There is a certain style of argument that has been bothering me lately and I think I may finally have a name for it.
It started at the beginning of this month over at Scienceblogs when the issue of framing science reared up again and created a blog tempest. Matthew Nisbet complained that critics of the anti-evolution movie Expelled were damaging their own cause by drawing too much attention to the movie.
Here are some of the things I’m currently thinking about:
Framing and communication. I got sucked into the most recent dustup about framing, evolution, and atheism over at Science Blogs. I even started leaving snarky comments at Chris Mooney’s blog The Intersection. So I took Matt Nisbet’s advice and started reading the research on framing, agenda setting, and priming in the communication science literature. I haven’t reached any conclusions yet but the question that bugs me is the assumption that negative arguments of any kind that criticize the core beliefs of other people are doomed to failure.
Tom Coates of plasticbag has a new weblog called “Everything in Moderation.” Its opening manifesto begins:
Online community development is one of my passions, and I have designed and/or managed social software “solutions” for organisations like UpMyStreet, EMAP and the BBC (often alongside Cal Henderson and/or Denise Wilton. Moderation systems are a particular subpassion of mine. In the abstract, people can think they sound bland, technical or intimidating, but fundamentally moderation is really about all those parts of an online community that stop it just being a place where people stand and shout randomly at each other.
I’m so far from actually being invited to the Friends of O’Reilly camp that occurred over the weekend that the discussion it engenders seems to be miles removed, but out of it comes a very perceptive comment from Danny O’Brien about the different registers in which online discussion takes place.
The problem here is one (ironically) of register. In the real world, we have conversations in public, in private, and in secret.
I went to Barnes and Noble last night and saw the recent Britney Spears cover for Rolling Stone magazine and did a couple of double takes. What the hell is this picture trying to tell me? Does it say anything more than *#$%$ Britney? Every guy looking at that picture thought about sex. I certainly did.
Earlier in the day I read a story by Doc Searls about the decline of radio.