How debate topics should be written

  Tags: deb8   guidelines   rules

Site Purpose

The site deb8.us aims to present debatable topics in such a way that arguments for and against are openly welcome. All opinions can be heard, as the site is meant to present both sides of every argument fairly.

Think of deb8.us as an internet courtroom. Both sides have an opportunity to present their case completely, as long as they abide by content and quality guidelines. Everyone is judge and jury.


Each debate topic is like an encyclopedia entry. The topic question should be presented as neutrally as possible. Debate topics are not "forum threads" or "blog posts" or "personal comments". Debate topics pose a question or a statement.

Each topic has three primary sections. The first section (top) presents the debate topic and background information. The left and right sections that present for and against, pro vs con, yes vs no, etc.

There is an area at the bottom of every topic for completely free opinion using Twitter for commenting. Voting is also done here.

Types of Content

Deb8.us is an open wiki, allowing for all types of content. Fictional stories may be included, as long as they indicate that they are works of fiction (example: Should Luke from Star Wars go to the Dark Side?). Celebrities, product reviews, and movie reviews are welcome. Religious debates are also welcome.

Uninteresting and trivial debates should not be posted. For example: "Does 1+1=2?" does not constitute a debate. Anything too easily proven is not a debate. A question asking for information is not a debate. A comment is not a debate. Asking for advice on a personal issue is not a debate. However, if you can generalize the issue to apply and it is likely to effect more than just you, it may be a valid topic.

Deb8.us is not an encyclopedia. Go to the wikipedia if you need reference information.

There are prohibited topics: extreme racism, pornography, rape, and highly offensive material that is not presented in a professional manner. Use common-sense judgement.

Images in the top section should be neutral. Biased images should be moved to their respective sections.

Duplicate Content

Topics which are considered duplicates will be deleted and marked as moved. Sub-debates are completely allowed. Use tags and the RELATED tag to link sub-debates together. You can also use the SEE tag to refer to other specific sub-debates.

Be sure to DO A SEARCH before creating new topics.

Quality Guidelines

All text should avoid weasel words and logical fallacies.


Titles should be written as neutral as possible. Titles can be questions, such as "Should the US go to war?" but also statements, "The US should go to war." When a debate topic is presented as a statement or even a phrase, the debate meaning will generally fall under "I like/agree with it" or "I don't like/don't agree with it."

Background (Top of Page)

The top of the page is the neutral zone.

The background section should describe the debate topic (if necessary) and present summary prerequisite information. If background information is long, then it should be summarized and linked to another page such as wikipedia or another debate page.

If any information in the top section shows bias or can be strongly interpreted as favoring against or for, the information should be moved to the arguments section. The background should not be too long. The longer it is, the higher the chance of biased information seeping into the neutral zone.

For (Left of Page)

The "for" section should describe evidence that supports the the debate topic. You can use headings such as "Scientific and Statistical Evidence" and "Expert Testimony". You can also use "Logical Points" which derive conclusions from analysis.

The strongest evidence should be somewhat near the top of the section. However, this is not a strict rule. Maximum readability should also be considered.

If this section (or really, any section) becomes too long, consider breaking the topic into sub-debates.

Against (Right of Page)

The "against" section should describe evidence that is against the debate topic. The rules are the same as the "for" section.


The sources section should list all the references. Be sure to use the correct tags [N] to mark the reference in the text, and [N] DESCRIPTION to mark cite the source in this section. Each [N] DESCRIPTION under sources should be on it's own line, with no space before the [N].

Comments and Voting

The voting is non-scientific and is generally available simply to show some sentiment among the site's users.

The comments may be as openly biased or completely wrong as desirable. It is an opportunity to give your opinion without any restriction (so long as it is not illegal).

You are encouraged to give your own personal opinion.

It is helpful to indicate your credentials or credibility when giving comments.

Comments can be rated by any member of the community. The best comments will float to the top of the comments section. The worse ones will float to the bottom or become "hidden by default".

Conversations (such as using @NAMEs) is perfectly valid. The system currently does not have extensive capability for threaded conversations, but it is in the works.

Formatting Tips

Here are some formatting tips:

For italics, use [i]Some italic text here[/i] which will look like Some italic text here.
For bold, use [b]Some bold text here[/b] which will look like Some bold text here.
For headlines, use:

=Level One Header=
==Level Two Header==
===Level Three Header===
====Level Four Header====

Be sure not to leave a space before the first equal (=) sign.

For references, use [NNN] where N's represent a number between 1 and 99999 (do not use commas).
In the sources section, use [NNN] on it's own line, followed by the description.

For images, use [img src=ADDRESS width=NNNN align=MMMM] where ADDRESS is a url to an image file, NNNN is the width of the image in pixels, and MMMM is the alignment which can be left, center, or right.

For external links, use [http://www.somewebsite.com Here is Some Website] which will look like Here is Some Website.
For internal links, use [d:XXXXX] where the X's represent the topic short code.
For internal links with voting percentages, use [see:XXXX] where X's represent the topic short code.
For wikipedia links, use [wp:Encyclopedia Click here to see 'encyclopedia'] which will look like Click here to see 'encyclopedia'.

Note: This is a writing guideline page. It is not intended to be a debate itself, however, you are welcome to comment and agree/disagree with it.

Arguments For

Arguments Against


User Comments & Opinion


1 Voted Yes

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Good page, helps alot. - _fraz_ (twitter) +1

0 Voted No

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