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Tips for a Better Debate

January 5, 2008
by Nate Simmons
  1. Grammar, Spelling, and Punctuation
  2. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation are important aspects of any piece of writing. Utilizing these language tools on Debate.org will help to maintain a professional appearance for your debates. Review your argument looking for grammar, sentence structure, and punctuation errors. For spelling errors, use the spell check feature found near the submit button.

  3. Cite Facts, Quotes, and Sources
  4. Cite all of your significant facts, quotes, and sources. This will not only help to make your debate look more professional but, it will also allow users to have quick links to the background information of your debate. When citing facts, always remember to check their legitimacy and NEVER use false or made up facts. Using fake facts destroys your credibility and gives your opponent ammunition and an easy target in later rounds. Here is the proper method for citing sources in an online debate:

    Steve Young is the better of the two quarterbacks because he has a 96.8 QB Rating (1), whereas Joe Montana only has a 92.3 (2).

    (1) http://www.nfl.com/players/steveyoung/profile?id=YOU299670

    (2) http://www.nfl.com/players/joemontana/profile?id=MON392207

  5. Create an Arguable and Clear Topic
  6. The topic of your debate should be a controversial statement. The topic should imply that there are only two sides to the argument. Creating a clear and arguable topic helps the debate look more professional and allows the reader to more easily comprehend the content of the debate and who is on which side. Here's an example of a topic:

    Steve Young is a better quarterback than Joe Montana.

  7. Have a Strategy, Set Up Your Argument, and Plan It Out
  8. All debates should follow a strategy or outline. Before you write your response create an outline or even a few bullet points to help set up your argument. For even better clarity, write your entire argument in a word processing program then copy and paste it onto Debate.org!

    Debating is like chess, a strategy is needed. Try to impress your audience.

  9. Don't Ever Forfeit a Round
  10. Even if you don't have time to leave a full response, DO NOT forfeit a round. Forfeiting a round destroys your credibility and makes it less likely that voters will vote for you. If you can't post a full response, write as much as you can, and leave a simple sentence stating that you are unable to post a full argument and will return for the next round. This lets your opponent know that you still wish to participate in the debate and allows them to elaborate their argument.

  11. Passion is Good, Emotion is Bad
  12. Passion is a driving force in almost everything we do, but when emotion is tossed into that mix things can go downhill fast. When you are debating on Debate.org try to keep emotion out of your arguments. Debate.org is a place for fun and relaxation; not drama and stress. However tempting it may be, always refrain from using personal or general insults. It is not only rude, but against the terms of service as well.

  13. Different Debate Styles and Resources
  14. There are many different styles of debate in the world and while Debate.org uses a simple structure we encourage our members to be creative and try other forms of debate. For more information about the different styles of debate, check out this Wikipedia article.

  15. Review, Review, Review
  16. Always remember to review every aspect of your debate before you post it. Review for errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure. Review for errors or possible holes in your argument. When you are done reviewing, go back and review some more to make sure everything is perfect. The more you review the better chance you have at winning.

  17. Remember to Have Fun
  18. Debate.org is here to harbor a fun, free, and exciting peer-to-peer debating atmosphere for anyone who wishes to participate. It is up to the users to help maintain this atmosphere. As a member, you are responsible for the success of Debate.org so try to create a fun atmosphere that you enjoy being a part of.