Is there not much dedicated interest in online debate unless there's fighting?

Erttheking

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Something I've been noticing for some time know is that whenever I or anyone else try to make a positive thread about something, a specific issue that's been plaguing us recently or for some time, trying to bring people together, it tends to not last very long, getting up to page three max. Contrast threads where things get heated, Mass Effect 3's ending, Gamergate, transexuals, DLC or anything that rubs us the wrong way, things tend to get much more heated, with things that go up to 1000 comments. I get why heated threads tend to blow up the way they do, everyone trying to get their two cents it, people replying to others and everyone trying to make their voice heard over the throng, but what puzzles me is the lack of interest in the lack of activity in calmer debate. Even I find myself drifting away from it, despite the exaustion more intense debate causes.

Does anyone have any idea what this is the case? Because I have nothing. Or am I just overthinking?
 

Aris Khandr

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Lengthy discussion requires passion and disagreement. We could have a discussion about the damaging effect of money in politics, and it would not likely last very long because we all agree that politicians being for sale is bad. Similarly, a discussion about Coke vs. Pepsi would not likely span multiple pages, because while we may not agree, no one really has enough passion for the subject to argue about it for any great period of time. There are exceptions, but that is how it works more often than not.
 

Sleepy Sol

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Controversy breeds interest. Doesn't it feel better to keep hurling nasty and condescending words at somebody than it does to agree to disagree and move on?

Unpleasant news is just going to catch the eye more often than "this went exactly as it should have" or "everyone got along." For me, that sucks, but it also makes plenty of sense.

It's much easier to say your one or two sentence opinion on and bail than it is to stay invested in a topic of debate, or speak in a less inflammatory or positive manner.

Disjointed late-night thoughts.
 

Fappy

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Nothing gets the dopamine flowing quite like outrage. Gamers are nothing if not a reactionary bunch who will fight tooth and nail over the pettiest bullshit imaginable: review scores, which character has the best boobs, which game has the shittiest writing, etc.

It'd be nice if we could get some genuine interest in a fun topic, but I don't really expect it to happen these days.
 

Zontar

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Fappy said:
Nothing gets the dopamine flowing quite like outrage. Gamers are nothing if not a reactionary bunch who will fight tooth and nail over the pettiest bullshit imaginable: review scores, which character has the best boobs, which game has the shittiest writing, etc.

It'd be nice if we could get some genuine interest in a fun topic, but I don't really expect it to happen these days.
I don't see why gaming should do that given how every medium has that problem. Seems it's a result of human nature above anything else.
 

Addendum_Forthcoming

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Nothing rallies people like a banner. It also requires less thought to participate in rhetoric than it does to put thought into a metaphysical frameworks. That being said, I don't see it as necessarily bad. People speaking plainly about some element of social theory makes it easier to unpack...

Whether we like it or not, not everyone is going to pull out their Sartre when expounding on some strange aspect of being.
 

Fappy

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Zontar said:
Fappy said:
Nothing gets the dopamine flowing quite like outrage. Gamers are nothing if not a reactionary bunch who will fight tooth and nail over the pettiest bullshit imaginable: review scores, which character has the best boobs, which game has the shittiest writing, etc.

It'd be nice if we could get some genuine interest in a fun topic, but I don't really expect it to happen these days.
I don't see why gaming should do that given how every medium has that problem. Seems it's a result of human nature above anything else.
I agree it's likely human nature, but it seems especially prevalent in the gaming community. Could just be that I've kept an ear to the ground for so long though.

*Shrugs*
 

Casual Shinji

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The impersonal nature of posting makes it a lot easier to flat out disagree with someone or to knock their opinion down. You're not really having a discussion, you're reacting back and forth to eachother's post, which takes the common courtesy of interacting with someone face-to-face out of the coversation.

Plus, gamers can just be real dicks amongst themselves.
 

PsychicTaco115

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Some people just want to watch the shit-flinging and insults pop up

If it's controversial then people will post, argue, insult and eventually lead to gossip over said drama

It's like the circle of life but it's shittier
 

Lightspeaker

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Casual Shinji said:
The impersonal nature of posting makes it a lot easier to flat out disagree with someone or to knock their opinion down. You're not really having a discussion, you're reacting back and forth to eachother's post, which takes the common courtesy of interacting with someone face-to-face out of the coversation.
I tend to agree with this. The problem is when you've got a big topic open to everyone few of whom have personal connections and with relatively little moderation then there's basically no reason for anyone to agree or even listen to anyone else. You can hold forth on whatever topic you want and to hell with whatever anyone else thinks.

