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Old 09-14-05, 07:01 AM   #1
Little Darwin
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Why must every thread in this forum degrade into the same few arguments?

Are we cyclists really afflicted with such minimal depth of intellect?

I think it is perfectly acceptable to have a thread that only has entries supportive of a certain view... If someone has read the forum for more than a day, they know all of the basic arguments. However, I hope this can also a safe place for people to talk about the best way to create bike lanes (or eliminate them) without it degrading into the same old debate about whether the basic concept is valid.

I think we should exercise some restraint to allow those wanting to exchange ideas with people of like mind the right to do so.

I think the debates are wonderful, and should continue, but there is room for mutual support as well.

This post is motivated by seeing some responses to a nice posting on the wonderful cycling available in the poster's town due to advocacy, which degraded immediately into messages proclaiming the evils of bike lanes.

Whether for, or against:

Bike Lanes
Vehicular Cycling
Critical Mass
Helmet Laws
Licensing Cyclists
...

YOU HAVE MADE YOUR POINTS! We should all let a thread or two go by without expressing your opposing view, it will build character. I am guilty too at times, but I hope to change that.
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Old 09-14-05, 08:31 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgregory57
YOU HAVE MADE YOUR POINTS! We should all let a thread or two go by without expressing your opposing view, it will build character. I am guilty too at times, but I hope to change that.
Pat's recipe for a more enjoyable and productive BikeForums.net

(1) I ignore certain topics, no point reading them or contributing.
(2) I ignore certain people, no point reading their posts or replying.
(3) I try to remember why I do #1 and #2, so I don't break my own rules.


It works.
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Old 09-14-05, 08:58 AM   #3
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Thanks for the insight Pat!

I think I will adopt rules similar to yours.

It would be nice to have a higher signal to noise ratio, but I need to remember I have a brain, that built in biological filter that I can use to eliminate the impact of the noise.
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Old 09-14-05, 09:06 AM   #4
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I think it's valid to ask for courtesy and respect during discussion, but it's pointless to try to stifle substantive debate. If people don't want to debate those who disagree with them, then they merely need not post replies.

If people want to exclude those who don't agree with them on certain assumptions, then they should start a private list.
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Old 09-14-05, 10:08 AM   #5
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I agree with much of what you say, Greg.

Perhaps requesting something like, "no debates, please", in the OP might be a way to get this to actually happen in some threads?
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Old 09-14-05, 10:10 AM   #6
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Come to think of it, I think I've seen some posters already do that (e.g., "this is NOT another bike lane debate"), and, as far as I know, it worked. I, for one, respect requests like that.
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Old 09-14-05, 10:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sggoodri
I think it's valid to ask for courtesy and respect during discussion, but it's pointless to try to stifle substantive debate. If people don't want to debate those who disagree with them, then they merely need not post replies.

If people want to exclude those who don't agree with them on certain assumptions, then they should start a private list.
at least what i got out of the op was that we should be able to do more than call each other names, which is what half of the topics turn into. the whole "i'm right, you're wrong" mentality, as oppsed to substantive debate, where the issues involved and the reasons people have the strongly held positions that they do.

pat is dead on, and i have days where i avoid the advocacy forum in toto because it seems that it is the worst of all the forums for name calling. as an active bike commuter (4-5 days a week) and weekend rider i have a vested interest in strong interest in bike advocacy, and it gets depressing to see the people across the country who could do the most to raise the level of debate regarding bikes as vehicals acting like politicians in DC
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Old 09-14-05, 10:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
I agree with much of what you say, Greg.

Perhaps requesting something like, "no debates, please", in the OP might be a way to get this to actually happen in some threads?
Yeah I usually put something like "trolls go away". Seems to work...
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Old 09-14-05, 02:07 PM   #9
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I totally disagree!



Al
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Old 09-14-05, 03:36 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by noisebeam
I totally disagree!



Al
Me too!

Wait, I think I started this.....
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Old 09-14-05, 04:56 PM   #11
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patc, right on.

dgregory57, don't forget that there are problably a large number here who just read and shake their heads sometimes. We're all guilty of the occasional swipe, and some do it more than others.

It's part of the anonymous nature of an internet forum, the effects of total democracy in discussion, and with many people the desire to shout their messages out simultaneously. Sometimes you get weird bickering over nothing, sometimes you get some great debates.

Most importantly though, when a thread starts to go off, people who are bored with troll-fests get turned off, and then you have a higher concentration of trolls in one place. It's kind of funny sometimes to see a thread go wacko jacko.

It's like the conversational version of Brownian motion

Nice post.
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Old 09-14-05, 05:18 PM   #12
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I specifically agree with your point on the bike friendly cities. I posted on that thread something like, "Are we done with bike lanes? I want to hear about some more bike friendly places." To no avail. Not to name names, HH and GC, but discussing the things that make places seem friendly is an important part of advocacy. Think about it!

I've heard about Godwin's Law (I think that's the right name?) stating that threads die when someone mentions "Nazis", and somebody always does mention Nazis.
do you think bike lanes might be this forum's "nazi?" The mention does kill a lot of threads!

Now bike lanes are an important topic, and obviously very controversial. We will not, and should not quit discussing them. But I get so bleepin tired of hearing about them all the time!
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Old 09-14-05, 05:46 PM   #13
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It does seem as though every traffic incident post degenerates into either a VC or helmet debate. Usually if I see the usual suspects taking up their positions I abandon the thread. Been there, read that.
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Old 09-14-05, 06:27 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Roody
I've heard about Godwin's Law (I think that's the right name?) stating that threads die when someone mentions "Nazis", and somebody always does mention Nazis.
do you think bike lanes might be this forum's "nazi?" The mention does kill a lot of threads!
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Old 09-14-05, 07:52 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Roody

I've heard about Godwin's Law (I think that's the right name?) stating that threads die when someone mentions "Nazis", and somebody always does mention Nazis.
do you think bike lanes might be this forum's "nazi?" The mention does kill a lot of threads!
Nitwit is a less offensive term to describe the thread killing clods who, at the drop of a posting, insist on whining and moaning about the product of devil worshipers (i.e. bike lanes) on God fearing vehicular cyclists.
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Old 09-14-05, 08:30 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by sggoodri
I think it's valid to ask for courtesy and respect during discussion, but it's pointless to try to stifle substantive debate. If people don't want to debate those who disagree with them, then they merely need not post replies.

