I am in the process of reaching out to various groups on linkedin/digg/reddit/twitter to find participants.
Anybody have input on my idea, or advice on the best way to organically grow this community?
The site is: http://debateaday.com.
Concept is simple: One Debate a Day with knowledgeable bloggers/technologists.
Be as controversial as you dare in your debates and premise. Controversy is a great way to get through the crowd if done well.
For instance, phrase your debate title as 'The Google Phone Will Outsell the iPhone in 2010.' (Bad title, but you get the idea.)
I would also have very timely and topical debates, and seed them with great content.
Forums and social groups should provide you with groups of relevant people but be careful to add real content and gain trust rather than just spam.
One possible feature you could add is a way for users to challenge others to a debate by filling in an email address which would then send an automatic email with an invite to the site and details of the challenge.
First I would use google suggest to figure out what gets asked around a given subject.
So lets's say programming
Go to google and type in
what is the best programming then you will get the following
This will allow you to write debate topics that a lot of people are looking for on google and therefore you will rank higher.
Second of all I would go for some more meta questions. The subjects you have are kind of hard to have an opinion about as it seems like most of those subjects can be proven.
So instead of C++ it could be what is the best programming language for X
Instead of Photoshop then it could be Photoshop or Fireworks what's best for Wireframe design.
Make sure that you have one entry point and that this get's people into the disucssion right away. To many debate sites make the mistake of creating all sorts of channels before they have the users.
It's simple math. If you create 3 channel then the chances of people meeting on your site is just much smaller than if you have 1 channel. With time the need for channels might arise but in the beginning make it simple. Not unlike how this stackexchange site works.
Interface is brand, communicate with the features rather than through abstraction. Hope this was helpful.