2010-02-05 Debate tools

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Date: 2010-02-05
Link: http://lesswrong.com/lw/1qq/debate_tools_an_experience_report/
Author: Less Wrong/Morendil (writingscat)
Source: Less Wrong (articlescat)
Topics: structured debate rationality Argunet
Categories: structured debate rationality Argunet


Debate tools: an experience report

longer text

One of the most important technologies for advancing both rationality and collaboration is the written word. It affords looking at large, complex issues with limited cognitive resources, by the wonderful trick of "external cached thoughts". Instead of trying to hold every piece of the argument at once, you can store parts of it in external form, refer back to them, and communicate them to other people.

For some reason, it seems very hard to improve on this six-thousand-year-old technology. Witness LessWrong itself, which in spite of using some of the latest and greatest communication technologies, still has people arguing by exchanging sentences back and forth.

Previous posts have suggested that recent software tools might hold promise for improving on "traditional" forms of argument. This kind of suggestion is often more valuable when applied to a real and relevant case study. I found the promise compelling enough to give a few tools a try, in the context of the recent (and recurrent) cryonics debate. I report back here with my findings.

[edit] shorter text

“Previous posts have suggested that recent software tools might hold promise for improving on "traditional" forms of argument. This kind of suggestion is often more valuable when applied to a real and relevant case study. I found the promise compelling enough to give a few tools a try...”

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