If people want to exclude those who don't agree with them on certain assumptions, then they should start a private list.
I agree that its (worse than) pointless to stifle debate. My recommendations have nothing to do with stifling debate or not wanting to debate with those who disagree with me. Pardon the cliche, but some of my best friends are people who disagree with me about nearly everything. Keeps things lively at parties.

The problems arise when some people post in bad faith, or when some people high-jack debate to push a certain view point - often to the extreme of completely sidetracking threads. This behaviour usually involved endless repetitions of the same points, over and over ad nauseam. Sure, you can ask that certain topics not be discussed in some threads, but that seldom works (for example I tried that a while ago and the request was not honoured).

Debate I welcome, wasting my time I don't. I consider it a key internet skill to be able to decide for myself what discussions and people are a waste of my time.
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Old 09-16-05, 03:50 AM   #17
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Hey Pat, just checked out your site. Nice site, beautiful photos. (hope you don't hate me for stealing some as wallpapers)
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Old 09-16-05, 04:16 AM   #18
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If people want to ban criticism of bike lanes, do we also ban praise, including indirect praise like, "City X is 'bike friendly' because it has lots of bike lanes"?

As to the bike (cyclist) friendly debate, when you start the subject of which cities are bike (cyclist) friendly, one critical question is what makes a city bike (cyclist) friendly.

But I agree, the mention of bike lanes can have Godwin's law consequences. But it goes both ways. If you don't want people to criticize bike lanes, don't praise them.

Last edited by Daily Commute; 09-16-05 at 05:19 AM.
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Old 09-16-05, 06:00 AM   #19
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I don't know about the attitudes of others that have posted for sure, although I strongly suspect some will agree with me.

I do not propose eliminating debate. Especially the debate that is genuine. I propose that the people should throttle themselves, and present their arguments in threads that are appropriate for the debate, and leave some other threads alone.

I think that even though the motivation is different, the atitude is the same as those that I click on the spam button for... My product/opinion is so important that you need to hear it again, regardless of whether the time/place is appropriate.

While I understand passion (I am passionate about helmets and other safety equipment) I don't insist on inserting discussion of helmets into every thread, even safety related threads. I probably have posted a few too many times about helmets though, and as I believe I said in my initial post, I need to think too.

I hope that there are always live threads on each of the wide variety of highly important and controversial topics, I just want to be able to seek refuge in some threads... Like this one (so far).
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Old 09-16-05, 08:51 AM   #20
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^^ I concur most wholeheartedly ^^

(now don't anyone go starting a similar thread about people who just chime in )
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Old 09-16-05, 10:25 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daily Commute
If people want to ban criticism of bike lanes, do we also ban praise, including indirect praise like, "City X is 'bike friendly' because it has lots of bike lanes"?

As to the bike (cyclist) friendly debate, when you start the subject of which cities are bike (cyclist) friendly, one critical question is what makes a city bike (cyclist) friendly.

But I agree, the mention of bike lanes can have Godwin's law consequences. But it goes both ways. If you don't want people to criticize bike lanes, don't praise them.
I think you've missed the point. It's not about the topic, it's the agenda based hijacking that's the concern.
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Old 09-16-05, 11:07 AM   #22
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Hey Pat, just checked out your site. Nice site, beautiful photos. (hope you don't hate me for stealing some as wallpapers)
Thanks! You did read the fine print, right? "These images may be used and distributed freely for non-commercial use provided my photo credit remains attached to the image." (No, not a big deal if you remove the watermark for a wallpaper - although I rather you didn't.) One of my sig lines has been, "Share art, not greed." So help yourself.

I have several new shoots to post, but I've been busy working on wedding photos. Hopefully by mid-October I'll be caught up
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Old 09-16-05, 11:59 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgregory57
Whether for, or against:

Bike Lanes
Vehicular Cycling
Critical Mass
Helmet Laws
Licensing Cyclists
...

YOU HAVE MADE YOUR POINTS! We should all let a thread or two go by without expressing your opposing view, it will build character. I am guilty too at times, but I hope to change that.

Hey! I have decided to save time by just amending my sig so I don't have to waste any more time! Thanks!

Also I used to live in Hazleton... So hello there in WB
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Old 09-16-05, 12:03 PM   #24
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Hey! I have decided to save time by just amending my sig so I don't have to waste any more time! Thanks!

Also I used to live in Hazleton... So hello there in WB
I do like your Sig... concise and makes the points!

I am enjoying WB, I moved here in January from the west coast, so I am getting used to a new climate, and a new cycling environment... Cycling needs some help in this area, and if I get a chance my web site will be in place as a point for local information. www.cycle-nepa.com
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Old 09-16-05, 12:09 PM   #25
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I do like your Sig... concise and makes the points!

I am enjoying WB, I moved here in January from the west coast, so I am getting used to a new climate, and a new cycling environment... Cycling needs some help in this area, and if I get a chance my web site will be in place as a point for local information. www.cycle-nepa.com

Hmm as a former resident of Luzerne Co. (and where my family is from) I'd have called it www.CoalCrackerCycling.org but hey that's just me

My .sig is intended to be flexible as I learn more about what I do and don't like.
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