Tuesday, December 16, 2003

process improvement for the political weblog ecosystem

Philosoraptor wields the nailgun once again (update: inexplicably failed to also credit a fine post on this subject by the lovely and talented Amygdala) in questioning the enormous investment of time and energy that goes into writing political weblogs which then have minimal impact, due to their inherent tropisms toward preaching to the choir and toward demolishing the most idiotic of the opposition's writings:
I want to make it clear that I don't think that everyone I disagree with is stupid or dishonest, though I'm often prompted to respond to the worst stuff I run across, and that stuff is often written by people who do, in fact, have one of the two defects in question. Maybe that's my problem. Perhaps I need to start responding to more sensible people.]

I think that is the point. Weblog culture needs to change in order for it to succeed at more than oral froth generation - there's a crying need for integrated group weblogs with unlike-minded authors who are willing to address and acknowledge each others' strongest points rather than remaining silent on them, to discuss issues in a respectful fashion rather than alienating and demonising, to commit to engage in honest enquiry rather than point scoring, to look for common ground rather than just differences.

Put the Crooked Timbers and the Volokhs together, illuminate with the Light of Reason, sit back and watch the synergy...

Extend the Blogging Loosely Applied Practices credo to include commitments to discussing in good faith, to not repeating demonstrably false "facts", to acknowledging when your opinion or judgement on an issue has changed. Find - and use - a new term for "playing fair" that discards the "competition" connotation. And make it a badge of honor to adhere to these practices.

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