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May 27, 2003

The preserved skeleton of an argument
Posted by Teresa at 08:14 AM *

I found the perfectly preserved and articulated skeleton of an argument in a comments thread on Kuro5hin. The site’s indented-outline comments format, with its highlighted message headers, had transformed a plain comments-thread index into an anatomical diagram of the typical online argument.

Its perfection could only be spoiled by knowing what it’s about, or reading the actual messages. I will go so far as to say that the message in the opening salvo is, “The supernatural nature of humanity can be easily demonstrated with empirical evidence.”

For the full visual effect, you’ll have to look at it on Kuro5hin, but I can at least give you the Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern version of it:
Yes it is different. by tkatchev
[The supernatural nature of humanity can be easily demonstrated with empirical evidence.]
Don’t be fatuous by CaptainSuperBoy
Really? by tkatchev
Certainly by CaptainSuperBoy
Really? by tkatchev
arguing from definitions by pin0cchio
No by CaptainSuperBoy
Really? by tkatchev
You’re stupid. by Kax
I may be stupid. by tkatchev
Are you sure? by Kax
Quite. by tkatchev
contradiction in terms. by delmoi
No. by tkatchev
Empirical evidence… by reklaw
Exactly right. by tkatchev
Not quite … by gumbo
What? by tkatchev
Ah, ok by gumbo
Learn some logic. by tkatchev
My logic is just fine thanks by gumbo
So, by your logic… by tkatchev
Solipsist! by Code Wright
Precisely my point by gumbo
Lord ghod, do you even know how to read? by tkatchev
Again … by gumbo
Wait a minute by pyramid termite
I don’t think we disagree here by gumbo
Let’s get down to earth here. by tkatchev
Justice cannot be fair by xL
btw by gumbo
Go on then… by DrH0ffm4n
You’re retarded. by tkatchev
You have already… by tang gnat
I call bullshit by CodeWright
Have you deduced this by DrH0ffm4n
I know it by CodeWright
Arse by DrH0ffm4n
Perhaps you miss the point by CodeWright
Yes I did by DrH0ffm4n
Re: by tkatchev
IHBT by DrH0ffm4n
Re: by tkatchev
Cos the bible tells me so by pnadeau
Universally? by synaesthesia
Please die. by tkatchev
What is your opinion of Peter Singer? -NT by CaptainSuperBoy
I don’t have one. by tkatchev
I repeat by synaesthesia
Lord ghod… by tkatchev
The fact that you think… by synaesthesia
Then you are uneducated by CaptainSuperBoy
Pardon me. by tkatchev
As a person who believes … by pyramid termite
WHBT by DrH0ffm4n
OK, now that you mention it. by tkatchev
Devils Advocate by CENGEL3
Re: by tkatchev
I should think… by CodeWright
People can just be wrong … by Cheetah
Determinism by DrH0ffm4n
OK. by tkatchev
Actually by DrH0ffm4n
guh? by delmoi
Scuse me? by DrH0ffm4n

I’d swear that—aside from its having been on a different subject, with different participants, in a different venue, with completely different messages posted—I’ve been in that argument. They’re arguing about OtherKin, if you’re interested: A very strange subject, but merely strange; whereas that skeletonized argument illuminates a great and terrible truth.
Comments on The preserved skeleton of an argument:
#1 ::: Johan A ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2003, 11:04 AM:

I'm disappointed. Four days of argumentation and still no references to Hitler or the NSDAP. What is the world coming to?

#2 ::: sennoma ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2003, 11:43 AM:

No one has explained what the argument was seeking at that altitude.

#3 ::: Rachel ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2003, 12:50 PM:

Somehow I'm strongly put in mind of "Waiting for Godot."

#4 ::: Jim Meadows ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2003, 01:14 PM:

So Otherkin are those who believe themselves to be physically or spiritually other than human? You mean, like .... slans?

#5 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2003, 01:31 PM:

I prefer the photo to the argument.

#6 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2003, 04:23 PM:

Set the post titles to a Philip Glass score, add a choir going through the Greek alphabet, and you've got yourself a avant-garde operetta!

#7 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2003, 05:56 PM:

It would work. You could loop straight back around from the end to the second line, skipping "Yes it is different. by tkatchev":

Actually by DrH0ffm4n
guh? by delmoi
Scuse me? by DrH0ffm4n
Don't be fatuous by CaptainSuperBoy
Really? by tkatchev
Certainly by CaptainSuperBoy
Then at the end you could do "Yes it is different. by tkatchev" one last time.

