outQuib, which has been developed over the past four months, launches today in private, invite only beta. (ReadWriteWeb readers can click here for access to a limited number of invites to the beta -- the invite code is 'READWRITE' and will expire in about 48 hours.) outQuib is a social network focused on debate and discussion. The site encourages people to initiate and participate in debates on any subject, and gather the responses in a wiki that co-founder Fariz Chowdhury says will help the site "to become the world's source of opinionated information."
"We let users take important pieces of a debate and post them in the wiki for the world to see quickly," Chowdhury told me. "Imagine a place where you can get a quick overview of a debate on pro-life vs. pro-choice and write a 3-4 page paper on it. Ever curious which is really better? Windows or Mac? This is a place where debate occurs but leaves you, the consumer, to decide."
Debates -- which currently range from "Who should be the next president of the United States?" to "Who is the best player in the NBA?" to "In the Battle of the Sexes, who wins: male or female?" -- have three basic parts. Users can vote in a poll (i.e., picking the candidate they support in US president debate), users can participate in a debate on the issue by adding and replying to stances in a reverse threaded forum, and users can comment specifically on stances people have taken. Users can also rate posts or flag them as personal attacks or spam.
Socially, the site incorporates a Twitter-style "following" idea. You can follow people, and then get information about their activity in a Facebook-like activity stream. Users can also organize into "Causes," which are basically debate groups for people who share a like-minded view -- for example, right now popular outQuib Causes include "Obama for President" and "Ron Paul for President." At the moment, the Causes feature is fairly sparse and basically just comprises of a message board.
outQuib has given ReadWriteWeb readers a limited number of invites to the beta. You can click here for access -- the invite code is 'READWRITE' and will expire in about 48 hours.