8 hours per week
The primary requirement that you must fulfill as a Debatepedia intern is to log 8 hours of work each week on the site. You can do this by building pro/con debate content, by helping with other tasks on Debatepedia, or by volunteering to help with certain marketing and community-building projects on Debatepedia. We generally like to see editors work for two weeks on a debate topic of their choosing; that could amount to 16 hours of work. To choose a debate topic, first ask yourself what topics you are most interested in exploring. Then, you can go to some of the following places to browse for existing topics on the site...
- All debates
- Or, you can create a new debate if you can't find the one that you're looking for, and you figure that Debatepedia should have it. Make sure to think open-mindedly in this way, and take initiative to create debate pages that don't yet exist on Debatepedia, and that you are excited about working on.
It is required that you provide Brooks Lindsay (firstname.lastname@example.org) with an Instant Messenger screenname, that you login to your IM account whenever you are editing on the site, and that you actively communicate with Brooks via this medium. Brooks will answer your questions via IM and will instruct and guide you via IM.
We also strongly encourage that you post your Instant Messenger screenname on your user page, and that actively attempt to communicate with other interns via this medium, particularly if you are partnered with another intern.
To learn the basics of editing, see the "getting started" box on the toolbar on the left of the screen. Also, though, see the bottom of this page for some guidance on constructing the model debate and argument.
Jenna Song - (Korea)
Debate: Cancellation of developing world debt - Reformatting, adding pro/con resources
(may join as active intern spring 09)
Assignment: By July 7th, incorprote arguments and quotations from this article (and possibly others on the website) - http://weneedobama.blogspot.com/2008/02/obama-profoundly-catalytic-leader.html - into the Debate: McCain vs. Obama debate. -- Brooks Lindsay 14:35, 2 July 2008 (CDT)
Assigned Debate:EU elected president. To read 5 pro and 5 con articles and incorporate arguments and quotations from each into the article.
- Editing task given June 18th, 2008. - Perform tasks on Debate: Lowering US drinking age from 21 to 18.
- 6/12/08 - Debate: Homosexuality - Gather five pro articles.
Learning tools and models for interns
The model debate
The below article is considered a Feature Debate Article, and it will be the model that you should aim to emulate in creating your Feature Debate Articles each week. In general, the best way to learn how to do something editorially is to find where it is done right on this model debate, click "edit", observe the wiki code used to produce what you want to produce, and emulate what you see.
- Illegal immigrants and driver's licenses in the US - Should illegal immigrants in the United States be allowed to obtain drivers licenses? - 1/3/08
In general, you should think of a Feature Debate Article as a resource that enables you and others to effectively deliberate and draw conclusions in that particular debate. This means that you draw from all of the primary pro/con articles and resources out there on the topic (roughly 10 to 20) in laying out all of the primary pro and con arguments in a debate.
The model argument
Arguments are the basic units of debate. So, here's 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.
- A bullet point should start arguments for visual reasons.
- The "claim" is essentially a one sentence summary of the argument's conclusion. It is basically a header for an argument. It should be as concise and to-the-core-point of the argument as is possible.
- Argument summaries come after the "claim". This is where a more detailed, generally three to five sentence, description of the argument is presented.
- Link to argument page/evidence: Argument pages are whole pages dedicated to a single argument, with the "claim" being the title of the argument page (click on the above argument). On these pages, supporting evidence (quotes, studies, facts) can be presented in mass in support of an argument. The example provided above demonstrates that the "claim" is made into the title of the argument page. You can create these pages very easily, simply by putting "[[ ]]" around the claim. But, we like to preface the claim on these pages with "Argument". So, click "edit" here and view what this looks like in the wiki code with the above argument. As you can see, "Argument:" does not appear in the rendering (when you press save). This is because the code is written like this: '''[[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]]'''
Moving debates from start to Feature Debate Status
Debatepedia:Getting started tutorial - This is the basic introduction to Debatepedia, its tools, policies, and so-forth. It's an important read.
- Step 1: Compile a pro/con resources section at the bottom of your debates (without yet fully reading the articles you're compiling). This should include the primary pro/con articles, essay, and cases in your public debate. These will be the resources that you will draw from and quote from in compiling pro/con arguments in your debates. You should search for these cases on Google, Google Scholar, Ask.com, Lexus Nexus (if you have access). Key word selection is fairly important. I recommend some of the following:
- The topic: "Capital Punishment", "The Death Penalty", and iterations of the topic name.
- "The case for/against..."
- "Arguments for/against..."
- "Pro/cons of..."
- "Why ban assault weapons"
- Step 2: Read and draw from the articles you've compiled. Search for and isolate specific arguments made in these cases. Let's say you find an argument along the lines that US roads would be made safer by offering driver's licenses to illegal immigrants (above). The first thing you'll want to do is isolate and widdle down this "claim". So, "Offering drivers licenses to illegal immigrants will make roads safer in the US". Then, you would want to create a basic argument summary (above): "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." Now, imagining that you want to quote the specific argument made in the article you're reading as "evidence", you would have to create an argument page (described in the previous section). Once you've done this, you should create a "supporting evidence" section by writing "==Supporting Evidence==" into the editing window of your new argument page. Now, you can cut-and-paste a quote from one of your sources under this "supporting evidence" section. Next, you will have to make an external link to the resource that you are quoting.
- [http://blog.wired.com/cars/2007/10/illegal-immigra.html "Illegal Immigrants, Driver's License Crash Into American Consensus". Wired Magazine. October 04, 2007] - "New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer loves a fight. But his policy to allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses, announced just weeks ago, has even his closest loyalists in a sweat. His reasoning is that denying immigrants the legal right to drive hasn't stopped them from driving. After all, they're already breaking the law just by being here. By driving illegally, they don't have insurance, which has contributed to more hit-and-run accidents as well as higher insurance premiums for everyone else." Read through all the articles you've compiled and draw from them in documenting arguments and quoting and gathering supporting evidence.
- Step 3: Keep referring back to the model debate, attempting to make your debate look like the Model Feature Debate. Illegal immigrants and driver's licenses in the US