Looking for honest critical feedback

If you are willing to go and put your self through 20 minutes of excruciating pain, go read this 5 page thread:


You’ll need to read the whole thing, there’s a couple of twists and turns.

Assuming you’re willing to do that and have, what I’d like is your honest feedback about it and what went on.

I’m posting in the pit, so you can feel free and speak your mind.

I’m specifically looking for two things:

  1. Your overview and feelings about what happened and the ensuing debate

  2. Any constructive criticism you might have.
    Rest assured that all constructive criticism will be greatly appreciated whatever the content. A “you suck,” is as worthless as a “you rule,” so let’s refrain from those kind of remarks if we can.

I’m curious as to what you think. Naturally, if you were one of the major participants in that thread, it’s safe to say that I already know what you think, and additional comments won’t be necessary. Naturally, this is only a request.

I’ll refrain from priming the pump any further, and would like to see at least 10-15 solid comments before I come back, hopefully more.

Thanks in advance for taking the time if you’re so inclined.

You suck!

No wait, you rule!

No, You suck.

Hey, You rule!

I’ll get around to reading the actual thread later.

If you want nice commentary, why is this in the Pit?

I’m not exactly sure what you want commentary on. You had a debate. People became annoyed, more became bored. In the end everybody dismisses the others as idiots, insincere, or hypocritical or bass ackwards.

What are we supposed to be commenting on? Your obvious rhetorical wit and superiority? Your condescending nature and nearly insufferable pretentiousness? Your degree? Your ultra-hip hairstyle?

Maybe I’m the only one confused though, maybe everybody else will have a clue what you want.

Before you point out that you said why you put it in the pit, I want to add that I saw it. It just doesn’t make sense.

The Pit doesn’t free us to speak our minds, it frees us to call people names and swear in thread titles.

scylla, honestly, i think you take yourself way too seriously.

  1. The thread was long.

  2. For a non-participant, it was boring.

  3. “Arse” is not any more lighthearted than “ass” to an American. It’s “ass” spelled in Brit.

  4. The process of dropping by to fluff your favorite actors irks me just as it does you.

  5. BRICKER made excellent points, as usual, and then wisely gave up.

  6. The thought of MAEGLIN reading Greek aloud is enough to give a girl butterflies.

  7. In truth, I’m not sure what you’re looking for here.

My opinion: y’all should use the blessed “Preview Reply” button more often, especially when you’re quoting someone that was quoting someone. To

[quote Shayna]
(http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=89548): GAH! I’m off to buy some absinthe now.

My thoughts, since you asked, in random order:

  1. Everyone really needs to preview (I know Arnold just said so, but I think it bears repeating). Spell-checking and reviewing for obvious grammatical errors would be nice, too.

  2. Arnold is an awfully nice mod, fixing all those coding errors so patiently when it’s not even his forum. So is Gaudere, not sending it to the Pit along about Page 3.

  3. DAMN, you guys can be nitpicking little whiners over in GD! And here I’ve been avoiding it because I thought I wasn’t scholarly or serious enough.

  4. I think I have a crush on Maeglin. Translations from the Greek! sigh

  5. Most of the main players in this thread (excepting Maeglin - sigh) quit debating the original point somewhere in the first page and seem to have settled quite happily into going off on tangents and sniping at each other, at least until the fourth page, when you all rallied briefly.

  6. TWENTY minutes? I’m a pretty fast reader - what are you, Evelyn Wood? That was at least an hour I could have better spent doing just about anything else.

  7. My eyes glaze and I start skimming over posts when they’re more than two screens long and reiterate what the same person said in his/her LAST interminably long, quote-filled post.

  8. I like your funny stories way better.

What kind of critical feedback do you want, anyway? How’s this: I’d suggest that, if you want to debate, you try to ignore who posted what and respond only to the points made in the debate. I’d also suggest that when someone tries to clarify a point that s/he thinks you’ve misinterpreted, you accept that clarification and move on. And those suggestions are relevant for just about everyone.

At the risk of steering the conversation, I believe it’s a safe bet that Scylla is asking for feedback on a particular point - to wit, his semi-executed plan of intentionally making a mistake in a post, and then acknowledging it as a demonstration of how reasonable debaters concede points when they’re wrong.

