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The Stifling of Discourse

Posted by ktarthan , 18 March 2011 · 209 views

Here are some argument techniques that, if you use them, you are literally killing what chance there is left for interesting debate in this game. It's something that I see done by both sides, and some of them done by one side more than the other (and vice-versa)

Unsubstantiated Claims - If you have an opinion, provide some reasoning. If you have a prediction about the future actions of a third party, provide some reasoning.
Mind Reading - If you want to directly refute a claim that someone makes that they are an authority on, have a good reason to call them a liar.
U MAD - It honestly doesn't matter if someone is mad. Taking things seriously isn't inherently a bad thing (despite how funny it can be).
Name calling - Really, are you 11?
Disagreement = whining - This is a big offender, as it directly and literally discourages discussion, as opposed to most of the rest of these that discourage it more as a byproduct. Disagreeing is not inherently whining, or crying, or whatever. Plain and simple.
Changing your mind = hypocrisy - Already wrote a full blog post on this one.
Words in someone's mouth - It's one thing to paraphrase someone's words to get at their true meaning, but it's entirely another thing to add any sort of emotion or "flavour text" to it.

This is not a comprehensive list; it's just what I came up with off the top of my head.

The unfortunate fact is that most of these are incredibly effective for the amount of effort it requires to use them in an argument. This is why they are so prolific, and why I felt like writing a blog post about it. The side effect of them is that it lowers the common denominator when it comes to overall discussion, and arguments become more about winning than trying to have a productive debate or express an opinion. People are fighting the PR war in the dirtiest ways they possibly can, and it's a downward spiral; the only way to effectively deal with it is with more of the same.

So I urge you, the reader, to take into consideration that when arguments like these are used, it is the intellectual equivalent of drowning a sack full of kittens. You can still have all of your terrible opinions without them, and you can still flap your jaws for pages over trivial !@#$%^&* that nobody cares about. But if enough people make a conscious decision not to stoop to these sorts of low-brow tactics, I assure you the potential for entertaining events will raise dramatically.

Keep this in mind: Deciding to distance myself from world politics was not a tough decision.




U mad? stop whining. Seriously though, you are a GOON and tied to MK its your friends doing most of what you said
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Chief Savage Man
Mar 18 2011 05:04 AM

U mad? stop whining. Seriously though, you are a GOON and tied to MK its your friends doing most of what you said


your side is not made up of 100% good posters your argument means nothing
I agree with what you're saying. Reading the endless arguement and counter-arguement that we've all already seen is a bit of a chore and might not be healthy for the game. Hence why I usually only read OP's.

It'll be really tough to change peoples habits in such a competitive enviroment though.

U mad? stop whining. Seriously though, you are a GOON and tied to MK its your friends doing most of what you said

I did say that I see it on both sides. I tend to notice it more on the other side, but I didn't put that in the OP because I can hardly call myself an unbiased source.

That being said:

Problem is that everyone knows you wont do it alone. You will get your allies to come in for you or accept hundreads of ghosts.

You are also part of the problem.

I agree with what you're saying. Reading the endless arguement and counter-arguement that we've all already seen is a bit of a chore and might not be healthy for the game. Hence why I usually only read OP's.

It'll be really tough to change peoples habits in such a competitive enviroment though.

I agree; I don't honestly expect this to make a significant impact by itself, but hopefully if enough people do care there can be some change down the line.

I have been guilty of some of these in the past myself, but didn't notice at the time because I just wasn't thinking about it. If I can bring the issue to the front of even a couple brains, I'll be satisfied.
This is not something that's going to change. It's the legacy of LUE, GOONS, 4chan and all the other humour site invasions which attempted to fuse their culture with the existing political structures years ago. They succeeded to an extent and this is the result. Reasoned debate and candid discourse lost out to memes and disinformation; discussion is no longer about advocating your position, but about degrading your enemies. That's why there's very little substance to any of the posting here: most of it is just vain attempts at 'clever' word games, technicalities of language and repetitious logical fallacies.

See my forum signature. This fight was lost in 2007.
Glad to see someone from GOONS speaking out about this, especially as that part of the treaty web is notorious for injecting such things into a discussion to kill the debate. Though we are not innocent of it either.
Be sure to remove this blog post if people start making valid rebuttals, Ktarts.

Glad to see someone from GOONS speaking out about this, especially as that part of the treaty web is notorious for injecting such things into a discussion to kill the debate. Though we are not innocent of it either.

To be completely honest I'm sure that both sides are "notorious" for this... to the other side. It's part of our psychology as humans to excuse in ourselves and our friends the exact same things we'll condemn others for.

You are also part of the problem.

