Debates are round-by-round discussions carried out on Debate.org about controversial topics. Debates consist of arguments written by two users, responding to eachother every round until the debate is over.  In the website, the creator of the debate is referred to as the "instigator" (Analogous to the debate moderator on a similar website run by CreateDebate LLC, CreateDebate), while the user who accepts the debate is referred to as the "contender". The instigator can specify a number of options when creating a debate, such as the amount of rounds (1-5), how long the voting period lasts, who can take the debate challenge, and who can vote. Currently, the four debates with the most comments by the voting period will make it to the front page, as noted by many users.
A debate goes through four stages, the challenge period, the debating period, the voting period, and the post voting period. 
In the challenge period, debates are open for other users to accept. The instigator can either allow anyone to accept the debate challenge, allow only certain people to accept based on their statistics, such as age and rankings, or invite another user to the challenge. The challenge period ends when the contender posts his first argument.
During the debating period, the two users debate over the controversial topic. Some instigators may make rules when starting the debate, such as the Burden Of Proof, which has to be followed during the debating period.
Main article: Votes
During the voting period, the community is allowed to judge the debate for a period of time set by the instigator.  Only users who have completed three debates already were allowed to request for voting permissions. Voting permissions can be acquired by using a cellphone number to ensure that the user is a legitimate account, or it can be acquired by sending a private message requesting it to Airmax1227. By default, voters are requested to vote on 6 fields, 4 of which have an effect on the debate. The ones which affect the debate are bolded.
|Name||Amount of points given per vote|
|Who did you agree with before the debate?||0|
|Who did you agree with after the debate?||0|
|Who had better conduct?||1|
|Who had better spelling and grammar?||1|
|Who made more convincing arguments?||3|
|Who used the most reliable sources?||
Post Voting Period
During the post voting period, voting is closed and the winner is announced.
Various tactics have been developed for the purpose of winning on debates. Some tactics have been accused of being abusive, or harming to the website's reputations.
Debate.org has created an article with tips for debates. Among them includes proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation, citing sources, creating falsifiable topics, planning out strategies, avoiding forfeitures and appeals to emotion, and proofreading.
Main article: Noob sniping
More information can be found at: Noob Trapping
Newbie sniping, also referred to as newb sniping, and noob sniping, is the action where a senior member purposefully only debates against new members, due to the statistically higher likelihood of a new user losing a debate.
A variation to newbie sniping is noob trapping or newbie trapping, where debates are created for new users to accept by strong debaters. The said new user is then overwhelmed by strong arguments and loses the debate.
Criticism of newbie sniping
The tactic of newbie sniping has been criticized for discouraging new users from joining the site. Users who hold this opinion often praise the ELO system, as it discourages this action.
Debates have been used as a medium for trolling by the user Imabench, starting with the debate "Poop has DNA". Some users of the community have criticized his troll debates as "offensive". However, Imabench stated that his troll debates were intended to provoke laughter, not offense, and that one of his central rules when trolling were "do not be an *******" and to avoid trolling debates on serious subjects.
Vote bombing refers to unfair or unexplained voting.  While users used to "counter" unfair votes by voting in favor of the opposing member, a new feature that allows users to report votes has rendered it obsolete.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 http://www.debate.org/help/faq/
- ↑ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CreateDebate
- ↑ http://www.debate.org/help/faq/
- ↑ http://www.debate.org/help/articles/how-to-vote/
- ↑ http://www.debate.org/help/articles/tips-for-a-better-debate/
- ↑ http://www.debate.org/debates/Poop-has-DNA/1/
- ↑ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NHmnBn20bQ