View Full Version : GD is frickin' worthless, it appears
11-22-2002, 01:43 AM
I've only been on here for 7 months, already I see the same things over and over. The same stupid debates, going 'round in circles endlessly with nothing new interjected at any point.
I thought it was bad enough during the month or two when everything was about homosexuality.
Poster A: "Blah, blah, blah, homosexuality is bad."
Poster B: "Blah, blah, blah, you're a bigot."
Poster C: "Blah, blah, blah, tolerance!"
Cue ensuing Pit thread against Poster A.
Then everything was about Christianity...
Poster A: "Blah, blah, blah, there is no God."
Poster B: "Blah, blah, blah, Jesus loves you."
Poster C: "Blah, blah, blah, religion is stupid, the world would be better off without it."
Poster D: "Blah, blah, blah, forcing religion down my throat."
Jeez, I honestly think a meeting between NARAL and National Right to Life Foundation would get more resolved than these people. All they frickin' do in GD is repeat the same sophomoric arguments ad nauseum.
There are certainly some good debates there, when they stick to a narrow topic, unique and interesting, one not easily politicized. Anything that can easily be assigned left-right values....forget about it. How do you people who have been here for years take it? Do you just abandon GD entirely after awhile? I can see the allure of doing so. There are certain individuals, certain posters I respect, with whom I could discuss a few issues with in GD and perhaps learn something....but most of GD has turned into blatantly politicized remarks that amount to trash intellectually. Is there no hope?
11-22-2002, 02:13 AM
In my humble estimation, Great Debates is not worthless. Yeah, you can read the titles of some threads and immediately predict what the op says without even reading it, who is going to ring in on either side of the issue, and whoís going to hijack/obfuscate/attack strawmen, etc. I can honestly say, however, that in the time Iíve been lurking here (since 10/01) Iíve learned more than I did in college.
My suggestion: Donít read or post in predictable threads if predictability bothers you so much.
However, there are so many interesting and highly intelligent people here, more often than not someone will write something so compelling and enlightening that it makes wading through all the dross seem worthwhile.
I can't believe that's butter!
11-22-2002, 02:17 AM
It seems like thats the proper place for all that stuff the OP complains about.....Keeps the rest of the board clean, IMHO...Though I'm known to go there every now and then.
11-22-2002, 04:51 AM
How do you people who have been here for years take it? Do you just abandon GD entirely after awhile?
Eh, pretty much. You can learn a lot in GD and a lot of posters spend a lot of time dedicating themselves to the fight against ignorance, which is after all the purpose of these boards. There will always be new ignorant people and we need the people who tirelessly explain and reason with them. Polycarp and tomndebb are invaluable in this respect - they patiently debate with people over the same points again and again because there's always new people who need educating. I daresay a fair few have learned a lot from them and other posters and I respect them for it.
Myself, I just don't have the patience.
And repeated threads aren't just a GD phenomenon. How many bad driver rants have you seen in the Pit? How many "where does your username come from?" threads have you seen in MPSIMS? How many LOTR threads are there in Cafe Society at any given time? And don't even get me started on the apparent inability of people to search the GQ archives before asking a question.
11-22-2002, 05:48 AM
I've learned more from Great Debates than from General Questions. That's because GQ doesn't allow for points of view. A fact by itself is worthless; it is context that gives it meaning. It is not the fact that is interesting, but rather the interpretation of it.
"Computers are useless. They only give you answers." ó Pablo Picasso
11-22-2002, 06:13 AM
Originally posted by RexDart
There are certainly some good debates there, when they stick to a narrow topic, unique and interesting, one not easily politicized. Anything that can easily be assigned left-right values....forget about it.
That's pretty much my perspective too. There were some fun debates on pseudo-science ("scientific" Creationism and the like) a year or so back that were pretty worthwhile though.
How do you people who have been here for years take it? Do you just abandon GD entirely after awhile?
Not entirely. I skim the first page to see if there's anything that's different.
There's a few individuals who I can see the allure of doing so. There are certain individuals, certain posters I respect, with whom I could discuss a few issues with in GD and perhaps learn something....but most of GD has turned into blatantly politicized remarks that amount to trash intellectually. Is there no hope?
Nope. It usedta go in cycles, but this current one seems like it'll never end.
On the other hand, th' way I see it is this: All those topics get trapped in GD and aren't going to spew over the rest of the Board.
If there WAS no GD, a bunch of those topics would be in GQ (and make the GQ Mods go insane), MPSIMS, IMHO and The Pit, and I'd much rather read GQ for Ignorance Eradication or the Pit for debates as it doesn't have the silly, fake, pseudo-debate rules that GD does* ("You can insult the post but not the poster"? C'mon. It's just an invitation to phrase insults more obliquely. How 'bout "No insults. You can't call a post "dumb", you need to demonstrate that it is".)
*Not a criticism of the Mods who enforce the rule evenhandedly.
