Note: this is a working draft subject to change. Please post suggestions below.
Arguments should be good-faith attempts to summarize real claims made by those on different sides of an issue. If you disagree with an argument's framing, you can start a discussion on the forum's Meta section.
- If you you are trying to summarize a real-life argument you do not believe is made in good faith by its advocates, try to present the argument as a factual question, and then you can add contradicting arguments to it.
- Example: The claim "Immigrants are rapists and murderers." could be changed into "Crime rates in immigrant populations are higher than in non-migrant populations." You can also add an argument regarding the framing itself, such as "Calling immigrants 'rapists and murderers' promotes racial animosity."
Arguments should be as broad and universal as possible without being unclear or misleading.
- Example: "Governments should provide healthcare." is a bit broad, because it could mean that government should administer health insurance or that government should run all medical facilities. "Kentucky should accept federal funding for Medicaid." is too narrow, because most reasons Kentucky should adopt Medicaid likely apply to other states as well.
Argument titles should be as short as possible.
- "Headline-style" word omissions are encouraged where possible.
- Arguments can be linked to other Arguments or to Evidence
Arguments fit into several broad categories
Statements of cause and effect
- If possible, try to express cause and effect using an economic model
- Example: "Subsidies distort incentives"
Policy claims, or actions the government should take
- To argue that the government should not do something, create a counterargument to the policy claim using a "contradicts" relation (see below)
- Example: "The government should mandate insurance coverage for all individuals"
Method and modeling claims
- These are claims about how truth is decided upon (typically technical/wonky)
- Example: "Sample size too small to support broad conclusions"; "Assumes country's capital supply is fixed"
- Example: "Everyone has a right to health insurance"
Simple factual claims
- Example: "The U.S. population is 300+ million"
Not every argument needs to be supported by research: it is not appropriate for all claims, and research is not available for all topics. However, research should be used be used wherever possible.
- Relations connect arguments to other arguments and to academic evidence
Relations can take a number of forms. The two primary forms are:
supports - shows a logically supportive relationship
- Example: "Research showing that housing prices are higher in cities with more restrictive zoning laws" would support the argument that "Restrictive zoning raises land use prices", which in turn supports the argument that "Governments should not restrict how land is used"
contradicts - shows a logically contradicting relationship
- Example: "Research showing that students respond best to tutoring and other human-focused interactions" contradicts the policy argument that "Governments should reduce education costs supporting computer-based education reforms"
- Other relation types:
identifies - a stronger form of supports used for mathematical identity relationships such as accounting identities
other - if the relation does not appear to fit in available categories
- Please make a note of the relation type in the relation's summary
- We are also considering including:
example - intended for examples of arguments being used, such as an op ed that makes a given argument
- However, we do not yet have a way of adding example claims