The internet isn’t particularly conducive to debate, is it? When you try to voice an opinion on social media, you quickly get a thousand screaming voices. But do not worry; there are a few havens for intellectual debate, where logic reigns supreme.
These are some of the best debate sites on the internet, each serving as a platform for arguments in different ways. Some allow one-on-one debate, while others open up your position to anyone. There are even sites where you can read a fascinating exchange between two experts on a subject. No matter which path you choose, you will expand your view of the world.
1. DebateArt (Web): Challenge anyone to a one-on-one debate
If you’re looking to engage in a classic one-on-one debate with an opponent, DebateArt is the best place for such arguments. Any registered user can start a discussion topic and start an open challenge, which any other registered user can join.
Then you engage in four rounds of debate. Starting with the initiator, each party presents their definitions, opinions, references and arguments in a large comment post, which the other party then contradicts. You can quote your opponent’s lines, add links, and use formatting to make your comment easier to read. And above all, stay civil and cerebral, don’t get personal or vicious with language.
All of this behavior and presentation is important for voting. After the debates are over, readers can vote to decide who won. Points are awarded for arguments, sources, spelling and grammar, and conduct. Once the voting period is over, a winner is announced.
Readers can also participate in the debate by adding their own comments. This helps to deepen the discussion and bring up points not covered by the original debaters. And you can join more discussions and debates in active online forums. As DebateArt says, their best feature is their community.
2. r/changemyview (Web): Best Subreddit for Debates and Arguments
Given its reputation for trolls and flippant comments, who would have thought that Reddit would be a safe place for thoughtful internet debate and discussion? But that’s exactly what the r/ChangeMyView (CMV) community has built, with a combination of rules, hands-on moderation, and top-down voting comments.
Anyone is free to post on CMV to start a discussion by making a definitive statement about your opinions or beliefs, which you challenge someone to counter. While it’s important to advocate for yourself, the idea is to go into it with an open mind so that someone can eventually change your point of view. It is important to clearly state your own case; otherwise, it is quite easy for others to poke holes.
You’ll quickly see comments with reasoned, logical arguments and well-researched debates with links for further reading. When a comment changes someone’s opinion, the opinion changer rewards the original with a “Delta” tag and explains why that comment changed their opinion. It’s a way to find the best comments that make the goal of the community: to change your mind.
best to go through VMC Wiki and rules before you start posting, as there are great guidelines on how to avoid stating positions in a way where you risk losing the argument. Also, there are no-no’s that will get your comment deleted or rejected.
Generally speaking, it’s a hospitable environment and ranks as one of the most sociable subreddits.
3. Kialo (Web): Best Website for Organized Two-View Debates
Kialo is a platform specially designed to host debates between two opposing points of view. It is packed with features that allow commentators and readers to address different issues and topics of an argument in an orderly format.
Each debate begins with a definitive statement and is divided into columns for and against. Any registered user can add their comment on either side. Readers vote on how much the dot affects the original position, and the comment is moved up and down accordingly.
Kialo has a unique system of links between the branches which allows for better debates. Sometimes a point in the Cons can be a debate against two in the Pros. So users (through moderators) can link these comments into their own branch, creating a clean string for people to understand which points are arguing against each other.
Each Pro or Con point may have further comments by users for extensions by readers on the subject. You can also see all recent activity on the right. Feel free to browse featured or popular topics on Kialo or create your own after signing up.
4. Debate Island (Web): Create debate clubs and organize formal or informal debates
Sites like ChangeMyView and Kialo offer an informal debate format with some classic debate formats and rules. Debate Island allows anyone to hold debates in the classic structure, but also leaves room for freewheeling arguments.
Debates have a standard format depending on the type you choose, and you can attach polls to each topic you create. In general, you will find three types of debates:
- Casual: The “Casual” and “Persuade Me” debate types are for those who want to state a premise and then discuss it, or even change their opinion about it. It is open and more similar to ChangeMyView.
- Formalize: The “Formal” debate allows you to chat online with an unlimited number of users. This happens over 1-3 timed rounds, which you set when creating the debate. This is followed by a 24 hour voting period, after which a winner is announced.
- Official: The “traditional” debate and the “Lincoln-Douglas” debate adhere to the established rules and standards of these formal debating styles. These two debates are one-on-one, followed by a voting period.
Debate Island encourages users to create debate clubs, which can even be used for classrooms. The website also has a prediction AI called Debra, which analyzes comments for arguments, sources, grammar and conduct, then determines which comment is likely to win the debate.
5. ProCon (Web): Britannica Debate Platform for Researched Arguments
ProCon is another type of debate platform, where certified researchers and authors present a debate with reasoned arguments from both sides. It’s a non-profit organization run by Britannica (the company behind Encyclopedia Britannica), promising to be non-partisan, trustworthy and educational.
As the name suggests, every debate on ProCon is presented in two columns of pros and cons. Each point is researched and accompanied by citations for any references it contains, such as legal decisions, research papers, and news articles. Each point has a premise clearly stated in a sentence at the beginning and then developed further.
The format makes it easy to read and understand. ProCon also states that its design style wants to create “beneficial confusion” that causes readers to wrestle with well-presented opposing positions, causing them to rethink their notions and perhaps discover that you are wrong.
And just because the average internet user can’t make their own case doesn’t mean you can’t participate in the ProCon process. ProCon invites readers to send in questions and topics for future debates. And, of course, you can always join the comments section under any debate to submit your thoughts and debate with others.
Don’t take the debates personally
All of the aforementioned sites encourage good behavior and conduct by debaters. A good rule of thumb to make sure you stay civil is to never take any arguments personally and never say anything about another person. If you stick to the topic and the words, rather than who says them or trying to figure out their meaning, you’ll make better arguments and win arguments.
How to Respond to False Arguments on the Internet [Stuff to Watch]
About the Author