Scott Nesler

This conversation is closed.

Let's build a better media to facilitate democratic debate!

Audio version of the idea:

Michael Sandel started an idea requiring support. He said, "One thing the world needs, one thing this country desperately needs is a better way of conducting our political debates. We need to rediscover the lost art of democratic argument.". Professor Sandel is doing his part, but more needs to be done to provide a media to facilitate public participation in a civil debate. Tools are required to motivate more to develop better arguments.

The Do Good Gauge is a research proposal seeking others interested in developing a solution to the problem Professor Sandel describes. Applause is not required. Needed are a group of individuals willing to set aside their ego, to set aside a desire for financial gain and focus on a new media to motivate participation and give higher demographic viewership to the best arguments regardless of fame or status.

Here are a few essays to continue Professor Sandel's thought:

What is the Do Good Gauge?

I Had the Dream

A Better Way for Political Discourse

Please, let's give a try. The first step is to continue the discussion.

Closing Statement from Scott Nesler

I approached this idea as if there were two sides in developing a democratic media, the media and the public. What was learned is appreciated but a typical path in the attempt to sustain dialogue in the conversation. Going into to this TED idea I was more critical of the existing media and its inability to provide a wider representation of citizens thoughts. Upon the expiration of the TED clock it was realized how difficult it is to develop a thought understood and respected by the reader. How difficult it is to acquire feedback and sustain attention in a dialogue.

There were a few successes. Edward Long's streak of questions started with scepticism and ended in a hope for the idea. Though his questions did not traverse the entirety of the idea they did give opportunity for better clarification.

Wayne Tod started a dialogue which extended to private email. What Wayne Tod brought to the conversation was the importance of self reflection in developing a thought.

Feyisayo Anjorin comment motivated what is probably the best summary of this idea. The fourth post down, written on June 2nd, should be read as an extension of this closing statement.

External to this idea TED exposed the difficulty and the lack of good tools to facilitate an individual to advance an idea. Don Wesley's TED idea illustrates a man wrongly pushed to homelessness wishing to respectfully illustrate his case. Existing technology does not provide the public an efficient and respectful means to guide him through the many iterations required build a case worthy of broader appeal.

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    May 16 2012: The media is a very important tool for spreading democratic values and ideas for social change.
    But considering social dynamism as a continous process means that one has to remain in the awareness of 'who controls the media'.
    If the media is not subjective,and is ready to give a level playing field for a diversity of opinions, then democratic debates can be informative and subjected to intellectual and moral analysis.
    The danger of democracy is that certain viewpoints are bound to package their take on societal governance as the holy grail.
    We will have productive democratic debates if the media is open to the plurality of human experience.
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      Jun 2 2012: Reading Feyisayo's comment a second time I see another perspective. Participants have a role in developing a thought. The internet has the potential to add value in a participants role to guide another to express a quality thought. Newspaper, radio, and television communicate words in a quality manner, for the most part. Television and radio programs are able to validate the thesis statement provided in a script. They are able to provide evidence to gather support in a better than average argument. The quality is there in this one-to-many form of communication.

      The internet provides opportunity for a many-to-many form of communication, though there are few examples where feedback motivates an individual to develop a quality thought. Who's to blame? Not just the person with initial idea. The environment has a factor. An idea requires diversity to flourish.

      This media TED provides is a great start, but it is not the finished product in my imagination. It often fails to sustain dialogue long enough to bring vision to an idea. An idea flourishes with an audience somewhere between solitude and democracy. An idea requires the motivation of an individual to develop the thought. It requires the advice of others to add substance and chisel away the flaws. Merriam-Webster defines plurality as, "a number greater than another". Feyisayo was effective in associating the thought that debate or quality arguments require plurality.
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    May 17 2012: I just started a small newspaper here in Jacksonville to combat the exact issue you describe. In my experience I have found that the most difficult part has been providing an unbiased account while retaining readership. I provide the paper for free to the public and on the college campus' in town. My resources are limited s I choose my distributing locations very carefully. I visit these places very frequently because I am very proactive and I like to check up on my papers to see how they are moving. Needless to say it feels very good to see someone enjoying a cup of coffee while reading an article you've written.

    However, one day while i was visiting one of these locations I watched a competing newspaper distributor take my papers with him. I followed him to see if there was a mistake but he continued to do this at each stop. After confronting him he said "These are our locations you cannot distribute here". I told him I had the approval of the business owners and he just brushed it off.

