I ultimately enjoy back and forth, back and forth debating in a more informal setting but I think there can be a good formal setting to debates as well.
My ideal debate format:
15 minute opening
10 minute rebuttal
30 minute cross-exam (15 minutes for one person to ask the other questions and then they switch)
8 minute closing
Q&A until you are kicked out of the venue and then take it to the parking lot.
Debate time: 96 minutes
Some notes and justification:
Debates usually have long openings and too short rebuttals, imo. I think that
Things I don't like:
No audience Q&A. Yeah audiences can get a little obnoxious and rambling in their questions but I think that this is the best part of a lot of debates. I further think one of the way you might be able to stifle the long-winded questions from taking over the Q&A (at least for at debates in universities) is to have it be only students until no more students have questions.
-As a sub-issue, I don't like it when the opponent isn't given the chance to respond to the other person's answer to a question in the Q&A.
Closing statements after Q&A. They should just be before the Q&A. I would like to think that there is a chance for these things to go on longer if everyone is willing and this would be fully taken advantage of by having the Q&A at the end of the debate because then you can try and fit as much questions in as possible.