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BS: Debate vs Discussion

Dave the Gnome 12 Jul 18 - 05:04 AM
Senoufou 12 Jul 18 - 06:44 AM
Stanron 12 Jul 18 - 08:01 AM
Keith A of Hertford 12 Jul 18 - 08:35 AM
Jeri 12 Jul 18 - 08:45 AM
Dave the Gnome 12 Jul 18 - 08:55 AM
Donuel 12 Jul 18 - 08:58 AM
Dave the Gnome 12 Jul 18 - 08:59 AM
Dave the Gnome 12 Jul 18 - 09:03 AM
Nigel Parsons 12 Jul 18 - 09:32 AM
Keith A of Hertford 12 Jul 18 - 10:02 AM
Stanron 12 Jul 18 - 10:06 AM
Jon Freeman 12 Jul 18 - 10:14 AM
Dave the Gnome 12 Jul 18 - 10:22 AM
Dave the Gnome 12 Jul 18 - 10:32 AM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Jul 18 - 12:14 PM
Keith A of Hertford 12 Jul 18 - 12:17 PM
Dave the Gnome 12 Jul 18 - 12:43 PM
Jeri 12 Jul 18 - 01:25 PM
Keith A of Hertford 12 Jul 18 - 01:42 PM
G-Force 12 Jul 18 - 01:45 PM
Jeri 12 Jul 18 - 05:22 PM
Backwoodsman 12 Jul 18 - 06:02 PM
Joe Offer 12 Jul 18 - 08:27 PM
Donuel 12 Jul 18 - 10:30 PM
Dave the Gnome 12 Jul 18 - 10:47 PM
Joe Offer 12 Jul 18 - 11:59 PM
Dave the Gnome 13 Jul 18 - 03:06 AM
Iains 13 Jul 18 - 03:35 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Jul 18 - 03:52 AM
Iains 13 Jul 18 - 04:04 AM
Keith A of Hertford 13 Jul 18 - 04:07 AM
Iains 13 Jul 18 - 04:10 AM
Dave the Gnome 13 Jul 18 - 04:13 AM
Nigel Parsons 13 Jul 18 - 04:24 AM
Jim Carroll 13 Jul 18 - 04:24 AM
Iains 13 Jul 18 - 04:49 AM
Joe Offer 13 Jul 18 - 05:14 AM

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Subject: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 05:04 AM

Can of worms I am sure but here goes nothing.

The heading of the BS section is "BS/General Discussion Threads:".

To my mind a discussion is where people get together to discuss things to learn more about the subject and about each other. It has no losers because everyone comes away with something new. It is not a mutual admiration society either as people will disagree but may at least begin to understand other points of view. If someone says something in discussion they may expect to have their points queried and have opposing views put forth but they should not have to put up with having their own views dissected or ridiculed as being invalid.

A discussion is not a debate. A debate is, by nature, confrontational while a discussion should be a mutual trip towards a fuller understanding.

If people want debates, they should go to a debating forum where there are formal rules to prevent the type of repetition and circular arguments we sometimes get on here. Debates should be governed by a panel who decides which is the best argument and then closes the debate.

To that end, I have made it a personal rule to avoid debate on Mudcat. As soon as someone starts to use debating tactics I will try to avoid them. I suggest that if everyone does the same we will have a sweeter smelling BS section.

Discuss :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Senoufou
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 06:44 AM

I agree Dave. I'm a bit of a wimp and often withdraw when things get rather unpleasant. I find it to be the best strategy.

Difficult one though, because there are so many different people on here, with different characters and ways of dealing with the world.

I think it's called 'feeding the trolls' when people on a forum engage with nastiness.

The motto should be 'Don't feed the trolls'!


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Stanron
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 08:01 AM

In a sense a discussion is a debate without the vote. A debate is a formalised discussion that is subsequently voted on. I suspect that the real differentiation is a matter of manners.

A good example of a discussion in BS is the Mudcatter's cats thread, which is a delight to read. You could compile a book from it. It's all light and no heat.

Most of the political threads become heated and/or abusive quite quickly. But are they really debates? No one votes, counts votes, wins or looses.


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 08:35 AM

I agree with Stanron.
Dave, what exactly were you referring to as "debating tactics" that you say you try to avoid? I would like to avoid doing it if it drives anyone away. What please?


