Structured Debate?

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Structured Debate?

Postby Azrael » Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:11 pm UTC

For a while I've been kicking around the idea of what a more formal debate might look like here in SB, and if it would add any real value (including entertainment value, of course). The general gist is that I would start an official thread discussing a relevant and contentious issue that has two relatively definable sides (i.e. Obama's Bailout: Will it work (Y/N)?), people would volunteer to take part on one side of the other and then the two sides would trade a limited number of responses back and forth. Akin to a formal verbal debate, only ... written.

I envision a system where:

1 - Topics for debate would be suggested, probably in this thread. Topics would have to be carefully chosen in order that they have two clear sides and an SB quality debate (reasoning, citations, civility) could emerge.

2 - I would start a [Structured Debate] thread on the topic, asking for volunteer participants for either side.

3 - People would volunteer to participate on one side of the debate.

4 - I would then choose the 4 participants for each side, based (fairly) arbitrarily on (EDIT: the quality of) previous SB participation. Posts about volunteering would then be removed from the thread. (If not enough people volunteer than the topic would be shelved.)

5 - I would determining which side would start the debate by flipping a coin. Order of individual responses would be randomly assigned.

6 - Debate would begin with the 8 participants responding in assigned order. All other (or out of order) posts would be deleted*. Posts would probably need to have a maximum original character count (not including quotes). Perhaps a minimum cool-down time would be enforced between posts, allowing for reasonable editing.

7 - After 8 posts, the thread would be locked.

And here's the dangerous part: I would start a follow up thread where *everyone* can then continue participation and would, for a short, fixed period of time be able to vote on which side "won". I think moderation of the 8 responses would be kept to a minimum as well.

So I like to solicit several things from you:

Volunteers: To partake in a little test to see if a structured debate could work. If it does work and people like participating perhaps it could become a regular feature.

Topics: Suggest a topic for the initial outing.

Opinions: Let me know what you think; Is it worth the trouble? What issues do you see arising? Will it add anything to the discourse or the forum as a whole? Etc, etc.



*I'm messing around with a board feature that would only publish submitted posts after my approval, which would help with this.

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Re: Formatted Debate?

Postby Natael » Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:18 pm UTC

I think a formal debate would be rather entertaining, and would volunteer to participate in a test, if being new to the area isn't an issue. Getting people used to having some hard research behind their reasoning, and then showing what you can accomplish with it seems like it could very well be benficial. I'd at the very least keep up with them.

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Re: Formatted Debate?

Postby Gunfingers » Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:23 pm UTC

It's been a long time since i've done team debating, but one aspect i remember and liked was the prepared vs improvised response bits. That is to say, whichever party goes first (i think whoever is proposing a change gets to go first in formal debates) gets to give one completely prepared statement. They get a limited time to do this, then the second party responds, partly with a prepared statement covering the basics of their ideas and partly with an improvised response. Over time (i think about 4 iterations) the responses become less and less prepared and more and more improvised. Also in each team every person is assigned a place in the debate to step in, and they only step in at that place.

Now, i have no idea if this is how formal debates normally work or if it was just my high school speech classes, but that seems like a good way to do it. An interesting thing to throw in would be response time limits. I.E. you must post your response within 12 hours of the previous response or something. That one could be tough to enforce.

Anywho, that's my attempt at contribution. Either way i think it's a cool idea and i hope you implement it. For topics, firearm control and the death penalty are always classics for this kind of thing.

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Re: Formatted Debate?

Postby roc314 » Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:39 pm UTC

I think this would be an excellent idea, although it would probably lead to a lot of extra work for the mods.

Volunteers: Sure, I'll volunteer, but due to my schedule, can only participate at certain times of day (usually some subset of the time from 8pm EST to 4am EST edit: and occasionally earlier in the day, about 12pm EST to 2pm EST).

Opinions: I would make it longer than 8 posts so that those who go first have a chance to address/rebut some of the points of later posters. 16 maybe? (I guess that people on the same side could PM each other with suggestions, with might mitigate this some.)

I also think there should be some kind of pass system. If you can't, for whatever reason, do your post when it's your turn, you should be able to switch places with someone else somehow.
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Re: Formatted Debate?

