Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

At last a balanced story on the topic. The discussions online on this topic have been mind numbing - quoting out of context, ad hominem attacks, every bad form of arguments listed in PG's essay[1]. Twitter is the worst.

Almost makes me want to build a better debating platform.

[1] - http://www.paulgraham.com/disagree.html




> Almost makes me want to build a better debating platform.

I'd considered this at one point. I marinated on the idea and decided it's not worth building (for me). The right structure for argument doesn't work in environments like Twitter/Facebook because the costs are asymmetric. It's very cheap to turn into a troll and very expensive to think through a thoughtful, balanced, nuanced argument. The platforms themselves don't afford or encourage the latter and incentivize the former.

I do want to build a way to database and store lots of the most useful facts I gather on all of the topics I care about from every platform I learn/work on.


>Almost makes me want to build a better debating platform.

I’ve thought about this for a long time. I think the trick is to realize that most people DON’T want to have a debate. It takes a lot of self-control, forethought, and careful speaking to actually sit down and rationally argue. Realizing you’re wrong is really hard and painful, and most people don’t intentionally seek it out.

If people wanted to have productive debate, that’s possible on virtually every communication platform (except Twitter due to its word count). Tumblr, Facebook, HN, Reddit — they all have public posts and a reply system. It’s all about the context and goals of the people debating. Do they genuinely want to learn, or are they here just to argue?

The best quality debate can be found in places where people actually want to change their mind (some subsets of the rationality community like LessWrong). My favorite layman’s version is /r/ChangeMyView which does a tolerable job. I think the goal should be to build a debating community, where the technology underlying it is only a small piece of the overall construction.


I'm not sure I'd call it balanced, Ross Douthat is a conservative and it shows:

>But the internet industry is also part of a wider elite culture that is trending in the opposite direction, becoming more feminized and feminist, and inclined to view male-dominated enclaves with great suspicion.

>But Damore also made reasonable points about different ways to pursue diversity and the costs and benefits thereof, in an earnest and dialogic style that a healthy corporate culture would have found a way to answer without swiftly giving him the ax.

That first quote is pure perception from someone looking through conservative glasses. And the second is just a farce. There's no "healthy corporate culture" that would tolerate a memo like this. It's a corporation, it's work, the idea that someone should be able to send a manifesto which not only criticizes their employer but does it while they're facing a lawsuit and is explicitly political is crazy. Leave that stuff for the other 8 hours of your day.




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: