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Old April 15th, 2013 (10:47 AM). Edited July 5th, 2017 by Nah.
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Discussions & Debates Rules
Welcome to Pokecommunity's principle "Off-Topic" section, where you can find a plethora of discussions about all kinds of world issues - the political, the religious, and so on and so forth. While posting in Discussions & Debates, please read these rules before posting.

Global Rules


Global PC rules apply here including, but not limited to - all posts must adhere to the 4/25 Rule, must stay on the current topic, no double or consecutive posting is allowed, as well as no advertising of a personal or monetary nature, no pornographic or indecent imagery of any kind, under any circumstances, etc.

Trolling


Trolling is unacceptable on PC as a whole, and especially in Discussions & Debates. As the subjects broached here can be personal, deep, or sensitive, you're expected to behave.

Respecting other members


Sometimes, topics like these can get heated or passionate, and that's okay, provided that everyone's being respectful of the other members of the forum. Disrespectful behavior towards another member will not be tolerated. You are here to discuss and help others in a mature, calm, respectful, and tactful manner. Do not be purposefully hostile, offensive, passive aggressive, disrespectful, or resort to personal or ad hominem attacks when interacting with another member in this forum. Treat members with respect and decency, and they will do the same to you.

Discussions & Debates Vs. Off-Topic


Discussions & Debates is intended to house a range of topics, discussed in a certain depth, not found in other sections. While you may see similar topics here and in Off-Topic, threads here are meant to be more in-depth and articulated. For example, discussions about the effects of steroids could go into more ideas like body image issues, use of other enhancing drugs, etc.). Discussions & Debates is meant to house discussions on news and current events, and more "academic" and socio-cultural topics. Off-Topic is meant to house a wider variety of lighter, less in-depth topics that aren't strictly about worldly topics.

Regarding Mature content


As a section that tackles topics about some more adult oriented or "PG-13" topics, Discussions & Debates usually stretches the boundaries of what's appropriate, content wise, on PC. Topics that could be construed as exceeding the PG-13 boundary should be brought to the D&D moderators or a Higher Staff member to be OK'd before being posted. Do not post threads of an explicit, vulgar, or explicitly sexual nature, or any associated content, in the forum.

Feel free to contact gimmepie or Nah with any questions; use the Staff Feedback Thread for any concerns or comments. Happy Posting!
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Old January 19th, 2015 (10:25 AM). Edited 3 Weeks Ago by Nah.
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D&D's Guide to Debate and Discussion


D&D RULES
Discussions and Debates is intended to bring out your scholarly and vocal side, focusing on in-depth discussion and thought-provoking debate on a variety of topics. As such, a certain level of maturity and professionalism is required at all times. Please see the section-specific rules thread for more detailed information on what is and is not allowed.

The following guide outlines some basic principles of debating and arguing for a point, as well as deciding if your thread is concerned a discussion or a debate. These tips are surefire ways to successfully argue for or against a point.

When Posting a Topic...


When posting your topic to D&D, you should consider whether your topic is a debate or a discussion. This will be the foundation for your thread and better help YOU, the topic creator, properly label what you desire from the thread.
A debate is "a formal discussion on a particular topic, in which opposing arguments are put forward." [1]

A discussion is "the action or process of talking about something, typically in order to reach a decision or to exchange ideas." [2]
You should ask yourself which of the two categories your topic falls under and pose your question(s) as such.

Some examples of debatable topics include:
Are video games harmful to society? | Is education a right? | Is democracy truly freedom?
These types of topics generally have pro-sides and con-sides, can be sourced with scholarly articles, statistics, and journalistic sources, and are not as open to free-flowing discussion.

Some examples of discussion-based topics include:
Strippers: trashy or respect? | "Be a man" | Coming out | 14 year old sibling wants to have sex
These types of topics are generally opinion-based, have little necessity for sourcing (though it is always recommended when taking information from any source that is not yourself), and rely more often on the back-and-forth between participants as they discuss their views.

When Participating in a Debate...


