Author Topic: Discussion vs. debate  (Read 1513 times)

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Offline Tero

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Discussion vs. debate
« on: April 07, 2012, 10:14:59 AM »
I take it this forum is for discussion and debate. But with certain individuals, every discussion is a debate.

If I do not want a debate but just a discussion, do I have to put it in Chatter?

Online One Above All

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Re: Discussion vs. debate
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2012, 10:16:18 AM »
What's the difference?
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Offline Traveler

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Re: Discussion vs. debate
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2012, 10:24:37 AM »
Perhaps you mean discussion vs. argument? There are certainly members who seem to always argue no matter the topic. You can try creating a thread and say you want a particular kind of discussion, then if people start getting rude point them back to your OP and hope they'll respect it.
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Offline Tinyal

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Re: Discussion vs. debate
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2012, 10:27:37 AM »
I take it this forum is for discussion and debate. But with certain individuals, every discussion is a debate.

If I do not want a debate but just a discussion, do I have to put it in Chatter?

Tero, the way I understand it (keep in mind this is only my personal opinion - and I'm frequently wrong), the two terms are loosely similar - both are two way conversations, and can go into any of the forum's catagories except Introductions.  Technically, a debate follows certain 'rules', and a discussion does not - but the forum catagories (religion, conspiracies, etc) all contain both.

When only 2 people want a back-and-forth, a Debate room (with rules) is frequently set up by the mods.  Chatter is for any old random topic , while the other rooms are less flexible in terms of what's 'on topic'/what's the subject of a particular room.

Does that help?
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Online One Above All

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Re: Discussion vs. debate
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2012, 10:33:43 AM »
@Traveler:
...I still don't see the difference.

@Tero:
If you want what's commonly known as preaching[1] (stating one's opinions without any criticism), then Traveler's idea is probably best, although I'm pretty sure it won't work.
EDIT: In addition, it would make for a pretty boring thread.
Person A: I think X.
Person B: I think Y.
Person C: I think Z.
(...)
And so on. There's nothing to talk about if all we're doing is saying what we think about something.
 1. Sort of.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2012, 10:40:59 AM by Lucifer »
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Offline Alzael

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Re: Discussion vs. debate
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2012, 10:38:49 AM »
I take it this forum is for discussion and debate. But with certain individuals, every discussion is a debate.

If I do not want a debate but just a discussion, do I have to put it in Chatter?

You can discuss anywhere you want. But you still have to support what you say. The forum isn't just a soapbox for people to voice their opinions and be done with it.

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Online Azdgari

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Re: Discussion vs. debate
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2012, 10:40:49 AM »
Tero, the philosophy of this forum includes the idea that any statement or idea is open to being challenged and critically examined.  This is a thinking forum.  What do you want out of it?
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Offline Johnny Spunkypants

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Re: Discussion vs. debate
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2012, 10:51:32 AM »
I'm not a huge fan of debates. In a debate, the emphasis is on doing battle with an "opponent", and in the end no one learns much, if anything, because they're too busy doing battle. That to me isn't the mature way to converse. Open dialogue is far better. Defending and attacking and ego-centred interactions achieve very little. Brainstorming and sharing ideas achieves a lot. Discussions shouldn't be rigid and riddled with rules, they should go with the flow, like our imaginations.

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Offline Tero

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Re: Discussion vs. debate
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2012, 10:55:32 AM »
I take it this forum is for discussion and debate. But with certain individuals, every discussion is a debate.

If I do not want a debate but just a discussion, do I have to put it in Chatter?

You can discuss anywhere you want. But you still have to support what you say. The forum isn't just a soapbox for people to voice their opinions and be done with it.

There certainly is some soapboxing. However, often someone has never discussed a particular topic with anyone. Lots of these things do not make good dinner table conversation.

Then they are simply expressing their thoughts on a subject  and wish to hear what others think about that. It's kind of like women discussing a subject with a man. The woman wants to speak, express their opinion. The man wonders what the problem is and how do I solve it for her. Or do I just listen?

