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Rational Controversy Can Enlighten All Sides

23 Jul 2009


(I covered the mic from 30 to 50sec)

Social Media is a Platform Where Ideas Collide

Consider that many millions of perspectives are shared on a daily basis, each of us judging our own life condition and sharing what we consider of value. Independent of the source, status updates, streaming data, or blogs, we are bound to run into conflict when we discuss polarizing topics. In such a debate, commenters will be more inclined to get involved with the conversation, and add value by sharing many opinions and insights from their own experiences. Readers that happen upon the conversation can glean a healthy amount of knowledge from the finer points discussed. In my blogging experience, there have been many excellent comments shared by readers. They provide great value by enriching my own perspective, which as I've written about previously, is susceptible to cognitive biases.

Steer Clear of Beliefs or Style Arguments

There's nothing of value to be gained from shouting matches over beliefs or personal taste. Diligience is required when engaging in debates to avoid pitfalls where all parties involved are wasting their time. Folks are going to believe what they wish, and be inclined to prefer their favorite styles regardless of how much "evidence of righteousness" is raised. I've been fortunate enough to have some interesting debates with my long time friend Eli (before he was consumed by World of Warcraft, again).  Although I'm agnostic and he believes in no gods, even we have hit the boundaries of our beliefs in long discussions about the nature of existence.

Generate Polarizing Content When it Makes Sense

If you are a content generator of any form, don't let sensationalism blind your better judgement. Make sure there's a good reason to shake up the hornets nest. A fine reason for raising a debate, is first hand experience or a perspective that requires validation. Ideally there will be multiple parties involved, at least a few of which who are open minded.  By listening to opposing views, we afford ourselves the advantage of  additional perspectives, realizing the power of collaborative design.