Debate Forum Overview

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Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
The debate forum is now live and a feature of the PuritanBoard.

Some highlights of the general structure of such a forum are:

1. Debaters post to a moderator (could be a PB moderator or someone given moderator privilege of that thread). Only the Debaters' essays following an agreed upon structure will be posted. The moderator would ensure everything runs smoothly behind the scenes so to speak. If something "gets through" that shouldn't have then he might post a point of order, but generally it will be just the debaters posting upon a previously agreed upon structure.
2. The Forum and the threads will be publicly viewable.
3. Each debate thread will be locked to remain as a resource upon completion of each a debate.
4. And most importantly; debates will be rare occurences.

General Rules and Procedures.
  • Debates will be rare. Moderators may come to a consensus that a topic that constantly comes up may be suitable to arrange for a formal debate in the Debate Forum. Or, Members may petition or suggest a debate. There will be no “calling out” of another member to a debate.
  • If Moderators decide to host a debate they will choose the debaters; if members are petitioning for a debate they should have some suggestions and not depend upon the moderators to do the leg work to set up the debate. In either case, the debaters should be well studied on the topic and conversant with the literature and objections by the opposing view. It is preferable that debaters be officers in Christ’s church.
  • The Debate Forum will be a publicly viewable forum and each concluded debate thread will be locked at its completion and remain as a “resource”.
  • Only those debating will be allowed to post. All posts must be in accordance with the rules and structure agreed upon for that particular debate.
  • Each debate will have a “debate moderator” through whom all posts from the debaters will pass for posting to the thread for that debate, the goal being that controversies (intemperate language, breaking of agreed upon rules, etc.) will be caught prior to posting and the post not approved until it meets the agreed upon guidelines and the general rules of conduct. The debaters themselves will not have immediate posting rights, nor editing rights to the posts once they are placed in the thread.
  • The completed debate will be the property of the PuritanBoard and copyrighted. This is to preserve all the text in complete context as a whole and to discourage pirating and copying of the material.
  • Whatever structure is agreed upon for the debate, no structure will feature two posts in a row by any contender. Any specific format most incorporate a point/counter-point procedure.
  • Whatever structure is chosen for a particular debate, the debater should follow formal writing etiquette. Cite the opponents post as if writing a formal essay and do not use the quote tag function.
General Rules of Conduct
  • Debaters will follow the PB membership rules as far as their general conduct. Specifically:
  • Each debater agrees that they will conduct themselves in such a way as accords with their profession of faith in Christ, i.e., no personal attacks, no name calling, abusive ad hominems, etc. Irony and temperate ad hominem arguments should be used very sparingly if at all.
  • No plagiarism; if a debater uses sources they all should be documented.
  • Debaters must represent and defend their own view of the question. This is not a debate class where one argues the opposing side for a "learning experience."
General Guidelines for Debate Structure
  • All debates however they are structured as far as number of rounds or exchanges per round, must follow a point-counter point structure. On debates with more than one round, the opponents must alternate the right to the opening post.
  • Spend a lot of thought on the structure of the debate. As a general suggestion for a good debate, divide the arguments and questions up into rounds with a fixed number of exchanges. Handle questions before moving on to the next round.
  • Whatever the structure and procedure of the debate chosen, both sides must assume the burden of proof.
  • There will be no polling “who do you think won the debate” in the other PB forums.
  • There will be no threads started in other forums to discuss the debate while it is ongoing and “open.”
Some considerations to determine in a debate setup:
  • Choice of Debate Moderator
  • The number of rounds.
  • The number of exchanges per round (if questions are allowed).
  • The number of questions relative to the topic of the each round to be allowed and whether questions from PB members will be taken and how (via Private Message to the Moderator or to the debaters directly, etc.).
  • Time allowed for an exchange. We recommend lots of time, but choose a reasonable maximum time to allow.
  • Post length (for example no more than 2500 words/12,000 characters, etc).
  • Allow/disallow/limit number of hyperlinks to outside material.
  • Pick who goes first.

Basic User Guide for Debate Moderator and Debaters

I have used the Article and Review system feature of the board to set this debate forum up.

Debate Moderator:

1. Choose Post New Article
2. Add an appropriate Image to the debate or use the default image. Contact me if you need help (max image size is 200x200)
3. Post the specific rules of the debate (topic, rules, who goes first, etc)
4. Approve debaters replies as they are posted ensuring that the post meets the agreed upon rules for format, legth, decorum, etc. The interface will allow you to moderate their post and approve the post before it is visible.


1. When it is your turn to reply, click Post New Comment or hit reply and type your response.
2. Ensure your post meets the debate guidelines.
3. Submit your reply and the Debate Moderator will approve your post or contact you via PM to modify your reply for content, length, etc....
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