About DART: Resources for New Members

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Welcome to DebateArt.com!

This thread has organized various useful resources geared particularly for members who are new to the community. To get the most out of your DebateArt.com (DART) experience, please familiarize yourself with this information.


I. Index

  • Site Administration     .     .     .     .     .     .     Post 1
  • Frequently Asked Questions  .     .     .     .     Post 1
  • Site Jargon     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     Post 2
  • Debate Jargon      .     .     .     .     .     .     .     Post 2
  • Debating   .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     Post 3
  • Mafia   .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     Post 3
  • Voter Resources   .     .     .     .     .     .     .     Post 4
  • Moderation and Site Information   .     .     .     Post 4
  • Conclusion      .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     Post 5


II. Site Administration

You might be wondering who to contact if you have questions or concerns. Below I've written the names of the site's administrative team, as well as the names of the moderators for the site's official Discord. They are good points of contact for you in every respect, and if there is something you need, do not hesitate to reach out to them.

Site Owner: DebateArt.com

Chief Moderator: bsh1
Deputy Moderator: Virtuoso

Assistant Moderator for Special Cases: Castin
Assistant Moderator for Voting: Ramshutu
Assistant Moderator for Voting: [coming soon]

Discord Moderator and Liaison: SupaDudz
Discord Moderator and Liaison: Vaarka
Discord Moderator and Liaison: triangle.128k



III. Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are there rules for site conduct?
A: Yes. Treating all users with respect is important for a site premised on rational disagreement. For a complete list of voting policies, see the site Rules and Code of Conduct.

Q: How do I report misconduct?
A: If you want to report a post, debate comment, or debate click the flag icon which corresponds to the item you wish to report. If you want to report something else, if the matter is urgent, or if you're uncertain, message a moderator privately and directly with your concerns. Moderation will address the situation as soon as they can.

Q: Are there rules for voting on the site?
A: Yes. Fair voting is important for a site premised on debate. For a complete list of voting policies, see the site Rules and Code of Conduct.

Q: How do I report a bad vote?
A: Click the flag icon in the upper right hand corner of the vote. Moderation will review the report as soon as they can.

Q: What happens when I report something?
A: Moderation examines the report, assess what, if any action should be taken, and takes that action. You are not necessarily told what the outcome of the report was, nor do you have any right to such information.

Q: Can I appeal a moderator's decision?
A: That depends. You can ask a moderator to reconsider their decision, and you can appeal the decisions of the Deputy and Assistant Moderators to the Chief Moderator, but the Chief Moderator's rulings are not subject to appeal.

Q: Can I have multiple accounts?
A: No. You may not have multiple accounts, nor may you have access to more than one account.

Q: How does one become a site moderator?
A: One may become a moderator if appointed to the position by the site owner or the chief moderator.

Q: How do I have my post deleted?
A: You may have your post deleted by contacting a moderator directly to request that your post be deleted.

Q: Can I change my username?
A: No, unless your username itself violates site policy, in which case you will have to change your username to be in accordance with site policy.

Q: What is a MEEP?
A: A MEEP (Moderation Engagement and Enactment Processes) is a process by which the users can vote on proposals submitted to them by moderation. It is a kind of referendum, where users can help guide site policy through democratic consensus and deliberation.

Q: Does DART moderation have power over DART's discord?
A: There is a moderation team on DART's official Discord which is primarily responsible for ensuring that the rules of that site are enforced. While DART's moderation team does not operate on Discord, we do have the authority to punish users here for misconduct they engaged in on DART's official Discord. A user who engages in misconduct on the Discord can therefore be punished by the moderators there and by the moderators here for the same action, depending on its severity.

IV. Site Jargon

  • DART - DebateArt.com
  • Full Forfeit - a debate in which a debater (or both debaters) have forfeited all or all but one of their rounds
  • FF - depending on the context, either a forfeit or a full forfeit
  • IRL - in real life, that is, in the world outside of this site or the internet more generally
  • Kfc - often used as filler if a post is too short or all numeric, or as a phrase which calls attention to the absurdity of the post above
  • Nac - not all caps, often used as filler if a post is too short or all numeric
  • Noob-sniping - the act of an experienced or established user deliberately taking on debates with new (often inexperienced users) to inflate their own win/loss record
  • OP - depending on the context, either the original post or the original poster of a thread
  • PM - a private/direct message
  • Votebomb - a vote which is cast without sufficient explanation, without regard for the content of the debate, or which is literally nonsensical; generically: any bad, biased, or unfair vote


