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Debatepedia User Guide

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-This page is a tutorial on all of the basic, need-to-know things on Debatepedia. It will jump-start your ability to browse, edit, and engage with the Debatepedia community. +This guide will help you begin "clarifying public debates globally". Keep in mind, though, we learn by doing in this community, so jump in and start editing - we'll help you along.
-==Registering and logging in==+== Log in / create account ==
-Click on the "log in / create account" button in the upper-right of your screen and enter your basic information. We encourage you to use your real name as your "user name". You will be able to use your [[Debatepedia:User pages| user page]] as a profile and bio page, so it may be worthwhile for you to provide a real name and build your actual profile.+Click on the "log in / create account" button in the upper-right of your screen and enter your basic information. We encourage you to use your real name as your "user name". You can create a short bio on your user page so that other users can get to know you and communicate with you on your talk page.[[Image:Person typing.gif|right|200px]]
-== "The Wikipedia of debate" - Debatepedia is a wiki community of editors like you ==+== Editing / jumping in ==
-Debatepedia is a wiki, where you and anyone else in the World can edit anything and build content, with the only restriction that your contributions abide by the Debatepedia [[Debatepedia:Editing policies| editing policies]]. A wiki allows you to edit any content that others have submitted and allows others, in turn, to edit what you have added. It is the most open and democratic editing environment in existence, and this is precisely why Wikipedia has become such a valuable public resource. Such openness is also why other open-source projects (where anyone can make improvements), such as Firefox and Linux, have been so amazingly successful. Debatepedia simply applies the same open-source, democratic principles and the same wiki technology powering Wikipedia to the most important practice of democracies - debate.+Once you're registered and signed in, click the "edit" tab or the "edit/pencil" buttons on any page and go for it. The important thing is that you just start editing and giving it a whirl. You'll make mistakes. But, that's completely fine. You'll learn by doing, and other editors will see your edits on [http://wiki.idebate.org/index.php/Special:Recentchanges recent changes] and be able to help you out.
 +== Editing with the mission in mind ==
-*See also [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki Wikipedia's "Wiki" article]+Debatepedia's mission is to "clarify public debates globally" and act as an encyclopedia of pro and con arguments and quotations. This means that, in any given article you are editing, your primary objective is to '''''document''''' or '''''outline''''' every pro and con argument and all supporting quotations from leaders, authors, experts, columnists, op-ed writers, etc. You can also "make" original arguments and counter-arguments. We encourage this. But, remember, the idea is to "document" or "outline" lines of argumentation, not to "express" your "personal opinion" or personal anecdotal stories or research. [[Debate: Abortion| Abortion]], [[Debate: Single-payer universal health care|Single-payer universal health care]], [[Debate: Animal testing| Animal testing]] are all pretty good models of this mission-focused editing.
-==Editing basics==+== Writing "feature quality" debate articles ==
-*'''Be bold and click edit.''' The most important thing to understand about Debatepedia is that it is a wiki that depends on you taking ownership over the site, clicking edit (once you've logged in), and building content. This means that you should be bold in making your edits. Don't hold back or hesitate out of concern for making mistakes. If you make a mistake you or others can revert it through the "history" tab. So don't be nervous to "save" your edits; we want them.+Debatepedia editors are tasked with clarify public debates by moving pro/con articles to [[Debatepedia:Feature article| feature quality status]]. These are articles where nearly all the core arguments and supporting quotations are clearly and fairly presented.
-*'''Abide by the editing policies (below)'''+The name of the game is reading as many pro and con articles, editorials, commentaries, essays, books, speeches etc... as you can, drawing arguments and quotations from them, and documenting or summarizing them in the pro/con article you are working on. Do this for the top 10 pro and con sources in a debate, and your article will probably be full of nearly all the unique pros and cons and will qualify to be "featured" on the main page. You can do this in a structured way by creating a "pro/con sources" section at the bottom of the debate article you are working on. [[Debate: Turkey EU membership#Pro/con_resources| Here's a good example of what this looks like]].
