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Google Launches User-Driven Debate Site

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the arguing-on-the-internet dept.

Google 68

Tyndmyr writes "In conjunction with the previously covered Knol system, Google has recently released Knol Debates, where users can vote for and discuss various topics. First up, presidential debates, representing topics from any party, and with some commentary being given by the libertarian Cato Institute. Unfortunately, patent law and technology questions are still rather poorly represented. Oddly enough, Knol Debates doesn't even appear to be in beta. The system makes use of Google Moderator to select questions."

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68 comments

To what end? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25509337)

If you are interested in debates with a meaning, check out the metagovernment [metagovernment.org] . Sure, their software is not finished yet, but the point is they don't just let you argue, they help you build consensus and then they do something with that consensus: make it law.

Re:To what end? (4, Interesting)

erikina (1112587) | more than 4 years ago | (#25509589)

Please tell me that it's not just wikimedia and a domain. I hate to say it, but the wiki format isn't good for everything. (Like wiki talk pages or personal pages) And while I'm ranting, I hate wiki-markup -- it's completely retarded in comparison to HTML.

Re:To what end? (3, Insightful)

gbutler69 (910166) | more than 4 years ago | (#25509711)

I beg to disagree with respect to Wiki markup. I find it highly intuitive. It is, for the most part, a natural extension of how people type things in plain text documents. For example (Bulleted List): * First Bullet Point * Second Bullet and point * Third Bullet Point Bold *text*, Italic/Emphasize _text_, Underlined __Text__ I find this highly convenient and wish this type of markup was supported in Slashdot for example. It's much more intuitive, fast, and cognitively consistent. But, as you can see, Slashdot doesn't support it, so what I typed looks like crap and I have to remember obscure tags instead or use HTML tags. Blech!

Re:To what end? (1)

Jorophose (1062218) | more than 5 years ago | (#25513735)

As opposed to

<b[old]></b>
<i[talicise]></i>
<u[nderline]></u>

Etc?

Seriously? And every wiki package seems to change the formatting.

Wiki formatting is lame, sorry. XML and SGML based formatting is so much nicer.

Re:To what end? (1)

Brad Eleven (165911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25528389)

I agree that Wiki markup is intuitive, but try formatting a large table, for example.

I'd personally like a wiki that would support automated entries, e.g., configuration management. I dreamt once that the wiki I was putting together at work could derive configurations and also cause configuration changes.

Then I woke up.

Here we go again (4, Interesting)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#25509341)

In further news, Google would rather Knol didn't suffer the ignominious fate of Google Answers [google.com] . Not everything Google does is a hit.

Re:Here we go again (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 4 years ago | (#25509391)

So not everything apple does is also a hit. The companies that have track records of hits keep trying different approaches until something awesome comes out.

Google, Apple and a few others are looking for a perfect product and lots of things fail along the way. Not every idea is workable on a massive scale.

Re:Here we go again (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 4 years ago | (#25513059)

This time around it appears like the googlites now feel threatened by, oh no, slashdot. So it just seems to be a tightly controlled sites, where a bunch of 'stink' tanks, get to put forward their own for profit views, promote themselves and at the same time try to give that whole 'knol' marketing B$ an air of legitimacy.

The whole site seems terribly stifled and completely lacks the open cook pot of slashdot, where thousands of ideas and opinions boil to the surface upon a continuous basis, all without the too chilling effect of too many facts or the need to try and create an 'air' of superior boringness ;).

One silly discussion was performance based pay for teachers, how daft. Now the delusion is that offering teachers more money for better grades means that somehow they will alter genetics and improve the IQ of students and the reality is in order to increase their pay they will simply kick the lower performing students out of the class/school and endeavour to attract higher IQ students who will be more far profitable. The result, the worst students end up stuck with the worst teachers in the worst schools, with the worst pay and funding, hmm now that's going to be real successful. The worst students in reality need the best teachers and teaching environment in order to achieve any measure of successful outcome, the results will of course never be high scoring but of course it is all about preventing failures and the damage that it causes, crime and prison. So imagine, financially penalising highly skilled teachers and schools who are willing to take on the difficult low performing students.

