How to discuss topics (like a guru)help topic guide discussion civility argument awesome thread name trolling kattar
Posted 31 October 2013 - 02:04 PM
A discussion is a civil back and forth between posters that involves stating, comparing, and defending points. A discussion has a set of “soft” rules that are followed in order to keep the discussion on track and effective. The following graphic shows the basic structure and rules of a discussion.
Arguing is a throwing hissy fit, shouting match, or pissing contest. It is pointless and destructive to discussions. In an argument, neither parties are following the rules of a discussion, and communication has broken down to grade school “Nuh uh!” or “Jinx times infinity!” like comments. They go nowhere and only serve to make posters dislike each other and detract from the atmosphere of the forum as a whole. We don’t like arguments at Guru. We had enough of arguing over sharing the batmobile toy in daycare back in the day.
This is almost true, except that monsters really eat posters that argue. My best advice is to not argue, then the monsters won’t eat you.
Now that we know that discussing is good and arguing is bad, how do we have a good discussion instead of some bland circle of junk? The following graphic is an excellent, if slightly simplified, guide to discussions.
There are “levels” of discussions. At the bottom we have arguing where we get trash comments about the other poster, how the other poster is saying something, and the “Nuh uh. I did!” comments. You move up to the middle and you get to the level where people bring up opposing opinions to strike down that of the opponent in righteous written battle! At the top, you end with discussions that people attack and defend central points and use supportive evidence to prove their ideas. Think of the top as “discussion nirvana.”
By no means do we expect the average poster to be an expert debater. We do expect you to be able to have a discussion without devolving into argumentative and destructive behaviors. If you are unable to even post at the level of “contradiction” you need to seriously reevaluate what your post contains and type it all over again.
Now, there is a section in there that is going to upset some people: “Responding to Tone.” Yup, that is a no no. Don’t do it, it doesn’t do you any good. If you don’t like the way a person is saying something, PM them in a short, polite way that expresses your desire for them to reel in their mannerisms. Talking about how a person is talking is next to not talking at all. It is worthless and ends in flame, name calling, and discussions about a person’s worthiness or expertise.
If you can remember two things you can stay in that top half of the pyramid. Ignore who the poster is; discus the content of the post. Ignore the way the content is stated; discuss the content itself. Congratulations! A real discussion! We are on our way to enlightenment.
Moderators often talk about people “being constructive” when they post. The easiest way to ensure you are being constructive is to stay in that top half of the discussion pyramid. Avoid becoming emotionally invested in a post. Leave a post for a whole day before responding if you have to. This is the advantage of a forum environment. We do not have to respond immediately so there is no excuse for responding in a heated or negative manner.
"Hiccup." ~ Khairelikoblepharehglukumeilichephriedosd'enagouni
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