Welcome to the Essay Debating System

See below for an explanation.

Open topics


We think discussions on Debian development mailing lists sometimes suffer from repetition of facts, opinions, and arguments. During a long discussion of a controversial topic, it is hard for anyone to keep track of what has been said, and so everything tends to get repeated.

Such discussions also often become heated, and fast: those who participate most intensely tend to answer within minutes of each other. Even without repetition, following the discussion becomes a lot of work.

We think it would improve the discussions if each side of a debate (there can be more than two) would write a document explaining their viewpoint, including any facts, references, and arguments they feel are needed as justification. As the debate continues, they may update the document to strengthen their position. If need be, they can point to their document in their mailing list posts.

Here's the procedure:

This procedure does not introduce anything new for resolving disputes. Debian operates on the principle of having a rough consensus, plus a tech committee to handle cases where that can't be reached, and we do not want to change that. Our goal is to develop and refine positions, and express them more clearly.

Russ Allbery and Lars Wirzenius (based on original suggestion to Lars by Richard Braakman)