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The ever-thoughtful Paul Graham's essay on How to Disagree

 
 
Reply Mon 21 Mar, 2011 01:25 pm
How to Disagree

Quote:
The web is turning writing into a conversation. Twenty years ago, writers wrote and readers read. The web lets readers respond, and increasingly they do—in comment threads, on forums, and in their own blog posts.

Many who respond to something disagree with it. That's to be expected. Agreeing tends to motivate people less than disagreeing. And when you agree there's less to say. You could expand on something the author said, but he has probably already explored the most interesting implications. When you disagree you're entering territory he may not have explored.

The result is there's a lot more disagreeing going on, especially measured by the word. That doesn't mean people are getting angrier. The structural change in the way we communicate is enough to account for it. But though it's not anger that's driving the increase in disagreement, there's a danger that the increase in disagreement will make people angrier. Particularly online, where it's easy to say things you'd never say face to face.

If we're all going to be disagreeing more, we should be careful to do it well. What does it mean to disagree well? Most readers can tell the difference between mere name-calling and a carefully reasoned refutation, but I think it would help to put names on the intermediate stages. So here's an attempt at a disagreement hierarchy:


For the rest see here: http://paulgraham.com/disagree.html
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Type: Discussion • Score: 7 • Views: 2,047 • Replies: 8
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dyslexia
 
  2  
Reply Mon 21 Mar, 2011 01:43 pm
@Robert Gentel,
very interesting, I enjoyed reading Paul Graham's essay but, u r still a fag.
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Mar, 2011 02:03 pm
@dyslexia,
Shaking head.

That article is well-chosen with regard to some of the histrionics that go on here and on most online fora, especially. I find this a very useful article to sort through and a vital contribution. It should be the "handbook" before someone logs on and engages in an online forum debate. I'm going to read this in -depth as I only skimmed it.

Some peopl, including myself, get this wrong far too often.
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Mar, 2011 02:15 pm
i say we all agree to disagree

and stop being so cavalier
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Mon 21 Mar, 2011 02:23 pm
@Ragman,
In my opinion the best thing a2k can take from this is the part about how the best disagreement tackles the central theme of the person's point.

Namecalling etc is easy enough to avoid if one wants, but very often even the more highly evolved ratiocination posted to a2k engages in nit-picking quibbles that often obscure the real issues being discussed.

Too often we pounce on errors that are incidental to someone's point, and then the disagreements begin to center on the pedantry and lose sight of the real core disagreements.
Ragman
 
  2  
Reply Mon 21 Mar, 2011 02:36 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Yes, that of course is true. I'm fairly guilty of that (as are many here). What can I say? I'm a work in progress.

And, most unproductive are those resort to ad hominem attacks. They are demonstrating their weakness in their debate. Then people carry forth their previous vendettas (from prior ad hominem attacks) and commence to stealing the discussion away. This reduces any further discussion to name-calling. Witness the Japan Earthquake discussion, as an example. Something vitally important boils down to a series of distractions, with little solid useful info for which people are craving CLEAR answers , not heresay or half-baked opinions.

Now, I see my digression (returning back to central theme). I will resume my reading that article.
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Mar, 2011 09:18 pm
That was a really good read. I'll keep it in mind. Thanks
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Mar, 2011 05:30 pm
@Ragman,
Quote:
And, most unproductive are those resort to ad hominem attacks. They are demonstrating their weakness in their debate. Then people carry forth their previous vendettas (from prior ad hominem attacks) and commence to stealing the discussion away. This reduces any further discussion to name-calling.

Indeed.
Often with the result that the whole point of (& interest) in the thread is lost.
I've given up following/participating in quite a few threads I've initially been really interested in for this very reason.
Maybe the usual suspects could restrict themselves to one really, really devastating insult to their foe/s & leave it at that?
At least that would spare the rest of us ... Wink

Good article, Robert.
Thanks.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2011 04:42 am

Succinct & pithy





David
0 Replies
 
 

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