    My point is that the media will not let new people in. They are making quite a bit of money doing what they do and they will not quit easily. Media is not just a popularity contest, it is dirty and very ruthless. It is not as easy as putting aside an ego or disregarding profits. I wholeheartedly agree that the media is broken and I am trying to do my part but it takes much more than just will and selflessness.
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      May 18 2012: This reply was inspired from both Adam and Feyisayo's comments. There is more than one side to this idea. One is for more to have the motivation to express a thought and I see Adam has captured the desire to create a media to express his. A new media requires true democracy. The algorithm to percolate quality argument must be measured based on reason and quality of thought. No single ideology should have advantage in such a system.

      Google guards it's algorithm to determine search order precedence. I'm unsure if an algorithm to bring demographic visibility to a reasoned argument requires such security. This is really a cart before the horse argument. Wikipedia has an audience. Google has an audience. Craig's list has an audience. The idea for a more democratic media requires an audience. Having the audience breaks up the stronghold of existing media.

      I received an email today referencing David Brooks recent article called the "Age of Innocence". It was a reflection on European and American democracy. What David Brooks misses in his argument is the voice of the people. He speaks of democracy from the government point of view. Right or wrong, good or bad democracy requires the voice of the people. Europe nor the United States has never approached a system of rule approaching Athenian democracy. I'm not for sure it would work, though a simple experiment could determine the feasibility. The essay called Democracy Rules attempts to explain how:
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    May 10 2012: The immense value Prof. Sandel brings to the table is his ability to moderate a debate. Without skill at the helm the course may vary erratically. The media for debate exists. The mechanisms are in-place. The problem is staffing. I don't think one person in a thousand can do a good job of moderating a debate in an active, participatory way. I think that is why valid, robust, edifying debate is in intensive care today. Thanks for your time Mr. Nesler.
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      May 11 2012: Audio Version of this Post:

      I side with your description of today's debate. Existing tools provide little incentive for an individual to focus on a solution. Having no voice in the discussion provides little incentive to develop a reasoned argument to back up one's words. More importantly the existing media does not provide an iterative method to refine a thought. Today's approach to argument is one and done or shoot from the hip. Few take the time to consider alternative suggestions.

      Yes, we do have a media for debate, but it is not democratic. Professor Sandel is suggesting a democratic form of debate giving more a chance to participate. Our existing system is based on a republican model. We hire people to speak on our behalf.

      The inefficiency of communication and dispersement of citizens across a large region in the day of Benjamin Franklin did not provide the efficiency of communication as we have today. The pony express was considered fast, but not fast enough to refine a democratic thought. Internet has advanced communication such that it can provide members of the general public the means to contribute reason and quality to the political discussion. Tools, such as TED is providing here, are a starting point for advancing an idea. TED is close. What is required is the means to motivate an individual to build a finish product for their topic. A finished product worthy of higher demographics. A product worthy of the one in a thousand level of quality the consumer expects from the debate.

      Thank you Mr. Long for engaging in this idea.
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        May 11 2012: Do you advocate an online, forum-type arrangement where (registered?) participants choose a seat on one side of the aisle (aka the question) and a Moderator runs the debate? I apologize if I am oversimplifying.
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          May 11 2012: Audio Version of this Post:

          How we are accustom to the word debate may confuse the idea. Maybe the word argument as it is used in critical analysis is better. The idea really builds on what Professor Sandel lectures in his online course at The idea of an argument having many sides. Unlike the hierarchical forum-type system facilitated through internet comments, I suggest a living document as the focal point of an argument. Comments are only intended to motivate the author to improve or change an argument. This process of refinement will hopefully help the author articulate an intelligent thought.

          Mr. Long I think what you are suggesting is more of a point in time type of debate. My suggestion is longer term. A quality argument may take days, weeks, even months to come to fruition. The starting point may be unrecognisably compared to the end product.
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        May 11 2012: It is not the purpose of debate to qualitatively effect an issue or subject, but to support one interpretation (aka. side of an argument) over and against all other interpretations. What you describe sounds like crowd-editing of a submitted work, a living document. I think you should use the word "Argument" in place of "Debate". OK. Call me pedantic.
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          May 11 2012: Audio Version of this Post:

          I agree "Argument" is the more accurate term, though there are those who confuse the meaning of that word as well. Living document yes, though I wouldn't call the idea crowd-editing. The crowd does participate in helping an individual develop an argument, but an argument is owned by an individual or like thinking group.