 +== Rewards/awards for good editorial work ==
-*'''What you can edit and do:'''+Editors that create feature articles are rewarded by being featured with their article on Debatepedia's main page. They also receive a [[Debatepedia barnstar| barnstar award]] on their users page (this can be awarded for other good editorial deeds as well). And, they are given administrator status and editorial privileges that allow them to, for example, move and delete articles and regulate and block misbehaving editors.
-**'''Let your interests guide you:''' Start by editing on debates that you care most about. Your editing should be driven by your passions and interests. The best way to find debates of interest to you is to use the search box on the left tool bar or to go to the [[Debatepedia:Contents| contents]] section of the site and look through the different categories there (some of these categories are listed on the home page. +
-**'''Improve existing content:''' You can simply edit what others have already added on Debatepedia. You can improve grammar, sentence structure, or the logical flow and presentation of existing arguments and cases. This is very important, as good writing is half "re-writing".+
-**'''Research and summarize arguments on debate pages:''' You can add content and arguments on Debatepedia. The best way to do this is to simply read widely on the debates you are interested in (with targeted Google searches), and to focus on summarizing the pro/con arguments you find on [[Debatepedia:Debate pages| debate pages]].+
-**'''Researching and presenting supporting evidence (mostly on [[Debatepedia:Argument pages| argument pages]]):''' When you are reading about a debate topic and you find a great quote that makes a certain argument very well, you should consider that quote to be evidence that should be presented on Debatepedia. Supporting evidence gives support to an argument, typically adding weight or value to that argument. Supporting evidence can be presented on debate pages in small amounts, but can be presented in mass on [[Debatepedia:Argument pages| argument pages]], which are pages where a single argument and the mass of supporting evidence backing it can be presented (see below). Supporting evidence includes:+
-***Quotes, typically from authoritative sources, that express an argument.+
-***Links to full articles that focus on making (or covering) a specific argument within a debate.+
-***Studies that provide support to an argument.+
-**'''[[Debatepedia:Creating new pages| Create new debate, argument, and other pages]]'''. You can create both debate and argument pages on Debatepedia. There are different processes for doing both of these things (see the link), but you should keep in mind that you are free and encouraged to create new pages. If there is a notable public debate in the world that doesn't already exist on Debatepedia, you should create it. The same applies to [[Debatepedia:Argument pages| argument pages]].+
-==Editing policies==+
-You must abide by Debatepedia's editing policies. If your edits break these policies, other users have the right to delete or change what you have done into compliance with these policies. These policies include:+==Editing policies==
 +[[Image:Recent changes.jpg|right|200px]]
 +Feature articles (and editors themselves) must abide by Debatepedia's editing policies. These policies include:
-*'''Debatepedia is an encyclopedia of debates, arguments, and debate-related materials.''' Debatepedia is an encyclopedia for the '''documentation''' of existing, notable public debates and the primary pro/con arguments and evidence within them. Debatepedia does allow arguments to be presented in an assertive, biased form so that they read as if the author is making them. But, this is mainly for posterity, so that arguments are read in their more "natural" form (how you might hear them or make them). +*'''Uphold the mission.''' The mission is to "clarify public debates globally". We are doing this by creating an encyclopedia of debates, arguments, and quotations. All edits must advance this mission.
- +
-*'''Sober language.''' While assertive language can be used, passionate language is not allowed.+
*'''Fair and balanced articles.''' As an encyclopedia, the ultimate goal is to achieve a fair and balanced presentation of a debate, its arguments, and the supporting evidence (quotes, articles, links) within. *'''Fair and balanced articles.''' As an encyclopedia, the ultimate goal is to achieve a fair and balanced presentation of a debate, its arguments, and the supporting evidence (quotes, articles, links) within.
