Banninations, and the rapidty of.

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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by Bounty » 2009-10-18 05:29am

For all this talk about a "debating culture" and "high standards of debating", I'm struggling to remember the last time I saw an actual debate on this board.

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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by ray245 » 2009-10-18 05:34am

Bounty wrote:For all this talk about a "debating culture" and "high standards of debating", I'm struggling to remember the last time I saw an actual debate on this board.
Having high standard of debate does not equate to many debates.
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by Metatwaddle » 2009-10-18 07:02am

Bounty wrote:For all this talk about a "debating culture" and "high standards of debating", I'm struggling to remember the last time I saw an actual debate on this board.
Somewhere along the line, this place became a bit of an echo chamber. I'm not sure when or why it happened, but basically everyone who's a regular poster here is an atheist who is generally progressive by American standards (i.e. left of Obama and most of the Democratic party). We are in favor of single-payer health care, gay and transgender rights, strong church-state separation, and nuclear power. We generally believe oil is going to peak or has peaked, although we're mostly pretty sick of hearing about it after a few members gleefully beat the topic to death during 2008.

These things are matters of board orthodoxy, and they are never really challenged by anyone except Shep, Axis Kast and occasionally Count Chocula. I don't agree with them politically, but I think the latter two provide a valuable public service when they challenge us. The lack of diversity of opinions keeps us from rehashing debates that have been done a zillion times, but sometimes I wish for a little more variety. Unfortunately, I'm not really in a position to provide it, because I do mostly agree with board orthodoxy.

I think that on some of the occasions that we do have debates, a few of our most "respected" posters (senators and mods) actually do very badly and scream and shout and act like assholes in order to hide the fact that they're not debating well. Some people still do quite nicely: Mike and Surlethe come to mind. (So does RedImperator, but obviously I'm not in a position to judge his posts objectively.) But a lot of people are able to hide behind the fact that their opinions are popular and other posters will back them up if they're challenged, which seldom happens anyway. I think Axis Kast and Chocula are better debaters than quite a few senators and mods.

So yeah, I'm not really seeing the merit in the self-aggrandizing "we have SUCH HIGH DEBATING STANDARDS and it scares people off" claims either.
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2009-10-18 11:04am

Thanas wrote:
TheLostVikings wrote:Data Point:

Accidentally stumbled upon one of the T:TSCC discussion threads, then stayed for OSF/Fantasy and SLAM.
How did you stumble over them? Just asking, as I put them up mostly.
I too am curious since I too heavily participated in those T:TSCC... discussions. ;)


As for "high debating standards", SD.net is by no means a debate-centric forum anymore. Sure, there is a lot of discussion - and sometimes, often times, they provide awesome insights - but Discombobulated (Metatwaddle) is rite. The board culture is very much left-leaning, with a few exceptions like the MCNAMARA crowd, but there are only very few topics that members have vehement disagreements and contentions about. Mostly those topics involve people getting killed by guns and explosions, topics which the MCNAMARA crowd are very adept at. :P

The days of Mike Wong telling the hordes of Trekkies, Cretinists and so forth that they're a bunch of "shitcocks" or "fucksticks" is really long gone. Now, those Trekkies and Cretinists come like... every other month, at most. Most of the SD.netters nowadays just chillax and talk shit and act like total pinheads for fun, anyway.
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by Tiriol » 2009-10-18 11:43am

Metatwaddle wrote:
Bounty wrote:For all this talk about a "debating culture" and "high standards of debating", I'm struggling to remember the last time I saw an actual debate on this board.
Somewhere along the line, this place became a bit of an echo chamber. I'm not sure when or why it happened, but basically everyone who's a regular poster here is an atheist who is generally progressive by American standards (i.e. left of Obama and most of the Democratic party). We are in favor of single-payer health care, gay and transgender rights, strong church-state separation, and nuclear power. We generally believe oil is going to peak or has peaked, although we're mostly pretty sick of hearing about it after a few members gleefully beat the topic to death during 2008.

These things are matters of board orthodoxy, and they are never really challenged by anyone except Shep, Axis Kast and occasionally Count Chocula. I don't agree with them politically, but I think the latter two provide a valuable public service when they challenge us. The lack of diversity of opinions keeps us from rehashing debates that have been done a zillion times, but sometimes I wish for a little more variety. Unfortunately, I'm not really in a position to provide it, because I do mostly agree with board orthodoxy.

