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Aquilla
This is an outgrowth from the current Scooter Libby thread where a technique I use in active debates like this has caused some concerns by some of the other participants. Perhaps some here have a better way of doing it than I. So, I'll explain what I do and why I do it and then open the suggestion box........

I don't come here to write books, or even chapters of books. But, that can happen in a really active thread if one attempts to respond to each and every point everyone else makes, point by point. By the time you're done responding to one post, three more from others show up, and you respond to those, and more show up while you're writing and so on and so on. Not to mention your post gets unmanageably long. I don't know about others here, but I don't like reading a post as long as a book only to come to the end and see an "Edited to add", then reading the sequel. So, what I do from time to time is what I call a "reset". Rather than address each preceeding post, point by point, I instead re-state my position, a summary if you will of my position with specific points addressed to ones others have brought up without specifically citing them. Doing it this way tends to cut back on the length of my post which is a good thing on two counts. It makes it easier to read, but most importantly it makes it one hell of a lot easier to write.


Anyway, that's how I do it. Anyone have a better idea?


Edited to add..... - Just kidding.... wink2.gif


Aquilla
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Doclotus
Great question Aquilla! thumbsup.gif

Could you provide a link to one of your posts that perhaps used that approach? That might be useful to illustrate and perhaps serve as a straw man to work from.

This is a tough one to probably generate concensus on, and I don't know if there is a good answer, but I'll add my $.02 for what its worth.

I try and limit my quotes to provide enough of the poster's argument without just requoting the entire segment. Admittedly, that approach has a bit of a slippery slope to it because if you wind up addressing enough posters and enough arguments, you descend into the novel that you were trying to avoid in the first place.

From an argumentation perspective (putting on my academic hat), rebuttal arguments will invariably result in intentionally dismissing or "dropping" certain arguments from your opponent(s). This is simply the nature of the beast when time is a factor, as I'm sure it is for all of us. The challenge in this approach is not dropping an argument that is critical to the debate. Unfortunately, deciding that is more art than science, since what you consider critical may be different from your opponent. Since there is no formal arbiter of the outcomes on ad.gif , naturally your opinion matters most smile.gif

In the case of multiple opponents on an issue, the restatement approach is probably a good start, but you want to make sure that the necessary points are being addressed. If more than one is making the same or similar arguments, or perhaps it might be useful to group either the arguments that are similar or the authors, depending on which is taking place (sometimes both!). Here's an example:

QUOTE
Both Entspeak and ConservPat are arguing that <Position 1>. I'll address both here:


or, and admittedly this is more time consuming, perhaps multiple arguments are made in by multiple people, but they're basically in the same theme, here's an approach:

QUOTE
Basically there are three points being made by several people(certainly viable to list them here) regarding <Position 2>. They are:
<Summary 1>
<Summary 2>
<Summary 3>

This is all supporting <Counter Position 2>. <insert rebuttal of CP2 here>


This at least makes an effort to condense some of the arguments but makes an earnest effort at giving credit while sustaining the arguments that matter to you.

Note that both of these approaches does not make use of the quote feature. In my opinion that's a bit of a judgement call. Sometimes direct quote is effective, but often its a waste of screen space vs. summarizing the position.

Not sure if this helps, but thought I would add some suggestions.

Doc
kmsouthern
I'm definitely guilty of writing books for posts biggrin.gif

In active threads, I usually try to only deal with the specific issues that I want to counter after I've made my initial "answer of questions for debate" reply. For instance, the big giant of an Affirmative Action thread some 2-3 years ago got really long and the same things kept getting repeated over and over (I was guilty of that too, mostly because it was falling on deaf ears whistling.gif ). I kept bringing more stats/facts into the debate to address the "opposition". I limited my replies to "quote" style simply because there were only a few individuals whose points I really felt needed to be addressed and refuted. I also try to do a "summary" of my feelings if I notice I've posted more than a couple of times to the same thread.

Often times in those large threads, I think there are a lot of "side debates" that are within the topic, but not necessarily addressing the initial debate questions (things that have branched off from answers to those questions, usually). Since I do tend to write lengthy posts when I do contribute (you'll never catch me posting anything close to a one-liner laugh.gif), I usually don't get into the side debates unless it's something that was an inevitable result of the initial debate (i.e. in the current education thread, the talk of spending/salaries).

A combination of quoting individual replies when needed (responding to a specific issue/point) and addressing the topics themselves (responding to a general issue/point) is probably what I utilize most often in those big threads.

Aquilla
QUOTE(Doclotus @ Jul 9 2007, 11:53 AM) *
Could you provide a link to one of your posts that perhaps used that approach? That might be useful to illustrate and perhaps serve as a straw man to work from.

Doc


Sure, Doc, I suppose as good a one as any this post in the Scooter Libby thread where I said I was going to post this topic in Casual Conversation. I thought I did but maybe it got moved which is no problem.

In the referenced post I did specifically quote and address BoF to clear up something I had written earlier that he seemed to take offense at. But then, rather than to attempt to address all the previous posts point by point, I attempted to simply re-state my position on the issue and address some specifics that had arisen in the rather lengthy discussion.


Edited to add...... (Here we go again) laugh.gif

From Kmsouthern......
QUOTE
Often times in those large threads, I think there are a lot of "side debates" that are within the topic, but not necessarily addressing the initial debate questions (things that have branched off from answers to those questions, usually). Since I do tend to write lengthy posts when I do contribute (you'll never catch me posting anything close to a one-liner ), I usually don't get into the side debates unless it's something that was an inevitable result of the initial debate (i.e. in the current education thread, the talk of spending/salaries).


You are absolutely right and sometimes those side issues are more interesting than maybe the main issue is. It's very easy to get caught up in a discussion of those and end up de-railing the thread. What I try to do in those cases is to suggest to the people involved in that side issue that maybe we should make another thread addressing that issue specifically.


Aquilla
BaphometsAdvocate
QUOTE(Aquilla @ Jul 9 2007, 03:23 PM) *
QUOTE(Doclotus @ Jul 9 2007, 11:53 AM) *
Could you provide a link to one of your posts that perhaps used that approach? That might be useful to illustrate and perhaps serve as a straw man to work from.

Doc


Sure, Doc, I suppose as good a one as any this post in the Scooter Libby thread where I said I was going to post this topic in Casual Conversation. I thought I did but maybe it got moved which is no problem.

In the referenced post I did specifically quote and address BoF to clear up something I had written earlier that he seemed to take offense at. But then, rather than to attempt to address all the previous posts point by point, I attempted to simply re-state my position on the issue and address some specifics that had arisen in the rather lengthy discussion.

I have definitely found that with certain posters you need to be very verbose. Leave no possibility for anyone to misunderstand what you're writing. While, to some extent, there is something lost in translation by not having facial expressions and intonation available for what you write here I think sometimes readers are being intentionally dense. By intentionally dense I mean that the reader has chosen not to understand the gist of what has been written.

I often use SNIP to remove huge chunks of text that I'm not directly answering. As clean as this board is - sometimes multi - level quotes and the responses can get confused. Also if you are not careful your answers become ensnared within the top most quote until your final response which is then left as stand-alone.

I tend to Copy & Paste with (quote name='Aquilla' date='Jul 9 2007, 03:23 PM' post='220594') and (/quote) around each written statement I plan to respond to. Writing my response after (/quote). (Of course I use "[" and "]" not "(" and ")" for the quoting.) I think this makes reading responses I write easier to pick out.
droop224
Truth is I think styles vary...

Entspeak and Myself are having a debate in a thread where it seems like we are responding to each other's every word. Some of the drawbacks are

-it takes forever for me to post
-sometimes I'll miss responding to a point. then have to go back and readdress after the reply.

Another member of AD told me he found it irritating to read because I did respond to each and every line.

On the other hand, I enjoy debating like that and i enjoy debates that go in that fashion. It's like reading a book to me.

When it looks like one HUGE paragraph it looks like a bunch of descriptive details someone would skim over. when it is broken up by another debaters quote/response/ quote/response/quote/response it gives me the feel of dialogue. And dialogue just reads better for me than one huge quote of another post and one huge reply.
Wertz
I think this can only be dealt with on a case by case basis - mostly dictated by one's own available time. One of the best ways to keep multiple responses within one post readable is to only quote the pertinent part of the post to which you're responding, as has already been mentioned.

If I have limited time and a backlog of responses, I post what I can get to and sometimes append something like "Amlord, I'll get to your response later". But I think everyone realizes that no one posts to AD full-time. Things come up, life happens, and some threads are simply left "incomplete". This can be frustrating if one had wanted to get to several other responses - especially if people are hurling things like "But you are ignoring the most important argument I've ever made in my life" at you - but I think sometimes we can get a bit too caught up in feeling pressured to respond to things that we may, in fact, feel are trivialities or distractions.

So I say: be as clear and succinct as possible; stick to the points you feel are salient; don't be dragged away from what you feel is important; assure people you will be responding to them, if necessary; and post only as much as you are willing or able. And you'll still probably end up posting a novel. blush.gif But, most importantly, remember that people are aware of other peoples' time constraints and the vagaries of the "internet community". I think we all realize that, at times, people are simply unable to address every reply to a post or even have to withdraw from a debate altogether - and, hopefully, make the appropriate allowances.
entspeak
I agree with Wertz.

It is hardest when, as has happened in the Libby thread, it becomes 4 or 5 posters responding to 1 - or, should I say, 1 poster having to respond to 4 or 5. In such cases, I try to find the similarities in the arguments made by each individual and address those and then take on specifics that may pop out. But it can be hard and I often find myself editing my posts to play catch up. Just part of the game.
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