So, knol discussions, people only really interested in hearing their own opinions and of course as a blatant vehicle for google self promotion and advertising.

Re:Here we go again (2, Insightful)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#25509587)

"Google would rather Knol didn't suffer the ignominious fate of Google Answers [google.com]. Not everything Google does is a hit."

Google answers was a bit of a cash grab, you'd get better responses for money. No one really wants to pay a bunch of google guys money for answers when they can use google themselves and save money.

Re:Here we go again (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#25509731)

Yeah, Knol works on selling ads.

And massive copyright violation. More than a few Wikipedia editors are getting a little peeved at (a) people blatantly taking Wikipedia articles and reposting them in violation of the GFDL (b) Google's refusal to do anything about this massive blatant copyright violation. IT'S NOT HARD TO OBEY ON THE WEB, GUYS.

Re:Here we go again (3, Interesting)

Fanro (130986) | more than 4 years ago | (#25509801)

Google Answers was tremendously useful thought IMO.
I never understood why they closed it.

It was far better than comparable services are even now (yahoo answers, expertSexChange)

Re:Here we go again (1)

ribuck (943217) | more than 4 years ago | (#25510109)

Fifty of the former Google Answers Researchers now operate Uclue [uclue.com] , which is a paid Q&A/Research service that operates much as Google Answers used to.

Re:Here we go again (1)

Fanro (130986) | more than 5 years ago | (#25513611)

looks good, thanks!

"market prices" on the answers I saw seem quite higher than the old google answers thought.

Re:Here we go again (1)

ribuck (943217) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517005)

The "market prices" are certainly higher, and the minimum price at uclue.com is $10 compared with $2 at Google Answers.

The problem with $2 questions is that they are not quite cheap enough to satisfy the "free" crowd, who are best served by something like Yahoo Answers, yet $2 doesn't cover the extra costs of organizing and running a paid research service even before paying the researchers anything.

Re:Here we go again (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 4 years ago | (#25512045)

Expert Sexchange is pretty good, simply for the security they have on not showing you the answers: "Gee whiz, we hope nobody scrolls down!"

Re:Here we go again (1)

TCiecka (108224) | more than 5 years ago | (#25514771)

I think this only happens when you access their content from a crawled search result. At least, that's what happens from the links Google serves you.

MOD STORY DOWN (then vote McCain!) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25509387)

Check out the new Slashdot Beta index page, and use it, to vote this story DOWN.

A vote for Republicans is a vote for victory, we don't need any more debates, just vote McCain. Quad Erat Demon-motherfuckin'-stratum

Re:MOD STORY DOWN (then vote McCain!) (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25509429)

I don't think that John McCain will fit in the ballot box if I vote him.

Goddamn Liberals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25509701)

Don't you speak ill of McCain! Those damn gooks had him imprisoned in a ballot box for weeks!

On a related note: I bet that if the grandparent had been pro-Obama it would have been modded up. Good luck paying all those taxes to fund healthcare for lazy-lefties who can't be bothered to get a job.

Re:Goddamn Liberals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25509855)

First sentence: attack on the article, no points are being made.
Second sentence: political non-sequitur, unrelated and unsupported.

Actual content: political propaganda.
Usefulness of the post: null.
Moderation: Troll.

Appeal denied.

--Not the guy who modded him.

Re:Goddamn Liberals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25513409)

First sentence: attack on the article, no points are being made. Second sentence: political non-sequitur, unrelated and unsupported.

Actual content: political propaganda. Usefulness of the post: null. Moderation: Troll.

Appeal denied.

--Not the guy who modded him.

Exactly! Had I written that same post about Obama it would have been modded-up by all the Lieberal mods around here!

Just What I Need (5, Funny)

igotmybfg (525391) | more than 4 years ago | (#25509399)

Another way to argue with strangers over the internet...

