Thread: Formal Debates
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Old 04-15-2009, 12:55 AM   #1
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Give critical thought a chance
Posts: 2,709
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Question Formal Debates

Recently I challenged Garf to a formal debate on a topic brought up in a different thread. The resulting thread was not what we expected, so I thought I'd draft a set of guidelines for engaging in a formal debate in the Senate Chambers.

Definition of Formal Debate in the Senate Chambers: a debate between two entities on a given topic using an agreed upon set of rules. An "entity" can be an individual or a team, but should be clearly defined at the outset of the debate.

First, the debaters need to agree upon a set of basic rules. Lucas Forum and Senate Chambers rules and guidelines are automatically in effect, but I'm speaking more to technical details. For instance, who will present first? How many posts/rebuttals? What sources will be allowed/required? etc.

This can be done via PM between the debaters, or the debater issuing the challenge can stipulate them in the first post along with the challenge. Regardless, the first post of the debate thread should have something along the lines of:
I challenge Member 2 to a debate regarding the nature of navel fuzz. I assert that navel fuzz collects due to eating too much red meat. If Member 1 agrees to debate me, I'll outline my argument with three supporting facts to which I'll cite actual studies. Because these studies are in the peer-reviewed journal Fuzz, I'll quote the abstracts and relevant data and conclusions in my argument post. Member 2 will then have a full post to refute/rebut my argument and cited material. He'll then have the opportunity to post a counter argument/question post. We've agreed upon a maximum of five posts each not counting this one. The challenger gets the opening argument; the challenged gets the last word.
Member 2 will then post his/her agreement to participate and assent to the rules.

Member 1 will then begin with the opening post/argument.

It'll all look something like this:
  • Challenge & rules post
  • Agreement post
  • Opening argument post
  • Rebuttal / questions / counter argument
  • Rebuttal / questions / counter argument
  • Rebuttal / questions / counter argument
  • Rebuttal / questions / counter argument
  • Rebuttal / questions / counter argument
  • Rebuttal / questions / counter argument
  • Rebuttal / questions / counter argument
  • Rebuttal / questions / counter argument
  • Rebuttal / questions / counter argument

Second, the actual debate thread should have the prefix [DEBATE] at the beginning of the title. For instance: "[DEBATE] Navel Fuzz Comes From Eating Too Much Red Meat."

Finally, only the debating entities will be allowed to post. I'm okay with a sideline discussion thread of the same title that has the prefix [TALK] instead of [DEBATE]. Regardless of how many rebuttals/questions posts the debaters agree on, once they've reached their agreed upon limit, I'll close the thread and archive its title in the post below.

All posts not of the debating entities will be deleted/moved. Posts that exceed the agreed upon limit before closing will be deleted/moved.

Please post here what you think of this sort of debate idea. Keep in mind that the above technical rules for a debate is a guideline only and debaters are free to agree upon whatever rules they'd like. Please, just do it via PM and then be sure that whichever agrees to be the challenger posts the rules in the opening post.

The next post that follows this one will be a placeholder so I can create a table of contents for debates, should more than a few occur. Also, I'm going to sticky this thread -permanently if debates occur; or just temporarily to let everyone view it, provide their input, and decide if its a viable project/activity.

Remember, while many of the debate topics that might arise are very serious in nature and often hot-button issues, the idea is to have fun and learn something. I've participated in many forum debates, both formal and informal, and I never fail to learn something.

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