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LostInParadise's avatar

Do you think it might be a good idea for Fluther to use argument organization tools?

Asked by LostInParadise (25507points) February 10th, 2010

Most of the questions on Fluther are fairly specific and the current format is fine for handling them. But there are broader philosophical and political questions that have a tendency to go around in circles and can also get nasty at times. There are some tools that have been created to help deal with these types of question. The basic idea is to state a position and provide arguments in favor or opposing it. With some tools, it is possible to further break down an argument into subarguments, with support and opposition at each level.

Here are some examples of some sites where there is an attempt at some sort of organization:

There is a structured technique known as argument mapping. For a tutorial on it see:
Argument mapping

What I had in mind would be to have the option of opening a post using some sort of argument organization technique. I know this would require quite a bit of effort on the part of the site’s developers, but I think that it would really be helpful to have. What do you think?

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18 Answers

CMaz's avatar

“that have a tendency to go around in circles and can also get nasty at times.”

Ahhh, such is life. And, in a social network, understanding the human pitfall is half the answer.

janbb's avatar

I don’t know. I think the people who get anal in their argument style will still do it, and others (like me) will avoid such structured questions. But I am often wrong, so maybe this argument doesn’t hold water.

marinelife's avatar

I think that there is no need for it on Fluther.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I agree with @marinelife . We already have excellent moderation on Fluther. We may occaisionally go in circles, but not the brawling and bullying seen elsewhere.

LostInParadise's avatar

The more blatant forms of brawling are eliminated, but there are still ways of getting in a jab or two that manage to sneak in, especially when an argument is not progressing.

janbb's avatar

I have to admit, I occasionally enjoy reading the odd jab or two; it makes for some liveliness. And then if things get really nasty, the comments are modded off.

galileogirl's avatar

Don’t go all elitist on us @LostInParadise Part of the fun here is training the puppies and teaching them history. We certainly don’t want to chase them away.

LostInParadise's avatar

Elitist? Me? No way! I don’t have much to be elitist about. It is just that I get tired of seeing the same arguments on religion, philosophy and politics. For those of us interested in these areas it would be nice to be able to have a format that forces the arguments to progress. To keep this from getting too dry, we could add a capability to attach asides where people can tell their personal stories. Those not interested in these topics can stay away, but I think that after a few exposures many people would be drawn to the discussions.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@LostInParadise It might be worth an experiment. The software might get rather complex or put a greater burden on the moderators. “Sigma” category?

galileogirl's avatar

With new people coming in all the time, what is old for us is new for them. Any community needs new blood. Telling the newbies that we already decided that is a little rude. Better just delete the question.

LostInParadise's avatar

We don’t have to tell the new people anything. If they want to start fresh on an old question that is fine, but I don’t think old questions should automatically be deleted. The site should have some sort of collective memory to establish an identity, though which questions should be deleted at any particular time is something of a judgment call. Since the questions I am thinking of are open ended and since perspectives may change over time, new members may even be able to add something fresh to an old question.

liminal's avatar

I actually see some value to this idea. Plenty of people wouldn’t use the category and would receive their proper training. While there are those who would enjoy a more formal ongoing discussion (even debate) on certain issues that doesn’t require the repeated laying of the same ground work. I can even see how it could take certain topics in refreshing directions.

Jeruba's avatar

I don’t see fluther responders as a project team tasked with coming up with a coherent and consistent solution to a problem. I think we prefer to respond individually and take our chances on a little rambling and repetition. Too much structure would kill us.

liminal's avatar

Maybe I am misunderstanding: are you suggesting a self-selected category or a moderated classification?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Fact from fiction, truth from diction. IMHO what I see is the flaw is that many people lose focus on what the question was, don’t ignore parts they don’t like or care for like catchy maxims or they miss the spirit of the question and go off in a direction the question never even mentioned. Usually when that happens they don’t have the logic and/or facts to put legs under their argument so the get frustrated and resort to snips, underhanded slights, and barbs to try to gain some momentum back. The surest way is to read the question read it 2 or 3 times if you must, that is allowed stay on point and logically make your it. Do not let emotion overshadow the logic. I feel you experience what you have because many do not have the core concept of point and rebuttal in an argument.

YARNLADY's avatar

No, there are plenty of forums for people who want to engage in formal discussion of that type. From what I’ve seen Fluther is more of a social chit-chat sort of place.

wundayatta's avatar

If you need to argue, well, more power to you. That’s not my cup of tea. Been there, done that; lost my records.

I much prefer finding about people’s experiences. I prefer discussion to argument. I prefer story telling to discussion. I prefer sex to all of it, but that’s neither here nor there.

Anyway, this is not a feature I would use, nor would I like to see it.

LostInParadise's avatar

@Jeruba , I don’t see this as a way of solving problems but of exploring them.

To all: I was intending this to be just one feature of Fluther. I certainly enjoy the informal nature of the site. I see, though, that there does not seem to be much general interest in the idea. Thanks for your input.

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