IDEA Debate Curator - Job Description

IDEA Debate Curator - Job Description

DEA (the International Debate Education Association) is a charity that is internationally renowned for promoting free and open societies through debate and discussion. In September, we are re-launching this website with a considerably improved 'Debatabase'.

The Debatabase is an authoritative collection of hundreds of collaboratively-authored debates, covering a variety of topics. Each debate will be curated by an academic or other expert in their field, who will add authority to the debate and give our audience confidence in its accuracy, quality and impartiality. This process is overseen by our Editorial Board, whose names are listed below.

As a Curator, the initial task will be to review the version of the debate we've compiled; from then on, you will receive occasional suggestions for changes and simply decide which ones should be implemented. You can spend as much time on this as you like, but we estimate that you will need to spend no more than 4 hours in total per month. 

If you are an academic, you will also be able to contribute your own research to a debate; it will be marked out as your original research and we can give you metrics of how much impact your arguments have, both on our website and beyond.

Your debate will be viewed by hundreds of thousands of people every year; many of them young, engaged, future leaders. We want to give people the opportunity to dissolve their confusion and properly engage with this issue from an informed position. You would be of great help to us if you agreed to be one of our Curators. 

We have a broad range of debates, with topics including: prostitution, gun control, monarchy, extraordinary rendition, the relationship between business and government, capital punishment, gambling and multiculturalism.

If you are interested in volunteering no more than four hours per month to keeping one or more of our debates at an exceptional level, then please email Alex Helling at [ ]. Please list your field(s) of expertise and include a description of your experience in that field. Our debates can get quite specific, so please feel free to look at the present Debatabase (top of the menu on the left of your screen) to get a feel for the kind of questions we are trying to answer. (If there are topics missing, please feel free to suggest them.)

We very much look forward to your application.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q. Who should I contact?
A. Please email [ ], including the information requested in the final paragraph above.

Q. What is the first step after accepting the invitation? 
A. We will send you the debate we have compiled, which you will check for factual mistakes and overall bias (each point will of course be biased), and make suggestions for changes and additions. We will also ask you to create a 'further reading' list on the topic - this should be the standard texts, any good on-line articles and substantial resources. We calculate this should take no more than a few hours, although you may, of course, spend as much time as you wish on it.

Q. May I add my own books/articles to the reading list
A. Yes, please do.

Q. What am I being asked to curate? 
A. We don’t yet have a fully functioning example of a finalised debate, but you can visit the URLs below to get an idea of the way the information will be organised and then presented. (Copy and paste into your browser.)

Q. What will my responsibilities be after the first step mentioned above?
A. Debate Editors from teams with some grounding in the subject (i.e. politics students for politics debates) will filter suggested changes being made by users and compose possible changes. They will then pass these possible changes on to you. You simply need to agree to the change, respond with an edit or simply deny it.

Q. How long will this take?
A. The first stage, as mentioned above, should take no more than a few hours and we would like it returned by the end of August so that we have time to implement the changes before launch on 14th September. From then on, the amount of time and care you contribute to the upkeep of the debate is up to you, but we estimate that you will need no more than 4 hours total every month. As the task is basically confirming or denying suggested changes, the time commitment is clearly dependent on how many changes are being suggested. A controversial debate such as on abortion is more likely to get many changes than a debate on the line item veto. Each change is unlikely to take much time as you simply need to read the change and decide whether it adds to the debate. However no matter the number of changes, they are unlikely to be time-sensitive, so you may get to them when you wish.

Q. Who's on the Editorial Board?
Dr Alexander Betts, political research fellow at Oxford;
Claire Fox, Director of the Institute of Ideas;
Alex Massie, journalist for The Spectator;
Paul Richards, writer and former special adviser to two cabinet ministers;
Revd Dr James Robson, theologian at Oxford;
Matthew Sinclair, Director of the Taxpayer's Alliance;
Dr Ian Duncan, Head of the Brussels Office for the Scottish Parliament;
Erica Grieder, writer for The Economist;
Dr Stephen Law, philosopher at Heythrop College and provost of the Centre for Inquiry, UK;
Paul Blanchard, a prominent media voice for atheism, humanism and animal welfare; and
Eusebius McKaiser, a political analyst, writer and talk show host in South Africa.

Q. What is the deadline for curating the initial debate (the first stage)?
A. End of August. This is to give us some time to implement your changes and put the debate on the website in time for the launch on 14th September.

Q. When will my debate go live?
A. The site will go live on 14th September; most of the debates will go live at the same time. Any that still require substantial edits will be available for editors to see and make the necessary changes, but will not be open to the public until they’re finished.

Q. What kind of changes to the debate can I suggest?
A. Anything that is relevant to the debate. It is possible, however, that you may suggest changes which we think move the debate towards another motion, in which case we will add that motion as a possible debate to create later.

Q. How quickly will you implement my suggested changes?
A. As quickly as we can, however we have a lot of debates that will require changes and the original editor may not always be available to implement the changes. This may mean that not all changes we want to make will be implemented before launch. If you would like to author the changes instead, we would very much appreciate your help.

Q.How long to I have to be a curator for?
A. We hope that you will find the role easy enough that you will wish to continue for a long time. However if you decide at some point that you can no longer be the curator for the debate then that is fine. We do however ask for some time in order to allow us to find a suitable replacement.