          This is how the idea differs from Wikipedia. An argument owner controls who, when, or what portions of an argument can be edited by others. In most cases an author would never allow others to edit the content. He or she would take the advice received from others and refine the thoughts into a new draft.
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        May 11 2012: I understand your idea. I think it has merit. Keep pushing.
  • May 6 2012: 05:17am my mind wonders so Im craming up Sorry for going a bit of topic or again if Im forgetting facts already proposed in the tool Just reading back on myself something i need to work on of course I want instant results but without this process there is no results Meybe because i find it hard to use the written word to expess myself i have to much emotions that cloud my mind I should be better but life is just not that way in every area I also should be worse of For that i am greatfull I will explain as it may or may not help (we can wipe it if that is so) School for me was an expedition to say the least A verry cloud minded child was i "still am" for many reasons not important Such a tool useing technology could use a self guided tutorial so as the the pace & intrest of the user can maximizes their potential in a more sterile environment free from sarounding distractions which i had many reducing my passion & capability therefore fun gose out the window with that Each time i wanted to try i found another distraction on-top of the one i carried I remember my family getting an Amstrad 464cpc & finding not just the games that where fun but trying to get the thing to understand me Hearing the first voice it spoke or the first movement of a character that i helped program dot by dash was exciting because i was controlling it A self guided tutorial part of learning would be helpful giving foundation leading to more higher end abilities such as debateing what has been learned then restructuring a old or new idea in a tool would have helped me exponentially growing up with added interest ie fun for what are we if not children with question Could the DGG incoporate self guided learning with the results required to expand free thinking Yes i think so & why not as it is already out their just no with the right databases Also with the growing knowledge that your intrest can lead somewhere would give added purpose s
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      May 6 2012: Audio Version of this Post:

      The DGG could help an individual focus. It could help them discover a thesis statement or the hypothesis to a valued point. In this way it's a singular activity. But to provide a broader understanding of an argument an audience gives opportunity to clarify not only for others but for self. Such a tool is not meant for people to develop a similar description to what has already been proved. It's to give each individual an opportunity to find their own words to understand and solve a problem. Others can point out facts or similar approaches to the problem attempting to be solved, but in the end it is the individual who must understand and explain his or her knowledge.

      Wayne you've pointed out your writing style a couple times. I'm not going to criticize, I find great value in your response. It's difficult to get an audience to take the time in figuring out what is attempting to be said. Most of us go through a period of inarticulance before acquiring broader understanding. With focus a new revision of the thought can be created. An idea for the DGG is to slow down the journey to solution. To provide an opportunity for a "Do Over". To provide an opportunity for clarification to reach broader understanding.

      Maybe an individual's hypothesis has an absolute solution solved by someone else. Each person sees from his or her perspective. It could be the perfect association has yet to provide understanding. Schools fail in this area. They have to move on to the next subject, allowing many students to miss an important point of knowledge.

      We learn from mistakes. Plutarch said it better than me, "To make no mistakes is not in the power of man; but from their errors and mistakes the wise and good learn wisdom for the future."
  • May 6 2012: Facebook i dont have & can stay in the playground until the markets dot com it Sorry facebook-ers i dont see nothing lost there In regards to the 5% & response to the essay my thoughts say that people dont like to put there minds to another mans test for it is a test no matter if its by question or character I come to you from a human perspective not a mans ability to do To do as i see you understand already that is one must have intrest to contrabute hear being a problem that need not be just the problem at hand i think needs selling if i may be so crude The problem then should unravel itself for human instinctive nose to solve a problem to further curiosity this giving it a better audience Size of problem is down to perspective If you think for instance my grammar is bad! most in part to pronounciation imaging children of the now & following days that barley meet to hear the written word & you start to see how big a problem it is So by this making it everyone's problem for oddvious reasons will demand a solution This thought / example may be a way to approach getting similar projects of the ground? Hopeing that the facts in truth will see it through
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    • May 5 2012: Scott of these facts Im am more that self aware A stagnant world full of mistakes if we dont have opinion from a wide range of levels of known for one sole cannot hold this information with the surety of it being accurate I do not want dictoral or flaky data when dealing with Learning, Knowledge our History, The Arts & the Future what you r dooing in my opinion deserves the atention of everyone Especially when the proposed is what is to / needs to come in one form or another Of this is clear with current trend the way they are Elements of this nature I no only to well for History shows that if we dont or cannot contribute to what we know & teach then well lets say its not an option for any forward thinking indavidual T.V. watching sound-bite data flaky atomatoms is what is left This is of my concern as i see it at the moment whether by design or not We / You in this instance have to approach any aplication with extream care so any application incoporated into the existing modeled system will only advance a way not hinder or add to already said problems I for one believe you have no luxury of mistakes hear that all roads must be clear for any model to work As you well no the challenge is the acceptance or none acceptance Eather way there is a problem & only evolving times change minds so people must no what it is they are evolving towards Hear therefore is the debate then the choice we make Pushing your model needs eyes on it as u no As i said that this type of model is going our way in our time for that i am sure The problems are hear-in the journey
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        May 5 2012: Post's Audio Version:

        Wayne, TED may have a better formula for acquiring intelligent discussion but in many ways it is no better than say NPR's On Point blog. The problem of existing comment forums is the inability to provide nor steers individuals to develop an end product. My suggestion is a living document as the focal point of discussion. Public and private comments directed at the author(s) provides a motivation to create a more truthful and purposeful draft. A draft with better clarity of the problem and direction to the solution. The purpose of public comments is only to motivate a better end product. Either a reader or the author can hide public comments if it distract the thought of the end product. Wayne, this iterative process of developing a thought reduces the clutter, confusion, and need for reading through mayhem to get to the root of the discussion.

