Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Moderators: DrVolin, 82_28, Elvis, Jeff

Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Postby Rory » Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:11 pm

In honor of the new moderator, SRP, here's a thoughtful piece (by the excellent, John Michael Greer) to kick off his reign and hopefully help people (including me) understand better how to talk and listen with others

https://www.ecosophia.net/a-rhetorical-education/

Quite a bit of the discussion on this blog and its predecessors has focused on controversial issues, the kind of thing that causes rhetoric to fly fast and thick. Given the themes I like to discuss in these essays, that could hardly have been avoided. Ours is an age riven by disputes, in which debate has taken over much of the space occupied by physical violence in less restrained eras. (How many people died in the struggle that put Donald Trump instead of Hillary Clinton in the White House? During most of human history, that wouldn’t have been an ironic question.)

Yet this contentious age has an odd feature, and it’s one I’ve referenced more than once in recent posts on this blog: the fact that the vast majority of the rhetoric deployed in the disputes of our day is so stunningly incompetent.

Consider the way that any widely discussed issue these days is debated: say, the squabble over legislation now before Congress that would make web hosting firms and content providers liable for illegal content posted by third parties. The supporters of the bills in question insist that it’s all about stopping online sex trafficking, and anyone who opposes the bills as written must be in favor of sex crimes. The opponents of the bills, for their part, insist that they’re just an excuse for censorship, and anyone who supports them must be trying to destroy the internet.

Set aside for the moment the substantive issues involved—they’re real and important, but not relevant to the theme of this week’s post—and look at the rhetoric. Both sides have chosen the strategy of flinging over-the-top accusations at those who disagree with them. That strategy’s familiar enough these days that nobody seems to have thought to ask the obvious question: does it work? If you yell at people at the top of your lungs, insisting that their disagreement with you amounts to support for something awful, and they know perfectly well that they don’t support the thing you’re accusing them of supporting, are they likely to change their minds and agree with you?

Of course not. If you try to persuade people using that tactic, they’ll dig in their heels. What’s more, they’re right to do so. When supporters of the bills insist that everyone who disagrees with them is in favor of sex trafficking, opponents of the bill know perfectly well that this is a lie, and a hateful lie at that. When opponents of the bill insist that everyone who disagrees with them wants to impose censorship on the whole internet—well, you can do the math just as well as I can.

Of course it’s not just this one issue that gets the dysfunctional rhetoric just mentioned. These days, it’s frankly hard to find any issue that doesn’t. What’s more, when well-intentioned people try to point out the problems with this failed rhetorical strategy to one side or the other, what normally happens is that the side thus challenged responds with a tirade about how we shouldn’t even be expected to talk to those awful people who disagree with us, because those awful people are just so awful. Why? Because we say they are, that’s why.

Out on the far end of this particular scale are a flurry of relatively recent scientific studies that purport to prove that it’s impossible to convince anybody of anything. One that I find particularly enticing took a group of people who’d voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election and showed them a video in which an earnest talking head explained to them at length why they should have voted for Hillary Clinton instead. By and large, the Trump voters thus catechized responded by doubling down on their support for Trump. The media that reported this study, and the Clinton supporters who discussed it in earnest tones while it cycled through its fifteen minutes of fame, insisted that this proved that “those people” were immune to reason.

Au contraire, it proved that “those people”—and a great many other people as well—are immune to incompetent rhetoric when it’s rehashed for the umpteenth time. By the time the election was over, after all, everyone in the United States who didn’t spend 2016 hiding under a rock knew all the arguments in favor of and against each of the candidates, and the vast majority of them had made up their minds well before the election. Running through a set of talking points yet again, when the election was over and voters for the winning side still had to pinch themselves from time to time to be sure they weren’t dreaming and their candidate really had won, was never going to get a favorable reaction. If Clinton had won, and somebody sat down a bunch of jubilant Clinton voters and showed them a video where an Oklahoma farmer wearing overalls and a MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN hat had tried to convince them that they should have voted for Trump instead, how much of an impression would that have made?

Of course there’s another side to the same issue. The earnest talking head telling the Trump voters that they should have voted for Clinton was far from the first earnest talking head these same voters had heard from. Do you recall, dear reader, the earnest talking heads who insisted that economic globalization would mean lots of well-paying jobs for working class Americans? How about the ones who insisted that if working class Americans ran up huge debts to get university training, there would be plenty of jobs waiting for them when they graduated? How about the one in the White House who insisted that Obamacare would mean lower premiums for everyone, and everyone would be able to keep their existing plans and physicians? If you don’t remember these, be assured that millions of Americans do.

