Techdirt Podcast Episode 148: The Lost Art Of Productive Debate

from the discourse-on-discourse dept

Even those of us who believe that the internet is overall a tremendous positive force when it comes to discourse and culture can admit that, in many parts of the online world (and really the world in general), having constructive and substantive conversations is… difficult. And that issue has most certainly come to the fore in the last couple of years. So this week, we’re joined by author Barry Eisler (one of our first and most frequent podcast guests) to tackle the challenge of framing important debates in productive ways, and actually getting somewhere with them.

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Comments on “Techdirt Podcast Episode 148: The Lost Art Of Productive Debate”

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5 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

this podcast topic looked very interesting but quickly disappointed

it rapidly deteriorated to net neutrality issues. I learned that people who object generally to government market regulation cannot be reasoned with and must be automatically ignored. “productive debate” is not possible with those who disagree with conventional political views.

“Framing the Debate” is indeed critical to progressive argumentation — it allows one to casually dismiss the inconvenient viewpoints of others.

Mr Big Content says:

I Dont Know What Your Complaining About

I have productive debates all the time. In fact, Im more productive at debating then any body else I know. Teh productivity of my debating is just phemomenonal. When I present a argument, people just dont know how to respond. And any body who tries too tell you otherwise is just a STUPID IDIOT and not worth talking too.

Anonymous Coward says:

in many parts of the online world (and really the world in general), having constructive and substantive conversations is… difficult.

And this is so surprising! Think of all the websites with good discussion tooling! Tooling for personalized filtering and ranking of comments, with a rich rule vocabulary over authors, topics, and discussion characteristics. To prevent interference effects between subcommunities, eternal septembers, loss of domain experts, and regression of exceptional sites to the mean (reddit). Tooling for long-term collaborative progress, so comments aren’t ephemeral bar talk, unheard unless you enter the chatter at just the right moment, and then as often reread as last week’s trashy newspaper.

Think of all the websites with good discussion tooling! Thousands! Err, a few? Well, I’m sure there’s at least one out there. Somewhere?

Computer-supported collaborative discourse is a thing. One largely neglected for three decades now. Poorly funded (making current government complaints of nonexistence rather ironic.) But even what we know how to do, we don’t pursue.

So how surprising is it that the web poorly supports constructive and substantive conversations? We, the tech community, are just not trying.

Tooling. Like podcasts on SoundCloud supporting high-speed (1.5 or 2x) playback, so listening to slow conversational speech is bearable. People have only been asking for that for, what, half a decade now? Tooling. Like a comment format that supports strikethrough. Unlike this one. Tooling.

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