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Debate assertion: Debating politics with strangers on the internet is largely pointless.

Political and moral questions in general are 90% sentiment and only perhaps 10% rational.  People form alliances based on how they perceive organizations, political parties, and state powers are friend or foe to themselves or those they love.  These feelings lie close to feelings about self and self-worth, and therefore political debate supporting a foe or opposing a friend are likely to trigger strong emotions.  Influenced by strong feelings people mostly create rhetorical nonsense.  Debate is only possible when the 90% sentiment part in two people align, which can not be relied on in a group of strangers.

Enlightenment thinkers posted that politics could be made a branch of mathematics.  Maybe it's still possible, but in observing political debate on the internet, I don't see it.


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I would largely disagree with the "why" but I agree with the assertion.

On any topic on the internet you're sure to run into a hotbed of sophistry and middle school debate club "tactics" that can be defined by an absolute lack of intellectual integrity. On the internet the currency is attention. The people who are the best at getting people to pay attention to them may not be the best at formulating a coherent argument, but they'll have an easy time "pricing out" better arguments, to maintain the currency analogy. You also have many reactionaries and radicals who define their view by opposition to each other and really would not be able to come up with any policy on their own without somebody else's to oppose. Finally you have a baked in Dunning-Kruger thing that becomes more pronounced the further you get from the mainstream. The mainstream is the most affected by the amplification problem but we're the most affected by the D-K Effect issue. We are all kinda losers here. We are probably the last people who should be telling the world the minutia of how a properly functional society should run. What we tend to have in common is that we're fringe outcasts who have a tendency to base our views on policy towards what would make us feel more valued than we are. That's not to say that all politics are subjective, most are not, but what we as individuals would discuss here in this corner of the internet among each other? Absolutely.

So I wouldn't say that strangers on the internet are incapable of having an objective discussion, that's part of why this page has forced anonymity to encourage objectivity, but I think that we here who know each other are individually incapable of objective discussion, myself included. Especially myself. The function of this discourse now is that I have a desperate need for some vapid fappery to be witnessed and acknowledged as superior. To the point where my entire life revolves around people seeing how absolutely insightful I am on a topic I know nothing about with 5 minutes of meditation and 55 minutes of rhetoric. I cannot apply that tendency to everyone however because there are areas on the internet where my shortcomings are immediately noted and shot down, even by those whom would tend to agree with me.


>What we tend to have in common is that we're fringe outcasts who have a tendency to base our views on policy towards what would make us feel more valued than we are.

What's the connection between the first part of the sentence and second?

>We are probably the last people who should be telling the world the minutia of how a properly functional society should run

Do outcasts like us belong in a properly functioning society?  Or are we outcasts because society does not function properly?  Who are 'us' -- the three or four ponies posting on this page, MLP Fans, internet users at large?

>we're the most affected by the D-K Effect issue
Would it help if I said not having an education in psychology, I know I can not hope to understand the D-K Effect well enough to talk about it?  Probably not.  That will just come off as obtuse on purpose.  Well, anyway.

If I might summarize my understanding:

The Fringe Outcasts - rational, arrogant.  Should stay out of politics because they are weird.

Mainstream -- humble, but not capable of much rational debate because of groupthink, short attention span, or lack of skill in debate.


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I think you can have a debate about political issues if you separate them from the larger umbrella of politics under which they fall.  For example, you can imagine a fairly straightforward debate about the question: "Should city waste management add an additional garbage truck to the northwest district?"  It's pretty straightforward, and anyone can look at the pros and cons.  But if you now add a political layer to it, that Party A is fully in favor of it as part of their platform, and Party B is fully opposed as part of their platform, then the simple question of whether the city should purchase an extra garbage truck gets saddled with all of the other unrelated political issues as pertains to the party whose platform your position indirectly supports.  Suddenly people are calling out your moral failings and wishing for your death, because you have a position on whether the city should purchase an extra garbage truck or not.  The garbage truck question itself is not political, but it has been politicized, and this is the real problem.  And to extrapolate from there, things in the modern day have been politicized to an absurd degree, intentionally, to weaponize the resulting tribe mentality against the opposition and/or to shut down debate entirely.  Now we can't even talk about the garbage truck question, because doing so is "political", and on a site like Ponyville, politics is generally not allowed to be discussed.

So debating politics?  Yes, it's pointless, because if you treat something as political, then it can't be disentangled from the issues associated with it.  But if you can debate the issue isolated from the politics surrounding it, then you can have a decent conversation.


Personally, I feel that a lot of "political" issues aren't all about facts and logic. A lot of ways to deal with issues are validated mostly based on the presiding moral.
I don't think there's a perfect solution to deal with immigration, environment, budget cuts, social wellfare,...
Everyone has their own opinion to deal with such issues and acording to their moral compass, one solution will be favourable, but in most cases, you can't set an objective true solution.

If you get what I mean.

On the flip side, is debating politics useful?
I think there's ways in which it can be very useful and ways in which it's not.
I do think as an outlet, it's so popular because people can say what's on their mind and get their opinion heard. Somewhere  that's useful.
I am sure that listening to someone's well thought out post brings that satisfaction you get from an echo chamber, but surely there are arguments that make me review or rethink my stance on it.

In greater scales, in times of unrest, regimes can shut down the internet, because voicing those opinions brings people together.
There's a good reason this would be feared.
If you find that people all across the words are suffering the same injustices as you are it can be a call to action.


Ive heard it said that debates are more to convince the audience one way or another rather than to convince the other side to change their minds.

Which, if that is the case, makes arguing online with strangers, where there is little to no audience, a complete and utter waste of time.

Nobody likes Debate Bros. Pretty much the only people that find the experience worthwhile are the people doing the arguing, while people either look on with distaste or just ignore it entirely.

There may be something to be said about the matter of debating and how it relates to how the people involve learn reasoning and how to get their point across and other such things, but for the most part I think it is just a waste of time, an inflated sense of self importance, and something for those bored to do when they have nothing else.

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