Postby Azrael » Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:00 pm UTC

I don't intend this to be rapid fire, which should alleviate some of the problems with unavailability, but switching or abdicating entirely would be accommodated. No one's schedule is perfectly predictable.

As for a posting window, I was thinking something like: [3 days > posting window > 1 hour since last post]

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Re: Formatted Debate?

Postby Kaiyas » Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:43 pm UTC

They did this on another forum I visited, called Cogito.

Two teams, and 3 judges were selected.

Both sides were private subforums for planning (and obviously, the admin team could see this. Judges could not, afaik). Very strict guidelines, word limit, heavy usage of quotations and citations. (There was also a 384 word limit. Odd number to choose, but I doubt this is a concern of ours.)

The actual debate forums was locked to everyone except the captain of each side, and naturally, the judge. Each post was its own thread, each team getting an opening (summary), an initial argument, two rebuttals, and a closing. Each team was given a 5 day period to respond to the opposing team's argument. I suggest that we post everything in one thread- this vastly improves readability. I do, however, suggest splitting the individual posts as mentioned.

A "peanut gallery" was set up for public commentary. After the debate was finished a public poll was set up, and the judges cast their vote. Public poll counted for 2 votes (I don't recommend the weighting) and the judges counted for 1 each.

I will also volunteer for participation. :wink:

EDIT: I think the affirmative should go first, so the negative, which generally opposes the status quo, gets the final response.
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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Wed Feb 04, 2009 4:14 am UTC

I really like the idea. I think 1 post per debater is fine, because part of team debating is you have to reinforce other teammate's points rather than trying to push your own view. But I wouldn't be opposed to house rules that stated the first debater could summarize at the end (i.e. he/she would be allowed to post twice). Some sort of limits of word length might be an idea but that could be refined over time.

I also like the idea of having a sub-forum allocated to this.

And I'd love to volunteer for the trial run.
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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby scwizard » Wed Feb 04, 2009 6:28 am UTC

I vote for this.

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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby Malice » Wed Feb 04, 2009 9:41 am UTC

I'd volunteer to participate.

As a spectator, I'd like there to be a discussion thread during the debate, not just after it. And I agree about the subforum. Finally, I think a restriction on word length would be totally appropriate, as well as some sort of rules about the format of the argument itself--ie., most of these will have to be essays as opposed to line-by-line sniping, because of the post limit and because it's more debate-y that way.
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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby Chfan » Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:47 am UTC

It sounds like an interesting idea, but sadly I have little to no SB experience so I certainly can't help...
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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby Telchar » Wed Feb 04, 2009 3:47 pm UTC

I think the format is going to be trickey, as it sounds like it's just some people on this side vs some people on that side with little formal cooperation. It's not a bad idea, and probably the easiest to run tbh, but it may lack consistency on some topics (people disagreeing with certain points made by others on the "same side"). Also, would the posts be submitted by PM and THEN posted at once? or would the 8 just post them at anytime?

If you are willing to work I think the majority of the community is willing to reap the rewards Az, and I personally would find it enjoyable, whether participating in the debate or the discussion.

PS: I think the discussion threads will get a boost from all this, which I think is what you've been hinting at that the "higher ups" have been wanting.
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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby TheAmazingRando » Wed Feb 04, 2009 9:44 pm UTC

Sounds fun, I would volunteer to try it out.

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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby MoghLiechty2 » Thu Feb 05, 2009 3:55 am UTC

I'd be down for volunteering and watching/voting. Now, I'm still very new to these forums so I'd understand if I'm not deemed quality enough to be a main debater.

But I'd also be honest about what topics I can be "Serious Business" (knowledgable, civil, and provide citations) about.

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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby phonon266737 » Thu Feb 05, 2009 6:02 am UTC

This sounds good- I'm in. I would like to see the teams (preferably more than two) each have their own thread, and a rotating format for posting (Wait until N posts have been made since your last).
I suppose it could be an individual format,but that seems less in need of structure beyond current SB rules.

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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby Bluggo » Thu Feb 05, 2009 1:31 pm UTC

The concept has definitely potential; I will probably submit a topic proposal in a few days, if I manage it.

