Experiments are good, because science is good. Even *shudder* sociology.
I want to try an experiment with the internet. I know that these things are risky, but I want you to participate.
One of the things that I try to do on this blog is to provide a thing what other people ain’t providing. Which is hard, given the hypothesis that there are only a few dozen original ideas in the world. But I think I may have nabbed a new one. Nabbed is totally a word.
I think the internet is an awesome thing. It is a source of free information and freedom of speech, both of which are awesome things. But it does have some problems. There are too many cats, for one thing.
Another problem is the so-called ‘echo chamber effect’, as described in the good book The Influencing Machine by Brook Gladstone. It describes the way you fall into a world of people who agree with you, and no one with a doubting voice. What happens next is mass confirmation bias – everyone is agreeing with each other, so you never stop to doubt the ideas you have, and you look for more people you agree with you. And you start thinking that your idea and it alone are right – after all, there are so many people agreeing with you. It can’t be wrong!
It’s partly this mindset that allows conspiracy theorists to thrive online, in boxed-in communities of other like-minded people. But it is also a problem for the majority. I have a view set that matches that of most of Reddit, so it’s easy for me to think that I am right. It takes a lot of willpower to accept that people with other views can be right as well.
And I want to encourage embracing of other people’s views. And in the process, maybe change some minds.
Now here is my idea. I’ve arbitrarily chosen a subject that I have a view on – gun laws. I think that guns should be tightly controlled, the US appears to think otherwise. People have opinions on these things. So here’s my idea.
If anyone reading has an opinion on gun laws, I want you to go back to your home blog and write a piece with the title Debateball – US Gun Laws. I then want you to post a link to that in the comment section of this here post. And if I deem it acceptable for my audience, I will give you a reblog under the Debateball label. You get views from me, I get views from you, you get to share your opinions, everyone wins.
That’s all I’m asking. But I do also have a few ground rules. I’m not trying to start a war, I’m trying to have a reasonable debate. So if you do this post, you need to follow these few rules
- THIS IS NOT A FLAME BOARD. You can’t just use this as a way to knock the people who don’t agree with you, you need to be making a reasonable point. I’m going to disable all comments on the reblogged posts, and I’d be grateful if you did the same. You can’t just insult the other people
- Make a reasonable point. As stated above, I’m not going to allow people to purely take out other arguments. Also, ideally at least 200 words. And use evidence. I can’t overstate enough how important it is to use evidence when making an argument, especially when talking to those who won’t necessarily agree with you.
- Be reasonable. Try not to use too many f**king profanities, and be fairly nice to other people. I can and will edit out any rude language on a reblog, and being rude won’t get you any favours
That’s it. Write a short post titled Debateball – US Gun Laws, follow these few ground rules and leave a comment with the link here to get a reblog. Help support your own point of view! It doesn’t matter if you agree or disagree with current laws, or just have a cool idea. Spread it!
If Debateball gets a big response, I’ll try to do the event in a few weeks from now. If no one does anything, then nothing will happen. Experiments fail. Help make sure that this one doesn’t. Thanks 🙂