I’m coming to some conclusions about Last Debater Standing and the question of whether there will be future iterations of the game. I think that the game has potential to be a lot of fun and a good diversion for people who enjoy mind games (read: most debaters), but that fun can be undermined by a few who take things too personally. Competitiveness is good, but taking it to the point of wrecking friendships and calling people nasty names is way too far.
But overall, I think some fun things came out of the game this year. In particular, I think the “election” and “global governance” games, while a lot of work to design and run, seemed to be a lot of fun for the players and worth future games. I also like the concept of online debates as a neat spin-off of the Last Comic Standing concept, though I agree that judging should be made more objective.
I also think that Last Debater Standing can serve as a place for people to “meet” (in a virtual sense) people that they might otherwise never really get to know at all. In this way, it can serve to reduce the cliquishness that seems to me to be a growing problem in the debate community.
So, I’m going to keep this forum and other gaming forums like “Online Debates” open for “mini-games” (i.e. some ad hoc runs of global governance for those who might enjoy it – I’m thinking of modifying it for a long-term run during the school year in a format that will allow players to enter and leave the game at their convenience) and for future iterations of summer games. I also have a fun idea for an online role-playing game based on the old game Paranoia.
But there are going to be a couple of changes. For one thing, I am going to start moderating the online gaming/debating forums that I run here much more strongly. Posts that are inappropriate, abusive, or personally malicious may be ordered edited, moved or deleted. In extreme cases, individuals who are not willing to control their behavior may be removed from the games completely. This is a much stronger standard than that used for other Net Benefits forums, but I believe that it is justified. Everyone of course remains free to use other forums (i.e. Off Case) to abuse each other if you really want to, but I’m not willing to allow it to undermine everyone’s fun with the games, ok?
I’m open to questions, suggestions or concerns with the understanding that I am committed to addressing the problems that have arisen and am not willing to just ignore them.