Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
[b]What's the cause of this forum becoming predictable and dreary?
Over time the characters on the forum - who are not very numerous nor probably representative - become predictable and clearly repeat similar lines of argument. That may be because they are boring or because you have been unable to make anything interesting out of the process. Or maybe it is just that you have got past the "saying hello" stage and you have no useful ideas about where to go next because you are not actually interested in them as people with quite different mind sets to yours.
Sometimes, also, an argument is flogged to death and without a fresh injection of new thoughts is best abandoned. Again this most often happens because we enter the argument wanting a favourable outcome and get frustrated at our failure to convert the other to our opinion. If people refuse to accept our arguments, sometimes that is because they are a lot weaker than we want to admit or even to appreciate.
An alternative approach - one of many - might be to take an interest in what the other actually does believe and get them to clarify their opinions on topics of interest. It is curious that one can find a Jehovah's Witness on the forum, or that Jaywill can offer a pretty authoritative reading of the Bible on almost any topic at the drop of a hat and takes great trouble to do so to the best of his ability. Both are possibly certifiably insane in my private opinion, as they may have detected, but without their posts I would understand far less about their viewpoints and some of our debates have been fruitful.
In other words, while arguing your corner, give the other at least a decent space to counter with their opinion. You might learn something without either side changing their view. People are very diverse and it is interesting to hear what they have to say. I doubt if you will convince anyone of very much until you first learn to listen.
On a few topics, I have actually learned a lot. Partly because I have been motivated to go away and read stuff I would otherwise have ignored. Partly because it is more interesting to try out an argument for yourself than to simply accept it second hand. The process is educational in a way that quiet reading cannot match. Like the difference between reading a chess opening book and playing it over the board. Such a frustratingly huge difference you may agree.
The reference to a "Forum" is another clue. The Greeks had a view that it is part of being a good citizen to come to the forum and express your opinion. Otherwise, it is left to a minority to dominate the Forum. When I see some of the stuff argued here, I think it is important that at least one person argues the contrary view. For example, I am an atheist with all that implies and more, but I object to the prevalence of Islamophobia on the site and think it is harmful if not challenged. As a result I have also read a decent number of very interesting books on the topic, for which I am far richer.
Of course, if nearly eveyone on the forum is indeed a complete idiot, then I imagine they might fall down in wondrous admiration at my insightful posts, clearing away all their delusions. In time I will become a cult hero, transferring to prime time television and celebrity status. It might happen?
However, the Forum does often seem predictable and drab. Then it is time to play some chess.