How to Stop Intelligent Discussion in Three Easy Steps.

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How to Stop Intelligent Discussion in Three Easy Steps.

Since I have joined Bnut, I have noticed a trend repeating itself that seems to serve only to disrupt any serious conversation and assure that no educational, intelligent, or inspirational discussion can be had without interruption. This trend is by no means limited to Bnut, it is common on many other forums, but is often perpetrated by the same small group of people.

Observing this trend over time has taught me a few things. I have noticed that with only a few exceptions of newcomers, the same few people usually perpetrate these disruptions. I have also noticed that these disruptions are usually done with their full intent to steer a topic of base, to bait another into an argument, or to fill a thread with so much nonsense that any further serious discussion is impossible.

On other forums some of these same people would be rewarded for these efforts by succeeding in having the thread closed or locked. It was obvious that whenever a topic was being discussed (i.e. art) that they did not want discussed, they would simply pick a fight and feed the fires until the thread was closed. Effectively censoring the topic and preventing any further discussion on it.

So in order to call attention to these tactics seemingly designed to stop any intelligent discussion on a forum, I have created a small course on the subject. It is my hope that by reading this, more people will recognize these tactics for what they are and call out the posters of such on every occasion.

What I don’t cover here is the last ditch desperate attempt to end a discussion, begging the moderators to close or lock it. This is usually attempted when all else has failed.

The Dead Horse Ploy

Whenever a discussion comes up and is actively being discussed, one of these disrupters can be counted on to use the Dead Horse Ploy. This ploy always comes when others are actively engaging in a discussion on a topic, thus showing that people are indeed still interested in the subject, still discussing it, and thereby, still learning from it. In short, it comes when the horse is far from dead, in fact usually when it is still being rode.

This ploy comes in many forms from simply stating that a dead horse is being beat to posting animated graphics of a dead horse being beat. No matter how the dead horse is brought up, it is usually by a person who has either not been involved at all in the current discussion or that has recently been proved wrong during the debate.

So what could motivate a person to use the Dead Horse Ploy. if it is quite obvious that the topic is still drawing interest and creating discussion on the forum? The only reason I can think of is that the person wants to stop intelligent discussion on the subject, maybe because they don’t understand it, it goes against what they have posted or believe, or maybe even because they don’t like the people who started the discussion or are engaging in it. Whatever the reason, it is obviously just a tactic to disrupt an otherwise active, intelligent discussion.

Defense: Point out that the mere fact that the topic is being actively discussed proves it is far from dead. Remind them that no one is forcing them to participate and ask that they do not try and force us not to.

The Discussion is Pointless Ploy

This ploy is used often, often again by someone who has not participated in the discussion, or who has voiced an opposing opinion that has been shot down. It can come in many forms from the obvious, “this discussion is pointless” to complaining about the discussion, to claims that the discussion will solve nothing or prove nothing.

This, like the other ploys are simple attempts to end a discussion that the person personally can’t or does not wish to engage in. This could be for many reasons including ignorance, being proved wrong, jealousy, or many others.

Defense: Remind the person that no one is forcing them to read the thread. Point out that they have the right to not participate and you have the right to. Explain that most people condemn what they cannot understand and remind them that, like a TV, they can change the channel instead of screaming at the screen.

The Off Topic Comment Ploy

The surest way to disrupt a thread is to throw in some off the wall, completely unrelated to the topic post, and you double the disruption if it is designed to bait another into an argument.

This can take on many forms and also include the other ploys mentioned in combination. People who are desperate to end a thread will do anything, from posting pictures meant to incite heated arguments, to quoting song lyrics, to personal attacks, to bringing up some completed unrelated topic.

No matter the means, the goal is always the same, to end the discussion, to sidetrack it, to stop all intelligent conversation lest they be exposed for the lack of tools to participate.

Defense: Call off topic posts on the spot, ask the poster to stick to the topic or have the courtesy to start their own thread elsewhere so those who wish to discuss the topic can.

I think by recognizing these ploys to end discussion and calling the posters on them whenever they happen, we can end a lot of the problems on this forum. Couple that with a zero tolerance for baiting and we may actually cultivate intelligent discussion that all can learn and be inspired from.

Just my thoughts,


Bonsai Nut

Nuttier than your average Nut
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Charlotte area, North Carolina

By posting content like this you are inviting trolling, which I'd prefer not to have to manage. My response to your subject is the same as Rick's. Surely you could have spent this time writing something relevant to bonsai that would have contributed to the site.
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