Re:Just What I Need (4, Funny)

Kugrian (886993) | more than 4 years ago | (#25509453)

You don't need it. You're wrong.

Re:Just What I Need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25509945)

I am Anonymous Coward, and I approve this message.

Re:Just What I Need (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25509485)

Without wanting to sound too cynical (I'm using Occam's razor here), this is (rather obviously) just another way for Google to profile you. Unless someone can offer a simpler explanation for an advertising company trying to engage you this way.

Having said that, I'll check it out. Playing the part of devil's advocate, of course ;-)

Re:Just What I Need (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#25509537)

Or you know, Google just is like most of us and are tired of people just voting for a candidate based on the hype machine which is the media. Tired of people only going to vote for Obama because he is black and not Bush and tired of people voting for McCain because hes white and not Bush. Tired of the fact that most of the people who vote have no clue what the issues are, tired that the fate of entire industries are being determined with this election with no clue on what either candidate supports (for example, neither McCain nor Obama claim to support or deny software patents that are killing the US computer industry).

Sure, Google might be profiling you, but I think it is mostly that they are sick and tired of people voting with no clue who they are voting for.

Re:Just What I Need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25509661)

he hype machine which is the media. Tired of people only going to vote for Obama because he is black and not Bush...

The whole Obama thing is more than that. I think it's also part of a huge backlash against the Republican agenda over the last several years - especially regarding the Iraq War. Obama is at the right place at the right time. Also, Obama is the almost the ultimate underdog: black guy, paid his own way through Harvard, NOT part of the establishment that screwed us over for the last 8 years.

Re:Just What I Need (1)

rugatero (1292060) | more than 4 years ago | (#25509859)

Looking at it from the outside, I felt that Kerry was the guy in the right place at the right time.

Re:Just What I Need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25509671)

Might be profiling you? I'm surprised there's doubt about that. I think they would be negligent if they weren't.

I think it's a much more contrived explanation to think they're trying to influence the outcome of the election. Given that voting has begun, they're leaving it a bit late, aren't they?

Oh wait! There's that "don't be evil" thing. I mean, as long as you forgive and forget their evil behaviour.

Re:Just What I Need (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 4 years ago | (#25510221)

but I think it is mostly that they are sick and tired of people voting with no clue who they are voting for.

There's a simpler explanation: more revenue from ad views.

They're a public company. They are obligated to make money. Making people vote based on an informed thought process--how exactly does that make Google money? Not all are going to vote for the candidate that helps Google. Meanwhile, the site is going to take time (i.e. money) to build and operate.

You can't really chalk it up as a branding or awareness thing either: the Google brand is strong and everybody knows it. And it's definitely not "the cost of doing business".

I think it's the money. For Google, that means ad views.

Re:Just What I Need (1)

Alsee (515537) | more than 4 years ago | (#25510337)

Making people vote based on an informed thought process--how exactly does that make Google money?

a mismanaged economy in global depression is bad for profits?
bad tech policy and bad internet policy is bad for tech&internet sector profits?
global hatred for America and American companies is bad for US based company profits?

Ummm....
global thermonuclear war is bad for profits?

-

Re:Just What I Need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25510431)

Or you know, Google just is like most of us and are tired of people just voting for a candidate based on the hype machine which is the media.

As if the 'hype machine' can't figure out how to astroturf...

Re:Just What I Need (2, Insightful)

erikina (1112587) | more than 4 years ago | (#25509545)

Try again. By definition Occam's razor cuts against these conspiracies.

Re:Just What I Need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25509563)

Fair enough. So what's your simpler explanation for an advertising company offering a service like this?

Re:Just What I Need (1)

erikina (1112587) | more than 4 years ago | (#25509615)

Fair enough. So what's your simpler explanation for an advertising company offering a service like this?

More page impressions, sell advertising, build a bigger brand, increase 'stickiness', promote knol, etc.

Re:Just What I Need (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 4 years ago | (#25509789)

And to do this effectively, they need to profile you. It's what they do with all other services, too.

