issue challenge

An issue challenge is a game in which two or more people can debate positions issues and resolve disputes using wiki methods. Debate by edit, once you learn how, can clarify complex problems and help resolve seemingly intractable disputes. Best of all (particularly for everyone else) it saves time, and adds to the collective knowledge base so others don't have to have the same dispute.

It should be used in the event that a wikifight breaks out on any issue page (moving the conflict to a separate page).

To issue a challenge:

1. Create a page with a title as follows:

challenge: something about issue

(you include challenge: and whatever the title of the issue is so others can find it with a search)

The challenger must edit into that page one or more issue statements, with one or more positions that they choose to defend. Issues and positions should be written without any formatting. All content should be in well defined paragraphs (without line breaks). Bulleted or numbered lists are allowed.


Two kinds of notification are required
  • in the wiki - In most cases, a notice of, and link to, the challenge, is noted in relevant issue pages. A notice can be added to the challenge page to notify others to follow the rules of the challenge already underway.
  • to the proposed contestants - by any reasonable means including email, snail mail, phone, whatever is most appropriate. Include in your notification a link to this page.

who can issue

Any participant can issue a challenge to any other participant, or group of participants. The resulting IPA helps resolve disputes in a wiki which emphasizes finding agreement. It provides for neutral third party observers the best possible overview of the nature of the dispute, what the issues are and what the positions are. They may intervene to help balance the points of view.

respond to challenge offer

Those who are named challenged can respond in any of the following ways:


When a person who is challenged desires to accept the challenge, they can do so by replying (by editing the challenge page or any other means) with a date by which they will respond to the challenge. It is polite to choose a respond by date between 3 and 30 days from the receipt of the challenge. Like any other offer there is a deadline or at least best before date stated.


If the challenged finds that the challenger has defined issues well and taken positions with merit, they may defer to these positions. Defer means that the challengers positions on that issue should be viewed with "equal merit" as those of the challenged. This is consistent with the general meaning of defer.


If the challenged finds that the challenger has defined issues well taken positions with high merit, they may concede that these positions have more merit than those expressed by themselves.


If a person who is challenged finds the issues to be poorly defined or positions to be of little merit they may deny challenge is worth responding to. This can be done politely by responding with a better definition of the issue, the position or both. (effectively saying, "i would defer if you said it like this . . .") A flat denial (without explanation) is impolite.

In either case, the challenged reserves the opinion that their positions have superior merit to those of the challenger. This is exactly what revert does on a somewhat lower level of task abstraction: deny the edit for stated cause.


A person challenged may refuse to hear challenges from a specific challenger. This response can have merit if the challenged can cite instances in which the challenger has abused or disrespected the challenged in the past.

no response

A non response is equivalent (but less polite) than a flat denial or refusal. This is exactly what revert without comment does: deny the individual as a valid challenger.

completing a challenge

Once a challenge has been accepted, the contest consists of a period of open editing by all contestants. Contestants should define issues, take positions, state arguments and provide evidence.

Opposing contestants should not edit positions, arguments or evidence put forward by the opposition, nor interfere with the presentation of these in any way. It is possible for a contestant to "play both sides", but this should be done in distinct arguments and positions, indeed it is often in the interest of a contestant to try to bring out the best arguments on both sides.

Issue statements are "neutral ground" which is edited by both sides. In defining issues, all contestants should enforce NPOV, but where neutrality is unclear, conciliatory edits which advantage ones opponent are meritable.

Apart from issue statements, no paragraph should have more than one contestant's POV. And all paragraphs aside from issue statements should be clearly marked as to which POV they represent.

Word limits.

The challenger or the challenged may suggest a word limit for contributions. The limit applies to
  • positions, arguments, evidence presented on the page, and any sub-arguments or rebuttals.

The word limit does not include:
  • issue statements
  • citations/bibliography (provided without comment) which are placed at the very bottom of the page.

Indexing and table of contents.

Any contestant may add a numerical index of some sort and/or a table of contents to the page, provided they do so consistently numbering all paragraphs.

Points of Order, Information, Personal Privilege.

The use of these is deprecated.

evidence, sources and authorities.

While using the full TIPAESA structure is best, external links to original documents etc. referenced in the positions and arguments is not necessary unless asked to do so by a contestant, in which case the evidence must be presented or the reference removed.

No anonymous contributions

There shall be no anonymous contributions to an issue challenge, either as an edit or a comment. All or part of any anonymous contribution must be removed if a contestant wishes it so.


On the last day of a challenge, the challenger(s) must refrain from editing. The challenged has, on that day, the right of the last edit which includes:
  • being able to refine ones own positions and arguments in existing paragraphs but not to add new ones.
  • being able to improve the formatting and presentation without disrupting the readability of the overall document.

The last edit may not be used to

  • re-arrange the content of the page - all paragraphs must be left standing and in the same order as before.
  • alter the content or presentation of an opponent's positions or arguments.
  • make changes to issue statements.
  • relocate existing content to or from other pages.
  • add or remove content (in any context) above the first issue statement.
  • add points of order or information

The contest is closed on the "respond by" date either the challenged makes their "last edit", or the clock runs out (at midnight of the challenged person’ local time, unless specified otherwise)


Contestants have the right to insist that the result of a challenge be linked from the any contestant's bio page. Any contestant can also request that the challenge page be locked at the close of a contest.


Both the challenger and the challenged are entitled to ask reviewers to "score" the IPA once the respond by date has passed.

Reviewers will comment on the debate in any way that they please, but must identify themselves, and if it exists, include a link to their profile in the wiki. Both the content of the debate and the conduct of the debaters is to be considered.

Scoring system.

If reviewers choose to appoint a score, they should do so on a 10 point scale, with 10 being a perfect score. They may weigh different components as they choose, and need not provide a breakdown, but here is an example on how a challenge might be scored for each participant.

  • 2 points for formatting
    • did the participant format their positions and arguments in a convenient and easy to read way?
  • 2 points for brevity
  • 3 points for being informative
  • 2 points for courtesy
  • 1 point for developing the strongest positions.

Generally speaking, both contestants should win if they present a debate that has high and lasting value for observers.

Most reviewers will comment on how and who has defined the issues best, and which positions seem the strongest, and which arguments were most elegantly presented.

See issue challenge page for more on this, and issue debate page) for a related structure.