V. Debating Jargon

  • Advocacy - the primary position or central argument of a debater
  • Burden of Proof (BOP) - the obligation to prove an assertion or claim
  • Card - a piece of evidence taken from an outside source, usually a quote
  • Case - the speech which outlines the position each debater will defend in the debate
  • Claim - the assertion that a debater makes in an argument
  • Con - the debater arguing against the resolution (sometimes referred to as the Negative or Neg)
  • Constructive - a speech in which a debater presents, rather than attacks or defends, a case
  • Contention - an individual argument which may be further subdivided into related arguments or subpoints
  • Counterplan - a plan offered by the Con debater as an alternative to the Pro debater's advocacy
  • Disadvantage (Disad) - an argument which identifies a disadvantage to an opponent's case or argument
  • Double-bind - a dichotomous situation in which, either way, a debater must accept that negative consequences will occur in their world
  • Drop - an unrebutted argument, that is, an argument which is not responded to
  • Extension - the act of advancing a drop through to the next speech
  • Fiat - a debater's right to assume that their advocacy will actually happen
  • Framework - the standard plus any observations, definitions, or overviews which attempt to define and clarify the scope of the debate
  • Ground - the argumentative space which is allotted to a specific debater
  • Impact - the upshot of an argument (how it is relevant and how it moves the needle)
  • Impact Turn - turning the impact of an argument by suggesting the converse (e.g. if Pro says that impact A is good, Con impact turns by saying that that impact A is actually bad)
  • Inherency - a barrier that exists in the status quo which prevents a plan from being actualized or implemented
  • Kritik - an argument which challenges an assumption being made within the resolution
  • Link - links connect particular impacts to the advocacy or to particular arguments
  • Non-unique - an argument which lacks uniqueness
  • Permutation (Perm) - subsuming an opponent's advocacy into one's own, whether in whole or in part
  • Plan - a specific course of action being taken by Pro in order to implement the resolution (e.g. a plan to institute universal healthcare might be a single-payer health scheme)
  • Pro - the debater arguing in favor of the resolution (sometimes referred to as the Affirmative or Aff)
  • Reason for Decision (RFD) - the justification a voter gives for the points they assign
  • Rebuttal - a speech in which a debater attacks or defends, rather than presents, a case
  • Solvency - the ability of an argument to fix problems identified in the resolution or by the debater
  • Specification (Spec) - an argument that a debater must specific the actions they intend to take or the conditions in which they intend to take certain actions
  • Standard/Criterion - the mechanism by which arguments are assessed for their strength/weight and relevance (usually part of the framework) (sometimes called the "weighing mechanism").
  • Subpoint - an sub-argument within a broader contention
  • Theory - an argument which appeals to what the rules of the debate should be (often preceding the debate itself and often appealing to pre-debate values of fairness, education, etc.). Theory arguments ("shells") entail several discrete parts: an interpretation (interp) of what debates should look like, an identified violation of the interpretation by the opponent, and a standard to measure violations.
  • Topicality - the relevance of an argument to the resolution (i.e. the topic of the debate)
  • Turn - an argument which shows how an opponent's argument or position actually supports your side of the debate
  • Uniqueness - a state in which something can only happen in your world
  • Warrant - a support for an argument; a warrant may be a card or may be logic
  • Weigh - to compare the relative strength of arguments, particularly against a standard
  • World - the hypothetical world/universe in which a debater's advocacy is implemented in full


236 days later
VI. Debating

This section provides some very generic advice for debating on DART. Not all of this advice is universally applicable, and exceptions do exist. More detailed information, including links to sample debates, can be found in the Official Guide to Debating and Tournaments below.

Debating typically begins in the first round of the debate. The rules of the debate, as well as the exact topic or resolution up for debate, should be made clear in the debate's full description or title. In order to avoid accusations of plagiarism or of evidence fabrication or misrepresentation, debaters should cite sources in the debate itself. This can be done by either posting or embedding the link in the debate.

Clear formatting and readability are also important for voters; voters are more likely to vote on debates which they find readable and are also more likely to understand those debates better. Using headings and subheadings where appropriate, avoiding overly cluttered or dynamic structures and presentations, and writing clearly and concisely will help. Always proofread.