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Jeri
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 08:45 AM

Debates involve trying to make a case to prove your point. Discussions involve many people offering opinions, not generally intended to get anyone else to side with them.

The need to refute is something I consider a characteristic of a debate. The incessant back-and-forth. Offer an opinion, maybe comment on somebody else's, then leave it, if you intend to discuss.

I think some people don't have that much to say, unless they can go after another person's opinion. Sometimes they seem to show up in a thread simply because their constant opponent is involved. I don't think it's possible to have a "discussion" here these days. Too many people who want to compete.


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 08:55 AM

I would disagree, Stanron, and I have already defined what I believe the difference is. I don't fully understand what you mean by a discussion being a debate without a vote. The discussion you refer to is, in my mind, as far from a debate as it gets. Can you explain what you mean and maybe our definitions of discussion may become a little closer. No problem if not, we can just put it down to personal understandings.


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Donuel
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 08:58 AM

The majority of catters here are house broken in discussion and debate.
Under the guise of debate there are some who pile ad hominum insults on top of ridiculous accusation. The need to do this defines the name caller. I believe one must accept victimhood to be a victim.
The insulting behavior amounts to nothing of substance.


I don't 'compete' so maybe I have missed how bad some see BS.


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 08:59 AM

We cross posted Jeri. I agree with everything you just posted apart from the last line. I think it is possible to have a discussion here. It just requires enough people to avoid these conflicts. I should imagine it would get very tiresome for anyone competing against no one and they would eventually stop. Well, cut down at least :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 09:03 AM

Cross posted with you too, Donuel! Even if 'house broken' in debate I feel that the Mudcat is the wrong platform for it. There are no hard and fast rules. No one to vote. No one can really win or lose. It is unfair to expect the moderators to apply debating rules to a discussion forum so we should, therefore, always attempt to discuss rather than debate. IMO.


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 09:32 AM

Donuel I believe one must accept victimhood to be a victim.

I prefer: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt.

Okay, I admit I only knew that because it is used by Hector Elizondo in the film "The Princess Diaries". But it still makes a good quote!


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 10:02 AM

Jeri,
The need to refute is something I consider a characteristic of a debate. The incessant back-and-forth.

So no disagreeing with an opinion?
Such a discussion would just be a stating of differing opinions, which surely is no discussion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Stanron
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 10:06 AM

All the debates that I have seen are quite formal affairs. There is a proposal, proponents and opponents. They get equal opportunity to make their cases, and then there is a vote.

The ones I've seen are usually polite rather than heated.

You seem to be using the word 'debate' to describe what happens in BS as a consequence of disagreement.

Person A says "I think this". Person B says "You're wrong, its this".
Person A gets miffed by that and a slanging match develops.

In Politics it is not unusual to find two completely opposed sides and arguments are predictable. Some individuals appear to get more impassioned as a result of opposition and then it's down to the usual BS warriors to take their places and the popcorn comes out.


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 10:14 AM

fwiw, not that I never say anything, I (when I have the sense...) usually view politics as a no go here. I'd imagine a few of us often have a good idea as to the originator of a thread will be and who the main players will be before opening the thread. Many stances are well known and I'm sure I'm not alone in knowing where allegiances and fall outs will occur. One can often also be pretty confident that 1000 posts on, no resolution (not even agreeing to disagree) will be found.

Is there an expression, "groundhog" day?


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 10:22 AM

Sorry if I gave that impression, Stanron. That is just what i am trying to avoid. I am saying that a formal debate as you describe is not what the Mudcat discussion forum is for. To me it therefore follows that trying to win an audience, panel or judge over is a pointless exercise on here. It is trying to win something or win someone over that should be avoided. The fact that there are no debating rules on Mudcat results in some people exploiting that situation and often causing conflict by so doing.

If we avoid engaging in 'free for all debating' I think it would be a start. Not everyone will do it but if enough people start to avoid it, maybe we can clean up the BS section.


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 10:32 AM

I'm sure I have read that before, Jon...


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 12:14 PM

A discussion about a topic where there are differences does not avoid those differences, but it should not turn into a battle about those differences. It should be about exploring those differences, and understanding them.

One characteristic of a discussion going wrong is where people argue in a tactical way. They look for weak spots in what an opponent says, and avoid dealing with any weak spots in their own position which may have been pointed out, and they interpret what an opponent says in a way that may not have been intended. They ignore or distort information which challenges what they are arguing for.

Those are debating tricks. In the context of a debate they can be fair enough - debates are games, whether formal matches it kickabouts, and winning is an essential part of a game, even if it has to be through a penalty shoot out. But discussions about real issues should not be treated in that way. Treating them in that way wastes the opportunity which they offer us to learn more about what others think and what we ourselves think.


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 12:17 PM

Dave,
I am saying that a formal debate as you(Stanron) describe is not what the Mudcat discussion forum is for

This is what he described, "All the debates that I have seen are quite formal affairs. There is a proposal, proponents and opponents. They get equal opportunity to make their cases, and then there is a vote."

That is not what happens on Mudcat. We just discuss things. We say what we think and why, and someone then tells us why they think we are wrong.

The only problem is the people who get nasty and call names. Why not just sanctions against such behaviour?


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 12:43 PM

That sums it up very well, Kevin. It is indeed those tricks which I am trying to avoid. There is no mechanism to deal with them here apart from to steer clear. If everyone was to do so there would be far less arguing and far more understanding.


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Jeri
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 01:25 PM

"The only problem is the people who get nasty and call names"

No.
That is a problem that only affects people who want to fight.
The problem, IMO, is that those people never, ever stop, and they believe they have an audience.

The "audience" leaves pretty early on, and people who would just like to talk to other folks stop trying. The mainly 5ish idiots who keep doing it are responsible for the hostile, unwelcoming climate in BS and possibly, in some people's eyes, all of Mudcat. Keith, you have a major part in making that happen.

People who can't self-moderate.
People who can't walk away from a fight.
People who believe anybody else even cares about what they say. (Or maybe, that doesn't matter to them.)
People who never consider NOT continuing an argument, and have enough of a lack of anything else to do that they can keep it going indefinitely.
We have no immunity here, and ignoring them doesn't work if there's more than one. Even if you have only one quick comment, it keeps the garbage going on...and if YOU don't, someone else might, and it's not bothering them at all.

I don't know what could help. There was a time when nobody would want to engage in that sort of thing, but we've attracted some real winners.

I know: I'm grumpy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 01:42 PM

Are you sure that it is not the nastiness and name calling that makes decent folk stop trying? How is that "a problem that only affects people who want to fight?"

I suspect that is the real problem, not people just discussing the issues however persistently.


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: G-Force
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 01:45 PM

Is this the right room for an argument? (Monty Python)


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Jeri
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 05:22 PM

I thought I posted, but web weasels seem to have eaten it.
Because I don't want to contribute to another moronic "debate", no, Keith, I'm not sure. I think it's probably a combination of the two. I know it's the merciless, egotistical repetition that turns ME off.


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 06:02 PM

"One characteristic of a discussion going wrong is where people argue in a tactical way. They look for weak spots in what an opponent says, and avoid dealing with any weak spots in their own position which may have been pointed out, and they interpret what an opponent says in a way that may not have been intended. They ignore or distort information which challenges what they are arguing for."

As usual, Kevin hits the nail fairly and squarely on the head.


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 08:27 PM

Jeri, you may be grumpy, but I find sometimes that I kinda like grumpy people.
As for debate vs. discussion, I usually find discussion enjoyable, but debate sometimes gets me mad. But if people follow the rules of civil debate, then debate can also be very constructive.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Donuel
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 10:30 PM

Russianize / weaponize information or claim a fake event and even a humanitarian subject turns ugly quickly. Iains is clearly a provocateur in this strategy imo.


The closed thread on government taken and lost babies at the border is a case in point. The disruption and embarrassment that trolls seek to cause begins with denial but never ends with acceptance. The reason for closing this American tragedy thread however is only known to Joe.


In the god/good ol days I remember historians here who debated at great length. Different interpretations of history was to be expected, but now disruption is the goal by some. Yet there are no pure villains, I see everyone's reasonable affable human side depending upon the subject.


btw there are no good old days. just an eternal now.


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 10:47 PM

But if people follow the rules of civil debate, then debate can also be very constructive.

It can indeed, Joe, but unfortunately there are no rules of civil debate on Mudcat and, where there are no rules, people will make up their own. Debates have winners and losers. Who is going to judge who has won? A debate will have a limited opportunity for argument and counter. Are you and the team going to stop it going on ad infinitum? A debate is a contest but a contest without rules, winners or losers will always degenerate into a brawl. Which is, in my opinion, what we get here. I have made it my rule to avoid such melees. If enough people do the same and just discuss rather than try to win points we may be able to eliminate them.

