Today, I’m going to briefly overview how to create arguments on TheRationalDebate. It’s easy! First, if you haven’t watched it already, there is a video on the about page that will show you how to find issues that interest you.
While you’re browsing these issues, start to think about the reactions you have for the different topics, positions, and arguments. For a lot of the issues, you may already know which position you will vote for. The more important question though, is why? For example, if someone came up to you and said, “Why should (or shouldn’t) Senator / Congressperson / Governor X be president”, what would you tell him/her? The answer to this question is the basis for your argument. In today’s society, where people argue issues via sound bites, attack ads, or fallacious arguments, I think that well thought out arguments are much more convincing and worthwhile. This isn’t only true for the presidential election this year, but also for global warming, the energy crisis, and whether or not the government should be doing more to reduce the rich/poor gap.
If you’ve made it this far, the hard part is over. Actually creating the argument on TheRationalDebate is easy. For the sake of this article, let’s say you want to argue for a candidate for the 2012 presidential election. To start creating your argument, simply go to the issue page and click the ‘Add an Argument’ button below the voting area:
The page that appears will give you some pointers on how to create a good argument, and a link will be available to show the argument form. The first piece of information to fill out is what side you’re arguing for:
The select box will default for you based on what you were reading previously, but you can change it. Next, give your argument any title you like. Your actual argument will go in the box labeled ‘Text’ below.
While writing your argument, you may find it helpful for you to use the formatting buttons available in the toolbar. Beyond the typical bold, italics, and underline formatting tools, you can also add links, bulleted lists, numbered lists and quotes. Use the button to quote text from other sources. This way we’ll know to display the quoted text differently in the context of your argument. While writing your argument, you can also use the button to put the editor in full screen! Just click it again to go back to normal. When you’re finished, click the ‘Add Argument’ button to save and add your argument to the site.
Once your argument is on the site, you’ll want to get other members to award it. We’ll keep track of your awards count next to a trophy icon like this: x 23. Why is this important? If there’s more than one argument on the page, we order the arguments based on the number of awards, so use the Twitter, Google+, and Facebook sharing controls to share your argument with your friends!