Rational Discussion Links

These are some of my best articles, from 2020 or earlier, related to rational discussion.

Claiming You Objectively Won A Debate discusses the minimum standard to make a rational claim that a debate is finished and that a conclusion should be accepted. People rarely even try to do this, but claim to have won debates anyway. I talked about this more in a recent forum post about colorable arguments.

Asking Good Questions gives tips. A good way is to present questions as a point you got stuck in your own thinking process. You tried to solve W problem, you thought of X and Y, you ran into difficulty Z, and the question is how to make progress from there. Tell that story. You should be looking for help making progress yourself, and getting your own learning process unstuck, not looking for other people to think for you. And you should be putting questions in a context like that, including what you already tried and why it didn’t work for you. That gives people reasonable information about what’s going wrong and what replies would help. Also, don't ask questions with yes-or-no answers when you want an explanation, or some sort of guidance, in reply.

Discussions Should Use Sources talks about referring to things that have already been written (or spoken plus recorded) rather than trying to reinvent and rewrite everything yourself during discussions. It’s important to engage with existing knowledge and get it involved in discussions.

Discussion Points of View and Mutual Benefit talks about considering other people’s points of view during discussions.

Question-Ignoring Discussion Pattern talks about a very common way that people don’t respond to direct questions.

Written and Unwritten Rules In Discussions talks about communicating instead of expecting things to go without saying, transparency, and bias. And one of the main reasons people don’t explain the rules they follow or want others to follow is because they don’t clearly know the rules themselves. Putting things into words that you can tell others is a way to understand them better yourself and combat your own biases.

Rational Discussion Tips and FI Posting Tips give tips for having productive discussions.

Three Discussions Approach is a way to limit discussion so it isn’t endless, but without arbitrarily closing your mind to criticism, questions, and debate.

Discussion Policy: Quotes or You're Presumed Wrong talks about the importance of engaging with specific words people said instead of responding to some kind of vague summary of what you think they meant. People often criticize things they think I said, which I can’t recognize as something I said or meant, and then don’t provide any quotes to show where they’re getting it from. Don’t do that. And especially don’t do it and then object to my request for quotes and start trying to tell me that quotes aren’t necessary and asking for them is unreasonable (many people have tried that).

Errors Merit Post-Mortems is about learning from your mistakes.

Discussing = Thinking talks about the connections between discussing and thinking.

Discussion Structure talks about the organization of discussions as a separate matter from their content.

Debates and Impasse Chains talks about a method (impasse chains) for ending discussions without arbitrarily rejecting good ideas due to your biases. It also links several related articles at the end.