Patterico's Pontifications

9/2/2010

Resolved

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:52 am



The Internet is a terrible way to have a discussion.

Discuss.

70 Responses to “Resolved”

  1. the internet is my favorite

    happyfeet (19c1da)

  2. Any opinion that deviates from those beloved commentators without permission are twatwaffles

    Any opinion that deviates from mine is automatically a democrat

    the second was sarc, the first is how blogs die

    EricPWJohnson (c5f1fc)

  3. Is this where I compare someone to Hitler?

    Eirik (f33121)

  4. It is the most important way for a Moby concern troll to declare itself the “winner”.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  5. I agree. Unless there are some ground rules for “how” things are discussed threads tend to go way off topic.
    I liked the way Patterico would have people state the other person’s position until each was in agreement with that characterization before proceeding with whatever the topic of discussion was. But that is much easier said than done and unless the blogmaster/sitemaster can devote a full time effort to facilitate discussions like that, is next to impossible to pull off.
    Other factors that make it difficult are:
    a. Strangers talking with one another tend to be a lot less civil
    b. Hair trigger responses often produce wild claims or cite dubious sources.
    c. Some people make a hobby of seeing what they can derail with baited comments intended to get a rise out of people
    d. Strangers can be typecast as a certain type of person “wingnut” or “libtard” for all issues if their position on even one issue leans heavily right or left.
    e. Echo chambers

    VOR2 (8e6b90)

  6. Wasn’t the Internet original design by DARPA to give rise to collaboration, and isn’t that what is happening.

    tarpon (0d210f)

  7. What people fail to realize, is that the INTENT of our Founding Fathers…um…wait, what?

    TimesDisliker (bb25d4)

  8. VOR2,

    A guy named Foo Bar tried to play that game with me. He accused me of backing out — which I did, but for a good reason: when it came time for me to frame his argument, he wanted to frame it in a way that was unresponsive to my argument, which he had restated (barely) to my satisfaction.

    Bottom line: it’s a good technique, but it assumes two people acting in good faith.

    Patterico (8c0105)

  9. Yeah, it’s not ideal sometimes.

    but is there an alternative, where people all over the place can quickly leave their views and comment on other people’s views with almost no effort?

    There’s also little effort needed for someone who doesn’t really want to discuss to enter and start spreading rumors, or making incendiary comments. And there’s little effort needed for someone who is actually crazy to enter a discussion.

    I honestly don’t think it’s all that bad. I’ve had a lot of great discussions with people who are completely different from me. this blog in particular seems to reward polite and honest folks who don’t see eye to eye. This is an easy thing to get here, and I think it’s enjoyable. It’s also pretty fragile to jerks, but that’s life.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  10. Put another way, I don’t like arguments that misstate my position, but I also don’t like arguments that ignore it.

    Take away the arguments I don’t like and what’s left? Precious little.

    Patterico (8c0105)

  11. Patterico,
    Good faith is the key I agree but I did like how you would try to get people to do that.
    For you it probably felt like herding cats.

    VOR2 (8e6b90)

  12. Internet discussions are like Internet disputes, usually over-heated, compelling to participants, but lacking attraction for others. Quickly devolving into such minutiae as to render them unapproachable save by the obsessively fervent.

    ropelight (0bdde5)

  13. As with many (if not most) things, it is a sword that cuts both ways. I agree with VOR2, with the following additions:
    – over the internet allows for one to collect their thoughts and present a reasoned response, but in reality people shoot from the hip
    – over the internet allows one to calm down when upset and respond in a cooler head, but people usually don’t, they take advantage of the anonymity to “let it fly”
    – over the internet allows more reserved folk to go ahead and contribute, but others often dominate a thread and drown them out anyhow
    – lots of communication by tone of voice, body language etc, is lost, which could be replaced by more attention given to clear written expression and asking questions to clarify, but neither usually happens.

    So, it’s another technology like everything from the lever arm (aka “stick”) to dynamite and beyond, a useful tool in the hands of some, a menace to mankind in the hands of others.

