Summary :

The presence of different opinions is a great source of friction, especially online where people talking about an issue are more likely to have stronger opinions. But it is also a potential great source of energy - people are willing to write quite a lot of material, and do quite a bit of research just to prove that they are right.

What would be nice would be to find a way to use this energy to organize our knowledge - if the information generated could be refined and concentrated.

Creating Knowledge

By knowledge, here, we mostly mean information that is :

What's more, if there are several conflicting positions, an honest evaluation (rather than a caricature) of each position can be quite valuable (it allows to evaluate which points demand the most attention).

Ordinary debate places (forums, Irc) are good at producing information (and lot's of it !), not ExplicitInformation. Often, the information is not easily accessible and is dispersed / repeated in several places.

Wikis are better at creating ExplicitInformation, which is more PersuasiveContent. That alone may be enough to get people to adopt more explicit DebateTools.

Problem with Wikis

The way wikis work, they don't support debate, don't support DeepDisagreements. While wikis as they are now do have their place to play in debate (see WikiDebateBase), it doesn't seem likely that the main action will go on there.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. The lack of wiki features to support debate (what e. g. forums have) reduces the ability of wiki to serve as a place for show fights, but increases the chance that actual knowledge is produced.

However, this means that some topics are quite unlikely to be openly discussed on a wiki and produce a satisfying result (Heck, there were already quite a number of pages spawned about PlainTalk and PainfulTalk). And those are topics that a lot of people feel strongly about - isn't it wasteful to leave such a source of energy untapped ?

Competing for Quality

Often, debaters may try to drown each other out with arguments. this is mostly due to technical caracteristics of the medium used : the 'winner" is the one who has adressed the most arguments, and has had the last word.

A wiki-inspired DebateTool may allow things to be done differently : By taking out the time element, what matters is that each side has to say is PersusasiveContent?. Therefore each side may be more likely to focus on refactoring and reorganizing its argumentation in order to make it as persuasive as possible.

Removing Egos

A critical part of improving debate may be to reduce the sense of identification of people to the arguments (DissuadeReputation ?). Don't focus on who said what, but on what the ideas are, what the positions are. This may lead to community dynamics different from both wikis and forums. When friendly discussion is involved, identity may be useful - but where possible enemies are involved, maybe they aren't as useful (or are only useful for minor things).

This may discourage some people who want to show how right they are, but at least it'd allows most topics to be available.


See also


(note that the page was rewritten after this discussion)

I want the left and the walk to talk to each other ! To Agree to disagree ! To understand each other ! Same goes for religion, or differnt countries - everything ! It would generate peace on world and generate enough knowledge to replace old rusty academia :-)

(OK, all this probably needs reworking)

Debate is usually not about knowledge. Debate often serves its participants as a vehicle to prove their debating skills, their rhetoric. The lack of wiki features to support debate (what e. g. forums have) reduces the ability of wiki to serve as a place for show fights, but increases the chance that actual knowledge is produced.

I agree with Helmut.

I would add: I believe the PageDatabase does well when it's integrated. That doesn't mean everyone has to agree on the wiki, it does mean that there need to be ParametersOfDebate?- permissable opinions, impermissible opinions. (Detailed in IntegrationAndIdentity.)

I've talked about differences with friends, and I've talked differences with enemies. By "differences," I mean: different ideas about something.

With friends, the attitude is, "So, what have you found out? How do you believe the story goes? This is how it seems to go with me." We piece together our understandings. Some times they meet, some times they don't, but it's a very informative process. I get a lot of knowledge this way, and expend little energy.

Now with enemies, it's totally different. Most of the energy goes into either (A) weapons, or (B) armor. I occasionally learn a few good ideas in the process, but it's not as efficient (I believe) as hashing things out with a friend.

I should probably extract the part of IntegrationAndIdentity about the idea of using wiki as a base for debating. Call it: BaseWiki?, or WikiDebateBase, or WikiConversationBase?, or something like that. These things all have to do with LinkLanguage routing, too.

The EvoWiki is fascinating, and a prime example. I've also used the Futures wiki not in debate contexts, but in persuasive contexts (Slashdot,) to make my points. So, it's not necessarily just debating, that this WikiConversationBase? is useful for.

…and one destination of all this is LocalNames. :)

Ok, all this probably needs reworking - I love that one (as a finish to what you wrote before), Emile. Damn true, true, true.