Being a successful debater takes time, effort, and skill. It also requires a willingness to accept other arguments and points, even if they do not coincide with your own. Also of value is the ability to not only argue for your point of view, but also to know what arguments there are against it. This is a valuable tool in crafting a well-thought out debate and point. When you begin to participate in a debate topic, you should accomplish the following:
State your side of the argument clearly and concisely. [3]
"Video games are harmful to society."
Explain your side of the argument using reason and common sense. [3]
"Video games are harmful to society because there are studies linking video gaming and homicide rates."
Elaborate on your claims. [3] If you state a fact or statistic, it NEEDS a source!
"Video games are harmful to society because there are studies linking video gaming and homicide rates. A study by John Smith of Harvard University concluded 50% of homicides were linked to video game usage."
or
"Video games are harmful to society because studies linked 50% of homicides to video game usage. (John Smith's Harvard study linked here)"
For more information on sourcing, visit Princeton's guide. Princeton's guide on the importance of acknowledging sources is valuable to read through as well.
Do your due diligence!
Sourcing Wikipedia, your friend's dad that works at Nintendo, and other inappropriate sources is not permitted! All sources must come from scholarly articles, journalistic articles, or government statistics pages.

A few of the best places to locate sources are:
Google Scholar | EBSCOHost | LexisNexis
If you're a student, these scholarly search databases should be free for you to use through your school's website. Google Scholar is free regardless and works well if not.

It is perfectly acceptable to use news and info sources. The following are some reputable options available to you:
IDEA | BBC | New York Times | The Guardian | Al Jazeera
When looking at numbers and statistics, it is often best to get that information straight from government statistics websites:
USA Data & Stats | USA Census Stats | USA Federal Stats
For US statistics, be aware of the URL you are sourcing, as the most (and often only) reliable statistics come from .gov addresses. If you have an international (and reliable) source for statistics, such as a government website, PM me and I can check it out (and possibly add it here).
If you remember to S.E.E.D. (State, Explain, Elaborate, Diligence), your posts will contain all the necessary and reliable information to help you make your argument clearly, intelligently, and accurately.

When Participating in a Discussion...


A discussion topic is much less stringent on sourcing, but as advised above, it is always proper etiquette to source any outside article you acquire information from. Once again, take a look at Princeton's guide for acknowledging sources to see the value in doing so.

What sets D&D apart from Off-Topic, Entertainment & Media, and other sections that share themes in your topic is that those areas focus on the superficial details. That is not to say that they are meaningless, but D&D posts should always focus on the underlying and deeper discussion. In a topic on hacking in Science & Technology, it may focus on the technical aspect of hacking with some light talk on the consequences of hacking. In a topic on hacking in D&D, you should choose to focus your post on the political fallout, social implications, or the deeper discussion. [4]
Some things to consider when discussing a topic in D&D:
Find balance in your ideas. Consider the various aspects and implications of a topic before posting.

Respect the beliefs and opinions of others, even if you disagree.

Intelligently state your views and opinions. Avoid poor use of language and insults. If you're posting in D&D, you're seeking a valuable discussion or debate, so remember that before you post things like:
"I don't need to go into detail about this stupid topic." Actually, you do!

"idk what this is about." Do some research.

Is posting a .gif or meme an acceptable response?
These are real responses in D&D and they are not the sort of things we want to see here. If you're here, try to speak with some level of professionalism, maturity, and tact. Having fun and being goofy is fine, but try to make sure your posts have some soundness.

When Displaying Maturity and Professionalism...


Consider that you will not always (or ever) change someone's opinion or beliefs. As a debater, your job is not to convince another person to change their views but to provide substance and validity to your own. If you remember to be mature and professional when responding to an argument, your own view and argument will remain viable. By resorting to attacks, ad hominem or other fallacies, and general misbehavior, you only negate your premise, ideas, and research, as well as looking foolish.

Keep in mind the forum-wide rules, while recognizing the heated and passionate nature of debate. Respect yourself and others at all times for the best results and you may just come away with a little more knowledge and a lot more respect for the craft of debating.


1. Definition of debate taken from Oxford English Dictionary.
2. Definition of discussion taken from Oxford English Dictionary.
3. Witzmann, Marco. "How can I become good at debating?" Quora. 16 August, 2012 updated. 17 January, 2015 retrieved. Concepts used (S.E.E.) and retooled with more appealing language.
4. Livewire. "The Debates and Discussions Rules" ThePokeCommunity. 17 January, 2015 published. 17 January, 2015 accessed.
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Old January 19th, 2015 (10:30 AM). Edited August 5th, 2016 by Nah.
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Resources



When making threads in this section, it's always a good idea to get your information from reputable places and to cite information to back up your points. Below is a list of websites that usually have good sources of news and information, over a wide array of topics that usually get covered here, predominately news, politics, science, etc. You don't have to use these when you make threads, and they are not the only credible sources, but it's a quick way to find good info and it's great if you need a thread idea for this section.


