Inspired by this:
I offer an antipitting.
I’m one of those old-timers prone to bitching about how much better the debate parts of the board were four, five or six years ago: about how there were fewer partisan kneejerkers and a generally more civilized and intelligent tone.
That’s still my feeling, however, it’s not all downhill: for the last 2 years, BrainGlutton has been an invaluable asset to the GD; not only for his near-religious devotion to finding new and interesting thread topics (which I often lurk in more than I post), but more importantly for a civility and willingness to understand his opponents that is all too often missing from so many of us. I am rarely in full agreement with BG; I think some of his ideas are just nuts … but I also almost always find my conversations with him both civil and intellectually challenging. He is probably my favorite poster for that very reason.
One especially conspicuous trait I notice is that his threads tend to start with a sincere desire to ask a question – not with a decemberist desire to piss off “the enemy.” (Imagine that; debate being used as a tool for understanding. Who’d have thunk?) Just as crucially BG referees his threads, calling bullshit on people who agree with his general position, and often manages to mitigate the impact of the idiots on both sides by refusing to stoop to their level. I don’t think GD regulars need a cite for these assertions.
All too often, there’s too much attention paid to excoriating our more puerile members, which puts the focus on what one shouldn’t do. One anti-pitting won’t overcome that, but it needs to be said nevertheless: if you want to gain respect and possibly change minds, you’ll persuade a lot more people with class, intelligence and fairness than vitriol. BG knows that, and he is appreciated and respected for it.
Can I get a pile-on?