Padabe, Yes the debates are largely for lurkers

This isn’t strictly a pitting but in the recently closed thread about Carol Stream padabe felt the need to confront what I thought was generally accepted wisdom concerning heated discussions on the board.

Note: This thread is NOT about Carol Stream, let’s try not to talk about someone who can’t currently respond.

In response to my contention that most debates are only for the benefit of readers padabe said…

I was absolutely serious. The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of people who participate in threads concerning politics, religion, current events, or social issues have long since had their minds made up concerning those matters. That’s not to say that they haven’t reached those conclusions through reason, but the debates themselves rarely lead to any specific poster changing their position.

Let’s be honest here… Does anyone who self-identifies as a Liberal think that when they engage in debate with Shodan or Starving Artist that those posters are going to change their minds based on something they read on a message board? Or, by the same token, do any self-identified conservatives think that when they engage in debate with Diogenes or BrainGlutton that they’re going to change their minds?

I have to submit that, generally speaking, everyone around here is smart enough to realize that isn’t going to happen. The debate is for the sake of debate itself and influencing the national discussion. The only ones who might be influenced to any serious degree are those who don’t already have a dog in the fight, and we typically don’t see them engaging in the debate in the first place.

This doesn’t strike me as an appropriate Pit thread, but my understanding is that direct addresses to other posters go here now and this is where the disagreement started at any rate. Padabe if you see this I invite you to elaborate on what your objections are as I’d be interested in hearing them.

Mods, if you think this doesn’t belong in the Pit I won’t object to it being moved, I just didn’t know where else to put it.

Influencing the national discussion?


Yeah, okay, so I aim too high, I admit that. :stuck_out_tongue:

Sounds right to me. What I see there is never great and seldom a debate. They should change it’s name to The Argument Sketch from Monty Python.

Actually, without the hyperbole, I generally agree.

In fact, I’ve advocated several times for the elimination of the whole forum. It boils down to just another forum of expressing opinions, because there are no rules and all parties routinely claim victory.

But no one ever listens to my obviously correct reasoning.


If you look at the right side ,it shows how many people have dropped in to read the discussion. it is for them. They read a debate and watch S.A. say goofy things and all is good. People don’t change their opinions very often. It will not happen in a debate, that is for sure. But those who don’t participate can read both sides .

Ehh, I don’t know if eliminating the forum entirely would be a good idea necessarily. The debates have their place and they would definitely swamp other forums if there weren’t a place for them. I think we just need to realize that everyone is essentially playing a pundit in long form. What we see is “Sean Hannity” arguing with “Rachel Maddow” directly rather than through proxies, which I think I think is valuable.

I have to confess, I’m not going to state what my preferences are, but if it weren’t for for the board I may not have voted as I had in the last two presidential elections. I discovered the Dope at a young age and this place looms rather large in my mind when it comes to social and political issues. I think both the left and the right here are a cut above what I see in the media.

I disagree with doing away with the forum; it provides a place for that kind of thing, so that it doesn’t bleed over (too much) into the other forums.

I don’t know that I agree that GD is helpful solely to ‘the lurkers’; I have seen some discussions where posters’ opinons have changed as a result of the arguments in the thread. But I do get what you’re saying in the OP.

Yeah, I know that I’ve concentrated on lurkers in my posts, but I don’t want people to think that that’s the only value that the debates have had.

FTR, I think that there is some value in simply airing out ideas for criticism on both sides to assess the pros and cons in both aisles, but ultimately, isn’t the goal of debate to influence someone somewhere to at least think differently, if not vote differently? Otherwise, what’s the point? It’s just mental masturbation if we assume that the same dozen or so people are reading those threads.

It’s midnight on the eastcoast, and I don’t know where padabe is, but if he sees this in the morning I’d like stress to him that I’d like to see his original objections. I’m very interested in reading them.

The debates do have an effect on the participants, it’s just not readily apparent. For me, at least, it’s not at all uncommon to argue about something and yield very little or not at all in the thread, but then, in some other time and place, find myself repeating some the arguments, facts, or ways of thinking that the “other side” had used which were not unreasonable.

“Road to Damascus” moments are rare indeed, but subtle, gradual influence happens all the time. On issues about which we already have strong opinions, I’m not sure we get the same sort of thing out of lurking. That is, I think lurkers are more prone to fall victim to confirmation bias.

You’re trying to acheive orbit with a slingshot, pal.

That would be because claiming S.A. says goofy things lets them off the hook for the damage their ideology has done. Millions of people have either lost their lives or had them ruined over the last forty years because of what liberalism has championed or allowed to flourish. Naturally, when a way can be found to deny this, all is considered to be good even though the reality is quite different.

Now, my apologies to the OP for responding to gonzomax’s hijack, but some things simply can’t be allowed to stand unchallenged.

I’m sorry I don’t want to derail the thread and the other thread linked in this thread where I would like to ask this is already closed. I totally missed where Carol Stream was suspended from the pit and can’t find the anouncement. Could anyone just kindly point me in the direction of satisfaction and I’ll be on my way.

Here you go.

Thank you!

From another thread, let me quote myself on “liberals”

“The only problem with Liberals is that they have become every bit the corporate whores as their partners in crime across the aisle. What made Liberalism possible was TV. The underside of America was exposed and the Liberals muscled in by championing the underdogs and gained corporate acknowledgment. These days, corporate media consolidation makes sure we don’t get too close a look at the downside of corporate policies and keeps the debate focused on the seeming Liberal/Conservative slugfest where “incivility” guarantees you airtime.”

SA’s little trip thru Oz but

No they shouldn’t.

My hope is that ten years later, the guy I argued with will sit bolt upright in bed at three in the morning and say, “Wait a minute, one of those things coffeecat said made sense!”

Just a contradicition …

Those at the extremes rarely change their minds (or at least admit to it) but sometimes positions are moderated and some who do more than lurk, but are not the extremes, become informed of more than the pundit talking points.

Let’s put it this way - as an observer (rarely a lurker) I often leave more informed than I was about the complexities of an issue. I may end up in the same position but I am now there with more depth of understanding. As a participant I may not often change my mind but I have had to expand my thought process some and learn more to combat some of the other sides talking points and to prove how full of crap they are.