I don't know about the rest of you guys, but I come to
for intelligent, informed debate.
When I feel like sifting through the muck of logical fallacies, irrelevant personal attacks, and hit-and-run posts, I simply visit my local newspaper's website and read those comments. Why I do this myself is anyone's guess, but in the end I always felt like I could load
for some sanity. Not necessarily people who agree with me, but people genuinely interested in debate. I hold the opinion that the only way we can ever grow and mature as individuals is if we open our minds to the thoughts of others.
As most of you know, there is a survival guide
to debating on
. I've observed several members of
ignoring these guidelines. A few times, okay. Everyone slips up. Everyone has bad days. These particular members, however, make a habit out of blanket statements, personal attacks, and employing logical fallacies - and when confronted, simply ignore the posts and continue babbling in the aforementioned manner, change the topic, or make a post attacking the person and ignoring the substance of their post completely.
I do theoretically have a choice to put such individuals on "ignore" - however, this is simply not practical. Even if I ignore all of these members' posts, there are still others whom I respect who choose to quote and respond to the post, which of course is their right. But of course, in reading these respected members' responses, I also read the quoted text of the "ignored" members. There's simply no way around this - you can't debate if you don't quote what you're responding to. However, even if I myself choose to avoid the pitfalls of what will inevitably be another demonstration of blatantly ignoring survival guide
etiquette, I see others fall into the same trap when I read their responses (which are predictably completely ignored in favor of personal attacks or moving on to the next hit job).
We have members putting words in others' mouths. We have members citing made-up statistics. We have members introducing new questions for debate in the middle of an existing thread. We have members that respond to others' posts with a hyperlink and little (if any) additional personal dialogue. We have members questioning what the meaning of "is" is... okay, we haven't gotten quite
to that point yet, but there has been more than one member attempt to redefine existing words. How can you debate anything if you don't consider language to have set definitions?
In whose opinion is any of the above debating?
I don't know a solution to this, but I do know I am very frustrated with the quality of debate for the past several months. The members (including moderators) of
are what make the site. One (admittedly flawed) suggestion is to incorporate adherence to the survival guide
(yes, that is the third time
I've linked to that in this post alone in the vain wishes that people not only read it, but decide it's a good idea to adhere to its suggestions) into the three strikes policy. As of right now, there are very good reasons for issuing a strike (found here
) but in and of themselves, do not necessarily ensure that debate is informed and intelligent. The items listed in the survival guide do.
I honestly think that if someone is not interested in maturely and intelligently debating a topic, they do not deserve to be here and continue causing chaos and thread derailment. I honestly don't think I'm the only one who's noticed a decline in debate quality and has thought about what can be done about it.