According to Scylla, the mistake he actually ended up acknowledging was actually an inadvertant one, while the deliberate mistake was left without challenge from others. As an analogy, he might have demonstrated a home security system by arranging for a burglar to break in; by accident, not only did the phony burglar miss the house, but a REAL burglar came along.

So the questions might be framed as: (1) Was the technique of deliberately making a mistake, and then graciously conceding the point when corrected, a cynical and blatantly dishonest tactic, or a valid device, rhetorical or otherwise? (2) By doing this, is Scylla an inhuman swine or a creature nigh unto godlike stature? (3) Were others justified in announcing they would henceforth never take Scylla seriously again, or were they overreacting? (4) Is Scylla saved from some or all culpability because his plan didn’t work as was intended, and the actual point he ended up conceding was a legitimate mistake?

Etc, etc.

I have my opinions, but adding them at this point would REALLY be steering the conversation.

  • Rick

*Confidential to Jodi - aw, shucks… you made me blush! :slight_smile: *

I read the thread a few hours ago, so I’m not going to be too specific.[]I want my 20 minutes back.[]Any poster would have been foolish using the example Stoid did. A hypothetical example would have been better, any with no partisan overtones would have sufficed. The fact that Stoid was the OP made the problem worse. Stoid should have known that it might turn the thread into what it did.[]Scylla gets a bee in his bonnet every now and again in GD. When he does this all matters in the thread have to be put on hold while Scylla’s cud is chewed, spewed and chewed again.[]Scylla has a reputation he plays on, which is to eventually concede points. This is good and bad. Good because he does post “I fucked up” or “I got the wrong end of the stick”. Not everyone does this, and it contributes something to the gross light output of GD in an environment mostly heat. Bad because it always seems to take 15 posts of his and a pit thread to get there.[]Scylla concedes points, he does not merely take them. This is a function of the way he treats GD: as a battleground for positions, rather than as an engagment of different views. Well okay, people use GD for different reasons. My strong preference is for the latter. I have no interest in school-style debates, and there is no committee to make the decision at the end of the allotted time, so we mght as well engage and understand each other (and who knows, come to some accommodation).[]Rhetoric is all well and good - which is lucky because it’s unavoidable - but there is a difference between putting your argument persuasively and trying to win by any rhetorical means available. Socrates himself was supreme in rhetoric, but distinguished himself from the sophists on just that basis.[]Scylla weighed in pretty heavily with his first post. Again, note that he did not seek to throw a couple of things into consideration. He took a contrary position.[]Scylla took a few lumps on his position and was called on some disengenuous devices. Xeno got a bit steamed, but backed away from the threat to shun Scylla on serious topics. I guess xeno was irritated by Scylla’s apparent willingness to muddy the waters to win. IMHO that’s fair enough. Trolls use these techniques, and morons try to. Scylla can afford to do better, particularly as he is actually keen to learn.Yep, rhetoric is a science. Just like boxing. But the question remains: is it worth the canvas?

Thanks so far. I guess I better answer a couple of questions.


I’m not sure I understand your question. I thought it might get heated, so I placed it here. If a mod wishes they’re free to move it, and if they explain why I shouldn’t have put it here, I’ll reference that infor for the future so I don’t repeat the mistake.

Everybody Else:

All the other questions seem to come down to what am I looking for.

I wanted first impressions, which I have some good ones, thanks.

I was thinking along Bricker’s lines, and 2ould like some feedback there.

Finally, and most importantly the feedback I’d like is suggestions for modifying my debating style re: what Hawthorne said.

In debating a closed, inflexible viewpoint, I’ve tried several different things.

The most successful, in a previous thread, was where I attempted to ignore baiting, but do quite a bit of it myself, being humorous, and ridiculing some of the more ridiculous assertions.

That seemed to work quite well, but was unsatisfying, and the next time I resolved to jump in and fight it out tooth and nails. It seemed to devolve pretty quickly and become 3 or 4 on 1.

Nothing unfair about that, but when you’re debating and you only have the opposition as a sounding board it becomes difficult to evaluate how you’re doing, so I’d like to know that as well.

What could I have done differently or what could I do in the future to be more successful?

Damn, a vanity search today really paid off.

It’s definitely the Greek. Chicks dig the Greek.


Great, just great. I go looking for feedback and everybody just tells maeglin what a stud he is.

Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.


Noli me contemnere propter pulchritudinem meam.


