Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Most Important Debate

Okay. You've been tasked with coming up with the best possible debate format for two (or more) parties to discuss a subject. At the end of the debate, it's necessary that a conclusion is met, for this subject is vital to the continued persistence of the human race (and yourself). This debate can last no longer than one week. We need an answer. Setting aside any worries about money, speed of communication, or intelligence attached to any side of the debate, what would you do?

I have it in mind that one possible answer is that you would decide for yourself the answer, and then stack the teams so your decision is the outcome.

My answer wouldn't involve a spoken word debate. I would drudge up large teams for each viable perspective, with viability being determined by the people searching for an answer. For example, if a meteor is on a collision coarse with Earth, the people who came to me to format this debate (not that I understand why they would come to me of all people) would have the capacity to oust teams depending on their proposal. Gathering all of the frogs in the world, and dumping them into a large blender, then covering the spot the meteor is meant to impact with the blended frog slime, would not be a proposal worth considering, and would simply prevent the necessary debate from actualizing.

After each team has been established, the question would be posed by the question posers online. All available details the questioners possess would be provided. Each team would have one day to construct an answer to that question. These answers (and the responses to follow) would all be visible to anyone with access to the Internet. Only persons attached to an accepted team or a questioner would have access to post. Any feedback offered by the world would have to be provided via other means.

After the initial answers have posted, responses would begin. The responses would focus on each answer, one at a time, organized from shortest answer to longest answer(drilling down to alphabetical if the word count and character count are identical). Each team would be given six hours to formulate a response. The team that provided the shortest answer, would be encouraged to begin work on responding to the other answers. When those six hours are up, the responses will post and the six hour clock for the next shortest answer would begin.

When all answers have received responses, each team is given a day to respond to the responses they received. When that day is through, the debate format becomes less rigid for a day and a half. Teams become allowed to comment or respond where they feel comments or responses are necessary. When that day and a half is through, the questioners then offer questions and comments for six hours (they have been working on them the entire time). When the questioners time slot is through with, the debate would resume its less structured form, and comments and responses would be offered wherever.

At the beginning the questioners would have appointed referees. These referees would have a great amount of authority ranging from posting questions themselves to muting an entire team for any duration, though three-fifths of the referees must be in agreement for any official action to be taken.

Eight judges from the questioners would also have been appointed. These judges would serve the purpose to come to a conclusion based on the evidence provided to them. The judges would be given one day at the end to discuss among themselves. At the end of the day a vote would be cast. Three judges, decided from the beginning, would not have the capacity to cast a vote. The decision would be at random. Each judge would be given a card detailing whether they had the right to vote or not. The decision reached in this manner would remain concealed. No one would know the voting capacity of any judge except the judge himself.

One of the three cards denoting an inability to vote would further explain that, in case of a tie (somehow via death or too many viewpoints), the possessor of this card will serve as the tie breaker. Oh man would it suck to get that card.

All teams and judges would be separated from each other physically and protected by military force.

This would make a sweet story. The focus would be spread out across multiple characters. Narration third person, either reflective or omniscient and detached from events. An answer would be given in the end. None of this to-be-expected ambiguous ending. That's too easy and would likely cause the story to fall flat, though perhaps not as flat as if I gave a bad answer in the end.