Forum Extended Discussion Is Coming Back... With A Twist!

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by KT Samurai, Jun 16, 2017.

  1. KT Samurai

    KT Samurai The Peacemaker
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    Good morning, everyone!

    Many have lamented the departure of the Extended Discussion sub-forum, a space where users were encouraged to share their opinions on a variety of discussions on any subject a user could be bothered to make a subject for. While sometimes valuable, too often these discussions devolved into mudslinging and pettiness and so the sub-forum was soon relegated to a mere tag ("Debate") in the General Discussion forum. It hasn't caught on, and when it has been used the same old issues would arise. The idea of users engaging one another on complicated subjects like politics, religion, and others is largely dead due to the community's inability to play nice with one another. Users are generally disinterested in wading through the muck and staff aren't interested in facilitating discussion that often leads to deleted posts, warnings, and sometimes bannings.

    This has left a void in the community for those who want to take part in these discussions with their SC peers. To fill this void, we've decided to undertake a new initiative to allow people to flex their debate muscles while maintaining some semblance of order. We're adopting a more formal approach to debate, and we'd like your feedback on how we intend to execute this "new" idea.

    A More Formal Approach

    The change, as it were, is the adaptation of a formal setting to give our debates more structure and fewer opportunities for bad apples to spoil the bunch. Moderation will be more strict in this sub-forum than others, obviously, but we're also shouldering more responsibility on posters who wish to participate. We think these responsibilities are pretty sensible for anyone who is interested in a genuine discussion.

    The new sub-forum will work thusly:
    • Regular posters will not be able to create new threads, only appointed "mediators" will be able to do this. Mediators will act as a sort of mini-mod, keeping everyone on-topic and intervening when things get too personal. They will choose the topics, whether internally or with community feedback (up to them) and go about the business of keeping posters on-track.
    • Discussions will have a timer (two weeks, for example) before being closed and archived.
    • Discussion topics will make a clear declaration in the title. For example, "The US Should Back Out Of NAFTA".
    • Posters who choose to take part must state clearly if they agree with the premise of the thread or disagree then vigorously support their argument. No waffling between sides, no attempts to be above-it-all, a side must be taken and arguments for that side must be constructed while addressing points from the other. This allows mediators (and other posters) to better gauge the weight and value of individual users' posts. Multiple posts from the same users will be kept rare to give others a chance to speak.
    • There is no "winner". Users are simply encouraged to read the thread and come to their own conclusions as to who made a more convincing argument. The idea here isn't to change minds but to challenge users to either defend positions they themselves agree with or to provide them the opportunity to take a side they normally wouldn't.
    Admittedly, this is a very heavy-handed approach and some of the nuances of these positions could be lost. But we feel that more focus with tighter moderation (or in this case, mediation) will be a healthier and more welcoming environment for more posters. If ED had one serious flaw above all others it was that only a certain few posters would dominate the conversation, saturating it with gish gallops, sentence-by-sentence rebuttals, and often would end up with ad hominem attacks. With this model, we hope to remove the incentive to "win" the debate with hot takes and petty insults and get more people to participate.

    Of course, we wouldn't just launch this thing without some user feedback. While some form of this method is what will eventually go live I didn't want to deprive the community the opportunity to share their thoughts on our new direction for forum debate. Please leave a response about your thought, concerns, and advice.

    Thank you, and have a wonderful weekend!
     
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  2. Matemar

    Matemar The Crow

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    0/10 must be able to "win" and insult people in debate.

    On a more serious note, this looks interesting. I'm looking forward to seeing the results. I also want to thank everybody who contributed to this so that our community could be a better place.
     
  3. 4xdblack

    4xdblack Accomplished Booty-Cop
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    I'm pretty much on board for this. I only have one concern.

    I feel like this will only ostracize some members who still wish to participate, but can't be put into either category. They'll want to give their opinion, but can't due to the restriction of being forced to choose a side. Of course, "I don't care" posts should be discouraged, but I'm referring more to the topics and opinions that don't always fit into the predetermined figurative box.
     
  4. Shannon Apple

    Shannon Apple Sour Apple
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    The rules are there for this to prevent the same kind of idiocy and strawmanning that went on in CE forum. In a real debate, one must choose a side. What's the point in getting into a debate topic if you don't actually care which side of it you sit on. Extended discussions was never about simply posting your opinion. We have lots of space for that in General. The threads there don't require you to spend time with the subject. Some of you are too new to remember how the extended discussion forum worked on A4.

    Basically, members who wish to participate shouldn't do if they don't have the time to read the entire thread and take on board what other members arguments are. Deliberately twisting someone's viewpoint just to get a "win" is prohibited. That's not what it's about as KT explained. We actually had a mod or two who took charge of that sub-forum and ensured that all posts adhered to the rules of debate.

    So they should feel ostracised. If you consider that there are members here who actually enjoy decent intellectual discussions that go to a deeper level than your average thread, then you'll appreciate the fact that fly-by opinions aren't welcome. A fly-by opinion is one that has clearly been written by someone who hasn't read the thread, and doesn't give a toss about what anyone else has already written.
     
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  5. 4xdblack

    4xdblack Accomplished Booty-Cop
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    Once again, I'm not trying to encourage "I don't care" posts. If what you're saying is that you only care that they pick a side, then that's fine. But I'd hate to have to twist and distort my, or anyone else's opinions so that they fit into one side or the other.
     
  6. Shannon Apple

    Shannon Apple Sour Apple
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    Then don't post in the debate if you don't have an opinion. An opinion puts you on one side or the other. It certainly doesn't put you in the middle. You have no place in a debate if you sit in the middle since there's nothing for you to argue. There are usually two points to a debate, two oposing opinions, not three. It's really as simple as that. If you don't understand how debates work, you shouldn't get into it.
     
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  7. Dunn x Dolo

    Dunn x Dolo King of the Chatroom
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    Can I pick a side and just post that I came for the drama? XD
     
  8. Scruffie

    Scruffie Pro Tarantula Bro-Fister
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    Won't even need to. Apparently the thread explaining the rules has enough of that
     
  9. Shannon Apple

    Shannon Apple Sour Apple
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    I deleted one post already because they came here to cause drama and didn't actually read the OP. To be clear, this thread is not about Current Events, it's about a new debate forum.

    Let's put it this way.

    The OP might have a question like "Is Global Warming Real?" Obviously it would be framed better than that, but this is the most simplistic thing I can think of to explain this. There are two opposing answers to this question: Yes, and No. You as the debater will already have come into this with an opinion and some knowledge of the topic. If you don't have an opinion, or any knowledge of the topic, then perhaps wait for a debate that does interest you rather than posting for the sake of posting. You should be able to back your argument with expert opinion and so on.

    It really isn't that difficult to understand, so I can't fathom why people are actually getting worked up about it.
     
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  10. ThisGuy

    ThisGuy Kin of the Cosmos
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    And the staff are already deleting my posts because they don't agree with them.

    You could have easily replaced "CE" with "ED" and the content I posted would have STILL applied.

    Thanks for blowing up over nothing though! Never change.

    A+++++ Fast shipping, would do business with again!
     
  11. 4xdblack

    4xdblack Accomplished Booty-Cop
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    So then it's exactly like I said... Well that's disappointing..
     
  12. ThisGuy

    ThisGuy Kin of the Cosmos
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    The idea of ED is that the discussions are more complex than two sides, it's entirely possible to make statements and ask questions to further your own insight on any given topic before blindly holding to some position. It's silly to say "you shouldn't be posting in those discussions if you haven't chosen a side."

    Part of forming an opinion is making comments, asking questions, and exploring opposing opinions.

    @Shannon,

    The topic you mentioned could benefit from viewpoints other than "yes/no" because it provides an understanding of why people believe what they do regarding global warming. A really worrying trend related to this is how science is being used in the media, the media is bullying anyone who doesn't agree with them and it's creating a religion out of science among the mainstream. This is a problem because the media is easily taken in by snake oil "science" projects that divert funding away from actual science projects. You can accept that as well as the science behind climate change, so the topic becomes more complex.

    The problem I have with this ED policy is the same problem I had with CE, and that's the staff pushing their own bias and it's really gross that you're too lazy to moderate so you've chosen the most draconian of policies to quench any discussion of which you don't approve.

    People are going to hold beliefs you don't agree with, part of understanding them and helping them grow is allowing them to express their beliefs for others to engage in. I know this is a matter of contention, and primarily between the non-American and Americans on this site because we have very different concepts of free expression, but I see this as a really disturbing policy designed to fellate the people who already engage in civil discussion rather than to promote better discussion to the general board.

    But go ahead and dismiss my points as being an attempt to "cause drama." Looking through threads the staff have become so aggressive it's really shitty. You could at least pretend to tolerate other people.

    I really, really, really, really dislike it when you delete posts and then follow it up with some snide comments because it's another form of suppressing dissenting criticism. It's worse because you're allowed to misrepresent what was in the post and others don't have any possibility to verify what was actually said, meant, or implied by the "offending" post.
     
    #12 ThisGuy, Jun 18, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2017
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  13. Shannon Apple

    Shannon Apple Sour Apple
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    Wow... That's a wall of text. You still don't get it. The reason I deleted your initial post was the tone. You can't come into a thread like this and immediately attack people. In this case, the staff.

    You don't seem to get at all where KT is going with this. Say right, you have a debate competition, you have two teams, a motion for, and a motion against. He wasn't planning on doing this as a regular discussion forum, but as a debate forum. Each side of a debate must argue why they are for, or against. What you are using as an example would still fit into this mold. I am guessing Against. "No, it's not real. The media blew it our of proportion and this is why...Here is the evidence."

    In those competitions, the winner isn't determined by who can be the biggest asshole to each other. It's determined by who (or, which team) put forward the most compelling argument and has obviously done their research. It goes beyond reading a wiki article. I've been involved in real life debates before and they're a lot of fun. Actually, it was even more constrained than this because we didn't even get to choose which side we were on. We were put in teams and told which side we had to research and fight for. This is why I do have some idea of what KT was intending with this. It has nothing to do with bias. That's the most ridiculous thing you've said so far.

    BTW, I'm actually against bringing back ED in any form since I don't think this forum is mature enough to handle this kind of thing. This thread pretty much proves my point. It's always the same 3-4 people who rabble-rouse, and think we're out to get them, without giving it a chance.

    I'm actually done with explaining this though because no matter what I say here, it'll keep going around in the same circle. "Uh, no, that's not how debates are done. There's more than two sides in a debate. Staff are biased..." Actually, if there's more than two sides, it's then a discussion.

    No one has ever stopped anyone from having more advanced discussions on any topic on the forum. You are free to do that at any time. A discussion that doesn't actually have a motion for argument, just a bunch of opinions? You could go and start one right now in the general forum.
     
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  14. KT Samurai

    KT Samurai The Peacemaker
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    We'll do our best to address the issues raised thus far. But I hope that the greater disagreement about public discourse won't keep you guys from giving this new initiative a try. It's intended o be both challenging and fun!
     
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  15. Struggler

    Struggler Sentient Meat
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    Wasn't ED always supposed to be more structured and strictly moderated, even back on A4, it was just never actually enforced?
     
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  16. Oh Snape

    Oh Snape House Bantsratheon
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    If a snopes article is needed to debunk your opinion, I'm gonna call you a stupid carrot.

    That is all.
     
  17. KT Samurai

    KT Samurai The Peacemaker
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    More or less. We're trying something new to correct this.
     
  18. Sygryn

    Sygryn Active Member

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    I really don't understand why some members are against/dislike ED without giving it a chance.
     
  19. Oh Snape

    Oh Snape House Bantsratheon
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    You must be new here.
     
  20. Sygryn

    Sygryn Active Member

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    [​IMG]
     

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