RE: Meta-Topic On Discussions (delete as appropriate)

Subject: RE: Meta-Topic On Discussions (delete as appropriate)
From: eric -dot- dunn -at- ca -dot- transport -dot- bombardier -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2003 15:02:00 -0500

<<it is the rare person who, having uttered a statement in support of X, will
later come back and say, "I was mistaken.">>

And there-in lies one of the problems with on-line group discussion. When in
person most people when they change their mind simply react with body language
or simple statements of acceptance. Even in person it is rare for someone to
come out and say "I've changed my mind, and here are the reasons why....."

As someone who has particularly rancorous "discussions" at parties (religion
with a minister, federalism with a separatist, that kind of small potatoes ;-)
), I can say I never see people come out and say they've changed their minds.
It's body language, tone of voice, and other signals that let you know whether
you're enlightening/informing/amusing/enraging the other party. As I have yet to
struck at a party or when I do the same in public, I think my skills in this
area are fairly well honed. I'm working on knowing to shut up and not start in
the first however. :D

But such signals aren't present on-line and declarations on-line aren't
particularly important. You should be on-line to widen your view and learn other
viewpoints. Those lurking will draw their own conclusions anyway. Worrying about
who changed their mind is reducing discourse to the level of competition and
sport. Wanting to know "What's the score."

Would a score serve any purpose? Personally I think it would only help those
that don't possess the critical thinking power to formulate their own opinion.
The type of people who shouldn't really be in techwriting really...

Eric L. Dunn


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