-*'''Arguments must be based on and cited to reliable published sources:''' Arguments on Debatepedia must be back-up by supporting evidence that is derived from and cited to ''reliable published sources''. +*'''Referencing.''' All facts and quotes must be appropriate cited and referenced.
-*'''Arguments must be logically consistent.''' Arguments must follow basic laws of logical consistency and validity, avoiding tangents, and staying focus on justifying the claim or conclusion that is being asserted (the "claim" should be a very short bolded sentence at the beginning of an argument that explains the jist of the argument).+*'''Arguments must be logically consistent.''' Arguments must follow basic laws of logical consistency and validity.
-*'''Debate questions and subquestions must be neutral in orientation.''' Loaded questions and subquestions are not allowed on Debatepedia. A debate's main question should frame a public debate in a fair and balanced weigh. Subquestions should simply act as a way to break-down a debate into its more chewable subdebates (economic, social, legal pros and cons...).+If an editor violates these policies, you can modify their edits so that they fit within the policies.
-==Editing debate pages==+
-Debate pages on Debatepedia are based on a unique pro/con "logic tree" structure. Debates start with a main "yes"/"no" question. The pro/"yes" and con/"no" arguments are then divided into a split screen with pros on the left and cons on the right. Subquestions help organize the pros and cons of often large debates into more chewable parts (economic, social, legal...). Subquestions are simply there for the purpose of organizing pros/cons within the larger debate or "yes"/"no" question; they are not there for opening tangential debates to the main debate/question. +==Creating debate pages==
-'''Manipulating the Debatepedia "logic tree" structure and software:''' In coordination with IDEA, Debatemedia Inc. developed with a great Indian software firm called QuadOne special software so that you can effectively manipulate Debatepedia's unique "logic tree" architecture on debate pages. With this software, editors can:+Log in. Search for a debate topic in the search box in the upper left. If it doesn't exist yet, you can automatically create a new debate article by clicking on "Create a new debate page along with the pro/con 'logic tree' structure." Congratulations, you've created a new debate article. But, make sure that the words you use in your search are what you want to be the title of your new debate page... (ie. "Death penalty"). After creating your article, click edit and write a "yes/no" question that encapsulates the debate. Do so where it says "write main question here". Make sure to leave all the surrounding code untouched.
-*'''Shift up or down subquestion sections and their contents (arrow icons):''' +==Writing pro and con arguments==
-*'''Insert new subquestion sections (box icon):''' +
-*'''Delete old or unneeded subquestions (red icon):'''+
-*[[Debatepedia:Editing debate pages]]+Arguments are the basic units of a debate. You must know how to write good arguments and in Debatepedia's simple format. Here is what a good argument looks like on Debatepedia:
-==Editing argument pages== +
-On debate pages, arguments are presented that often have a vast array of supporting evidence in the form of quotes, links to articles making an argument, studies, or simply facts that can be reasonably brought together to support an argument. For this reason, we allow for argument pages to be created and linked-to from debate pages. Doing this is fairly simple. On debate pages, arguments are presented first by their "claim", which is a brief one sentence summary of an argument's main point. For example, "capital punishment deters crime" is a "claim", and this would would be presented on a debate page at the beginning of a larger summary of that argument. This "claim" can be made into the title of its own argument page. Doing this is very simple. Once you have the "claim" on the debate page, all you have to do is click edit, place two brackets on both sides (two, not one on each side) of the argument "claim". Press save and click on the now red argument, whereupon you will be taken to the new argument page where you can document supporting evidence for the argument.+*'''[[Argument: Offering drivers licenses to illegal immigrants will make roads safer in the US| Offering drivers licenses to illegal immigrants will make roads safer in the US]]''' With millions of illegal immigrants lacking drivers licenses, there are millions of drivers on the road who have not taken a driver's license test and who probably do not know the traffic safety laws. Issuing driver's licenses to illegal aliens and requiring that they take a driving test would help resolve this safety hazard.
