The Great Debate Game Show
Tagline: live gameshow where two contestants debate over a hot topic of the times.
- One person for each side of the debate.
- Each side has two other people in his/her “dugout” whom they can call on for advice; thus, each side has a total of three people: one speaker and two supporters.
- One moderator.
- A panel of three judges, separate from the moderator.
- Each side will have a microphone, and when it is that side’s turn to speak, the other side’s microphone will be silenced to prevent interruption.
- Eight Sections: (1) The Introduction; (2) The Facts; (3) The Positions; (4) The Main Argument; (5) The Regrouping; (6) Addition of Facts; (7) The Closing Statements; (8) The Judges’ Results.
- Each side will obtain a Twitter handle to receive input from the audience at large; e.g. in an abortion debate, the pro-abortion side will get @greatdebateproabortion or something like that, so that they can get assistance from the crowd, if they so choose, during The Regrouping round.
- The Twitter handles will not be announced until The Introduction.
First Round: The Introduction
- The purpose of this round is to introduce the game and everyone involved.
- The moderator introduces him/herself, the premise of the game, the rules, the debaters and their teams, and the judges.
- The moderator will announce the Twitter handles for each side so that the audience can participate in anticipation of The Regrouping round.
Second Round: The Facts
- The purpose of this round is to do away with any waste in the debate scheme, so that each side does not begin arguing one point, only to find that the other side already concurs.
- Each contestant takes turns submitting incontrovertible facts that both sides agree on for the remainder of the debate; e.g. in an abortion debate, both sides may concede that killing a human life is wrong, but they may not agree on what “life” or “human” mean, or they may agree that abortion during the third trimester is wrong, but not on whether abortion during the second trimester is wrong.
- The facts will be used throughout the game to stop any argument that controverts those facts.
- The facts should be simple and easily articulated.
- There should be some limit; e.g. 10 facts submitted per side.
- Any fact may be disputed by the other side, at which point the moderator will decide, subject to an override by a majority of the judges.
- If a fact is overridden by either the moderator or the panel of judges, the side who submitted the fact gets a redo, capped at 2 overrides; e.g. if Side A has 2 “facts” overridden, she/he forfeits the number of overridden facts going forward; e.g. if Side A submits 3 facts that are overridden, then ultimately Side A only gets to submit 8 facts (10 total facts minus 1 override); e.g. if Side A submits 2 facts that are overridden, then Side A gets 10 total facts submitted.
- Once the facts are totaled up, the moderator will restate them and they will be numbered and placed on the board.
Third Round: The Positions
- The purpose of this round is to clarify what each side will be arguing, and to dispel with any confusion about what will be debated.
- Each side gets to submit a brief introduction to his/her position.
- The positions should be short and to the point, articulating the overarching argument to be made; e.g. in a debate over abortion, one side would state his opposition to abortion after the first trimester, while the other side would state her opposition to restricting abortion before the second trimester.
- Once the positions are stated, the moderator will restate the positions succinctly, with each side getting a chance to clear up his/her position if needed, at which point the moderator will then restate the position clearly, to ensure that everyone understands the crux of each position.
Fourth Round: The Main Argument
- The purpose of this round is to present the heart of the debate and allow each side an opportunity to clarify his/her position and any support for that position, as well as to persuade the other side and the audience to agree.
- Each side will have a turn to present his/her argument in two steps:
- Step One: state the main argument.
- Step Two: state any qualifiers to his/her argument.
- Once the main arguments have been made, the moderator will restate them succinctly for clarity, with each side having the opportunity to clarify if needed.
- After the moderator’s restatement of the arguments, then Side A will go again for some set period of time, and Side B will have an opportunity to respond and make his/her own argument.
- After Side B responds and makes his/her own argument, then Side A will have a chance to respond and make his/her next argument.
- The cycle between Side A and Side B will continue for some preset timeframe.
- At the end of the allotted time, the moderator will call the end of The Main Arguments.
- Each side will go to his/her supporters to regroup.
Fifth Round: The Regrouping
- The purpose of this round is to allow each side to regroup and to strengthen his/her arguments and counterarguments in light of what was said during The Main Arguments.
- At the end of The Main Arguments, each side will go to his/her supporters to regroup outside the earshot of the audience.
- Each side can use books, internet, their Twitter handle, or whatever else at their means to determine how to move forward in light of the arguments made during The Main Arguments.
- The moderator will try to summarize The Main Arguments to the audience innocuously, just for clarity.
- At the end of The Regrouping, the moderator will announce that it is time to proceed to the The Closing Statements.
Sixth Round: Addition of Facts
- The purpose of this round is to clarify the truth or agreement of any information discussed thus far, so that The Closing Statements can be made more effective and to avoid retreading old ground.
- Each side will have an opportunity to submit additional facts in light of what was said during The Main Argument and based on information gathered during The Regrouping.
- There should be some limit, e.g. 5 facts, and the rules for fact submission will follow the initial round of The Facts, except that each side only has 5 chances to submit facts; e.g. if Side A submits 5 facts, and 1 is overridden, then Side A ultimately gets to submit 4 additional facts in total.
Seventh Round: The Closing Statements
- The purpose of this round is to finalize the arguments for each side.
- Similar to The Main Arguments, each side will have an opportunity to present his/her argument, but Side B will start and Side A will respond and deliver an argument, and then Side B will respond and deliver, and the cycle will continue for the allotted time.
- At the end of the allotted time, each side will have two minutes to deliver a final statement summarizing his/her position and addressing any unclear points.
Eighth Round: The Judges’ Results
- The judges will rule on three categories: (1) Style; (2) Clarity; and (3) Persuasion.
- Additionally, the judges may remark on any disagreements they had, which they have not yet stated, with the rules or any other matter.
- The third category, Persuasion, will determine the winner of the debate.