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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.

Starting your account

Go to the "log in / create account" button in the upper-right of the screen, click this, and enter your basic information. We encourage you to use your real name as your "user name", particularly if you are a debater. You will be able to use your 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.

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 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.

We also encourage you to communicate directly with Noel Selegzi, the President of IDEA, or Brooks Lindsay, the founder and chief editor of Debatepedia by going to our user pages and writing a comment or question on just about anything. You can also 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.

Nagigating 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.

  • The contents page is your access portal to all articles on the site.
  • If you are looking for ways to contribute, go to the community portal, where tasks that need doing are listed.

Learning to edit

  • Be bold. Don't be afraid to edit. If you make a mistake you or others can revert it through the "history" tab. Be bold, click "edit", and save your changes.
  • Edit anything. As a wiki, you are free to edit anything on the site, with the exception of a few restricted pages, such as the main page.
  • To edit, you can click the "edit" tab at the top of the page, make your edit, and press save. But, on Debate Pages (which have the pro/con "logic tree" structure, we encourage you to click the "pencil" icons throughout the page, where you desire to edit, make your argument/edit, and press save at the bottom of the editing "window".
  • Make sure you abide by Debatepedia's editing policies, the essentials of them being:
    • Respect other users.
    • Arguments should be presented in a fair and balanced way and with sober dispassionate language. While you should present arguments in their natural biased form, you must be fair, balanced, and dispassionate in the language you use.
  • Document the supporting evidence for evidence (quotes, studies, articles). Only arguments that can muster supporting evidence from reliable published sources can remain on Debatepedia. You can make argument pages for the purpose of documenting a vast array of supporting evidence for a particular argument. Do this simply by placing two brackets around an argument on a debate page ([[ ]]), pressing save, and then by clicking on the now red argument, whereupon you will be take to the new argument page where you can document supporting evidence.
  • See Help:Editing, which acts as a full guide to editing on Debatepedia.
  • 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.
  • See below for understanding debate-page editing on Debatepedia, which is slightly different than the above.

Debate page software and icons

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. 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.

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:

  • Shift up or down subquestion sections and their contents (arrow icons):
  • Insert new subquestion sections (box icon):
  • Delete old or unneeded subquestions (red icon):

Creating new debates and pages

You can create new pages whenever you want on Debatepedia.

See Debatepedia:Creating New Pages

Referencing and sourcing

See Debatepedia:Sources and Referencing

Understanding Debatepedia's editing policies, and user obligations surrounding them

What's the mission?

Why should I edit and even join Debatepedia? What's the point? What's the value added in the world?

It is very important from the beginning that you understand the mission and vision of Debatepedia.

What's the objective with any given article?

Ok, so you may identify with the mission, but now what? What is the objective with each article on Debatepedia? The aim with every page is to produce "feature articles". These are exemplary articles on Debatepedia, that abide by Debatepedia's editing policies, and uphold a variety of other quality standards. Attempt to move the articles you edit toward "feature article" status. And, you may be rewarded with articles you've edited being featured on the main page of Debatepedia.

Personal objectives: if you edit to "feature article" standards, you will gain the trust of the community around you, and have the opportunity to apply to be a Debatepedia Steward

Communicating with other users

Browsing and navigating basics

Debatepedia's main pages can all be reached from the toolbar on the left side of the screen, from the top-right of the screen (About...), and from just below the top-right of the screen (User ID...). These are the most useful links and windows into the Debatepedia content, so you should actively use them to navigate the site. One of these links is to the navigation and browsing page. Check that out.

One of the most important pages for navigation and browsing is Debatepedia's contents page. Check that out too.

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