Too easy to undermine… online arguments are rarely discussions

Wednesday, 2 February, 2011

Ten sure fire ways to trip up any otherwise informed or intelligent discussion that is taking place online.

I can’t help noticing that you mention 1,204 jobs are to be lost under these proposals. I think you’re forgetting that one job has already been lost, meaning only 1,203 further jobs will be lost. This entirely undermines your argument.

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You can’t talk about anything at work sometimes even work itself

Monday, 17 May, 2010

True enough, when it comes to finding topics to discuss with your colleagues, some subjects are best left out as they are either too personal (religion, politics), or outright boring (sexual exploits, aches and pains), but stretching the list to 40 items, in the interests of promoting “neutral chatter”, is surely going just a little over the top.

I’d have thought these topics could “safely” be discussed in the workplace, but apparently not:

  • Your blog URL (content maybe, but URL?)
  • How much you just paid for something
  • Your new house, boat, car, computer, etc.
  • Your last, or next, vacation
  • How much time you spend on Twitter, Facebook, etc.

This list could almost be retitled 40 reasons to work for yourself.

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While we are all critics we still need actual critics

Thursday, 17 September, 2009

The blogosphere and social media may have given us more channels to discuss and debate the arts, and while anyone and everyone can more actively participate, British author and arts critic Michael Billington argues there is still as much need as ever for “traditional” critics.

What has changed is the technology: any opinion is now open to instant, rapid rebuttal online. Sometimes this leads to fascinating discussions: this year, my own hesitant suggestion that there was a potential danger in theatre adopting the cinematic model of the “auteur” unleashed a host of contradictory opinions from readers. But it seems to me absurd to deduce from this that printed criticism is dead, dying or redundant. In any sphere of activity – be it politics, sport or fashion – there is a crying need for someone who brings to the subject a lifelong professional commitment: more than ever, I’d argue, in an age of spin and hype.

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Descending the lows of the argument pyramid

Tuesday, 28 July, 2009

The Hierarchy of Disagreement represented as the Argument Pyramid, with reasonably informed objections to a point-of-view at the top, and outright name-calling and insults, with little or no regard to the original discussion or debate, at the bottom.

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Blog comments are a lifestyle choice

Thursday, 9 April, 2009

I’ve never bought into the argument that a blog must offer a commenting facility in order to be considered a blog, it’s something that is down to the author of the blog, and like anything it’s different strokes for different folks:

Some people do better in collaborative, challenging environments. Others prefer to work in peace and solitude. Some writers and directors read reviews of their work, others don’t. There’s likely no rational answer to the question of whether comments on the Internet are a good thing or not.

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Team of rivals? Initiative? We only hire yes men here…

Friday, 5 December, 2008

“If that lot were told to jump out the window they’d be lining up to do it”, being a line uttered by a disgruntled former colleague at a past workplace, frustrated at the apparent policy of hiring only staff who would acquiesce without question.

See now the logic in a “team of rivals”

I have worked for persons who didn’t like the idea of debate in the workplace, even when it was conducted in the interest of delivering a smarter and better result. After a while my existence at these organizations became absolutely pointless and I quickly lost interest in the work and ultimately employment. Not because I feel the need to fight each and every little battle. It’s just that we don’t live long enough on this Earth to go through life jumping off bridges or drinking instant grape beverage each and every time we’re asked to do so.

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Is Graphic Design Art? No…

Friday, 14 November, 2008

I linked to a poll yesterday asking is graphic design art, yes or no? As of the time I voted (no, btw, based on the strict interpretation of what graphic design is), about 60 per cent of respondents had answered yes.

Given I didn’t think there could really be a straight yes or no answer, despite my “strict interpretation”, plus there being no avenue to discuss the poll, I asked the question on the Australian INfront forums, a community of local web designers and developers.

While the consensus there leans towards a no answer, among some great discussion, Todd Proctor made a comment which sums up my reservations at expecting an absolute answer to such a question:

Graphic design is not art, but often involves it or is later hailed as art.

Yes, no, or “it depends”?

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Social Media conversations: bytes, packets, or fragments?

Wednesday, 3 September, 2008

Actually it’s not just social media dialogue or exchanges of communication. I’m looking for a term that describes the ever disparate discussions we have with each other, particularly friends and acquaintances.

I’m talking about the snippets of conversation that can take place by way of blog comments, social network messages and wall posts, instant messaging, forums, photo-sharing sites, and micro-blogging, such as Twitter.

Then there’s the same thing through voicemail, text messaging, and of course email (using multiple accounts naturally), to say nothing of the swag of other online and electronic options I’m bound to have omitted.

It’s occurred to me that fragments of numerous conversations have become scattered across many and various locations and mediums.

The Age of Conversation written by Gavin Heaton and Drew McLellan, which dissects the discussion of ideas, somehow springs to mind when thinking of these conversations.

We certainly live in an age of conversation, no matter how short or fragmented some of them may be, but has a phrase been coined to describe these divergent communications? Packets, fragments, bytes, snippets, grabs, excerpts, slices?

Whose up for creating a neologism?

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10 ways newspapers can improve comments

Thursday, 31 July, 2008

Ten ways to go about encouraging more meaningful comments left in response to newspaper articles online. Derek Powazek has given the matter quite some thought.

If you think bad comments bug you, they bug the good commenters twice as much. Yes, you should be paying someone on staff to be the Community Manager. In addition, you can also enable the community to help. Give every post a “This is Bad” button. Then give the community manager a private page where they can see the comments with the most bad votes and take appropriate action.For bonus points, give each post a “This is Good” button, too, so they can also tell you about the good ones. Remember that your members are not the enemy: they want to help you keep the place clean, too.

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Who Comments on Blogs, and Why?

Friday, 7 March, 2008

In ten plus years of online journalling/weblogging/whatever else, the comment facility here has only been operational for about the last eight months of that time.

That was mainly because disassociated ran off hand coded static HTML files for most of the first ten years, and installing a comment feature, though possible, would have been tricky.

I was also largely averse to having comments in the first place, as some people’s experiences suggested to me “managing” comments was more trouble than it was worth, despite the availability of tools such as Akismet.

Blog comments are different things to different people though. Some people see them as a measure of their blog’s popularity, while others see them as way of promoting their blog elsewhere.

Mark Ghosh at Weblog Tools Collection

I gauge the success of a post and a topic by the number of comments left on it and actively try to encourage my readers to express their thoughts. I try to join in on the conversation in the comments and I consciously keep myself from modifying or censoring comments.

Muhammad Saleem at ProBlogger, makes an interesting observation about being the first person to comment in response to a posting:

By speaking first, you can establish your influence and have a visible effect on the course the rest of the conversation takes. This is important because there is strong evidence suggesting that the order in which people speak is incredibly important in determining the impact that their opinion has.

In one of Muhammad’s case studies, he found that out of the 19 comments left, half of them contained almost the same words as the first comment. Talk about being “influential”…

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