    Without it, I would never have the chance to interract with many fine people on this site, and without it,… oh nevermind.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  14. – over the internet allows for one to collect their thoughts and present a reasoned response, but in reality people shoot from the hip

    Yeah. This goes back to my comment about how easy it is. It’s like a set of F1 cars sitting by an abandoned race track. It would be easy for anyone to hop in. You get a lot more out of it if you are very careful about how you do it, but I can see a bunch of 13 year olds flying into the wall at 250 mph.

    If it were harder to obtain this discussion, it would weed out many of the jerks or nuts. But then it probably wouldn’t exist at all, either.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  15. Agreed. However, it is a fantastic way to have a flame war or just generally behave in ways that should get you decked in a just world.

    DanH (d99e29)

  16. Any opinion that deviates from those beloved commentators without permission are twatwaffles

    -EPWJ

    This is not true. EPWJ’s held in very low regard because he has made up false claims, repeatedly, and proving them wrong has destroyed many fragile discussions.

    I’d explain how different opinions are respected, but anyone can see it.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  17. I find that the first 20/25 comments are usualy rather enlightening, but discussion tends to go down hill after that. Feeding trolls is like feeding bears at campgrounds; it ruins the site. We will all be better off if we don’t do it.

    Barsinister (5280fc)

  18. vor hit it

    echo chamber – we saw this on blogs 2 yrs ago with the Ron Pauls with have been replaced by the Palins

    Felons, in Louisiana and Texas hold me in very low regard

    Democrats in all 50 states, hold extremely poor views of me

    Tea Party Leaders (not activists but those who grab for the headlines) hold me in poor view because I questioned/not asserted – that their popularity is due to MSM trying to damage Republicans initially and now the MSM is trying to damage them when the Perotian scenario isnt working

    Here’s what I believe

    1. There is no such thing as Public education and it should be abolished, this includes colleges and universities

    2. Social Security and medicare and medicaid must also be abolished – not reformed – not privatized but gotten rid off

    3. Only in War can the government issue debt

    4. governments cannot loan private companies monies for sports teams

    5. Limit all goverment pensions to 40% of highest three years salary

    6. a 10% vat tax shall be levied on all things – including income, all other taxes are to be abolished

    7. states cannot tax property and are limited to the federal limits on taxation

    8. The interest rate shall be set a 5% as a floor and 10% as a ceiling

    9. It is illegal to hav children out of wedlock, the male shall be fined 25,000 initially and must pay child support of a 1,000 a month till the child is 21 to the state and the state shall determine the ratio going to the mother

    And thats about it

    Social issues, common sense not arrogance should could prevail

    Oh The Supreme Court and Federfal Judges shall be appointed to limited terms snd must meet standards of practice

    EricPWJohnson (2925ff)

  19. Is that not the clearest evidence that EPWJ is a Moby?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  20. I find that the first 20/25 comments are usualy rather enlightening, but discussion tends to go down hill after that. Feeding trolls is like feeding bears at campgrounds; it ruins the site. We will all be better off if we don’t do it.

    Comment by Barsinister

    Moby!

    Just kidding.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  21. “Discussion” is not the same thing as “debate,” and in a blog context is superior to debate.

    “Conversation” is a higher art form than either. Conversation is harder to conduct on a blog, but it can be done.

    Debate. I mean discuss. I mean… never mind.

    d. in c. (ffe6ea)

  22. I will be reading my printed response in the Town Square tonight.

    JVW (eccfd6)

  23. SPQR, agreed.

    Am delighted to see this topic being discussed and can’t wait to hear others weigh in too; the different views are interesting.

    It’s scary how much MD in Philly’s already covered exactly what I think, and would only add: All the above negatives would go pretty much by the wayside, and the positives like communication across all sorts of boundaries, increase, if people would just follow one simple rule – to imagine the person standing there in person before addressing them. (I need to remember this more when someone “pushes my buttons.”)