Azdgari, I can think and explain religion, evolution etc. But when it comes to politics, for example, I know how society works. I do not expect logic, only winners and losers, after we all go and vote.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2012, 10:58:29 AM by Tero »

Offline Ice Monkey

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Re: Discussion vs. debate
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2012, 12:11:45 PM »
What's the difference?

Goals, expected outcome, focus and nature of the discussion...
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Re: Discussion vs. debate
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2012, 12:15:27 PM »
Goals, expected outcome, focus and nature of the discussion...



I meant what the differences in those areas are.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

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Offline Alzael

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Re: Discussion vs. debate
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2012, 12:16:04 PM »
There certainly is some soapboxing. However, often someone has never discussed a particular topic with anyone. Lots of these things do not make good dinner table conversation.

They still stand to be criticized.

Then they are simply expressing their thoughts on a subject  and wish to hear what others think about that. It's kind of like women discussing a subject with a man. The woman wants to speak, express their opinion. The man wonders what the problem is and how do I solve it for her. Or do I just listen?

When your idea is challenged you do the intellectually honest thing. Either drop it, acknowledge your error, or defend your point. What you don't do is continue to mindlessly insist on it when it has been shown to be wrong. That's dishonest.

You are hearing what others think about your ideas. You just don't seem to like it, but also don't want to have to stand up and justify it.


Azdgari, I can think and explain religion, evolution etc. But when it comes to politics, for example, I know how society works. I do not expect logic, only winners and losers, after we all go and vote.

No you don't. You claim to. So far your understanding on many things has been lacking. As have your explanations.

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Offline Ice Monkey

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Re: Discussion vs. debate
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2012, 12:25:54 PM »




I meant what the differences in those areas are.

I woulda thought they were self-evident, but usually in a discussion, there isn't a goal of winning points, other than successfully conveying one's  reasoning behind a position, while additionally trying to glean information in order to obtain a better understanding of the other participant's position.

Granted, it's easier and more fun to parse the fuck out of the other persons comments to the point of bringing the discussion to a stalemate at best, but conversations can be rewarding, too.   Give it a shot and let me know what you think.
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Offline Alzael

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Re: Discussion vs. debate
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2012, 12:30:36 PM »




I meant what the differences in those areas are.

I woulda thought they were self-evident, but usually in a discussion, there isn't a goal of winning points, other than successfully conveying one's  reasoning behind a position, while additionally trying to glean information in order to obtain a better understanding of the other participant's position.

Granted, it's easier and more fun to parse the fuck out of the other persons comments to the point of bringing the discussion to a stalemate at best, but conversations can be rewarding, too.   Give it a shot and let me know what you think.

However the other side has to want to give information for that to work. That's Tero's issue. He doesn't want to actually have to give any information on anything or think about things. He just wants to talk for the sake of talking. Everytime he's been asked to provide any sort of reasoning he doesn't. He just repeats the same mindless opinion.

His idea of "discussion" is different from the one intended by the forum. He seems to basically just want a friendly bullshit session.

« Last Edit: April 07, 2012, 12:33:26 PM by Alzael »
"I drank what?!"- Socrates

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Online One Above All

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Re: Discussion vs. debate
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2012, 12:34:22 PM »
However the other side has to want to give information for that to work. That's Tero's issue. He doesn't want to actually have to give any information on anything or think about things. He just wants to talk for the sake of talking. His idea of "discussion" is different from the one intended by the forum.

His idea of "discussion" seems to be "preaching".
"This is what I think about this issue. (...) My idea is stupid, you say? Not supported by evidence, you say? Fuck off. I don't need to support my idea!"
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

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Offline Ice Monkey

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Re: Discussion vs. debate
« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2012, 12:38:44 PM »

However the other side has to want to give information for that to work. That's Tero's issue. He doesn't want to actually have to give any information on anything or think about things. He just wants to talk for the sake of talking. His idea of "discussion" is different from the one intended by the forum.

I'm hoping he'll acclimate.  Every board like this is a little different.  Such differences in mode and tone of an exchange (debate or discussion) are not as black and white as maybe we are both suggesting.  I don't know how many times I was embroiled in a debate, which turned into a pretty good, less-formal converstation.  And as is all too common, an informal conversation turned into a formal debate, though nobody actually said "debate starting... now!" 