It is considered good etiquette to avoid posting or linking to pictures of text in order to circumvent the character limits imposed on the debate. It also important to avoid using ad hominem arguments against your opponent and to avoid expanding the debate into the comments section either by continuing the arguments there or by posting sources for the debate there. 

For more information about debate and debating, as well as ideas for debate topics, consult these links:


Mafia is a game which is often played in the games forum of the site. All are free to participate (typically after going through a beginners' series). To explain a bit more about the game, in mafia there are usually two teams: the town and the mafia. The town group is the largest, but town players are not told the identities of other town players (townies). Mafia is the smallest group, but they typically know each other's identities and can communicate with each other.

The game is played in cycles, and each cycle is divided into two phases--a Day Phase and a Night Phase. In the day phase, players talk publicly about the game in an effort to determine who among them is mafia. Players may choose to eliminate ("lynch") a player by public vote during the DP. Town's goal is to remove all mafia from the game. In the night phase, mafia collectively decides on a townie to kill in an effort to become the majority of living players in the game.

While the game is more complex than this brief description can explain, it is a highly enjoyable activity and one I can personally recommend. If you're interested in mafia, please check out the games forum!

For more information about mafia and its rules and gameplay consult these links:


VIII. Voter Resources

This section provides some very generic advice for debating on DART. Not all of this advice is universally applicable, and exceptions do exist. More detailed information in the links below and, especially, in the "DART Rules and Code of Conduct" and "Moderation Extended Policies and Interpretations" documents.

In order to vote well, a voter must have thoroughly and careful read the debate, and must feel as if they comprehend most of what is going on in the debate itself. Voters should not take into account things outside of the debate, including their own opinions on the topic, their own opinions of the arguments present, other votes or RFDs, and drama elsewhere on the site.

Voters should ask themselves who won each of the key arguments in the debate, and why. Who put forward the most compelling logic, and why was that logic compelling? Once a voter knows who won each of the key arguments in the debate--and different debaters may have won different arguments--then the voter must ask, based on who won each of these arguments, who won the overall debate.

To determine who won the overall debate, the voter must engage in a process called "weighing." Weighing involves looking at the relative importance of each of the arguments won, and the extent to which each argument was won by a debater. Winning an important argument means more than winning an unimportant argument, and winning an argument which is mitigated to some extent by an opponent means less than winning an unmitigated argument of identical importance. 

After weighing, the voter should have a general idea of who won the debate based on the heft of the arguments they're carrying. The winning debater is the debater whose arguments are carrying greater weight. Keep in mind, explaining as much of your reasoning as possible in your RFD (reason for decision) will be critical in ensuring that your vote passes moderation evaluation.
Moderation on this site is responsible for voting and conduct, namely, for ensuring that votes cast are sufficient and that conduct across the site conforms with the site's minimum standards. Moderation attempts to be as hands-off as possible while ensuring that the site rules are enforced according to their letter and their spirit. Moderation has the power to ban users from the site, but exercises this power only as an issue of last resort, after a user's accumulation of numerous infractions, or in the face of extreme transgressions of site policy (e.g. doxxing). 

Moderation usually only takes action against that conduct or those votes which are reported. If potential misconduct or potentially insufficient votes are not brought to moderation's attention, they will not be dealt with. Moderation takes reports very seriously, and every report is reviewed by a real human being to ensure full compliance with site rules. Moderation is under no obligation to inform reporting users what became of their report, and this is generally not done.

Moderation attempts to address every report within 72 hours of it being made, though we will address urgent problems or concerns as soon as we encounter them. We believe we have a duty to be as prompt, fair, efficient, and transparent as possible, and we strive everyday to meet those standards. Moderation also has a duty to take action to protect users against harassment, credible threats, and life-threatening emergencies when moderation is aware of those issues and is able to take action to address them. 

If you have any questions, always feel free to reach out to a moderator--we don't bite! We are generally good points of contact for any DART-related queries you might have.

X. Conclusion

I hope this orientation to the site has been helpful. Please feel welcome to introduce yourself to the site! If you still have any questions and concerns, please feel free to reach out to any member of the Site Administration or to any other user you trust. And, again, welcome to DebateArt.com! I want you to enjoy your time here and I wish you all the best as you become a member of this awesome community!

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