I normally avoid commenting on the "diversion" threads
that ebb and flow here but here goes an exception. I
hope this doesn't turn into a thread but rather stops
with this post.
As noted in the Subject line, there seem to be four types
of OT threads that have legs (I'm excluding the bomb
hurling trolls that pop up once in a while).
Discussion - An exchange of ideas and opinions on a subject,
or two or three. All participating parties
by adding information on the subject or asking
questions motivated by a desire to gain some
knowledge about, or insight on, the subject. The
exchange remains friendly, or at least what use
to be understood as civil, though friendly banter
and jibes are thrown in amongst participants who
know each other. Everyone participates with
an open mind.
This type of thread is typically beneficial to all
parties in that everyone comes away with some-
thing they didn't know before or a better under-
standing of the subject.
This is not a Zero Sum Game where someone
wants to "win" and for someone else to "lose"
It can be a Win-Win proposition.
Debate - A structured contest between two individuals or
"sides" to determine "who is right" about a given
premise. The process is structured, each side giving
their initial statement of position, a period of
exchanges of challenges and responses to each
other's positions and finally concluding remarks by
each side, typically summarizing why "I'm/we're right
and "he/they are wrong". The debaters typically
use facts to support their position, citing sources
for these facts. An ostensibly neutral judge or
panel will determine "the winner" based on a set of
rules and guidelines - though personal biases some-
times do play a role in the decision making process.
The goal is to "win", not to persuade "the other
side" to change their position based on the
"points" one makes during the debate. The
participants make no attempt to keep and open
mind, that's for the judge and the audience to do
- sort of.
In a good debate, civility is normally maintained
by a moderator and the participants are knowledge-
able enough on the subject to be able to take either
side of the debate and "win". The audience comes
away from the exchange with new information
about the subject.
Arguement - None of the participants come to the process
with an open mind nor the expectation of
persuading other participants, or anyone in
"the audience", to accept their position as
Arguements are a Lose-Lose Game. They
may have an entertainment value, and
sometimes provide some useful information,
but that's fairly rare
Flame Wars - A seemingly never ending exchange of "Oh
yeah? Well you're mother wears combat
There is NOTHING to be gained by anyone from
a Flame War.
So, before you reply to an OT post, think- "Is there
a better use of my time?"
Never try to teach a pig to whistle. It'll piss off the pig
and waste your time.