Online Debating during Coronavirus

Most governments in Europe are now suggesting that we self-isolate. Many governments have also taken the steps of closing schools. Amidst all the understandable worries, we are advised to try and keep our daily routines going, and to keep learning.

Debate clubs offer a great structure for many of us. They give us social connections and friendships. Fortunately, there are digital alternatives that means that debate clubs – and even debate tournaments – could continue. Many clubs are already experimenting with their own alternatives. We offer a few suggestions here.

Debate education is vitally important during this pandemic, in helping you come to an understanding about what the pandemic may do. Debate education confers the skills and attitudes to be able to research and think critically about ongoing current affairs such as the coronavirus outbreak. This helps separate facts from much of the fake news floating around of the virus, and help you come to the best decision to keep you and your loved ones healthy.

Mixidea – a platform for debate clubs

Mixidea is a platform specifically designed for hosting debate events. All it requires is that users sign up through Facebook or Twitter. A club host can set up an event and send out invitations – or allow everyone to join the fun. You simply need to sign in before the scheduled debate event starts. There are also options to record the speeches. It even has customisations for PoIs!

This platform is going to be used to host the Asian Online Championships soon. That said, we don’t know yet whether the servers are able to handle an increase in traffic if it is going to be the norm.

Check out Mixidea here:

Discord – also for a different kind of gaming

Discord started out as a platform for people to communicate whilst playing online cooperative video games. It has since grown into a full-fledged messaging app, for both texts and voice messages.

Discord’s draw is that people who know their way around the app can customise the server to fit their needs to a very high degree. If you were to host an event, you could create different channels for speakers and judges, you can give each debate room its separate channel, et cetera. Furthermore, Discord can handle increased traffic. It is still a question as to whether the free version of Discord could handle a tournament-sized level of interaction. Convenors of a Discord tournament may need to upgrade to a paid version to get access to the necessary server space.

Discord requires some time investment for a convenor of Discord debates to learn how to get the max out of the platform. As time goes on, we expect that people will be able to tell us more how-to’s to help setting up Discord for debate with more ease.

Team Research – great for lower internet speeds

Whilst not debating per se, joint research into motions can continue and may be a reliable way to continue your debate education if you do not have access to a reliable and fast enough internet connection. You could build a joint case file with your debate club using for instance Google Drive or Microsoft Office 365 / Teams. If you want to practice giving a speech you could record your speech with your recording app on your phone, and send your speech to the Whatsapp group of your debate club to ask for feedback.

These are going to be trying teams, but debaters are known to be inventive, especially when it comes to finding their debating ‘fix’. We are interested in hearing from you how you are setting up your Online Debate Club!

If you want inspiration for motions to use whilst debating online, check out our Debatabase, full of timeless motions, where we have also already done some research for you. Get prepping!

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