A k5 Debate (capital-D, as opposed to the everyday enlightened discussion that happens on k5) will be structured in the following way.
1. There are three participants: The Moderator, the Affirmative, and the Negative.
2. The Affirmative and Negative argue for and against the stated topic. The Moderator assembles the words of the Affirmative and Negative writers, performs any necessary formatting and editing, and posts the story on kuro5hin (where as a mere formality it is voted to the front page).
3. Each of the two debaters writes up to 600 words on the stated topic, and sends them to the moderator. When they have received both pieces, the moderator forwards them on to the respective opponents. The debaters then write another 400 words in rebuttal, and the process is repeated with a final 200-word counter-rebuttal and summary. Thus, a total of 1,200 words (or in k5 units, one-sixth of a Cheeseburgerbrown diary) is written by each debater.
4. It is up to the moderator to set and enforce deadlines from the two writers. If they wish, the moderator can have backup debaters standing by in case of flakiness or obvious debate sabotage by the participants. The debaters should have at least a week or so to research and write their pieces.
5. The "winner" of the debate can be decided by a poll - not on the subject itself, but on the quality of the argument presented by the authors. This winner is then encouraged to become moderator of the next debate under the format. They can take responsibility for soliciting feedback on the next topic, finding debaters, altering the format or finding another moderator. Ideally, an eclectic range of topics (not just current events) should be put to the people for a vote.
If this idea should be well-received, I will act as the moderator for the first debate. Once a topic is chosen, if you would like to participate contact me here or at debates(@)coljac.net. Please suggest some interesting topics that I can put to the vote.