For those wondering about debates....

TruthAboveAll

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For those wanting to debate...

When some of the threads get heated around here, there seems to be a lot of insults, irrationality and even name-calling. Personally, I came here to enjoy the mostly reasonable, civil discussions taking place.

Since so many reference "debating" issues and refuting positions, presenting evidence or facts, etc. I thought I'd share some of the "transferable" rules of competitive debates (CD). Typically debates are physical presence activities, and there are tons of rules and guidelines that simply don't apply in our forum format.

Here are some in a Reader's Digest condensed form:

- ...bad language is not permitted.
- Props not permitted. (In on-line forums like this I should think links to information sources, interesting notes, etc. should be totally acceptable.)
- If a definition is unreasonable or irrelevant then the opposition may challenge the definition.
- You are expected to sum up your argument, and refute the arguments of the opposition.
- Rebuttal is vital in any CD. Any argument left unchallenged is allowed to stand.
- Rebuttal basically involves ripping the opposing sides argument apart and exposing its weak points. However don't forget to make your own argument and ideally use that to rebut.
- Be careful to avoid leaving statements hanging in mid-air. If you say something important back it up. Just because you know something is true and where it came from that doesn't mean others know where it came from and why it's true.
- *Heckling is also common in some CDs. This involves ... good humoured mild abuse ... [but] there is a fine line between heckling and barracking.
- *Barracking is rudely heckling, distracting, insulting, etc. as disagreement without validly participating in CD format.
- *Respect the speaker (aka writer in these forums).- Members may bring up a (motion or) issue which they wish to see debated. (Part of the reason why staying on subject is important. Deviating too far off the original specificity of the issue is distracting and unproductive.)
- You don't have to be a genius for facts and figures to do well. If you can remember an example, or fact which you researched, to back up your argument use it. (In CD's, 'if you think you need a fact, figure or detail but cannot come up with one, try making one up. It can be risky if you get caught by the opposition who actually knows what they are talking about, and is not a substitute for good research.)
- If you can use humor it can be extremely effective in a debate. Don't go over the top. While humor helps most participants will not be impressed by stand up routine with little substance. Remember, while you sincerely try to use humor, it may fall flat in reality.

* These items refer to the audience in competitive debates. Since these forums are totally open, we all make up the audience. At HOP, the heckling, barracking "audience" is the people who jump in to interject an insult, a compliment, or other commentary without contributing to or participating in the debate itself.​

I've experienced some frustration, and thought that passing this along might help us all to "share the road" so to speak.
 
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USMC the Almighty

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However if you get stuck and think that a fact, figure or example is needed and you don't have one, try making one up. It can be risky if you get caught by a member of the opposing side who actually knows what they are talking about (it can be painful, believe me) but it can be very effective if you get away with it.

My favorite one.
 

9sublime

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Truthaboveall, I don't think we have very much bad language or personal insults on this forum. Some people are irrational, they cant help it.

Compared to other forums I've been on we have very little problems with this and a good base of regular members.
 

vyo476

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Truthaboveall, I don't think we have very much bad language or personal insults on this forum. Some people are irrational, they cant help it.

Compared to other forums I've been on we have very little problems with this and a good base of regular members.

Besides, things only really get out of hand when pale rider and Roker go at it. Everything else is jovial by comparison.
 
R

Rokerijdude11

Guest
Get over it

we have a long time ago

you all still cling to the only real action there has ever been here, like its a life raft in the open ocean.

Roker............................


its always Roker..............................

of course it is thats my gig
 

TruthAboveAll

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Messages
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Further North than I'd like
Truthaboveall, I don't think we have very much bad language or personal insults on this forum. Some people are irrational, they cant help it.

Compared to other forums I've been on we have very little problems with this and a good base of regular members.

Absolutely true, 9! There is a bit that some try to disguise with ***'s, but at least it's showing consideration. Personal insults are a bit more common. I guess that would be more an issue to me than the language, in general. Agreed on the irrational observation, too!

And yes, I'm really glad a friend pointed me in this direction. I love healthy discussions. I hate when a discussion is nothing more than a pity party, or a group slam session, whether it's from the left or right or anywhere on the spectrum. I think we all deserve better than that.

I wanted to post this to, hopefully, give everyone a gut check cheat sheet. I know it reminded me, for example, to stay on issue better than I have in the past. I saw it as something we could all learn from, and gain from.
 
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9sublime

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The thing people must understand about this forum is that its small, so you can have a decent discussion, not 100 new posts in a thread every time you come back.

As a result, the arguments are more likely to develop into proper discussion that will bring out peoples true colours and occassionally strike a nerve.
 
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