A suggestion: maybe, before the start of the debate, we could have a "warm-up phase" in which all forumers are welcome to submit links to articles and other material that is relevant for the topic at hand - not necessarily just material on their side of their issue, either!
Ideally, this would help to set the background of the discussion, simplify strawman-avoidance and in general browhighify (it is not a word, but it should be) the debate.

Also, a minor, almost certainly unnecessary observation: I do not think much emphasis should be put on "winning" vs. "losing" the debate.
For most of the topics I see being discussed in Serious Business, the probability that we will be able to "settle" the topic is, frankly, negligible.

In the most likely outcome, both sides will remain convinced that their position is the correct one, no matter what the spectators' opinion is - and the fact is, they could well be right!
If the debate was successful, however, everyone will end up knowing more about the issue than he did before, and hopefully the participants will also have improved their oratory skills: in my opinion, it should be emphasized that the purpose of the debate is this, not "deciding who is right".

I am of two minds about the voting phase: on one hand, it would be nice to have a measure of how successfully the two parties have managed to argue, but on the other it seems to me that this may put too much emphasis on the relatively irrelevant matter of "who won the debate".
Maybe, instead of a vote, we could have a "post-debate thread" in which to comment how the debate went.
That thread's purpose would not be discussing the topic once again, but simply for saying things like "X argued quite convincingly on subtopic A, but on subtopic B Y's response demolished her. Also, she should pay more attention at her stylistic choices, the second paragraph was a single, endless, meandering sentence".

Finally, if the debate went exceptionally well it could be interesting if the moderator decided to fix a second debate on the same topic on a later date - let's say, a few months after the end of the first one.
As the second would start with all the accumulated data from the first, it would have the potential to get even more in-depth and informative: after a few iterations of this, the discussions should really become some things of beauty.
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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Feb 05, 2009 1:37 pm UTC

I'd be interested to see it, and would volunteer as a potential debater (depending on the subject). I also agree with some of the above posters that essay format would be the best way to go; definitely disparage post-sniping.

One possible alternative to the coin-flip-I-go-first routine (although there's nothing wrong with that): Simultaneous essays submitted via PM which summarize both people side's positions and are posted at the beginning of the thread; all essays that follow in an alternating style are response/counter response ones.

I'm a little hesitant over the popular-vote thing because, you know, 'popularity contest', but I don't see any better alternatives.

It might also be... interesting (albeit, uh, very unusual) to have reverse debates. "Okay, argue from a point of view you do not actually take). I'm always for people sitting down and trying to see things from someone else's perspective, after all.

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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby Paranoid__Android » Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:22 pm UTC

I would be interested in taking part in this, sounds like a great idea.

Just a quick question...
Do PM's work just like a thread? so if you send a message to everyone on your team, everyone can see the replies. Just asking because i've never sent a PM to more than one person at a time.
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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby Coffee Sex Pancake » Fri Feb 06, 2009 6:35 pm UTC

The structured debate idea is wonderful. I'd participate if called.

But voting on a winner? Don't we all have the ability to correctly predict the winner merely by knowing the topic?
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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby Philwelch » Sat Feb 07, 2009 1:05 am UTC

There's a lot of support for this idea, so most of the positive points have been said already. I'm gonna focus on the negative points, not because I hate the idea but because none of these points have been said already.

I knew a lot of debaters in high school, and it always seemed to have more to do with gamesmanship than honest discussion. The more arbitrary rules and structure you impose on a discussion, the easier it becomes to game the system instead of actually discussing things. Even the idea of trying to win imposes problems. If I'm trying to win a debate, I argue a lot differently than if I'm just being honest. Anyone who remembers my contributions to the abortion thread knows that: I don't think my approach would convince anybody to switch sides when it comes to abortion because I took too many controversial turns on my way to the conclusion, but for me it's the only honest argument I could give. If I was playing the "let's convince people to be pro-choice" game I may very well rely upon rationales I don't personally agree with simply because they would sit better with folks.

In college, I twice participated in a less structured debate competition called "Ethics Bowl" where we discussed some sort of ethical scenario. Ethics bowl was about as free-form as this proposal seems to be, but still I felt bound by the need to make relatable arguments rather than honest ones.

