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Debating with Style

NWRatCon

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I have been a participant in political discussion boards for decades. Remember the election of 2000 and the controversy surrounding the Supreme Court's intervention? How quaint those times seem. Remember when the sexual habits of a President seemed significant? Good times. Over the years, and perhaps it was the particular forums I participated in, I have watched as the "debating habits" of participants have degraded. Yes, "burns" and "put-downs" have always been a theme in debates, but they used to be done with far greater panache and erudition. The sharpest knives go in without being felt immediately. Facts used to matter. Wow, that takes me back! I actually remember when one would use logic to build an argument, provide citations to relevant material and conduct disagreements with respect and a presumption of sincerity. I used to do that too!

Now, it seems, I am too often drawn into "debates" that consist entirely of well-worn and canned position statements that are presented with no intent of persuasion, without consideration or even understanding; When a well-developed rationale is responded to with a "dismissed" or less-polite versions of "Jane, you ignorant slut!"; "Labels" are de rigueur in lieu of specifics or actual responses, with the expectation that the recipient, not being one of "us", is assumed to be one of "them" and not deserving of consideration. Worse, I am prompted to respond in kind!

My question is: am I alone in this feeling? Is my desire for debate with substance and respect just a quaint notion from a bygone era? Is self-deprecation or even self-consciousness passe? Is nuance dead? Is it possible, in this day and age, to carry on a reasoned debate with an honest and respectful opponent, or is this just wishful thinking?
 

ecofarm

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Most people just wanna be cheerleaders for a team. They're not intellectuals. Such is life.
 

HikerGuy83

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I have been a participant in political discussion boards for decades. Remember the election of 2000 and the controversy surrounding the Supreme Court's intervention? How quaint those times seem. Remember when the sexual habits of a President seemed significant? Good times. Over the years, and perhaps it was the particular forums I participated in, I have watched as the "debating habits" of participants have degraded. Yes, "burns" and "put-downs" have always been a theme in debates, but they used to be done with far greater panache and erudition. The sharpest knives go in without being felt immediately. Facts used to matter. Wow, that takes me back! I actually remember when one would use logic to build an argument, provide citations to relevant material and conduct disagreements with respect and a presumption of sincerity. I used to do that too!

Now, it seems, I am too often drawn into "debates" that consist entirely of well-worn and canned position statements that are presented with no intent of persuasion, without consideration or even understanding; When a well-developed rationale is responded to with a "dismissed" or less-polite versions of "Jane, you ignorant slut!"; "Labels" are de rigueur in lieu of specifics or actual responses, with the expectation that the recipient, not being one of "us", is assumed to be one of "them" and not deserving of consideration. Worse, I am prompted to respond in kind!

My question is: am I alone in this feeling? Is my desire for debate with substance and respect just a quaint notion from a bygone era? Is self-deprecation or even self-consciousness passe? Is nuance dead? Is it possible, in this day and age, to carry on a reasoned debate with an honest and respectful opponent, or is this just wishful thinking?

I'll probably get whacked for "necroing a thread", but your OP states what I've been thinking for some time.

I find myself trying to sort through the "light beer" back-and-forth in an effort to pull out the usable information that might be in a particular thread. Often it is just page after page of name calling and lurid statements about each other. And often even the most unrelated of threads devolves into the same flavor of the day blast/counter blast. As of late it seems a lot of threads turn into covidophants vs. covidiots (it just takes a little longer in many cases).

So, you are not alone in this feeling.

And no, your desire is not a notion from a bygone era.

It's up to those who want the reasoned debate your desire to make it happen.

On other boards I have seen special forums where only two people can debate and then three agreed upon judges call out the winner (often the debate is timed). I have also seen special forums set up for reasoned debate where people can be thread-banned or forum banned if they violate the rules.

You mentioned logic in a debate. I often find myself wondering what people are debating when I start reading threads. Unfortunately, I lack the discipline to pull myself away from them (they all read the same......"less filling....taste great"). And I even participate....what a waste of time.
 
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MaryP

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I'll probably get whacked for "necroing a thread", but your OP states what I've been thinking for some time.

I find myself trying to sort through the "light beer" back-and-forth in an effort to pull out the usable information that might be in a particular thread. Often it is just page after page of name calling and lurid statements about each other. And often even the most unrelated of threads devolves into the same flavor of the day blast/counter blast. As of late it seems a lot of threads turn into covidophants vs. covidiots (it just takes a little longer in many cases).

So, you are not alone in this feeling.

And no, your desire is not a notion from a bygone era.

It's up to those who want the reasoned debate your desire to make it happen.

On other boards I have seen special forums where only two people can debate and then three agreed upon judges call out the winner (often the debate is timed). I have also seen special forums set up for reasoned debate where people can be thread-banned or forum banned if they violate the rules.

You mentioned logic in a debate. I often find myself wondering what
For those of you that get into real debate, a special forum where the debators are agreed upon before hand, the judges chosen, and mods are on call to boot out any uninvited guests would be great. I've seen it work. On a board like this, with some highly knowledgeable posters, it would be a pleasure to read.
 

HikerGuy83

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For those of you that get into real debate, a special forum where the debators are agreed upon before hand, the judges chosen, and mods are on call to boot out any uninvited guests would be great. I've seen it work. On a board like this, with some highly knowledgeable posters, it would be a pleasure to read.

I would agree. This board has some very competent and well reasoned presenters.

More than others I've been on.
 

XDU

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I have been a participant in political discussion boards for decades. Remember the election of 2000 and the controversy surrounding the Supreme Court's intervention? How quaint those times seem. Remember when the sexual habits of a President seemed significant? Good times. Over the years, and perhaps it was the particular forums I participated in, I have watched as the "debating habits" of participants have degraded. Yes, "burns" and "put-downs" have always been a theme in debates, but they used to be done with far greater panache and erudition. The sharpest knives go in without being felt immediately. Facts used to matter. Wow, that takes me back! I actually remember when one would use logic to build an argument, provide citations to relevant material and conduct disagreements with respect and a presumption of sincerity. I used to do that too!

Now, it seems, I am too often drawn into "debates" that consist entirely of well-worn and canned position statements that are presented with no intent of persuasion, without consideration or even understanding; When a well-developed rationale is responded to with a "dismissed" or less-polite versions of "Jane, you ignorant slut!"; "Labels" are de rigueur in lieu of specifics or actual responses, with the expectation that the recipient, not being one of "us", is assumed to be one of "them" and not deserving of consideration. Worse, I am prompted to respond in kind!

My question is: am I alone in this feeling? Is my desire for debate with substance and respect just a quaint notion from a bygone era? Is self-deprecation or even self-consciousness passe? Is nuance dead? Is it possible, in this day and age, to carry on a reasoned debate with an honest and respectful opponent, or is this just wishful thinking?
To be fair, empiricism lends itself to sensationalism. You can't expect a debate based around facts to last since the very first fact in any debate is what people say.

If you want to grab attention with facts, then say something witty that's instantaneously gratifying.
 

MaryP

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To be fair, empiricism lends itself to sensationalism. You can't expect a debate based around facts to last since the very first fact in any debate is what people say.

If you want to grab attention with facts, then say something witty that's instantaneously gratifying.
Well, you're not invited then, whatever you just said.
 

XDU

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For those of you that get into real debate, a special forum where the debators are agreed upon before hand, the judges chosen, and mods are on call to boot out any uninvited guests would be great. I've seen it work. On a board like this, with some highly knowledgeable posters, it would be a pleasure to read.
Judged debates don't really work. They just evoke a different sort of prejudice.
 

MaryP

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Judged debates don't really work. They just evoke a different sort of prejudice.
The debators choose the judges, so it's fair as far as they're concerned.
 

XDU

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Well, you're not invited then, whatever you just said.
To be clear, I don't like what I said there. It's why I stopped being an empiricist. I realized empiricism is a vain endeavor which doesn't really accomplish much.
 

HikerGuy83

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Now, what say we get back to the questions raised by the OP.

While I don't agree with him on a lot of stuff, I find that he provides a cohesive, reasoned, and (most importantly) well thought out post.
 

XDU

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Again, your opinion is very much appreciated
OK so... you understand all opinions aren't in the same category, right?

Saying, "I like blue," isn't the same as, "That's a good idea."
 

XDU

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The debators choose the judges, so it's fair as far as they're concerned.
Mmm... even then I'd disagree. You can only choose from the judges that are available to choose from.
 

HikerGuy83

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Now, it seems, I am too often drawn into "debates" that consist entirely of well-worn and canned position statements that are presented with no intent of persuasion, without consideration or even understanding; When a well-developed rationale is responded to with a "dismissed" or less-polite versions of "Jane, you ignorant slut!"; "Labels" are de rigueur in lieu of specifics or actual responses, with the expectation that the recipient, not being one of "us", is assumed to be one of "them" and not deserving of consideration. Worse, I am prompted to respond in kind!

That, in part, needs to be pointed out. Those are not debates. They are simply free-for-alls. I would prefer two, three or four got at it while the rest of us watch and ask questions for clarrification.

And Jane was an ignorant slut. :LOL::LOL::LOL:
 

MaryP

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Now, what say we get back to the questions raised by the OP.

While I don't agree with him on a lot of stuff, I find that he provides a cohesive, reasoned, and (most importantly) well thought out post.
So....maybe you and NW should hammer out some basic ground rules (keep it simple) and present it to the administrators?

@NWRatCon remember this?
 

HikerGuy83

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OK so... you understand all opinions aren't in the same category, right?

Saying, "I like blue," isn't the same as, "That's a good idea."

Yes, I get that.

But all opinions do carry certain characteristics. In this case....nothing to back them up.

Which falls in line with the statements by the OP.

If you have data to back up your claims, please do.
 

XDU

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Now, what say we get back to the questions raised by the OP.

