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Source: (consider it) Thread: Links in support of arguments
Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

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Arising from a tangent on a particular thread, but generally relevant.

I'll start at the top level. These are discussion boards, and as such people want to know what each of us individually thinks so that we can respond to that. Therefore, primarily arguments should be contained (in at least a summary form) within posts made here, where everyone can read and respond.

Links to other locations (including other threads here on the Ship) can serve a valuable purpose in supporting those arguments. Maybe as a "and, there's a lot more detail here" or "so and so has said it very well here", or similar. They shouldn't be something that replaces making your point in your own words, because we want to know what your point is, rather than someone elses on the internet.

If what you're linking to is not readily accessible to all then it's useful for you to provide a summary in your post. Obvious examples of inaccessible links would be something behind a pay-wall, or where access is limited to a country (eg: on BBC iPlayer). Perhaps less obvious, links to videos are a lot less accessible than links to text. Dafyd has expressed this well:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
My personal rules on links:
Textual links are ok. I can skim those until I get to the important bit, and then I can quickly assess whether it's as important as the poster thinks it is. Also, if I want to take issue with it with the original poster I can copy and paste the passage in the thread.
I never follow links to videos, because I can't assess it quickly and I can't copy and paste.

Added to which, those of us reading the Ship during a break at work are unlikely to be able to watch a video, but reading text is much simpler.

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All I want for Christmas is EU

Posts: 32189 | From: East Kilbride (Scotland) or 福島 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
romanesque
Shipmate
# 18785

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Two points: blanket bombing links is a PIA for all concerned. Linking articles, discussions, TV and radio progs that are explicitly about the thread title, I don't have a problem with and fail to see why anyone else would.

Not every topic renders itself to a sound bite, no matter how much the forum mode of discourse favours 5 second invective. Sometimes having a working comprehension of x requires a familiarity with a, b and c. Flagging up any segment in a discussion as definitive will not fulfil that function. People can follow a link or not in the same way they can take on board any opinion or file it somewhere dark.

Time banditry takes more forms than the posting of apposite links, however discursive and lengthy. It can also mean derailing discussion in the long grass by silly demands for presentation that all about controlling the terms of debate. Sound bites pander to the ya-boo tendency that always seem to end in Fuck You. I think the forum should aim higher. Whether it can or wants to is a different question.

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Crœsos
Shipmate
# 238

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quote:
Originally posted by romanesque:
Not every topic renders itself to a sound bite, no matter how much the forum mode of discourse favours 5 second invective.

I think you're confusing this site with Twitter. You're allowed to post more than 140 characters. In fact, it's generally encouraged.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

Posts: 10502 | From: Sardis, Lydia | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
romanesque
Shipmate
# 18785

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quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos: You're allowed to post more than 140 characters. In fact, it's generally encouraged. [/QB]
And that answers the OP's point about links how exactly?
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lilBuddha
Shipmate
# 14333

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quote:
Originally posted by romanesque:
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos: You're allowed to post more than 140 characters. In fact, it's generally encouraged.

And that answers the OP's point about links how exactly? [/QB]
Unlike twitter, The SOF Community section has a [i[discussion[/i] format. Learning to discuss would greatly facilitate discussions.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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romanesque
Shipmate
# 18785

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by romanesque:
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos: You're allowed to post more than 140 characters. In fact, it's generally encouraged.

And that answers the OP's point about links how exactly?

Unlike twitter, The SOF Community section has a [i[discussion[/i] format. Learning to discuss would greatly facilitate discussions. [/QB]
I'm all for discussion. Unfortunately discussion here includes a Humpty Dumpty enthusiasm for words to mean anything the user wants them to, and a race for the lowest common rhetorical denominator, neither of which attract the opprobrium of administrators. Far from promoting discussion, it's a white flag in the face of mutual understanding. It's as though the forum was explicitly designed to engender aggressive secularism, religious fundamentalism, and any approach so long as it offers more heat than light. The internet is a weird place and site owners can run the place any way they please, including banning people for Not Getting It, but when links are treated with suspicion without clear malicious intent, you have to ask what the end game is and whose benefit it's run for, the many or the few?
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mr cheesy
Shipmate
# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by romanesque:
I'm all for discussion. Unfortunately discussion here includes a Humpty Dumpty enthusiasm for words to mean anything the user wants them to, and a race for the lowest common rhetorical denominator, neither of which attract the opprobrium of administrators.