I think that on some of the occasions that we do have debates, a few of our most "respected" posters (senators and mods) actually do very badly and scream and shout and act like assholes in order to hide the fact that they're not debating well. Some people still do quite nicely: Mike and Surlethe come to mind. (So does RedImperator, but obviously I'm not in a position to judge his posts objectively.) But a lot of people are able to hide behind the fact that their opinions are popular and other posters will back them up if they're challenged, which seldom happens anyway. I think Axis Kast and Chocula are better debaters than quite a few senators and mods.

So yeah, I'm not really seeing the merit in the self-aggrandizing "we have SUCH HIGH DEBATING STANDARDS and it scares people off" claims either.
There's much truth to what you say, although I do have to remind that there are Christians and other people of faith here, myself included. Usually the religious don't make much noise about it, though, and personally I have no desire to get ridiculed or challenged because of my faith.

And I do agree with your statement about Axis Kast and especially about Count Chocula. While I may disagree with several points both of them raise, they at least do bring another opinions to the table besides the usual one that is standard here. And I actually consider Chocula to be an example of a new poster (or new-ish, depends on how one judges what is new or not) who was not swallowed by a "me-too" crowd and is ready to debate even though he knows the odds are overwhelmingly stacked against him in the form of many, MANY opponents. As I said, I don't necessarily agree with their opinions or views, but I can respect them for the courage of showing them, defending them and not conducting themselves in a generally assholish manner. Especially for a new poster that takes a lot of guts, which I wouldn't necessarily have had back in the days when I was a newbie (and as my general avoidance of religious debate shows, it still pops up from time to time).

Bounty also raises a good point: despite all claims of high standards of debating, the "debating" part seems to be sorely lacking from time to time and so is the "high standards" part. I'd like to raise an example: Kamakazie Sith usually involves himself in threads concerning suspicions of police brutality or abuse, not necessarily to defend the police, but to tell what are the standard prodecures, the country-wide standards, the legal demands and the practical demands. And usually what happens soon after is that someone accuses him of basically being a walking propaganda piece or that he is an immoral person or something like that without noting that Kamakazie Sith didn't ever refer to ethics or whether he considers what happened to be of any particular moral standing. This is mixing ethical arguments with legal arguments and it isn't usually going to accomplish anything. And to his credit, Kamakazie Sith is a patient man, because it takes a lot to tick him off in those threads. He doesn't even insult people unless absolutely necessary - a rarity among us, indeed.

So, what I want to say is that we have some ideas, topics or discussions that could very well yield good debates: but more often than not it just degenerates into so-called "circlejerking" or one side may try to debate, but the other screams obscenities and doesn't even consider the opponent's main arguments or even what kind of arguments they are (as Kamakazie Sith has been forced to experience from time to time). And it is oh-so-easy to dogpile the one who is different from the main board culture in these topics and discussions.

And as I promised to Havok, I'll explain myself (referring to his post about the board culture and atmosphere). I don't necessarily want the board culture to become less AGGRESSIVE - good Lord, that would actually take away much of what makes SDNet what it is - but to become less HOSTILE. Those two attitudes are not necessarily the same thing. And by hostile I mean being willing to jump upon any perceived weakness (for example, if a newbie raises a question that has been answered before, but maybe quite a long time ago) and go from zero aggressiveness to one hundred percent asshole -mode in maybe two or even one post. That strange desire to act like a complete bastard just because one can do so within the existing rules is poisonous to the atmosphere in general and it also reduces willingness to raise different opinions or to even join the boards. If someone makes a mistake, then do tell him or her about it and if he or she insists on doing it, flaming may be warranted - but, to borrow the words of the Nostalgia Critic, don't be a big grade A asshole while doing it. Surely one should be able to control one's response enough to do so - there is, after all, a difference between saying "hey, you're making the same idiotic mistake again, stop doing it, dork" and shouting obscenities, profanities and acting like one's sexual prowess afterwards would depend on totally crushing that someone's ego or post.
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by MKSheppard » 2009-10-18 12:13pm

Metatwaddle wrote:I'm not sure when or why it happened, but basically everyone who's a regular poster here is an atheist who is generally progressive by American standards (i.e. left of Obama and most of the Democratic party).
Progressivism by american standards means we want "green renewable sustainable energy". Not that icky mean dirty nuclear power. So yes, SDN does devitate from the standard "progressive" orthodoxy.

And yes, when I hear the word progressive, I reach for my browning. :)
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by Big Phil » 2009-10-18 01:08pm

Tiriol, it's very top down here (the culture). When mods and other older members scream and rant and rave everyone else tends to copy that approach, as it now has some degree of orthodoxy (I.e., it's okay to behave this way). Metatwaddle's comments on poor debating from certain members is very apt, but it's easy to get away with when you're not deviating from board orthodoxy and can rely on a dogpile to make up for your debating deficiencies.

