Thursday, November 30, 2017

Debate rules

John Kelly's map of the blog-o-sphere.  If you looked at the connectivity (blog roll connections) you would see there is not much cross over between conservative, liberal and technology.

It is obvious that the blog-o-sphere is heavily larded with rancor and people shouting past each other.
I thought I would post a few "debate rules" and see how blogging scores against them.

•No interrupting!!!
•When it is your turn, you must paraphrase everything you heard the other team said.
•You cannot continue until the other team agrees that you accurately heard what they said.
•Then you must list everything your team mostly agrees with.
•Address the parts you don’t agree with by saying, “…and I could agree with mention part here if present argument here.
•Support your team’s position with authoritative sources.

No interrupting
Blogging is a venue where it is impossible to interrupt.  That might be part of its appeal.  The participant can develop their thoughts without the chimps screaming from the peanut gallery.

Paraphrase what you heard the other team said
Blogging gets a mixed score on this.  Bloggers often create a flawed "strawman" and then knock it down.  It is not so much "what we heard them say" as "a derivative of what they said that will make the most spectacular strawman takedown".

You cannot continue until the other team....
Blogging fails this rule because it is poorly suited for dialog and few people read blogs by the other team.

You must list the things you agree with
This is similar to improvisation's rule of "Yes...and..."  It makes dialog flow like hot maple syrup over fresh pancakes.  You see very little "agreeing" in the blog-o-sphere because writers see it as a waste of pixels. 

Address the parts you don't agree with....
There are a few bright spots on the internet where the authors go beyond wringing their hands and offer practical solutions of substance.  I like to think that the ERJ blog falls into this category every once in a while.

Support your team's position with authoritative sources
Blogging is spotty about using authoritative sources.  Remus at The Woodpile Report sets the standard.  When he stumbles across an interesting essay he researches the internet to find the earliest antecedent.  Sometimes he will unearth versions of the essay that are 9 years old.

The blog-o-sphere is fated to fragment due to the technology's current inability to support near real-time dialog.  Inability to support dialog allows provocateurs to go forward with flawed, invalid strawmen.  Inability to support dialog provides no incentive to think about or list the things we agree about first.

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