think twice about posting something stupid because it may show up on their profile as a report... He would have something like 800 reports by now, I'm sure, along with reports of multiple accounts (which I am not positive he still has, and am sure it was all fun in games, but unnecessary).
So, Props and Reports... to help shape the community into a more respectful one, and one that can give a more official recognition system for those who put a lot of thought behind their arguments.
-This is a really iffy idea to be, I mean, I think it would be a great function, but it may complicate things too much if it's not done correctly. (See the bold text below to skip the example and explanation).
I'm going to use this debate as an example:
"Should we value the life of someone who doesn't value his or anyone else's life?"
Here is joecavalry's opinion:
This question, in itself, is flawed by assuming that one doesn't value his life. I understand what he means, basically, but I'm arguing against the idea that people cannot not value their lives. They either value it as worthy, or they value it as less worthy. It's not that people don't value their lives, it's just how much and in what way do they value.
Joe and I had a misunderstanding, and his entire explanation to the question was on the pretense that people can not value their lives...
In this case, I would like to create a new debate entitled: "Is it possible for a person to not value life?". If I were to do that though, people who want to know why I posted the debate would have to guess.
>>> This is the idea: That you could link one debate to another and be able to, like a file directory, flip through all related debates. If one were to see Joe's debate on the treatment of people, and then see my linked debate on whether or not it's possible to not value their lives, it would essentially have to do with the same thing, but refine the original debate.
Linking one debate to another.
Ok, that's all I have time to do and I'm sure you'll have fun reading all of that. Let me know what you think.
Great post, certainly deserves a well-thought out response. Quickly though, I wanted to say that this line:
About the adverts, I like them....They are always at the bottom (if you're in a debate, they are near joecavalry, which is good because they are both a distraction).
Made me lose my shit! Ha!
Side: Very Funny
Post Edit: I see that the table unification that I was talking about, for the side bar, is already in place... so scratch that.
The idea for the props and reports is already functioning and you can see this yourselves all over the place, here's one example:
Xaeon here, is giving props to Nedster for the quality of the argument, but as Xaeon said himself, he doesn't particulary agree with the argument. For favoring Nedster, he has no choice but to give a point to the side of the debate that he doesn't support. This throws off the overall debate (and if it's just one point, who cares, I know).
The point is, you'll see people all over the place giving props or complaining to users in the debates, as arguments.
If people like Xaeon could go to Nedster's profile, select "Prop" somewhere, and link to Nedster's argument and then leave the comment he posted as an argument (the one I linked to up there ^), it wouldn't throw off the debate at all, and would could more than one point to Nedster, without effecting the debate.
For people who need to be reported, the same would be true. If someone is being a troll and not making a real argument, rather than voting him down and taking points away from the debate, go to his profile and select report, leave a link to the argument and they will have points taken away without effecting he debate.
Side: Very Funny
Here's an idea to consider: Work up a grading system for the debaters, rewarding skilled / interesting debaters with points, and then having a sub-set of debates limited to debaters within certain score levels. This would encourage developing good debating skills, and set up some very interesting, useful and informative debates without cutting out the "less skillful" debates (which are actually sometimes more fun).
I would also like to see an interface giving us more ability to format our arguments.
Side: Very Funny
I have, basically, a very small suggestion regarding the "peoples" tab and profiles in general. I feel the political section to be quite limiting, especially to those outside of the UK. I would count myself as conservative, but conservative in the Uk is no where near as right as the US republican, so I find myself in a bit of a pickle.
Side: Very Funny
This interesting suggestion came to us via email. Would love to hear your thoughts:
"One suggestion: Rather than a simple up/down vote, why not give users a dropdown list where they can pick one of the levels of Paul Graham's debate pyramid/ladder. This would encourage people to shoot for higher quality arguments to get more points. Some of the lower levels might even be worth negative points to encourage quality over quantity. Alternatively, you could make a person's overall score TotalPoints/TotalArguments to achieve a similar effect."
Side: Very Funny
Getting people to use more considered arguments is a good idea, but I don't think that kind of ranking would work particularly well.
First problem: that hierarchy doesn't apply to arguing FOR a motion. It's about rebutting and counter-arguing, so it'd need to be adapted before you could use it.
It also doesn't let you give points for style, and it considers supporting evidence, which few people use on this site. I know, it'd encourage it, but if you're debating for fun in an informal argument, it puts you off to feel the need to go hunt down evidence (it also encourages the use of wikipedia...).
