Argument is war; thus forum becomes battle ground.
Argument is war; thus forum becomes battle ground.
It seems to me that the forum members who participate in a thread approach the experience invigorated with much the same attitude as does a boxer entering the ring or a soldier going into battle.
Metaphor entailments (to transmit or to accompany) we live by:
He attacked my argument.
I have never beaten this guy in an argument.
If you do not agree with my statement then take your best shot.
I shot down each of his arguments.
We approach a forum response much like we approach a physical contest. We have a gut feeling about some things because our sense of correctness comes from our bodies. Our “gut feeling” often informs us as to the ‘correctness’ of some phenomenon. This gut feeling is an attitude; it is one of many types of attitudes. What can we say about this attitude, this gut feeling?
“Metaphors we live by”, a book about cognitive science coauthored by Lakoff and Johnson, says a great deal about this attitude. Conceptual metaphor theory, the underlying theory of cognitive science contained in this book, explains how our knowledge is ‘grounded’ in the precise manner in which we optimally interact with the world.
“The essence of metaphor is understanding one kind of thing in terms of another…The metaphor is not merely in the words we use—it is in the very concept of an argument. The language of argument is not poetic, fanciful, or rhetorical: it is literal. We talk about arguments that way because we conceive of them in that way—and we act according to the way we conceive of things.”—Lakoff and Johnson
Let us say that in early childhood I had my first fight with my brother. There was hitting, shoving, crying, screaming, and anger. Neural structure was placed in a mental space that contained the characteristics of this first combat, this was combat #1. Six months later I have a fight with the neighbor kid and we do all the routine thing kids do when fighting.
This is where metaphor theory does its thing. This theory proposes that the characteristics contained in the mental space, combat #1, are automatically mapped into the mental space that is becoming combat #2. The contents of combat #1 become a primary metaphor and the characteristics form the fundamental structure of mental space combat #2.
This example applies to all the experiences a person has. The primary experience is structured into a mental space and thereafter when a similar experience is happening the primary experience becomes the primary metaphor for the next like experience. This primary metaphor becomes the foundation for a concept whether the concept is concrete experience or abstract experience.
What I am saying is that for some reason the Internet discussion forum member considers engaging in a forum thread is a competition, it is a combat, and the primary combat metaphor is mapped into the mental space of this forum experience and thus the forum experience takes on the combat type experience. It seems to that is why lots of forum activity gets very combative.
Is it any wonder that the adrenalin starts pumping as soon as we start reading the responses to our post?
Do you feel like you are in a battle with me after reading my claims?
Is this why most replies are negative?
Reading your post, I wanted to verbally fight with you, only for a second though, but it's not my experience with a majority of posts.
Most of the time I react like an explorer, looking for whatever's missing and trying to find out the hidden agenda or point of view. Then once I've found it I search for my own opinions or knowledge that would best build apon what I've found and then write it in the most constructive way possible.
I don't think all forum posters are fighters at heart, but more so that all ego centric conversations are a fight in themselves. Like you said, there are views to defend, opinions to express and arguments to poke holes in. Have you noticed that sometimes after some conversations you are mentally tired? It is quite like you have literally been in a battle, fighting. Any time someone strongly expresses a view or opinion as "The way it is" there's the instant wanting to attack that stance if your views or opinions differ. The difference of opinions and wanting to be right is what causes the conflict and essence of fighting in the conversation.
I see that a way out of it is to catch yourself as you are posting a fighting post, and then see where you can add to the discussion. Instead of tearing down the other person's views, opinions or facts, find a way to build a new view of things that is positive and hasn't been expressed before.
I think the best way through is to be aware of yourself and your actions and go from there.
Theory doesn't work for me, I just don't care either way. ;)
Edit; I find it kind of stupid to fight over a forum, although I can see plenty of people doing it...
There is a difference between fighting against an argument or fighting against the person who makes the argument.
Lately I've come to a point to state that most arguments are pointless.
Whetter some one is right or wrong can not always be established.
-Did YOU do this?Some one saw you do this!
-No I did not, he must be mistaken!
-yes you did
Sometimes things can be good and bad at the same time
eating apple, good for health, bad for teeth
So another persons arguments can be useful to collect additional information that does not support your point.
For some peole winning an argument becomes more important than the argument itself.
It is pointless to enter these kind of discussions.
I'm more interested in an others point of view, and I will see if it is usefull or not.
That is how I would like to be treated in an argument.
Anyway, nice lead!
I think it revolves around attitude. Some people hit forums to get a wide scope of views or opinions. Some use forums as a podium, here's what I think listen to me. Others are on forums with a more general if I don't agree with this post I'll say so, if I do agree I'll say so too. Others like to add their thoughts and just mix it up with folks. And then there are those that simply lurk.
So why so many arguments on forums? "Cause no one knows who you are and they can't see you and so you can say whatever you want, which normally face to face you never would. Anonymity brings out the lurking you on the internet. It's actually very interesting stuff.
I have some alternative metaphors for you. I find them useful.
