UNCLOSdebate is an effort to expand the debate on whether the U.S. should ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) through a collaborative wiki-like tool for structured debate on a topic. The project is modeled after Wikipedia, but instead of focusing on developing an encyclopedia it invites users to help edit and expand an 'argument tree' that reflects the various positions in the debate over UNCLOS. Users can browse the argument tree or an extensive database of resources, including links to relevant news articles, authoritative quotes, and a comprehensive bibliography of sources.
The project is part of a larger effort, nicknamed the "Open Debate Engine", which hopes to create a hybrid wiki platform that will be conducive to handling larger policy debate topics. There are three complementary goals for this project:
- To provide a resource for students and practitioners on the issues involved in the debate over U.S. ratification of UNCLOS;
- To expand and further the debate over the U.S. ratification of UNCLOS;
- To develop an open-source system for the collabrative development and editing of an argument tree that can be re-used for other topics (i.e. the Open Debate Engine).