The Straw Man Epidemic

The need for this website is so evident it barely needs an introduction. It resonates with us in a way that no amount of marketing ever could. We all know why we're here, "the system is broken". But I worry that GD fails to overcome some of the less obvious trappings of human nature.

POW tells us the purpose of this site is to make our unheard voices more powerful. I believe in this purpose and I think the site has a lot of potential to wield. But I worry it will become a fad and peter out like Myspace when by all rights it should become an internet giant.

We must do more to elevate our thoughts, this site is the ideal place to do so and that will give us real power. If we don't then we are destined to become as stifled as the UN. While it may be fun to demonize our leaders for incompetence, it's naive to think we can do a better job just by listening to more people.

The Straw Man Fallacy is the misrepresentation of your opponents argument by replacing him with a 'straw man' then defeating a similar but disjointed argument.

I don't want to sound arrogant but some of the posts are just riddled with non sequiturs and straw men. I want this site to become a true model for E-Democracy, not just a cost effective opinion poll.

I propose that the site increase it's interactivity to be more like the Delphi Method. With more options for feedback. Rather than just good or bad, it should have options for logic errors, quality of information, validity of insights or conclusions. The user should be able to flip between a chronological format (as it is now) and an argument map with pros on one side of the page and cons on the other, using a bubble sort algorithm to float the most relevant to the top. With full voting options on each post and response.

And possibly, though I'm not sure how to go about it - a procedure to insert one post into another as a subset or alternative position.

Perhaps even themes within categories, pictures to accompany the title, an option to follow a specific members posts?

N.B. Epidemic refers to society, not just the site



  • Its also easy to see this site design and functions are in their early days. There is another matter that its easy to see that many users have not read the paper work so to speak, the links being displayed on the left hand column.

    The two main points I find interesting is your reference to Straw Man fallacy and the Delphi method.

    Where ever one debates on the internet there will be those that offer Straw Man Fallacy. That's because other people will have an opposing opinion and there are those that will try to destroy the character as they dislike the message but can not offer a real argument. The answer to this is good administrative moderation. There will of course trolls that are out for sadistic fun and those that will add red herrings to take debates off subject. Those that offer academic gibberish or utter stupidity trying to be the smart guy. Moderation is very important on any social community site.

    The Delphi Method involves the need of a panel of experts, real experts normally cost money for their time.? Then experts could have a indoctrinated lean to the site. Whereas promoting global democracy could end up with having a specific political or even religious political angle? More ways to answer yes I think the very same on that issue but at present i think that having a voting system and a comments is an okay thing in the short term, i would like to see a method to have HTML hyperlinks to link to internal and external url's. I am a social community developer that knows this and other things are possible plus it can take time to impose somethings quicker than others.

    I was very impress with this site and could see when i joined it potential but also the need to keep the POW voice being credible. I seriously think small understandable suggestions and ideas that can be seen a feasible, taken one step at a time would give the POW a very powerful voice within a short period of time. The first quarterly speech on Youtube will be critical concerning this sites future. Its a point of getting respect and having total credibility.

  • The above comment was mine, my mistake of not logging in shows a need i think of allowing non members to post. As it is it allows trolls a very big avenue of attack, its better they become members then if they troll their account can be deleted.

  • I don't think the straw man problem is any kind of deliberate character assassination. It's just down to human error. We tend to lump ideas in with each other, everyone does it. System design should account for this and that's what the Delphi method is for.

    Yeah, experts probably wouldn't be economical if the designers want to keep the place ad free. But it's been shown in studies that small contributions by large numbers of people is just as good as a few experts. I forget which studies, but they are out there!

    One other advantage would be that a counter argument, or supporting argument further down the post may be weighted stronger than the original post and be shown as more valid.

  • Remembering the site is new and I know the Admin are looking at ideas to improve hopefully this post will help them. Your last paragraph is of course important to the debate and really something the admin should in my opinion consider. I can see you like me want this site to be successful.

  • I did all ready request this:
    I would be pleased if you read all the text as it is a solution of a problem. Thanks!

    In order to integrate the ideas that all add, why not add the possibility that these proposals could invite another proposal to be part of that proposal as part of the points of this proposal, and the opposite.and that the invitation allows a dialogue between those involved so that they can agree and share votes as a group because they have the same type of nature but in different order, but keeping individual votes, to highlight its importance rather than compete with each other.

    The fact that ideas compete for importance only have the results of separate them, when in fact all our ideas are important and only need a place to match in order.

    These invitations should have a voting options by those involved in a chain of ideas only to indicate whether they agree or disagree with this union of ideas, and a dialog box to discuss the reasons why agree or disagree, to prevent a person takes possession of the ideas they proposed, but does not belong to him.