In any case, this discussion has been had before; the fact is nothing will change unless Mike dictates the change, otherwise people will return to old habits and continue doing things the same old way.
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by Big Phil » 2009-10-18 01:11pm

You reach for your brown eye, Shep? That does explain a lot...


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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by Darth Wong » 2009-10-18 01:15pm

MKSheppard wrote:
Metatwaddle wrote:I'm not sure when or why it happened, but basically everyone who's a regular poster here is an atheist who is generally progressive by American standards (i.e. left of Obama and most of the Democratic party).
Progressivism by american standards means we want "green renewable sustainable energy". Not that icky mean dirty nuclear power. So yes, SDN does devitate from the standard "progressive" orthodoxy.

And yes, when I hear the word progressive, I reach for my browning. :)
There is certainly a political orthodoxy to both sides, but we don't really fit entirely in either one. I know I personally don't. I like nuclear power, but not industrial CO2. I like industrialization, but not labour unions. I'm an atheist, but I don't actually give a damn about things like Christmas nativity displays on public property except to attack the monstrously dishonest and/or openly dominionist Christian arguments in favour of them. I am an open supporter of gay rights, but I find "flaming homosexual" behaviour subjectively repulsive and distasteful. I oppose warfare as a solution to international disputes, but I hesitate to call it "evil" because it may be necessary. I support gun control laws, but I think guns are cool and I've shot at targets for fun when I've visited the US. I support the sort of things the ACLU does, but I think their attitude toward "privacy rights" is absurdly excessive and could even be harmful to society in the larger analysis. I oppose "get tough on crime" solutions such as "three strikes" laws and mandatory sentencing, but I have no particular sympathy for criminals and I would support the death penalty for people who are too dangerous to ever be allowed back into society.

So what am I? A right-winger, or a left-winger? Maybe neither, except in America where everyone who doesn't worship Ronald Reagan is a left-winger.
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by Oni Koneko Damien » 2009-10-18 05:35pm

Metatwaddle wrote:
Bounty wrote:For all this talk about a "debating culture" and "high standards of debating", I'm struggling to remember the last time I saw an actual debate on this board.
Somewhere along the line, this place became a bit of an echo chamber. I'm not sure when or why it happened, but basically everyone who's a regular poster here is an atheist who is generally progressive by American standards (i.e. left of Obama and most of the Democratic party). We are in favor of single-payer health care, gay and transgender rights, strong church-state separation, and nuclear power. We generally believe oil is going to peak or has peaked, although we're mostly pretty sick of hearing about it after a few members gleefully beat the topic to death during 2008.

These things are matters of board orthodoxy, and they are never really challenged by anyone except Shep, Axis Kast and occasionally Count Chocula. I don't agree with them politically, but I think the latter two provide a valuable public service when they challenge us. The lack of diversity of opinions keeps us from rehashing debates that have been done a zillion times, but sometimes I wish for a little more variety. Unfortunately, I'm not really in a position to provide it, because I do mostly agree with board orthodoxy.
I have to slightly disagree. Yeah, the board in general agrees nearly in lockstep on a lot of issues, including health care, the current conservative movement, energy, etc. But there are still a decent number of things that produce somewhat lively debate. Occasionally gun-control issues come up, and even among the board 'orthodoxy' you can find pretty much every stance on gun control getting expressed and defended (Glocksman springs immediately to mind). Just recently the healthcare vs. civil rights debate had members of the 'orthodoxy' going at each other. All supported both positions, but there was a lot of disagreement over which took priority, and at what hypothetical cost to the other.

Not that this has any real impact on the main thrust of this thread. I'm all for relaxing admissions standards and letting more new blood in here. Back when I joined, I had my ass handed to me plenty of times, but pretty much the very first thread I posted in (a debate on what was the best way to defend a mall against zombies and vampires, IIRC), I actually had a number of 'old-timers' acknowledging and supporting my position. Many of the people then are still here now, and I believe that loosening up admissions standards will eventually have a generally positive effect on the general attitude here, and thus make for some more productive debates/discussions.
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by Dark Hellion » 2009-10-18 06:54pm

Ok, wait a second... I don't want to sound like a vulture but are we honestly arguing that Count Chocula is a good debater? Almost every post he makes can be googled back to a right-wing blog or news article (as Mr. Wong has pointed out over a dozen times in various N&P threads) and for his first several months when called out he would flee like a coward whenever someone rebutted him. I will give that he is definitely improving and I do not see him enough on other forums to say about his conduct there but he is not a good N&P poster by a long shot. Why not use Kodiak? He has shown much greater improvement as can be seen from the Prop 8 debate where when presented with logic his position changed to one that was ethically compatible with his morality. He also clearly does not fall into the generic board political or religious group, but still contributes to numerous threads.