It shouldn’t have taken a scientific study to point out that if you lie to people often enough, they’re going to stop believing anything you say. Yet this straightforward point somehow eluded a vast number of people in the wake of the election. What’s more, it still eludes an equally vast number of people on both side of the political fence—the manufacture of self-serving nonsense is a bipartisan industry these days, after all.

We can sum up the issues here in a very simple way: nobody involved in these debates has even the rudiments of a rhetorical education. That phrase—a rhetorical education—covers more ground than a cursory glance might suggest, and a look back at certain phases of history will help make sense of what that involves. It will also help explain how we backed ourselves into the corner we’re in just now, and how we might get out of it.

The intellectual activities of any culture, ours very much included, tend to swing back and forth on a timescale of centuries between two competing ways of understanding the world. We can call these abstraction and reflection. Abstraction is the belief that the world around us obeys a set of laws that can be known by the human mind. Intellectual activity in an age of abstraction therefore focuses on abstracting (literally, “drawing out”) those laws from the buzzing, blooming confusion of the world we experience.

Abstraction is confident and expansive, and it thrives in eras of expansion—economic, political, imperial. It seems obvious in such eras that the kind of intellectual activity that matters is the kind that focuses outward, on the world that human beings experience, and aims at reducing that world to order, number, system. It’s a very successful approach, up to a point. Because people on the intellectual cutting edge in ages of abstraction direct their attention outward to the world, they tend at first to pay close attention to the fit between human ideas and the world those ideas are intended to explain, and the resulting explanations work—again, up to a point.

Over time, though, the successes of abstraction result in vast systems of thought, perfectly rational and interconnected in every detail. Bit by bit, without ever quite noticing that this is what they’re doing, the practitioners of abstraction end up studying their own systems of thought under the illusion that they’re studying the world. Grand overarching theories that explain everything take center stage, until thinkers at the cutting edge dream of a day not far off when everything that matters is known for certain. Greek philosophy inspired such dreams; so did medieval scholastic theology, and so does modern materialist science.

But the day when everything makes sense never arrives, because the more comprehensive the theories become, the less they have to do with the world human beings actually experience. Outside the narrowing circles of the intellectual elite, it becomes impossible to miss the fact that the supposed universality of the world-theories of abstraction has been obtained by excluding countless things that don’t fit. Some of those excluded things are bits of data that contradict the grand theories, but some are much vaster: whole realms of human experience are dismissed as irrelevant because they don’t fit the theoretical model or the methods of inquiry that a given age of abstraction happens to prefer.

This also has unwelcome practical consequences. In ages when abstraction predominates, politics and economics become subject to the same notions of abstract reason that guide intellectual inquiry, and policies are proposed and enacted on the basis of abstract rules, without any attention being paid to the way those policies actually work out when applied. The result is pretty consistently catastrophic. Sooner or later you end up with a situation in which most people, and especially most people in positions of political, economic, and intellectual authority, are faced with disastrous and widening gulfs between the world as defined by their preferred set of abstract rules, on the one hand, and the world we actually inhabit on the other, and the only way out—well, we’ll get to that in a moment.

You know your society has landed in that particular fix when every controversy of importance is treated as though it’s a contest between competing ideas, not a struggle between contending human beings. Politics—real politics, in every society that has ever existed and will ever exist—is always about who gets what benefits and who has to pay which costs, but you’d never guess that from the language used in politics in an era when abstraction has run as far as it can go. No, what you hear in such eras is a contention of abstract concepts in which the mere grubby realities of who benefits and who pays never get mentioned. Of course they’re still central to the political process; it’s just that they’re shrouded in layers of taboo that rival anything the Victorians wrapped around sex. Sound familiar? It should.

The only way out, as I was saying, is to realize that all those fancy abstractions are ideas in the minds of human beings, not realities out there in the world of our experience. That’s when an age of abstraction gives way to an age of reflection. Where abstraction faces confidently outward into the world, convinced that the human mind can grab truth by the short hairs and drag it into plain view, reflection faces ruefully inward, realizing that the human mind has no business making grand pronouncements about the universe when it hasn’t yet come to grips with itself.