-*''Example: [[Argument:Universal health care would be an illegitimate "positive" right]]''+Or, you could use a supporting quotation to summarize the argument, making it look like this:
-*''See [[Debatepedia:Argument pages]]''+*'''[[Argument: Offering drivers licenses to illegal immigrants will make roads safer in the US| Offering drivers licenses to illegal immigrants will make roads safer in the US]]''' [http://media.www.clarksonintegrator.com/media/storage/paper280/news/2007/11/12/Opinion/Should.Illegal.Immigrants.Be.Granted.Driver.Licenses.In.New.York.State-3095228.shtml Sam Gomez. "Should illegal immigrants be granted Driver Licenses in New York State?" Clarkson Integrator. 12 Dec. 2007] - "The last real benefit of the policy change is the most obvious; safer streets. We all remember taking driver ed, the signs, parallel parking, three point turns, the works. Obviously, people who do not have to pass that rigorous rite of passage known as 'the driving test' aren't going to be well equipped to handle driving on congested roads. Not knowing the rules of the road aside, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that unlicensed drivers are five times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than validly licensed drivers. Clearly, safer roads would also be good for everybody."
-==Creating new debate pages and regular pages (argument pages, organization pages...) ==+
-You can create new pages whenever you want on Debatepedia. Debate pages are pages with the pro/con "logic tree" structure. These pages also have the special QuadOne software that enables you to manipulate the Debatepedia structure effectively. Regular pages are ordinary blank pages. These are used for argument pages, administrative pages (like this one), regular encyclopedic articles (ones about a certain notable individual in the history of public debate and deliberation), and for a variety of other purposes. +'''Key features of this model argument:'''
-*''See [[Debatepedia:Creating New Pages]]''+*'''A bullet point''' - for visual reasons.
 +*'''Argument title''' - a one sentence title or header for the argument. It must be very, very short - no more than 8 words - taking up no more than a single line on the pro or con side of a debate.
 +*'''Argument summary''' - follows the argument "title" and flushes out the argument. Generally three to five sentences.
 +*'''Or, summarizing quotation''' - a quotation from a leader, expert, columnist etc. that summarizes an argument. Can exist in place of an argument summary.
 +*'''Link to an [[Debatepedia:Argument pages| argument page]]''' - links to a separate argument page where all supporting quotations for the argument can be presented. (see below)
 +==Creating argument pages==
 +[[Image:Map of the world.jpg|right|200px]]
 +You can create argument pages very easily simply by putting "[[ ]]" around the argument title you've created on the debate page. Once you do this, and click save, you'll see that your argument title is red. Click on it and you will be taken to a the argument page, where you can expand the argument and document quotations that make the argument. See the above argument-page examples to get a sense of what this looks like.
-==Key tools and functionalities on Debatepedia==+BUT, we like to preface the title on these argument pages with "Argument:". So, actually, it is best to write your argument title in the debate page as <nowiki>'''[[Argument: Offering drivers licenses to illegal immigrants will make roads safer in the US| Offering drivers licenses to illegal immigrants will make roads safer in the US]]'''</nowiki> But, if you don't do this, you can also "move" (a tab at the top) to, for example, "Argument: Offering drivers licenses to illegal immigrants will make roads safer in the US"
-*'''The toolbar at the top of an editing window.''' When you're in an editing window, put your cursor over the toolbar that appears just at the top of the window. These tools are very useful, and include bolding, italics, internal linking, external linking, and many other functionalities.+''See main article on this: [[Debatepedia:Argument pages]]''
-*'''Create internal links''' between pages on Debatepedia by placing <nowiki>"[[Title]]"</nowiki> around the title of a page you are trying to link to.+
-**Make an internal link, but with different wording than the title you're linking to <nowiki>[[Title| desired wording]]</nowiki>+
-*'''Create external links''' by placing a [url Wikipedia article on capital punishment] (by creating a space between the end of the url and "Wikipedia article...", you can "hyperlink" "Wikipedia article..."). You'll often be hyperlinking an author, title of an article,... as an introduction to a quote.+