Honestly, I think this is the problem. We don't even know what a good debater is anymore. We think someone willing to disagree completely is now a good debater? One can easily be good debater simply by pointing out the nuances in someones position, or be recognizing a logical problem in a position they agree with. The echo chamber commentary is right. We are afraid of minor disagreements with the established posters, even when disagreement would lead to a stronger argument in general because the result of disagreement far too often has become hostile self-defenses and profanity for profanities sake. We aren't willing to point out when someone is saying something stupid if that poster has the right credentials, and posters with clout ignore rebuttals until a bigger fish reposts what half a dozen small fish have said. And this isn't hard to find, it takes only a few minutes of searching N&P to find all this stuff.

The interesting thing is that the solution is simple but is basically impossible for anyone to implement. The solution is just that the big name posters need to start showing the responsibility that they received their recognition for. If the posters who are supposed to be admired begin acting like people worthy of admiration again, a huge amount of this will sort itself out. But this requires both hard work on the part of people who for years have been able to coast along on the board and requires them to swallow their egos, which the board has stroked for years as well. I'd like to think that this would be easy for a board like this, but human nature says it is not.
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by Darth Wong » 2009-10-18 08:37pm

The thing about the "echo chamber" is that it's more the fault of the right-wing going into loony-land than it's due to us enforcing any kind of ideological uniformity. The right has gone so completely bonkers over the last few years (and especially since Obama's election) that it's pretty much impossible to take up positions with any of the leading lights on the right without being incredibly dishonest.

The only room for honest debate any more is probably on foreign policy, where it's still not entirely clear what should be done about places like Afghanistan, for example. Unfortunately, you don't get a lot of passion on an issue like that because people on both sides know that anything they propose is not really a good solution; it's just hopefully a bit less godawful than some other solution.

In short, if we want to get more spirited debaters for right-wing positions on global warming, creationism, Christian dominionism, and foreign policy, the only way is to relax standards on dishonest behaviour. That's ugly, but if people really want more of those guys around, that's the solution. Go look at any place where you see spirited debate from those guys; they get away with bloody murder.

Having said that, I've taken issue with some of the mods about their eagerness to ban people. It's gotten out of hand. Even with our rules in place, they were never really meant to be "one offense and you're gone" rules except in specific cases which were spelled out explicitly, like hacking.
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by Stark » 2009-10-18 08:42pm

If the kind of right-wing positions regularly expressed on HPCA is passes for 'discussion', there's basically no way to have that here unless you're willing to have threads full of baseless or dishonest hysteria.

I have to say I tend to agree with the idea that many 'big name' posters (and staff) do not really conduct quality debates (technically). I think it's an unfortunate aspect of the rules - sure it gets rid of idiots, but it encourages behaviours that play to the rules, not debate. But I'm a pretty terrible debator myself, so maybe I'm not the best judge.

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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by Darth Wong » 2009-10-18 08:49pm

Stark wrote:I have to say I tend to agree with the idea that many 'big name' posters (and staff) do not really conduct quality debates (technically). I think it's an unfortunate aspect of the rules - sure it gets rid of idiots, but it encourages behaviours that play to the rules, not debate. But I'm a pretty terrible debator myself, so maybe I'm not the best judge.
You can see that when somebody posts an example argument copied from a right-wing source and tells people to use it for target practice. Some people do a good job of taking it apart, while others just make smart-ass remarks.
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by Darth Wong » 2009-10-18 09:00pm

ThomasP wrote:<snip>

As far as board culture/rules/yelling policy, I don't really feel it's my place to suggest changes given my relative newbie-ness; I don't think that would be right of me to barge in and tell people how to do things. Instead, I will submit that I've seen many other forums operate just fine without the quasi-police state style of moderation here, and some of them can even maintain a high level of discourse. It may not be what this board is used to, mind, and that hands-off style may not even be compatible with this community, but I do point it out just for the sake of further discussion.
I've been involved with some other forums before, even as a moderator, and I would like to point out that one of the ways that many forums generate the appearance of order is that they outright delete posts that they don't like (not just outright spam, but even posts they merely consider too inflammatory), instead of keeping them on permanent record. People who are banned are banned quietly, with no real record of why or even when. It seems like the mods are doing a lot less when their actions are invisible.
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by Count Chocula » 2009-10-18 10:05pm

