How about a debate forum?

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Live4Him3

Active member
May 19, 2022
682
239
43
#1
Years ago, I was a member of another Christian forum (I honestly don't remember which one) where they had a "debate" forum.

If I recall correctly, then it was broken down into two sections:

1. A sub-forum where a debate challenge could be given on any topic and where a debating opponent would ultimately be chosen.
2. A forum where there was a one on one debate between two members with opposing views on any topic.

The one on one debate was broken down into 5 parts:

In part 1, each side gave their opening arguments in separate posts...one on the "pro" side of the debate, and one on the "con" side of the debate.

In parts 2 through 4, each side could either just amplify their side of the argument, or rebut what the other side had said, or both.

In part 5, each side gave their closing arguments in separate posts.

In the debates, nobody would be allowed to comment but the two chosen debaters. On the other website, I think that they had what they called a "peanut gallery" where other members could offer their opinions on the debate, but they were not allowed to enter into the debate themselves.

Of course, time limitations would also be given in relation to how soon each side needed to present their side of the debate during the different stages of the debate. On the other website, I think that it was either 24 or 48 hours.

The reason why I'm suggesting this is because so many threads get derailed quickly or simply interrupted by so many different people with so many different opinions that it's oftentimes hard or even burdensome to follow along. Personally, I've stopped following a lot of different threads here because of the aforementioned reasons.

Anyhow, is something like this a possibility on this site?

I know that there are some topics that I wouldn't mind having a one on one debate about.

Please let me know.

Thank you.
 

Oncefallen

Idiot in Chief
Staff member
Jan 15, 2011
5,944
2,708
113
#2
Years ago, I was a member of another Christian forum (I honestly don't remember which one) where they had a "debate" forum.

If I recall correctly, then it was broken down into two sections:

1. A sub-forum where a debate challenge could be given on any topic and where a debating opponent would ultimately be chosen.
2. A forum where there was a one on one debate between two members with opposing views on any topic.

The one on one debate was broken down into 5 parts:

In part 1, each side gave their opening arguments in separate posts...one on the "pro" side of the debate, and one on the "con" side of the debate.

In parts 2 through 4, each side could either just amplify their side of the argument, or rebut what the other side had said, or both.

In part 5, each side gave their closing arguments in separate posts.

In the debates, nobody would be allowed to comment but the two chosen debaters. On the other website, I think that they had what they called a "peanut gallery" where other members could offer their opinions on the debate, but they were not allowed to enter into the debate themselves.

Of course, time limitations would also be given in relation to how soon each side needed to present their side of the debate during the different stages of the debate. On the other website, I think that it was either 24 or 48 hours.

The reason why I'm suggesting this is because so many threads get derailed quickly or simply interrupted by so many different people with so many different opinions that it's oftentimes hard or even burdensome to follow along. Personally, I've stopped following a lot of different threads here because of the aforementioned reasons.

Anyhow, is something like this a possibility on this site?

I know that there are some topics that I wouldn't mind having a one on one debate about.

Please let me know.

Thank you.
This has been suggested a few times over the years and simply put, it ain't happening.

People already can't handle the non-stop debate that goes on in other sub-forums here.
 

Live4Him3

Active member
May 19, 2022
682
239
43
#3
People already can't handle the non-stop debate that goes on in other sub-forums here.
I get that people can't stand what regularly transpires in the BDF for example, but those types of debates are pretty much free-for-alls where all sorts of people with differing opinions go at each other.

I was talking more about a civilized debate between just two people with previous guidelines set in place.

If nothing else, it could be instructional for some people as they see two opposing viewpoints laid out in order without a whole bunch of infighting muddying the waters.
 

Subhumanoidal

Well-known member
Sep 17, 2018
3,068
2,471
113
#4
I get that people can't stand what regularly transpires in the BDF for example, but those types of debates are pretty much free-for-alls where all sorts of people with differing opinions go at each other.

I was talking more about a civilized debate between just two people with previous guidelines set in place.

If nothing else, it could be instructional for some people as they see two opposing viewpoints laid out in order without a whole bunch of infighting muddying the waters.
How would you limit only two people in a thread? Can almost guarantee the software isn't capable of that as its somewhat in opposition to the point of a forum. And do you really think most wouldn't deteriorate into the same typical arguing seen in the BDF? Which then gives more work to the mods.
 

Live4Him3

Active member
May 19, 2022
682
239
43
#5
How would you limit only two people in a thread? Can almost guarantee the software isn't capable of that as its somewhat in opposition to the point of a forum.
I don't know how the software works, but as I said earlier, I was once on another forum where they did the same, and that is why I inquired about it here.