Reflection is rooted in the recognition that ideas are human constructs rather than objective truths about nature, and that the only thing we can be sure of is the blooming, buzzing confusion of everyday life. “What actually happens?” becomes more important than “what is eternally true?” Personal, tacit knowledge rooted in example and experience comes to be valued above abstract universal theories—and just as abstraction earns respect in its early days because of its successes in understanding the world, reflection earns respect in the corresponding situation because of its successes in managing the world. (Reflection also runs into problems in the long run, of course, but we’re a couple of centuries away from that eventuality, so can leave it for now.)

The change from abstraction to reflection thus involves a significant shift in intellectual priorities. As the golden age of Greek culture gave way to the silver age of Roman culture, the core studies of the earlier era—logic, mathematics, physics, and speculative philosophy—gave way to a different set of core studies—literature, history, jurisprudence, and ethical philosophy. Trace the shift from one of these to the other and you’ve got a good measure of the different themes that guide the two approaches. In the same way, as the intellectual culture of the high Middle Ages guttered out in a fog of intricate scholastic reasonings that offered no guidance to a world ravaged by the Black Death and cataclysmic political strife, the first stirrings of the Renaissance took shape among those who embraced what they called humaniores litterae—the “more human studies” of history, literature, the arts, and the first stirrings of what we now call anthropology and sociology. Alexander Pope spoke for that vision when he wrote:

Know then thyself! Presume not God to scan;
The proper study of mankind is man.

The humaniores litterae of the Renaissance offer a particularly useful model here, and it’s one that bears directly on the theme of the first half of this post, because those “more human studies” took rhetoric as their central theme. Say that in today’s intellectual context, and everyone tends to assume that this means that what they studied was how to convince people of falsehoods, or something not too far from this. Right there you see the gap between the abstraction that dominates contemporary intellectual culture and the reflection that might just offer a constructive way out of abstraction’s blind alleys. People in an age of abstraction reliably tend to think that the truth of a true statement sticks out all over it like knobs, and only falsehoods need to be passed on by means of rhetorical devices.

Not so. In the world we actually live in, as distinct from the world portrayed by the latest fashions in abstraction, truth is a very rare commodity. What we have instead are claims about truth, which are made by individual human beings, and the reasons why those human beings make those claims sprawl across the notional landscape from reason to emotion to the crassest forms of self-interest. Every one of us is influenced by reasons of all these kinds—those who don’t admit that self-interest plays a role in their beliefs about what is true, in particular, are either lying to themselves or just plain lying—and when we encounter a claim about truth, the processes by which we accept it or reject it are complex, nuanced, and personal.

This is where rhetoric comes into the picture. We can define rhetoric for the time being as the art of persuasive communication. Each of the substantive words in that definition is there for a reason. Rhetoric’s an art rather than a science; this means, among other things, that the personal dimension is paramount, and that what matters about it is specific performance rather than universal applicability. It’s an art of communication; this means, among other things, that its personal dimension embraces the subjective needs, wants, and experiences of the audience as well as those of the performer. It’s an art of persuasive communication; this means, among other things, that a successful performance of rhetoric changes the way its audience thinks, feels, and therefore acts about something.

What this means, in turn, is that rhetoric as practiced in the style of an age of reflection becomes a way of knowledge.

If you are going to persuade anyone of anything, after all, you have to understand the reasons why someone might be moved to believe that thing—and this means you have to understand why you believe that thing, so you have to understand just how much of your own belief depends on the varying pulls of reason, emotion, and self-interest. If you are going to persuade anyone of anything, what’s more, you have to understand the reasons why they believe something other than what you want them to believe—and this quite often means that you have to come to terms with the fact that their beliefs may be as well-founded as yours, or (to sharpen the same point a bit further) that your beliefs may be as poorly founded as theirs.

That doesn’t mean, as partisans of abstraction like to insist that it must mean, that you have to treat every belief as though it’s equal to every other belief. What it means is that you have to come to terms with the richly human context in which claims about truth are believed and disbelieved, and recognize the same factors at work in your own beliefs and disbeliefs. It means that you have to grapple with the fact that nobody has privileged access to truth, no matter how frantically the privileged like to claim this for themselves.

