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New Debate Statistics page  

To give more insight into debates and a different sort of view of the arguments people are using in debates, we put together a debate stats page.  The statistics reflect the kind of language people are using to debate their points, including word length, readability scoring of the arguments, and a word frequency cloud.

We’ve been putting up the election debates, like tonight’s Vice Presidential Debate Transcript, and the VP debate stats show that Palin used more complicated phrasing than Biden.  We’re using a standard formula to rate the grade level of the arguments called the Flesh-Kincaid Readability Grade Level formula.  It takes into account the average length of sentences and the average number of syllables in those words to determine the readability of the arguments.

Since the graph of word lengths shows that Biden and Palin used about the same length words, that means her sentences were longer overall. The stats for the Presidential Foreign Policy Debate show that the language level McCain and Obama used was more similar.  Both spoke at an 11th grade level of understandability.

As always, let us know what you think about the stats page, and any suggestions about other sorts of info you would want to know about debates you’re participating in.

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Written by Dan

October 3rd, 2008 at 1:02 am

How to spot weak arguments  

When you’re debating, you’ll come up against many styles of arguing, based on all different levels of arguing.   If you’re in the debate to win, you’ll have to spot the flaws in opposing arguments and point them out, or exploit them like a weak spot.  Sometimes it’s as easy as listening for fuzzy words.  Here are some words and phrases that are easy indications of flaws: 

many, all, a lot, every, none, nobody, much, more – Solid arguments use actual numbers with references to their source.   These words can indicate implied statistics that show the debater is making up a fact rather than working off real data. Example: “Many Christians disagree”

never, always, usually, tend, trend – These may be blanket statements that imply cause and effect, or assumptions about overall responses and opinions that don’t hold up under scrutiny. Example: “the rich have always been getting richer”

I, I don’t think, I believe – including yourself in the argument can indicate thinking personal experience equals the overall trend. If the debate is not a poll or about individual views, this can be Hasty Generalization.  Here are some examples from CreateDebate:  From: Should the US have seatbelt laws?  Someone who manages to use words from two categories:”I always choose to wear one”  From: Man vs. Elephant : can you escape?“I am much more shifty than an elephant and would be able to escape if ONE was chasing me in a large field by cutting and weaving.”and one rebuttal that found the critical flaw:”Elephants charge at up to 25mph. Way faster than you can run…”

So next time you’re arguing with friends or proving your point in an online debate, listen in for these hints for weak arguments and when you make your response make it stronger by avoiding the same flaws.

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Written by Dan

May 14th, 2008 at 6:48 pm

CreateDebate Statistics and Hall of Fame  

Since our Private Beta Launch on February 20, here are some interesting statistics we have gathered:

1,291 Arguments Created
67,837 Words Written
2,573 Votes
2,081 Up Votes
492 Down Votes
53 Average Number of Words Per Argument

Most Popular Topic: Politics
Most Active Debate (most arguments): Do you believe in God?
Most Extensive Debate (most words): Should Social Security be mandatory?
Most Definitive Win: The “Health Problem” side in Drug Abuse: Criminal Problem or Health Problem?

Most Popular Argument: “No way, the press slants…”
by Time2Golf for the “No” side of Do you trust the press?
Worst Argument: “I have grown up…”
by MastaDebata for the “Yes!!” side of Do you believe in God?
Most Provocative Argument (most replies): “Meaning I would want to…”
by NikkiHill11 arguing for “Ron Weasley” in Who is your favorite Harry Potter character?
Most Extensive Argument (most words): “Recent researching into much…”
by ChronicHipie for the “Criminal Problem” side of Drug Abuse: Criminal Problem or Health

Most Prolific User (avg. words/argument): Austix
Most Words Spoken: blammo
Best Debate Creator: DebateMan

These are some of the things we are thinking of including in our newsletters and later on in a more elaborated CreateDebate Statistics page.

So what “awards” would you like to see posted in the CreateDebate Hall of Fame? What other interesting statistics would you want to know about CreateDebate? Please let us know what you want!!

You can post your comments here or debate about this in this debate:
What Statistics and Hall of Fame “awards” would you like in CreateDebate?

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Written by Paola

April 20th, 2008 at 1:02 am