This isn't as true in small, intimate communities on the whole. One of my old gaming group forums had a section for "serious" debate and discussion and because it was a small group of people linked by their interest in a particular game it tended to be calmer. This was further helped by the fact that myself and the other admins were also part of that small intricate community, everyone knew each other (at least through the internet) and therefore we could judge far better when someone needed a time-out. So reasonable discussions could happen (even if it didn't convince anyone necessarily).

But in bigger, open forums where anyone and everyone can pitch in? And with relatively lax moderation that don't know each of those debating individually? You can't have a debate under those conditions because of my first paragraph. What you CAN have is a flaming row.
 

Padwolf

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Well, because people love some drama, and people love to see shit going down. And it's on the internet, no need to hold back out of fear because people know you. You can just let it rip and to hell with the consequences. People also love to gossip, so a giant controversial debate is like a goldmine.
 

Fox12

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erttheking said:
Something I've been noticing for some time know is that whenever I or anyone else try to make a positive thread about something, a specific issue that's been plaguing us recently or for some time, trying to bring people together, it tends to not last very long, getting up to page three max.
Are you trying to imply that we can't post something without someone disagreeing in a belligerent manner? Is that what you're trying to tell me right now?!

Contrast threads where things get heated, Mass Effect 3's ending, Gamergate, transexuals, DLC or anything that rubs us the wrong way, things tend to get much more heated, with things that go up to 1000 comments.
No they don't! This is a logical fallacy (probably). Pics or it didn't happen.

I get why heated threads tend to blow up the way they do, everyone trying to get their two cents it, people replying to others and everyone trying to make their voice heard over the throng, but what puzzles me is the lack of interest in the lack of activity in calmer debate. Even I find myself drifting away from it, despite the exaustion more intense debate causes.

Does anyone have any idea what this is the case? Because I have nothing. Or am I just overthinking?
In seriousness? People like drama. People like conflict. That doesn't excuse poor etiquette, of course, but in my experience a good forum encourages discussion, and often times disagreement. The threads where everyone pats each other on the bat are typically short lived and boring. People post their 2 cents and move on. Forums where people argue are far more interesting.

Of course, there's a difference between someone saying "I disagree" and "Ur a fahg 11!^lol." The second is awful, but compared to other sites, I think the Escapist is pretty well moderated. I can't even read the trash heap that is youtube anymore.
 

FalloutJack

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erttheking said:
Does anyone have any idea what this is the case? Because I have nothing. Or am I just overthinking?
GRARGH!! You take that back! I spit at you! This is war! I- Just kidding. Sorry, had to.

What you have discovered is that people seem to like arguing more than actually discussing online, even if it's entirely pointless like the Console VS PC Wars. Absolutely nothing anybody says on those has bearing on the companies or the products, but they do it anyway. People who discuss things normally are more lax because there's no pressure, just like in real life.

Captcha: On the ball

Naturally.
 

Imperioratorex Caprae

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Face-to-face discussions are so much better than internet discussions. Its a lot easier for people to knee-jerk react online because there's no one that might punch them in the mouth for the things they'd dare not say in person. At least thats my idea of why its hard to have a real discussion on a forum. The facelessness of the internet makes it easier for people to just be jackasses. Again, thats how I view it.
Maturity gets lost when there's nothing physical to keep your mouth (or fingers in this case) in check. Just listen to how people talk smack in multiplayer games. You know they damn well wouldn't be talking that smack in person. I remember once in an arcade we had in the barracks when I was waiting to be discharged from the Army there was this dude playing Cruisin' USA or some racing game and another dude was behind him just talking all sorts of smack. Next thing I know the guy playing the game finishes his race, turns around and straight up knocks the smack-talker out. Two hits, one to the face, then the dude's head cracking against the floor.
Proof-positive in my mind that most people in a face-to-face discussion are more likely to be civil (unless they're absolutely brain-dead stupid) because you never know who you might be talking to, what they may do and what they're actually capable of doing.
 

Just Ebola

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erttheking said:
people replying to others
We've found our culprit. Of course a lot of the threads that get an immense amount of comments and views have a click-bait title. A huge part of the attention they receive can be chalked up just to being controversial, but I've found that the majority of such threads consist of the same handful of people just arguing. One person says something that another disagrees with, and the shit-slinging begins. But this isn't necessarily a bad thing, this is how controversial opinions get some attention and the more asinine and unfounded opinions get debunked. It's not pretty, but some might say it's necessary, and pretty much everyone will say it's fun to watch.

But I still can't help but feel bad for the positive threads that are under-served. Everyone needs a bit of levity from time to time. Even though it's discouraging, don't let it stop you from trying to inject some positivity into the forums! A lot of them might not get a lot of exposure, but their presence is really appreciated by some people.
 

