How to get started with Debates
Debates are a great way to explore ideas and share your opinions. Getting involved is really simple. We’ve put together a few guidelines with some hints and tips to make it even easier for you.
- Sign into IGGY and head to the Debate section - it’s in the centre of the top menu.
- This will take you to the Debate homepage, from which you can access a series of discussions that are organised by main topics, e.g. Science or History.
- Here you’ll find some straightforward discussions, along with some challenges as well.
- To enter a debate, simply click on one of the blue subtitles, read the thread and click reply.
There you have it - four quick steps and you’re involved and contributing! We’ve also put together a few hints, tips and rules that will help you along in the forums. These are listed below.
Forum Etiquette (Netiquette)
Long ago, deep in the mists of the past (1994), the modern internet forum was born. It is one of the oldest forms of group communication on the internet, and, as with face to face communications, it has developed a series of rules that, although unwritten in some cases, govern communication on the whole internet. The following is a mix of common sense and common courtesy repackaged for the internet:
- Don’t be a flamer: Flaming is the practice of attacking the person rather than their argument. Remember, IGGY is a place where mutual respect is highly valued. Keep your arguments academic in the Debate forums!
- PEOPLE DON’T LIKE CAPS: For whatever reason, the use of capital letters has become a serious netiquette faux pas. In the absence of facial expression, body language and tone of voice, CAPITAL LETTERS ARE SEEN AS AGGRESSIVE AND SHOUTY. We like to steer clear of them.
- Don’t repost: Remember, read everything in the forum thread and try not to reiterate anything that somebody has already said. If someone has said something similar to the way you feel about an issue, commend them for their view, and add something of your own.
- Stay on Topic: Self-explanatory really!
- Don’t spam: Spamming is posting the same thing again and again. Sometimes people do it to flood a debate if they know they can’t win the argument. Sometimes, it’s somebody trying to advertise something. If you see a spammer, simply report them using the Report button and we’ll chase them down for you.
- Don’t overcomplicate things: Try not to ramble too much (as we’re doing now). Keep your answers as concise as possible.
- Say something: Try to make sure you always add something to the debate with your responses. Things like ‘lol,’ ‘cool’ and other one word responses may seem encouraging, but they tend to push people’s work further down the page.
- Trolling: People are often keen on pushing their luck to upset others on the internet. The feeling of anonymity and sense that no consequences can come of something you post on forums seems to send some people into a bit of a power frenzy. Luckily, the real world is starting to catch up with internet trolls and offenders (like that young fellow who sent nasty Tweets to Tom Daley during the Olympics) are starting to see police action taken against them. Assume that whatever you post on the internet can be read by anybody and everybody. The guideline ‘do to others as you would have them do to you’ rings true on the internet as well as face to face. If you see somebody trolling, report them. Remember: Do not feed the Troll.
- Keep it light: Naturally, all of the IGGY Community Rules apply in the forums, so remember to keep the language appropriate for everybody. We take offensive behaviour seriously, and so should you. If you see anything that makes you or anyone else feel uncomfortable or are worried you’ve upset someone accidentally, send a message to one of the team and we’ll do what we can to help.
- Be welcoming: Don’t be mean to new members (commonly known as newbies), they’re just finding their feet!
Trivia: Godwin’s Law
In 1990, as a part of an experiment in memetics, internet theorist and attorney, Mike Godwin, developed the following theory: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.” In other words, as a debate gets more heated, eventually someone will inevitably compare someone to Hitler or the Nazis.