Is debating technique, i.e. what you do in debate clubs, on topic?

I know it's not exactly writing, but it involves composing and structuring arguments, and seems to have a lot in common with .

  • 2
    For clarification -- are you talking about writing something persuasive, e.g. speechwriting, or about writing points for debates, as in debate clubs? Because, as far as I know, debate clubs don't write speeches down. Writing speeches is one topic, debate techniques is a rather different one.
    – Standback
    Jan 23, 2017 at 21:30
  • I'm looking for debating techniques, as in what you would do at a debate club @Standback Jan 24, 2017 at 5:38
  • Ah. I'm not really seeing how that would be a writing question. Can you explain why it might be seen as such?
    – Standback
    Jan 24, 2017 at 6:23
  • I'm not sure. I think it is because it's one of the things under the 'English' umbrella term. @Standback Jan 24, 2017 at 15:14
  • I'm sorry -- what is one of the things under the umbrella? Which term? Could you please explain that again, and with more words :) Thanks!
    – Standback
    Jan 24, 2017 at 15:49
  • Ah, in school English classes (in the UK) one of the things you cover is debating. That's what I meant. @Standback Jan 24, 2017 at 16:13
  • ...I'm sorry, I'm still very confused. What does "We learn Debate in English classes" have to do with "Is Debate On-Topic On Writers.SE"?
    – Standback
    Jan 24, 2017 at 16:38
  • So because Writing is also something you do in English clas-... No... It doesn't matter. We can leave this question for another person to ask more clearly. @Standback Jan 24, 2017 at 16:47
  • Well, this is not EnglishClass.SE, but Writers.SE.
    – user5645
    Jan 25, 2017 at 17:32
  • Good point. @what Jan 25, 2017 at 17:42

2 Answers 2


This would seem to be a question of whether the act of committing an argument or story to writing is required to be on topic here, or whether constructing an argument or story is on topic even if you are not actually writing them down but are rather speaking them aloud.

And it seems to me that for virtually ever question we actually answer here (except for the Scrivener questions) the point is moot. Either way, you are structuring a story or argument and expressing it in words. What difference does it actually make whether you are writing those words down or not?

Now the performance aspects of debate or storytelling are a different matter and presumably off topic here. But I can't see how we can rule a structural question or a selection and composition of words question off topic when it can be rendered on topic merely by jotting the result down on paper.


I disagree with Mark Baker.

If a question is not specific to debating but applies to writing as well, then it is unnecessary to mention debating in the question at all. For example, you might want to know how to structure an argument. If you ask how to structure an argument specifically in a debate, that question and its answers would explicitly exclude writing and therefore be off topic. But if you ask how to structure arguments in general, then that would be applicable to writing as well.

But I do not think that general questions and answer, that apply to both debating and writing, are helpful to either. Arguments must be presented differently in spoken language. In a written text, visual structure helps the reader orienting themselves and they can re-read passages or skip ahead, and this availability of the whole text at all times helps the reader grasp complex arguments. In an oral presentation, on the other hand, where a listener has to hold everything in their minds and will lose track of complex arguments quickly, the presentation has to use other means of helping the audience understand. Therefore, answers that would be helpful for writing do not apply to debating, which means that questions and answer must be specific to debating to be useful and will therefore be not about writing and off topic.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .