Debate ostensibly forms the main body of each Philo meeting, although it can take up to several hours to reach that point, especially if there is a major piece of Old or New Business up for discussion. Philo debates center around resolutions, which technically must be positive, although negative resolutions have been allowed at the discretion of the Moderator.
In general, the debate is either the great highlight or the great letdown of a Philo meeting. Sometimes the letdown is due to bad attendance, but most often it is due to a bad resolution.
Propose (and vote for) good resolutions!
Excellent question! You'd almost think that this Q&A was contrived or something. Anyway, good resolutions are difficult things to come up with. In general, try to keep the following in mind:
It is theorized that the ideal debate topic combines a Socratic appearance of simplicity with a Wodehousian love of the absurd, as well as a certain unique Philo twist. It is also theorized that the "unique Philo twist" can be achieved by drinking at least two martinis prior to, or ideally during, the debate.
Philos don't abstain.