DataPacRat's an interesting case. He started off asserting his genealogy traced all the way back to Zeus. As the thread progressed, he said that he wasn't serious, didn't know the source, got caught in at least one factual error, and then resorted to apparent rules-lawyering. Despite numerous advisories to just back off and move on, he persisted. I don't agree with him being banned so fast, but I understand it. By the end of the thread, he came off as a smarmy asshole whether that was his intent or not.

We noobs get called out all the time. It's expected. The first time I did (IIRC it was on a Fed sucks/gold is the most reliable referent value thread), I was slammed and conceded. If I remember right, I said "I give. I'll lick my wounds and try again," or words to that effect.

I'm not unique. Samuel got called out for referencing so many longtime posters and general board sentiment, with an air of "been there" inclusion, that he came across as 'creepy' and was called for it. In my opinion, he's a longtime lurker who just knew the board culture very well and came across initially as knowing too much. Both he and I had the chance to (me) tighten up our arguments and (samuel) find our individual approach to the board, and we're both here.

The difference seems to be, with DataPacRat, that he didn't attempt to learn from what other posters wrote in the thread that got him banned. Maybe he was pushing the limits, maybe he sincerely did not understand what the problem was, or maybe he really was a smarmy asshole; we'll never know, and he's banned so the issue's moot. Perhaps this will be a "teachable moment" for others who are lurking right now and would like to join the board. And, perhaps, it will prompt other mods with ban powers to make absolutely sure a new poster's a waste of bandwidth and mental thought before hitting the kill switch.

EDIT: To Darth Wong's post - I actually like the fact that all posts, good, bad and ugly, are left up for all to see. I don't like boards that delete posts because they don't fit in with the board culture; in my opinion, that fails to provide a good perspeective on WHY a board's culture is the way it is. Redaction runs a poor second to comparison.

EDIT 2: Even if I'm the one that's held up for comparison. :wink:
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by Stark » 2009-10-18 10:19pm

Why should he have to learn when his post was obviously a joke? Frankly, I think if one of the first people to go him hadn't been a mod it wouldn't have drawn the vultures the way it did. I'm not saying it was wrong to ruthlessly mock the guy - what he posted was dumb - but I think once a mod jumped in the balloon went up and it was 'open season'.

If we banned everyone who posted stupid shit that was 'obviously a joke', well... that'd be an interesting thing.

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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by rhoenix » 2009-10-19 12:03am

Stark wrote:If we banned everyone who posted stupid shit that was 'obviously a joke', well... that'd be an interesting thing.
That's the inherent danger of the ivory tower, I think - the want for "standards" or a "certain class of user" tends to feed an echo chamber, leading to people getting banned for stuff they'd do elsewhere on a first offense. In DataPacRat's case, his crime here was being a dumbass.

That user didn't post goatse links, they didn't post porn, they didn't sign people up for spamlists, and they didn't do anything except for be a tale-telling douchebag on the intarwebs.

Banning a user for a particular clear and egregious offense is one thing. Banning a user because "they don't seem like the right sort" is building an ivory tower.

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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by Edi » 2009-10-19 03:06am

The past couple of pages in this thread are interesting. Opening up the registrations but giving a time/postcount limit for image and video links is a good idea for increasing traffic.

The other thing is much harder to fix and that's the thing ThomasP and Tiriol pointed out: The overt hostility as default behavior.

I agree with Tiriol 100% about there being far too much hostility from the get-go, with people going from zero to full-bore asshole in 0.01 microseconds even when teh situation would not in any way, shape or form warrant that. Particularly with new people. It's quite possible to aggressively take somebody's arguments apart without the kind of assholery that is often displayed.

It's also notable that the most assholish behavior is usually from people whose own debating skills are often pretty damned laughable and who seem to think they can compensate for that by an overuse of swearwords and insults. I certainly don't appreciate that and it has made reading a lot of N&P threads a chore. The level of vitriol is high, the level of worthwhile discussion not so much so.

Which means that if we do implement changes to encourage new people to sign up, some of those changes will have to involve ruthlessly oppressing some of our established members.
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by rhoenix » 2009-10-19 03:17am

Edi wrote:Which means that if we do implement changes to encourage new people to sign up, some of those changes will have to involve ruthlessly oppressing some of our established members.
Fine by me.

