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View Poll Results: Which would be more attractive to you ?

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  • I want an argument. The nastier the better. Subject-irrelevant

    0 0%
  • I want a nasty argument - It should relate to a pre-existing stance

    2 5.41%
  • I want an argument with an edge- no ad hominem, though.

    10 27.03%
  • I hate to admit it, but I am more attracted to a dispute.

    4 10.81%
  • It doesn't matter to me if it is an argument or neutral, if the subject is interesting

    23 62.16%
  • I won't participate in a dispute unless I am awfully sure, and so I find arguments limiting

    7 18.92%
  • I tend to avoid most disputative threads.

    4 10.81%
  • I despise argumentative threads. They suck.

    5 13.51%
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Thread: Argument

  1. #1
    Senior Member kuranes's Avatar
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    Default Argument

    Are you more stimulated to take part in a thread where there is a dispute going on versus people simply exchanging concepts or opinions ? In other words, let's say you see a thread on the kinds of engines near and far future spacecraft would have, for escaping the atmosphere or navigating in space itself. If you saw a thread that criticized a popular method that is used ( or which have had plans whose general details are available to the public ) for such propulsion, and you had some subject matter knowledge, would you be just as liable to participate if someone asked (neutrally ) what method you advocated, OR if they took a stance where they badmouthed a proposal ?

    I was going to use an example other than rocket propulsion, and pick music groups or politics etc. but then we might have gotten off into a discussion how these subjects had been brought up so many times that both argumentive and neutral aspects of these particular kinds of threadbuilding were somewhat boring.

  2. #2
    mrs disregard's Avatar
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    i prefer objective prompts

  3. #3
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    There's not enough conflict in here yet for me to reply. Call me when there's a fight...

    Nah seriously. It depends on a few things for me. I tend to think that healthy criticism hones ideas. So I'm more likely to join in on a thread where that is taking place, because I think the topic is more likely to be well-treated that way. This assumes civility from all parties, so it wouldn't fit in with your "badmouthing" scenario I guess.

    On the other hand, if the person is "badmouthing" something and I think I have more information than they do, I'm usually very motivated to show what I've got.

    And sometimes an outright brawl is just fun.

  4. #4
    Senior Member kuranes's Avatar
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    One of the things that motivated me to post this is the plethora of threads with the words "over-rated" and "under-rated" in them, vs. simply saying "Let's discuss X"

    I was going to put down that it didn't matter to me if it was phrased argumentatively. But then I was tempted by the "I hate to admit it" option. I think the latter ( Hi Joft ) would definitely be more attractive if it was a subject I had strong feelings about, and someone posted to the contrary. ( Of course, one always wonders if a simplistic stance was taken just to serve as bait. I've noticed on daytime talk shows that there often aren't many people ( allowed to speak ) who take a nuanced approach, conceding points to both sides of a controversy. )

  5. #5
    Senior Member HilbertSpace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuranes View Post
    Are you more stimulated to take part in a thread where there is a dispute going on versus people simply exchanging concepts or opinions ? In other words, let's say you see a thread on the kinds of engines near and far future spacecraft would have, for escaping the atmosphere or navigating in space itself. If you saw a thread that criticized a popular method that is used ( or which have had plans whose general details are available to the public ) for such propulsion, and you had some subject matter knowledge, would you be just as liable to participate if someone asked (neutrally ) what method you advocated, OR if they took a stance where they badmouthed a proposal ?
    Good question, and responses to this thread are sort of a meta-experiment that answers it...

    For myself, I usually won't "me, too" in a thread, whether it's an argument or a discussion. If I agree with what people (especially the OP) are generally saying, I won't bother to respond because I feel like I don't have that much to add. At the same time, I absolutely avoid everything if a thread is so out there that any attempt to barge in with what I think is the correct information or interpretation would be futile.

    Overall, I prefer the exchange of ideas threads over the argument threads, simply because people are more open and so the discussions are more interesting and involve more information. Threads that are arguments are more often characterized by dogmatic stances, and those usually go nowhere. They're not about information exchange, they're about asserting yourself (at best) or bullying (at worst).
    JBS Haldane's Four Stages of Scientific Theories:

    1. This is worthless nonsense.
    2. This is an interesting, but perverse, point of view.
    3. This is true, but quite unimportant.
    4. I always said so.

  6. #6
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuranes View Post
    Are you more stimulated to take part in a thread where there is a dispute going on versus people simply exchanging concepts or opinions ? In other words, let's say you see a thread on the kinds of engines near and far future spacecraft would have, for escaping the atmosphere or navigating in space itself. If you saw a thread that criticized a popular method that is used ( or which have had plans whose general details are available to the public ) for such propulsion, and you had some subject matter knowledge, would you be just as liable to participate if someone asked (neutrally ) what method you advocated, OR if they took a stance where they badmouthed a proposal ?
    The most enticing debate would be one in which both sides have salient points. The term badmouthed suggests to me a less objective criticism. I tire of exaggerated criticisms that miss the mark, but find constructive criticisms of those things often taken for granted fascinating. I find personalized, exaggerated, overly passionate arguments distracting, and if too present, will avoid the discussion because it's too exhausting to try to untangle its web of distortion. Language is limiting enough as it is without intentional misuse through exaggeration and attack.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

  7. #7
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HilbertSpace View Post
    Overall, I prefer the exchange of ideas threads over the argument threads, simply because people are more open and so the discussions are more interesting and involve more information. Threads that are arguments are more often characterized by dogmatic stances, and those usually go nowhere. They're not about information exchange, they're about asserting yourself (at best) or bullying (at worst).
    Me too!

    Actually argumentative threads tend to be displays of personality. In the pursuit of knowledge I really don't care what the individual's personality is, how dominant or submissive, etc. I only want to know if they are credible - have a reasoned, coherent presentation of ideas and external information that backs it up.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuranes View Post
    Are you more stimulated to take part in a thread where there is a dispute going on versus people simply exchanging concepts or opinions ?
    It all depends on the subject and the people I'm discussing with. Sometimes, an argument can be a good way to test a stand point, an idea or simply to gain info about the people I'm discussing with.
    Verbal IQ Test

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    You appear to have a very limited vocabulary and lack the ability to identify the correct responses for a variety of different questions. A deficient vocabulary can hinder you in many ways; you may struggle to find the correct words when speaking, fail to understand what others are communicating to you, or come across as inarticulate to others.

  9. #9
    Senior Member kuranes's Avatar
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    What I'm heaing is that some people might be more tempted into a thread if there is an argument, so long as the criticism is more refined. Perhaps I should have used a different phrase in the OP than "badmouthed", but there are people who gravitate to that also.

    But then what of the people who dislike most disagreement, however refined the posts are in expressing it ? They feel that whoever comes out "wrong" is going to feel bad, even if it was all conducted with dignity, I guess.

    If an argument or "spirited discussion" attracts you more than "discuss X" does ( assuming that subject "X" had at least a little inherent curiosity for you etc. ) are you also more attracted to a thread that is centered around someone asking for help with a specific problem ? If so, would you feel the same way about a vague problem ? ( Surprisingly these vague problem threads can be very popular, as they are so open ended as to allow people to come in from practically any angle. Headfonz is the master at creating these. )

  10. #10
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    I like something that is more like brainstorming and refining ideas more than brawling most of the time myself.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

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