Of course when this happens all is lost as the issues become clouded and the purpose of the debate is lost.
Online debate forums therefore need a strong set of moderators and collaboration between the moderators with specific and pre-defined guidelines, which must be adhered to.
That sounds time consuming and it can be extremely challenging, so each moderator must be certain that they can perform? They need to ask themselves; what have they ever done in their life that makes them believe that they are up for it? It is a lot of work.
Often it is advised to have third party verifiers and third party research to back it up.
If an online debater posts a comment then at the end of each paragraph or every couple they should put reference links to the supporting data, not allowing them to put them at the end after the reader forgets.
As these political commentators write innuendo after innuendo and then at the end quote a "news" article as if any of that is real.
I have been in the "news" all my life and never once had the reporter got the story exactly correct.
html A moderator should check up on all the references and make sure they are valid, credible and support the comment.
One also should ask; "Who is monitoring the monitors? Assuming they will be human? How can you trust them? People who are involved in Politics always have a motive and unless that motive is to better the country or providing for a safer and more efficient civilization then, well? Ultimately one of the most important things is to keep such political forum or debate sites from becoming bitch sites.
Or worse sounding boards for one side without consideration of an alternate point of view otherwise the debate is a wash in one-sided politics serving no free man.
Additionally it is important to not jeopardize the integrity, articles, commentary or time of the debaters.
This is why the monitoring of references and data in any and all online political debate forums is essential to the integrity of the website.
We must consider all this in 2006.