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Prerequisites for a debate

I have noticed that in many debates, so much time is wasted in things such as semantics. I think the best way to start with a debate is to define the words you will be using, and the assumptions you are making. I think that will bring so much clarity, and will stop debates from getting sidetracked.

You can debate the assumptions and definitions, but if they are clearly outlined, then it's all on the table at the beginning. We all have assumptions, and at times different definitions, this is fine, but we need to recognize these to have intelligent and respectful dialog.

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  • Jun 22 2011: Step 1: do not debate with people who spend too much time over semantics, unless you feel that the extra time and lower utility of the debate for anyone else who reads it is worthwhile to you.

    Aaaand just because, see http://pastebin.com/Q86Zhgs9 line 59. People worry over semantics because they feel other people care, because they do even if it is irrelevant to the facts of an argument. An obsession over surface details is part of the environment in which people are forced to operate, but one's environment can be modified to cause further goal completion beyond the scope of any single argument.

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