One consequence of this more human approach to questions of truth and falsehood is that it opens up a space for compromise and toleration. Of course the partisans of the two contending forces in contemporary cultural life—and have you noticed that it’s always two and only two such forces, both claiming that there are no options other than the ones they offer?—treat compromise and toleration as blasphemies against their hallowed notions of abstract truth. As noted toward the beginning of this post, though, that hasn’t worked particularly well in practice. No matter how devoutly the various warring sides wish that the other side would simply go away, that’s not going to happen; we can go trudging blindly ahead toward the kinds of cataclysm that similar wishes made all too real during the twentieth century, or we can learn from our history, and recognize that those who won’t live together will probably end up dying together.

A rhetorical education offers a way toward that recognition. It involves a great deal more than may be apparent at first glance—nearly everything, in fact, that is embraced by education in general. In the posts ahead, we’ll talk about what that implies and how it can be pursued here and now, by individuals, families, and small groups, outside the context of abstraction-ridden educational institutions. Fasten your seatbelts and grab the oh my god bar; it’s going to be a wild ride.

Rory
 
Posts: 1596
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 2:08 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Postby stillrobertpaulsen » Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:26 pm

Thank you for starting this thread, Rory. I was thinking of starting a thread regarding my new status as moderator for everyone to discuss, but since you beat me to the punch, fuck my ego. Fuck everyone's ego, now that I think of it, it seems one of the things fueling all the overheated rhetoric here and elsewhere in this sick enterprise we call civilization is overheated egos! No judgement; just a very prevalent trait in the human condition, important to try to keep in check for the good of everyone.

Excellent choice to kick off this thread with Greer as well. He is usually very methodical and logical in his approach so that I find that even when I disagree with him, there is still much to consider and reflect upon.

I'll say this much about moderating: I really don't want to do it alone. I am hopeful that Jeff will be appointing a co-moderator soon. More news on that later.

If anyone does have any questions for me, please post them in this thread. I may take some time replying, as real life may get in my way, but I do hope as moderator to keep avenues open for discussion here.
"Huey Long once said, “Fascism will come to America in the name of anti-fascism.” I'm afraid, based on my own experience, that fascism will come to America in the name of national security."
-Jim Garrison 1967
User avatar
stillrobertpaulsen
 
Posts: 2384
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 2:43 pm
Location: California
Blog: View Blog (37)

Re: Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Postby minime » Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:59 pm

You're a moderator and you're a moderator and you're a moderator...
User avatar
minime
 
Posts: 1062
Joined: Sun Aug 18, 2013 2:01 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Postby 0_0 » Fri Mar 09, 2018 4:19 pm

good topic Rory!

we don't all have to agree and that's fine but i wish people would focus more on what they themselves think is important, interesting, entertaining or worthwhile information/viewpoints and present that in a way they think is proper and that does not undermine basic functionality of the platform, and focus less on how everyone else is wrong/stupid/an obvious troll etc.

and if the moderators could gently steer people in that general direction that would be great, but i wouldn't know what would be the best way to go about that tbh. maybe explicitly calling people out with thoughtful arguments would work better than the kinda childish banhammer. you know, appeal to our better nature, stuff like that. it's meant to be a progressive board after all. lol who am i kidding, the world is ending and we're all doomed.
playmobil of the gods
0_0
 
Posts: 454
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 9:13 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Postby stillrobertpaulsen » Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:43 pm

Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion. Seems like the most appropriate place to discuss the issue of copypasta in General Discussion. As I understand it, this is the pejorative term for copy & paste. Something the majority of members do in GD to share news they find pertinent to RI or help buttress an opinion they have on a subject, among other things. On a personal level, I know I do it quite frequently on threads that I start. Maybe there's a :oops: little bit of ego involved in that, but mostly I think I do it because I think it's a natural tendency to want to bump your own threads; you started it, it's a subject you have interest in and you want to share any new information on the subject with others.

But I also understand the argument others have put forward that doing it excessively can be counterproductive to encouraging discussion on a discussion board. Personally, I don't have a problem with the length of a single c&p post, some articles are long because they're extremely informative. But when you have 10, 20 or even 30 consecutive posts by the same member in the same thread, it should be clear at that point that the rest of the board just doesn't care to discuss it anymore. Neither should copypasta be used as a tool to shut down conversation, e.g. "I have nothing to say to you unless you read every single article that I posted related to your question." Not that I've seen anyone do exactly that, but I would rather hear a more forthright, "Let's agree to disagree," than using copypasta as a crutch that way. And yes, nobody has to reply to anything, it's their choice.

