Issue statement

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An issue statement is a neutral statement of an issue on which there is more than one position. To permit multiple positions to develop without prejudice, advocates of each position must not be allowed to reframe issues without debate and consensus. An issue statement begins and frames an issue/position/argument statement, and should simply extend the article's title. A list of all such statements related to a given event or jurisdiction should be on a page titled for that event or jurisdiction with the single word "issue" (lower case) added. Example: the Hurricane Katrina issue page which lists several issues and multiple positions on each of those issues.

An issue statement:

  • explains the significance of the issue - who is affected and how
  • defines its terms - explains what this issue becomes, remains, and equals, and links to other relevant policy terms
  • must frame debates on sub issues and related issues so that a clear and stable hierarchy of issues is created with lateral links to everything "related"

All of this should be done in 150 words or less. Dkosopedia is not an encyclopedia, and does not support article length discussions on issues, except as an issue briefing which is a separate page with a title including words like "background", "references", "sources", "bibliography", "survivor stories" and so on. See the Hurricane Katrina page for some examples of such pages.

Rules for issue statements include:

Contents

keep them as neutral as possible

The issue statement presents the issue as concisely as possible, from as neutral point of view as current debates seem to require. This hopefully creates the foundation for positions and arguments that remain stable for a long time to be worth debate by edit.

don't generalize

Use exactly as inclusive a concept as you need to, and certainly avoid using terms like "Republican" and "Democrat" to describe things. This is up to the positions. For instance the position:Republicans are unbiblical on abortion is assuming Democrats don't share that position or that there is a definable concept called "unbiblical" (which isn't in the dictionary, there are no people on Earth at present who follow every word of say the laws of Deuteronomy). But this is only affecting the credibility of that position. By contrast, an over-generalized "issue" like "Republicans stealing money from the poor" is going to involve too many positions and drive away anyone who cares to argue a moderate position. So a better issue statement without the generalizations is something that would make a good neutral article title, expanded as follows:

Within the subissue "economic injustice" you then need an issue statement like:

    • economic injustice: Money tends to flow to those who already have it, not necessarily to those who work harder or even smarter. Complex corporate structure avoids taxes, hides profits from employees and investors, and shields massive frauds like Enron. Simple domestic corporate structure that avoids offshore tax havens is penalized directly by higher taxes and audits that actually see all the profits. Entire professions have grown up simply to move money and define complex instruments to move money fast from one place to another on any excuse or even a whim: accountants, management consultants, lawyers, public relations, lobbyist and political consulting firms, insurance and reinsurance, brokers and underwriters. It is not easy to prove that any of this actually makes the economy more effective at meeting overall human needs. Meanwhile, obvious human needs for education, free time, housing, food, clothing and the safety of women and children, are ignored even when they pay off in the long term. Income equity (a sub-issue) is lower now than it has ever been in the US, with the difference between the lowest and highest paid people growing. It is easy to find examples of people profiting from fraud or people paying tax to hurt themselves directly.

don't presume "the problem"

Issue statements should avoid explicitly stating "the problem", leave this to the position statements, each of which will assume "the problem" within them

Avoid using words like should, as, because, could, must, need, etc.

Keep imagery out of such a statement. Conceptual metaphors are necessary and relevant to debate, but a position does not belong in the MemeTank on day one.

anchors a briefing

Issue statements differ from issue briefings only in depth and degree of detail - the latter include many contrasting positions to help clarify the dialectic or "can of worms?" that the issue statement opens.

An interest group briefing by contrast includes those positions on MANY issues that are common to that one interest group. This will require many unrelated issue statements to be quoted so reliance on their existing wording is critical. To reframe? an issue simply to appeal to that interest group may be to pander? to them.

Issue statements introduce an IPA or a briefing or section of a briefing, only. They are intended not to provoke in themselves but only to anchor the briefing.

use policy terms

Regular editors should ensure that issue statements use policy terms as much as possible, and link to related issues and any relevant issue briefings and interest group briefings. As many as possible. No limit.

No one who is not deeply familiar with the entire list of policy terms should be trying to correct an issue statement. It's a senior editor job.

need category

If someone is interested in seeing all the issue statements there is currently no way to find them except by using the "search" button. A category would solve this problem. p0m 12:13, 29 June 2006 (PDT)

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