-*'''Making a bullet point.''' A bullet point can be used to mark-off a unique argument. Use an '''asterix''' in an editing window to do this.+
-==Communicating with other members of the community==+
-Debatepedia is a community of editors like you, and we encourage you to communicate with the rest of this community by going to the [[Talk:Welcome to Debatepedia!| Main Page discussion page]], the talk pages of articles, or to the user pages of other members of this community (user pages are best accessed by going to the "history" tab at the top of the screen and seeing who has contributed what to an article of interest to you). You are welcome to write almost anything on these pages (questions, comments, suggestions), as long as it's appropriate and relevant to the other user and the Debatepedia project.+== Manipulating the pro/con structure in debate articles ==
-We also encourage you to communicate directly with [[User:Brooks Lindsay| Brooks Lindsay]] the founder and chief editor of Debatepedia. You can also [[Help:Contents| contact us by email or phone]] with any of your questions. We're here to answer your questions and help integrate you into the Debatepedia community, so really feel free to send us a message, email, or give us a phone call.+Debate pages on Debatepedia are based on a unique pro/con "logic tree" structure. We've created software to manipulate this structure. In our structure, debates start with a main "yes"/"no" question. The pros follow on the left and the cons on the right. Subdebate sections help break long list of pros and cons into clear argument-counterargument subsections. Our software allows you to manipulate this structure:
-==Navigating Debatepedia==+
-Almost everything on Debatepedia can be accessed through the "navigation" and "interactions" boxes in the upper left part of the screen as well as the toolbar on the upper right part of the screen.+*'''Shift up or down subdebate sections and their contents (arrow icons):''' This is important for structuring: moving around the subquestion, sub-debate sections so that the "logical" flow of a debate is maintained. Typically, the most important sub-debates within a larger debate should appear at the top.
-*The '''[[Debatepedia:Contents| contents page]]''' is your access portal to all categories, portal, articles, and other areas on the site.+*'''Insert new subquestion sections (box icon):''' Because there are varying numbers of sub-debates within a debate, users must be able to add new subquestions sections. The box icon allows for this.
-*If you are looking for ways to contribute, go to the '''[[Debatepedia:Community portal| community portal]]''', where tasks that need doing are listed.+*'''Delete old or unneeded subquestions (red icon):''' Users must also be able to delete old subquestion section shells that are no longer needed.
 +==WARNING: Be aware of wiki code for pro/con structure ==
-'''Also see:'''+Debate pages have table code that creates the pro/con structure of these pages. Do not delete or alter this code. If you click on the editing pencil for the "yes" box, for example, you will see the table code for the "no" box on that page. Make sure to add content for the "yes" box above this table code. If you write content below this code, the content will actually appear in the "no" box.
-*[[Debatepedia:Discussion pages]]+== Referencing and quoting styles - MLA==
-*[[Debatepedia:User pages and features]]+
-==The case for editing on Debatepedia==+Referencing and quoting are very common and important on Debatepedia. We are generally using MLA style for this, but Debatepedia is flexible to other ways of introducing a supporting quotation when it is more natural and useful to the readers. Generally, '''when quoting from an article published in a newspaper or journal, the style is''': Sam Gomez. [http://media.www.clarksonintegrator.com/media/storage/paper280/news/2007/11/12/Opinion/Should.Illegal.Immigrants.Be.Granted.Driver.Licenses.In.New.York.State-3095228.shtml "Should illegal immigrants be granted Driver Licenses in New York State?"] Clarkson Integrator. 12 Dec. 2007 - "The last real benefit of the policy change is the most obvious; safer streets. We all remember taking driver ed, the signs, parallel parking, three point turns, the works. Obviously, people who do not have to pass that rigorous rite of passage known as 'the driving test' aren't going to be well equipped to handle driving on congested roads. Not knowing the rules of the road aside, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that unlicensed drivers are five times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than validly licensed drivers. Clearly, safer roads would also be good for everybody."
