Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Internet Argument Approaches

I thought I might make a post (edited over time) to address some nuances of online debate, from the position of a certain paradigm of rational thinking (and said paradigm does not have to be followed by anyone else - nothing forces it).

Here's the first entry...

"What you said doesn't make sense! Try again!"
The start of this one indicates the other person is utterly stuck in thinking that they always, with god like omniscience, know when something doesn't make sense. It's not like it's something that does make sense but they don't get it - it's just anything that doesn't make sense to them doesn't make sense.

Ambiguity: Sometimes you could have failed to make sense to the other person and they would say the same thing. This legitimate situation is what the 'always right about what doesn't make sense' guy uses to make his approach seem legitimate.

How to prise the two apart and distinguish which is which? Well, if that were easy to do then this wouldn't be such a great technique for the other guy to use!

Approach: How long have you read this other guys comments from? Technically even if it's their very first post they possibly could be using the 'I always know when something doesn't make sense' card. But don't fall into temptation to just think that -  you may have not communicated well. Really if you estimate (and hey, you may be wrong in your estimate, but we've all got to place our bets) they simply are the boy who cries wolf/cries 'doesn't make sense', all you can do is say that for anyone else reading it. Either everyone else can understand that you might think it's possible, or they operate from some other paradigm of reasoning entirely and really what can you do about that.

Reintegration: Reintegration is basically a way of this paradigm not just being an ostrification - this is a way it allows someone to re-enter. Basically a statement along the lines of 'Well it doesn't make sense to me right now, but maybe I'm not getting it somehow' means the other person admits a subjective evaluation of what does or doesn't make sense. To complete the other side of the job, you aught to admit that perhaps somehow you've not communicated well (though you can say you think you have). This admittances of mutual potential for failure will likely lubricate further discussion or at least leave the subject at a mutual head scratching stage.

"I am completely open to constructive criticism *further down the paragraph* You're attacking me!"
This is great because the other person has decided they always know what is or isn't constructive criticism, in some objective sense. The best way to be closed minded is to only ever believe you are open minded.

A genuinely open minded person will atleast mull over the idea they are being closed minded on a matter. A closed minded person will become offended at any suggestion they are being closed minded (because to them it's so impossible a suggestion it could only be trolling for someone to say it).

Attempted approach: "Can you give me an example of constructive criticism someone gave so I can learn to write more like them?".
Result: No reply at the time of writing.