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Beyond Threaded Comments
10 points by uuilly on May 19, 2008 | hide | past | web | favorite | 4 comments
Most blog forums contain debates not discussions. People tend to only respond to thoughts with which they either totally agree, or totally disagree. People who sort of agree or sort of disagree just read on. This concept gone nuclear (reddit) makes comment sections arenas for extremes even when most readers are not necessarily extreme.

Threaded discussion forums are more fit for pleasant campfire conversations than debate. Debates need an arena more like a game show with two or more teams taking turns against e/o.

You can classify comments in three ways:

+ Agrees with point, goes further in depth.

- Disagrees with point, explains why.

0 Neutral. Kind of a wildcard. Could be used to clarify something unknown to both sides or to say something really funny.

Anyone can jump in on any side. Comments can be modded on PG's "How to Disagree" scale, DH1-DH6.

Lots of debates come down to personal preference but at least you'd be able to easily break down the supporting arguments for "foo" being better than "bar" if you're looking to buy one or the other.

News.yc is a bit different. There is a fair amount of, "Ask YC" and other posts that fit the campfire model better than the debate model. Perhaps only deeply nested comment trees, usually signifying tit-tat style discussions, should fall into the debate model.


I like the idea... If reddit, news.yc etc has shown one thing, it's that conversation on the web is evolving.

I think your idea has legs.

I disagree strongly...

(Mostly to be ironic)

So if these debate teams form to do battle, are there things like team leaders and private team-only discussion channels for planning the debate strategy?

Someone suggested this in the "How to Disagree" thread, PG didn't want to do anything that would seem to encourage debate over discussion.

All debates should be mapped on http://www.debategraph.org/ and Disqus should add a CommentMeme feature to group similar comments together.

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