Online games like Last Debater Standing


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.


Cross-posted from another thread for informational purposes:

I just want to post a clarification about the way in which this game forum operates, since it appears to be becoming a potential issue.

When I agreed to run the Online Debates forum and later this LDS game and asked that forums be established, I arranged with Jed a specific set of groundrules regarding how they were to be moderated. Specifically, I requested (and received) “carte blanche” to moderate these forums in any fashion I found necessary, including the use of moderation techniques (deleting and editing posts) that would not be used elsewhere on the site. The scope of this arrangement was to be the forums themselves and was not limited by topic or time. In response to one of my concerns, Jed specifically guarenteed that site administrators would not be empowered to overrule any moderator actions I might take within these game forums, especially moderator actions that might involve the administrators as players. In effect, because they neede to be environments suitable for structured games of various types, the game forums were placed outside the scope of the moderation policy for the rest of the site.

Basically, because these are game forums, I’m like a referee (along with whomever I might appoint to assist). That means I have to have the authority before, during and after games to set and maintain rules and to prevent the use of the forum as a “playing field” for fighting or for other disruptions.

In accordance with this existing arrangement, I still maintain the right to direct that posts in this forum maintain a certain level of behavior and, if they do not, to ask that they be edited or to even remove those posts if absolutely necessary. I hope that mere requests are sufficient to address any problems (as above) but I believe that these problems also make it important to be clear that moderator requests – even if they are believed to occur “after the game is over” or “outside the scope of the game” – still are binding within the limited scope of the gaming forums themselves.

If Jed should at any point revoke the arrangement I have described above, this policy may of course change. But for now, this is the policy still in place.


You know what everybody? It was a game. It was a fun game. Everybody took this waaay too seriously. Maybe next year, no prize, eh?


I really don’t think it was the prize. . .my prize my year basically went to pay for Jed’s bus ticket. I think it’s a bunch of passionate people attempting to play with each other’s heads and resenting their own being played with in return. The reality is that we’re not automatons and that shit hurts sometimes.

I’m sorry that it seems to be tearing apart many of the people i would consider closest to me.

That makes Amy a sad panda.


Awhhh…I wub joo Amy. Pandas eat bamboo…that makes them adorable.



At least it’s better than a sexual harrassment panda.

Do you get your own theme song too Amy?