The Brief History
Debating 404, started in 2017, is an open, volunteer based project established by 2 alumni debaters due to their love and gratitude to debate and therefore want to contribute back to debate realm. The project takes form as a website that hosted reading materials written by volunteers to help fellow debaters’ development in their training.
A gratitude to the volunteers’ enthusiasm, the website now has dozens of articles that can be accessed freely by debaters that are keen on developing their debate ability, or to the general public that simply want to read more to get knowledge and information.
In middle of 2019, the project underwent hiatus to rediscover its identity and direction. And now in 2020 we are back in action!
Vision and Mission
Our vision is that we want the project to be to be source of information that can greatly contribute to debaters’ critical thinking and training development, and to be a platform where debaters and ex-debaters can create a friendship connection bounded by the spirit to contribute to debate realm’s growth.
Our missions are:
- To provide reading material that aims to help the development of debater’s knowledge, critical thinking, and competitive performance (proactive provision of article);
- To provide reading material in response to enquiry of motion and topic to assist the development of debater’s knowledge, critical thinking, and competitive performance (reactive provision of article);
- To establish online community consisting of volunteer that aims to promote friendship bond and exchange of thought and experience (social empowerment of volunteers);
- To engage with potential volunteers and audiences at international level in systematic fashion (national – interregional – international engagement).
Principles of the Project
There are several underlying principles that are intended to preserve the spirit of the project in its operation and development. And those principles are:
Principle of Non-Partisan
The operation and development of the project should not be affiliated and/or used to benefit only certain debate personal, group, or community. The project is an open project from all and to all, regardless of your group, community, nationality, gender, etc;
Principle of Non-Profit
The project should not be used to collect profit from the audience since reading material can be accessed and enquiry can be asked without a single penny being paid to the project. But voluntary donation can be accepted which should be used to only sustain and develop the project, and donation can only be accepted once proper financial procedure of the project has been established. The project is a voluntary initiative, not a paid service;
Principle of Voluntarism
The project is maintained and developed by voluntary spirit and action of volunteers to contribute to debate realm. Therefore this project is not an employment and will not provide any financial incentive.
But volunteers can have hard skill and soft skill development through their own personal initiative by improving their writing content, helping to run the project, and even asking for guidance from other more experienced volunteers.
And of course there will be no less of excitement and pride to have your writings being read or even be used to help developing others’ knowledge, critical thinking, and debate training. Stating your activity as volunteer of the project in your curriculum vitae (CV) is also absolutely permitted.
Programs of the Project
The vision and mission of the project are executed by number of programs and volunteers can choose which program(s) that they want to allocate themselves into. The programs are:
Project Development Program
This program aims to make the project sustainable and develop in the long run. Volunteers in this program will be allocated to help provide technical support to the project, such help with planning and managing the project, becoming editor, public relation, I.T volunteer, etc. Currently there has been no established position yet in the project and that will be decided in the near future in accordance to the need of project operation;
This program aims to provide reading materials to the public. Volunteers in this program will write and submit their article to be published by the project’s website. The credit and responsibility of the writing content goes fully to the writer. Volunteers may write according to their creativity and will, or that to respond to enquiry of motion or topic from the public. Hate speech and hoax writings are forbidden and will not be published. Currently, there are 2 segments of writing in the project:
- Motion Analysis: the writing focuses on providing analysis of the potential directions and/or arguments of the debate motion;
- Shower Thoughts: the writing focuses on providing first principles or basic theories that can be applied in debate, or that the writing can also provide insight and opinion to certain topics or phenomena.
Volunteer Community Program
This programs aims to provide connectivity and bonding to volunteers of the project. All volunteers are automatically enrolled to this program. Volunteers may share and exchange thoughts, opinion, insights, knowledge, information, or even casual conversation. The program will use social media as a platform to run this program, and/or other platforms that may be used in accordance to the need of the community.
Challenges of the Project
During hiatus, we identified several circumstances that the project had encountered:
- That the productivity of the project had significantly dropped, signaled by the gradual reduction of the number of writings posted on the website and eventually became dormant;
- That the sounding and public awareness of the project’s work had significantly declined, signaled by the gradual decrease of volunteers recruitment and gradual decrease to no enquiry of writings from the public and eventually became dormant;
- However, we also found out a positive anomaly that despite the site’s dormant productivity, the site still encountered some amount of daily visitors. This anomaly shows that there are people still interested with the writings in the site, either for debate training, or fun reading purpose.
The negative circumstances, if not handled well, will unfortunately remain to continue for a while. The problems that created and affected the negative circumstances above and need to be dealt with are:
- The lack of volunteers’ recruitment that resulted into lack of manpower, directly affects the operation and development of the project, included but not limited creation of reading materials, creativity and planning of the project, etc;
- The lack of volunteers’ productivity and sustainability in creating reading materials for the project that resulted into stagnancy of amount of content and provision of outdated content on the website.
With the problems identified, we hope to very soon be able to spread the word about this project and recruit volunteers that have the same vision of the project, and also have the necessary excitement and industriousness to the project. May the project be useful to personal development, community development, and friendship development.
Call for Action!
Debating 404 is a project that aims not only to be a platform for personal growth, but also a platform that empowers and upgrade personal development into something more powerful and echoing that can influence the development of the community, and also to form up personal friendship bond in the community.
We believe in the power and action of collective “one person” done in enthusiastic and industrious way can empower the community. We believe in the idea of collective debate community empowerment, and that empowerment will introduce critical, mature, and thorough thinking to every facet of life, whether it relates to policy making, education, to human relationship, etc in personal life to international scale and thus brings betterment to society.
And writing is a humble, but very powerful means to achieve that belief. Writing is a fantastic and effective way to develop ourselves, and to note and share our knowledge. Writing makes knowledge accessible to anyone without knowing cruel discrimination that haunts our society, and ultimately, writing makes knowledge everlasting and accessible across generations.
The dream is tremendous, and we want to share this dream, this vision to the people and community. It’s a challenging path to be walked, but together we can make the dream comes true.
Feeling the same? Having the same dream and vision? Want to do something about that? Then this project is for you no matter you are a beginner or experienced in debate and writing. Let’s develop ourselves and the community together. Join us and be part of the dream!