This post is a work in progress...
I know this is a small site (not anymore, dickhead), with little activity (says you, fuck-wad), but I figured it was time to brush up on this post and add to it a bit. I stole a good bit of this from a forum that has an established debate forum that has been running successfully for years.
The Three Things forum will hopefully encourage members to develop critical thinking skills, and to understand how to properly support an argument in a written debate. Don't worry about changing an opinion as much as use this forum as a tool to sharpen your wit and possibly broaden someone else's outlook in the process.
In regards to this forum, there are some very simple guidelines to follow.
Do Not Create Angry Rants
Take your rants to the Shoutbox or General Forum. Also, no one cares if you hate republicans or democrats, vegans, pedophiles, etc. If your post is solely voicing that you hate a group, then make it elsewhere. That is unless you plan on describing the reasons you find any particular group objectionable.
Do Not Post Links with No Content
Do not post a link to an event to start a discussion unless you plan on offering content. Talk about what you are linking to, explain what you agree or disagree with, like or dislike. It only takes a few sentences and helps the reader understand what you want them to read, and what you want to discuss in particular.
Do Not Post A Response With No Content
Do not post silly pictures, smiley faces or any other form of content-less post in these threads. If you agree or disagree with someone, Thanks them or Groan them. If you want to tell a poster anything else in regards to their post, yet have nothing to add to the discussion, Rep them or PM them.
Recognize that You Do Not Have Free Speech
This reminder is one of the most important. You do not have a right to free speech here. This actually goes for the entire forum. Blatantly racist, sexist, or bigoted threads will be locked. There are a ton of sites for that type of shit, so if that's what you like, go to them. We are pretty loose with rules and conduct, but that's a can of worms I just don't have time to deal with.
Recognize the Burden of Proof
Repeat after me: the burden of proof lies on the claimant. No matter the topic of the thread, it is your job to show that there are substantial reasons for believing the fundamentals of your argument. Like it or not, most claims in the Three Things forum will need to be referenced. This doesn't mean that you need to whip out your MLA handbook, but it does mean that you may be asked to provide a few hyperlinks. While it's okay to reference an offline book, magazine, or journal, these sorts of resources are difficult to check in a timely manner. No matter how smart you are, or think you are, you'll find very few people who want to "take your word for it." If you don't feel like referencing a specific claim, or you simply cannot recall where you acquired a piece of information, you're better off not using it as the centerpiece of your argument.
Do Not Personally Attack Other Members
Personal attacks are usually called "ad-homs." "Ad-hom" is an abbreviated version of ad-hominem, a Latin term used to denote the logical fallacy of attacking a person in the interest of discrediting an idea. Not all personal attacks are ad-hominem, if you are going to attack someone, make sure you can back it up and that it is germane to the debate. The rules against personal attacks for the sole reason of attacking will be enforced strictly. Repeat offenders will find themselves banned from the Forums altogether.
And lastly, although things can get heated, it's just the fucking Internet. Some major flame wars have gone on in Three Things but that is where it stays. Just because you and Member X have an argument over Jesus having a wife, does not mean that it should spill over into the movie forum where a discussion of Godzilla is taking place. If that type of behavior is noticed, behavior that shows a member is taking shit a little too seriously, we have no issues keeping that member out of Three Things. Let's not fool each other here. No one is really trying to sway the other to their way of thinking. You want to simply win a argument\debate with the audience eating popcorn while they watch. So let's keep that in mind before you let your blood pressure rise over an debate about Bigfoot.