Author Topic: Just something concerning debates  (Read 640 times)

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Offline Assan

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Just something concerning debates
« on: September 04, 2015, 02:51:06 am »
Okay, for awhile now, a lot of people have been saying the site has been going down hill. Now I have been trying to figure out what they mean, but I don't really get it. Other than drama, and people letting other people get to them. So I am asking everyone, calm down about these things, we are all supposed to be, at least potentially friends here. If you disagree with something someone else says, say so, but don't "call them out on it" just be polite in the first place, and ask what they mean, talk about it, argue if need be

1.  No personal attacks, name calling, or psychological assault. This leads to ugly, offensive exchanges far beyond the initial problem.

2.  Leave the past in the past, don't bring up other arguments just because you won that one and you think that should make you right.

3. Stop accusing the other person. This just puts them on the defensive and leads to childishness like “No I didn’t” or “But you started it.”

4. Instead of the above distractions, focus on the immediate conflict and consider their side as much as yours. “I know you tried to do _____, but it came across as _______ and I was trying to ______.” That way, you acknowledge the other person while stating how you feel and what you need.

Focusing on both parties’ intentions and needs will let you chalk up the argument to miscommunication and leave room for negotiation. Neither of you has to back down completely because both of you get to air your grief.

Edit: Some of this, the rules really were taken from other places talking about how to handle an argument civilly, so if some of the wording is off or weird that is probably why.


More ideas would be appreciated, PM them if you dont wish to post, or post if you do.

these are in no way set rules okay, these are guidelines to a civil argument with someone.

Ps. If you just have links to places like this one "http://www.wikihow.com/Argue" that works to
« Last Edit: September 04, 2015, 03:11:06 am by Assan »
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Offline Spoopy ★ Panda

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Re: Just something concerning debates
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2015, 07:32:15 pm »
Thanks so much for your input, and for caring enough about the site to think of solutions.
I agree with all of your points, and some are actually already in the forum rules (though we have been slacking with moderation lately) but others could stand to be added. I suppose a re-write of the Debate/Discussion rules sticky should be added to our to-do list, and/or a subsection of the Site Rules talking about respectful debating?

If anyone else has any feedback please share, things are viewed a bit differently as staff sometimes so input is always appreciated :lol-fox:
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Offline copb.phoenix

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Re: Just something concerning debates
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2015, 08:57:43 pm »
*shakes head* Guess my lesson plans can be late today.

This is one of the things sent to me when I said that many of the things sent to me needed just posted for public commentary and review. But I did promise to pick over it and haven't found time to.

Okay, for awhile now, a lot of people have been saying the site has been going down hill. Now I have been trying to figure out what they mean, but I don't really get it. Other than drama, and people letting other people get to them.

I've written on about half of what I'm aware of already in the "Honest Concerns" thread. The other half I'm still somewhere between trying to understand well and trying to push people to just bring forwards themselves at this point.

So I am asking everyone, calm down about these things, we are all supposed to be, at least potentially friends here. If you disagree with something someone else says, say so, but don't "call them out on it" just be polite in the first place, and ask what they mean, talk about it, argue if need be

The problem here is distinct; there is a difference between a rational argument and what one may call an aggressive one. There needs to be closer to rational arguments and further from aggressive ones.

1.  No personal attacks, name calling, or psychological assault. This leads to ugly, offensive exchanges far beyond the initial problem.

In rational form, this is know, generally, as ad hominem. Avoid committing it. It's considered irrational because it doesn't actually prove anything useful. (Assan, I'm aware I've mentioned a lot of this to you already and some in other threads in public view, but collecting it here makes sense.)

2.  Leave the past in the past, don't bring up other arguments just because you won that one and you think that should make you right.

A past argument's points - or even a separate one - can be interrelated but it's important to approach each conflict with a fresh set of eyes. Well, not exactly - on a personal level, of course there's residual feelings, and nobody can fault you; but a great example has arisen today where one user wishes to apologize to another who has left; a third user appeared to complain about the second user which has no real value to the first user's wishes. It is important that what is actually at hand now is addressed as opposed to what was at hand then.

3. Stop accusing the other person. This just puts them on the defensive and leads to childishness like “No I didn’t” or “But you started it.”

This can be wrapped up as "don't commit ad hominem"; however another way of thinking about it is that it does no good to curse the web when the spider is what you need to deal with. Perhaps you're wrong or perhaps you're losing in the rational sense; in either case, concede with as much grace as you can manage.

Usually attacking people is the last bastion of the person who either can not or will not prove anything. If your first resort is to attack a person trying to make a point (as opposed to the point itself), this shows intellectual paucity.

4. Instead of the above distractions, focus on the immediate conflict and consider their side as much as yours. “I know you tried to do _____, but it came across as _______ and I was trying to ______.” That way, you acknowledge the other person while stating how you feel and what you need.

Here is where disagreements start.

It is important to stop and take stock of what other people think and feel, and it is important to recognize that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs (whether or not they align with facts). However, this touchy-feely conflict resolution approach rarely - if ever - actually works out in the real world.

The problem arises from a need for mutual de-escalation. One party can refuse to escalate, but then it becomes much like an arms race where one side isn't even trying to keep up. Guess who ends up becoming a punching bag. (For bonus points, guess who has an abusive mother as the source of first hand experience trying these methods.)

We do have the ability to get staff to intervene, but if we're honest a lot of us aren't that happy to pull a trigger on a user. Sometimes because we'd love to think we can solve it ourselves; others because it doesn't seem like a problem that warrants a sledgehammer because a mallet would do quite nicely. (I am obligated to point out that you should turn these situations over to the staff anyway.)

I would suggest one of the two following notions:

The first... The fact that someone is personally attacking you doesn't need a response. When they attack you, they're trying to prove that you're personally vulnerable. Simply disregard it and actually address the points that are relevant to the actual conversation at hand. This has the benefit of not engaging that conversation and setting the tone for what is and is not acceptable interactions. (Trust me when I say that if nobody engages you in something you wish to do you stop trying sooner or later.)

The second... If you must engage, insist upon addressing the behaviors without addressing the person. "Name-calling isn't very helpful to proving anything" would be an example - notice how the phrase doesn't mention any really personal data, but does point out that a behavior won't have the desired intent. This goes leagues to showing exactly what the expected interactions are or are not and starts to build a model for how to behave.

Aside: Being a parent sucks because you have to keep all this in your head while your kid is screaming for a toy and handle them with level amounts of behavior modelling and compassion. Hug your parents today and thank them if you're at least healthy and still relatively sane.

these are in no way set rules okay, these are guidelines to a civil argument with someone.

These aren't so much guidelines to civil arguments as they are to de-escalation. There's a HUGE difference. De-escalation is a part of conflict resolution strategy; itself a piece of interpersonal communication. A civil argument - generally a rational one - is actually mathematically reducible and has a well-defined and unemotional structure. (A lot of passion goes into debates at the human/actor level but the actual forms are relatively cold and logical.)

Ps. If you just have links to places [...] that works to

This is split into two halves - conflict resolution and debate/logic primers.

Conflict resolution

This is the general scope of what Assan was referring to. I'm just going to link a lot of stuff on the topic that when I glance at matches what I learned in leadership theory; something about "a world of philosophers" and "communism" goes here.

A good video brief on the topic is at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xCkhV7zhuw

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/relationships/conflict-resolution-skills.htm

http://www.forbes.com/sites/augustturak/2012/09/10/the-3-secrets-to-conflict-resolution/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflict_resolution

Debate and Logic primers

This is the general scope of what I was referring to (and what you'll often see me apply if you search my history of posts). (Technically, I'm referring more to classical rhetoric and logic, but the notions are generally the same.)

A base logic primer:
Western Michigan University

I'm afraid that I learned this as part of Discrete Mathematics (the mathematical representation of the philosophical form), so I'm not strong on a list of primers here. I can explain things off my head but I wouldn't be able to reference them well at all.

A list of fallacies - "things to not do" - that I generally link is here:
https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/

Other lists of fallacies...
The Book of Bad Arguments (Furry-esque!)
Nizkor
Skeptic's Guide
Wikipedia

I suppose a re-write of the Debate/Discussion rules sticky should be added to our to-do list, and/or a subsection of the Site Rules talking about respectful debating?

This isn't limited in scope to debate/discussion; these rapidly escalating and unchecked conflicts are arising all over the forums. You cannot stop conflict - that's a natural part of interactions, after all. But we could do our best to try to make conflicts run to better endings.

In the past, I grew violently aggressive against any attempts to bury conflicts that happened. Waaaaay in the past. The reason was because burying a problem doesn't solve it - it just takes it out of the open view and leads to repression of bent feelings. The process of moderating to maintain order runs a risk of creating net harm if it doesn't resolve problems that lead to disorder. Merely removing the proof of a fight between two users isn't sufficient to resolve the bent feelings they have with one another.

If anyone else has any feedback please share, things are viewed a bit differently as staff sometimes so input is always appreciated :lol-fox:

I could teach a year of lessons on negotiation strategy, leadership, debate, formal reasoning, and countless other topics that may have some value here but the struggle I'm facing is picking out the key points that matter. It doesn't help that I'm in a partial fugue all the time right now trying to make things move around here.

I'm open to questions if you think picking my brains could be helpful.
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