-The first reason to join Debatepedia and begin editing is self-interested. Debatepedia is the ideal way to deliberate on the tough questions that surround us in society, so that we can take firm positions as citizens and vote effectively. This is not only in reading existing Debatepedia articles, but in using Debatepedia to frame the arguments and evidence we come across in newspapers, journals, books, and other places so that we can better deliberate, draw conclusions, assert personal positions effectively within our communities, and vote with confidence.+But, there are many instances in which a more flexible approach is appropriate. If a famous person said a quote, you could do the following:
-The second reason for joining Debatepedia as an editor is social. Just as you can benefit from reading pro/con articles and rataionlizing your own position, others benefit from this too. When you write pro/con articles and help break-down and frame a debate on Debatepedia, you are making it easier for other people to think-through that debate, draw conclusions, and act effectively as a citizen.+:'''Albert Schweitzer''' - "It is the fate of every truth to be an object of ridicule when it is first acclaimed."[http://cultureandanimals.org/animalrights.htm#rational]
-*''See also [[Debatepedia:Mission| the mission and vision of Debatepedia]] for a greater understanding of what we are after.''+It's also OK, if you really just don't want to be formal about it all, to just do whatever system works for you in quoting and referencing. As long as you are being productive on Debatepedia and adding valuable content, people will appreciate your work.
-==What are Debatepedia's standards==+ 
 +== Using browser tabs in your researching/writing ==
 +[[Image:Guy and girl on computer.jpg|right|150px]]
 +The best logistical approach to researching and writing on Debatepedia is to utilize three primary tabs on your web browse. Use the first as your primary Debatepedia editing screen. Use the second as your pro/con resources tab, from which you can go through a list (that you or others have created) of pro and con articles to draw arguments and quotations from. Use your third and subsequent fourth and fifth tabs for reading actual articles. It's useful to keep your second tab on the pro/con resources section, and actually in the editing window of the section so that you can copy and paste article information (url, author, title...) to introduce quotes.
 +==Communicating with other members of the community==
 + 
 +We encourage you to communicate with other members of the community by writing comments, questions, requests on the [[Debatepedia:Community forum| community forum]], the talk pages of articles, or to the user talk pages of other members.
 + 
 +We also encourage you to communicate directly with [[User:Brooks Lindsay| Brooks Lindsay]] the founder and chief editor of Debatepedia. You can write him at his email: brooks [at] debatepedia [dot] org.
 +==Navigating Debatepedia==
-You and other editors are tasked with moving the articles that you engage on to [[Debatepedia:Feature article| feature article status]]. These are exemplary articles on Debatepedia, that abide by Debatepedia's [[Debatepedia:Editing policies| editing policies]], and uphold a variety of Debatepedia's highest quality standards. For debates, it's where all the core arguments are clearly and fairly presented, and the core supporting evidence, quotes, studies, and articles are presented as well on argument pages linked out from Debate pages. Feature articles should also have the positions of the all the key, relevant politicians, organizations and activist groups, country governments, and other stakeholders. +Everything on Debatepedia can be accessed through the main page or the "navigation" box in the upper left part of the screen as well as the toolbar on the upper right part of the screen.
 +==Posting videos==
-Editors that create feature articles are rewarded with awards on their users pages and possible being given administrator editorial privileges as well as having their article "featured" on the main page of Debatepedia and in the hall of feature articles. See [[Debatepedia:Debatepedia Stewards| Debatepedia Steward]]+*[[Debatepedia:Posting videos| Post videos]]
==See also== ==See also==
-* See [[Help:Editing]], which acts as a full guide to editing on Debatepedia.+*[[Debatepedia:Sub-debate sections]]
-* Also see Wikipedia's tutorial on editing, which will help you learn the very basic and most important MediWiki (the software Wikipedia and Debatepedia uses) editing techniques and tools.+*[[Debatepedia:Pro/con resources section]]
 +*[[Debatepedia:Model arguments]]
 +*[[Debatepedia:Argument claims| claims]]
 +*[[Help:Editing]], which acts as a full guide to editing on Debatepedia.

