The H2G2 Debating Society

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Welcome, pull up a chair, sit down, and make yourself at home.

I, Lodestone, am your chairman - here to keep order, prompt discussion and be geberally nice and an authority figure.

So, whether you like to argue, complain, moan, pleep, gripe, debate, or if you'd just like a bit of a chat, please, sign up for the Society.

The art of the formal debate

Some of us love a good argument, some of us love to perform - debating fulfills both desires. Its principle is to encourage people to argue, but sticking to intelligent discussion and without throwing fruit and hitting people with point-ed sticks (apologies to Python [Monty] ltd).

Well, ayway, debating takes different forms, but the most widely practiced formal debate proceeds as follows:

The debate consists of two teams of two competitors each, a panel of three judges and a chairman.

The chairman's job is to keep order and encourage the competitors to argue forcefully and well

The judges... judge. At the end of the debate they will sum up the pros and cons of each competitors speech, and pronounce the winner.

The competing teams are the Proposition and Opposition - the Proposition proposing the motion, the Opposition opposing the motion. Each team has two speakers, one of whom presents the arguments and one who backs the arguments. After this, one team member will sum up the main points of the two speeches, and discuss the other teams arguments.

Each debate has a motion that takes the form of "This house believes that..." or "This house would..." Examples: "This house would ban fox hunting", "This house would choose the complete works of Shakespeare over a Playstation 2".

The debate consists of six speeches in the following order:

The first speech for the proposition

The first speech for the opposition

The second speech for the proposition

The second speech for the opposition

The summing-up speech for the opposition

The summing-up speech for the proposition

Often between the second speech for the opposition and the summing-up speech for the opposition there will be a shirt session of "Points form the floor", where the audience present their views. These points can also be discussed in the summing up speech.

The main speeches (the first four) are usually about 6 minutes long, the summing-up speeches usually 3 minutes long

So how are we going to do this online?

Well, to begin with, I want you to sign up to join the society in the forum below!

So, now you've done that, read on.

Regularly, me, the good old Mr Chair, will put up a motion in the "Current Debate" section below, and it will be up to you, the Society members (you mean you're not a meber yet? Sign up!) to put your names forward to either compete or judge the competition. Its up to you whether you wish to be a member of the Proposition (those in favour of the motion) or the Opposition (those against the motion, but remember, its first come, first served.

When we have our two teams of two debaters, and our three judges then the debate begins. The teams will have one week to discuss tactics and submit their speeches to me in the forum below. When all four speeches are in (please get them in on time, if you don't yo're not only letting yourself down, but also your teammate, as the debate will be forfeit) - the speeches (or essays, as we can't hear each other online) should be between 400 and 800 words, but we're looking for quality, not quantity here - there will be a two day period for points from the floor, non-competitors will get a chance to voice their views. After this, the teams will get a further three days to submit, again in the forum below, their summing-up speeches, one for eavh team. Finally, the appointed judges will discuss amongst themselves the winners of the debate, and will then submit their verdict below. Congratulations to the winners, Commiserations to the losers!

Now, we can't have the discussion of tactics and the discussion of winners in the forum below, so teammates and judges will have to communicate via e-mail. As we all know, the e-mail system can be abused, so we need...

Rules and Guidelines


1. Personally, I don't mind strong language, but other people do, so please refrain from swearing.

2. Our members will have to be very trusting and give their e-mail addresses to their teammates. Hopefully this will forge new friendships, but should things go wrong and this system is abused, the offender will be ejected from the society.

As the House Rules say:

Be careful with including email addresses, instant messaging numbers and the like in contributions, and please do not include anyone else's personal details. You may include your own personal email address or instant messaging number in Postings (providing it is acceptable, ie not vulgar or offensive), but please be aware that you are potentially opening yourself up to a lot of email, and possibly spam email too, and you should be absolutely sure that you want people to be able to contact you like this. We recommend you set up a new email account specifically for people to contact you on, if you wish to publicise a contact point. It is not acceptable to publicise anyone else's contact details other than your own, and we will remove any postal addresses or telephone numbers from Postings.

3. Speeches will have to be submited on time. It is incredibly infuriating to have worked for weeks on a speech only for your competitor to not turn up. So, being a member will take dedication and punctuality! A team whose speeches are late will forfeit the debate.

4. Enjoy yourself!

Guidelines for speech writing

1. Speeches should be between 400 and 800 words, give or take a few.

2. Statistics are great in small numbers, and can earn you points from the judges, but be carfeul not to overuse them.

3. Your speeches should have a healthy balance of opinions and facts. Overstating your personal opoinions on a subject leads to bad speech writing, as does leaving out the personal touch.

4. Spelling - while its not essential to have won the Speeling Bee 4 years running, heavy misspelling of words will lose you points.

5. Be lively - don't bore the audience!

6. Co-operate with your teammates - if you both cover the same ground then your speeches wont be as successful.

7. Summing-up speeches should be around 300-500 words, but there can be more leniency here.

8. You can't raise new points while summing-up, only cover thsoe you've already made, arguments put forward by your opponents and points fro the floor.

9. I repeat - enjoy yourself!

Current debate

Motion - This house believes that retaliations against the terrorist attacks on New York were justified

Proposition - Colonel Sellers, paul mc

Opposition - bigfoot_wizzard

Judges - Satan's Pet

Positions free - Opposition member x1, Judge x2

Previous debates

Current members of the Society

Lodestone - Chairman
Colonel Sellers
paul mc
Satan's Pet
Old Uncle Zarniwoop

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