Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Debate Rubric

I'm a busy person. In fact, I'm a really busy person. Yet still, I try to defend the things I write. I try to interact with my readers and field objections. 

When my articles are syndicated to my Facebook page, people often have questions to ask and often want to point out real or perceived flaws in my argumentation. I usually try to set aside time to respond to my interlocutors and defend my articles.

Invariably, however, I find that these discussions usually proceed in a maddeningly unsystematic manner. Moreover, I often find that my opponents will use rhetoric instead of cogent reasoning, and I end up having to teach basic Logic 101 to people who are not even interested in learning. The busier I get, the less time I have for these types of unstructured discussions, and the result is that some of my readers have got angry at me for not being more willing to come to the defense of my articles.

I have thus created a very structured rubric for those who wish to engage in public debate with me. Using this rubric, I am willing to defend anything I have written. The rubric is for a written debate (only because I don't have the equiptment for an audio debate) and can be conducted over any IM software like Skype of Facebook. Here it is:

Resolution (example): "Should government legalize same-sex marriage?"

Opening Statements

The Negative has up to 600 words to state his case
The Affirmative has up to 600 words to state his case
Affirmative can ask Negative 10 questions. The questions must not exceed 40 words. After each question the Negative is allowed to answer in 50 words or less, unless permission is granted to him by the other side to exceed this limit.
Negative can ask Affirmative 10 questions. Same rules
The Negative has 300 words to refute the Affirmative’s opening case
The Affirmative has 300 words to refute the Negatives opening case
Concluding Remarks
The Affirmative has up to 600 words to conclude his case
The Negative has up to 600 words to conclude his case

Additional Rules

After the debate, both sides are free to publish it whenever and wherever they want, provided it is published in full. The exception to this is if the word count has been exceeded in situations not authorized by the opposition, in which case either party is free to edit the other person's words to fit the word count. If either side drops out in the middle of the debate (as defined by at least a week’s hiatus in submitting a reply), then either party is free to treat the incomplete debate as finished and to publish it.

The debate will be moderated by Robin under a seperate name, but the involvement of this moderator will remain neutral and will be limited to enforcing the structure of the debate, such as making comments like, "It is now the Negative's turn to enter into cross-examination," etc.

During any point of the debate, the word count may be exceeded by 200 words for either side to explain a rule of logic provided that such an explanation is generic and does not mention anything pertaining specifically to the topic of the debate.
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