Current revision

This guide will help you begin "clarifying public debates globally". Keep in mind, though, we learn by doing in this community, so jump in and start editing - we'll help you along.

Log in / create account

Click on the "log in / create account" button in the upper-right of your screen and enter your basic information. We encourage you to use your real name as your "user name". You can create a short bio on your user page so that other users can get to know you and communicate with you on your talk page.

Editing / jumping in

Once you're registered and signed in, click the "edit" tab or the "edit/pencil" buttons on any page and go for it. The important thing is that you just start editing and giving it a whirl. You'll make mistakes. But, that's completely fine. You'll learn by doing, and other editors will see your edits on recent changes and be able to help you out.

Editing with the mission in mind

Debatepedia's mission is to "clarify public debates globally" and act as an encyclopedia of pro and con arguments and quotations. This means that, in any given article you are editing, your primary objective is to document or outline every pro and con argument and all supporting quotations from leaders, authors, experts, columnists, op-ed writers, etc. You can also "make" original arguments and counter-arguments. We encourage this. But, remember, the idea is to "document" or "outline" lines of argumentation, not to "express" your "personal opinion" or personal anecdotal stories or research. Abortion, Single-payer universal health care, Animal testing are all pretty good models of this mission-focused editing.

Writing "feature quality" debate articles

Debatepedia editors are tasked with clarify public debates by moving pro/con articles to feature quality status. These are articles where nearly all the core arguments and supporting quotations are clearly and fairly presented.

The name of the game is reading as many pro and con articles, editorials, commentaries, essays, books, speeches etc... as you can, drawing arguments and quotations from them, and documenting or summarizing them in the pro/con article you are working on. Do this for the top 10 pro and con sources in a debate, and your article will probably be full of nearly all the unique pros and cons and will qualify to be "featured" on the main page. You can do this in a structured way by creating a "pro/con sources" section at the bottom of the debate article you are working on. Here's a good example of what this looks like.

Rewards/awards for good editorial work

Editors that create feature articles are rewarded by being featured with their article on Debatepedia's main page. They also receive a barnstar award on their users page (this can be awarded for other good editorial deeds as well). And, they are given administrator status and editorial privileges that allow them to, for example, move and delete articles and regulate and block misbehaving editors.

Editing policies

Feature articles (and editors themselves) must abide by Debatepedia's editing policies. These policies include:

  • Uphold the mission. The mission is to "clarify public debates globally". We are doing this by creating an encyclopedia of debates, arguments, and quotations. All edits must advance this mission.
  • Fair and balanced articles. As an encyclopedia, the ultimate goal is to achieve a fair and balanced presentation of a debate, its arguments, and the supporting evidence (quotes, articles, links) within.
  • Referencing. All facts and quotes must be appropriate cited and referenced.
  • Arguments must be logically consistent. Arguments must follow basic laws of logical consistency and validity.

If an editor violates these policies, you can modify their edits so that they fit within the policies.

Creating debate pages

Log in. Search for a debate topic in the search box in the upper left. If it doesn't exist yet, you can automatically create a new debate article by clicking on "Create a new debate page along with the pro/con 'logic tree' structure." Congratulations, you've created a new debate article. But, make sure that the words you use in your search are what you want to be the title of your new debate page... (ie. "Death penalty"). After creating your article, click edit and write a "yes/no" question that encapsulates the debate. Do so where it says "write main question here". Make sure to leave all the surrounding code untouched.

Writing pro and con arguments

Arguments are the basic units of a debate. You must know how to write good arguments and in Debatepedia's simple format. Here is what a good argument looks like on Debatepedia:

  • Offering drivers licenses to illegal immigrants will make roads safer in the US With millions of illegal immigrants lacking drivers licenses, there are millions of drivers on the road who have not taken a driver's license test and who probably do not know the traffic safety laws. Issuing driver's licenses to illegal aliens and requiring that they take a driving test would help resolve this safety hazard.

Or, you could use a supporting quotation to summarize the argument, making it look like this:

Key features of this model argument:

  • A bullet point - for visual reasons.
  • Argument title - a one sentence title or header for the argument. It must be very, very short - no more than 8 words - taking up no more than a single line on the pro or con side of a debate.
  • Argument summary - follows the argument "title" and flushes out the argument. Generally three to five sentences.
  • Or, summarizing quotation - a quotation from a leader, expert, columnist etc. that summarizes an argument. Can exist in place of an argument summary.
  • Link to an argument page - links to a separate argument page where all supporting quotations for the argument can be presented. (see below)

Creating argument pages

You can create argument pages very easily simply by putting "[[ ]]" around the argument title you've created on the debate page. Once you do this, and click save, you'll see that your argument title is red. Click on it and you will be taken to a the argument page, where you can expand the argument and document quotations that make the argument. See the above argument-page examples to get a sense of what this looks like.

