idebate and Debatabase FAQ

Frequently asked questions about various aspects of


  1. What is the Debatabase?
    1. The Debatabase is a collection of debates on various topics. They give an outline of the background to the motion as well as key points in favor of and against it. These are supported by references to further reading. More information is available at
  2. Who writes articles on the Debatabase?
    1. Debates are written by experienced debaters to make sure they present a sophisticated level of argument on both sides. Many are curated by experts in a relevant field to check the accuracy of the debate.
  3. How can the Debatabase support my research?
    1. Reading a Debatabase article will give you an idea of the important arguments both in favor of and against the motion. You can develop the arguments by explaining them better, at more length or with more examples. You can also use the references and further reading suggestions to act as a starting point for your own research on the topic.
  4. May I use information from the Debatabase?
    1. You may use the debates as starting points for your own research. You can also cite quotes from them: a link to the required bibliographical information is at the bottom of each article.
    2. For reusing and reproducing our work, you may find the information you want under the Terms & Conditions of the website at If that does not answer your question, you can contact us via
  5. How can I find a debate on a particular topic?
    1. If there is a specific motion you have in mind, try searching our site for it. You can filter the results to show only pages from the Debatabase; don’t ignore other results, though, as you may find relevant discussions on our forums too.
    2. If all you have in mind is a topic, our debates are organized by “themes” such as Politics, Health and Sport. Some debates may be in more than one theme. Pick the theme most relevant to your topic from, and browse to see what we have.
  6. Where can I find a list of motions on different topics?
    1. As well as browsing the Debatabase itself, you can try the list at It can be filtered by “themes” such as Politics, Health and Sport. Where Debatabase entries exist for a motion, these are linked to underneath the entry.
  7. How can I suggest a motion for the Debatabase?
    1. We are always looking for new debates to add to our collection. Please read, which contains some guidelines on what will and won’t be accepted. Suggestions can be emailed to Alex Helling on
    2. If looking to just add to the motions list rather than the Debatabase then go to and submit your motion through the ‘suggest a motion’ box.
  8. How can I write for the Debatabase?
    1. Please visit for more information.
  9. How can I suggest improvements to articles?
    1. There are several ways to interact with a debate – please see for details.
  10. Can you add a link to my organization?
    1. We only add links to Debatabase articles if they are a reference that is a source for information in the debate itself. If the link is relevant to the subject of the debate and contains useful further information then it may be added to the further reading section of a debate.


  1. What are Discussions?
    1. “Discussions” are topics on our forum. They are designed to make it possible to engage with a debate immediately and exchange ideas with all our other users.
  2. What topics do the forums cover?
    1. There are sections of the forum for various subject areas, such as “Social Policy.” There is also a section for debates on the Debatabase motions, and these topics can feed improvements back into the articles. These are created through the ‘discuss this’ option in the introduction of the Debatabase article. Finally, there are a few meta-forums as well, covering things like General Debating Discussion and comments about the website. You can find them all on
  3. How can I create a new topic?
    1. Create a new topic by going to the section you want to put it in and clicking “Post new Forum topic.”
  4. How can I reply to someone else's post?
    1. At the bottom of each post there is a button marked “Reply.”
  5. How can I format my posts?
    1. A visual editor is provided which will let you apply basic formatting. In addition, the site supports some HTML tags, a list of which is at
  6. How can I quote part of someone else's comments?
    1. At the bottom of each post there is a button marked “Quote.” This will open a form for you to type a reply with the text of the previous post already inserted.
  7. How can I report an abusive or inappropriate forum post?
    1. At the bottom of each post there is a button marked “Report.” After you click this, you will be taken to a form where you can give the reason you are reporting it and (optionally) add a message about it.
    2. As we value free and open debate, we would rather not delete posts and block users, but we will do so if necessary. Our community guidelines, which are on, will give you an indication of what we will and won’t block.
  8. How can I be notified of replies to my posts?
    1. When writing a reply, there is a section underneath marked “Subscriptions.” Check the box marked “This post” (you may need to click the heading to expand the section) to be notified every time someone replies.
  9. What is "applause?"
    1. “Applause” is a way to show you agree with a post without having to actually write a post of your own. If you are writing a reply which just says “I agree,” consider giving someone applause instead.
    2. To applaud a post, click the icon of the clapping hands in the top-right of the post. The number by the icon will show you how many people have applauded the post so far.

Teaching Resources

  1. Are there any materials suitable for classroom use?
    1. Please see You will find Teaching Tools suitable for various sizes and levels of class, broken down into categories such as Argument Construction, Style & Delivery and Rebuttal. Some include worksheets, and some are just a method or idea.
  2. Where can I find details of the training IDEA runs?
    1. Please see You can see some of the projects we are currently involved with and contact our training coordinators.
  3. Where can I find news about debating in general?
    1. IDEA hosts Colm Flynn’s famous debating news blog on Colm has a very long history of involvement with debating at the highest level. We also have some of his training articles – see, for example, – and the World University Debating Rankings at
  4. Where can I find news about IDEA's operations?
    1. The page for IDEA news is
  5. Where can I order books from IDEBATE Press?
    1. You can see a list of IDEBATE Press publications at, and you can also buy them through many popular online retailers such as Amazon.


  1. What are events?
    1. Events are exactly what they sound like: events added to our calendar either by our staff or by users. We keep a calendar of competitions, workshops and other meetings at all levels of debate in every country.
  2. How can I create an event?
    1. Add an event to our calendar by going to You will need as a minimum to add the name of the event, the city, type and language. You can also add a description of the event, contact details and other supporting material.
  3. How can I edit my own events?
    1. If you create an event you will be listed as the Event Administrator. When you visit the event page, it will show you a tab marked “Edit,” which you can use to make any changes you wish.
  4. How can I browse events?
    1. Events are listed in three ways.
    2. As a list:
    3. On a calendar:
    4. On a map:


  1. Where can I find more information about IDEA?
    1. Information about IDEA, our history, governance, structure, staff, funders and partners can be found at
    2. The IDEA organizations in different countries are separate organizations that operate independently yet cooperate informally.
  2. Where can I find details of jobs at IDEA?
    1. Some of the employment opportunities available are listed at
  3. Where can I find contact details for the different IDEA branches?
    1. If you know which branch of IDEA you want to contact, you will find their details listed on At the bottom of the page there is a contact form if you are not sure which branch it is you need.
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