There's also the risk that a limited debate won't allow for the type of explorations that get you to the really interesting ideas. Which is why debate always appeals to me more as rhetorical exercise than as, you know, actually engaging with good ideas.
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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby Dream » Sat Feb 07, 2009 4:02 am UTC

I'd like to volunteer for this. Even if there are flaws in the plan, I think it will be a great experiment, and an asset to the fora. I think you should go with it as envisaged, and iron out the kinks as they arise.

I would like to see a generous, but existent word limit per post. This would allow people to gauge how much work they'll have to put in before they commit to participating, and prevent a lopsided debate in terms of volume of citation and number of points. This could be flexible between threads, so that a 500 word limit on a popular topic could move faster, and attract a different crowd than a 5000 word limit on something specific or arcane.

I'll post some topics as they come to me.
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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Sat Feb 07, 2009 7:32 am UTC

Topic proposal: Cricket is better than baseball (no, seriously. I think it'd be a good one for a trial debate, to break the ice).
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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby Fallible » Sat Feb 07, 2009 8:38 am UTC

I'll stick my hand up to volunteer as well. Sounds like fun.

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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby Philwelch » Sat Feb 07, 2009 9:20 am UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:Topic proposal: Cricket is better than baseball (no, seriously. I think it'd be a good one for a trial debate, to break the ice).


How many forumites have sufficient knowledge of both sports? It seems like soccer/gridiron would be a little more fair (and I would volunteer to argue either side of that one).
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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Sat Feb 07, 2009 3:07 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:
Pez Dispens3r wrote:Topic proposal: Cricket is better than baseball (no, seriously. I think it'd be a good one for a trial debate, to break the ice).
How many forumites have sufficient knowledge of both sports? It seems like soccer/gridiron would be a little more fair (and I would volunteer to argue either side of that one).


Well, I was thinking it didn't matter if you knew both. It'd be 'mericans going 'national pastime' and colonials going 'but it's supposed to last several days.' Soccer/basketball could possibly be better than Gridiron, but Sydney-siders may disagree.
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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby Philwelch » Sat Feb 07, 2009 4:46 pm UTC

Basketball isn't a version of "football" though. And I've never heard the soccer/basketball argument come up before, whereas soccer/gridiron happens all the freaking time. So it seems a little more compelling.
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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby yy2bggggs » Sat Feb 07, 2009 5:41 pm UTC

I think it would be interesting no matter how it's conducted. However, I have concerns about formal debates that mirror what many have said here--especially the "voting" part... that makes it sound like whatever topic to be discussed is merely a game, and gives false credence to popularity and oration. Truf is Serious Business!

I disagree with notions that such a debate can't be meaningful if controlled. You just need to operate from a different theory. The Matlock theory of law... where the lawyer, at the last minute, springs a surprising fact that overturns the entire case, surprisingly allowed "just this one time" by the judge at the last minute, is the attitude that destroys meaning in debates. As I understand (and I must point out, I don't really) how real law works, all of the cards are laid out on the table beforehand, there are specific burdens to meet, and nothing is allowed that's not relevant. Anything new must be introduced, reviewed by both parties thoroughly, and allowed by a judge before it becomes a part of a trial.

I think this would be a good model for a meaningful formal debate... I won't come up with specific rules, though--just the analogy to court cases being tried.
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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby Dream » Sun Feb 08, 2009 5:53 am UTC

Philwelch wrote:Basketball isn't a version of "football" though. And I've never heard the soccer/basketball argument come up before, whereas soccer/gridiron happens all the freaking time. So it seems a little more compelling.

Instead, what about American Football vs. Rugby?

Chances are each side would have to actually research the other, but the two are at least comparable. People could debate the breadth of scope of the games. Is football's hundreds of plays from one restart better than rugby's dozens of plays from many different restarts? Quarters vs halves? Bullshit peripheral entertainment vs actual sport? Dangers and injuries? Padding and helmets vs thin shoulder pads? Forward passing vs forward kicking? Pack play in rugby vs. offensive tackles (?) in football?

It might be quite a debate.
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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby Ensnared » Mon Feb 09, 2009 1:46 pm UTC

I would love to see some sort of structured debate on here.

