Debate Formats

On Debate, we observe several unique debate formats. Here is a current list of our formats and how the debates operate in each format:

Rapid Fire

Main focus: The issue itself and the ability to make good arguments with a limited amount of speaking time.

In our "Rapid Fire" format, the debate as a whole gets a set amount of time, usually 20 minutes (this can be increased or decreased depending on the topic and number of participants). The total time is then divided up at intervals to create the rounds, usually at 5-minute intervals. Each round focuses on a different question relating to the main topic at hand.

During the debate, each speaker only gets 1 minute to speak. When a speaker has the floor, no one else is allowed to talk. When the 1 minute is up, anyone wishing to take the next minute must raise their hand and wait to be called by the debate host. The debate host will attempt to ensure everyone gets some time to speak in the debate. Participants may speak more than one time in the debate, but may not speak more than one time in a row (eg. after your speaking turn, someone else has to take the next minute).

At the end of the debate time, we then toss the debate over to the listening audience for an "Audience Round". The Audience round will last 5 minutes, or until we receive no more inquiries from listeners. Listeners during this time may call in our request line or message us via.'s "Message DJ" function, and pitch their own thoughts and opinions or ask participants questions. While we wait for inquiries, participants may have open and free discussion about the issue/debate but must be cooperative when the debate host breaks in with a question from the audience.


Main focus: The participants in the debate and their ability to convince an audience with argumentation.

The "Battle" format consists of two teams in the debate, the "pro" team and the "con" team. Each team can have any number of participants (though each must have at least one), but the debate host will not prefer to use this format if the teams are significantly uneven.

This format is divided up into a series of rounds between the two teams of the debate. Anyone not participating in the debate may not speak during the main rounds. And anyone on a team that isn't up to speak may not speak until it is their turn.
Round Description
1 - Opening Statements Each team of the debate will get 3 minutes speaking time to make a case for their side of the debate. The teams may either choose to divide the time between their members or to select one member from the team to speak the whole round.
2 - Point / Counter-point Same deal. During each speaking turn, a team may choose to have one member speak the entire time, or to have the time divided between their members.
  • First, the pro team will get 2 minutes to make a point.
  • From that point on, starting with the con team, each team will get 3 minutes to counter the other's point and to make a new point.
  • The debate host will decide when this round is to come to an end, usually either when the teams are running out of points, they are arguing and bickering, or scheduled time is running out. The host can only decide when this round is to end after the con team's turn. After that, the pro team will get 1 final minute to counter the con team's last point, but may not make any new points.
  • Depending on time, if the debate host finds that the teams run out of points too quickly, the host may pitch in a question into the debate to stimulate the round further opposed to ending it.
3 - Questions Round Each team will be given a chance to answer questions from those not participating in the debate, including the listening audience (via. request line or's Message DJ feature). The debate host will decide how many questions each team is allowed to take and answer, for time's sake. Teams are also permitted to ask questions to the other team (eg. the pro team may ask the con team a question).
Voting Round We then give everyone, including the listening audience (but excluding those who participated in the debate), 3 minutes, to vote. It is recommended that voters do not pick scores out of favor, but out of who had the most convincing, solid, and verifiable facts and claims. Voting consists of giving each side a score from 1 point to 5 points. At the end of the round, whoever has the most points wins the debate (and sometimes, a prize will be offered to the winner on the show).

"Triple R" (Random Round Robin)

Main focus: The issue itself

In this debate format, the debate is divided into a number of rounds (usually 3). Each round focuses on a different question relating to the main topic.

The names of all participants of the debate is then put into a randomizer to determine the order in which the participants will go. This is done at the beginning of each round. The one exception is if the last person from the previous round ends up showing up in the randomizer as the first person to go, the list will be randomized again to ensure no one has to go twice in a row.

Each participant will then get 3 minutes to speak in each round (this time can be adjusted by the host depending on the topic, number of participants, or schedule). No one else is allowed to speak when someone has the floor, but may, however, raise their hand if they have a question for the current speaker. It is then up to the speaker's discretion whether or not to call on them and take the question during their speaking time.

After all the rounds have been completed, we will take a 5 minute "Audience Round" to allow listeners to give thoughts or ask questions via. the request line or's Message DJ feature. During this round while we wait for inquiries, participants may freely and openly discuss the issue/debate, but must be cooperative when the host breaks in with an inquiry from the audience.