The tool for debate is the follow up to MoonEdit, no longer excluding mac-users. The connection between the debate and the solitary textwork does basically exist as the <ting> text </ting> for page inclusion during and shortly after debate-sessions and copying in the plain-text content into wiki a day after. It is beeing practized on the tings on s23-wiki. That is the great, Helmut, about the moon-edit / wiki process. The show fights can happen and be left out if desired (there are no show fight in the tings actually, I whish there were more).

A rhetoric efford in a debate context often sharpens the speakers senses and makes their words grow more precise (check Plato). Keeping the enlightening spirt of debate out of wiki and thinking about that as an advantage is like playing music alone, always. Or like having sex alone, always. Surely exciting in respect to the rest of the day, but not really anything in comparison to the real thing. Effective communication. Wiki is no debate tool, true and it's good like that. But wiki on its own is slower than a doped swiss snail and should be renamed to what is slow in Hawaian. There are debate tools, stiff and stupid ones like fora, hopelessly tranlucent one like irc and wiki-like ones like moon-edit. The connecting code for the least and wiki exists. Ting20 is on sunday 18:00 UTC.

"Slowki." Sounds right to me. BayleShanks (I think) proposed a page "WikiIsSlow?" on TheInternetIsSlow.

Mattis, slow is no problem if you go into the right direction. Wiki, slow or fast, efficient or inefficient, is not the topic of this page. Debate is an old-school communication behaviour. People are used to it but it will not produce knowledge. It may produce a winner, but it rarely does. It produces excitement and entertainment. It's a show.

Yeah, debate as a show fight sucks. But, that may be enough to push people to look for other ways of getting their ideas around - by creating more PersuasiveContent.

I guess by debate I don't mean a specific community behaviour, like what you get on forums. I mean, what happens when people with a DeepDisagreement talk to each other, whatever the medium. That doesn't happen much on wiki, and when it does, it sometimes causes problems. But as long as you have strong disagreements, you'll have something like that. I think that it's more than bad communication.

I don't know about MoonEdit as a DebateTool. Seems to me it's pretty close to wiki, only faster. Getting something to work on the "slow-mo" version first may be wiser. But then, maybe the sheer speed and feedback loop can improve things. I still think that it'll only work for a "friend-to-friend" conversation, like Lion talks about.

Hmm. maybe there should be something about diffenciating disagreements that can be solved by debate, and those that can't (you have to AgreeoDisagree?).

(anyway, I'm rambling a bit. I haven't fully integrated all the feedback, so instead of rewriting this page I've put some ideas up elsewhere, and added the bit on explicit vs implicit knowledge. Not sure it fits here tho. This still needs heavy reworking, but it's bed time !)

(By the way, do you think I should have put the news sections underneath the discussion ?)

I'm pretty busy in MeatSpace now, I'll reorganize this page later on (the subject interests me !). Trying to redefine "debate" is probably a pretty bad idea, I took that out. I guess I mean something like "Addressing DeepDifferences?".

I found a pretty interesting article on DebateVsConversation, that probably fits well with what Helmut has been saying :

 Someone once quoted "a venerable philosopher" as saying, "It
 is through the clash of differing opinions that the light of truth shines." 
 I suggest that this is one of the most dangerous blind spots of western culture.
 In my experience people come to a conversation with an open mind and with a
 sense of wanting it to succeed. Knowing this, I believe that democratic
 practice at all levels will come to have conversing as its underpinning, not
 Pie in the sky? I invite you to see for yourself how very differently people
 respond to a forum on a conflicted issue when it is called a conversation rather
 than debate.
 'Much truth could be revealed and many smoke screens cleared through a
 publicly accessible forum on the goals of society' - so long as this forum is based on

I guess I'll have to try to tackle this differently …

It seems to me that "Conversing" is better, and what is generally used on wiki, and between friends. However, debate may be easier and more appealing to the public at large, in the same way that UsingTags is. A lot of people feel strongly about many issues. Maybe there are issues you just can't talk about in a public space without it degenerating into "debate".

Anyway, I need to untangle ideas, put them on different pages and fit them into the existing material on this wiki.

OK, I rewrote everything, the comments need cleaning up. I'm not that satisfied with the text, it sounds more prescriptive than descriptive, I feel it shouldn't be so … (talk more about how things look like on c2, etc.)

Anyway. bedtime.


Define external redirect: AgreeoDisagree BaseWiki DeepDifferences WikiConversationBase PersusasiveContent WikiIsSlow ParametersOfDebate

EditNearLinks: MeatSpace DissuadeReputation TheAcademy PageDatabase DoubleWiki EvoWiki