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A good debate question

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--arti--

Goldie

--arti--

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Posted: 21 October 2012 at 4:28pm | IP Logged
A good debate question should not be a yes or no question. It should instead draw out quality contributions and exchanges. It should be open-ended, thought provoking, and it should invite  responses that may involve well-formed arguments rather than off the cuff, instantaneous response. A good debate question might therefore not necessarily be heavily polarizing (involving two opposite sides or camps), but may seek to explore the complexity of an issue.

The person posing the question or set of questions would ideally provide some context around why they're asking that question. Some might wish to share their own thoughts on the issue, and perhaps offer some explanations as to why they hold a particular stance. Some might share why they think an issue is relevant or worthy of debate, perhaps due to recent events or by offering statistics that show a certain pattern or trend worth examining.

On that note, a thoughtful response to a debate might actually question the question, and that's totally cool too.

Asking a good question is a way of saying that you expect more from people than bumper-stickerisms. It's good to keep expectations high, generally speaking. You never know when people are going to surprise you.

Some people show their cards when they participate in a debate, revealing their own biases and views. For example, if you're asking a question about gender norms, you might state your own gender if it's not already obvious. Similarly if you're talking about caste, you might want to share your caste/affiliation or how you are normally caste-profiled. I really value when people show their cards, because subjective knowledge is really important, and it is a way of saying that we are not neutral. We have certain positions and experiences that influence our knowledge and understanding of an issue. It's a way of stating that it's not just so-called impartial experts who can analyze an issue, but that popular knowledge, or knowledge of the people, to put it another way, is just as important in understanding social realities. This subjective aspect is one of my favourite parts of debating. It shows me that exchanges are important, regardless of how well you think you know a topic, because the subjective kwnowledge someone can bring to a topic will always enrich it one way or another. I also like this because I like relating debates to the real world.

I just wanted to post this because I think there are some threads here that are really not debates, but more like the general airing of views and sentiments, some of them repetitive. Feel free to share your own thoughts about this or share what you like about debating.


Edited by --arti-- - 21 October 2012 at 4:34pm

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Forever-KA

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Posted: 21 October 2012 at 4:48pm | IP Logged
Okay I am editing it to keep this a serious debate. Sorry for my assessment of Debate Mansion.


Edited by King-Anu - 21 October 2012 at 5:25pm

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Posted: 21 October 2012 at 5:59pm | IP Logged
A good debate question is hard to find. Even if you find it, the difficult part is getting people to plunge into the debate. Were this a debate club, a classroom, or any group geared to learning and discussing, questions and debates would flow more easily.

However, India Forums is primarily a means for people to come and discuss their favorite shows and movies. They come here to pass time, meet people, share interests and have fun. Very few curiously wander into the Debate Mansion realm. I'm more of an anomaly in IF. My primary home has always been in Debate Mansion. Although I joined because of Indian Idol, I only joined so I could read spoilers. Otherwise, it used to be difficult for me to gush or discuss these shows, seemingly with no end. Even now I'm kind of debating or trying to pick a serious analysis when I post in other sections.

I like debating because I'm a dork that way. I like learning, questioning, probing and being questioned at probed. I like to see how views change or evolve. Sometimes I see patterns in how people think or behave. And yes sometimes it is because I'm just being a stubborn asshole who likes to argue for the sake of arguing or "winning". After all aren't we human beings.



I've noticed that it is challenging to find good topics or engage people on India Forums
- Debating or learning is not why they are here
- Most people know the Yes/No, Like/Dislike, Agree/Disagree but really have not given much thought into how and why they feel that way. What their rationale behind perspectives is. They have never analyzed their stance or that of others
- People find confrontation uncomfortable. They take disagreement to be personal or spiteful in nature. They don't find it possible to still be friends and vehemently argue on a topic. In most forums here if you dislike or disagree with someone it automatically tends to put you in some "enemy camp"
- Some people lack the confidence to engage in such discussion. They think they are not intellectual enough or might sound foolish. Some people just have been conditioned not to have an opinion but go with the flow

