Debate Rules19th April 2009, 03:58
The following are a set of rules I propose for debates within this forum, obviously my basis of thought at present is my upcoming debate with Frodo but I have tried to generalise as much as possible. These originally derive from some science debate rules I authored some time ago but in view of the fact that theists don't seem to see many things from the POV as atheists (nor metaphycisists and materialists) and that that would unfairly hobble the arguments of those from less materialist/atheist camps I have tried to remove anything from them that will disadvantage them.
Tell me mum I done me best ... OK, open for comment.
An Atheist Forums debate will typically require two protagonists or teams of protagonists. There is no reason why more teams cannot be involved but all teams must be equally matched in numbers.
A referee will be appointed. A referee's role is to oversee the organisation of the debate, to introduce it and to manage the debate as it progresses. Debate management will cover the following:
Note that a referee is not required to judge the validity of various protagonists' arguments but sets the structure for the debate (based on these notes), handles queries from protagonists. A referee can only award a debate to a particular protagonist if the other fails to adhere to the rules.
- Setting deadlines.
- Handling postponements.
- Ensuring compliance to the rules
- Terminating the debate in the event of a fault
- Ensuring the debate stays on topic
These will not normally be required but, if requested by all involved parties will decide on who wins the debate based on merit of arguments given. No judges will be allowed to abstain and there will normally be multiple judges (odd numbers).
The debate exists separately to all other discussions and protagonists are asked not to refer to previous discussions in any form i.e. that something was stated in forum (external to the debate) at any other point is considered irrelevant to the debate (internally).
Other Atheist Forums are free to discuss the debate but must do so outside of the debate forum.
The following are a suggested set of rules and ones upon which observers will be evaluating the protagonists arguments and behaviour. Debates are (or should be) more about content than about quick or direct responses (as would happen in normal forum discussion) so time to respond is a key factor. It should be understood that there is no need to quote the opposing member's statements as they will be available at all times.
RULE 1: Participation
All protagonists (or teams of protagonists) must agree to fully participate in the discussion and to follow through on points made by their adversaries ... not dealing with a specific point may be seen as a weakness in an argument.
RULE 2: Relevance
All points within the debate should be relevant to the debate topic or clear responses to points raised by other protagonists.
RULE 3: Rebuttals
It is unacceptable to "blow off" a considered, point-by-point refutation of a protagonist's answer with a few short lines unless those points are actually relevant to and deal with the points they are understood to be responding to.
RULE 4: Quotes
Whilst protagonists are allowed to quote other sources, such quotes should not be overused and should be brief, relevant, in context and referenced (if possible to source).
RULE 5: Plagiarism
All protagonists must answer the posts in their own words, the use of URL's should be restricted to references and copy/pasted articles and/or plagiarism is not acceptable.
RULE 6: References
All sources used should be listed at the end of the statement and can be considered separate from any formal word counts.
Book/Journal: Author, N. N, (Year). Article or Book Title. [Journal/Periodical Title, Volume Number/Date, Page Number(s).
Electronic Source: Author, N. N. (Year). Article Title. Data Referred. Source URL.
RULE 7: Behaviour
Language typically considered to be swearing is not condoned nor is character assassination.
The Atheist Forums debate referee will give a brief introduction to the debate mentioning the topic, the format, anticipated deadlines and give guidance as to how the protagonists should put their initial cases.
ROUND 0: Introductions
Each protagonist will post introducing themselves and giving a brief overview of their intent and what they hope to achieve during the debate.
ROUND 1: Opening Statements ([Date])
Each member of the debate makes an opening statement ([X words maximum]) on the debate topic. These are pre-prepared statements that outline (in essence) the protagonists understanding of the subject, what they believe to be true. Each response will be posted as a separate posting in the debate forum clearly stating in the title that it is "ROUND 1" e.g. "ROUND 1: Debater #1's Opening Statement"
ROUND 2: Response To Opening Statements ([Date])
Each team member replies to the opening statement/s of the opposing team member/s ([X words maximum]). This section is more free-form and deals with the points raised by their adversaries and explain why they consider their adversary's POV to be incorrect. Each response will be posted as a reply to their own opening statement in the debate forum clearly stating in the title that it is "ROUND 2" e.g. "ROUND 2: Debater #2's Response To Debater #1's Opening Statement"
ROUND 3: Response #2 ([Date])
Each team member replies to the first response/s of the opposing team member/s (X words maximum). Each response will be posted as a reply to their own response in the debate forum clearly stating in the title that it is "ROUND 3" e.g. "ROUND 3: Debater #1's Response To Debater #2's Response"
ROUND 4: Summary ([Date])
Each team member replies to the second response/s of the opposing team member/s (X words maximum). Again this is free-form but length limited which allows each protagonists to sum up their case and state why they consider their adversary to be incorrect. Each response will be posted as a reply to their own second response in the debate forum clearly stating in the title that it is "ROUND 4" e.g. "ROUND 4: Debater #2's Summary"
Tell me mum I done me best ... OK, open for comment.