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Debate Rules

Welcome to ForDebating.com

A debate is defined by these sites as:

Webster - a regulated discussion of a proposition (see 1 proposition 1b) between two matched sides
Dictionary - a formal contest in which the affirmative and negative sides of a proposition are advocated by opposing speakers.
Oxford - A formal discussion on a particular matter in a public meeting or legislative assembly, in which opposing arguments are put forward and which usually ends with a vote.
Macmillan - a formal discussion that ends with a decision made by voting

ForDebating.com has been designed to provide a formal setting to debate topics and have other judge who won the debate. There are many ways this can be accomplished but the best way to do it is to show better evidence from objective sources. Attacking your opponent rather than the topic is against the Code of Conduct and Terms of Service of this website, doing so can incur punishment up to and including being permanently banned from the site.

So how do you win a debate?

The first rule that comes into play when debating is to set clear guidelines on what the debate is about. (semantics are important here) For example, creating a debate that “capitalism is the best” is a vague topic because the word best is vague. Best at production? Best at making the people happy? How do you decide which yardstick is the most important factor? By being vague with the title you’ve forced those judging the debate to make subjective decisions on what they feel are the most important factors. Something like “Capitalism with effective regulations provides the most efficient production of goods and services” is precise and clearly states what you’ll be attempting to prove. If you want to create a smaller title, there is also a clarification area at the bottom to do so when you create the debate. Keep in mind this rule applies to more than just creating the topic.

The second rule is take out the personal emotion/opinions. Saying Prince is the greatest musician that ever lived is your opinion, and it hold little weight, and therefore is easily dismissed. Even using professional reviews aren’t that strong unless those reviewers have a lot of respect and credibility in their field. (SME - subject matter expert) Stating that he had 40 songs that hit the top 100 on billboard charts is a stronger claim. Or saying that he had 5 songs that were number 1 could have the same effect. Or you could bring up that he played at least 27 instruments. Or you could compare him to other artists like Elvis Presley or Paul McCartney and discuss how Prince was better. The point of the rule is objective facts provide stronger evidence than personal opinions. Your arguments should stay as close to objectives facts as possible if you want to win the debate.

Which leads us to the third rule use credible and reputable sources! It may take a bit a critical thinking and research but at a minimum search for media bias charts and compare them to the resources you use. Look recent information from an authority in the field that is relevant to what you are trying to prove. Double check any research you link from science journals to see if it comes from “predatory journals and publishers” who will publish anything so long as you pay them. It can be a huge blow to your argument to have your opponent discredit your source, so it’s in your best interest to use the best sources you can.

The four rule is to stay away from fallacies and bias. The burden of proof is on the debater making the claim, don’t try to shift the burden of proof. Take the time to learn to spot and stop using fallacies and bias in your debates if you want to become a strong opponent. Some common fallacies are Strawman, Bandwagon, False Dichotomy, Composition, Red Herring, Appeal to Authority, and Appeal to the Stone. Some common bias are Confirmation, Anecdotal, Observational Selection, Status-Quo, Negativity, and Projection. There are other fallacies and bias you should be aware of but it may take you some time to learn them all so look at it as a way to continue to improving your debating skills. It has the added benefit of allowing you to see the fallacies and bias in your opponent’s arguments giving you easy points in some debates.

This should be enough to get you started down the debating trail. Continue expanding your knowledge and improving your debating skills and you’ll be shooting up the leaderboard in no time!

PS The sites below are in no way a recommendation or an affiliation with ForDebating.com this list is maintained for our user’s convenience to improve their debating skills. If you find a broken link , or wish to have another site added to this list please email the webhost at the bottom of this page with this url and the url of the site you wish to add.