That said, I would prefer it if there was more discussion and better discussion in GD. As moderator, I feel compelled to help facilitate that. Here is my proposal for changing the guidelines on copypasta:

1. Limiting the number of consecutive copypasta posts by a member on a GD thread they start to five.

2. Once that member posts a sixth consecutive, either 82_28 or myself would move the thread from GD to Data Dump.

3. There would be no punitive measures unless the poster is spamming a thread they didn't start to try to get it thrown in the Data Dump.

Please let me know what you think. My hope is that we can come to a democratic consensus and move forward productively and that this will be a positive change for all. Obviously, that means this rule would apply to everyone across the board.

Just in case you're wondering where I am this weekend, I generally take Saturdays and Sundays off to focus on family time. This weekend is no different, so I will be back Monday and am looking forward to hearing more ideas on the subject.
"Huey Long once said, “Fascism will come to America in the name of anti-fascism.” I'm afraid, based on my own experience, that fascism will come to America in the name of national security."
-Jim Garrison 1967
User avatar
stillrobertpaulsen
 
Posts: 2384
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 2:43 pm
Location: California
Blog: View Blog (37)

Re: Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Postby American Dream » Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:22 pm

The intent is positive and I support thinking about various ways to make things better but I don't see it as getting to all the roots, to be quite honest. It is also a culture that supports/tolerates bullying behaviors and a fight club mentality. Also the constant floating of gray zone content that violate what should be the spirit of the board if not the letter of the law. This includes conspiracy doctrine that implicitly supports hatred of traditionally oppressed groups, whether through stigmatizing, blaming and/or dehumanizing what are actually diverse groups of people.




stillrobertpaulsen » Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:43 pm wrote:Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion. Seems like the most appropriate place to discuss the issue of copypasta in General Discussion. As I understand it, this is the pejorative term for copy & paste. Something the majority of members do in GD to share news they find pertinent to RI or help buttress an opinion they have on a subject, among other things. On a personal level, I know I do it quite frequently on threads that I start. Maybe there's a :oops: little bit of ego involved in that, but mostly I think I do it because I think it's a natural tendency to want to bump your own threads; you started it, it's a subject you have interest in and you want to share any new information on the subject with others.

But I also understand the argument others have put forward that doing it excessively can be counterproductive to encouraging discussion on a discussion board. Personally, I don't have a problem with the length of a single c&p post, some articles are long because they're extremely informative. But when you have 10, 20 or even 30 consecutive posts by the same member in the same thread, it should be clear at that point that the rest of the board just doesn't care to discuss it anymore. Neither should copypasta be used as a tool to shut down conversation, e.g. "I have nothing to say to you unless you read every single article that I posted related to your question." Not that I've seen anyone do exactly that, but I would rather hear a more forthright, "Let's agree to disagree," than using copypasta as a crutch that way. And yes, nobody has to reply to anything, it's their choice.

That said, I would prefer it if there was more discussion and better discussion in GD. As moderator, I feel compelled to help facilitate that. Here is my proposal for changing the guidelines on copypasta:

1. Limiting the number of consecutive copypasta posts by a member on a GD thread they start to five.

2. Once that member posts a sixth consecutive, either 82_28 or myself would move the thread from GD to Data Dump.

3. There would be no punitive measures unless the poster is spamming a thread they didn't start to try to get it thrown in the Data Dump.

Please let me know what you think. My hope is that we can come to a democratic consensus and move forward productively and that this will be a positive change for all. Obviously, that means this rule would apply to everyone across the board.

Just in case you're wondering where I am this weekend, I generally take Saturdays and Sundays off to focus on family time. This weekend is no different, so I will be back Monday and am looking forward to hearing more ideas on the subject.
American Dream
 
Posts: 19792
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2007 4:56 pm
Location: Planet Earth
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Postby 82_28 » Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:49 pm

My $.02 is if the thread in question has not had a respondent by the admittedly somewhat arbitrary 5 post limit, that a case can be made in the body of the post why it is important for newer "copypasta" to stay in GD as is. I think that is a good compromise that steps on nobody's toes. Just a little editorial note why the copy and pasting is necessary in the poster's view.

