Archive for April, 2008
Mashable, one of our favorite technology review websites, has recently started a series called The Startup Review (sponsored by Sun Microsystems) that showcases new startup technology companies. This morning, Paul Glazowski from The Startup Review wrote a great article on CreateDebate, which can be found here. Mashable finds CreateDebate to be a “a worthwhile place in which to spend one’s argumentative energies, one you may very well enjoy.”
Additionally, one of our newest users, JWitter, wrote a great blog post about using CreateDebate in the classroom yesterday. We think this is a great application of CreateDebate’s technology and one that could be very useful for middle school, high school, college, and graduate students. What do you think? Drop us a note and let us know what other applications you think CreateDebate might have. If you’ve experimented with it’s efficacy in the classroom or in a work environment let us know how it went.
CreateDebate is officially in public beta. Finally, its time to grow! Josh Catone at ReadWriteWeb wrote a favorable review of our site this morning. Josh notes that CreateDebate “offers an extremely slick interface for online debate.” Check out the complete article here. What do you think about our site? What do you think about our competitors? Sound off in a new debate!
In March, Paul Graham wrote a great essay entitled How to Disagree. I loved the article because it is all about how the web is turning into a conversation (which is why we built CreateDebate). Shortly thereafter, I transformed Graham’s underlying thesis into a graphic to help illustrate his point. The original graphic (similar to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs) can be found here.
After reading the comments spurred by my illustration (on this blog and elsewhere), I decided it was time to revisit this graphic. In particular, this comment by Danielle Vyas caught my eye:
I arrived here via Stumble Upon and read the comments. I think that the chart would be more understandable if presented as a ladder instead of a pyramid. A lot of people relying on the visual representation with this post as one reader mentions without “reading”.
Paul Graham’s Ladder of Disagreement
I think she hit the nail on the head. Rather than illustrating the frequency of disagreements, this graphic illustrates the ascending quality of disagreements on the Internet. What do you think?
As always, if you found this analysis then you might enjoy using CreateDebate. We built our site from scratch and our community is growing quickly. Check it out!
If you found this analysis then you might enjoy using CreateDebate. We built our site from scratch and our community is growing quickly! A debate about The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Internet Users is already underway. Click here and check it out!
Recently, I came across a debate handbook written by Alfred C. Snider of the University of Vermont. The complete text can be found here. I read through it with an eye for concepts that could be applied to online debate. One of the best takeaways was The Code of the Debater (albeit, its somewhat cheesy).
I’ve reprinted it below. In the web 2.0 world of user-generated content, I think that guidelines like these make a whole lot of sense. Whether you prefer to debate in the comments section of Digg, in the self subreddit or on CreateDebate, try to keep these guidelines in mind. You will be more effective in expressing your point and your reputation will improve.
- I will research my topic and know what I am talking about.
- I will respect the subject matter of my debates.
- I will choose persuasion over coercion and violence.
- I will learn from victory and especially from defeat.
- I will be a generous winner and a gracious loser.
- I will remember and respect where I came even though I am now a citizen of the world.
- I will apply my criticism of others to myself.
- I will strive to see myself in others.
- I will, in a debate, use the best arguments I can to support the side I am on.
- I will, in life, use the best arguments I can to determine which side I am on.
- I will respect their rights to freedom of speech and expression, even though we may disagree.
- I will respect my partners, opponents, judges, coaches, and tournament officials.
- I will be honest about my arguments and evidence and those of others.
- I will help those with less experience, because I am both student and teacher.
- I will be an advocate in life, siding with those in need and willing to speak truth to power.
Since our Private Beta Launch on February 20, here are some interesting statistics we have gathered:
1,291 Arguments Created
67,837 Words Written
2,081 Up Votes
492 Down Votes
53 Average Number of Words Per Argument
Most Popular Topic: Politics
Most Active Debate (most arguments): Do you believe in God?
Most Extensive Debate (most words): Should Social Security be mandatory?
Most Definitive Win: The “Health Problem” side in Drug Abuse: Criminal Problem or Health Problem?
Most Popular Argument: “No way, the press slants…”
by Time2Golf for the “No” side of Do you trust the press?
Worst Argument: “I have grown up…”
by MastaDebata for the “Yes!!” side of Do you believe in God?
Most Provocative Argument (most replies): “Meaning I would want to…”
by NikkiHill11 arguing for “Ron Weasley” in Who is your favorite Harry Potter character?
Most Extensive Argument (most words): “Recent researching into much…”
by ChronicHipie for the “Criminal Problem” side of Drug Abuse: Criminal Problem or Health
These are some of the things we are thinking of including in our newsletters and later on in a more elaborated CreateDebate Statistics page.
So what “awards” would you like to see posted in the CreateDebate Hall of Fame? What other interesting statistics would you want to know about CreateDebate? Please let us know what you want!!
You can post your comments here or debate about this in this debate:
What Statistics and Hall of Fame “awards” would you like in CreateDebate?
CreateDebate has a new debate format! We just added in challenge debates to our lineup of the standard 2-sided and popularity debates. Now you can challenge your enemies or allies to a debate between just the two of you for a faster paced, more one-on-one competition. Just go to the profile page of the person you want to challenge, and click the “Challenge to a debate” link to get started.
We’re thinking of expanding challenge debates in the future depending on feedback to include some other possibilities, like live debates with a more chat-like feel, wagering your user points in the challenge so the winner takes all, or expanding the challenge format to make it easy to create group debates. Take a look and let us know what you think!
Many of our Private Beta testers have asked for more information on the marketing plan for CreateDebate’s launch to the public. One important component of our marketing plan is leveraging the power of other popular social networking sites to drive traffic to CreateDebate. In an effort to test how well this type of marketing works, yesterday we decided to post Loudacris’ blog post on How to Write Strong Arguments to reddit to test if it would drive users to the site.
My initial reaction is WOW! The blog post made it up as high as #46 on reddit and it ended up driving over 200 new people to CreateDebate. And that’s just the number of people who actually signed up for the Beta! We were very happy with the results of the test and believe it affirms our belief that the best way to encourage people to use CreateDebate is through viral marketing. We are really looking forward to bringing more people in to the CreateDebate community with various viewpoints, thoughts, and interests when we launch to the public.
In the meantime, please continue telling your friends and family about CreateDebate and feel free to send them Beta Invites so they can use it as well! The more people that join CreateDebate and bring their diverse backgrounds and opinions to the site the better and more heated the debates will be. Help us to spread the word!
I just finished reading an interesting essay entitled How to Disagree. Written by Paul Graham, the essay introduces and describes a seven-level Hierarchy of Disagreement. From name-calling to carefully reasoned refutation, Graham breaks down each level of the hierarchy with a brief explanation. I completely agree with Graham’s theory but I have to disagree with him in one critical area: his use of illustrations (he uses none).
Graham’s Hierarchy of Disagreement
Bam! Graham’s Hierarchy of Disagreement has been Maslowtized. Visual-learning works great for many people and I thought it would be helpful to represent this theory graphically. When you are using CreateDebate, the goal is to write strong arguments (funny ones welcome too, sometimes). You will write stronger arguments if you think about this graphic while you write.
As you browse the site and read debates, try to mentally classify the arguments with the most points. Which level do they reach? Graham postulates that all arguments falling below Contradiction are unconvincing. You may come across popular arguments that are intellectually dishonest. Vote them down or respond: use your pin to pop those balloons.
As you craft a response, do your best to explicitly refute the central point of the argument. In most cases, that will require thinking of something better than that’s what she said. The web is giving you an opportunity to respond to the world. Take advantage of this opportunity.