I believe both scenarios stems from one or both sides not fully comprehending the position of the other prior to the discussion, or the reasons behind it.
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Offline Alzael

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Re: Discussion vs. debate
« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2012, 12:39:07 PM »
However the other side has to want to give information for that to work. That's Tero's issue. He doesn't want to actually have to give any information on anything or think about things. He just wants to talk for the sake of talking. His idea of "discussion" is different from the one intended by the forum.

His idea of "discussion" seems to be "preaching".
"This is what I think about this issue. (...) My idea is stupid, you say? Not supported by evidence, you say? Fuck off. I don't need to support my idea!"

Well my way of saying it was nicer, but yes.


I'm hoping he'll acclimate.  Every board like this is a little different.  Such differences in mode and tone of an exchange (debate or discussion) are not as black and white as maybe we are both suggesting.  I don't know how many times I was embroiled in a debate, which turned into a pretty good, less-formal converstation.  And as is all too common, an informal conversation turned into a formal debate, though nobody actually said "debate starting... now!" 

I believe both scenarios stems from one or both sides not fully comprehending the position of the other prior to the discussion, or the reasons behind it.

He's been here since January and has over 300 posts, and I've read his posting history.

Acclimating isn't an excuse by this point.

The thing is that it's not a discussion/debate issue really. It's just that he doesn't wamt to have to justify anything he says either way. He has no interest in discussion or any form of discourse. He just wants to talk at people.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2012, 12:43:56 PM by Alzael »
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Online One Above All

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Re: Discussion vs. debate
« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2012, 12:40:49 PM »
Well my way of saying it was nicer, but yes.

Your way of saying it wasn't direct enough. I didn't understand that that's what you meant.
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Offline Ice Monkey

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Re: Discussion vs. debate
« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2012, 12:46:17 PM »


His idea of "discussion" seems to be "preaching".
"This is what I think about this issue. (...) My idea is stupid, you say? Not supported by evidence, you say? Fuck off. I don't need to support my idea!"

I will state now that I haven't read every exchange, so he may be casting aspersions somewhere that he can't back up, but what I think I'm seeing is someone openly admitting that what was put forward was meant as opinion, and not a fact that he was expecting anyone else to accept.  How does one go about giving evidence to support their opinion, and to what lengths should they have to go to?
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Offline Ice Monkey

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Re: Discussion vs. debate
« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2012, 12:49:41 PM »

He's been here since January and has over 300 posts, and I've read his posting history.

Acclimating isn't an excuse by this point.

The thing is that it's not a discussion/debate issue really. It's just that he doesn't wamt to have to justify anything he says either way. He has no interest in discussion or any form of discourse. He just wants to talk at people.

Ok, I'll just chalk this up to me missing some key info, such as past history, cuz on the surface.... the phrase "lighten up" keeps comming to mind.

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Re: Discussion vs. debate
« Reply #20 on: April 07, 2012, 12:51:00 PM »
Opinions are NOT about objective things. "Gravity exists" isn't an opinion. It's a verifiable assertion. "Evolution exists" is another verifiable assertion. "This processor is better than that processor" is yet another verifiable assertion. These are not opinions.
"Red is my favorite color" IS an opinion. "This is my favorite brand" IS an opinion. These things are not without justification, but they cannot be proven as objectively true for everyone, simply because they're not.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline Alzael

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Re: Discussion vs. debate
« Reply #21 on: April 07, 2012, 12:58:05 PM »

Ok, I'll just chalk this up to me missing some key info, such as past history, cuz on the surface.... the phrase "lighten up" keeps comming to mind.

"Never mind"
~ Rosanna Rosannadana.

I might be inclined to do so, if it wasn't for the fact that he continually puts the same stupid idea forward everytime he's challenged. As I said:

"When your idea is challenged you do the intellectually honest thing. Either drop it, acknowledge your error, or defend your point. What you don't do is continue to mindlessly insist on it when it has been shown to be wrong. That's dishonest. "

He hasn't once put any effort into actually justifying his idea. All of his effort is focused on just repeating his ignorant statements over and over everytime he's called out. His opinion is wrong and has been shown to be wrong. Instead of just dropping it, or admitting he was wrong, he keeps reasserting it without bothering to offer any justification or defense of it.

