Debating Tips And Code of Conduct - DebateIsland Development Environment The Best Online Debate Website |

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Debating Tips And Code of Conduct

1. Be respectful of your fellow DebateIslanders
No need to flame any debaters regardless of your side. Don't make vulgar, offensive, illegal, or profane comments/debates. Don't use foul or inappropriate language. No ad hominem - attacking your opponent's character or personal traits.

2. Your posts should be appropriate content
NSFW, hate topics, spam is strictly not allowed. Spam includes off topic/hijacking posts, bot spamming, etc . If you post links or images make sure they are safe and not copyright. If you see a post that violates these standards, please use our Flag feature for moderator to review.

3. Make your argument count
Your posts can be as short or long as you prefer. You may vote, provide a quick reaction (Agree, Disagree, Informative, etc), or a short comment. The choice is truly yours based on how you feel. That said, a quality argument will typically have the following: no major spelling/grammar errors, explanation of your position, rebuttal of your opponent points, and reference to quality sources.

4. Keep your arguments on topic
Staying on topic in your arguments is helpful. Fill free to create another debate instead of drifting too much from the original topic. When you feel there is no more to say, not saying anything, a quick reaction (Agree, Disagree, Informative, Funny, etc) or thanking your opponent is a good choice.

5. Be open to change your view in a "Persuade Me" Debate
Please keep an open mind if you are initiating a "Persuade Me" debate. We don't expect you to have a complete change of view based on other's arguments, but we do expect you to stay open to somewhat adjust your perspective. You must be clear what your view is, it must be your personal view, and provide a comprehensive explanation of why you hold this view.

If your fellow debater provided an argument that even partially changed your perspective then please accept it as "persuaded". You are encouraged to award multiple arguments as "persuaded" as long as each changes your view in some meaningful way. If rejecting an argument then please post a counter-response and always be respectful. Please commit to timely replies to arguments.

While only creator of the debate can formally accept an argument as "persuaded", all others are encouraged to fully participate in arguments and reactions. If you didn't create a debate and your view was also changed as a result of a great argument then you may use appropriate reactions to show your appreciation.

6. Compete with other Debaters using our exclusive "Formalish" Debating
In this unique multi-user debate format, debating is open to all in a multi-round, and timed debate, followed by a 24 hour voting period.
The Debate creator specifies a topic and ground rules, as well as selecting the number of rounds (1 round - 3 rounds) and the time per round (ranging from the exclusive 15 minutes “Blitz” to 48 hours).
Debaters take turns posting arguments and their stated position (for or against). You can only post one argument per round, and must participate in the prior round in order to advance to the subsequent round.
When the last round ends, anyone can vote using a 9 point voting and explanation system. The voting categories include: Persuasive Argument, Spelling and Grammar, Evidence and Sources, and Conduct. Each vote should be explained using the voting explanation system. If you feel that a vote is unfair or not appropriately explained then simply flag the vote. The same can be done with an argument.
After the 24-hour voting period, the winning side is determined.

7. Debate with others using Formal Debating's formal Debating supports the Lincoln-Douglas Debate format and the Traditional Debate format.

In both of these formal formats Debaters can accept a Debate by posting an argument if there is not yet an opponent.

Debate is forfeited if argument is not posted within specified time per round. Once you commit to a debate, please do your best to complete all rounds as a courtesy to your opponent.

Voting is the same format as "Formalish" Debating.

Lincoln-Douglas Debate format -
The Lincoln-Douglas Debate format consists of prescribed rounds and is one vs one (two people Debate).


Affirmative Constructive - The Affirmative side posts a pre-written case.

Cross Examination (Affirmative) - The Negative side asks the Affirmative questions about the Affirmative case.

Negative Constructive (and first negative Rebuttal) - The Negative side (almost always) reads a pre-written case and (almost always) moves on to address the Affirmative side's case.

Cross Examination (Negative) - The Affirmative side asks the Negative side questions.

First Affirmative Rebuttal - The Affirmative side addresses both their opponent's case and their own. This post is considered by many debaters to be the most difficult.

The Negative Rebuttal - The Negative side addresses the arguments of the previous post and summarizes the round for the voter/s.

The Second Affirmative Rebuttal - The Affirmative side addresses the arguments of the previous post and summarizes the round for the voter/s.

Traditional Debate format -
Similar to "Formalish" Debating, but is one vs one (two people Debate).

Debaters debate in turns in specified number of rounds within maximum time per round.

