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> Constructive & Civil Debate: Info & Expectations, MUST READ FOR ALL MEMBERS!!
post Aug 5 2005, 06:32 PM
Post #1

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Group: Admin
Posts: 1,164
Member No.: 1
Joined: July-24-02

From: Savannah, GA
Gender: Male
Politics: Conservative
Party affiliation: Independent

Hello Everyone.

I would like to give everyone a bit of background and history regarding America’s Debate to clarify why we are making this announcement before getting to the meat of this topic.

Jaime and I started AD three years ago with a single goal: Provide a foundation that allows for the most constructive debate that the Internet has ever seen.

It seemed simple and reasonable enough.

We were disgusted by the incivility that had consumed every other online venue for debate that we could locate. The vast majority of politically oriented debate sites was full of hate, inflammatory content, bias, and recycled rhetoric. Nothing has changed for the same vast majority of politically oriented debate sites.

Thousands of hours of hard work and dedication on my part, Jaime’s part, the staff’s part, and the members’ part have allowed AD to come closer to our goal than any other site, and have allowed AD to realize success well beyond our expectations.

AD’s is only possible because of its dedicated, politically balanced staff. The staff works diligently to promote civil, constructive debate. They share the same goals as AD, and they provide an amazing service to all of the members who have benefited from their hard work.

Jaime and I are dedicated to America’s Debate. It is not simply a website to us; it is our lives. We eat, sleep, and breathe AD. It is the most important cause that we have ever been privileged to dedicate our time and lives.

This week— a week when we should be celebrating the 3rd anniversary of AD—has been one of the worst weeks in AD history. We have received 24 reported posts, issued 3 strikes, and suspended 1 member this month, and it is only August 5. We do not enjoy issuing strikes, we do not enjoy placing members in the moderation queue, and we do not enjoy suspending members. We enjoy civil, constructive political debate.

In this case, the word “enjoy” is not impactful enough to express our position on civil, constructive political debate at AD. We do much more than enjoy it—we demand it.

Please brace yourself. Some of what I am about to say is likely to lose a few members. To those members who decide to leave, you were probably not cut out for AD from the start and probably should have already left.

To those who have demonstrated that they are not here for civil, constructive debate through the attitude displayed in their posts, your days here are numbered. We will not tolerate those who are here for anything but civil, constructive debate.

We have never offered any misgivings to our members regarding what we expect of them. We have clearly outlined the Rules, much more so than any other debate site. We have built a comprehensive Survival Guide to help members “survive” here. Every member has agreed to follow both of these documents when they accepted our Terms of Service. We have made every effort to make sure that all of us—from the admins to the staff to the members—are on the same page.

We hold the position that America’s Debate is the best of the best, and nothing will convince us otherwise. We have always held the “quality, not quantity” philosophy. We would rather have ten members who debate civilly and constructively than ten thousand who do not. Those who fail to meet the demands that we have established through our Terms of Service, Rules, and Survival Guide are not welcome here, and we will do our best to force you to leave.

In the past week, we have been receiving personal messages expressing concern regarding the constructiveness and civility of the debate that is occurring on America’s Debate. We would like to say thank you to those members who have expressed that concern. America’s Debate can, on occasion, drift slightly from our well-established goals. It is members like you who are integral in putting us back on track.

At this time, we request that ALL members take a break and review the Rules, Survival Guide, and Terms of Service. If you detect even the notion that these rules are to be bent or stretched, or that they do not apply to you, we respectfully request that you leave.

With that being said, I would like to outline some policies and expectations which all members need to understand, and to which all members must adhere.

Strikes and the Moderation Queue:
  • All members who are issued a strike are placed in the moderation queue. That means that submitted posts must be reviewed by the Moderators before they appear on the public forum.
  • All members who are placed in the moderation queue are directed to review the Rules.
  • All posts submitted by members who are in the moderation queue are expected to be in compliance with the same Rules as posts that are submitted by members who are not in the moderation queue.
  • If you break the Rules while in the moderation queue, you will receive another strike. Your account will be suspended for a minimum of 30 days, and you will be placed in the moderation queue indefinitely.
  • If you already have two strikes and break the Rules while in the moderation queue, you will receive your third strike and will be promptly and permanently banned from future participation at America’s Debate.
  • If you receive a strike and respond to the moderator with a list of other members who broke the Rules first, and you did not report the other rule breakers, we will not entertain any discussion regarding your strike. When the Rules are broken, members are not to respond in kind as it does not add anything constructive to the debate.

Ensuring Constructive and Civil Political Debate:
  • Report posts that are in violation of the Rules.
  • If you are a “veteran” of America’s Debate, please set the best example possible, particularly if responding to a post that is in violation of the Rules.
  • If you observe that a post is in violation of the Rules and then proceed to violate the Rules in your response, you have violated the Rules just the same and are subject to receiving a strike.
  • If you find yourself responding to another member purely because you dislike them, rather than to address specific debate points that have been raised, then you are most likely not adding anything constructive to the debate. Either rephrase your response to address the specific points raised, or do not respond at all.
  • Before submitting a response to a topic, consider what response you expect to get from other members, and whether that response will be constructive. If you don’t think that other members will be able to respond to your post in a constructive fashion, then you should try to adjust your post accordingly. Otherwise, we end up with two sides shouting at each other, which lends nothing to the debate.
  • Blanket statements make for bad debate and are generally not constructive. If you are in the habit of making blanket statements, you are not helping to promote constructive debate.
  • Always take the time to preview your post before submitting it. This will allow you to make sure that it is not in violation of the Rules. If a statement or the entire post is not constructive to the debate, it should be omitted.

Reporting Posts:
  • Due to the volume of posts that are submitted each day, there is no way to ensure that a staff member has reviewed every post.
  • We rely on members to report posts that are in violation of the Rules.
  • Reports are made available to all staff members for review.
  • All reports are reviewed and considered.
  • If you report a post, we will not disclose your identity to the submitter of the post you reported.
  • Reported posts should detail which of the Rules has been violated, and, where appropriate, should contain an excerpt of the questionable section of the post that is being reported.

As America’s Debate continues to grow, it is important that the members who post here share the same goal of civil, constructive debate. We have set out to be the best of the best, and if that means that some people will be left behind, so be it.

We will continue to work hard towards providing the foundation for the best debate on the Internet. We are confident that our members will not let us down.

Please keep all discussion regarding this announcement to this topic.

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