That's not the case.

quote:
Far from promoting discussion, it's a white flag in the face of mutual understanding.
That's not the case.

quote:
It's as though the forum was explicitly designed to engender aggressive secularism, religious fundamentalism, and any approach so long as it offers more heat than light.
That's not the case.

quote:
The internet is a weird place and site owners can run the place any way they please, including banning people for Not Getting It, but when links are treated with suspicion without clear malicious intent, you have to ask what the end game is and whose benefit it's run for, the many or the few?
The internet is clearly a weird place, but nothing weird has been done here. Everyone else find who stays more than a short while here finds that the rules are - generally speaking - sensible and promote rather than prevent discussion.

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arse

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Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

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quote:
Originally posted by romanesque:
Unfortunately discussion here includes a Humpty Dumpty enthusiasm for words to mean anything the user wants them to, and a race for the lowest common rhetorical denominator, neither of which attract the opprobrium of administrators. Far from promoting discussion, it's a white flag in the face of mutual understanding. It's as though the forum was explicitly designed to engender aggressive secularism, religious fundamentalism, and any approach so long as it offers more heat than light. The internet is a weird place and site owners can run the place any way they please, including banning people for Not Getting It, but when links are treated with suspicion without clear malicious intent, you have to ask what the end game is and whose benefit it's run for, the many or the few?

That may be your experience and understanding, it is not shared by the majority of people who post here.

Of course, in any discussion people will post things based on assumptions that they will class under "it's obvious, init" or use terms they know the meaning of and the like ... only to find that as people respond it's clear that what they find to be obvious isn't universally shared, how they understand terms is different from other people etc. There will then follow a period of clarifying meaning, explaining the assumptions etc - so that even if we don't agree (which is the default situation) we at least understand where people are coming from. Simply throwing in a link to a video, or other link, "that explains it" rarely does that - it takes an interaction between the different parties so that why things are being misunderstood can be examined. A static article/video/blog can't interact with others in the way that is necessary for people to understand what you are trying to say.

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All I want for Christmas is EU

Posts: 32189 | From: East Kilbride (Scotland) or 福島 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Leorning Cniht
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# 17564

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quote:
Originally posted by romanesque:

Not every topic renders itself to a sound bite, no matter how much the forum mode of discourse favours 5 second invective. Sometimes having a working comprehension of x requires a familiarity with a, b and c.

Yes, of course. But this is a discussion board.

Imagine that you, in real life, walked in to the pub, gentleman's club, coffee shop, or whatever gathering place you prefer, and wanted to discuss the authorship of the Epistles.

You could print out a big stack of review articles on the topic, and go round handing them out to everyone, but I think you'd agree that that would be a bit odd, and would be unlikely to persuade people to engage in discussion with you.

In an environment where many people have common experiences, you might be able to open with "did you see the TV program on the Epistles last night?" and expect some takers, but that's because you'll find other people that saw the program and can discuss it with you. Offering to set up your laptop and show people your recording of the program is, again, unlikely to get any interest.

I think you'd probably agree that you'd be better off telling someone that you just read a good book on the subject / heard a good sermon / read a scholarly article / had a brainwave in the shower, and summarizing a key point you found interesting.

We agree that discussion can't happen without people sharing a common framework and a common base understanding (and part of the discussion is often establishing what is common, and what is not). But you need to establish a base understanding, and can then have a discussion one layer above that.

You could walk in to a bar and announce that you're having difficulties with Grassmann algebra. You probably won't find anyone who can help you, but it might happen (it rather depends on the bar...)

On the other hand, if you walk in carrying three textbooks, and invite people to read them so that they can help you with an unspecified question, your odds are very much slimmer.

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Schroedinger's cat

Ship's cool cat
# 64

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I tend to agree with Alan here. Links are a pain, and I rarely follow them unless I have to. I come here to read what shipmates think, not what others think (mostly, I have probably picked this up from other sources).

So a link to an article or event that warrants discussion is fine. While it is often useful to explain the issue, I am well aware that sometimes, especially in hell, a single word expresses the intent adequately.

A link also, that provides specific information that is asked for - i.e. "what is the official teaching of x church on y" is probably better in a link than copying text.

What I find most frustrating is posts with 3 or more links with a few words between them, that I normally can't be arsed to follow through, and probably cannot remember why I followed them by the end of the post. I accept that my attention span is comparable to a gnat, but I am not the only one. If you cannot make your point yourself, I am not sure I want to discuss.

Others may differ in this of course. But for me, it is the views of shipmates I want. Threads that are predominantly links are like people who proof-text. And I don't listen to them either.

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Blog
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Lord may all my hard times be healing times
take out this broken heart and renew my mind.

