Open politics argument

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There are three contrasting approaches to organizing open politics argument on the Internet:

  • The free for all, majority rules, administrator bullying method pioneered in the commercial mass media and at Wikipedia - whatever terminology can be enforced by the domninant faction, prevails, driving others to other channels and ensuring that no intelligent debate occurs, merely a few surviving neutral statements of fact, and an unorganized mess of positions confused with issues and arguments
    • This works somewhat for an encyclopedia which is only interested in retaining the neutral point of view statements, but it suffers from representativeness problems; And it fails utterly when applied to editorial, as in the recent LA Times wikitorial case where the contrasting views on what "should" be done about the Iraq war simply destroyed the article in hours. Just before it was destroyed, Jim Wales split it into two separate and contrasting views each with its own position, claiming that this was the ideal way to handle editorials. Most think him correct:
  • The issue/position/argument scheme in which advocates of any given position can clarify exactly its meaning and its limits, without interruption or censorship, just as they would if given equal time in a debate on the issue; this resembles a judicial process which is especially scrupulous about evidence and may require more structure such as issue/position/argument/evidence/source/authority to make decisions about it
    • This can also be extended to TIPA to deal with time-limited decisions or meeting agendas
  • The debatepoint.com scheme which is similar to IPA but more flexible in that arguments can become issues in themselves, leading to an endless regress but also letting them evolve somewhat more dynamically. A position:is still separated from the issue it addresses, and still evolves separately, but the notion of an issue and an argument are more fluid and can actually cohere; A weakness of this approach is that it does not result in any stable namespace.

A fourth, and extremely deprecated, "choice" is to have "near-NPOV" namespaces that purport to be neutral but in fact are slanted persistently towards one tendency or faction. See Fox News and Karl Rove for more on this.

Open politics advocate Craig Hubley says of the choice of argument structure that:

  • "You can win by controlling the namespace and slanting it your way, or you can win by setting up a fair debating structure where unpopular positions can be promoted with equal time and consideration with popular ones. If you take the former path, you are validating that path when taken by your opponents, and you deserve the results. If you take the latter path, you are learning how the system really works, and how to win in TV debates, in courtrooms, in elections. If you don't think the high road can work, then, pick up a gun and head for the streets. The low road is open to you. And it's full of people you don't want to meet, don't want to listen to, and don't want to be like."
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