That is kind of the point Punkey. There are several people here that I like to debate with (Thomas for example), including a couple of conservatives who sit on the opposite side of the political spectrum (MysteryMan and Finn). I learn things by talking to them and I sharpen my own ideas. But this process is inefficient and the format doesn't help.
There are several things that get in the way of what I am calling "efficient" debate.
- There are tangents (which include humor, previous grudges and friendships and truly interesting but unrelated ideas).
- There are repeats. The discussion format encourages people (including me) to post the same idea over and over again because we know that only the past few posts matter.
- People talk around each other, ignoring points that the other side thinks is important.
I am wondering if these inefficiencies could be addressed in software.
I can mark this one point as really important to my conclusion. This would be prevalent and anyone who wants to debate my conclusion would be encouraged (even obligated) to address the really important point. It would let me structure my argument based on what is important.
This would also also change the "last post wins" principle. Since I am setting the points that are most important (and the time the post was made doesn't matter) I won't feel obligated to repeat the important points to my argument.
By the way... I like the idea of a "tangent" box.