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Revision as of 22:34, 29 March 2018 by DaveLeach (talk | contribs) (Discussion Groups)

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Discussion Groups

Any group that wants to discuss any topic in more depth, more thoughtfully, or at greater length than they can in person, can supplement their in-person meetings with discussion here.

Example #1: the platform committee of a political party has too little time in its face-to-face meetings go discuss and vote on issues without brutal time limits on discussion. They can continue their face-to-face discussions here, where members have the leisure to focus on the issues that interest them most, and where members can record their votes along with any reasoning they can offer. Based on the discussion members could even change their votes, up to a designated deadline. OR votes online can be considered tentative, to be confirmed during face-to-face meetings.

Example #2: A church discussion doesn't want to stop when the bell rings. It doesn't have to! It can just move here!

Advantages of a wiki over other media: A telephone conference or Skype requires everyone to meet at the same time; not a wiki. Verbal dialog is entertaining and easy, but it not optimal for creating a detailed record. It creates a record which, if recorded, could make an entertaining, popular Youtube video. But if decisions must be made, it is better to have a record of who proposed, stood for, and voted for what.

Not only does a wiki create its own detailed record automatically, but with these rules, it creates the most opportunity of any forum for a voice for each member which will be heard and processed.

Contact us if you would like private pages which only your members can read and edit.

Politicians and political groups

...are invited to submit questions, proposals, and alleged facts to our "team" so we can research them for your consideration as you develop your policy.

Another way you can use this service is to help you process your mail when you receive an idea that seems too lengthy or complicated for your staff to process. You can respond to its author that you are forwarding his proposal to us for our evaluation, summary, and recommendation whether we think it is a good match to your organizational goals, given your limited time to take on more or even to do what you are doing more efficiently. Or you can offer him that option. You can also invite him to communicate with us directly as we study his idea.

Our unique qualifications

Our group, consisting of a mixture of top experts and average concerned voters, is uniquely qualified to assist politicians and political groups in an assessment of the boundaries of “political reality”. This claim requires explanation.

It is plain reality, in working with humans, that politicians and political groups need not only to know which claims about facts are true, but how well the general public is able and willing to understand and accept the truth. When the public is plainly unwilling or afraid to acknowledge some obvious truth, (example follows), even the most honest and righteous politician must resort to “Plan B”, pressing some alternative to the Truth that is as close to the Truth as the public will accept. This limit to what the public will accept is usually called “Political Reality”.

Even God deferred to “political reality” when His People, who had been free – ruled by judges they elected, demanded a dictator so they could be like the other nations and have someone else make their political decisions for them. Apparently they were as bored with politics as many free citizens today.

After warning the people how stupid they were, God stepped back to “Plan B”: at least Israel’s king would not be a law unto himself like all other kings, but would be subject to a Constitution, and he must be a natural born citizen of His people and not a foreigner. You can read about it in 1 Samuel 8, and compare 1 Samuel 10:25 with Deuteronomy 17:18, and verse 15.

No other format is as qualified as thisto test the boundaries of “political reality”. Within our articles are the information of top experts. We have no limit to how many top experts can contribute, or to how much they can contribute, such as the limits imposed by Snopes, FactCheck, Wikipedia, or virtually any other think tank or nonprofit. (Explanation below.)

But we also benefit from the participation of average untrained citizens. This combination tests not only which claims are true, but also the ability and willingness of average concerned citizens, once presented with the evidence, to understand and accept evidence once it is presented to them. The argument necessary to reach the truth is a measure of how much work it will take to drag “political reality” into Reality.

Not only that, but unlike Wikipedia, our contributors are not anonymous. The record shows how many contributed to the article and with which party they are registered. It also allows people to vote on the article; you can see their names and party affiliation, and any comments they have about it. With this feature you can even gauge how “politically realistic” some fact will be with Democrats as compared with Republicans.

Beyond assisting politicians and political groups in this purpose, our goal is of course also for our facts and reasoning to directly persuade voters to accept more reality at the expense of “political reality”.

Our Niche

More top experts. Wikipedia limits the ability of top experts to contribute by Wikipedia’s rule that editors can’t link to their own published evidence. This rule has a legitimate purpose: to prevent self-promotion – using Wikipedia just to insert links that will build traffic on their own websites.

