Why I don't debate in chat
I generally don't debate on chat platforms if I can help it. This is why:
- There's no record of the conversation. (Technically most modern chat platforms have message history, but finding the place where I left off and reading all the messages since then is too much of a pain as I would have to also read tons of unrelated messages.) I can spend an hour typing intelligent arguments, but only a few people will read them, and once the conversation is over, my investment fades to dust. On a forum or comment section, my arguments stay up to be found by others for a long time, and even after that I could link to it if something particularly interesting was said, and the link can be followed without a chatroom invite.
- There's no defined point at which the conversation ends. People leave and enter the conversation at different points, and I'm never sure when I can safely leave. If I leave too early, someone might post arguments that I would've really wanted to respond to, and I never know what people ended up saying or thinking after I left.
- I also can't take a break from the conversation like I can on a forum or comment section, because if I do there's no easy way to get caught up when I come back.
- Chat environments are linear. Tree conversation structures like Lemmy are thoroughly superior to this for debates (as well as for most things); in a linear structure, it's hard to keep track of which arguments have been answered and which are pending. This makes it easy for anyone to ignore their opponent's strongest points and quibble over the weaker ones instead. You also often have to "@" people to clarify who you're talking to or prefix things with "re:" (or use a quote feature if the chat has it), and it sounds awkward.
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