And I saw the link in the OP and I thought to myself, “Oh, gawd, it’s not gonna be the Debating Debating thread.”

But it was.

Feedback: um…

I did try to read it, honestly, first, back when Stoid started it. Then again Saturday night, when I was sitting here waiting up for The Cat Who Walks Alone, who doesn’t have to be in until midnight on weekends, and I’d read absolutely everything else in all the forums, including the Dopefest threads in MPSIMS, and there wasn’t anything shakin’ over at Fathom or the UnaBoard, I thought, “Well, I’ll see how the Stoid & Scylla Show is coming along.”

And after about three posts I went back to putting random words into Google to see what came up. Did you know that infectious bronchitis is considered the most contagious of poultry diseases?

You see, Maeglin is just that studly.

(And yes, it is the multiple dead lanugages…swoon)

What everyone else said about the 20 minutes bit. It’d take more than 20 minutes to read your posts alone. AND I’m still on page 4 AND I deliberately didn’t read half the damn thing because it had nothing to do with you.

My thoughts?

  1. The part where you say you made a deliberate mistake and people caught another one is really amusing. However, it leads to a second and very troubling point:

  2. Anyone could do this and claim they made the mistake on purpose, provided they:

[ul][list]A. Already had some credibility in GD and
B. Didn’t have this as the crux of their debate unless they
C. Were making a really fucking huge point which would cause the rest of GD to uniformly
D. Develop rather large headaches and/or
E. Drag said person to the pit for being an almost unprecedented ass.[/ul][/list]

Remember smithwow and his Pit thread about how it made him sick to see black men dating white women? They he got screwed over by that and claimed he wsa just seeing if people were okay with the idea?

I agree with xenophon. It’s trolling. It’s deliberately making a mistake to see if anyone will catch it. And the fact that it takes you so long (leaving out other posts that were hijacks and re-hijacks) kinda makes your point (that people rarely concede points in GD, however small) interesting in the sense that you proved your point at your own expense.

  1. If you’re going to do something like that, you really have to account for human (in this case, your) error. Perhaps an example would do better, as Bricker pointed out, I believe.

  2. If you leave out the insults and wait for other people to denegerate into “you silly ass” and such, it makes you look a lot better. What I tend to do when I go into GD (there’s a reason I don’t go there often!) is just to write up flames and not post them. Gets the anger out, and I can concentrate much better on their argument and tearing it apart.

  3. If you’re going to rely on a dictionary for word meaning, I humbly suggest you lose something like the OED or m-w.com. Last I checked (and no, I don’t have a cite for this, sorry) dictionary.com had some words that don’t exactly exist;)

  4. Insults, however amusing, ain’t GD material. The bit about the donkey was very amusing, and your attempt to parlé xenophon’s post into a jab at him was felt, but it . . . didn’t work? I don’t know that I could have avoided it, but then I might have done one of those “posts you don’t post” just to clear my head:) Which brings me to my next point;

  5. My head hurts. And I could have been playing Diablo 20 minutes ago.

I want my time back, you son of a bitch:)

And damn that Maeglin for being so all-fired straight. Damn him!

::breaks down, sobbing:: But I can’t damn him! He’s so smart and cute and funny and . . . he uses that sword of his SO WELL!


I don’t see it as dishonest, but I do think it was pointless and arrogant. But I’m a bit unclear as to what the ultimate intention was. I assume it was to admit error, while informing all that the error was deliberate - in this case the admission would be a meaningless one and show nothing. (If the intention was to keep up the pretense that the error was genuine then you could perhaps look at it as dishonest - but on the other hand, the admission would at least be somewhat meaningful, so maybe not).

But it’s arrogant to be pointing to oneself as a shining example for others to emulate. And it’s even the more so to deliberately contrive to set oneself up as a shining example for others to follow.

All in all, that gambit was a mistake.

Gosh, look what happens when I come back to a thread after I leave it in disgust.

Scylla, I’ve given you a substantive reply in the thread in question. Here’s the post. I’ll confine my feedback to that thread, if you don’t mind, but if anyone wants to critique my pedantry, feel free to do it wherever.

My honest opinion?

The only thread that perplexes me more in GD over why it went so many pages pointlessly is that “Remote Viewing in Hawaii” thing.

I still don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about. And I’m thinking ignorance is bliss in this case.