The other problem I have with that idea is that the general reader/voter doesn't necessarily have the critical ability to decide whether the "central point has been explicitly refuted"; besides, a lot of the voters are partisan. It'd be more appropriate to have someone neutral with recognised authority judge participants in a debate and put them on a level in that hierarchy than to encourage all feedback to be in that form.
I think that ladder ranking is interesting and you could probably make use of it, but I think the Total Points/Total Arguments would be a more practical adjustment to make to the system.
Side: Very Funny
That's hot. How would that not decrease productivity though. If there are still the usual up and down votes, then this would be fine other than over cluttering the argument box.
Perhaps have one more icon next to the ups and downs that is for nothing more than "Rating the argument".
So long as you don't lose quick intractability and don't clutter the field for everyone's argument, it sounds good to me.
Side: Very Funny
The major problem I see with CD at the moment is that there's too many people posting one knee-jerk reaction to a debate title and not really engaging with the issues behind it or other people's arguments, and I'd like to see what ideas people having in solving this problem.
I think setting up debates that'll get judged 'professionally' and have start and finish times would be a good move. Maybe pick one motion every week or every day, post the title around in advance, and maybe even make it a closed debate that'll have a limited number of people. Judging the debate and evaluating the arguments in it should encourage a better quality of debate, I think. The practicalities of that kind of thing, I'm not so sure about. Still, I'll try and make it to the town hall. So long as I figure out what time 4pm EDT is in GMT... (8pm, counting daylight savings time, right?)
Side: Very Funny
Limiting people would be a bad idea, I think. Debating has a lot to do with freedom of speech, and the freedom of speech sort of drives the debates... so limiting only certain people to a debate would be a bad idea unless it could be overthrown. If there are 5 people to debate something that everyone wants in on because they can see so many flaws in other people's arguments... what use would it be? I think then you'd see debate topics duplicated and made open which would take away from the user if one were to enter CD and see multiple debates, some closed and others open. The vote system should weed out which arguments are irrelevant or unnecessary.
I do agree about forcing limit times... but for now, with the overall active user base being so low that I can remember who people are, a start time would be unnecessary. I can see that becoming useful down the road though, no doubt.
The idea that I've proposed before though, about voting on the debate itself as a relevant topic or more importantly, not, should fix this while not limiting site usability. Irrelevant "debates" usually have these crappy arguments you're talking about, so if we can control the importance of a debate, we might be able to keep a) the bad debates out of the way and b) the crappy arguments out of the way.
Side: Very Funny
Yeah, I guess limiting people would be counterproductive.
I think, Borme, that the 'report' thing seems more like it should be reserved for spam or offensive stuff, not just "another boring clone debate". Voting on a debate to say "this is good" is would be a feature more people'd use and it'd help point to interesting debates, as well as just getting rid of bad ones.
Side: Very Funny
Supposedly, I am now creating too many debates too quickly. This is exactly what I didn't want to happen.
I have two debate ideas, I want to post both of them... I post one, and what do you know, I go to post a second and I'm being schooled on how many questions I was going to ask...
Are you Fing kidding me? I had two, that I wanted to post. That's it and that's all, just two. Now though, I am too fast.
Then it told me to go do something else, so I'm here bitching about it.
I really like the CreateDebate concept but with SO MANY social media platforms I am now embarrassed to email my friends to join yet another one - what are your marketing plans to encourage more users (i am in Singapore) other than relying on people (your users)to invite friends (some even think social media is getting to be like MLM) and the site owners are at the top of the hill reaping the rewards from their users thru advertising from google - hmmm
I believe that the biggest issue is the way things are voted for and displayed. It is still unclear if people are voting for the best arguments, or what they agree with. I think that instead of merely an up or down, maybe a quality scale of -2 -> 2 or something would work. Then the points would add up and it would be clear that you should really be voting for quality of the argument and it would make it more clear if it was a good argument to others, not just if you agree with it. I sometimes find myself voting people down just because I don't like their opinion, which obviously is not the goal of CD.
This quality scale could also determine which arguments are shown. If someone is ranked very highly overall (an average of all their posts?), perhaps their contributions are worth more and/or more visible to others? This would weed out the ridiculous remarks that some people make. This, of course, would make it difficult to join into the community if you start new, but maybe it could be an average and you could start in the middle. I don't know, that's for the community to work out.
I guess that the biggest issue is just making sure that as CD grows, the quality of the arguments stays high. I would say that at the moment, it is only medium in many debates, and this needs to be improved. I don't know what the best method of keeping quality arguments is, but I guess that that's the reason there is a CD development team!
Keep up the good work!