Difference between revisions of "Structured debate"

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Revision as of 14:05, 25 July 2008


A structured debate is an argumentative discussion in which the pieces of the argument are broken down into the smallest arguable chunks ("points"), and the dependencies between supporting points and the larger points which depend on them are clearly indicated.

This helps to prevent a number of common problems with discussions of complex issues:

  • accidentally (or deliberately) taking opposing points out of context, and answering them as if the context didn't exist
  • the feeling of getting "lost" in the argument due to not knowing what has been settled and what remains to be discussed
  • significant points falling by the wayside and remaining unanswered
  • conflating multiple points into a single point, which leads easily to making logical fallacies


Ideally, a structured debate is represented in a manner which provides visual cues in certain areas:

  • which side of the argument is being advocated by a particular piece of text
  • whether a given point has been defeated or called into question


Issuepedia provides argumenticons and associated templates for the purpose of documenting structured debates. We are working on tools for managing and conducting structured debates between two or more participants in realtime.

See also category:debates – as of this writing, all of the pages in this category contain structured debates.