EDIT: Not because it is up to me or SRP to be approved for christ's sake. Just to put a human touch on the information.
There is no me. There is no you. There is all. There is no you. There is no me. And that is all. A profound acceptance of an enormous pageantry. A haunting certainty that the unifying principle of this universe is love. -- Propagandhi
User avatar
82_28
 
Posts: 11175
Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2007 4:34 am
Location: North of Queen Anne
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Postby PufPuf93 » Fri Mar 09, 2018 11:05 pm

stillrobertpaulsen » Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:43 pm wrote:Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion. Seems like the most appropriate place to discuss the issue of copypasta in General Discussion. As I understand it, this is the pejorative term for copy & paste. Something the majority of members do in GD to share news they find pertinent to RI or help buttress an opinion they have on a subject, among other things. On a personal level, I know I do it quite frequently on threads that I start. Maybe there's a :oops: little bit of ego involved in that, but mostly I think I do it because I think it's a natural tendency to want to bump your own threads; you started it, it's a subject you have interest in and you want to share any new information on the subject with others.

But I also understand the argument others have put forward that doing it excessively can be counterproductive to encouraging discussion on a discussion board. Personally, I don't have a problem with the length of a single c&p post, some articles are long because they're extremely informative. But when you have 10, 20 or even 30 consecutive posts by the same member in the same thread, it should be clear at that point that the rest of the board just doesn't care to discuss it anymore. Neither should copypasta be used as a tool to shut down conversation, e.g. "I have nothing to say to you unless you read every single article that I posted related to your question." Not that I've seen anyone do exactly that, but I would rather hear a more forthright, "Let's agree to disagree," than using copypasta as a crutch that way. And yes, nobody has to reply to anything, it's their choice.

That said, I would prefer it if there was more discussion and better discussion in GD. As moderator, I feel compelled to help facilitate that. Here is my proposal for changing the guidelines on copypasta:

1. Limiting the number of consecutive copypasta posts by a member on a GD thread they start to five.

2. Once that member posts a sixth consecutive, either 82_28 or myself would move the thread from GD to Data Dump.

3. There would be no punitive measures unless the poster is spamming a thread they didn't start to try to get it thrown in the Data Dump.

Please let me know what you think. My hope is that we can come to a democratic consensus and move forward productively and that this will be a positive change for all. Obviously, that means this rule would apply to everyone across the board.

Just in case you're wondering where I am this weekend, I generally take Saturdays and Sundays off to focus on family time. This weekend is no different, so I will be back Monday and am looking forward to hearing more ideas on the subject.


Seems like a fair approach about the copypasta.

Will be good for RI to have somewhat more active moderation and you and 82-28 are a good team, fair minded folks.

Must admit I mostly just slide over AD and SLAD posts except when something of particular interest at the moment. That said have become familar with much would not otherwise know, but the volume is overwhelming and my mind just doesn't functionn that well anymore.

The copypasta does stifle conversation. I don't find the RI strife that bad given what is elsewhere on the internet and meat world. RI is one place that has dense info on a variety of POV granted with an anti-fascist and usually progressive POV of most here. I like the woo and occult and conspiracy and the like as well. Really just dislike when folks are mean or unkind to other posters or toward the world outside. Too much of that elsewhere / everywhere and probably the only thing that would send me away from RI.

Sometimes I wonder but have never mentioned is the question of why AD and SLAD don't get blogs of their own to link to rather than take advantage of the "renown" of RI to distribute the information they post.

Glad to see you allow time for wife and SIL and travel videos!

Hope WR is fine and that he visits on occasion.
User avatar
PufPuf93
 
Posts: 1541
Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2010 12:29 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Postby American Dream » Fri Mar 09, 2018 11:23 pm

I will speak only for myself here. My sense is that selective complaints about "copypasta" have often been based in a dislike for the content of those threads. Otherwise, I would expect the folks who want to discuss more to hang out in threads where the discussion that interests them is happening.

Let's face it, as far as Russia, anti-Imperialism, far right beliefs etc. go, we are not all on the same page.
American Dream
 
Posts: 19792
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2007 4:56 pm
Location: Planet Earth
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Postby Jerky » Fri Mar 09, 2018 11:59 pm

Indeed, agreed, and very much seconded. I mean, it's pretty bloody obvious at this point, innit?

J.
User avatar
Jerky
 
Posts: 2189
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2005 6:28 pm
Location: Toronto, ON
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Postby peartreed » Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:04 am

While I sincerely appreciate the admirable intent of new moderators to try to diffuse some of the interpersonal conflict by reducing the copy/paste volume complaint I strongly object to the imposition of an arbitrary limit (per thread or otherwise) to copied news articles related to the topic.