11-22-2002, 06:26 AM
I don't get it. Current topics in Great Debates include:
War in the Gulf
Spanking and child abuse
The greatest human
Children and guns
God hates religion
The War of Northern Aggression
The Patriot Act
Senator Daschle versus Rush Limbaugh
The logic of Jesus' sacrifice
Al Gore's health plan
The Prodigal Son
The 5th amendment
The Atkins diet
Log Cabin Republicans (gay Republicans)
The national hydrogen roadmap
Single hulled tankers
Appropriateness of jokes
Evolution and theology
Unmarried presidential candidates
Liberals and the Democrat Party
And that's just page one. If that isn't enough variety for you, why don't you open a topic on what interests you?
11-22-2002, 08:20 AM
Good call, Lib. However, I think what he's saying is he's tired of the fact that there is never any closure to the threads there and they often end in Flames only to begin again some time later.
Unfortunately, that is the nature of debating.
Unless God comes down a-la "The Onion" to to tell a certain person or group they nincompoops, the debate will continue unabated.
Deal with it, man.
Duck Duck Goose
11-22-2002, 08:28 AM
What the Gorgon said.
11-22-2002, 08:31 AM
Originally posted by RexDart
I've only been on here for 7 months, already I see the same things over and over. The same stupid debates, going 'round in circles endlessly with nothing new interjected at any point.Watch out for that doorknob.
11-22-2002, 08:36 AM
Well, I rarely (almost never) post in GD, but not because I find the debates boring or useless. Sure, there is a lot of repetitive arguing, but those threads are easy to avoid... the reason I don't post there much is that by the time I read an interesting thread, someone else has already said what I would have said (and usually better than I would have said it!).
If I were to take up regular posting in GD, my posts would mostly read this way: "Yeah, what poster X said! Me too!"
Ah, well! The Pit is usually more fun, anyways!;)
11-22-2002, 08:38 AM
Originally posted by Duck Duck Goose
What the Gorgon said.
(err... in light of my last post here, that is!)
11-22-2002, 09:29 AM
I admit, I agree with Rex. Well, frequently, at least.
Most of the threads that tend to dominate GD are one's that can never be resolved and, in fact, simply feature the same people making the same arguments. It's just downright dull. I'd find it more intriguing (and worth participating in) if I thought there was any real drive for consensus or conclusion.
But if you're in a cite-based forum and you're on the web you've got to realize that there's going to be a cite supporting anything somewhere on the web. I could probably find something supporting the assertion that mandatory pedophila would lead to world peace if I looked hard enough.
11-22-2002, 09:43 AM
I dunno, I'm having fun in a GD thread now...the one about G-d not liking religion, having a discussion about the role of the Catholic church in the Early Middle Ages. (It's quite possible no one else reading it is having fun).
GD does have some of the problems you mention, and there is a tendency for some of them to fall into ruts, but I think they're more fun than the kind of "Why I love my cat", and "Let me tell a board full of strangers personal stuff" threads you find in IMHO and MPSIMS. Just my opinion, of course.
11-22-2002, 09:57 AM
If I cared about the incidentals in everyday existence I would go out and get a life. Instead, I care about the shit barely anyone likes to discuss in mixed company. So I hang out in GD. An interesting topic doesn't become less interesting to me because closure seems impossible. In fact, attempting to reach closure makes the discussion that much more interesting.
PErhaps you should start a debate about why closure is impossible in such topics. Then we could get rid of GD altogether. ;)
11-22-2002, 10:08 AM
Well, if GD were for the purpose of arriving at specific answers agreed to by everyone for the great issues of all time, then maybe Rex Dart would have a point.
Myself, I see it as a forum where I can express my own perspectives on those issues, and learn from reading the intelligently written posts of others who disagree with me.
To give a couple of precise, clear examples:
[list] A blow-up between me and Libertarian nearly two years ago, in which, when the smoke cleared and one could parse the arguments clearly, he made the libertarian point that one's Christian duty (a value we both share) to aid the poor and downtrodden does not necessarily (and in his opinion should not) lead to the use of government to impose that duty on the populace at large, whether or not they feel that duty (as Christians, or as Jews or Moslems holding to similar authoritative teachings) or the related humanist duty to help others. This was a wake-up call to me.
A recent debate here in the Pit on the killing of a transgendered (M2F) person in which I got a great deal better perspective on the worldview of a transgendered person (courtesy of several board members, in particular Kelly) and also how a sincere person can hold to the somatic view of gender identity (kudos to Shodan for making the case for that POV).
Another Pit debate on gay marriage in which Joe Cool made the case for the conservative view that two gay people wanting to form civil unions were not contemplating "marriage" in the way he understood it, and that he could support a civil union law that did not imply such a relationship was a "marriage" in explicit use of such a term. I had the distinct privilege and pleasure of being in a position to translate the differing ways in which Joe Cool and Gobear were using the term to each other, with the result that an apparent impasse between them was resolved into a clear understanding that they did not in fact disagree over political issues, merely over differing religious concepts.