    And this can be done from one idea to another causing a chain of ideas that highlighting the order of the ideas of the same nature by the order on the chain and the most urgent by the votes of an idea on a chain of ideas. on the same order by votes.
    To get the Human Integration!

  • *respect, for your view. *intelligent. and as i read, i cannot help, but think> some things, are simply =inevitable. *we can alter the foundation, adjust the present platform, but eventually? human nature, will tend to elevate, leaders of purported intelligence, and benevolance, and once having DONE so, the (spoils) of the position, will over-ride the initial benevolance, and human nature will revert itself, back upon itself. un-announced, to the general eye....* there will ALWAYS , as you illustrate ( A BUBBLE EFFECT ) as some have , posited: "The Cream always RISES"....and, compelling arguments, exist...I admit, as i present here, claiming with vengeance, to support "human rights"..and non-elitist agenda?
    My thoughts, come full circle, as they approach, the one, obvious and inescapable TRUTH...> that we all face...> HOW do We, keep population "in check" with nature's ability to support, our human community? SANS WAR..SANS global epidemic, or purging ailments. > A humane way, of..adherence to nature's law, while..maintaining human rights, of enjoying, the simple and Nature's endowed, right of Coitus...** how is a man, to remain true to Heaven's Will. in the face of exists presently...some defy, education. some, defy, Truth, or simple IS, the Ultimate enigma...and TRUEST Test, of humanity, we could face. Is it Not? >am I my brother's keeper? if needs be..yes. > am i , his executioner? by literal or subversive means, i care not to be...Though, Our Mutual challenge , leaves us little option. We must find, a common plane of acceptance? and adherance, or perish..within, X number of years. ( Isn't it so? to coin a phrase. ) the moral dilemna, remains.. people, will not ACCEPT the plain Truth...of the matter. ( i speculate ) EVER? you will always, have factions which rebel, against whatever platform of correction you propose..and eventually, elitist mind-set will always emerge from the ranks. >thats a glass-half-full type of commentary, thought it seems time, to yield the floor, to another.. Thank You Mr President...>food for thought, I submit.

  • ( HOW DOES ONE< LOG-IN, As a legitimate and verifiable contributor? ) I have no desire, to "toot my own horn", but for purpose of discourse, and evolution of thought, per need? I respectfully ask guidance.. on this matter.

  • Why experts? I find that many experts are biased. Also, most don't become experts without going through a left-wing-biased educational system. In a nation as free-thinking as we supposedly are in the free-world, for their to be two major sides on most issues, but having the young and impressionable, the gullible, those just coming out of school siding only one of the those sides the vast majority of the time only to change later on is not indicative of free-thought being taught. It's indicative of brainwashing towards that one side that always gets the impressionable to come to their side.

    Frankly, I have difficulty trusting experts that only ever have one side of the argument to agree with, and that's almost all of them.

    Personally, I like to know what an expert says, but I'm also intelligent enough to realize that they're almost definitely biased, and I take what they say with that understanding.

    Also, since this "global Democray" idea is that the vast majority of the people under it will be non-expert common people, I prefer to hear mostly what they will say. Relying on expertise is the way of the left, the way of the autocracies as the experts are always one-sided, and always agree with the popular opinions of the elite few.

  • Finding the most "right" idea will yield nothing. Establishing the least straw stuffed of all rational understandings...accomplishes nothing, because it is impossible. Thoughts/ideas/theories will always be straw forms of the reality they interpret. The point here is that reality changes shape to all belief systems.

    Therefore I believe it is advantageous to investigate conceptions/ideas of our selves that are beneficial. Instead of searching for the most "right" ideas/theories, we should drop the sword, and begin to conceive ourselves as individuals according to the straw men of our dreams, rather that the straw men of our nightmares.

  • Clearly this website requires a karmic user-moderation and voting system for posts and comments.
    In a karmic system, posts and comments are voted up and down by registered users. Making posts or comments which acquire upvotes earns the user positive karma. Eventually the system encourages users possessing large amounts of positive karma to spend their points by removing posts or comments which have acquired large numbers of downvotes. The larger the accumulation of downvotes, the less karma points required to prune the item.
    This encourages users to post intelligently and perform janitorial functions throughout the site. For examples of websites which already use such systems see: Slashdot, Reddit, Imgur, YouTube, etcetera.

  • excellent idea, many of the ideas on this site are interconnected yet do not connect on the site. Would also be good to bring some real-world modelling (such as finance modelling) to analyse the effect of results. Reaching out to open minded think tanks and universities etc etc

Similar Ideas: