Friday, June 13, 2008

The Day of Great Debate is Dead. Or Is It?

I have noticed that debates that form on blogs, news web pages, and forums (for the most part) are not really 'good' discussions. Most of the time people response to articles with pejoratives or 'one-word' replies. For instance on an article that deals with something such as radical Islam (which seems to take on the characteristics of a powder-keg in debates) replies and discussion usually ends up turning into derogatory slurs and anger-driven comments.

When I began to notice this aspect of most conversations that formulate on the internet, I soon became disparaged from contributing. Not that I didn't want to, but because of the sheer lack of 'give and take' between commenters. What I mean is the exchange of ideas and points of view between replies to an article so that a debate or intellectual discussion is created. The end result of such discussions being the enlightment of people from their own specific pov's on other people's points of view.

While in this gloomy state of mind, and thinking that I would never find another internet debate that wasn't full of "OMG that sucks!," "cool," and "I'm right, you're wrong, because I said so," I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. Two or three days ago I visited Crooked Timber, one of my favourite blogs to visit regularly, and contributed to a very interesting post called "To Justify Something Is To Diminish It?" I posted my point of view, and at the time there were some very good replies (I was very impressed by the intellectual discussion that was forming) could there be hope yet for a 'good' debate?

The answer was yes! When I checked out the article today, there were 257 comments. When I posted there were only about 10 or so, and as I read the newer posts the debate did not get worse, it got better. So I would just like to say thank you to all the people that have contributed to the comments section of that posting. You have revived my faith in obtaining good discussion on the internet.


Caledonian Jim said...

I could refer you to another website at present where debate ain't dead !

And it seems I unwittingly caused it .

DC said...

Hey Jim,
I have jumped into the middle of this debate that is occurring. I never did get a chance to read your post, and have only read the comments that have been posted after the fact. Sorry that your views did not coincide with the site.

The Commentator said...

Couldn't agree more.

This is the internet my friend where all sorts of people get to express an opinion. Most if it is pure trash.

257 comments? I wish!

DC said...

@Commentator: Yes, all sorts of people get to express their opinions. That is a good thing and a bad thing, I would say. The bad thing is that we can be exposed to bigotry and close-minded thinking. On the other hand, it is good to see these kinds of opinions (or lack there of) because then they are out in the open for critiquing and direct comparison to other viewpoints.