The instant "mockery of stupid people" supersedes debate, we have a problem. Trolling one's opponent in a debate can be a valid tactic if they're dodging points repeatedly, but not as a default tactic.

I personally began learning the theories of argumentation and debate as a result of being here, and I do so to properly analyze and understand a situation or people, to be able to break down an argument into claim, reason, and warrant to better understand the claim and the reason for its use, not to simply "win" an argument. If I lose a debate, it'll be because I learned something, and considered a new point of view I hadn't before, and that to me is far more valuable than "winning" some stupidass argument that you can't take with you.

Talking shit is easy, particularly for someone who's reasonably literate. Talking shit elaborately is certainly probable with a bit of work. But while the mocking court jester role is appropriate and necessary, that role loses its meaning and use in a group of contemplatives of any sort if everyone's doing it.

So if that's what must be done to make sure what we have here is actually proper debate and analysis instead of dogpiling and banning people because they said something dumb, then I say so be it.

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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by Darth Wong » 2009-10-19 03:25am

I'm all for that but it takes a lot of work on the part of the mods. There was once a time that I was much more vigilant on the boards, because I had more free time. Back then, the board was run more tightly. But I can't be everywhere all the time, and when moderating slacks off, kiddie-clique behaviour starts up.
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by rhoenix » 2009-10-19 03:38am

Darth Wong wrote:I'm all for that but it takes a lot of work on the part of the mods. There was once a time that I was much more vigilant on the boards, because I had more free time. Back then, the board was run more tightly. But I can't be everywhere all the time, and when moderating slacks off, kiddie-clique behaviour starts up.
Understandable - however, the greater forum populace will basically follow the tone set by you, the supermods, mods, and senators when it comes to debate and behavior on these forums, if not the method.

This is also why I suggested what I originally did, which was essentially that there be a carrot as well as a stick for debating well. People who debated particularly well on a particular argument would be rewarded with...something, as well as having people be publicly admonished and have portions of threads split if people debate particularly badly. I'm quite honestly not sure what - perhaps even a numerical reputation-per-user system in the phpBB3 forum software would work - but having both would easily alleviate the need for extra mods.

If the greater forum populace here is encouraged to debate well by watching all of the more established members doing so, they will in turn encourage other users to debate well. Debate of issues is one of the strengths of this place over most others, and why I am still here after a couple years.

As I write this, those creationist emails you sometimes post would actually be excellent target practice, as it were. Post those as normal, and have the less established users try cutting their teeth by trying to properly dissect and respond, and have the users here who are more used to debate critique their analyses and answer questions.

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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by Bounty » 2009-10-19 04:54am

Darth Wong wrote:The thing about the "echo chamber" is that it's more the fault of the right-wing going into loony-land than it's due to us enforcing any kind of ideological uniformity.
But that feeds both ways. The board now has the default position that anyone on the right is by definition a loony and is treated as such, even when they might have a perfectly sensible, if different, viewpoint. I'm reminded of the recent Meghan McCain thread, which quickly drew a comment of "well she is a Republican ergo she hates gays by default" when the reality was quite the opposite.

Even if the right is getting loonier, that doesn't mean there aren't reasonable people who can disagree with the majority political opinion of the board. We have however made a lousy job of attracting them and an even lousier job of keeping them around. There is very little incentive for, say, a conservative to post a reasoned and well-thought-out explanation of his position when it will be met by people either dismissing the points out-of-hand because he's conservative, or a horde of ill-informed knee-jerk one-liners about how all conservatives are Republicans who hate homosexuals and want to kill brown people.

Silly as it sounds, I really think we need to be nicer to people we disagree with. Not by changing the rules or mollycoddling them, but by realising that you won't have good debates without good opponents and you won't have good opponents if the audience is obnoxiously hostile.

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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by Edi » 2009-10-19 05:18am

That goes right into what Tiriol was saying before.
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Re: Banninations, and the rapidty of.

Post by Simplicius » 2009-10-19 05:26am

How much of the knee-jerking isn't effectively a me-too or a one-liner? That kind of thing could be aggressively flushed out without extra justification; the trick is remembering to keep up that level of pressure and having enough hands available to make it constant. The last push to clean up N&P seems to have petered out somewhat.

(As an aside, I'm still in favor of taking the Coliseum out from under its restrictive barriers to participation and making it an open "debate for debate's sake" forum. Besides the positive benefits, chronically bad debaters could always be sentenced to a term there to improve.)

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