Posted by keza at 2007-10-10
The purpose of this forum is as a place for serious, high-level discussion about what it means to be progressive and left-wing in the 21st century.
I used the adjective “high-level” purposely.
We expect contributors to make a serious attempt to engage with the issues raised in the thread they are participating in. There are many forums on the internet in which serious debate/rational argument is not the norm and almost anything goes.
Here we have an expectation that people will actually attempt to argue their position by using both logic and evidence (as well as by making a real attempt to express themselves clearly).
Certain things are unacceptable:
(1) Jumping into a thread and just asserting a viewpoint with no attempt to argue for it.
Posting a supporting link from somewhere else on the internet is not an argument. It is fine to post links but when doing so we generally expect them to be accompanied by a clear and thoughtful comment about the relevance and importance of the link to the topic at hand.
(2) Posting comments which are at best tangentially related to the topic of the thread you are posting in.
These sorts of comments are not only distracting but also disruptive to the integrity of the thread. Generally they are an attempt to change the subject rather than respond to a good argument posted previously.
(3) Repeating the same thing over and over while ignoring counter arguments.
This is a form of trying to win by shouting. We expect people to read (and respond to) what others have to say and also to take the time to read any links to relevant material which form part of these posts.
(4) Distorting what an opponent has said in order to attack it (the straw man fallacy)
Recently Steve Owens was complaining because I deleted a post of his which consisted of just a single sentence and a link.
This was Steve’s ‘response” to the 5 thoughtful and detailed posts which had constituted the thread up until then. The link did not have any obvious connection to these earlier posts and Steve made no attempt to explain why he thought it made some sort of contribution to the discussion.
He says that he just wanted to post “interesting news about Iraq” , that perhaps we need a special thread devoted to interesting news snippets about Iraq, and also that my motive for deleting his post may have been because I “wouldn’t want links to news items that showed either gross mismanagement by the forces of occupation or the spread of cholera or for that matter mercenaries firing into crowds.”
I’ll paste in what Bill had Barry had to say in response to all this:
(quoting Steve…) “I can understand why people dedicated to the prosecution of the war wouldn’t want links to news items that showed either gross mismanagement by the forces of occupation or the spread of cholera or for that matter mercenaries firing into crowds. All these things are developments in Iraq this is a thread about developments in Iraq go ahead Keza delete this. Orwell always said you would”
This gratuitous and deliberately misleading insult needs to be deleted / edited out of Steve’s post (along with this reply)
It’s always better to provide an explanatory comment / meaningful explanation with a link. That is a request to lift your standard of discussion and not evidence of our lack of willingness to discuss. In general this is what supporters of this site do when providing links. If you are too lazy to do that then the message will be deleted / moved to junk
The real issue here is that some people treat LS as a site where they “sniff and piss” rather than a place to have real debate.
Steve, why don’t you repost to meet these guidelines (ie. add in your links again to your comment and take out your nonsense) and then see if is deleted then, before complaining about our “Orwellian” behaviour.