Some of us rely on the continuing coverage created by the collection of related articles as they emerge during the similarly continuous news coverage of the topics themselves in the public media. Interest in subjects like Trump/Russia, or the prevalence and impact of fascism, is not limited to an arbitrary cut-off of data, nor a time limit, nor a censorship of further coverage, especially since both subjects currently dominate worldwide news developments as vital areas of public interest.

This board, or forum, exists to encourage sharing such news – and other news including conspiracies and phenomena and philosophy - and its discussion amongst people with a rigorous interest not only in the news reporting and its related reaction/discussion, but also in its analysis, implications and intuitive impact on our lives, families and futures. We provide the personal interest and insights to it all.

Keep in mind that the forum is not only for those members posting, it is also reaching a far larger number of people who may not often participate by posting but who are vitally interested, reading and discussing the coverage on and off the board.

Maintaining the peace amongst participants is largely self-regulation by adults, assisted when necessary by moderators refereeing or disciplining immature disruptions and interpersonal acrimony that diverts the focus from the issues.

What we don’t need is to restructure the forum, rules and established uses by imposing arbitrary restraints based on isolated complaints and resentment of others’ favorite subjects, style, habits, hangups, preoccupations, interests , idiosyncrasies or personalities. The solutions will only create their own problems.

The deciding issue is people and their conduct online here. Adults should be able to police themselves. Issues about forum content and copying are just excuses for acrimony when some readers resent the volume of data they have no interest in. The solution to that is simply to bypass whatever doesn’t call to your curiosity.
User avatar
peartreed
 
Posts: 528
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 5:20 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Postby peartreed » Sat Mar 10, 2018 4:40 am

The other evident frustration some participants here have is that the people copy/pasting articles will often not engage, respond nor react to posts or commentary or questions that they or others insert into the topic threads.

Being ignored is admittedly annoying, but so is interruption for the sake of diversion, debate, denigration, denial or simple defiance designed to disrupt.

Some people here behave like trolls, trying to engender argument and acrimony in order to “score points” for attention, disharmony, humor or the ridicule of posts.

They focus on the most prolific producers of posts, especially popular participants, in order to challenge or change the interpersonal dynamics for egocentric gain. They pretend their purpose is to create more discussion but their real aim is attention, shifting the focus from the overwhelming copy/pasted news and data to themselves.

Such people are less interested in academic acquisition of information on subject matter they find sterile and boring, especially posted in volume, than they are for the social dynamics of interacting with people behind the posts. They are stimulated more by conflict, argument, debate, derision and creating acrimony. They relish ridicule and repartee rather than reading long posts. They’d rather criticize than create, complain rather than cooperate, complicate rather than contribute.

The members here and the moderators need to discern the differences in motive.
User avatar
peartreed
 
Posts: 528
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 5:20 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Postby American Dream » Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:35 am

I am not so big on discussion here these days. When I came here ten years ago, it was a different story. While I am a dude, I am extremely alienated by the fight club/bro culture that wants to dominate here. I also am repelled by that part of conspiracy culture which elevates the "useful idiots" of the Fascist International (did you already guess that?).

I stay away from discussion because I find the use of conspiracy claims to leverage bigotry or other such reactionary agenda to be reprehensible and disgusting. I don't particularly want to fight as that just seems to lead to pissing contests that generate little to no positive results. If I am going to "fight" it should be fair and that's unlikely to happen, given the style of the more egregious violators along with the inconsistent moderation (not blaming the volunteer mods as it's a thankless and never-ending job).

I have zero confidence that dyed in the wool believers are going to change, so that's not where the action is to me. Mostly I like reading well-written and thoughtful articles although I do find peoples''s thoughts and experiences interesting also.

If and when I post anti-fascist polemic, it's not for the hardcore followers of fascoid/third positionist doctrine- it's mostly for the undecided, as well as the edification/use of myself and others who see things similarly. That's basically how it is.
American Dream
 
Posts: 19792
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2007 4:56 pm
Location: Planet Earth
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Postby 0_0 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 7:17 am

So AD basically what you are saying is that there is a "bro/fightclub" culture on this board that wants to dominate, using conspiracy claims to leverage bigotry and other reactionary agendas ("conspis"), and furthermore that the readers of this board consist at least partly of hardcore followers of fascoid/third positionist doctrine, and partly of people who havent't decided yet if fascism is something for them. And i assume at least also a part that knows fascism is wrong. But is that really a fair assessment do you think? I mean fair play to you if you really think that, and we'll just have to agree to disagree, but if you're purposefully misrepresenting to make a point, i don't think that's very helpful at all.