Philwelch wrote:I knew a lot of debaters in high school, and it always seemed to have more to do with gamesmanship than honest discussion. The more arbitrary rules and structure you impose on a discussion, the easier it becomes to game the system instead of actually discussing things. Even the idea of trying to win imposes problems. If I'm trying to win a debate, I argue a lot differently than if I'm just being honest.


This is definitely a problem with school debates but that is because you can't choose what side you are on. In our school debates, sides were pretty much drawn out of a hat, so even if you didn't believe in an opinion, you had to debate it. Thinking about it though, this was because it was a debating competition rather than a gathering to talk about the issues. There are enough people on this fora that we could make teams that actually believed in each of the sides; this would of course depend on the topics that are chosen.

The American Football vs Rugby debate would be really good to see and I think it would make an excellent trail debate. There is a large amount of difference to each of the sides with enough common ground for a winner to actually mean something.

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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby Weeks » Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:27 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:And here's the dangerous part: I would start a follow up thread where *everyone* can then continue participation and would, for a short, fixed period of time be able to vote on which side "won". I think moderation of the 8 responses would be kept to a minimum as well.
I have a notion that debates shouldn't look for a winning side, but rather a summarized, logical, conclusive series of statements that anyone can rely on when researching on the debated topic. If that could be implemented, I think it would be awesome.

But I'm all for structured debate.

I could volunteer for the little test.
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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby PandasOnProzak » Wed Feb 11, 2009 4:00 am UTC

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Last edited by PandasOnProzak on Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:24 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby Iv » Wed Feb 11, 2009 2:23 pm UTC

Well, I may be the first in this thread to question the value added by this. Sure, it will be entertaining but it looks like a waste of resources and time for anyone involved. Plus, it creates artificial monolithic sides in complex debates that deprives the discussion of interesting nuances. For instance, in the example given, Obama's Bailout: Will it work (Y/N)? If some people from the 'Yes' side have arguments stating that a particular point of the bailout is doomed to fail, it will not be posted.

The voting is, IMHO, something that will make such debates into what SB was not meant to be : an arena where people wave opinions instead of arguments, in the hope of winning the crowd. It may be an intelligent geeky crowd, but whatever the people, when you want to have a lot of support, you dumb down issues in order to get the wider approval. Or, as they are presumably mature people, they wouldn't care and the vote would be useless.

In the end, the real debate will happen in the public thread and will be very similar to what would have happened without the formal locked thread.

I understand and approve the will to make clearer and more structured debates, but I honestly think that this is not the way. Here is an alternate idea, for what it is worth. As a mod, you open a thread on a question, then you select on posters propositions (maybe through the /!\ button) threads that are worth of a one-line summary in the top post, then a link to the post is put in the top post with a summary. Alternatively, participants could vote for arguments they would like to see answered. Participants could then scan the first post instead of the 10+ pages of debate, and directly skip to the interesting parts.

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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby BattleMoose » Fri Feb 13, 2009 1:09 pm UTC

I think this is a fantastic idea.

And I volunteer to participate!

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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby drunken » Sat Feb 14, 2009 9:20 pm UTC

What a wonderful coincidence, I had exactly this idea a few days ago and wanted to suggest it here (well actually I was going to suggest it in forum games but SB is the home of worthwhile moots).

I wholeheartedly volunteer. I am also prepared to take the unpopular side of a debate even if I don't believe in it. For exmple if there was a creationism vs evoolution debate (pretty unfair anyway) I doubt many people will want to argue creationism on this forum. I therefore offer myself to play devils advocate on unpopular issues just so both sides are represented.

Some threads which could be turned into moot points from SB:
Capitalism causes poverty
Drugs should be tested on criminals against their will
Marijuana should be fully legalised (or softer version of this debate)
Global Warming
X politician/official/country/race should be charged with war crimes

I am sure everyone can make them up with this formula of just translating topic titles into moot points.

