Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A Healthy Debate


It’s been a year plus since I joined KBW and I’ve watched it grow from a 13 member family to what it is today. On my daily rounds I have noticed that we have sort of a tendency to be afraid to disagree maybe? That is the best way I can put it. We have ‘independent minds’, we have ‘clans people’ we have ‘ drifters’ and even more categories of bloggers – ‘Financial Analysts’, ‘Entertainment Experts’, ‘Political Blogs’, we have them all, excellent blogs by the way. If we are so different, then why are we so afraid to disagree? Why suffer in silence, appear to be ‘in synch’ with the crowd only to fit in? This is something I’ll never understand.

This is an observation I’ve had in the past and came to realize fully on Thinker’s piece on having a cake and eating it – everyone agreed and danced around the bush until one voice lamented, an emphatic NO! that sent the piece to ‘KBW Hall of Fame’ if we have one. I think we need to stop ‘pussy footing’ and agree to disagree. Nothing against those who just want to tow the line and belong in a ‘clique’. If we intend to have healthy debate (and civil for that matter), we have to come out of our collective cocoons and say exactly what we have on our minds. Otherwise as Ben Carson aptly put it: “If two people agree all the time, it has been my opinion that one of these people is probably not needed”


At 2:12 AM, Anonymous guessaurus said...

LOL - (putting my head on the plank to be chopped off) I agree with you...

I tend to find (and have remarked this to someone before) that the first commenter dictates the trend thereafter. But at the same time, (allow me to dissent (is that opposite of assent?) birds of a feather flock together. This means that we tend to read blogs that we 'like', if you go to a blog that is 'not your cup of tea' , dont tell me that you will go out there and 'disgree' with everything they say - more often than not you probably will not go back.

I do know that most people will not always write about the same thing over and over, but those 'specialised blogs' will more often than not have a 'following'. Or not.

Eg: going to a club and having a bloody awful time - shallow but similar.

On the other hand (yes, I have more than one opinion) I love a healthy debate. Funny enough I was just thinking this just yesterday, how I or any other blogger will write something, people visit, comment and leave - kind of like pissing on a tree to mark your territory (I realise this is getting a bit old, but hey ho..LOL)and that is the end of that - whereas there are times people will come back for more and reply to your comment about their comment about your comment about...

I suppose that requires writing something that makes people think, comment, go back, think, come back, and debate it further.

(G realises she actually has a blog of her own and has a job that requires her attention at this point and slinks away quietly)

At 2:24 AM, Anonymous guessaurus said...

... not finished yet...

While I was 'having a tantrum' at Thinker's about those cakes (I dont eat cakes so the sugar may have made me hyperactive a tad) I was on the 'Orange' camp.. so I wasnt 'kissing ass' as it were.

Like my friend would say to me, I will say to you what I should have said then, but didnt, ... Who said you always have to 'finish' conversations? (This said for when you deemed yourself worthy to summarize everyone's opinion - you didnt have a notepad or something to tick who said what and why and how? LOL I AM HAVING ANOTHER TANTRUM... :)

Am I starting another (un)healthy debate or looking for a cheap fight? Blame Nick..

(slaps self) Ouch..

At 3:36 AM, Blogger Shiroh said...

Magaidi, i know what you are talking about, but you see if i write saying i am having a bad day what is there to disagree.

I write my comment first, then i read the rest so if i agree all the time, we could just be one happy family.

At 3:38 AM, Blogger Shiroh said...

Someone once complained of "kissing ass" that KBW members visit your blog only if you theirs but hey we are here to give moral support!

At 7:19 AM, Blogger Mignon said...

like you point out, there are quite a number of different blogs addressing different issues. not everyone will be interested in every single topic being discussed, therefore, people tend to read what they like and leave comments on that particular topic of interest.

perhaps kbw members are applying the old adage "if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything" and this makes it seem like "kissing ass" since they only reply to posts when they have something nice to say.

at the same time, i have also noticed that after several "nice" comments, if someone happens to offer a differing opinion, everyone else will pounce on them and accuse them of "hating", hence silencing, not only the commenter, but also other commenters who would have dissented but choose not to in order to avoid the "conflict"

At 7:47 AM, Anonymous acolyte said...

I for one am well known for instigating arguements but I think why most bloggers tend to go with the flow is that they dont want blogs to turn into another mashada.So they may agree and post something contrary or just keep quiet.
But debate is indeed neccesary but as much as I have tried to instigate it wapi!Nice observation btw!

At 4:20 PM, Blogger Whispering Inn said...

Nicely put. I think what is mostly lacking is originality of ideas and sometimes people just don't understand the issues that are being debated and so opt to latch on to the popular flow.
There is also a defeatist attitude among some people and I'll be the first to admit my guilt. For instance the KT/KR debate some time back and the dog food one going on right now @ Thinkers - I find myself thinking; what can I say that is actually going to change anything, make a difference, or that is different and has not already been said. People can talk until they are blue in the face but until we focus on changing the leadership of the country, it's just hot air and wasted emotions.

At 4:44 AM, Blogger Prousette said...

If you watch very closely (ok read) we do disagree but not enough to cause shouting matches after all you comment on someone's blog and not neutral ground, that is one important aspect here you cannot visit someone to ram your viewpoint down their throats so in case of extreme disagreements you live and let live after all yours is also a version of the truth, from your viewpoint.

At 12:39 PM, Blogger Magaidi said...

@G I agree (hic!) with your observation. The first commenter does dictate the trend somewhat. It's funny actually we are a quorum but seem to 'agree' with each other on everything. I only raise this issue because to me its boring and redundant for someone to raise an argument and then everyone shadow boxes trying not to sound different or something, hiyo sio maendeleo.

@Shiroh - while blogs really are diaries, my concern is not the content, rather the reception.If I have a bone of contention, what I need is a different perspective not a sympathiser looking to go along with my argument just to 'fit in'. Rest assured though, i'm not advocating for people to go arguing for no purpose all willy nilly.

@CA - If we all agree to agree, and not discuss issues we disagree on, what good does that do? I've been disabused of many earlier convictions by expressing my honest opinion, not trying to 'get with the program'. If I did, there wouldn't be a learning process.

@Aco - I hear you. Mashada did go to the dogs but I still revisit to read some older threads which peeps disagreed on but it was entertaining. I think we become too conservative sometimes trying to avoid what is viewed as conflict when we don't see eye to eye. We need people on the field, not spectators on the sidelines waiting for the final outcome.

@Whis ...originality of ideas, very well put. Sad but well put.

@Prousette - I'm not advocating that you go flame people who don't see things the way you do, on their blogs to boot. Some previous posts on the blogosphere, polarizing to apoint, we seem to be the big happy family that doesn't disagree. Review the comments on M's, "having a cake and eating it" post, you'll know what I'm talking about.


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