It's dishonest, offensive, and extremely disrespectful. It's why members of the forum, you'll notice, have a tendency to react so badly to theists when they lie and do the same things he's doing. A lot of the people here have a thing about intellectual honesty.
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Offline Ice Monkey

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Re: Discussion vs. debate
« Reply #22 on: April 07, 2012, 01:02:18 PM »
Opinions are NOT about objective things. "Gravity exists" isn't an opinion. It's a verifiable assertion. "Evolution exists" is another verifiable assertion. "This processor is better than that processor" is yet another verifiable assertion. These are not opinions.
"Red is my favorite color" IS an opinion. "This is my favorite brand" IS an opinion. These things are not without justification, but they cannot be proven as objectively true for everyone, simply because they're not.

I don't disagree with you.

Just an observation... on more than one occasion, I've seen people start debates here with a free thinker they mistook for a believer.  If they had taken some time to actually read what was written, and even go so far as asking a question for clarity instead of jumping on a perceived but nonexistent opportunity, they'd avoid embarrassment.  I'm in such a "conversation" presently.
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Offline Ice Monkey

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Re: Discussion vs. debate
« Reply #23 on: April 07, 2012, 01:11:50 PM »



I might be inclined to do so, if it wasn't for the fact that he continually puts the same stupid idea forward everytime he's challenged. As I said:

"When your idea is challenged you do the intellectually honest thing. Either drop it, acknowledge your error, or defend your point. What you don't do is continue to mindlessly insist on it when it has been shown to be wrong. That's dishonest. "

He hasn't once put any effort into actually justifying his idea. All of his effort is focused on just repeating his ignorant statements over and over everytime he's called out. His opinion is wrong and has been shown to be wrong. Instead of just dropping it, or admitting he was wrong, he keeps reasserting it without bothering to offer any justification or defense of it.

It's dishonest, offensive, and extremely disrespectful. It's why members of the forum, you'll notice, have a tendency to react so badly to theists when they lie and do the same things he's doing. A lot of the people here have a thing about intellectual honesty.

That would be disruptive and time-consuming.  Like I said, I've only read a small sampling of recent posts.  If he's presented with evidence that contradicts his opinion but insists on clinging to it, ya, it's time to walk away.  Like I said to someone yesterday, once you declare credo consolans, the conversation is over, as I'm just wasting my time.  The person has to find their own balance between internal honesty and security.  Sure, I could rant and rave about their present internal conflict, saying how dishonest they are, but to what purpose?  My point has been made, the seeds of doubt have been planted, and all I can do is stand back and let them either work it out for themselves, or self destruct.  Either way, no skin off my ass (but ya, I agree, while I'll give you the first one free, doing this repeatedly means you're obviously stuck in a rut with yourself, and I have to ask myself if you're worth my decision to engage you again, which is something I can control.)
« Last Edit: April 07, 2012, 01:18:17 PM by Ice Monkey »
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Offline Tero

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Re: Discussion vs. debate
« Reply #24 on: April 07, 2012, 01:18:33 PM »
We're talking different languages here.

I may state my understanding of some issue. I am not going to list references and sources for every item. When I mention social issues, anything to do with interactions of people, I don't expect logical behavior, simply patterns. I never apply logic as you folks define it. When I interact with people IRL I try to predict their next reaction. I can't even express in words how I do it.

I will point out that I don't jump to using adjectives like smarmy and condescending attitudes at work, for example.

Many of you are great debate experts but really have little manners.

If I were a theist, I would stay far from here.

My only other atheist forum is mostly social.