Recusant

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FalloutJack said:
What you have discovered is that people seem to like arguing more than actually discussing online, even if it's entirely pointless like the Console VS PC Wars. Absolutely nothing anybody says on those has bearing on the companies or the products, but they do it anyway.
I think you're mistaken here, and on the edge of a point as to why the phenomenon might be more pronounced in gamer circles than the more general internet culture. Gamers tend to be passionate people. The same is true of most niche communities, but with an added bit of baggage- for a long time, you kind of had to be; the numbers were so small, and the stigma so big, that anyone who'd actively go out and join a community was, by definition, very passionate about it. Those days are long past- but no so long that those who remember them are gone. Even if they were, the way they set things up determined how many things would be done- and informed a great many more. A niche crowd of passionate people is going to want to discuss what it cares about, and, all too often, tempers are to get lost; but here, at least, you can find an audience. A nongamer, if you attempt to argue your position in the platform wars, will likely neither understand nor care, and won't listen. A gamer might also not listen, but that'll probably be because either 1. they feel differently or 2. they're sick of hearing about it. The companies that make these products usually don't care what some individual yahoo in Milwaukee or Mumbai says about it, but said yahoo certainly does; while the discussion may not move the Earth, it's not useless.

Another particular complication is that gaming is no longer the niche activity it used to be, and circumstance has apparently dictated that the questions and difficulties this has raised be resolved in the most unpleasant and damaging way possible. The (I apologize for using what I know is an impolite word, but English has nothing else that seems adequate) clusterfuck of and around Gamergate has scourged every gaming community I'm a part of. People are still reeling. The ugliness (and countermeasures) have driven people to both probe the limits of what the new rules are and seek comfort in passions that have nothing to do with that whole mess. This element, at least, will eventually pass.
 

EvilRoy

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erttheking said:
Does anyone have any idea what this is the case? Because I have nothing. Or am I just overthinking?
I always assumed it was part of some gamers obsessive need to be the good guy/hero. You can see it pretty often, where someone plows into a thread, ignores 99% of the conversation going on to seize on the one thing they managed to dig up as being objectionable, and respond to it with passive aggressive sarcasm or painfully smug superiority. There are a few people on the forum that seem to be incapable of being involved in a conversation that doesn't have one or the other and they also tend to be the people who drive the threads longest, go figure.

Sufficed to say I don't necessarily think there is not much interest in debate without fighting, but I do believe the people who require fighting in order to have a conversation are also the people who cause conversations to go on for extended periods - making it look like the only major discussions we have are fights.
 

Yopaz

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piscian said:
Because people on here as a whole are not mature or informed enough to have a legitimate debate on something material like the Keystone Oil Pipeline and the things people on here are informed enough to debate the merits of are pretty childish and not do have enough points to facilitate more than a page or two of arguments unless the flaming begins then sure 8 pages +.
I think you're partially wrong here. The Escapist has a variety of users and I know a lot of us are in fact quite intelligent. The problem is that we're also very diverse in our fields of expertise. I for example have a degree in molecular biology which I have supplemented with some chemistry and evolutionary biology. I don't know much more than basic physics and mathematics, I know little about the social sciences and close to nothing about geophysics. Others know a great deal about this and care deeply about it.

Gaming is something that is a more common denominator for the website's population so most of us can meet in that topic. If I start a thread where I start discussing the concerns I have about using ultrasound to treat Alzheimer's I don't expect people to understand the details that make me worry because they don't share my background. Fracking isn't something that's done in my country so I only have a brief idea of what it is so I don't feel able to voice my concern on it. Vaccines is something I know a lot about and I will voice my educated opinion of that.

Also being informed or not has never stopped people from arguing it. Look at people who are against vaccines, who don't believe in evolution or global warming. There's a lot of comments that show complete ignorance of how things actually work.

You should look around, compare the comments seen in the comment section on news sites and the comments on news on this site. You'll see immaturity both places, you'll see people being uninformed both places and you'll also see the opposite.

Also I think you misunderstood the point of the thread. This isn't about serious issues vs entertainment related issues. It's about positivity vs negativity.

EvilRoy said:
erttheking said:
Does anyone have any idea what this is the case? Because I have nothing. Or am I just overthinking?
I always assumed it was part of some gamers obsessive need to be the good guy/hero.
I always thought it was because we have a desire to be right, but this also makes sense in some instances.

OT: I think the essence of it has been captured in other posts already. If we disagree with something it gets our blood boiling and we start banging out a few walls of texts. When we agree with something we may be satisfied with nodding our head and moving on. Now I do enjoy having lengthy discussions about things I love, but in forums I rarely seem to get into these kinds of discussions.