Difference between revisions of "Issuepedia:Arguing"

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(things to avoid: contradict -> "argument by contradiction" page)
(link to Structured Debate)
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==Guidelines==
 
==Guidelines==
 
[[File:Our-Discussion.jpg|thumb|related guidelines from a different source]]
 
[[File:Our-Discussion.jpg|thumb|related guidelines from a different source]]
 +
The following are informal guidelines for engaging in debate; see [[project:Structured Debate]] for a more formal set of rules.
 
===things to do===
 
===things to do===
 +
 
When arguing against another person's statements:
 
When arguing against another person's statements:
 
* DO '''address the ''substance''''' of the argument you are disputing.
 
* DO '''address the ''substance''''' of the argument you are disputing.
 
* DO '''be clear''' about what you're trying to say.
 
* DO '''be clear''' about what you're trying to say.
* DO '''take a position''' (rather than just [[position dancing|attacking the positions of others]]).
+
* DO '''take a position''' before [[position dancing|attacking the positions of others]].
 
* DO '''offer arguments''':
 
* DO '''offer arguments''':
 
** for why the other debater's statements are unlikely to be true.
 
** for why the other debater's statements are unlikely to be true.
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** Pasting quotes is acceptable, but summaries are better -- especially if written to be specific about the matter under discussion.
 
** Pasting quotes is acceptable, but summaries are better -- especially if written to be specific about the matter under discussion.
 
** If the source's argument is complicated, state the conclusion it draws and summarize the general nature of the arguments used. You need to give others at least enough of a basis upon which to frame further counters (or, hopefully, questions).
 
** If the source's argument is complicated, state the conclusion it draws and summarize the general nature of the arguments used. You need to give others at least enough of a basis upon which to frame further counters (or, hopefully, questions).
 +
===other ground rules===
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These are rules where the existence of a rule probably matters more than which way the rule goes.
 +
* If person A makes an assertion and person B challenges it, then it is A's turn to produce evidence defending their assertion.
 +
** In other words, you don't need to have your evidence together in order to challenge an assertion.
 +
** One possible exception might be a negative assertion ("there's no such thing as..."), since this can be particularly difficult to prove.

Revision as of 03:25, 6 December 2011

About

Unlike other reference projects, Issuepedia welcomes personal opinion.

However, opinions without good arguments behind them will probably be shredded or at least questioned. Attempts to undermine other debaters by use of logical fallacies and other rhetorical deceptions will be called out.

I have cross-posted these guidelines to LessWrong wiki in hope of sparking further refinement. --Woozle 15:58, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

Guidelines

related guidelines from a different source

The following are informal guidelines for engaging in debate; see project:Structured Debate for a more formal set of rules.

things to do

When arguing against another person's statements:

  • DO address the substance of the argument you are disputing.
  • DO be clear about what you're trying to say.
  • DO take a position before attacking the positions of others.
  • DO offer arguments:
    • for why the other debater's statements are unlikely to be true.
    • to support what you think is correct.
  • DO respond to every point you wish to oppose.
    • Failure to respond to a point does not make it untrue.
    • If a point remains unanswered, it is reasonable to consider it true.
  • DO draw attention to any unanswered points.
    • Others may assume or erroneously believe that unanswered points have actually been defeated.

things to avoid

It generally does not strengthen your position if you:

This is relevant, but I can't get the thumbnail to render properly. Statements higher on this hierarchy generally trump lower ones.

source accuracy

When disputing the accuracy of a source, or of an argument based upon a fact stated in a source:

  • DON'T simply claim that the source is unreliable.
  • DON'T simply claim that the fact is wrong.
  • DO identify better sources.
  • DO offer correct information.

source dependency

When outside material contains extensive information relevant to your argument:

  • Spell out the point it makes – rather than expecting others to read it. (No required reading.)
    • Otherwise you are counting on your opponent to not only understand it but agree with you as to its applicability to the discussion.
    • If you can't defend your own point in your own words, then perhaps you don't understand what you're arguing -- or perhaps you don't understand what you're arguing against, and are hoping that something somewhere in the required reading will suffice as a rebuttal. (Sources are not arguments. Claiming that a source makes your point is not the same as making your point. No throwing stuff at the wall and hoping something sticks.)
    • Pasting quotes is acceptable, but summaries are better -- especially if written to be specific about the matter under discussion.
    • If the source's argument is complicated, state the conclusion it draws and summarize the general nature of the arguments used. You need to give others at least enough of a basis upon which to frame further counters (or, hopefully, questions).

other ground rules

These are rules where the existence of a rule probably matters more than which way the rule goes.

  • If person A makes an assertion and person B challenges it, then it is A's turn to produce evidence defending their assertion.
    • In other words, you don't need to have your evidence together in order to challenge an assertion.
    • One possible exception might be a negative assertion ("there's no such thing as..."), since this can be particularly difficult to prove.