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  1. #1
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    How to use this forum

    Overview


    What is this forum about? The Formal Debate forum is a board for serious debates of a more structured and rigorous nature. It will allow for 1v1 and 2v2 debates, with the option of adjudication.

    How do I start a debate? If you want to start a formal debate, here are the steps that you'll need to fulfill:
    1. Decide on the general topic of debate, e.g. the benefits and drawbacks of religion.

    2. Find people who are interested in debating this topic with you.

    3. Decide on the exact phrasing of the debate motion, e.g. "In today's world, the benefits of religion outweigh its detriments". Be sure to put careful thought into the precise phrasing of the motion - a carelessly worded motion might result in a one-sided debate or a convoluted one that lacks focus.

    4. Choose your sides. If it is a 2v2 debate, decide on the order in which the debaters would post.

    5. Agree on the maximum time limit allowed for each response (e.g. one week). This is important so as to ensure that debates will not get stuck in limbo. Debaters who fail to post within the time limit set will be deemed to have conceded the debate.

    6. Decide on when the debate should be concluded (i.e. after X amount of posts from each side), so that it doesn't drag on forever. A recommended post limit would be about 4-8 posts per team, and no more than 10 posts per team. In formal debate, we are looking for quality in the form of well expounded and supported posts, not quantity.

    7. Start the debate thread proper. The thread title should follow this format:
    ["FD" thread prefix] [Debate Motion]
    In the first post, the details of the debate (such as the teams, the time limit for each post, when the debate will end, the judges, etc) should be set out clearly and neatly.

    8. Start a discussion thread for your debate. The thread title should follow this format:
    ["FD Discussion" thread prefix] [Debate Motion]
    The discussion thread is for spectators to post their comments on the debate.

    What about adjudication? An exciting feature of formal debates is the option for adjudication (judging of the debate). You can choose to have your debate adjudicated by a panel of judges that both sides agree upon beforehand. The judges will decide which team won the debate, and also select the Best Debater overall.

    The judges can be anybody, as long as both sides - and the selected judges themselves - are agreeable. There should be an odd number of judges to prevent ties (the optimum number is three).

    Alternatively, you can opt to have your debate judged by a poll of all ODN members watching the debate. If that is the case, PM a moderator at the conclusion of your debate and we will help set up a poll in the discussion thread.

    Finally, you can just choose to have a formal debate without any adjudication.

    What if a debater/judge has to drop out midway through a debate due to unforeseen circumstances? We'll leave it up to the debaters to decide what should be done. You can choose to find a replacement for the drop-out (e.g. in 2v2 debates, the debater's partner can cover for him while he is gone), you can end the debate there and submit it for adjudication, or the debate can go by default to the team that is still standing.

    What is expected of debaters participating in a formal debate? Debaters are expected to write comprehensive, structured, focused and well-substantiated posts. We strongly discourage the method that usually goes on in normal debate forums whereby debaters quote and refute each line or paragraph of their opponent's posts. Instead, distil the key issues of contention and address them in well-organised paragraphs/sections. If you have to quote your opponent, incorporate it in your prose itself.

    Debaters are also expected to adopt a more formal tone and style befitting a real life competitive debate. Address your opponents in the third person - you are not having a personal conversation with your opponent, but trying to persuade an audience.

    We have posted up a sample formal debate so that you can have a general idea of how a formal debate should look like. The debate is not complete (owing to Hyde's absence), but it is sufficient for you to get the picture.

    What is expected of judges adjudicating a formal debate? The obvious requirement is for you to judge the debate based on what was posted on the thread, and not on your personal stance on the motion or your prior impressions of the debaters. Judges are expected to provide a commentary of the debate, critiques of each debater's performance, and ultimately justify their choice of winner/best debater.

    Judges will post up their opinions individually at the end of the debate, in the formal debate thread itself.

    Are there any prizes for winning? Other than personal satisfaction and public recognition? Not currently. We might institute a trophy/award system, but no promises.

    Are there any special rules for this forum? Apart from the guidelines established above, all ODN rules should be strictly followed.

    The staff reserves the right to intervene in or stop any debate that we feel does not live up to the purpose and ideals of the Formal Debate section.
    Last edited by Dionysus; January 12th, 2010 at 07:13 PM. Reason: spelling
    Trendem

  2. #2
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    Re: How to use this forum

    Can the parties agree to further stipulations? E.g., each party must be able to restate the other party's arguments to the other party's satisfaction.
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  3. #3
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    Re: How to use this forum

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    Can the parties agree to further stipulations? E.g., each party must be able to restate the other party's arguments to the other party's satisfaction.
    I'd say that you can stipulate further rules for your debate, as long as both parties agree beforehand.
    Trendem

  4. #4
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    Re: How to use this forum

    The team debate was Vand's idea and all, but can I ask if we could move our team debate to this forum? It'd make things a whole lot easier, and we could have adjudication. The problem is, it's a 3v3 type debate, so I don't know if you could bend the rules a little...
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  5. #5
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    Re: How to use this forum

    Quote Originally Posted by LiberalTruth View Post
    The team debate was Vand's idea and all, but can I ask if we could move our team debate to this forum? It'd make things a whole lot easier, and we could have adjudication. The problem is, it's a 3v3 type debate, so I don't know if you could bend the rules a little...
    We'll allow it this time, and see how it goes.
    Trendem

  6. #6
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    Re: How to use this forum

    I love this idea. I used to judge formal debates in Highschool, and would love to give it another shot. Good idea Trendem!
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions. -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  7. #7
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    Re: How to use this forum

    Quick update to this forum. I will be closing threads following the formal debate period to prevent extraneous posts. I would like to reiterate that discussion about the debate should take place in a separate thread and attempts to restart or start a new debate should take place in another forum.

    Please contact me with any questions, concerns or if you have finished a debate and wish the thread closed.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions. -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


 

 

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