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Thread: Substantive Discussion. What It Is & How To Get It.

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    Default Substantive Discussion. What It Is & How To Get It.

    sadmanbarty's Avatar sadmanbarty sadmanbarty is offline
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    Iíve had months of disillusionment and frustration with dissensusí inability to engage in substantive discussion. Maybe this whole time everyoneís just viewed me like a monkey wanking myself off in front of zoo-goers and didnít even bother to read what we were talking about.

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    Recently we've conducted two experiments. The first began when I pointed out to Barty that the forum was full of users but that there were no active threads, everyone was waiting for someone else to make the first move. Barty took responsibility and created a series of threads, evenly spaced, to serve as a focus for discussion. No more than one a day. Albums are shit. Multiculturalism has gone too far etc etc. They used
    provocation and a kind of incompleteness, or half-truth to drive participation. This period ended when thirdform used the same technique or rather a parody of that technique, to start a thread on the same day thus dividing attentions between the two conversations. Barty then disappeared and I went to Devon. This was the start of the reign of Version and a new, unexpected, mature and kindly dissensus with a wider range of active participants and multiple threads per day rather than just one central one. This period was ended when Crowley assassinated version with a cutting remark. Since then, a kind of limbo with no one in control.

    What have we learned?

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    I think Crowley was wrong or partly wrong to distinguish between fake energy and real energy. Things don't happen without someone making them happen. Without threads being started and actually steered, actively directed by a ringleader, we just congregate and stare at our shows in the central plaza, totally silent.

    Given we congregate in the plaza I assume we want to talk.

    My feeling is too many threads probably disperses attention too much and encourages superficiality.

    I also think that provocation is probably of limited use in the long run. Fine if you can steer the interactions away from Bear baiting and towards something collaborative and productive but not otherwise.

    I think that we all have our own individual cycles as well as being part of larger communal cycles and that this means different people will take their turn to stand at the front of the class and direct activities. Who has the energy and the ideas at any given time will vary.

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    That too much of either leads to being cut down by a fellow Dissensian.

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    Usually to to get real substantive discussion you have to give quite a lot of yourself. The manipulative puppet master pulling strings is a secondary role. Useful, necessary even at times, but secondary to mapping out a territory/communicating concepts/explaining the rules of the game and teaching everyone how to play. A basic generosity being the prerequisite. Not that this need be pious/humourless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by version View Post
    That too much of either leads to being cut down by a fellow Dissensian.
    It's a self-regulating machine to some extent, although it doesn't work perfectly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    I also think that provocation is probably of limited use in the long run. Fine if you can steer the interactions away from Bear baiting and towards something collaborative and productive but not otherwise.
    this is what i mean about the monkey wanking in the zoo thing.

    those threads weren't just stupid provocations, the multicultural one in particular was incredibly nuanced and could have been really interesting, but they were shit because everyone decided it was just childish contrarianism and didn't engage with them at all.
    not what i was hoping for if i'm honest

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    It's much easier to react to something than it is to offer something for others to react to. It gives you something to bounce off.

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    I'm going to have to go supermarket or chip shop. Work this out for me while I'm gone. What do we need to do?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sadmanbarty View Post
    this is what i mean about the monkey wanking in the zoo thing.

    those threads weren't just stupid provocations, the multicultural one in particular was incredibly nuanced and could have been really interesting, but they were shit because everyone decided it was just childish contrarianism and didn't engage with them at all.
    In that case it's probably fair to say we didn't understand what you were trying to say. Sometimes you have to put a huge amount of effort into explaining what to you seems completely transparent. I've realised this over the years. You have to show every angle, keep turning the crystal till every facet has been displayed. Exhausting and aggravating but that's how it goes.

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    Here are a few ideas from Eno & Schmidt's Oblique Strategies:

    Make a sudden, destructive unpredictable action; incorporate

    Cascades

    Retrace your steps

    Go to an extreme, move back to a more comfortable place

    Only one element of each kind

    Give way to your worst impulse

    Be less critical more often

    Faced with a choice, do both

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    the feminine pressure thread was the pinnacle of dissensus.

    a broad topic which all corners of dissensus engaged with in their own way. it meant you were taking one overarching theme and exploring it through the different paradigms different posters would offer; feminism, mythology, politics, sex, etc. it was all encompassing. it allowed for dissensus' autistic side to cohabit with it's sensual side. intellectual side with the banter side. the dry side and the psychadelic side. it was everything.
    not what i was hoping for if i'm honest

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    I think there's sometimes an issue with threads merging and people running out of things to say because it's already been covered.

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    For what it's worth I think both mini eras were succesful interventions. They got things moving. It's not easy to do sometimes. The weight of inertia can feel enormous. But no one wants to succumb to inertia. None of us desire that kind of stasis.... I don't think?

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    Version got the best out of corpsey, got a completely different version of third form and a whole load of otherwise rarely seen posters actively involved. Thst seemed pretty magical to me. Part of it was probably that people don't like me and me not being there led to things improving, but mostly I put it down to version steering the ship

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