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Rules of Debate



Dear friends (I hope most of us are still friends!)

A new section has been introduced on the India_Policy web page, called
"Rules of Debate."

Please go through it and suggest objections/ changes. I am recording the
entire bunch of points here for your convenience. The definitions are
being prepared and will be put up this weekend.

Thanks, Sanjeev
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India_Policy is not a debating society. It is a list with the clear
objective of writing an 'ideal' Manifesto. 

After the experience of over one and a half month of debate on the
India_policy list, a tentative set of rules have been devised to foster
constructive debate and to increase the productivity of the members of the
list in writing the manifesto. 

1.Debates can be raised on virtually any topic under the sun, though an
attempt will be made to label a particular topic as the Topic of the Week,
to keep the focus on that topic for a while. 

2.Those who have been following the debates from day 1 know about which
issues have been discussed and which have not. Others, newer members, need
to do the required homework to search the web archives for the topic and
to see the general thrust of the debates on that topic before raising it
on the list. 

3.Virtually no topic should be raised without a structure. The goal is to
get specific points meant for each level (Preamble/ Manifesto/ Agenda,
etc.), and therefore the ideal way to submit a new point is to summarize
it in a para and to indicate where that point should belong. New points
will be introduced in purple color on the manifesto and converted into
black after a couple of weeks if there is no objection received. 

4.It is quite possible that the point under consideration has been
discussed and debated earlier. If the debator wishes to challenge/ change
an existing point then the method to do it would be as follows: 

i.Make sure that you look up the Definitions section (currently under
construction) and understand the meaning of the words used in the
Manifesto. 

ii.Determine which part or line of the Manifesto you differ from (that
will be put in red in the manifesto) 

iii.Specify the alternative line or para that you want (that will be put
up in green). This is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL. No objections will be
entertained without this step, and nobody will be obliged to either record
these objections, debate with them, or otherwise consider them. 

iv.Give very specific reasons why your new formulation is better than the
earlier one. 

v.Allow the debate to form on that issue and then, whoever wins that
point, gets to write that part of the manifesto. (i.e., one of the two,
red or green, is expunged and the winner is converted into black). 

vi.All lines in the manifesto, etc., remain open to debate in perpetuity
so that we do not exclude better ways of thinking about things in the
future.