8. Customize your profile
Tell us about yourself, customize your avatar, signature, add friends, tweak notification preferences, etc. Make yourself feel at home at DebateIsland.

9. Debra ( Artificial Intelligence)
Our exclusive Artificial Intelligence (AI), named Debra, helps to analyze various aspects of your posts by utilizing machine learning and natural language processing. Debra can currently estimate levels of:

- Considerate: how likely that others will perceive your post as considerate vs toxic (rude, disrespectful, or unreasonable comment)

- Substantial : how likely that your post is meaningful vs a short and/or trivial comment

- Clear: how likely that your post is clearly stated vs difficult to understand and/or non sensical

- Relevant: how likely that your post is not spam (Irrelevant or unsolicited commercial content)

- Sentiment: how you feel about topic your post (positive, negative, neutral/mixed)

- Spelling and Grammar: grammar and spelling warnings per word count

- Entity Sentiment Detection: main entities that were discussed in an argument and how the user feels about the entities discussed.

- Sources: Amount of external sources are linked in the argument

- Readability: average grade level required to understand your post. A good target for general audience in the U.S. Is 8. We correlate multiple algorithms including Flesch-Kincaid, Gunning Fog, Coleman-Liau, Automated Readability, the SMOG index, and others.

In addition to "Debra Argument Statistics", Debra can also measure "User Statistics." Debra AI creates averages on user profiles for considerate, substantial, word count, spelling and grammar, sentiment, and sources.

Debra also predicts winners of Debates. "Debra Predict" analyzes arguments utilizing proprietary algorithms and APIs. For "Formal" and "Formalish", Debra AI provides the predicted winning side and for "Casual" and "Persuade Me" Debates, Debra provides the predicted winner and predicted 2nd place user. For all Debates, Debra AI provides more details based on DebateIsland's 9 point voting system.

Debra is continuously learning how to improve it's language recognition. Debra can make mistakes and shouldn't be relied on for absolute determination of quality, but we will review and may take action on users whose toxicity levels are inappropriate. We are working on more features for Debra and making it deeper integrated with many aspects of DebateIsland. Debra is powered by multiple algorithms.

10. Influencer
DebateIsland chooses Industry leaders, Leading Debaters, Top Debate Coaches, etc. to be Influencers. These users are given a special "Influencer badge" for their arguments and showcase their skills/expertise on

11. Voting Formats

Voters should judge the debate not on their personal opinion, but on quality of information presented by both sides. Voters should demonstrate that they read the debate and be thoughtful in their Reason For Decision (RFD).

Voters should show that they've read the debate, e.g. they should reference specific parts of the debate in their RFDs (Reason for Decision) and provide analysis of those points. They may award sources so long as they provide some justification that actually matches the reality of those debates, e.g. if only one side presents sources, the side that didn't present them should not get source points.
Require specific analysis of arguments presented by both sides in the debate (at least one argument per side). If sources are rewarded, require specific analysis of the sources presented in the debate, at the very least comparing the different websites used. Conduct should only be awarded in instances where a side forfeits, breaks the rules, or is outright insulting. Spelling & Grammar should only be awarded if one side's argument is difficult to understand.

In addition to Moderate, Voters must read through and assess each substantial argument made by both sides in the debate. That requires specific analysis of each point with comparative analysis of all of the points presented by each side.

If you feel that a vote is unfair or not appropriately explained then simply flag the vote. The same can be done with an argument.
After the 24-hour voting period, the winning side is determined.

12. O.D.S.L. (Overall Debating Skill Level)'s exclusive "O.D.S.L. (Overall Debating Skill Level)" calculates a user's Debating skill level in points using a proprietary formula. Factors include some user analytics which are calculated by Debra A.I. (Artificial Intelligence), Debate wins, Debate losses, and O.D.S.L. progression.

13. Happy Debating!
Our goal is to create the best online debate experience, not swarm you with rules. Any questions, send us a quick note at or pm aarong. We love to hear from you with questions, ideas, or suggestions.

Terms of Service

Debra AI is using multiple algorithms for article intelligence and natural language recognition. Some are DebateIsland proprietary, open source, or Trademarked by
respective Trademark owners.
- Alphabet Inc., Google™ parent company Jigsaw™ research labs PerspectiveAPI™.
- Hutto, C.J. & Gilbert, E.E. (2014). VADER: A Parsimonious Rule-based Model for Sentiment Analysis of Social Media Text. Eighth International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM-14). Ann Arbor, MI, June 2014.

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