News
BBC News
Al Jazeera
CNN
Think Progress
NBC News
The New York Times
The Nation
The Guardian

Scientific
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [For Weather and Climate]
National Aeronautics and Space Administration [For Astronomy]
United States Geological Survey [For Geology]
American Psychology Association [For Psychology]

Other
International Debate Education Association [For Debate Topics]
United States Bureau of Economic Analysis [For US Economy matters]


While there are plenty of good sources out there to use, there are also plenty of poor sources as well, and it's best to avoid these when engaging in debate. A few examples are:

-Fox News
-Youtube videos made by relatively unknown persons that do not provide or mention credible sources
-Any website with a clearly biased name and/or run by an organization with a clear bias

Please keep in mind though that very few sources are truly and completely unbiased, so it's usually best to use more than one source and to take all sources with a grain of salt.


Have any other reputable sites you use? PM Nah or gimmepie so they can be added here!
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Old May 8th, 2016 (10:21 PM). Edited July 1st, 2017 by Nah.
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Tips from the regulars!



Below is some friendly advice from some helpful members of our community. If you have some tips of your own, PM them to gimmepie or Nah and they might appear here.

From Esper...
Quote:
Your post doesn't need to be long, but it doesn't hurt to use examples to help make it clear what you're trying to say, whether you mean to explain better when someone doesn't understand you or misunderstands you, or you're trying to convince someone of the strength of your argument.

Similarly, it doesn't hurt to ask questions about what someone's said to get more information or get clarification on the point they're trying to make. It's easy to get angry and heated when someone assumes you meant something that you didn't intend to mean.

But on that note, since discussions can get long and technical, sometimes people will come to different conclusions than you do based on the same evidence or argument or thought process. Everyone comes to these discussions from their own point of view and with their own knowledge and experience. What might seem like a natural conclusion or a simple answer to you isn't always going to be how someone else sees it. That can cause emotions to flare, but sometimes you have to agree to disagree to keep from fighting unnecessarily.

From Midnight Shadow...
Quote:
My first piece of advice when debating is leave emotion at the door. Or in other words, argue with the post, not the person behind it. There will often be times where someone says something you don't like or don't agree with, but the worst thing you can do at that point is start insulting the person based on what they said. And definitely don't take what someone said in one thread and let it cloud your judgement in another thread.

My other piece of advice is don't be a grammar/vocabulary nazi. What I mean is don't call someone out for mispelling a word or not wording a sentence correctly, especially if you are doing it just to try and prove someone wrong in an argument. That kind of behaviour is petty and doesn't belong here. If you didn't understand what someone wrote, ask them but don't just start insulting them over it.

From Her...
Quote:
Information is nothing if not accessible. While helpful with people on par with your level of understanding, you can't expect everyone to be well versed in all academia or even care about it. Jargon is named as such for a reason. Accessibility is the cornerstone of learning and debating - how can you teach someone if they cannot connect to what you are saying? How you can interact with them? Of course, everyone should make efforts to improve themselves, certainly. But not everyone has the same experiences, opportunities, level of education and so forth. No one will give a flying psyduck if they're cut off from the point of understanding. Tailor your debate to the needs of the discussion itself, not what makes you look good.
If you can't do that, then maybe your point isn't as strong you think it is.

Another thing I was thinking about is that most good debates eventually come down to draws, or stand-offs if that's more likely. This is natural if you are not grossly more competent than those you are debating against. Particularly in here when we are mostly young, college-age students with relatively equal skills. Ivysaur is a journalist so he grinded way too hard for the boss fight, but he's an outlier. An outlier with a very high exp level. Anyway, my point is that when it comes down to a point where either side isn't making much advancement, you should start thinking about what can you say that will further the debate and open up new points of discussion, rather than explicitly fighting for what you think is right. You will only get so far if you do not look for ways to vary your debate. Find a way to move to a new battlefield instead of digging trenches. It'll make the debate more interesting for everyone involved.

From Sun...
Quote:
My advice: Be well prepared from time to time and keep on learning.

Practice a good reading habit! Read more materials, from news articles to books, or even materials published by a person you are not fond of (to expose yourself to different views). While not a necessity, it would be great if you can recall the materials' title for citations in the future.

Learn about the topic, learning doesn't necessarily mean cramming the information. When you are engaged in a debate, you can't just simply emphasize your own views and points; You should, at least, need to know the opposition's (basic yet detailed) ideas and points. It's kind of like lawyers' in court -- when the prosecution brings up an Article, the attorney should have a basic idea what the Article is about. Therefore, it is important to learn about the topic and to absorb knowledge.
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