BUT, we like to preface the title on these argument pages with "Argument:". So, actually, it is best to write your argument title in the debate page as '''[[Argument: Offering drivers licenses to illegal immigrants will make roads safer in the US| Offering drivers licenses to illegal immigrants will make roads safer in the US]]''' But, if you don't do this, you can also "move" (a tab at the top) to, for example, "Argument: Offering drivers licenses to illegal immigrants will make roads safer in the US"

See main article on this: Debatepedia:Argument pages

Manipulating the pro/con structure in debate articles

Debate pages on Debatepedia are based on a unique pro/con "logic tree" structure. We've created software to manipulate this structure. In our structure, debates start with a main "yes"/"no" question. The pros follow on the left and the cons on the right. Subdebate sections help break long list of pros and cons into clear argument-counterargument subsections. Our software allows you to manipulate this structure:

  • Shift up or down subdebate sections and their contents (arrow icons): This is important for structuring: moving around the subquestion, sub-debate sections so that the "logical" flow of a debate is maintained. Typically, the most important sub-debates within a larger debate should appear at the top.
  • Insert new subquestion sections (box icon): Because there are varying numbers of sub-debates within a debate, users must be able to add new subquestions sections. The box icon allows for this.
  • Delete old or unneeded subquestions (red icon): Users must also be able to delete old subquestion section shells that are no longer needed.

WARNING: Be aware of wiki code for pro/con structure

Debate pages have table code that creates the pro/con structure of these pages. Do not delete or alter this code. If you click on the editing pencil for the "yes" box, for example, you will see the table code for the "no" box on that page. Make sure to add content for the "yes" box above this table code. If you write content below this code, the content will actually appear in the "no" box.

Referencing and quoting styles - MLA

Referencing and quoting are very common and important on Debatepedia. We are generally using MLA style for this, but Debatepedia is flexible to other ways of introducing a supporting quotation when it is more natural and useful to the readers. Generally, when quoting from an article published in a newspaper or journal, the style is: Sam Gomez. "Should illegal immigrants be granted Driver Licenses in New York State?" Clarkson Integrator. 12 Dec. 2007 - "The last real benefit of the policy change is the most obvious; safer streets. We all remember taking driver ed, the signs, parallel parking, three point turns, the works. Obviously, people who do not have to pass that rigorous rite of passage known as 'the driving test' aren't going to be well equipped to handle driving on congested roads. Not knowing the rules of the road aside, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that unlicensed drivers are five times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than validly licensed drivers. Clearly, safer roads would also be good for everybody."

But, there are many instances in which a more flexible approach is appropriate. If a famous person said a quote, you could do the following:

Albert Schweitzer - "It is the fate of every truth to be an object of ridicule when it is first acclaimed."[1]

It's also OK, if you really just don't want to be formal about it all, to just do whatever system works for you in quoting and referencing. As long as you are being productive on Debatepedia and adding valuable content, people will appreciate your work.

Using browser tabs in your researching/writing

The best logistical approach to researching and writing on Debatepedia is to utilize three primary tabs on your web browse. Use the first as your primary Debatepedia editing screen. Use the second as your pro/con resources tab, from which you can go through a list (that you or others have created) of pro and con articles to draw arguments and quotations from. Use your third and subsequent fourth and fifth tabs for reading actual articles. It's useful to keep your second tab on the pro/con resources section, and actually in the editing window of the section so that you can copy and paste article information (url, author, title...) to introduce quotes.

Communicating with other members of the community

We encourage you to communicate with other members of the community by writing comments, questions, requests on the community forum, the talk pages of articles, or to the user talk pages of other members.

We also encourage you to communicate directly with Brooks Lindsay the founder and chief editor of Debatepedia. You can write him at his email: brooks [at] debatepedia [dot] org.

Navigating Debatepedia

Everything on Debatepedia can be accessed through the main page or the "navigation" box in the upper left part of the screen as well as the toolbar on the upper right part of the screen.

Posting videos

See also

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