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Debatepedia is a wiki encyclopedia project of the International Debate Education Association (IDEA) and Georgetown University students and alumni. It is considered by some to be "the Wikipedia of debate and pros and cons". It improves your ability to think through the complicated issues and debates you care about, take a confident stand, and take action as a citizen. An important way to take action is by participating as an editor on the site, where you can create new debates, build and organize pro and con arguments, and present supporting evidence (quotes, studies, links) from your readings all so that you can better deliberate. Your efforts, in turn, will also improve the ability of a wide audience of citizens, leaders, and decision-makers to deliberate and draw reasoned conclusions. As such, we believe Debatepedia will help fix an apparent deficit of balanced reasoning and deliberation within the public and among leaders today. Get started Debatepedia is endorsed by the United States' National Forensic League.
Category Browser | See all debates

Browse through Debatepedia's main categories to explore its contents and areas of interest to you. Go to Debatepedia's contents page to see all of its categories, portals, and other contents.

Debatepedia is a "citizen journalism" project. It is an environment where you and other citizen journalists can take action as editors.
It is important for you to understand, therefore, the global movement that is citizen journalism, and how you can engage in it and why it is a game-changing phenomena for the future of information-sharing in our world. We would like to introduce you to the many citizen-journalism projects going on around the world as well as other IDEA citizen journalism projects, such as IDEA radio, Idebate Encyclomedia, IDEA blog, the 2008 Citizen Journalism Institute in Turkey, and other initiatives. See the Citizen Journalism Portal to learn more.

Featured IDEA projects

Win the community's trust; become an administrator

Debatepedia is a small, but growing community of editors. The tasks involved in producing this encyclopedia of debates and arguments are large and important to the community. In order to oversee these tasks, we need to establish a core of administrators on the site with the special powers to regulate the work of the Debatepedia community. Consider editing on Debatepedia and working toward achieving the trust of the community and earning the status of an administrator. Contact Brooks Lindsay to nominate yourself.

At the end of each week, Debatepedia honors an exceptional volunteer editor on the site, by featuring them on the main page. Find out how you can achieve this honor here.

Argument of the Week
  • Laser pointers have the capability to bring down aircraft and cause major accidents. It is definitely justified to ban laser pointers to all people in NSW without a permit. And it is in some cases necessary for other states in Australia and around the world to follow. Since laser pointers can bring down aircraft, that can cause major accidents and result in massacre death, they really do need to be banned. Morris Iemma, NSW Premier said after banning laser pointers in NSW said, "I cannot underestimate the potential, the catastrophic consequences if a plane is brought down by one of these fools, these idiots."
Jump into the Debatepedia community

Debatepedia is partnering with the, structuring and archiving their new Online Debate Series. These are great demonstrations of how Debatepedia's pro/con "logic tree" can break down a topic for enhanced deliberation.

NFL Resolution Topics

Lincoln Douglas Debate

Public Forum Debate

Policy Debate

Daily debate digest

A daily supply of high quality debates to help you deliberate, take a stand, take action, and back yourself up.

  • Banning Muslim head scarves - Should the wearing of Muslim head scarves be banned in schools, public buildings or society in general? - Posted June 5th, 2008.

Recent Daily Debate Digest Topics:

Past Daily Debate Digest topics

New, underdeveloped debates that need your help | See list!
Editing tasks | See full page
  • Turkey, EU Membership for - We've created a pro/con resources section in this debate (at the bottom). Now, what needs to happen is for articles in this section to be read by you and for supporting quotations from them to be put into the debate page and into argument pages. Look at some Daily Debate Digest debates for an example, and see creating argument pages.

See "editing tasks" for more things you can do

What the community is working on now | Jump in!
2008 online internship opportunities
Debatepedia is now offering qualified high-school and university students unique non-pay, online internship opportunities in 2008.
Interns are given the highest editorial responsibility and privilege to research, write, and polish a debate article of their choosing each week that will be featured on the main page here and read by thousands of visitors to the site. It is an opportunity to apply and develop research and writing skills, absorb important information surrounding debates of interest, and have a substantial public impact, all with the flexibility of being anywhere online. See internships for details. Email to apply.
Why volunteer your editorial abilities on Debatepedia

As a wiki like Wikipedia and an open-source movement, Debatepedia's socially important content is developed by editors like you - students, citizens, debaters, professors, experts, and thinkers. Here's why you should join our community of editors:

  • Help yourself deliberate as a citizen: As an editor, you can engage intensely in deliberating on the most important issues and debates you care about.
    Debatepedia's enables you as an editor to ideally frame, in its "logic tree", the salient arguments and evidence so that you can deliberate effectively.( Browse contents) And, if a debate of interest to you doesn't exist, but that you want to deliberate on, you can create it.
  • Help thousands of other citizens deliberate: In the same way that you can help yourself deliberate more effectively by framing arguments and evidence on Debatepedia, you can also help thousands of other citizens that read the articles you contribute to. This public service is highly important, and worthy of the respect of your readers and peers. If you are an expert, scholar, or debater in any area, consider volunteering your time for these reasons.
  • Affect decision-making: Debate articles are held to the objective of achieving "briefing quality" (or feature debate status), and can and will be used by leaders and their staff to weigh the pros and cons and make decisions. This is people to power.
  • Join an editorial community of like-minded scholars, students, debaters, advocats, and thinkers: By acting as an editor, you can develop a profile and communicate with other editors, and join a vibrant community of like-minded citizens.
How to become an editor

Because Debatepedia is a wiki, it depends on building a community of editors. Here's some ways for you to join in:

  • Read the Getting started tutorial and become a more advanced editor.
  • Copyedit an article - fix spelling, grammar, and make small edits.
  • Build content Help research and write pros and cons on debates you care about. Start by researching and reading pro/con articles outside of Debatepedia, and quoting arguments made by the authors as pro/con "evidence" on Debatepedia.
  • Suggest or start a new debate article. If you think a new debate should exist on Debatepedia, you can suggest it on the Community Forum or you can simply start the article yourself (you don't need permission).
  • Patrol Recent Changes To see what changes are happening minute-to-minute, go to the recent changes page, and join a real-time editorial effort on an article.
  • Follow your interests. What debates are you interested in? Read and build-content around those interests.
Facts about Debatepedia
  • A wiki just like Wikipedia where anyone can edit and document debates, arguments, evidence, quotes, studies and more.
  • 31,057 articles. Debate pages, argument pages (for supporting evidence in the form of quotes, studies, links...), encyclopedia pages, team pages, and organization pages.
  • Over 600 existing, well-developed pro/con debate articles from IDEA's famous Debatabase, written by expert debaters and professionals over the past 7 years (now you can edit them).
  • A growing community of over 20,000 registered users.

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