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Debatepedia.com


Self Description

June 2007: "Debatepedia is the new free "wiki" encyclopedia of arguments and debates. As a "wiki", it enables anyone (you included) to edit anything on the site, and to help document published arguments as well as present original arguments. It also enables you to present the overall positions of key players, organizations, countries, etc. in major public debates. Debatepedia combines revolutionary "wiki" technology, which is the basis of Wikipedia's success, with an ideal "logic tree" debate methodology. Debatepedia has the potential to become an indispensable and revolutionary resource where readers and thinkers are finally able to uncover and weigh all of the information required in rationale conclusion-making in important public debates.

Debatepedia synthesizes two critical elements: "wiki" technology and an innovative logic-tree debate methodology. As a wiki, you can contribute at any time to any debate and edit, within the Debatepedia Guiding Principles, any piece of content. This highly democratized and decentralized process has astonishing power. Wikipedia is one of the greatest proofs of the power of this collectivizing technology...

While "wikis" have great democratic power, channeling this force into the presentation of debates demanded that we develop a specific organizational method. The method we developed was a creative kind of "logic tree". It begins with a basic split-screen structure in which unique pro and con arguments are presented by you and other editors on the left and right sides of the screen respectively. Debates often have long and unmanageable lists of pros and cons, so we developed a method for breaking-down debates. Every debate is driven by a main "yes"/"no"-question that reflects as substantial public debate. Then, users are empowered within this "logic tree" and with our accompanying software, to present "yes"/"no" subquestions that break-down the larger main question. Users develop subquestions as a way to organized long lists of pros and cons, and to categorize the various sub-debates that exist in any debate. They allow for users and readers to break-down complex questions into understandable and rationalizeable parts.

The rules of Debatepedia are critical to understand. Make sure to read the summary of the Guiding Principles below. The most important thing is that editors are empowered only to present VALID, LOGICAL arguments, per the school of thought known as Logic (formal and informal). Common FALLACIES are not allowed on Debatepeda. Much of this is intuitive, but we provide an understandable introduction to this all below. It really isn't that hard. Also, users must distinguish unique arguments, basically making paragraph, logical arguments that begin with a "bolded" claim, and then provide the justifications specifically toward supporting that claim, and not introducing any tangential claims or "evidence". All supporting "evidence" must be based on reliable sources to ensure an acceptable level of credibility on Debatepedia. While these are the basics, make sure to read the summary of the Guiding Principles to get a better sense of the rules governing editor contributions on Debatepedia.

The social importance of Debatepedia stems largely from the appalling lack of similar resources. It is far too difficult today to gather the central points on big social questions, weigh them, and come out with a personal conclusion and position. More traditional mediums, such as newspapers, journals, scholarly works, and books, as well newer mediums such as blogs fall way, way short of providing for this. This was demonstrated to me personally time and time again after our team had established Debatepedia in the summer of 2006. In that period, we were creating proofs-of-concepts, which were Debatepedia debates that were basically finished products, with nearly all of the unique arguments and positions of key players that constituted these debates. It would consistently take us days to find this information, all of which is crucial to developing rational positions. This is absurd. If it takes that much time, even with a tool such as Google, then citizens as well as decision-makers are simply not going to do it, which means that they simply aren't developing adequately informed positions and decisions. Debatepedia's ultimate goal is to help solve this unfortunate problem. It is a tool designed to allow the public to document critical arguments, such that the public can weigh them fully and draw conclusions rationally. "

http://debatepedia.com/index.php/Debatepedia:About

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