Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sharing Ideas on the Internet

I don't like to debate.  I am finding this more and more as people read things that I write on Facebook and think that somehow I am inviting any and all views which may be contrary or "other" than my own.  The truth is that I am not interested in your view merely because it is "other" than my own.  I might be interested if you can demonstrate that I have made a mistake in my thinking.  Or that I have missed a crucial and essential point.

Debating can be ugly.  That's why there are always so many rules.  I think that before people can engage in debate, you have to agree on scope.  Then to begin debating you have to define your terms and then lay out your argument.  This of course, presupposes that you want a person's honest rational agreement rather than an emotional response out of them.

I don't debate.  But when I write, I set out to share ideas.  These things are important to me.  And they are important because, to the best of my knowledge, I think they are true.  And I also think that there is no limit to which the ideas which a person holds, whether consciously or subconsciously, affects the course of a person's life.

It takes a good bit of time to write a blog post.  It takes editing, and much careful consideration.  You don't want to know how many times I take a piece offline again and again to touch bits up that I think are unclear so that I can be understood.  I would like to ask this level of rigor of your responses. 

If the depth or reach of your response is such that it would take an entire article, or multiple articles, to respond with proper definitions and demonstration, please respond by writing your own piece rather than making a lengthy but hasty comment.  By doing this, you will not only preserve your own writing for yourself in a very accessible and distilled form but your writing will stand on its own and will seem a lot less like a poorly thought out sound-byte.

Write your own piece, comment with the URL.  And if it is written with serious intent and with all of the thought it deserves, I will give it due consideration and, if the subject matters enough to me, you may see a response on my blog in detail.  This is one possible way that a civil exchange of ideas may occur on the Internet and I think it has merit to permit a serious exchange of ideas.