Offline Johnny Spunkypants

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Re: Discussion vs. debate
« Reply #25 on: April 07, 2012, 03:22:15 PM »
Tero, the problem is that some people are on one page and others are on another page. I think you and I are on the same page. Discussions shouldn't become contests, they should be arenas for the sharing of information and points of view. Sometimes it's a good idea to even step away from a discussion for a while and think about what has been talked about, mull it over, maybe look into it a little bit, and then come back. The problem is that discussions often turn into quick fire battles with little thinking and a lot of instant response. Humans aren't generally that good at multitasking, what I mean by that is that it's difficult to juggle responding to something and really thinking about what you're responding to. Most debates especially on forums are battles. I've rarely seen anyone in a debate stop and think and even more rarely change their mind. Debates have little to do with changing minds and more to do with defending points of view. Each side wants to cause the other side to change their mind yet never change their own, in the same way that in a war each side wants the other side to die but they themselves don't want to die. It's a very male activity, with the emphasis on winning at all costs. How often do you see women in public debates? Not very. Women are generally better listeners, and they take the time to reflect rather than preoccupying themselves with responding constantly. And what are debating skills anyway? You can be a great debater and still be completely wrong.

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Offline Alzael

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Re: Discussion vs. debate
« Reply #26 on: April 07, 2012, 08:06:09 PM »
I may state my understanding of some issue. I am not going to list references and sources for every item.

You're not being asked for that though. You've just been asked to provide a reasoned argument to support what you said. So this statement is nothing but a Strawman.

When I mention social issues, anything to do with interactions of people, I don't expect logical behavior, simply patterns. I never apply logic as you folks define it. When I interact with people IRL I try to predict their next reaction. I can't even express in words how I do it.

You weren't mentioning social issues though. Making this irrelevant to the subject at hand.

Aslo, in regards to the bold, I assume by "as you folks define it" you really mean "in the same way as the rest of the human race".

I'll forgo going into how ridiculous the rest of that sounded.

I will point out that I don't jump to using adjectives like smarmy and condescending attitudes at work, for example.

Many of you are great debate experts but really have little manners.

Manners are for people who behave in a way that deserves them. So far you've been nothing but dishonest. As for the smarmy comment, it was entirely accurate in regards to what you had posted. And condescending........yeah. I certainly can be when I'm dealing with someone like you. I'll be less condescending when you make an effort to be a little smarter.


If I were a theist, I would stay far from here.

Aside from god-belief, I don't actually see any difference between you and a theist.


My only other atheist forum is mostly social.

Then I'll re-ask the question that Azdgari asked previously.

Tero, the philosophy of this forum includes the idea that any statement or idea is open to being challenged and critically examined.  This is a thinking forum.  What do you want out of it?

Let me point something out to you. This forum outright states in it's rules that you are expected to back up the things you say. The site is focused on discussing and cirticizing ideas. The name of the site itself is both a critique and a demand for support of a claim. So I have to ask you, did you actually think that no one was going to question your ideas when you started throwing them out? I mean really.........

You were the one who put out your opinion. No one made you post it. But you did, and now you are being called out on what you said because it was so obviously wrong. You are being called to justify your beliefs because that is the basic idea of what goes on here.

So if you have no intention of actually engaging in what the site is designed for, why are you here? Why act so surprised when you actually get criticized by the people on the site aimed towards ciriticizing and examining ideas?

It sounds kind of absurd, don't you think?

"I drank what?!"- Socrates

"Dying for something when you know you'll be resurrected is not a sacrifice.It's a parlour trick."- an aquaintance

Philip of Macedon: (via messenger) If we enter Sparta, we will raze all your buildings and ravage all your women.
Spartan Reply: If.

Offline Quartinium

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Re: Discussion vs. debate
« Reply #27 on: April 09, 2012, 02:06:58 AM »
I'm new to the forum and my reason for being here are to learn, grow, and to be challenged. But I, like Tero, have noticed that it seems sometimes less about understanding one another's viewpoints and more about making the person expressing those viewpoints look like a moron. Whether or not any actual name-calling occurs, it does, the jist of many comments is insulting. Being critical is one thing but being rude, arrogant, overly condescending is another. Maybe I'm misreading some of the discussions and that's not what's happening. But given the venom in some of them I think that at least one of you has been thinking, at the time of writing your responses, "This guy's an idiot, I'm gonna tear him apart." or something close to that thought.