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As usual, thanks for the detailed and informed comment. But let me react to some points you make:


 I think ET lacks a transparent structure and process for defining/agreeing editorial policies, resolving disputes, and representing the public face of ET in the real world.  

That's a fair point, I think, with which we have grappled unsuccessfully so far. It's a community blog, so we pride ourselves on not having one person taking all decisions; but within that context it's not arrogant to say, I think, that I have a strong influence on what goes on; and yet I am often in a minority view on a number of topics...

I'm hoping to revisit this in the near future.


 hate the moral superiority of pre-defining ourselves as "progressive" when we should have the moral courage to allow the facts and logic takes us where they will - even if that means adopting a position others might type cast as conservative, Marxist, utopian, or whatever.  

Fair enough.


I sometimes find it very cliquish and prone to setting a higher standard of evidence for dissident views than those which set the "dominant narrative" within ET.

Now this I find really unfair. We may not provide evidence every single time we say something here, but we do have it and, as I noted above, it's sometimes draining to have to re-explain in detail point that we've successfully explained in the past. (Maybe we need to build a quick reference library for some topics...) Evidence there is, and I'll be happy to provide it every single time.

I don't think we set higher standards for any position, quite the opposite. As Colman remarked as well, we're pretty tough on one another - we fight sloppy thinking and unsubstantiated assertions everywhere - and there is more of that amongst those that repeat the 'common wisdom' prevalent in the media than on our side, given how we've taken the pain to go into data in painstaking detail.


because we have a tendency to pay lip service to tolerance of diversity and yet give minority views a hard time.  For a forum which prides itself on evidence based argument and high standards of behaviour, too often ad hominum and personalised attacks do creep in.

Now that seriously requires substantiation, because I'd say it's flat out false. ET is one of the websites least prone to ad hominem and insults. By far.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 21st, 2008 at 02:25:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But his next line was, "Having said all that, I think you would be hard put to find a higher or more civil standard of debate anywhere else."

Big difference between something creeping in despite our efforts and being "prone" to something.  

Overall, I think he's right on.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Fri Mar 21st, 2008 at 02:36:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome a Paris:
I sometimes find it very cliquish and prone to setting a higher standard of evidence for dissident views than those which set the "dominant narrative" within ET.

Now this I find really unfair. We may not provide evidence every single time we say something here, but we do have it and, as I noted above, it's sometimes draining to have to re-explain in detail point that we've successfully explained in the past. (Maybe we need to build a quick reference library for some topics...) Evidence there is, and I'll be happy to provide it every single time.

I don't think that applies to you at all Jerome -in fact you are remarkable in your patience and in your ability to dig out the right graph or piece of evidence every time.  Every group tends to have  "dominant narrative" based on the accumulated evidence and contributions of its key thinkers - and insiders are not going to want to re-visit all that stuff every time it is referenced or assumed in an argument.  So it just gets passed into the assumption base we work from.  

However to a newcomer it appears that certain things are axiomatic and cannot be challenged, whereas other views evoke a sometimes vitriolic or certainly a very strong rejection.  This creates an immediate perception of unfairness - why is my view being challenged - whereas another view is taken as read.  For instance I am the only person who has recommended this diary.  I actually didn't agree with much of it, but felt that having read and enjoyed it, that was the least I could do.  Sometimes Diaries with very little content get a lot of recommendations - you can see why that might seem unfair to someone who has just put in a lot of effort into writing something they care about.

Jerome a Paris:

Now that seriously requires substantiation, because I'd say it's flat out false. ET is one of the websites least prone to ad hominem and insults. By far.

I thought I had covered that point by saying:Frank Schnittger:

Having said all that, I think you would be hard put to find a higher or more civil standard of debate anywhere else

You can hardly deny that some ad hominem attacks do creep in, and perhaps this thread verged on it.   When peoples feeling are hurt, logic goes out the window. The determination to address the issue and not who makes the argument is a key factor which ought to distinguish a serious from a popular site - and generally I think ET does that very well.

I hate arguments which start "I am a <insert here adjective of choice - conservative, progressive, realist, liberal, environmentalist, radical socialist> and therefore obviously....." .  Whether 3rdColumn is a conservative or whether ET is progressive is neither here nor there.  It is how we conduct the debate that matters.


"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Mar 21st, 2008 at 03:07:34 PM EST
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