The logo looks like the flag of France (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25509415)

Isn't that funny that the logo looks like the flag of France!

Re:The logo looks like the flag of France (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25509539)

white on white?

Look... (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#25509465)

This is only going to fuel the fire of stupidity in the USA. Just read their slogan

Knol Debates: Listening to opinions, debating the facts

That isn't exactly how a debate should be run. It should be listening to facts and debating about opinions unfortunately, there lacks a good source to get facts, and even the presidential debates are more or less set up to keep us more in the dark.

Ideally, there should be a debate where individual citizens can stand up without pre-screened questions and ask the candidates anything pertaining to the election, but today with the news nothing more than glorified hype, that isn't going to happen.

Debating the facts (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25509567)

I'd say that especially when it comes to economics and climate, interpretations of the data are basically opinions. I don't think we are going to end up with a single fact repository for these issues.

On the presidential debates, I agree 100%. They are all about management. Especially when they are this close to the end game, nobody wants to risk ruining the sale with a real debate. Even without pre-screened questions, the candidates seem perfectly capable of answering around the questions or answering some other question! Perhaps give Joe Citizen (No relation to Joe the Plumber) a series of questions and follow-ups. I doubt anyone who thought they had a real chance of winning would go anywhere near this.

Re:Look... (1)

St. Alfonzo (1393181) | more than 4 years ago | (#25509775)

I just wish the debate moderators would do less to get the candidates talking to each other and more to actually make them answer the questions.

Re:Look... (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 4 years ago | (#25510137)

That isn't exactly how a debate should be run. It should be listening to facts and debating about opinions unfortunately, there lacks a good source to get facts, and even the presidential debates are more or less set up to keep us more in the dark.

I hope that Google will require sources to be cited.

xkcd (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25509723)

Obligatory http://xkcd.com/386/

Google Knol IS LITTLE debate (1)

sciop101 (583286) | more than 4 years ago | (#25509843)

Advert: A knol about a private army in Greece: Its history from private detective agency to being sponsored by the Greek government

Religious Verse: A knol of the dogma of Islam: "Allah is great, Allah says he is great, therefore Allah is great! Nobody debates Allah!" Nuff said

Actual Debate: 2008 Presidential Election Policy Debate: Long-winded in writing! That is a policy debate for you!

Re:Allah is great (1)

ztcamper (1051960) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515089)

So leme get it right. If Allah isn't great, Allah doesn't say he is great. If Allah is great, we have no clue about what Allah is saying. Affirming the consequent is a bitch... :)

This is totally new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25509971)

People post topics, and then in the following comments everybody debates and flames each other. This doesn't sound like digg or /. or any of a million other sites. Totally original!

More competition (1)

anoop_thomas (1164621) | more than 4 years ago | (#25510063)

Uh Oh. Google is now a competitor for Slashdot? What is M$oft is cooking up? They have a tendency to get into almost anything Google is up to these days.

Already done, but better... www.debatewise.com (1)

KidHash (766864) | more than 4 years ago | (#25510079)

A service like this already exists - debatewise.com. The major differences seem to be that it's a not-for-profit, and by the looks of the google site, a lot better...

Arguing on the internet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25510313)

Arguing on the internet is like competing in the Special Olympics. Even if you win, you're still retarded.

Can we start out without bias (0)

whitroth (9367) | more than 4 years ago | (#25510457)

The American Enterprise Inst. is a right-wing business think-tank. The Cato Inst. is self-described as a libertarian think-tank.

Where are organizations such as the Democratic Socialists of America, or the anarchist-syndicalist IWW? If you're going to have spokespeople for the extreme right, why not for the actual *left* - and please, do *not* give me the abysmally ignorant, brainwashed US argument that confuses the wimps, er, liberals, with the real left, and socialists. Doing so only demonstrates to those of us on the left in the US, and to everyone else outside the US, just how ignorant you are.

                mark

Global Warming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25513031)

Cant wait for them to start their global warming hoax site! Ours is better:
http://www.discussglobalwarming.com/blog

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