So usually it starts with baby steps. A lot of time with something simple like Yes/No, Like/Dislike followed by gentle probing. Ultimately I think it is only masochistic dorks who debate with high frequency. Not everyone's idea of a great time is getting probed and questions, having arguments shredded to bits, spending time researching, thinking, and typing. LOL

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Posted: 21 October 2012 at 11:33pm | IP Logged

A good debate exchange knowladge,a good deabate depend on proof, argument, logic...otherwise its a compromise between fighting and running away & you simply waste your energy and time...Whether you decide God exists or not makes no difference...u have to eat twice a day, u have to cover up ur a$$ when it is too cold & you have to move in the shade when it is too hot whether you decide God exists or not, it makes no difference... Life consists of God of small things...but one thing I just wanna say, nothing sucks more than that moment during an debate when you realize you are wrong...Big smile



Edited by Prometeus - 21 October 2012 at 11:34pm

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Posted: 22 October 2012 at 3:27am | IP Logged
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--arti--

Goldie

--arti--

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Posted: 22 October 2012 at 9:44am | IP Logged
Yeah, I am fully aware that India Forums is not a place where people come to for "serious debate." But like I said in my post, I don't believe that only serious people or academics should debate, or that debate should only happen in serious forums.

I actually really enjoy the subjective knowledge and real life experience that people can bring to debate. Debates are too often abstracted out of so called lay people's experiences as if they can only conducted by people with formal credentials. I don't really buy that, which is why this place can potentially facilitate debates in a way that other forums that are dedicated for more serious discussion can't. Debate in unlikely places can produce challenging and interesting exchanges, too. So I guess I am not interested in that separation of "serious/smart people" and "lay people."

returntohades, I agree with some of the reasons you have listed for why people might not really be interested in participating in debates in this particular case.

But a lot of people do post here, and that is something.


Edited by --arti-- - 22 October 2012 at 9:46am

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return_to_hades

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Posted: 23 October 2012 at 10:26am | IP Logged
Originally posted by --arti--

Yeah, I am fully aware that India Forums is not a place where people come to for "serious debate." But like I said in my post, I don't believe that only serious people or academics should debate, or that debate should only happen in serious forums.


I agree completely. You don't need credentials to debate. All you need to participate is have your own opinion. But that also entails the ability to defend and explain an opinion. Lay people are not used to being probed and that is why leave debates to the serious people. 

Originally posted by --arti--

I actually really enjoy the subjective knowledge and real life experience that people can bring to debate. Debates are too often abstracted out of so called lay people's experiences as if they can only conducted by people with formal credentials. I don't really buy that, which is why this place can potentially facilitate debates in a way that other forums that are dedicated for more serious discussion can't. Debate in unlikely places can produce challenging and interesting exchanges, too. So I guess I am not interested in that separation of "serious/smart people" and "lay people."


I don't agree with the separation in terms of "lay people" and "smart people". But I've noticed on IF, in debates, some sort of separation happens. I would rather call the separation between "Debaters" and "non-debaters". There are many smart people who just don't like engaging in argument, don't like questioning or being questioned. There are also many foolish people who will argue for the sake of it, running in circles.



Originally posted by --arti--

returntohades, I agree with some of the reasons you have listed for why people might not really be interested in participating in debates in this particular case.

But a lot of people do post here, and that is something.


Yes, people do participate and that is something. The trickiest part is to get everyone interested and involved. On a platform like IF the debate framework needs to be toned down to be lighter and more inclusive so more people find it fun and interesting. That is very difficult. Sometimes when I am debating an issue I am passionate about, I will get very critical and aggressive. It is hard to tone that down and it is hard to make people comfortable and engage in a heated environment. DM is my home on IF, and I would love for it to be more active because there actually is so much to learn, share, debate and discuss about.


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Posted: 05 March 2013 at 3:27pm | IP Logged
Bump.

(because it's relevant).

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