Scylla's ongoing patient and clear perspectives on why a clear-thinking man might be led to vote for Republican tickets
11-22-2002, 10:12 AM
The best and perhaps only purpose the debates of the type mentioned in the OP have are to reduce the posters' arguments to their core differences of opinions. Those core differences will rarely change.
11-22-2002, 10:13 AM
I think the debates that have no resolution are fascinating; these are, generally, the greatest dichotomies of our current societies, and seeing each side explain its points in detail is highly educational.
Where else are you going to find people discussing the finer points of politically sensitive subjects in great detail, in a forum which encourages putting thought and research into each and every comment?
It's a place to learn about other people's perspectives, to find out how other people think; what they believe, and why they believe it. It seems to me that that's an invaluable method of fighting ignorance.
11-22-2002, 10:16 AM
Would a moderator please close out that [list] coding? Thank you.
11-22-2002, 10:30 AM
I dunno. There was this whole series of threads. One was 9 pages, another 5 or six long. A couple more.
Elucidator and I got into it in a pretty serious fashion.
It had all the good stuff. We accused each other of lies, stupidity, arrogance, prejudice the whole nine yards. It got ugly. It was also huge fun.
The neat thing was that after 23 pages across several threads, including some in the Pit, we actually came to a specific agreement.
11-22-2002, 04:43 PM
I used to spend quite a lot of time in every gun control and religion debate that came down the pike. But after months of debunking the same arguments and re-explaining the same things over and over, I've gotten pretty bored with both topics, and generally avoid both topics unless there's something I feel I need to respond to.
I've learned a lot and gotten a lot out of GD, but at the moment I'm rather disenamored with it. I feel like posting on certain topics is a waste of my time, as well as those who read my posts, as I've already explained and supported my positions on numerous other threads.
The biggest thing that wears on me and takes all the enjoyment out of posting on GD is the tendency of certain people to take statements out of context and exaggerate them into cartoonish caricatures of what I really said, then proceed to beat the strawman to a pulp.
There are a few people who I'll still pay attention to, respond to, etc, but lately I feel done with something once I've explained myself.
11-22-2002, 05:42 PM
A couple responses....
minty green's remark seems to indicate that he thinks this is a "Waaaah, the board is stupid, I'm leaving" thread. It isn't. I'm certainly not leaving the board, I highly enjoy most of my forays over here, this is pretty much the only site I've ever visited every single day for over half a year. I'm not even leaving GD entirely, I'm just dissatisfied with the sort of debates they are having over there lately and will try to stick to those in which I think there is a chance for enlightening dialogue. I like having the chance to reevaluate and maybe change my position to a sounder one, but that's going to take something new, because if I've already heard it then my present opinion takes it into account.
Lib, I admit your list of GD topics appears to be diverse...until you look beneath the surface. Any specific topic in GD runs the constant danger of turning into an old debate that we've all seen before. War in the Gulf? I think the hawks and doves are pretty much where they were 20 years ago. Anything about a specific politician is bound to turn into a tired old left-right split. A handful of the things on that list are just the same old thing from the get-go: gun control, nationalized health care, sexism, military spending, wealth distribution, and evolution. Surely we're all intelligent well-read people here, we must have heard just about everything there is to be said on those topics. Don't tell me you don't open those threads pretty much knowing who's going to say what, and when and why they're going to say it.
And don't forget the people who see any thread on religion and drop in just to spout off tired old cliches about "organized religion is oppression" and a litany of hostile remarks. And the people who see any thread on politics and jump in to get a few jabs at Bush that we've all heard ad nauseum.
There are some diamonds in the rough, no doubt about it, but there's alot of junk there. I can understand going through a debate once to see it can't be resolved, then dropping it. To just recycle the same stuff over and over in painful.
11-22-2002, 05:56 PM
No, my comments were intended to indicate that this is a "Waaaah, Great Debates is stupid" thread. If you don't like it, fucking leave it. I barely ever step foot in MPSIMS because I don't like it, but you don't see me complaining about how mundane and pointless it is, do you?
Oh, and Joe_Cool, if you ever manage to locate where Miller says it's an individual right, you be sure and drop by one of those threads where I called bullshit on you for that statement, m'kay?
11-22-2002, 06:07 PM
Originally posted by Francesca
There will always be new ignorant people and we need the people who tirelessly explain and reason with them. Polycarp and tomndebb are invaluable in this respect - they patiently debate with people over the same points again and again because there's always new people who need educating. I daresay a fair few have learned a lot from them and other posters and I respect them for it.
Let's not forget Sam Stone here. I always love reading his posts. The man is always ready to argue fully and to the end when apologists for world socialism show up.
Kudos to Sam Stone!
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