We can but hope :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 11:59 PM

Damn, Dave. I thought the rules of civil debate were common sense. Do I have to draw pictures? If we write up specific rules and sanctions, then we have to put up with a bunch of jailhouse lawyers figuring out loopholes that allow them to be nasty, and answering their demands that we exact appropriate punishment against others.

How's this for a rule?
    Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Sorry, Dave, but nobody here wants to be pulled down into that shit. If you can't figure out what's civil, no amount of explaining and rule-writing is going to help you understand.

And Donuel, I suppose the thread you refer to as "government taken and lost babies at the border" is the one titled BS: Toddlers housed in kennel cages. But then again, maybe not. You've been here long enough to know that I always put my name and a brief explanation on my moderator actions, and that other moderators disagree with that practice. My name is not on that thread, so I can't explain the closure. If you don't like the action, complain to max@mudcat.org and don't put blame where blame is not due.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 13 Jul 18 - 03:06 AM

Joe. I am just stating my opinion without wishing to enter into a long winded debate over this. There are no rights and no wrongs, just different ways of doing things. Civil debate would, in my opinion, preclude usage of phrases, such as 'do I have to draw pictures' that call someone's intelligence into doubt. There are different ways to be nasty and I am trying to avoid all of them. Surely if no one reacted to insults, barbed comments, point scoring and political machinations then we would soon clean up the BS section.

I am also trying to avoid a rigid set of rules as there is no way, at present, to enforce them anyway. This is the whole point. If the rules of civil debate cannot be enforced then we will continue to see the long winded brawls that occur. Mudcat is not a debating society so stop debating. It is a discussion forum so let's discuss.


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Iains
Date: 13 Jul 18 - 03:35 AM

Joe has made the only point that needs to be made.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jul 18 - 03:52 AM

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
Do you really wish to go through life being talked down to and insulted as you do to those who disagree with you Iains?
How quaintly masochistic of you!
Good debate/discussion depends entirely on participants having a self-awareness of their own behaviour rather than pointing fingers
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Iains
Date: 13 Jul 18 - 04:04 AM

none so blind as those that cannot see.

none so blind as those that cannot see


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 13 Jul 18 - 04:07 AM

But Jim, you just insulted me for disagreeing with you.
You called me a moron and a little Englander just because you disagreed with me on the Irish border issue.

Not civil. Not debate. Not discussion. It must put people off discussing anything where you might disagree with them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Iains
Date: 13 Jul 18 - 04:10 AM

The sour little scouser is chewing on lemons again. He is trying to destroy this thread like so many others he infests/infects.


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 13 Jul 18 - 04:13 AM

I guess we now have 60% of the 5-ish, Jeri? :-(

Can I request that everyone stops point scoring, name calling, referring to other threads and calling personalities into question. Either that or ignore those that persist in doing so. It is the only way I can see of keeping the discussion clean and ensuring it stays open!


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 13 Jul 18 - 04:24 AM

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
Do you really wish to go through life being talked down to and insulted as you do to those who disagree with you Iains?
How quaintly masochistic of you!


Jim,
You appear to have totally misunderstood the tenet which is understood by many religions to be the 'Golden Rule'.
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Does not mean a race to the bottom. It is not "Treat others as they have treated you, or worse if you wish". It is "Treat others as you would wish to be treated." By following this even if you don't manage to raise the standards of others, there is no need to be dragged down to their level.

I admit that, in the heat of debate, I do not always live up to this, but I try.


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jul 18 - 04:24 AM

"The sour little scouser is chewing on lemons again. "
Thank you for making my point so graphically Iains - I couldn't have done better myself
What on earth are you doing on this thread if that is an example of your uncontrolled behaviour
Self awareness laddie - self awareness
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Iains
Date: 13 Jul 18 - 04:49 AM

Self awareness laddie - self awareness

From: Jim Carroll - PM
Date: 11 Jul 18 - 09:03 AM
Your bullying is reminiscent of the clown you are attempting to offend

Tell me, Are you a babe or suckling? or merely a clown?


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Subject: RE: BS: Debate vs Discussion
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Jul 18 - 05:14 AM

And yeah, as I expected, this thread turned sour. The topic choice made it inevitable. Thread closed.


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This Thread Is Closed.


Mudcat time: 20 September 9:12 AM EDT

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