Issuepedia:Wiki Issue Exploration Structure

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This page is intended to help define a structure that allows issues to be debated or argued within the wiki format, which offers a great opportunity to support a debate structure that is greatly improved over those usually found in email exchanges (including listservs) or spoken debates.

This is a growing seedling article. You can help Issuepedia by watering it.

We are currently working on a set of icons and templates to help visually clarify the state of an argument: Issuepedia:Argumenticons


Whats the best way to have a debate about an issue? Firstly don't have an argument, do an investigation! One can state an opinion/hypothesis and then provide facts that when taken together imply that result. Points must be emotionally neutral - be logical. Wiki's offer a great opportunity to debate in a structured format. Allow user voting on an argument's truth or soundness. Complex issues often lead to multiple different conclusions, having codification of two sides of an argument is not helpful.

Wikipedia Discussion Pages

Wikipedia offers a good way to evaluate certain events or facts. Due to NPOV, NOR and NOT, however, it is not a good medium for a exploration of the truth of certain arguments nor was it designed to be. The Discussion pages have not structure and run in an ad-hoc manner. Original Research may be required to refute statements. The fact that there is criticism of something may be listed without examining the validity of the criticism itself. Issuepedia wants no validity to go unexamined!


Differences from Debatepedia include:

  • Allows Original Research
  • Does not has a deliberate yes/no approach
  • Allows user feedback on the strength of an argument.

Open Issues ?s

  • Management for conceptual levels of an argument
  • Management of Analogies
  • Voting method - average votes -100 to +100 or 0 to +100 for false to truth
  • Sub-arguments can be linked
  • Management of Abduction, Deduction and Induction

Abduction, Deduction and Induction

  • Rule: All the beans from this bag are white
  • Case: These Beans are from this bage
  • Result: These beans are white
  • Abduction: Rule + Result -> Case
  • Deduction: Rule + Case -> Result (Logically True)
  • Induction: Case + Result -> Rule



  • A neutral question of the issue to be explored; for example, "Can we provide a more structured debate using a Wiki?".

Statement of background with agreed points

  • A timeline of relevent facts
  • Statistics related to the discussion
  • Model information with regard to talking about the issue
  • Points that have been promoted to "accepted facts" or
  • Points that have been disproven
  • Points that have been shown to have no correlation to the argument at hand

Contentious points

  • Succinct enumeration of points that are contentious (i.e. where we have knowledge of disagreement). Points should be somehow falsifiable; if not initially falsifiable as stated, then some reworking is called for.
  • Debate on each point, using sources and argument on the sources; can be split off into separate pages if necessary
  • Where any generalizations can be made (e.g. everyone agrees about some attribute a solution will have to have), put those into the background section.
  • When debate on contentious points seems to have come to an end, we can decide if anything has been resolved (let's call this "reinforcement" or "negation" of a point, rather than "proof"). If point is reinforced, move into "conclusions" section. If disproved, move into "negated points".
  • Action statements should be used to indicate outstanding action that can be taken to gather facts that will help verify or falsify these points (perhaps there should also be a "Needed" section, where all the loose ends can be listed together for any helpful research-inclined individuals?)


A conclusion/generalization drawn from weighting the issues above. Sub debate on the weighted values and the correctness of the conclusion. Some way of listing them in a "most likely" order would be good.


  • List of references, to support any claims of fact or judgment made in the exploration

Example Pages

Sample pages in which the Exploration Structure has been used: