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debate vs. sharing  RSS feed

 
master steward
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I removed a thread today.

Not only did the thread seem to go into a lot of bashing, but some of the folks seemed to want debate.

I want to make it clear that this site is not for debating stuff. This site is for humble folks to share their experiences and what they have found.

Further, it is really important to me that folks not take a baseball bat to the positions others. Instead, please present your own position.
 
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Hi Paul,

Presumably the post you deleted was mine.

I can see that I may be guilty of a lack of care and finesse in how I put it together. It was done in haste.

This has been pointed out to me by some kind folks in this thread

I also now see that the word debate has an unfortunate context.

debate
c.1300, from Fr. debattre (13c.), orig. "to fight," from de- "down, completely" + batre "to beat."

Meanwhile,

discuss
mid-14c., "to examine," from L. discuss-, pp. stem of discutere "to dash to pieces, agitate," in L.L. and V.L. also "to discuss, investigate"

What violence!

I can appreciate how you wish to encourage us to share our own experience rather than throwing our pet abstractions / hearsay about at each other. I find it very sad how abusive many internet discussions end up becoming, and I applaud your efforts to try to avoid this.

However, I am still a little confused as to what in your view constitutes 'debate', as opposed to sharing. I will give an example.

Let's say that I were to start sharing on Permies.com my own experiences of how amazingly I have used a certain technique to improve soil fertility, etc, etc. I then start offering courses in said technique. Some people who pay for and attend my course are not convinced that I have been truthful about what I am claiming.

Would it not be appropriate for these people to respectfully question my claims if they saw reason to doubt that they were true? Or would such questioning constitute suggesting that anybody on permies.com is less than perfect?

Personally I feel that a community that is unable to examine itself critically is not destined for a prosperous future.

Or is it only once I start taking second hand claims and disseminating those that you are not happy?

Regards,

Adam
 
pollinator
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So far the acceptiblity of any post seems to be decided by a judgement call.

It is what it is.
 
Adam Ormes
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William Bronson wrote:So far the acceptiblity of any post seems to be decided by a judgement call.

It is what it is.



Hi William,

I was hoping for some more clarity... therefore I asked. Paul will either decide to reply or not to reply.

It is what it is.

 
paul wheaton
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I think that if people were to attend your event and found that their philosophies were different, then it would be okay for them to express their philosophies. They can express their own philosophies without taking a baseball bat to you or your philosophies.

Generally, I want to see the many positions.

Of course, there are a lot of topics that I don't want to see discussed on my site, so I do draw lines.

The recent thread I saw seemed to have more than one participant taking a baseball bat to something. So rather than pick through the thread, I decided to just delete the whole thing.
 
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Adam Ormes wrote:I also now see that the word debate has an unfortunate context.


Yeah just to say I also tried to figure it out a bit with asking and a similar approach using a dictionary - see my post and other here > https://permies.com/t/160/2296/nice#51578
Interesting to see this was 3 years ago and probably many similar since and before. Love to see the stats on that :L)
Yes be "nice" (pleasant or pleasing, agreeable in nature or appearance etc) and other interpretable things
There's a link to an article there too. At first I thought it's maybe a bit too formal or too focussed of this grammar and gets in the way of any start of discussion... but if it can be understood and learnt before speaking or introduced before signing up, then it seems to really make a big difference to learning / speaking, in life and in general here as part of life. (offending people or having your posts hidden / never to be seen and not even a copy of it on request after spending many half-hours typing, does seem to be outside of nice depending on which side you're looking / acting from).
 
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bump
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pollinator
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Travis and I were discussing LGDs in another thread, and he used a term that has had me thinking quite a bit on the subject.  He expressed concern that the discussion could turn into a debate.  I understand that "debate" is a somewhat derogatory word here, but I'm wondering if it has to be.  In my mind, debate is a tool that allows me to express my point of view, and let's the other person express theirs.  Generally as it moves on, each person's position is clarified to the point that each has a better understanding of the other's position.  There is the potential for a debate to become unpleasant, but that exists in any discussion, and can be avoided.  I cut and pasted this from Idebate.org:  "Debate is a formal contest of argumentation between two teams or individuals. More broadly, and more importantly, debate is an essential tool for developing and maintaining democracy and open societies. More than a mere verbal or performance skill, debate embodies the ideals of reasoned argument, tolerance for divergent points of view and rigorous self-examination. Debate is, above all, a way for those who hold opposing views to discuss controversial issues without descending to insult, emotional appeals or personal bias. A key trademark of debate is that it rarely ends in agreement, but rather allows for a robust analysis of the question at hand. Perhaps this is what French philosopher Joseph Joubert meant when he said: β€œIt is better to debate a question without settling it, than to settle a question without debating it.”

Even within this definition of debate, argument is referenced.  Again, I think it is important to define "argument", not in the common usage, but by it's actual root: Argument comes from the 14th century French word of the same spelling, meaning, "statements and reasoning in support of a proposition." An argument can be a fact used as evidence to show that something is true, like a study that shows exercise improves certain health conditions β€” an argument for being more active. Argument also means "a discussion between people who have contrary views."

I also understand that the definition includes reference to democracy and open societies, and that this forum is not a democracy, but I don't believe that part of the definition is important to the point I am trying to make here.  I think a very important part of the debate process is included in part of the sentence that that mentions "rigorous self-examination".  Debating an issue forces a person, if they are open-minded, to really examine their OWN point of view.  This can help a person clarify their own opinion, or make them aware of points they didn't realize before that could very well have them change their position.

My contention is that debate can be friendly as well as helpful.  I have a very close friend that is staunchly Christian, and he and I debate religious issues often.  It doesn't devolve into an "argument" in the sense that either of us are angry or frustrated.  What it does is clarify both of our thinking on our own position, as well as opening the door to a back and forth that let's us better understand each other's side of things.  Neither of us is likely to change our minds, but I believe our friendship is stronger and we have a greater respect for one another's view because we debate this issue.

Thoughts?  
 
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Todd, I will chew on this for awhile as I am not good with off-the-cuff answers sometimes, but want you to know, that I have the utmost respect for you, and if you were not 1600 miles from here, I would buy you a coffee and chat with you probably endlessly about farming.

I was also wrong in regards to the LGD thread because you and the original poster was thinking in terms of hobby farm status and I was thinking in terms of full-time farming; far different mind sets. I realized that and stayed mum, but do apologize to you.

Again you always have my respect.
 
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Well... debating with 'Strangers"  can be a bit tricky especially on line where we cannot see facial expressions and body language.  In my experience , most of the "debates"  that I have witnessed online have turned into flame wars and pissed people off, sometimes to the point that they left the forum where it was happening. Here at permies there are several rules that help. Using "I think "statements, the be nice policy , and others.  I grew up in a family that learned by debating, which really has affected my life, as what they really did was learn by arguing...knock down drag out screaming sometimes. So I personally try to avoid debating. I usually run from a room when debates start.
 
Todd Parr
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Travis Johnson wrote:Todd, I will chew on this for awhile as I am not good with off-the-cuff answers sometimes, but want you to know, that I have the utmost respect for you, and if you were not 1600 miles from here, I would buy you a coffee and chat with you probably endlessly about farming.

I was also wrong in regards to the LGD thread because you and the original poster was thinking in terms of hobby farm status and I was thinking in terms of full-time farming; far different mind sets. I realized that and stayed mum, but do apologize to you.

Again you always have my respect.



Travis, without this becoming a debate I don't think you were wrong at all, just looking at it from a different point of view.  I enjoy getting the viewpoint from someone that actually makes his living and feeds his family from farming.  I'm glad you posted it, because it helped me see it from another perspective.  Absolutely no apology necessary.  Also, this thread was in no way trying to re-hash that other thread.  Your comment just made me think, and I was curious about other people's perspective about debating in general.

The respect is mutual, and I hope one day we can meet and chat.  I would enjoy that very much.
 
Todd Parr
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Miles Flansburg wrote:Well... debating with 'Strangers"  can be a bit tricky especially on line where we cannot see facial expressions and body language.  In my experience , most of the "debates"  that I have witnessed online have turned into flame wars and pissed people off, sometimes to the point that they left the forum where it was happening. Here at permies there are several rules that help. Using "I think "statements, the be nice policy , and others.  I grew up in a family that learned by debating, which really has affected my life, as what they really did was learn by arguing...knock down drag out screaming sometimes. So I personally try to avoid debating. I usually run from a room when debates start.



Miles, I couldn't agree more about the problems caused by lack of ability to read body language, hear tone of voice, etc.  I mentioned the same in the other thread.  Guarding against it turning to that kind of argument is a very real concern and a valid point.

Another possible road for this discussion to go down could be, where does discussion end and debate start?  Or, when things go wrong, where does debate become argument?  Where does simple disagreement come into play?
 
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I was curious about other people's perspective about debating in general.



For me, the idea of 'debate' implies a winner and a loser and if I get the merest hint that that's where a conversation is heading I tend to run...

I like permies for encouraging an exchange of ideas on fairly equal footing and that we are discouraged from trying to prove someone's idea wrong.

This is just my view of the word though, not necessarily how it's construed out in the real world.

 
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As a moderator, one of the phrases that I see sometimes, that gets put on probation is:

I adamantly disagree because...

Whatever discussions we might be having, and whatever labels we might put on those discussions, that phrase doesn't seem appropriate to me.
 
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I'm a huge believer in debate, but I try (and fail) to stay away from it online. It sucks, but I think it's for the best. One phrase that really hit that belief home for me was how someone described the problem with social media: we can hear people talk, but we can't hear them listen. I think productive debate demands listening. That can happen online with a solid foundation of trust (ex: good friends in a chat room), but in a public forum it's just too hard to see someone else listening.
 
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Seems mostly semantic, really.

Language is always changing, and words like "debate" and "argument" have multiple meanings.  We can talk about dictionary definitions, but not everyone buys into (or uses) such definitions.  So when Person A says "No debating!" and Person B says "But this is what debating is," I posit that they're using the word "debate" in significantly different ways; they're not actually talking about the same thing.

"To present an argument" is to lay out one's reasons for _____.  That can happen in a vacuum.  "To have an argument" is to disagree (likely in a hostile manner) with another person about _____.  That cannot happen in a vacuum.  So "argument," as a word, isn't the issue; it's how it's done.

As far as "debate" goes, it seems to me a sliding scale.  There is debate (we'll call it "debate") that is a respectful, if earnest, sharing of dissenting points of view.  Then there is debate (we'll call it "DEBATE") that is a hostile attack, not only on another person's view but on that person as well.

I guess I think of it as analogous to that oft-cited Supreme Court Justice's view on pornography: "I know it when I see it."
 
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In my experience the vast majority of people are not capable of having a debate. Paul's policy is one of the things that makes permies valuable to me.

I've been lucky to discover Mortimer J. Adler's work at a relative young age.
Some quotes from "How to Read a Book " by Adler

The root cause:

Men are creatures of passion and prejudice. The language they must use to communicate is an imperfect medium, clouded by emotion and colored by interest, as well as inadequately transparent for thought.



fight vs debate:

...many people regard disagreement as unrelated to either teaching or being taught. They think that everything is just a matter of opinion. I have mine. You have yours. Our right to our opinions is as inviolable as our right to private property. On such a view, communication cannot be profitable if the profit to be gained is an increase in knowledge. Conversation is hardly better than a ping-pong game of opposed opinions...



Even when all parties have an open mind I find that most "debates" (like 99% of the time) are in fact misunderstandings.

words vs terms:

...a word can have many meanings, especially an important word. If the author uses a word in one meaning, and the reader reads it in another, words have passed between them, but they have not come to terms. Where there is unresolved ambiguity in communication, there is no communication, or at best it must be incomplete.



I will only debate when a choice has to be made.

 
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