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Thread: Westcliff Debates proposal

  1. #1
    Supporting Member spot's Avatar
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    Westcliff Debates proposal

    Something which was discussed at length by delegates to the ForumGarden 2006 London Meet was a mechanism for an additional rather more structured style of debate than the existing Sub-Forums permit. I took notes and was asked to describe online at a suitable moment what were eventually formalized, and are here described, as Westcliff Rules.

    The rules are intended, within a given pre-announced debate,
    • to remove all off-topic interruption to a side channel
    • to allow statement of position, presentation of evidence, rebuttal and summary
    • to limit the scope to a predefined topic
    • to limit the duration to a pre-specified number of posts
    We have in mind the creation of a paired thread for each single debate, one for common discussion of the debate as it progresses and one for the debate itself. The initial implementation of Westcliff Rules require the posters to the debate thread to consist solely of the Chair, two people arguing for the motion and two against.

    We have two initial formats in mind, the direct debate and the switched debate. In the switched debate, after a first half consisting of direct debate the supporters of the motion switch with the opponents and argue the other side of the motion in the second half.

    There is no scoring mechanism, nobody wins or loses, and anyone at all can join in the corresponding discussion thread as the debate progresses.

    A direct debate consists of fourteen messages, these being:
    • Post 1, from the Chair: The title, the motion, a naming and introduction to the Proposer and Seconder, and to the Opposition pair
    • Post 2, from the Proposer, putting the case for the motion
    • Post 3, from the Leader of the Opposition, putting the case against the motion
    • Post 4, from the Seconder, advancing the case for the motion
    • Post 5, from the Second Opposition, advancing the case against the motion
    • Posts 6, 7, 8 and 9 in the same order rebutting the initial posts from both counterpart posters
    • Post 10, 11, 12 and 13 as summaries by the Seconder, the Second Opposition, The Leader of the Opposition and finally the Proposer
    • Post 14, from the Chair, concluding the debate
    The proprieties of debate accepted by participants under Westcliff Rules are:
    • Scrupulous adherence to civil and polite speech
    • All points to be addressed to the Chair (which avoids this bugbear of "you" being taken personally every time it appears)
    • All reference works to be cited, preferably to be online, none to be copy-pasted in full into the thread, no quotation to exceed eighty words - fuller quotes if needed can be lodged into the discussion thread and treated as available testimony
    • No new external material or references to be introduced into the debate beyond the rebuttal phase (which ends at post 9)

    I doubt whether we'll try a switched debate until we've tested out this smaller direct format, but the intention is that the two center rounds, proposition and rebuttal, are repeated with the motion reversed and that the only summary thereafter is from the Chair - in other words, the switched debate is not conclusive but allows both sides to strengthen the debate itself rather than their own partisan preference.

    I think, Administrators, that if you want to implement this, you might look at vBulletin Membership Groups so that anyone wishing to contribute text can apply for and automatically receive write permission to the Sub-Forum threads. We may need a sanction for anyone other than the formal participants posting into the debate threads, at least to the extent of deleting commentary posts from people who don't understand what's going on. We'd like the debates to be univerally readable regardless of FG membership or Group membership (if that's the mechanism adopted for keeping the threads cleaned).

    The ForumGarden 2006 London Meet thanks you for your consideration.

  2. #2
    Supporting Member spot's Avatar
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    Re: Westcliff Debates proposal

    If I may, after enduring this evening's hissy fits in various threads, I'd like to bring this back for further consideration. Do comment, anyone - pro or con, either's better than indifference.

  3. #3
    SnoozeControl
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    Re: Westcliff Debates proposal

    I'd like to marry a hyena.

  4. #4
    I think, therefore I post chonsigirl's Avatar
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    Re: Westcliff Debates proposal

    A form of debate would be good, you would have to pick a chair for the topic under discussion to keep the flow going and to prevent off topic remarks.

    This reminds me of high school debating, with a strict form of rules. I do not mind that, I do not know what others would propose.

    I would offer to sit as chair of topics within my fields of knowledge-that way I can keep out of the debates!-but direct the flow.

    Some alternative would be nice to have, because I know I personally will not join specific issues under discussion, when "hostile" replies are posted in return. Like many others, we find solace in the arcade. (not that I'm beating any scores in there!)

    I think this topic would be good to discuss, with input from the admin on what their take is on it. It might or might not be how they perceive their forum flow of posting.

  5. #5
    SnoozeControl
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    Re: Westcliff Debates proposal

    Yeah, but what about the hyena.

    Okay, I'll stop now. (How stupid do you have to be to be laughing hysterically at your own posts?)

    Sorry.

  6. #6
    Supporting Member spot's Avatar
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    Re: Westcliff Debates proposal

    Quote Originally Posted by SnoozeControl
    I'd like to marry a hyena.
    Just as the good Lord intended then, Snooze - Like marrying with Like. Have you no washing up to do? You may prefer to answer this in PM, so as not to disturb the even flow of thought that's starting to emerge here with your random ejaculations.

  7. #7
    SnoozeControl
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    Re: Westcliff Debates proposal

    Quote Originally Posted by spot
    Just as the good Lord intended then, Snooze - Like marrying with Like. Have you no washing up to do? You may prefer to answer this in PM, so as not to disturb the even flow of thought that's starting to emerge here with your random ejaculations.
    Is that physically possible, me being a female and all?

  8. #8
    Supporting Member spot's Avatar
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    Re: Westcliff Debates proposal

    Quote Originally Posted by SnoozeControl
    Is that physically possible, me being a female and all?
    Vun moment, mein liebling, vile I pull on zees rubber gloves, and ve vill find out.

  9. #9
    Catnip, Stat! anastrophe's Avatar
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    Re: Westcliff Debates proposal

    "either's better than indifference."

    as is fairly well known, the FG head gardeners spend precious little time actually on FG, aside from getting into heated battles about highly emotional issues, apparently synchronous with solar flare activity.

    we haven't ignored your proposal - we simply weren't aware of it.

    as to implementing this - i've no idea how it would be done. tombstone can give a yea, nay, or 'can't be done' on the matter. i would recommend PM'ing him, or webmaster, with the request....

  10. #10
    Catnip, Stat! anastrophe's Avatar
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    Re: Westcliff Debates proposal

    Register to remove this ad.
    oh, and you two have truly become quite dizzgusting with these parries and thrusts. so to speak.

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