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Lyda*Rose

Ship's broken porthole
# 4544

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I find that laying out an argument, providing short copyright-safe quotes of your sources, and lastly providing a link (if available) for more detail are good steps to get a clear picture. I like the discussion board format because you get more than bites.

A good thing about providing links is that a reader can judge the quality of the sources. And, yes, some site links will be treated with suspicion, not necessarily because of malice, but often because the site seems to have too specific an agenda. I tend to lop off both ends of the political or religious bell curve on sources just to avoid highly spun news.

Not sure if it works, but it makes me feel better.

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"Dear God, whose name I do not know - thank you for my life. I forgot how BIG... thank you. Thank you for my life." ~from Joe Vs the Volcano

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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by romanesque:
Not every topic renders itself to a sound bite, no matter how much the forum mode of discourse favours 5 second invective. Sometimes having a working comprehension of x requires a familiarity with a, b and c. Flagging up any segment in a discussion as definitive will not fulfil that function.

I'm not sure this is compatible with your insistence on another thread that it's unreasonable to expect a newbie to perform 'archaeology' by reading the history of a thread on these boards.

As Alan Cresswell noted the best way to resolve the question of misunderstanding is to wait for it to happen and then try to address it. Trying to rule it out in advance is just pointless.

And as Schroedinger's Cat says, the point of posting on a debate board is that people will debate with you. They cannot debate with the other end of a link. Especially not the other end of a video link.

I admit that there are some posters of whom I do not expect particularly constructive comment. Even on the sides of debate on which I tend to fall. I just scroll past them.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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lilBuddha
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# 14333

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I wonder if he noticed the irony of writing a defence of posting no writing to make a point?

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Curiosity killed ...

Ship's Mug
# 11770

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I tend to check provenance of information. On the Darwinian thread many of the recent links posted have come from proponents of intelligent design or Skeptiko, including some long video links. I tend to check before investing time watching links that are pushing an agenda that is largely discredited.

(And much of my reading, books and the Ship, is on my phone commuting which means I am very selective as to which links I click on.)

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Mugs - Keep the Ship afloat

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lilBuddha
Shipmate
# 14333

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It is not only about time, but also about flow. Imagine being in a cafe with friends having a discussion and one of them wants everyone to stop talking and watch a long video before continuing.
A forum based discussion has enough breaks in flow as it is.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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RooK

1 of 6
# 1852

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The limitations of links is well-explained above. But I wonder if perhaps there is another effect sometimes at work.

When in discussion, and finding that others are not being convinced of our own point of view, it is very seductive to simply assume that they therefore don't understand the topic. Because, obviously, we're not wrong, ergo... This then drives the urge to help educate the poor, ignorant conversational adversaries - hence the move to reference material.

Now, in and of itself, citing references is an excellent means to demonstrate not talking out of one's ass¹. However, as discussed above, references are not a substitute for actually understanding and articulating an idea ourselves as relevant to the discussion. Even more awkward is when one mistakes a reference as being convincing when it merely just agrees with our pre-conceived opinions².

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Doublethink.
Ship's Foolwise Unperson
# 1984

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Now I want to know how to do footnote links, because they make me extraordinarily happy.

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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Curiosity killed ...

Ship's Mug
# 11770

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code:
[url=http... link as usual]¹[/url]

If I remember correctly. The url bit embeds the link, the sup bit is the coding for a footnote number 1 (but I can't check because I'm on my phone). I preview anything like that.

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Mugs - Keep the Ship afloat

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mr cheesy
Shipmate
# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:[QB] Now I want to know how to do footnote links, because they make me extraordinarily happy.
They are cool, but they're not footnotes.

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arse

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Doublethink.
Ship's Foolwise Unperson
# 1984

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Technically, no, but they have that stylistic aesthetic.

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

Posts: 19194 | From: Erehwon | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
mr cheesy
Shipmate
# 3330

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I don't see it is very helpful other than as a joke because it doesn't actually tell anyone what the link is going to be.

Footnotes which actually removed the links from the text and gave some context would be more helpful.

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arse

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RooK

1 of 6
# 1852

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You are completely correct, mr cheesy - they were intended purely for entertainment value (mostly mine), and not at all as a demonstration of proper use of links.

Personally, I always hover over a link to get a read on the actual URL instead of whatever happens to be the description. Because paranoid. Generally youtube links are guaranteed a waste of time. Unless they're zefrank1 or RCR. Or videos about my usual mountain biking venue.

Ahem.

Posts: 15171 | From: Portland, Oregon, USA, Earth | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged


 
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