TheRationalDebate is a place to organize your sources, debate real issues, and learn from great arguments on the issues that affect us the most.
This site is for you if:
- You consider yourself rational, and you wouldn't argue an issue without thinking it through first.
- You're open to other opinions on issues. If you were presented with enough evidence, you'd change your mind on the issue.
- You want to learn about all sides of issues - you don't just want to hear one side of the story.
- You may or may not want to debate, but you want to organize your sources, learn, vote, and share the best arguments on issues you care about.
If you don't organize your sources somehow, it can be difficult to come up with great arguments. To remedy this problem, you can create Opinion Boards on your profile once you sign up. You can create as many boards as you want and post anything on the web to your boards. Want to keep track of how you form your opinions on the next Presidential election? Create a board called '2012 Presidential Election'. When you read a great article on the web that makes you say: "hey, I should remember this article when people ask me why I'm voting for X", post the article URL to your board!
If you see an argument on TheRationalDebate that you really like, you can post it to an opinion board by clicking the R icon.
To post any webpage to your opinion board, get the Rational button for your browser. When you're browsing the web and you see something you want to post, use the Rational button to post to your board without ever leaving the site you're on! Check out this post on TheRationalDebate blog to see the Rational button in action.
If your account is connected to Facebook, Opinion Board posts can show up as links on your Timeline. You can turn this on or off every time you post something to an Opinion Board. Check out this post on the TheRationalDebate blog to see how Facebook integration works.
Around here, we'd rather have a few really great arguments on an issue instead of many really bad arguments. So, what makes up a rational argument and debate? Here are some guidelines:
- Think through your argument first. Are you sure you have all the facts?
When asserting something as a fact, be sure to refer back to a reliable and credible source!
You can do this in one of the following ways:
- If the source is on the web, include a link to the webpage in the body of your argument, as well as the name of the source and the author(s), if available.
- If the source is a book, cite the book title, author(s) and page number.
- When composing your argument, strive to eliminate any fallacies.
- If you're asserting something as an opinion, recognize that it's YOUR opinion. It is not a fact, and not everyone will agree with you.
- Respect the arguments and opinions of others. Do not simply put down others' arguments or fall into an ad hominem fallacy.
- Be open to other's arguments. If you have a really strong opinion one way or another on an issue, you should be even more interested in learning about the other side's perspective on the issue. Learn as much as you can. You may end up bolstering your argument, but you also may end up learning something new that changes your mind!
If you don't want to argue issues, that's ok! You can use this site to organize your opinions and learn from the best arguments on the web. Take your time to bookmark your opinions, read arguments from all sides, make up your mind and vote. Share your favorite issues and arguments with your friends!
You can always search for issues using the search box at the top of the site. Just type in the box and press your Enter key or click the search icon, and you'll find a list of issues that match your search. When looking for search results, we currently only look at issues with the search term in the issue title, description and tags. We're working to make the search better in the future, but in the meantime try to make your search broad. For example, if you'd like to search for an issue dealing with the 2012 presidential election, searching for '2012 election' will give you better results versus searching for 'Obama' or 'Romney'.
When you see an issue you're interested in, simply click the issue's title and you'll be taken to the issue's page. Here, you'll be able to see the issue's description, sides to the issue, and current voting results. Under the position list and vote results, the arguments for the top position will be loaded automatically. To load arguments for another position, simply click the position link in the Learn and Vote box. The new set of arguments will be displayed below.
If you see an argument that you really like, you can 'Award' it. Arguments with the most awards show up closer to the top. This way, the top rated arguments are always easily accessible. You can read more about awards below.
Once you've made up your mind on which position, you want to support, be sure to vote! Next to each position on the issue, you'll see a box: . Click this box to cast your vote. Don't worry! If you ever change your mind, you can change your vote.
After voting, be sure to share the issue and any arguments and comments you think are great with your friends. You can share using Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ by clicking the share icons next to the issue, argument, or comment that you want to share. If you want to share this about page to tell your friends how TheRationalDebate works, try the buttons below!
When viewing arguments on an issue, the arguments are sorted based on the number of awards. Issues with more awards are shown before issues with fewer awards. When you see an argument that you think is the best argument for a particular position, award it by clicking the 'award' link on the left side of the argument box. Don't worry, just as in voting on an issue, if you change your mind, you can switch your award to another argument. You can see the number of times an argument has been awarded by looking at the award icon. It will look something like this: x 4
The top rated argument will have a large trophy so that it stands out: x 133
Be careful about handing out awards though - you can only give out one award in a specific position. For example, if the issue is 'Do you think global warming is real?' and there are two positions - 'Yes' and 'No', you can give out two awards. One for the best 'Yes' argument, and one for the best 'No' argument.
Once you've found a great argument to award, be sure to share it with your friends using the Facebook, Twitter or Google+ buttons near the argument. If your friends award it too, the argument will be shown higher in the list! Check out the demo below to see more on how awards work.
We don't like irrational arguments or comments. This website relies on the power of the community to regulate what is shown on the site and what is hidden. If you see an argument or comment that is irrational click the irrational argument at the bottom of the argument: .
When you click the link, a dialog will appear that will let you say why you think the argument or comment is irrational. If enough people in the site community agree with you, the argument or comment will be hidden, and the social sharing buttons will be hidden. Irrational arguments cannot be awarded.
When you mark something as irrational, you must enter comments that explain why you think the item you're marking is irrational. Your comments build a case for hiding the argument or comment from the site, and are taken into account if the owner appeals the decision to mark their argument as irrational. Keep in mind that the argument or comment will not be made irrational right away. If you're the only person who thinks a particular argument is irrational, it's not going to be made irrational.
If one of your arguments or comments is made irrational, your rational percentage (see below) will drop and you'll get an email alert. If this happens to you, don't worry! You can make any necessary updates to your argument and then make an appeal. A site administrator will review your appeal and will mark your argument or comment rational again - assuming it actually is, of course. Check out the Frequently Asked Questions and the demo below for more information.
Every user on this site is given a rationality percentage, which is displayed next to the user's name in parentheses. To calculate a user's rationality percentage, we simply add up the users total number of rational arguments and comments, and divide that by the total number of arguments and comments the user has made. If a user has not made any arguments or comments, then the word 'none' will appear instead of a percentage.