When humans interact, they tend to do it in four basic ways:
* Helping oneself over another. (Bandit)
* Helping another over oneself. (Helpless)
* Helping both. (Intelligent, or Love)
* Hurting both. (Stupid)
I see these everywhere; forums are a particularly good example. I break it up into two different groups: Debate (Intelligent) and Argument (the other three). This is because I tend to see these behaviors:
* Trying to force an opinion on someone else, make them look bad, or "win." (Bandit Argument)
* Trying to help someone that isn't open to it. Wasting your time. (Helpless Argument)
* Insults, fighting, flaming, etc. -- both trying to "win." No one wins. (Stupid Argument)
* Open, friendly, and willing discourse on a point of disagreement. Both win. (Intelligent Debate)
In a Debate, you may not end up agreeing with the other person, and they may not end up agreeing with you, but in the end both are better for considering a different perspective. Both are open to giving full consideration to what the other has to say, and if one changes their views, it's not because they have been bludgeoned into submission or proven wrong, it's because they have chosen to adopt for themselves something they consider better.
Disagreements are inevitable. It's how people handle them.
(I first encountered this way of thinking in The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity. Sadly, this page has recently been gutted [EDIT: Internet Archive to the rescue].)
I think that part of the problem is that too many of us have only an accept button and a reject button.
Accept or reject are not the only options one has. The most important and generally overlooked, especially by the young, is the option to ‘hold’.
It appears to me that many young people consider that ‘to be negative is to be cool’. This leads them into responding that ‘X’ is false when responding to an OP that states that ‘X’ is true.
When a person takes a public position affirming or denying the truth of ‘Y’ they are often locking themselves into a difficult position. If their original position was based on opinion rather than judgment their ego will not easily allow them to change position once they have studied and analyzed ‘Y’.
The moral of this story is that holding a default position of ‘reject or accept’, when we are ignorant, is not smart because our ego will fight any attempt to modify the opinion with a later judgment. Silence, or questions directed at comprehending the matter under consideration, is the smart decision for everyone’s default position.
Our options are reject, accept, and hold. I think that ‘hold’ is the most important and should be the most often used because everyone is ignorant of almost everything.
I think argumenting is a good thing; it is one of the things that help to keep my brain fit. Apart from this, i do not see arguments in the forum as any kind of battle or war, i have nothing against the people i'm argumenting with.
Argumenting and arguing are healthy things; if people doing it don't get too emotional and zealous with their points of view (i must admit that sometimes i get kinda zealous with my POVs, but i never attack anyone personally, and as far as i remember, most discussions in these forums do not get to the point of flaming).
Learning happens in 3 ways:
The first way is learning new information; that is, for instance, learning how to operate a new computer program after never having seen it before.
The second way is integrating new information into a previously-held understanding; such as learning how a computer program can do X and Y though maybe you didn't know that before.
The third way is learning something that completely abrogates previously-understood learning. That's the toughest one to integrate, and often creates disconnects within both the learner and the teacher.
The theories of argument go directly to that third way of learning.
I experienced this for myself after taking an extended world trip a number of years ago, and discovered for myself that my predispositions to social conservatism were based on falsehoods. I came back a changed man, and it wasn't something that happened easily; it was excruciating to discover that much of what I had taken for granted for decades was based on falsehoods.
But to the point: argument is not war. Argument avoids war. That's why we have things like the House of Commons in the UK and Canada, and the Congress in the United States. Better to shout at one another than to shoot at one another.
Indeed. "Argumenting" was the first word that came to my mind in that moment :o
Fantastic topic once again coberst. You're a wonderful addition to these forums :)
I'm sure it's clear to everyone that we're emotional creatures. Even when we understand and have experienced the benefit that calm (but still passionate) debate can generate, we're still often led astray by our emotions.
I think that many people, young or old, are sometimes unaware of the feelings which guide their reactions. As an example of feelings which people may be unaware of, coberst, you pointed out an unhelpful attitude commonly attributed to young people. My initial reaction was to point out equally common attitudes attributed to older people.
Another issue is the reason people post, as Tayrak mentioned. Some people don't believe they have anything more to learn, but a lot to teach. Others want to learn, but don't like the way what they're trying to learn is presented. Others, like myself, often see a lack of consideration for alternate possibilities/explanations/perspectives (and in a broader sense a lack of critical thinking), and try to point this out. Sometimes not very diplomatically. Sometimes neutrally, but it may be perceived as an attack.
Another aspect of our development can influence our behaviour during a debate. As cdn mentioned, as we start to form solid models of the world, once those models are established they're pretty hard to shake. There are theories which attribute this to the security our belief in those models seems to provide. Therefore any disruption to those models may be seen as a threat to our security.
Michael Chui wrote a summary of his approach which I think would be relevant here, but I can't find the thread. If you're listening, Michael, have you got that link handy? Though as one of the best examples of how to conduct an intelligent debate, I'm sure even Michael reacts inappropriately sometimes. ;)
|All times are GMT. The time now is 11:04 PM.|
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.1.0
Copyright © 2010 by Pavlina LLC