Thursday, December 17, 2009

“Healthy Debate”

I come across this phrase so often on the blogosphere… “healthy debate”… mostly in the comments’ section. Also heard it a lot when I was working for Dell… we used to have weekly “team huddles” where we were supposed to indulge in this “healthy debate” to work out solutions for any current problems. I developed a particular dislike for the phrase even then.

“Healthy debate” in team meetings usually turned out to be nothing but the team members complaining and the management trying to find the best possible excuses that would invalidate their complaints. This obviously led to the team members finding more faults with the management’s actions, and then their consequence self defense. In short: a total waste of a good 45-60 minutes.


Out here in the blog world, a “healthy debate” is an equally elusive phenomenon. Blogger ‘A’ writes something based on some personal experience… highlighting a particular problem in the society/world maybe. Oh but the little bit that was supposed to be the *main agenda* of the “debate” is completely ignored! Instead, the post is taken as a direct *personal* attack and is followed by 2 main kinds of responses (generally) – 1. defense, and 2. counter-attack!

Where is the “healthy debate” in this?

More importantly, is there really any need for any “healthy debate” on such matters? A person wrote about his/her personal experience… that is enough to prove that whatever he/she wrote about DOES exist. It may not have happened with you in particular, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen with people. So why try to invalidate it? Why “debate” over it at all – healthy or otherwise?

Frankly speaking, I find this whole phrase pretty useless – “healthy debate”. Well, if both parties are just going to try and show that they are right and the other one is wrong, then what’s so healthy about this debate? Where exactly is anyone going to get to at the end of that debate?

And if you’re talking about finding a mutually acceptable solution to any problem… then it’s not a debate at all. It’s a brain-storming session. But such sessions are undertaken only by action-oriented groups/committees… task forces. Are we a “task force” that we need to indulge in such sessions? Are we really doing anything about the stuff we complain about on our blog?

There are so many “talk shows” also on the TV… 2 groups of people going on fighting with each other. It’s obvious that at the end of the day, neither is going to change his/her views. Then why waste everybody’s time?

To be very honest, there is only ONE so-called “healthy debate” that has ever happened on my blog so far… the one in which we discussed where to hold our Bloggers’ Meet in Delhi. But does it really fit under the label of “debate”?

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15 comments:

Neha said...

and when you have a post on board about a particular subject, and the person anti you will comment as an anonymous and argue with all those who agree with you! how pathetic..ek to they don't have guts to reveal their true identity, and upar se stupid arguments..gosh!

PS: pretty serious comment from me na this time? will be back to my "nautanki" self soon :D or am I already back? :P

Pooja Mahimkar said...

debates can never be healthy, i used to participate in debates in school and college. and they said it everytime, it will be a healthy debate. and trust me. it was never healthy.

Kaddu said...

Neha:
Oh, the 'anon' comments don't even deserve a reply! At least not per my new comments policy!


Pooja:
I so completely agree... debates are just a waste of everyone's good time which they'd have better utilized playing FarmVille!

Makk said...

What sort of outcome you think should come out of nay debate? (of course except a conclusion)

Kaddu said...

Makk:
I'm afraid I didn't get what you mean by that question?

Makk said...

As you said that Debate and all are just wasting of time nothing else.

so my question is

what should be the result of any debate(except any conclusion, If any)?

Kaddu said...

Makk:
Exactly! As I have already made my views about debates so clear in my post above, that is why I don't understand your question. You want me to repeat stuff from my post here in comments also? What exactly? I'm afraid i still don't get it. :D

BK Chowla, said...

Debates are organised for a particular purpose.
If it is at place of work,it is to prove that the boss is right.
If it is on the blog post,it depends on the subject under issue.I feel,a regular who posts comments,if doesn't understand a particular post,leads to heated discussion.
If it is at home front--let us accept that the wife is right.

Abhiroop Banerjee said...

For me, a debate is good for bringing out different viewpoints on A particular subject. its interesting to hear different people talking about the same thing. I, too, used to think TV chat shows were pointless shouting matches, but I think a cold, precise conclusion isn't always possible in 20 minutes. Nonetheless, it is important to hear out different sides to every arguement. It helps strengthen our own beliefs, for one, if we can take opposing opinions and still hold our own.
a 'healthy' debate is simply one where we behave ourselves. Don't have debates with idiots, simple. What are friends for? :)


"I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."
Voltaire

Roshmi Sinha said...

A "healthy debate" is usually indulged in... so that everyone can hear the sound of their own voices... and love it.

Kaddu said...

Mr. Chowla:
I especially loved the last line in your comment... "If it is at home front--let us accept that the wife is right."
Ha ha ha! There will be no domestic quarrels ever with that policy I guess!

Kaddu said...

Obhi:
My god... "different viewpoints on A particular subject"! U sound soooooooo like the Linda Goodman's Libran! [pulls hair out]

But yeah this point... "It helps strengthen our own beliefs"... so true. The response to this post on FB strengthened my belief completely that "healthy debates" are extremely elusive... and usually "debates" are more wasteful in nature than productive! You need to have a group of ALL really level-headed people to experience such a thing.

Kaddu said...

Roshmi:
Ha ha! Yupp, I had that thought too in my mind :p
Aren't you also a Libran btw?

Rajlakshmi said...

debates usually dnt result in healthy discussions... we oftn try to counterattack without understanding the reasons properly... frankly i am quite scared of debates :) actually the ugly face of debate :)
interesting post :)

Kaddu said...

Rajlakshmi:
You totally understood the context of my post! And I'm so glad for it! Thanks :)

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