Iím a product of the OWF environment. If you really cared you would clean up your own back yard before complaining about the conditions of your neighbours back yard.
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Prime minister Johns
Mar 18 2011 06:43 AM
What you are observing is thought-stopping language, a well used and recognized propaganda technique. You have done well to recognize this.
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Johnny Apocalypse
Mar 18 2011 08:11 AM
Can we stop using the word literally for emphasis?

Iím a product of the OWF environment. If you really cared you would clean up your own back yard before complaining about the conditions of your neighbours back yard.


At least he acknowledges that his backyard is also full of !@#$, but at least you put more effort into your NO U post this time. Things are looking up!
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Schattenmann
Mar 18 2011 09:04 AM

Words in someone's mouth - It's one thing to paraphrase someone's words to get at their true meaning, but it's entirely another thing to add any sort of emotion or "flavour text" to it.

This one kills me. It happens to pretty much every post I write.

Anyway, I think this blog is good, but it would be super if it wasn't coming from a high-profile member of an alliance whose idea of how to solve problems is to make people grovel before them for their entertainment.


Be sure to remove this blog post if people start making valid rebuttals, Ktarts.

Were you being ironic on purpose, or did you just not read the blog?
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SpacingOutMan
Mar 18 2011 09:06 AM
I agree with Doitzel. There was a chance to salvage the situation, but it came and went. The Internet has become our overlords. :<

Iím a product of the OWF environment. If you really cared you would clean up your own back yard before complaining about the conditions of your neighbours back yard.

I am commenting on the state of all political discussion, on both sides. I only singled you out after you tried to tie the problem to a specific source.

Can we stop using the word literally for emphasis?

I will literally never stop doing this on purpose.

This one kills me. It happens to pretty much every post I write.

Anyway, I think this blog is good, but it would be super if it wasn't coming from a high-profile member of an alliance whose idea of how to solve problems is to make people grovel before them for their entertainment.

Were you being ironic on purpose, or did you just not read the blog?

Schatt, why you gotta bring this in my house?
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New Frontier
Mar 18 2011 10:46 AM
The bottom line is that if people actually cared about the OWF this might change, but they don't, so they won't. Serious discussions don't take place here, thus serious debate tactics are not utilized.

I guarantee you that "u mad" isn't going to get thrown around like autumn leaves in a backchannel when alliances feel they are fighting for their very survival.

Were you being ironic on purpose, or did you just not read the blog?


Of course I didn't read the blog.
I was inspired to post this in another thread, but I feel it is worth repeating for this blog:

This just in: Anything anyone says for the rest of time is now considered crying. Now that it's the official baseline, I suggest the new go-to verb for casting someone's opinion in a negative light be "queen waving", using the disconnect between a modern monarchy existing in otherwise democratic societies to symbolize the distance between what goes on on the OWF and actual political discourse.

Example usage:
We got plenty of people wavin' like the queen all up in this thread.

This is not something that's going to change. It's the legacy of LUE, GOONS, 4chan and all the other humour site invasions which attempted to fuse their culture with the existing political structures years ago. They succeeded to an extent and this is the result. Reasoned debate and candid discourse lost out to memes and disinformation; discussion is no longer about advocating your position, but about degrading your enemies. That's why there's very little substance to any of the posting here: most of it is just vain attempts at 'clever' word games, technicalities of language and repetitious logical fallacies.

See my forum signature. This fight was lost in 2007.


oh come on, are you really going to pretend that there was a golden age of reasoned discourse at any point in this game?

This kind of behaviour has always existed. It existed in NationsStates as well. I think you need to check your spectacles for a rosy tint.
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White Chocolate
Mar 18 2011 01:14 PM
Not a bad list and well written. I've been thinking about this topic also and here are a few others, imo:

1. Attacking spelling and grammar in public.

Who are we, each others mothers? If not,it's rude. If the point is that you really care - send a PM. Otherwise - it's not an argument.

2. Sarcasm (without a point).

This is a variant of name calling that is extremely common on the OWF. If the sarcasm is being used to prove a relevant point (rare, but possible to do) it can work. However, it's way over used and really has a negative affect. The last thing I want to do is be involved with a group of individuals who are constantly throwing sarcastic comments at each other for no reason as insults.

3. Negative predictions.

"That's been done before." "I give it three days until..." "FAIL" "Disband now."

Just because someone else had an idea and it didn't work out doesn't mean it's doomed to failure. Also, just because someone has tried something more than once doesn't mean the result will be exactly the same. There are a lot of factors that determine success and failure, not just the idea or person.

If one is truly concerned, give advice and/or explain why you believe it will not work (other than they tried it in 07).

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