Edit:
Some more ideas
Scientific research should be available to the public free of charge
Partisanship is destroying US democracy
Theism is more useful than Atheism

As far as debating structure is concerned I have a few points:
I believe that forum voting is a bad idea. People vote on what they agree with rather than on who argued best, sometimes without really reading the topic. Judges are the best in my opinion. One way though that I have seen is for a poll to be taken before the debate and a second poll afterwards, so you win by the number of people who changed their minds. It is still difficult to make this even and fair on a forum scale.
In formal debates I have participated in it is traditional to have a yes/no question and it is traditional for the affirming team (yes team) to go first rather than a coin flip. In addition the first post from the affirming team must define the moot point in more detail. This then becomes the official definition of for the debate but the negating team may dispute it if they can produce a good argument that the definition is wrong.

It has been mentioned that his creates extra work for mods who may not have enough time. Obviously azrael has some extra time but it might be useful to have a few long term forum users given extra priviledges as judges and administrators of the debates (I am not volunteering for this though, I want to debate).

I say we should just grab any old random debate and the first 8 volunteers off this forum and do a trial run anyway. We will learn what works and what doesnt then.

As far as follow up threads go while I agree this is necessary, I don't think we need to create new ones because any serious business we debate should already have its own thread and theres no point making two.
***This post is my own opinion and no claim is being made that it is in any way scientific nor intended to be construed as such by any reader***

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Ixtellor
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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby Ixtellor » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:38 pm UTC

drunken wrote:Partisanship is destroying US democracy
Theism is more useful than Atheism


On partisanship I choose the negative.
On Theism I choose the Negative.

I would also add:
Government Monopolies are better than competition in Defense, Water grids, and energy grids. I choose the affirmative.

Except for the Theism one, I am fairly confident I will wipe the floor with anyone.

SET IT UP!!!


Ixtellor

P.S. I might just start of find a government monopoly thread if these "debates" never happen.
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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby Zhar the Mad » Thu Feb 26, 2009 5:06 am UTC

I would like to launch a formal request for you to begin doing this. I would LOVE to participate in these! This is a wonderful, FUNderful idea! It's a fabulous, CRABulous idea! I say go for it.
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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby phonon266737 » Thu Mar 05, 2009 4:46 am UTC

Hey Az - Is this going anywhere?

What do people think of these debates being centered around an agreed collection of sources: say a topic is chosen, for a week people submit citations/articles. The ensuring debate is then limited to the supplied sources (perhaps one allowed "pinch hitter" citation?)

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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby Kaiyas » Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:09 am UTC

The citations would have to be agreed on by both sides beforehand- We wouldn't want any whining about st@xx would we?

On that note, we can't let either side intentionally stack them either...
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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby Philwelch » Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:23 am UTC

phonon266737 wrote:What do people think of these debates being centered around an agreed collection of sources: say a topic is chosen, for a week people submit citations/articles. The ensuring debate is then limited to the supplied sources (perhaps one allowed "pinch hitter" citation?)


So, just like high school debate, this is really a competition between who has better researching skills. And cases are made by splicing together semi-related blockquotes in a highly suggestive narrative order.

It's a useful way to teach schoolchildren to research issues and think about how that information should affect our judgment of them, but Serious Business it is not.
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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby Kizyr » Mon Mar 09, 2009 9:03 pm UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:
Philwelch wrote:
Pez Dispens3r wrote:Topic proposal: Cricket is better than baseball (no, seriously. I think it'd be a good one for a trial debate, to break the ice).
How many forumites have sufficient knowledge of both sports? It seems like soccer/gridiron would be a little more fair (and I would volunteer to argue either side of that one).


Well, I was thinking it didn't matter if you knew both. It'd be 'mericans going 'national pastime' and colonials going 'but it's supposed to last several days.' Soccer/basketball could possibly be better than Gridiron, but Sydney-siders may disagree.

I'd totally vouch for the cricket side in that debate.

I don't follow baseball very much, so my knowledge on baseball is much less than my knowledge of cricket. But in terms of rules and how the game is played (in literal terms, not in terms of styles of play) I think I know enough about both. KF
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Re: Structured Debate?

Postby Zamfir » Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:00 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:
So, just like high school debate, this is really a competition between who has better researching skills. And cases are made by splicing together semi-related blockquotes in a highly suggestive narrative order.


What's wrong with this? Without the sources, debates is your own quotes in suggestive narrative order, and without the limitation to pre-agreed sources you depend even deeper on fast research skills


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