I am taking corrective suggestions.
Right now I am thinking that the important things are:
- The debate must begin and end.
- It must have a narrowly focused topic. (Not "Calvinism v Arminianism", but "The church should universally affirm that everyone for whom Christ died will be saved.")
- It must be judged by people outside of the debate - an even number of judges represent each side, which tends to encourage ties. The advantage is that the debater is not trying to persuade his opponent, which should be hopeless. They are trying to persuade someone not lost in the passion of debate, and who is at least superficially charged with impartiality.
- There should be a limit to the number of words so that pure verbosity doesn't carry the day, wear out the judges, bore everyone to tears, and allow the conversation to spin out of control.
Right now, I am thinking:
3 posts by each side of 1000 words or less apiece. After post number 3, the judges speak, and the debate is over.