While I don't agree with him on a lot of stuff, I find that he provides a cohesive, reasoned, and (most importantly) well thought out post.
It's well thought out, but the problem is he's still trying to tolerate panache and appealing to facts which is inevitably going to backfire over the long-term.

Panache is nice to start until people start pushing the boundaries with attention grabbing which means slight insults gradually creep in and get harsher and harsher.

Fact based debate fails because the very attention span used to sense data gets also used to sense the fact of the debate itself.
 

XDU

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Yes, I get that.

But all opinions do carry certain characteristics. In this case....nothing to back them up.

Which falls in line with the statements by the OP.

If you have data to back up your claims, please do.
Is 2+2=4 backed up because we can put 2 and 2 more external objects together to create a group of 4 objects?

No. It's backed up because the relationships among the entities are complete and consistent when describing the elements of 2 and 2 in a set of 4.
 

NWRatCon

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So....maybe you and NW should hammer out some basic ground rules (keep it simple) and present it to the administrators?

@NWRatCon remember this?
It's good to see this thread back online and to know that I'm not alone in my reverie. I actually think this forum has such a format in "disputations", or something. It's late, I'm not cogitating well.

For XDU, I'll say this: I do so love a pithy point. The one thing I cannot tolerate, though, is intolerance.
 

XDU

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It's good to see this thread back online and to know that I'm not alone in my reverie. I actually think this forum has such a format in "disputations", or something. It's late, I'm not cogitating well.

For XDU, I'll say this: I do so love a pithy point. The one thing I cannot tolerate, though, is intolerance.
The problem is you really can't separate the two over the long-run.

Pithy points gradually become more and more intolerant over time, and drawing a line as to how far is too far is a matter of taste, not just opinion.
 

Juks

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I have been a participant in political discussion boards for decades. Remember the election of 2000 and the controversy surrounding the Supreme Court's intervention? How quaint those times seem. Remember when the sexual habits of a President seemed significant? Good times. Over the years, and perhaps it was the particular forums I participated in, I have watched as the "debating habits" of participants have degraded. Yes, "burns" and "put-downs" have always been a theme in debates, but they used to be done with far greater panache and erudition. The sharpest knives go in without being felt immediately. Facts used to matter. Wow, that takes me back! I actually remember when one would use logic to build an argument, provide citations to relevant material and conduct disagreements with respect and a presumption of sincerity. I used to do that too!

Now, it seems, I am too often drawn into "debates" that consist entirely of well-worn and canned position statements that are presented with no intent of persuasion, without consideration or even understanding; When a well-developed rationale is responded to with a "dismissed" or less-polite versions of "Jane, you ignorant slut!"; "Labels" are de rigueur in lieu of specifics or actual responses, with the expectation that the recipient, not being one of "us", is assumed to be one of "them" and not deserving of consideration. Worse, I am prompted to respond in kind!

My question is: am I alone in this feeling? Is my desire for debate with substance and respect just a quaint notion from a bygone era? Is self-deprecation or even self-consciousness passe? Is nuance dead? Is it possible, in this day and age, to carry on a reasoned debate with an honest and respectful opponent, or is this just wishful thinking?


 

MaryP

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It's good to see this thread back online and to know that I'm not alone in my reverie. I actually think this forum has such a format in "disputations", or something. It's late, I'm not cogitating well.

For XDU, I'll say this: I do so love a pithy point. The one thing I cannot tolerate, though, is intolerance.
The disputations forum has been closed.
 

Checkerboard Strangler

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I have been a participant in political discussion boards for decades. Remember the election of 2000 and the controversy surrounding the Supreme Court's intervention? How quaint those times seem. Remember when the sexual habits of a President seemed significant? Good times. Over the years, and perhaps it was the particular forums I participated in, I have watched as the "debating habits" of participants have degraded. Yes, "burns" and "put-downs" have always been a theme in debates, but they used to be done with far greater panache and erudition. The sharpest knives go in without being felt immediately. Facts used to matter. Wow, that takes me back! I actually remember when one would use logic to build an argument, provide citations to relevant material and conduct disagreements with respect and a presumption of sincerity. I used to do that too!

Now, it seems, I am too often drawn into "debates" that consist entirely of well-worn and canned position statements that are presented with no intent of persuasion, without consideration or even understanding; When a well-developed rationale is responded to with a "dismissed" or less-polite versions of "Jane, you ignorant slut!"; "Labels" are de rigueur in lieu of specifics or actual responses, with the expectation that the recipient, not being one of "us", is assumed to be one of "them" and not deserving of consideration. Worse, I am prompted to respond in kind!

My question is: am I alone in this feeling? Is my desire for debate with substance and respect just a quaint notion from a bygone era? Is self-deprecation or even self-consciousness passe? Is nuance dead? Is it possible, in this day and age, to carry on a reasoned debate with an honest and respectful opponent, or is this just wishful thinking?

You got spoiled by another forum and its higher standards.
 
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