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The Principle of Consensus


DavidCaldwell

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I would like to suggest that our discussions here would be more productive if we agreed on and kept in mind the following principle:-

"It is best, if possible, to avoid actions that any significant group of people strongly disagree with."

Or, in approximately logically equivalent form,

"I prefer it if other people avoid actions that I strongly disagree with."

Do you disagree with the first statement?

If so, do you disagree with the idea that the second statement (assuming it applies to everyone) sort-of implies the first?
 

between the bridges

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all well and good DC however there is a difference between holding an opinion many others disagree with and expressing an opinion intended to offend/annoy/wined others.
The interweb is a playground and therefore playground rules apply... ridiculous as it may seem the most meaningful debate i have seen on here was on a thread started by one of the trolls...
 

DavidCaldwell

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all well and good DC however there is a difference between holding an opinion many others disagree with and expressing an opinion intended to offend/annoy/wined others.
The interweb is a playground and therefore playground rules apply... ridiculous as it may seem the most meaningful debate i have seen on here was on a thread started by one of the trolls...
The principle I am putting forward applies to actions, not to opinions. In a discussion forum, we want to hear opinions we disagree with - otherwise it would be boring and we would have nothing to argue about. But I presume most people prefer not to see actual events happen that they strongly disagree with.

The implications of valuing consensus are quite far-ranging. I think you will find that it supports many of your positions with regards to the history of the last 45 years.
 

physicist

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Consensual, Organized and Respectful debate? ... Is this going to end up with us calling you Mr Speaker or Ceann Comhairle any time soon?
 

DavidCaldwell

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@physicist,

What do you think about the idea that the second statement in the OP is almost a tautology and it almost implies the first statement (at least if you restrict it to moderately-desired actions and make some assumptions that the individual dis-utility of "strongly disagree" is much greater than the utility of "moderately-desired")?
 

between the bridges

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The principle I am putting forward applies to actions, not to opinions. In a discussion forum, we want to hear opinions we disagree with - otherwise it would be boring and we would have nothing to argue about. But I presume most people prefer not to see actual events happen that they strongly disagree with.

The implications of valuing consensus are quite far-ranging. I think you will find that it supports many of your positions with regards to the history of the last 45 years.
sorry DC i don't follow your logic, the vast majority of us are faceless entities to each other, therefore we only know each others opinions rather than actions?
 

DavidCaldwell

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Consensual, Organized and Respectful debate? ... Is this going to end up with us calling you Mr Speaker or Ceann Comhairle any time soon?
Please note I am not suggesting that consensus in opinions is good. Rather that, with all the differing opinions, it is worth-while, if possible, seeking out the actions/options on which there is consensus, do them first and then re-evaluate.
 

DavidCaldwell

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sorry DC i don't follow your logic, the vast majority of us are faceless entities to each other, therefore we only know each others opinions rather than actions?
Consensus of opinions is like agreement of measurements. Imagine we want to carpet a room. We need to know its dimensions. If you and I make separate measurements and they disagree, the best thing to do is to make further measurements until they agree - or, if worst comes to worst, take an average. So, consensus of opinions isn't valuable in itself, but only if the opinions are close to reality. But it can be indicative, just as when separate measurements agree, this suggests they are right.

In contrast, I would suggest that it is a good strategy (usually) to give preference to actions that everyone agrees with (or at least nobody strongly disagrees with). Politics and government etc are iterative - we evaluate the situation, come to decisions, act, re-evaluate, make further decisions etc. If we do something on which there is a consensus, even if it is just a small step, then we may be in a better position to take our next step etc. The analogy here would be the two of us trying to navigate our way across a misty mountain landscape. I think we should turn left, you think we should go right; we can agree to go ahead a little up a ridge where there will be a better view. In this context, giving preferences to actions on which there is consensus can often be a good idea.
 

between the bridges

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Consensus of opinions is like agreement of measurements. Imagine we want to carpet a room. We need to know its dimensions. If you and I make separate measurements and they disagree, the best thing to do is to make further measurements until they agree - or, if worst comes to worst, take an average. So, consensus of opinions isn't valuable in itself, but only if the opinions are close to reality. But it can be indicative, just as when separate measurements agree, this suggests they are right.

In contrast, I would suggest that it is a good strategy (usually) to give preference to actions that everyone agrees with (or at least nobody strongly disagrees with). Politics and government etc are iterative - we evaluate the situation, come to decisions, act, re-evaluate, make further decisions etc. If we do something on which there is a consensus, even if it is just a small step, then we may be in a better position to take our next step etc. The analogy here would be the two of us trying to navigate our way across a misty mountain landscape. I think we should turn left, you think we should go right; we can agree to go ahead a little up a ridge where there will be a better view. In this context, giving preferences to actions on which there is consensus can often be a good idea.
my point is that we are not trying to navigate our way across a misty mountain landscape, we are giving and debating/slagging each others opinions. on a generally unaccountable virtual reality and that is what others see, they do not see or know our actions unless we wish to inform them of those actions...
 

DavidCaldwell

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BTB,
It is not about our individual actions (generally), but about the actions of politicians, the state, the paramilitaries etc - i.e. the actions that we discuss, that we have opinions about.

So, for example, consider the naming of a playground after Raymond McCreesh. That is something I object to and it obviously wasn't strictly necessary. If people accept the general principle that it is best to avoid actions that some people disagree with, then it largely follows that the decision was wrong. So the principle would be relevant.
 

between the bridges

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DC i am not being awkward here but i have been discussing your OP
I would like to suggest that our discussions here would be more productive if we agreed on and kept in mind the following principle:-
this
It is not about our individual actions (generally), but about the actions of politicians, the state, the paramilitaries etc - i.e. the actions that we discuss, that we have opinions about.
is a completely different subject is it not?
 

DavidCaldwell

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BTB,
Very sorry for any ambiguity in the OP. In my opinion, the most relevant part of it is not the first sentence but

It is best, if possible, to avoid actions that any significant group of people strongly disagree with.

The "actions" in question were those of the politicians etc. The OP wasn't intended to be about the manner in which we discuss things, but rather about the criteria we might use to make judgements about history etc (with the suggestion, in the first sentence, that better agreement on such criteria might improve the discussions as a whole).
 
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