The debate community has experienced a scattering of online community and communication. Between CPD, HSPD, reddit, cedaforums, different discord servers, and a handful of blogs, interview series, and websites, debate lacks a dedicated, centralized node for community discussion. All of these different locations are valuable resources and many of them function to serve their own ends (personal blogs or publications representing organizations), but some such as discord servers and facebook groups are simply stop gaps for lack of a functional debate-specific communication platform
Policydb8 aims to fill that community role. As long-time debate community members, Chris Leonardi, Rob Glass, and I have invested ourselves into a new community platform for the policy debate community. Our central goal is to provide a space that can create and strengthen connections not only within college debate and high school debate separately, but provide a bridge between the two communities in a more extensive manner than debate camps and college debaters/coaches working with high schools, both of which tend to cater to national circuit high school debaters and overlook the broader regional majority of high school debate.
Our platform is a web forum at heart. Forums like these provide a comfortable space for the creation of debate sub-culture and memes and allows debaters to relax and have fun, but more importantly they act as a pillar that grows interest and participation in the activity: from practice debates conducted online to evidence sharing and co-operative argument production to finding coaching resources and learning materials, the list goes on. We have made efforts to optimize our forums and make them more engaging with features such as:
– Live updating topics
– Weekly posting contests
– GIPHY integration
– Audio/Video playback of attachments on posts
– And more.
While Policydb8.com is built on a forum platform, it brings a lot more to the table:
Clubs – We offer a private clubs feature that allows users to invite friends, teammates, coaches, and students to a user-created private subforum. This is a very flexible feature enabling private team discussion groups, interest groups, debate camp communications, or user initiatives such as evidence sharing (which already exists to a degree in the DailyCard. Even further, with approval from administrators users can create clubs that require payment to join, enabling coaching groups or online camps created and managed in a simple, straightforward manner.
Marketplace – Evazon was a huge hit on cross-x, and we don’t see any reason to do away with the basic concept of a file marketplace. Already we’ve seen success in this marketplace, notably with our user bobbio and his top selling Capitalism Critique file. We screen every file that is posted and are happy to turn away incomplete or low-quality files. And anyone who is out of high school debate is welcome to apply to become a file author!
Debate content production – We have undertaken a project of providing a platform for debate community members to publish thoughtful articles on debate’s relevance and culture. We believe that providing a lower barrier and quick turnaround publication for seasoned members of the debate community to share their thought-provoking ideas is invaluable for sharing the continued relevance of debate. We have already had a few articles published and hope to do a lot more.
Video Archive – We have begun a project to try and centralize videos for the debate community, with us having posted a large share of college debate videos from the Youtube channels of Exodus Files and Ricardo Saenz. Our flexible platform enables both video upload and playback as well as easy embedding from sites such as Youtube. This resource is open for any and all registered users to post useful debate videos and lectures for public use.
We have a big vision for what this website could become with numerous ideas and hopes for expanding its functionality. We would love feedback on what people would hope to see out of a platform like this. More importantly, we would love to see you there.