#8 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2003, 07:58 PM:

"Not necessarily: I could be arguing in my spare time."

#9 ::: Cassandra Phillips-Sears ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2003, 07:12 PM:

Jim: Yup. What's a slan?

#10 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2003, 07:36 PM:


Telepathic mutant humans from AE Van Vogt's novel, SLAN. Tan tendrils in their hair. Persecuted. Arguably the inspiration for X-Men and others of that ilk.

Fans of the (1950s?) jokingly (I guess) associated themselves with Slan.

#11 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2003, 07:49 PM:

"Fans are slans!" -- Claude Degler

#12 ::: Ed Gaillard ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2003, 01:50 PM:

This reminded my of a Usenet post from way back that had always stuck in my mind. Luckily, I remembered enough details to find it on Deja Google. Somehow, I remembered there being more '>'s. Enjoy!

#13 ::: Brttn ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2003, 05:53 PM:

Y ppl ctll wrr m. Th fct tht y spnd tm rgng, r "dscssng" smthng tht s s bvsl wrng, sch s "thrKn" rll xstng s dstrbng.
Frst m gng t pnt t tht th fct tht th mjrt f ppl tht blv n thrkn r, s sttd n tktchv's ltl ss, gnrll Pgn, nd r wrd ppl n gnrl. Nw ths m snd lttl bsd, bt VRTHNG s, s stck wth m. S, y prbbl wll nvr fnd thrkn tht blvs n Gd nd f y d h/sh s mst lkl pnthst (prtt mch prsn wh blvs Gd s n vrthng). Nw hr s yr prblm, Gd ds xst. Scntst r nw bck pdlng n Drwn nd fndng mr prf fr ntllgnt dsgn. S, scntst hv (fr ll ntnts nd prpss) sttld n dsgn, nd nw t s lft p t phlsphrs nd thlgns t dcd wht knd f dsgnr.
Scrts gv s r frst prncpls, x. tht f th lw f nn-cntrdctn (smthng cn nt b nd nt b t th sm tm), whl Plt gv s th fms nlg f th cv. n shrt w hv ll knds f phlsphrs, rtnlsts (Dcrts, Spnz, nd Lbnz), mprssts (Lck, Brkl, nd Hm wh ws ls skptc, bt fts wll), nd tw f r nw mr pplr mds f thght,dlsm (Hgl nd Ntzsch), nd xstntlsm (Krkgrd). s y cn gthr 'v dn grt dl f rsch n m qst t fnd sprtll flfllmnt nd ht t brk t t y bt thr s nvrsl rght nd wrng nd thr s N ntrprtn, N prspctv, ND N T CH HS WN.
Ppl wh blv thmslvs t b thrkn r smpl ppl wh r trng t fll tht chng vd nsd f thmslvs, tht spc, tht whn y l d t nght sms t sttl rght wr yr hrt s nd mks y wnt t cr t f lnlnss. S blm t n thr prnts sm n th fct th th hv n mn, nd thrs lk t thnk t s bcs th r frm sm plc dffrnt, bt lt m tll y rght nw Y WLL NVR B BL T FLL THT GPPNG HL NSD YRSLF. 'v bn thrgh t mn prfs nd t mn rlgns nd ll f thm mn vr sngl n hv bn bl t bsltl shrd XCPT fr Chrstnt. Yh knw t hrts t b tld tht Jss Chrst ws nld t crss fr y, nd y knw wht H ws thnkng f Y. H dd nt d thnkng bt th wrld n gnrl, H dd thnkng bt hw mch h lvd Y nd n mttr wht y dd, nd wll d, H wll lwys lv y.
Tr nd prv m wrng, bt wht rll rcmmnd s rdng Thms qns nd th Nw Tstmnt, t's rl y pnr.

#14 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2003, 06:32 PM:

Brtt, there's a world of difference between Fishers of Men and Trollers for Newbies.

If on the other hand you're sincere, may God bless and keep you, and be merciful to you, and rebalance your wits; and may He of His mercy grant me that you have a fixed IP address.

Also: I know you're not going to understand this, but thank you for providing yet another illustration of the "You folks/You people" rule. As it says right there in the Summa Theologica, God loves reproducible results.

#15 ::: thing is ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2003, 02:13 PM:

Threads like this are inevitable because k5 is an enormous wankfest.

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