[eDebate] a Slightly More Strongly Worded Suggestion About Forum Choice

Michael Antonucci antonucci23
Tue Apr 15 19:48:04 CDT 2008


Sorry to intrude.

You should collectively conduct these Big Picture
Discussions on a bulletin board.

Two currently exist - Phil Kerpen maintains a college
section of his high school site and Matt Stannard
appears to host a college debate bulletin board:

http://debatecooperative.net/

I know that forum choice seems insignificant when
compared with the Very Large Issues under Serious
Discussion, but...

Some large percentage (let's say 23.4%) of these posts
contain caveats and metacomplaints such as "sorry for
posting" - "I'll never post again" - "how dare you
post" - "I postishly post the post Malkovich
Malkovich" - "why must you post so much" - "I can only
read 20 words at a time, you ****er" - et cetera.

I attribute some small degree of overwriting to the
feeling that Etiquette Demands That Every Post Must Be
Tagged As My Last Post Ever.

I attribute some of the absence of clash in these
discussions to the instinct to write Massive Treatises
instead of conducting conversations.  People lose the
thread.

Efforts to limit post counts partially stem from the
common perception that overposting intrudes on the
inboxes of subscribers - right?

Firsthand, I hear a fair amount of generalized
irritation and anxiety whenever the listserv
predictably "blows up" post-NDT - in a number of
different debate quarters.

If you ported the discussion into a place where people
could read or not read, as per their desire, and post
to their heart's content, they'd all still read, but a
significant undercurrent of crankiness and anxiety and
awkward self-consciousness and Last Post Ever Folks
grandstanding might disappear.

Personally, I would really prefer to just scroll
through discussions that I can read as continuous
blocks of text.  Perhaps that's because I need aids to
cognitive processing because I'm an idiot, or because
I'm a competitor for Laziest Ever, but there it is.

I know there's a stigma attached to a format that many
of you associate with Phil's high school site, but
honestly - whatever.  Crawl out of your very small
nerd box...into a slightly larger nerd box.  Mailbox
bombing is turning off possible listeners and creating
unnecessary escalatory pressures in these discussions.
 C'mon.  It's not 1998.

I'm personally not that invested in either outcome,
but you should collectively stop griping about The
Huge and Irritating Volume of Posts That We Receive
when you can collectively opt for a less intrusive
system. 

Pre-empts:

1. I'm not ripping on your long post, Mr./Ms. Long
Poster. Many of these long posts are really
illuminating; the longest anonymous post from
XYdebater is a genuinely great essay by any standard
of writing.

I'm just dismissing the associated eyerolling and
moaning.

2. Yes, I know they can just delete, but it still
appears to irritate the stuffing out of lots of
people, OK?

3. Attempts to attribute hidden political or elitist
motivations to this technical suggestion will be met
with more strongly worded suggestions.


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