Sunday, 11 December 2011

The complexity of the debate

From Wikipedia

It seems to me that many people browse the blogosphere in search of amusement, information or a debate they can relate to. As far as debates go, the bidirectional facility for comments and replies is also important to some, but so is relevance.

By relevance, I don’t mean relevance to the issue under discussion, but personal relevance for those who want to explore debates in their own way. Ideas and views are multifaceted things and the mainstream media does a poor job of reflecting the vast complexity of how people see things and the direction they’d like to go. Blogs work because there are a lot of them. Their sheer number allows blogs to go some way towards reflecting the complexity of human discourse. It's something the mainstream media, particularly in the UK, never got near. Letters to the editor don’t come close.

I feel the blog phenomenon is a reflection of the frustrated desire of vast numbers of people to join the debate and the hugely underestimated complexity of the debates they wish to join.

How could any thinking person wish to take part in debates as presented by the BBC for example? Before the days of blogging, the BBC only did a kind of genteel one-way paternalistic debate where conclusions are already embedded in the questions and if you don’t understand that, then tough luck old chap. That kind of debate – the one it’s still doing.

Many people want more. Many don’t of course, so we can leave them to the BBC. Maybe they deserve each other. 


rogerh said...

The blogs are a nice place to vent one's spleen occasionally or to gently pull a leg. The debates are sometimes manipulated a bit but mostly not - certainly not as openly as Question Time - what a joke!

The various blogs do have a different 'feel' to them, some seem like the old coffee houses, some like draughty corridors and some like places where everyone shouts and yells. Another curiosity is that some blogs seem a place to drop one's comment and vanish, in others the commenteers delight in point scoring off each other. In yet others the main object seems to be getting in first. Possibly a PhD to be had here (or there).

As a way of exploring an issue in-depth I am not sure blogs really do that and I am not sure why - too long winded or not the right medium?.

I wonder if some 'department' monitors the blogs and has us all marked on some lunacy database - probably not (at least in any useful way).

A K Haart said...

rogerh - this is pretty much what I've found. I don't think blogs can easily explore technical issues in depth, but I find in their multiplicity a useful antidote to propaganda in that you can so easily go elsewhere and compare.

It's the ease of checking and comparing that I like, plus the different tones and voices. As you say, there must be a PhD in there.