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Formal Debates Board FAQ

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Q. What are formal debates ?

A 'formal debate' is essentially a structured debate between two people advocating opposing viewpoints. Unlike normal discussions, formal debates will be purely one on one, other members will not be allowed to enter a debate and post while it is running. Each participant of a debate will need to take it in turns to post an introduction, a set number of main body posts and finally a conclusion. Debate threads will be restricted to our 'formal debates' board to keep them apart from the rest of the forum.

Q. How do I create a new debate ?

You can create a new debate at any time by clicking the 'Debate' button underneath any of the posts made by the member you wish to challenge, a "challenge to debate" option is also available in the member profile menu. Clicking on this will bring up a setup screen allowing you organise a debate on any topic you desire. From this screen you can decide who will be debating for which side of the argument and how long you want the debate to be. Once the form is completed the other member will be sent a message to confirm that they wish to accept the challenge, if they accept then the debate is automatically created and both sides can begin. If the other member does not wish to take part in the proposed debate they can decline and the debate will be cancelled.

Q. Will there be scoring and judges this time around ?

One of the biggest problems with the old debate set up was the scoring system. Members were having to wait too long for their debates to be judged, there was no way to guarantee impartial scoring and many debaters were opposed to the system. This time therefore we've decided to scrap the score system and instead allow a debate thread to be open for other members to comment once the debate has finished. This allows others to provide feedback on what they thought about the debate but without there being any official scoring or judging. When setting up a formal debate an option is available to not allow the debate to be open to comments afterwards if preferred.

Q. Who goes first in a debate ?

The computer will randomly pick one of the two participants to post first, who it is will be specified in the thread.

Q. How are debates structured, how long are they ?

Debates are composed of an introduction, a number of body posts and a conclusion. The number of body posts can be specified on the debate set up page, the options are 4,5,6,7 and 8 body posts. Assuming 'Member 1' has been chosen to post first the structure of a debate would be as follows:

- Debate thread opening post

---- Member 1 introduction

---- Member 2 introduction

------- Member 1 body post 1

------- Member 2 body post 1

------- Member x body post x

----- Member 1 conclusion

----- Member 2 conclusion

Q. We've finished our debate, now what ?

Once you've both posted your conclusions a debate organiser will be along to set it to complete, if you've opted to allow comments from other members a post will be made inviting others to comment. If you've opted not to allow member comments then the thread will be closed.

Q. How will I know which debate threads are open to comments ?

A completed debate that is open to member comments will have "[Open]" in the description.

Q. What do the other debate title tags mean ?

"[Debate]" means the debate is currently running and only the two participants can post there. "[Closed]" means that the debate has been completed and the debate starter has opted not to allow the thread to be open to member comments.

Q. Can I quit a debate once its started ?

Yes, however please make a post in the debate thread to state that you are bowing out, this allows us to close the thread and prevent the debate from waiting indefinately for your next response.

Q. Can I take part in more than one debate at a time ?

Yes, but please make sure you have the time to devote to it.

Q. Can I include links and quote external sources in a debate ?

Yes, however please avoid making posts consisting of nothing but links or quoted material to represent your argument, make sure a source link is provided with every quote and try to keep the quotes as short and as relevant as possible.

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