Structured debate/rules/meta

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In the event that anyone disagrees with existing rules for structured debate, they are free to suggest their own -- but there are certain non-negotiable criteria which must be met in order to ensure that any rule-set promotes rational discourse.

These meta-rules, then, are the goals which the current debate rules were intended to satisfy:

  • It must be possible to challenge the rules while staying within them (i.e. the rules must not somehow place themselves "off-limits" for discussion).
  • It must be possible to determine, at any given moment, which items are agreed upon and which are still in dispute.
  • It should be easy to detect when a debater is changing the subject rather than answering a point. In other words, the context surrounding any given response should make it clear what point is being responded to.
  • It should be possible to "unbundle" any point which involves a chain of suppositions (i.e. depends upon multiple sub-points) so that the individual suppositions can be discussed separately.