I think what is most reprehensible/annoying to me personally is posters who seem to be agenda-driven in general, and i know that probably noone is immune to that in this toxic atmosphere where everything is being politicized and policed, but it's a question of degrees i guess in how much you're willing to bend/disregard the truth to suit a certain agenda. I mean we have enough of that everywhere else these days, it would be nice to have some forgotten places on the internet like this board where we're safe from all that, but i know that's basically a pipedream. Like even the shire at the end of LOTR is disrupted by Sauron and Sarumans dark forces. What i'm saying tho is there's no need to actively import that kind of stuff here. And i think that is what bugging people most about some of the copypastas. That's just my personal opinion tho. I'm still mainly interested in that most elusive chimera of all, truth. Some are hopeful it will prevail in the end, altho who knows what that will mean for everyone. Maybe i'm cursing myself eh?

Another point is the basic functionality of the board being somewhat disrupted by it, and i've thought about a solution to that. We're behind the times anyway here with this oldschool board, why not go even further back in time and just disable the quote function, the pictures function and the embedded videos options? That way i won't have to see Trumps ugly mug quoted over and over again.
playmobil of the gods
0_0
 
Posts: 454
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 9:13 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Postby seemslikeadream » Sat Mar 10, 2018 10:27 am

there is a solution, it is the ignore feature...use it

if you do not know how add me to your foe list ....simple as that

I suggest it be used more often

___________________


Here is a list of topics on the front page right now, diverse and interesting, what is the problem?

Rhetoric and the art of Collaborative Discussion

Music for 2018

The Far Right's Love of the Kremlin’s Policies

Red Ice Creations

Coming Soon -- War With North Korea?

False Front: The Left and the “Anti-Imperialist” Right

Martin Shkreli should be executed on live TV

View first unread post The Worst Addiction Epidemic in U.S. History

Some Absolutely Fascinating New Documentaries

Another mystery foot in BC

“The Storm”

View first unread post Moscow conference draws fascists, neo-Confederates, leftists

Great, White ethnostate in the sky: Willis Carto dead

Nuclear Meltdown Watch

Golden Age of Television?

The Antics of Alex Jones

View first unread post The Better Nature of Humanity Will Prevail

Just Saw My First Owl - Screen Memory?

Beppe Grillo and the Five Star Movement

Why didn't 17 US intelligence agencies end Russian meddling?

NSA Chief Russia Hacked '16 Election Congress Must Investiga

The Charleston Church Shooting, the WACL & Operation Gladio

View first unread post Venezuela

Images only..(no captions, no words)

Paul Manafort

View first unread post Wakanda, Asgard, Disneyworld

View first unread post Drawing Lines Against Racism and Fascism

View first unread post Fascists are the Tools of the State

The Socialist Response

Does anyone else feel something BIG will happen this spring?

The first global cyber war has begun

Who Poisoned Alexander Litvinenko? Radioactive thallium link

The Domestic Conspiracy Is Hiding In Plain Sight Erik Prince

View first unread post Singing her to life - the indigenous peoples' revolution

US Government rules on Gender Identity

Fight Club, Evola and Secret Societies

View first unread post Weep Not for Milo...

Amelia: . . . Just a False Alarm?

View first unread post Amok Over The Edge(d)-Weapon Violence Sprees

Global Research, Chossudovsky, Russia, Propaganda

View first unread post Closer to Mars

"Suicides" and "accidents" - The official RI thread

The Secret Origins of the Patriot Movement

Quote Only Thread

These are the Clouds

Original RI quotes only

Guns (Yawn)

Abolish the White Race - By Any Means Necessary

Russia Biggest Cybersecurity Firm Head Arrested For Treason

US investigation into BAE Saudi arms deal watered down
Last edited by seemslikeadream on Sat Mar 10, 2018 10:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
does announcing genocide on twitter violate terms of service?
User avatar
seemslikeadream
 
Posts: 31690
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

Next

Return to General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 15 guests