    That way only the true jerks — who really would say something really hostile or rude to one’s face — would be separated from the “on the flyers” and could be more conveniently quarantined and shunned. :) But it’s hard to tell which is which in the rough and tumble of the Net.

    no one you know (196ed7)

  24. Nuh-uh!!

    Dr Carlo Lombardi (57677b)

  25. I have hard edges. It is true. People have told me.

    JD (204481)

  26. hard edges and also an irascible insouciance

    happyfeet (a55ba0)

  27. It’s scary how much MD in Philly’s already covered exactly what I think, … imagine the person standing there in person before addressing them.
    Comment by no one you know

    Ah, but what makes you think I’m not, at least virtually??

    Officially “they” say we have no technology that can allow you to see the American flag on the moon from earth. “They” are often wrong.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  28. Ah, but what makes you think I’m not, at least virtually??

    Officially “they” say we have no technology that can allow you to see the American flag on the moon from earth. “They” are often wrong.

    Comment by MD in Philly — 9/2/2010 @ 10:06 am

    aaaaaaaggghhh *checks computer frantically for Skype type bugs a la Harry Caul in The Conversation; dives under the bed shivering*

    Oh BTW, did I ever mention what my favorite benefit of the Internet is? 😉

    no one you know (196ed7)

  29. irascible insouciance

    Comment by happyfeet — 9/2/2010 @ 10:02 am

    Heh. This is another thing I like a lot about the Net — constantly getting new fun turns of phrase that you’d think would never make sense but they absolutely do..

    no one you know (196ed7)

  30. Oh BTW, did I ever mention what my favorite benefit of the Internet is? 😉

    Pervert.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  31. Irascible insouciance makes me sound French.

    JD (204481)

  32. Internet discussion has the same drawbacks and advantages as other forms of discussion, only more so. The problem is that, since it’s so easy to step in and out, you’re tempted to stick your spoke in when in real life you’d wait, let someone else take a turn, and the moment might pass.

    In real life would you ever talk to someone who assumed a simpering infantile voice to be funny? Not for more than a few minutes. Then you’d walk away.

    So you need to walk away from the idiots and mobys on the web too. Only that means also leaving the reasonable people on the thread (since they can’t walk away to a different bar with you).

    That’s life. It’s full of all kinds of people – and they’re all in the same room on the internet.

    Gesundheit (cfa313)

  33. *gasp* LOL
    Nah – but it is another 7 letter word beginning w/ P.
    *braces for the guesses the content of which I’m sure I have no idea are coming* :)

    no one you know (196ed7)

  34. 20.I find that the first 20/25 comments are usualy rather enlightening, but discussion tends to go down hill after that. Feeding trolls is like feeding bears at campgrounds; it ruins the site. ….
    Comment by Barsinister

    Counselor, you have your evidence… apparently even when not feeding trolls.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  35. that’s it!

    i’ll never read this blog again…. so there.

    that guy (fb8750)

  36. Noyk – I have no answer for that, at least not one that would survive the fliter. Peruvia? Pustule? Politely? Possibly? Paramour? Prick-ly?

    JD (204481)

  37. Noyk – I have no answer for that, at least not one that would survive the fliter. Peruvia? Pustule? Politely? Possibly? Paramour? Prick-ly?

    Comment by JD — 9/2/2010 @ 10:41 am

    Oh sorry – didn’t mean for anyone to actually do any work. I do love my privacy – IP address huntin’ by hackers and nosy Google tendrils notwithstanding. (Apologies to any Google employees.)

    no one you know (196ed7)

  38. Pricing? Pickles? Protein? Pastels?

    Present?

    My wife always tells people that what she got them for Christmas has 7 letters and starts with a P, and it’s funny watching them go on and on until they realize she meant ‘a present’.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  39. My wife always tells people that what she got them for Christmas has 7 letters and starts with a P, and it’s funny watching them go on and on until they realize she meant ‘a present’.

    Comment by Dustin — 9/2/2010 @ 10:47 am

    Heh. Your wife has a sadistic sense of humor and I fully approve.

    Speaking of the subject of privacy though, it’s been discussed a bit above how anonymity makes people let loose as far as their gut reactions to other posts. But what do people here think about how their anonymity on the web has affected their sharing of personal info, both here and elsewhere on the Net? IMO that’s another two edged sword.

    no one you know (196ed7)

  40. The Internet is a terrible way to have a discussion

    Compared to what? Maybe its like democracy – a terrible idea, except that it’s better than the alternatives.

    Subotai (6922a8)

  41. 17. I find that the first 20/25 comments are usualy rather enlightening

    Come now, I think that range extends to at least … oh, 45 or so.

    Subotai (6922a8)

  42. I’d say 39.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  43. Noyk – I used to share more freely, until a trolly creepy thing started being icky.

    JD (dc7a8e)

  44. Well, you would, you’re a moron. Piss off, dickless.

    Subotai (6922a8)

  45. LOL

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  46. LOL

    Subotai (6922a8)

  47. JD, there are some really strange characters out there. I have to keep that in mind, because some people get so angry at the drop of a hat.

    It’d be easy for someone to figure out who I am (no one of great importance, unless you value extremely good looks). I recommend the site to a lot of folks, and my name is Dustin IRL, so it’s not like I’m really flying under the radar, either.

    Sometimes I wonder if I should go ahead and have some more obscure handle and not mention where I’m from. NOYK’s right that anonymity is a powerful thing to have when discussing controversial issues.

    MD mentions thinking about how you’d talk to someone, to their face. A lot of people don’t feel comfortable talking about racism or politics or immigration in polite company… some people really don’t appreciate it. As for civility, he’s absolutely right, but the reason these discussions draw cranks is the same reason a lot of people feel comfortable exploring some of these topics at all.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  48. Noyk – I used to share more freely, until a trolly creepy thing started being icky.

    Comment by JD — 9/2/2010 @ 11:23 am

    Had forgotten about that stalky guy (if we’re talking about the same thing) but I watched that happen and it was creepy. Someone else on a recent thread about pseudonyms whose initials are MM exhibited some of the same stalky temperament. Since on the Net “you never know who anybody is” (I love this Mamet movie which is actually about privacy and invasions thereof for conning purposes), I prefer the cautious route. Didn’t get the insouciance gene unfortunately.

    no one you know (196ed7)

  49. A lot of people don’t feel comfortable talking about racism or politics or immigration in polite company…

    Or even on the web …

    Subotai (6922a8)

  50. The internet is a great place to have a discussion as long as the people involved in the discussion respect each other as people and are inclined to make charitable judgments rather than uncharitable ones.

    But I’ve been having conversations online since 1991 (no, really), and so I’ve seen both good and bad come out of it.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  51. Or even on the web …

    Comment by Subotai

    And some people have no hesitation being absolutely racist, saying things like Arabs aren’t legit Christians, we should ban immigration on the basis of religion and race, etc.

    In no way am I exaggerating.

    Now, the right can just ignore its fringe, but I’ve always loved how it tales a John Stuart Mill approach to its fringe, reactions with more speech instead of brushing it off as pointless blather (most people’s natural inclination).

    The price is that great threads are so easily thrown way, way off course by do-gooders who hold a grudge. It gets even more complicated because it’s so easy to play games with ‘what did i mean?, I won’t tell you, but you’re wrong!’

    Who wants to do the Patterico exercise of opponents saying eachother’s case, with max stubbornness and obvious wrongness.

    So either folks ignore that kind of thing, which just feels wrong to me, or they make an otherwise interesting thread about banal morality that normal people figured out before they could tie their shoes. And I’m not trying to rail on subotai… he’s just my example and I think my link speaks for itself.

    Suggestions?

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  52. I’ve tried to conduct myself on the web in the same manner as I would if it was a person – to – person conversation. Fortunately, when I’ve actually met some folks in person that I never would have had the opportunity to meet previously (via the net), I’ve been told that I’m pretty much the same guy as who they thought I was. Now I’m sounding like Dennis Green. Oh well.

    Dmac (d61c0d)

  53. I think the Internet is a great way to have a discussion!

    Where else could a Paulistinian neo-Nazi and the president of the He-man Woman Haters Club come together and agree that EPWJ is a first-class tool?

    Icy Texan (db9ed0)

  54. hello hellooo helloooo

    EricPWJohnson (719277)

  55. And some people have no hesitation being absolutely racist, saying things like Arabs aren’t legit Christians, we should ban immigration on the basis of religion and race, etc.

    In no way am I exaggerating.

    In standard Dustin fashion, that translates to “I’m very much exaggerating”.

    You do know that a racist is a conservative who’s winning an argument with a liberal, right? And there are a great many question that were posed to you on that thread, questions you did not answer, questions you responded to by throwing your skirt over your head and shrieking “You can’t say that!”

    Now, the right can just ignore its fringe

    You are its fringe.

    it’s so easy to play games with ‘what did i mean?, I won’t tell you, but you’re wrong!’

    Does that mean that you will answer the questions I put to you? Oh, silly me, the Lord High Inquisitor does not answer questions, he asks them.

    I think my link speaks for itself.

    I think that thread speaks for the cowardice and stupidity of many on the right where the topic of race is concerned.

    On some level you understand perfectly what a minority white polity looks like. Americas cities provide a concrete example. But admitting the obvious is impossible for you, so you turn your fear and anger on the people who mention things you don’t want to hear.

    In believing that reality can be denied if only you can control what people are permitted to say, you are remarkably liberal.

    Subotai (6922a8)

  56. tales a John Stuart Mill approach to its fringe, reactions with more speech

    The insinuation is that you are engaging in high quality “speech” here, marshaling facts and logic against me. Whereas in reality the facts and logic are all on my side, and you spend your time calling me names (“absolutely racist”) as if you were auditioning for a job in Eric Holders Justice Department.

    There is a yawning chasm between your perception of yourself and the way you actually behave. If you were ever to live up to your self-regard, we might have a useful and productive discussion. But then, I’m starting to think that a frank and productive discussion of race is something which you desperately want to avoid.

    Subotai (6922a8)

  57. Subotai, I’m not trying to rail on you.

    I’m asking others for their suggestions on how to deal with people who say things like:

    <blockquote

    Ban all immigration of Arab Muslims. (Subotai)

    And if a person is an Arabic Christian, are they kosher by you? (Aaron)

    Not by me, no. (Subotai)

    I didn’t miss-characterize you… you just play that game because you don’t want to take responsibility. You don’t have moral clarity.

    It’s hard for me to ignore that racism. You used to be very respectful of me, and switched to this manner of speaking to me when I noted I’m Middle Eastern. You don’t have the capacity to even answer a question from me. You can’t restrain yourself because you just hate my guts. I want to be patient when I interact with everybody, but I fail.

    Aphrael says it’s good to be as charitable as possible in these interactions. I’ve tried to do this with you, asking you what you mean by various things. I even did that with EPWJ for quite a while, honestly fascinated with a Scozzafava conservative.

    Anyway, those attempts are failures. The reason I bring up your racism is to ask others for suggestions on how to deal with elements that I don’t want to just do nothing when I encounter, but I also don’t want to derail threads by giving you the attention you crave.

    I’m not asking you anything. Don’t explain yourself. Don’t worry about it. This doesn’t pertain to you, but to sane people who are probably annoyed that I am disputing the obviously wrong. They probably think it’s just lame and boring.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  58. #28 no one you know:

    Oh BTW, did I ever mention what my favorite benefit of the Internet is?

    It delivers pizza.

    I am looking forward to the day it learns how to deliver Chinese, too.

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  59. #58 – it already can/does, at least in Glendale !

    I do find it fascinating watching yet another circle close and then continue on around, again, again …

    In the Bad Old Days, there were Bulletin Booard Systems …

    And there was something called BBS Drift – and some BBSs were more known for that than others … BBS Drift happened when a topic under discussion in back-and-forth commenting had it’s subject drift off along one or more tangents, originally traceable back to the original topic, but otherwise usually very tenuously related …

    And, as at least one person has commented here, there were the Flame Wars …

    So – is any of it really new ?

    tarpon #6 – DARPANet was set up to be a packet-switching network, theoretically immune to limited nuclear attack, theoretically immune to the loss of a few ‘nodes’ in the network, since messages would flow through different pathways if a given node or two vanished … it became a network facilitating communication amongst Universities (MIT, UCLA, etc), Dept of Defence, and defence contractors …

    Back then, rather than discussing theological religions, discussions tended to cover geek religions, including, for example, the Amiga-Wars …

    Ahhh … those were the days, when a 1200 baud modem was FAST !

    Alasdair (e7cb73)

  60. The way I do it, is address the idea as I understand it (not the personality) and discuss my point relative to that position. Try making your responses without using block quotes or at least leaving the original poster’s name off it if you criticize negatively. A lot of block quotes look like they’re included to make the original poster feel stupid rather than advance the conversation. If the discussion is about ideas and not who said what, I think discussions would be a lot more civil.

    Jeff M (0204be)

  61. I find that the first 20/25 comments are usualy rather enlightening, but discussion tends to go down hill after that.

    Darn! #61…

    Dana (8ba2fb)

  62. discussion on web
    does beat the hostage taking
    any day of week

    ColonelHaiku (5d380f)

  63. “Does that mean that you will answer the questions I put to you? Oh, silly me, the Lord High Inquisitor does not answer questions, he asks them.”

    COMEDY GOLD!

    daleyrocks (940075)

  64. Lively internet “discussions” can be fun and can be enlightening as well as being intellectually stimulating. But still, most people want to hang out with others who have at least some understood commonality in POV and values–and with people whom they respect and they enjoy being around. This is true in real life and true on the internet.

    When the Ellie Lights of the world who parachute into blogs with manufactured talking points, and the ones whose only contribution is to threadjack, provoke, and insult show up, is when I notice that a lot of us exit. Life is just too short.

    elissa (72cba6)

  65. Jeff M’s advice seems even more intelligent when elissa chimes in.

    Daleyrocks, I actually scrolled the thread 3 times in a naive attempt to locate these questions (there are none). I think it’s only fair to back up my POV as best as I can.

    I’ll try harder to talk past folks. Doesn’t really feel right, but it’s a better option.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  66. I resolve to only note that crissyhooten and EPWJ are lying mendoucheous twatwaffles once a day. Twice if they are really begging for it.

    JD (8ded14)

  67. I’m all tingly

    EricPWJohnson (8a4ca7)

  68. Then you need to get more air – take that Hefty bag off your head. And that tin foil around your cranium’s not helping matters, either.

    But still, most people want to hang out with others who have at least some understood commonality in POV and values–

    When blogs first came into being, I actually attempted to discuss politics over at places like Kos and some other nutbag sites. I never swore, tried to keep to the subject matter…aaaaaand was always banned after only a few days, if not earlier. They’re not interested in any contrarian viewpoints at most of the Lefty blogs, and even Huffpo keeps you in moderation if you don’t toe that party line. Good little Stalinists, they are. Coming from the media world, I have a hard time understanding that kind of business model – going out of your way to completely piss off half of your available audience is no way to build a business. It’s one thing to target a specific audience segment, but even that kind of self – limiting action will eventually lose that audience as well, simply out of boredom and torpor.

    Dmac (d61c0d)

  69. Dmac – Would that were true. Remember, it is the conservative blogs that do not brook dissent.

    JD (8ded14)

  70. Very much like how democracy is a terrible way to run a government.

    shooter (32dc25)


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