We don’t mind helping traffic to other sites, so long as they are relevant and reasonably helpful; if they are not we have rules which address the problem more directly.

Factcheck names their staff, [1] who certainly have impressive credentials, but they are few and do not list a process for contributions from outside their tight circle.

Snopes does not even name their staff, [2] except to describe it as a “small staff”.

Is there any other think tank or nonprofit in the U.S.A. that publicly provides any channel for anyone outside whatever small staff they can afford to hire to submit expertise that will be considered for possible publication to supplement the output of their small staff?

Mainstream newspapers and magazines have filled this void, with these limitations which we do not have: limited space, which puts a couple of editors in charge of what viewpoints get in and which do not, leaving experts little assurance that their writing labor will see the light of publication; limited word counts which rule out comprehensive treatment of any subject; and a news cycle which buries information after a few days in archives which are not organized by topic or searchable by specific aspects of issues.

More accountable

“How do I know the information you’ve presented is accurate?” is one of Snopes’ “Frequently Asked [Questions][3]”. Snopes invites readers to “check those resources for [your]selves” that “are listed in the bibliography displayed at the bottom of the page.” Should a reader conclude a resource doesn’t support Snopes’ characterization, it is not clear how much interest Snopes has in your observations, but if it is just a typo, “corrections are always welcome”.

Snopes’ answer speaks for virtually all publishers. Readers may submit corrections any time, and maybe they will be implemented; maybe not. What is unlikely to occur is any publicly transparent process for investigating whether a disputed correction is actually correct. In other words, virtually no publishers are accountable for their errors, except by the most indirect process of losing the trust of their readers.

If a correction is submitted as an editorial to a newspaper or magazine, and if the editor decides to share it, some editors will respond sometimes. Talk radio is another forum where listeners have some limited opportunity to submit corrections. But you will generally get far less opportunity to express yourself there than in a 200-word “letter to the editor” to a newspaper, and that, after waiting an hour or two to get on the air.

Participation of average voters. Politicians need to know not only what is true, but how much work it takes for evidence about complicated issues, once presented, to be understood and accepted by average voters. This interaction may be observed in our dialog. You can read the objections made to the evidence, and what arguments finally break through resistance.

A record not only of evidence, but of objections to it. We don’t just report what is true. We record all the objections to it, and how those objections interact with further evidence and reasoning.

Talk radio does this a little bit, but by giving people who disagree so little opportunity to express themselves before they are cut off or talked over, objections are not able to present themselves in their best light, and thus others who know those objections can’t see that they were refuted, but only ignored.

Newspapers do this a little bit, by publishing letters to the editor. But there is no real interaction between opposite letters, and with 200 word limits no view can be fully developed.

Wikipedia does this with “Controversy” sub headings which report conflicting views. But these reports are far too abbreviated to give any sense of their depth. Further acknowledgment appears on Wikipedia’s “Talk” pages, but issues are less the focus there than whether certain evidence is admissible on the main page.

Our goal is to report every side of a controversy in its best light – giving every participant the space and freedom to make the best case they possibly can. Our forum is committed to being fair – a level playing field for ideas. Real dialog between people who disagree. Very few Americans have confidence that it can be productive to try to reason with people who disagree. Not even marriage vows are sufficient assurance, to many, that differences can be resolved with more time, patience, respect, love, and commitment. This is a laboratory of relationship skills.

The lack of these skills has left many marriages to crumble, and is leaving America about to crumble. This is a demonstration project. This is a cry of hope. This is not the boast of crazies who think they know how to succeed. It is the cry of people who love this land, who take encouragement from God’s promises, and who realize we have to succeed, even though just how we can will require a “learning curve”.

Every sincerely held view is welcome. Whether you are Democrat, Republican, Christian, or other, we need each other to make this work.

Individuals with unique solutions or ideas are invited to submit them to our team for feedback.

Nothing can sharpen one’s understanding of issues, and one’s preparation for leadership, like reasoning with people who begin discussion from the opposite side. The relationship skills you will acquire through this process will help you in all your relationships, as you help save America.

There simply is no other forum in America that welcomes the efforts of average people to try to reason with each other even when they disagree, and that allows enough time to succeed, and encourages the patience and commitment necessary to succeed. This is a laboratory of relationship skills valuable in marriage, child rearing, business, and in church as well as in politics where its lack endangers our nation.