And do you really think most wouldn't deteriorate into the same typical arguing seen in the BDF? Which then gives more work to the mods.
In my particular case (I obviously can not speak on behalf of everyone), yes, I do honestly believe that it could be kept from deteriorating into what regularly transpires in the BDF. The primary reason for my belief is that one would be able to choose their debating partner. In stark contrast, in the BDF, anyone can butt in, and, quite frankly, there are a lot of people here who seem to thrive on contention and strife...neither of which I'm personally the least bit interested in.

Anyhow, you might recall that I recently asked a question about blogs, and whether or not it was possible to shut off the comments in the same. My motivation behind that question and this question are one and the same. Basically, I think that it's a shame that on a Christian forum one cannot even post something that might actually be beneficial to Christians without it turning into a free-for-all.

In a one on one debate, with predetermined guidelines for the same, people might actually be able to post some things about God and his word that people will actually read. Personally, I've not only walked away from numerous threads because of all the strife and derailments, but I've also withheld from starting threads of my own because I know that they'll inevitably turn into the aforementioned free-for-alls. All that I'm really hoping to find is a means by which I (and others) can publicly post some things of substance without everybody and their grandmother salivating as they look to tear it to pieces while turning others away from even reading it.

It seems to me that the real losers here are God and his word, and, to me, that's literally a crying shame.

Of course, I'm not blaming the moderators here for the horrible actions of others, but, at the same time, I'm hoping that something can be done so at least somewhere on this forum the patients aren't running the asylum.

There are actually some grown ups here, but we're subject to the whims of those who simply cannot behave in a mature or respectful manner.
 

Amanuensis

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2021
1,060
307
83
#6
I don't know how the software works, but as I said earlier, I was once on another forum where they did the same, and that is why I inquired about it here.

In my particular case (I obviously can not speak on behalf of everyone), yes, I do honestly believe that it could be kept from deteriorating into what regularly transpires in the BDF. The primary reason for my belief is that one would be able to choose their debating partner. In stark contrast, in the BDF, anyone can butt in, and, quite frankly, there are a lot of people here who seem to thrive on contention and strife...neither of which I'm personally the least bit interested in.

Anyhow, you might recall that I recently asked a question about blogs, and whether or not it was possible to shut off the comments in the same. My motivation behind that question and this question are one and the same. Basically, I think that it's a shame that on a Christian forum one cannot even post something that might actually be beneficial to Christians without it turning into a free-for-all.

In a one on one debate, with predetermined guidelines for the same, people might actually be able to post some things about God and his word that people will actually read. Personally, I've not only walked away from numerous threads because of all the strife and derailments, but I've also withheld from starting threads of my own because I know that they'll inevitably turn into the aforementioned free-for-alls. All that I'm really hoping to find is a means by which I (and others) can publicly post some things of substance without everybody and their grandmother salivating as they look to tear it to pieces while turning others away from even reading it.

It seems to me that the real losers here are God and his word, and, to me, that's literally a crying shame.

Of course, I'm not blaming the moderators here for the horrible actions of others, but, at the same time, I'm hoping that something can be done so at least somewhere on this forum the patients aren't running the asylum.

There are actually some grown ups here, but we're subject to the whims of those who simply cannot behave in a mature or respectful manner.
It could be edifying.

There would have to be rules agreed to.

There would need to be a scoring system.

If it were simple it might work.

I don't think most people know how to formally debate and so a little bit of educating would be necessary. The rules would do that. Then some kind of motivation to concede without being shamed would be nice. Make it easy for people to admit they made a hermneneutic mistake instead of just digging in their heels and being belligerent, or just logging out and never responding again.

If it was simple maybe it would be fun.

Here is one way that comes to mind. Create a topic thread for a debate and give two interpretations of a verse. Then allow people to vote and change their votes as the debate rages.

Or create a thread with a topic to debate and name the two who will debate in the poll and allow people to vote on which one is winning. They would have to read the thread and decide.
 

Live4Him3

Active member
May 19, 2022
682
239
43
#7
It could be edifying.

There would have to be rules agreed to.

There would need to be a scoring system.

If it were simple it might work.

I don't think most people know how to formally debate and so a little bit of educating would be necessary. The rules would do that. Then some kind of motivation to concede without being shamed would be nice. Make it easy for people to admit they made a hermneneutic mistake instead of just digging in their heels and being belligerent, or just logging out and never responding again.

If it was simple maybe it would be fun.

Here is one way that comes to mind. Create a topic thread for a debate and give two interpretations of a verse. Then allow people to vote and change their votes as the debate rages.

Or create a thread with a topic to debate and name the two who will debate in the poll and allow people to vote on which one is winning. They would have to read the thread and decide.
Personally, I'm not the least bit interested in or concerned about any sort of scoring system, but I would just leave the actual scoring up to God himself.

It's been years since I was on the other forum that had the debate section, and my recollection is that it was the only part of the forum where there WASN'T strife. Again, there were only two participants, and each had 5 rounds of posts in which to present their own case, so there was ultimately only 10 posts in the entire debate without a bunch of "static" from other forum members. The participants were not allowed to attack the other poster personally, but only their position if they wanted to. At my end, I spent the bulk of my posts just presenting my own side of the debate, and I only periodically addressed something that the other poster had said if I felt it might mislead others who were following the debate.

Anyhow, the idea has apparently been repeatedly nixed here, so there's really nothing more to discuss.
 

Runningman

Well-known member
Mar 4, 2020
5,173
2,703
113
#8
Years ago, I was a member of another Christian forum (I honestly don't remember which one) where they had a "debate" forum.

If I recall correctly, then it was broken down into two sections:

1. A sub-forum where a debate challenge could be given on any topic and where a debating opponent would ultimately be chosen.
2. A forum where there was a one on one debate between two members with opposing views on any topic.

The one on one debate was broken down into 5 parts:

In part 1, each side gave their opening arguments in separate posts...one on the "pro" side of the debate, and one on the "con" side of the debate.

In parts 2 through 4, each side could either just amplify their side of the argument, or rebut what the other side had said, or both.

In part 5, each side gave their closing arguments in separate posts.

In the debates, nobody would be allowed to comment but the two chosen debaters. On the other website, I think that they had what they called a "peanut gallery" where other members could offer their opinions on the debate, but they were not allowed to enter into the debate themselves.

Of course, time limitations would also be given in relation to how soon each side needed to present their side of the debate during the different stages of the debate. On the other website, I think that it was either 24 or 48 hours.

The reason why I'm suggesting this is because so many threads get derailed quickly or simply interrupted by so many different people with so many different opinions that it's oftentimes hard or even burdensome to follow along. Personally, I've stopped following a lot of different threads here because of the aforementioned reasons.

Anyhow, is something like this a possibility on this site?

I know that there are some topics that I wouldn't mind having a one on one debate about.

Please let me know.

Thank you.
I thinks it’s a good idea to make debates moderated because it would help keep disagreements orderly. Here they just go indefinitely until the proverbial dead horse has been beaten into the consistency of raw hamburger meat long after the ad hominems start.

It might be better to just teach people how to debate like mature adults before giving them a new toy to play with. Using ad hominems against grown men and women in a public forum, or anywhere, will likely provoke a defensive response. At some point it doesn’t matter who started the fight, but rather who had the mettle to make it end.

Finally, religious zealots aren’t really looking for debates. They are looking for converts. Any resistance is perceived immediately as an attack on God and will probably make them instantly brand their opponents as enemies of the cross. I suspect that’s the reason for many of the fights here on this forum and I see this pattern a lot!
 

Amanuensis

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2021
1,060
307
83
#9
Personally, I'm not the least bit interested in or concerned about any sort of scoring system, but I would just leave the actual scoring up to God himself.

It's been years since I was on the other forum that had the debate section, and my recollection is that it was the only part of the forum where there WASN'T strife. Again, there were only two participants, and each had 5 rounds of posts in which to present their own case, so there was ultimately only 10 posts in the entire debate without a bunch of "static" from other forum members. The participants were not allowed to attack the other poster personally, but only their position if they wanted to. At my end, I spent the bulk of my posts just presenting my own side of the debate, and I only periodically addressed something that the other poster had said if I felt it might mislead others who were following the debate.

Anyhow, the idea has apparently been repeatedly nixed here, so there's really nothing more to discuss.
In my opinion the most valuable part would be a scoring system that defined a clear winner. The reason is that the value of the exercise in this format would be to help people practice presenting a case following the rules of hermeneutics that identified authorial intent of a passage. If they did the job correctly, intellectually honest people would vote that they agreed with that hermeneutic. In the process one might discover how to interpret scriptures better and how to communicate their reasons in such a way that others were able to identify the correct interpretation for themselves. Many do not realize how poor a job they do at making a case for a hermeneutic. The scoring or voting system might help them with a form of "feedback" if they are making their point or not.

And it has not been nixed. We just have to figure out the best way and give it a try. It only takes two people. No software changes or official moderators are necessary. Just start a thread with a poll. I will think of an example and make one when I get around to feeling in the mood.