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Summary of Debatepedia

IDEA's Debatepedia is the new online encyclopedia of debate, argumentation, and critical analysis. Developed by an international team of researchers and educators, Debatepedia serves as a handy resource for knowledge-seekers on the net. Using Wikipedia software, and like Wikipedia[1], Debatepedia allows for contributors around the world to comment on, enhance, and even create their own articles. Unlike Wikipedia, Debatepedia utilizes a unique logic tree, which, most notably, presents both the pros and cons of an issue in a simultaneous fashion. So, if you are worried about researching articles that are slanted one way or the other, Debatepedia makes it clear, by presenting two opposing sides of provocative and engaging issues. Along with its appealing affirmative/negative presentation of public debates, Debatepedia also serves as a more traditional encyclopedia, with educational articles on debate/argumentation, and informational articles on a variety of related topics. Finally, as an international resource, Debatepedia is also a place where schools, clubs, communities, and countries can post information about themselves, with links to their own websites. Overall, Debatepedia is an important and multi-functional resource for debaters, debate educators, or just about anyone who enjoys a good argument. Most importantly, with its wiki-technology and its democratic vision, Debatepedia allows and encourages you to get in on the debate. Debatepedia is transparency, technology, and democracy at its best, working to serve and to include you.

Developmental history

Certainly, debate is not new, in fact, neither is presenting two sides of an issue. But, in this media saturated world, oddly enough, two sides of an issue presented with reasoned, researched, and respectable arguments on either side is a rarity. Unfortunately, many of the most accessible sources of information (television news, radio, and so on) do not have the time to present meaningful debates; rather, due to competition and other reasons, they opt for sound-bites and spectacle, instead of reason and logic.

To an information world that can be at times off-kilter, Debatepedia brings balance. Rather than dismissing the other side, Debatepedia presents both sides, because it believes in the process of open-minded critical analysis, a fundamental trait of democracy, and a necessary principle for a global community, where ideas and ideologies may otherwise simply slip into the ease of dramatic clashes, instead of the patient cooperation of intellectual and educational exchange. Debatepedia is less about trouncing the other side, than it is about respecting the other side, whatever the other side may be.

The history of Debatepedia dates as far back as 1999. In May of 1999, the International Debate Education Association (IDEA)[2] released [Debatabase], an online resource that presented both the affirmative and the negative sides to a debate. (In a way, Debatabase itself relates to older print presentations of simultaneous argumentation, such as the Pro/Con series of print books, which date back to 1896)[3]. Built especially as a resource for its debaters the world over, Debatabase soon became a handy resource for debaters and educators alike, who could directly contribute to and who continue to contribute to Debatabase [4]. In fact, Debatabase continues to commission topics[5], many of which are adapted into the present Debatepedia.

In the summer of 2006, at Georgetown University, User:Brooks Lindsay and User:William Wnekowicz founded the original version of Debatepedia, a Pro/Con presentation of debates utilizing Wiki technology. Their innovation provided a useful step-forward in online debate/argument resources, because with Debatepedia, users could contribute articles (as they would for a wiki), but within a format that simultaneously presented both sides to a debate topic or motion. Brooks Lindsay and William Wnekowicz were joined by the 2003 state debate champion and debate instructor Clayton Keir; together, they successfully launched Debatepedia.

In the fall of 2006 , Noel S. Selgzi of the International Debate Education Association[6] (IDEA) began proposing the development of IDEAWiki, an online encyclopedia on debate, debate theory, and argumentation, by employing a team that included himself, Marjan Stojnev, and Dalbir S. Sehmby. In honour of Black History Month, IDEAWiki was launched in February of 2007. Complimenting IDEA's existing educational debate resources, such as the Pro/Con format of Debatabase and its audio and video resources, IDEAWiki presented articles in the more traditional and commonplace fashion of print encyclopedia or online wiki.

By the summer of 2007, however, Brooks Lindsay and Noel Selegzi decided to merge their projects, resulting in IDEA's new Debatepedia, a Pro/Con wiki, with educational articles, and organizational profiles, making it a complete online reference site for debate and argumentation.

Brief Bios Of the Developers

  • Brooks Lindsay: Founder of Debatepedia and chief editor. Brooks lives in Logan Circle in Washington, DC, and works full-time on the development of Debatepedia. He graduated from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in 2006, earning a bachelor's degree in International Politics, with a specialization in US Foreign Policy Processes. Brooks Lindsay was born in Seattle, Washington in 1983.
  • Noel Selegzi. President of IDEA. Mr. Selegzi founded the IDEA wiki in February of 2007, and initiated the dialogue that led to the merging of the original Debatepedia and Debatepedia team with the International Debate Education Association. He is a central figure in the big-thinking surrounding Debatepedia, and its marketing and fund raising components. He has also been a Program Director at the Open Society Institute since 1997.
  • William Wnekowicz: Co-Founder of Debatepedia and information technology specialist. William is currently studying Management, Operations and Information Management and Finance at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business. William Wnekowicz was born in New Jersey in 1986.

Contact Debatepedia

Press Contact: Brooks Lindsay Founder and chief editor of Debatepedia, President of Debatemedia, Inc. (Phone) (+1)206-406-7558, (Email) brooks[at]debatepedia[dot]org. Based in Washington, DC.


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