Conversation, Not Debate

Over the past few weeks, this wee bloglet of mine seems to have gotten a decent bit of attention. While that is, of course, nice, if a bit disconcerting, I may be about to destroy it in one fell swoop. I’ve been wanting to talk about this for a while, and was reminded of it the other week when the (amazing) Captain Awkward linked to The Gloss’s article When Men are too Emotional to Have a Rational Argument. Also, a few recent comment threads have threatened to go in a direction I’m not particularly comfortable with. I want to talk about why.

I’ve written about this before, by the way. I’m bringing it up again for a couple of reasons- the first being that this is my little sandbox, and I’d like to at least give guidelines for the way that we play here. The second reason is that I feel I have a far better handle now on why I think the way I do and what I want to gain from this.

What are we doing here?

WHO KNOWS? But you can continue reading this post over at the Tea Cosy’s new home. See you there!

10 thoughts on “Conversation, Not Debate

  1. I love your blog, and the fact that you publish it, not least because the only time I’ve ever posted to the effect that I had reservations about something you’d said, you actually thanked me.

  2. I understand how you feel! Debates are awesome but can be really exhausting. As a person often low on spoons and as someone who has some fairly intense conversations, often, there’s only so much I can take. This is your blog, you call the shots. *hugs* your articles are, as always, consise, intelligent, engaging and biased… And that Is precisely why I enjoy reading it. x

    • Yep. I think that making a space for people who might have their spoons sapped by confrontation to have their voices heard is so important. There’s a privilege to being a person who can be loud and bolshy and elbow their way into conversations. I want to hear from the people who don’t normally get their voices heard that way.

  3. Pingback: Do You Engage to Enrage? « Cheri Speak

  4. I was just going to click “like,” but as I’m not a blogger, I couldn’t. This is a great post, thanks!

    • And that is one of the best openings I’ve ever seen for blog evangelism ;)

      (No seriously, blogging is awesome and fun and everyone should give it a go. Er, if they want to)

  5. Pingback: Pity, compassion, and empathy | Consider the Tea Cosy

  6. I find it confusing that you say you don’t do debate. Telling someone you disagree and why is an argument. It sounds like you are okay with that. A conversation (back and forth) concerning a disagreement while offering reasons that support one’s view can be considered to be part of a debate. You don’t sound like you are against that as long as it’s rational and respectful. And yet even a perfectly rational and reasonable conversation involving a disagreement of this type can be frustrating and lead to bad feelings. I would not expect anyone to change their mind from a conversation that completely lacked arguments/reasons to believe things.

    • For me, the difference between conversation and debate is in purpose. When I think of debate, I think of two sides with entrenched views that they are trying to convince the others of. When I think of conversation, I think of people sharing their views- and yes, evidence for those views- but without that same sense of entrenchment. In a debate, it’s assumed that you’ll pick a side. Conversation allows space for perspectives to change and develop over its course.

  7. Pingback: Pity, compassion, and empathy

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