The Great Debaters to come out on DVD in a couple of weeks, there are a few places where you can put in some debate practice online in the meantime. One of the great things about writing a blog is that it is a platform for voicing your opinions. But it can also be rewarding to hear from the opposing side, and one thing we do often on this blog is ask for your views (as we did last week on the topic of video comments, for example). Below are 5 sites that organize debates around any topic.While you're waiting for
CreateDebate is the newest debate site to hit the web. It moved from private beta to public late this morning and offers an extremely slick interface for online debate. Debates on CreateDebate can take multiple forms. They can be open ended questions, such as "Who had the best NFL draft?" or they can be head-to-head debates, such as "Is drug abuse a criminal or health problem, Yes or No?"
Users can vote in two-sided debates and add arguments in each. Arguments are voted up or down Reddit-style with the top arguments displayed at the top of the page. Users can also add rebuttals to arguments which can be further voted upon. Debates that are time sensitive (such as "Who will win the Democratic nomination for president?") can be set to expire. CreateDebate can also be used for simple yes/no polling on non-contentious issues.
One unique feature of CreateDebate is that each debate has a "research" page that pulls in news from RSS or Atom feeds. Whoever creates the debate can add new sources to the research page and news stories can be automatically made into the focal point of a new debate.
Riled Up! is a more simple debate site that uses the head-to-head format. Debaters are asked simple yes or no, or X vs. Y questions and asked to support a side. Choose wisely, because once you've picked your side, you can't go back.
Similar to CreateDebate, users vote arguments up and down and can post rebuttals, which can be tagged as supporting, neutral, or opposing.
Wis.dm is really a question and answer site that many have compared to Yahoo! Answers, but because it favors yes/no questions, it is actually more akin to the debate sites here. Wis.dm is set up very simply : Someone asks a yes/no question, users vote, and people debate the answer in an unthreaded discussion forum below the question.
The free form nature of the actual debate makes it a bit harder to follow everyone's position than on more polished debate sites, but Wis.dm is easily the most used of the sites in the round up. Its simplicity makes it very approachable and probably contributes to its mainstream appeal.
outQuib is a social network focused on debate and discussion that we reviewed in January. Debates on the site take the form of a poll with multiple response and forum-style commenting. But the focus of outQuib is really the social aspect -- debates are used as a means of connecting like minded people who can form groups on the site.
Jyte is a product of JanRain, makers of MyOpenID, and I get the idea that it is really more of a proving ground for their OpenID products than it is a serious startup. Jyte allows people to make claims (like, "Tiger Woods is the best pro golfer of all time.") and then people can vote to agree or disagree.
Users can also add comments to the debate (arguments for or against) and give each other "cred" points in areas they think a particular user is especially credible -- though it appears that cred points don't really amount for much other than bragging rights.
With the US presidential election kicking into high gear over the summer and coming to a conclusion next fall (barring any repeat of what happened in 2000), debate sites can probably expect to see a bump in traffic as people head online in search of places to argue their opinions. Which of the sites above is your favorite? Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below.