Comment 56993

By Borrelli (registered) | Posted January 19, 2011 at 10:02:54

A Smith>> "I was hoping the response would be vigorous debate that represents the political spectrum of Hamilton."

Hey, I'm all for that, and if you'll recall, I've long been a supporter of your comments (if not necessarily agreeing with them) because they offer much-needed balance.

But you might be setting the bar a little high if you think that the website can somehow orchestrate that. There's no one speaker or representative for RTH (or any other informal group along the political spectrum), no one controlling the debate, no adherence to formal rules, etc.

But, I'm curious: What website (or other forum) would you hold up as the gold standard for "community debate"?

I think the history of the RTH comments section reveals that there's almost an equal likelihood that a pro-RTH'er will go over-board in bashing a heretic as there is a chance that a heretic/troll will wander in and ruin a productive debate. No point in trying to assign blame in this chicken-egg problem, and I don't think it's fair to lay this problem at the feet of RTH and its organizers.

For example, you've placed most of your debating eggs in the "punch holes in other people's arguments" basket. This is probably one of the most irritating forms of 'debate', and is remarkably common among commentators with conservative views (since they, by definition, tend to prefer the status quo). You can fairly punch holes in all kinds of progressive schemes, since progressives are rarely afraid of exploring new, creative ideas and get it wrong as much as right. But don't expect this to be an endearing approach, especially if its done rudely, or without the presentation of alternatives (since the hole puncher critic has the luxury of being insulated from having to propose his/her own way forward).

But (in my view) criticism, done correctly, is never a bad thing. And speaking of LRT, Smith, have you seen this? Some of the arguments presented are a pretty shaky upon closer investigation, but it's an interesting, alternative (for RTH) view of an established LRT scheme, especially the issues surrounding the construction and operation costs (which will probably be issues here in Hamilton, as well).

Comment edited by Borrelli on 2011-01-19 10:03:07

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