        Demographic visibility should be taken into consideration. Some arguments have a targeted audience. Providing the means to funnel the discussion to the appropriate audience reduces the clutter as well. Newspapers kind of work this way. The front page is typically deemed the best articles from all demographics. Inside you have sections for global, national, and regional news. There are sports pages, classifieds, Op/Ed sections, Business sections, food sections. Such categorization allows the reader to weed out clutter they are not interested in.

        The Do Good Gauge proposal needs to address the demographics of thought. It needs to connect individuals to topics of interest. Such a tool could provide an interactive audience which existing media was never able to provide. Say an audience interested in developing a new media for a more intelligent and democratic debate.

        Wayne the questions need to keep coming. In no way do I claim to have the answer. Others must participate in the idea to bring it to fruition.
  • May 4 2012: I am looking at your pages & it is Intriguing to mind that glimpses at futures perceived This type of thing is right up Googles street I am more than sure that this type of thing will be used in schools & business alikes for example even life-ways. I of course am everything that this is not in that I am self tought Leaving me in the realms of dinosaurs soon to be Extinct! Fear of such things is not of concern so long as the teachers are of belief & not just of known to such a tool Tools are ment to free a burden not create one So as long as you can say this to be so & show it to be true then your path seems clear free of burden I only ask that if your intentions are of real concern that you look carefully from many Ângles free from the restraints of time at how such a tool could be used against an individual You would not won't to contribute to the pain or restrictions of your own slowing progress down The more you learn the more I do to, so the faster we get to where we are going We all never must blame the thinking of the times for mistakes we make blameing it on the times is not an excuse for like minded As I said this is such a tool going our way so see you in history Keep me posted & as always I will be watching Good Luck and May Your Journeys be full to carry you on if you need any thoughts...
    The 51% Paradox A Human Condition
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      May 5 2012:

      Wayne, I've written several emails and a couple essays relating to education and this idea. In the United States a business is protected when it over extends its financial means. An individual is protected when purchasing a home or purchasing object beyond the ability to pay. Bankruptcy laws protect them, but not in the case of a student loan. People should be responsible for their debt, but the cost of a degree is unreasonable. It's unfair to call it a monopoly, but the free market system is not providing a competitive price. What I'm suggesting can work in conjunction with the existing education model. It can provide a more efficient and cost effective alternative in many situations. What is being suggested can be provided at no cost to those with a desire to acquire a higher degree of understanding in lieu of a diploma.

      Many courses have a simple formula. Take English Composition. Provided a fundamental set of guidelines the student must find the motivation to iteratively share a creative thought in writing. The teacher's role is to gauge the quality of each iteration and suggest methods for improvement. As a software engineer I suggest such a process is not difficult to duplicate using social media. Actually social media could provide a higher level of motivation to a student to craft the skill of writing.

      A second example is a literature course. Given one book, an individual experienced with a book, and a dozen people with a similar desire to read the book, social media could facilitate a superior learning experience. Involving a diverse group participating in such an exercise may provide higher value than a class room of students of a similar age, similar experience, and a goal to acquire a certificate for entering the workforce. The outcome of each exercise could be made available to the public domain providing reference or a guideline for future readers of the book.
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    May 4 2012: Without reading all the posts

    Kris is right, people are more interested in the Kardashians than anything real,i was listening to one of our local talkback Dj's who is quite biased in his political leanings and he was interviewing a political analyst from the states or one of the Homeland security team that is in our country for talks with our government,i didn't hear who it was as i just tuned in at the time.

    This person said the same thing,if it was not entertainment then a good majority of the public couldn't careless or were just clicktivists,i agreed in part as my girls just watch those trash reality shows all the time and pay no attention to news or the political ramblings of the current governments.

    The talkback show was on voting online and the real reasons behind the public's general approval of it.
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      May 4 2012: Post's Audio Version:

      I'm not suggesting a tool to appease everyone. It's not intended to propagate mob rule. Thank about Wikipedia. Look a the functionality it provides humanity. What percentage of the populace participates in creating its content? There are 7 billion human beings on this earth. There are 4.3 million Wikipedia articles created by 765,362 individuals. That's .01% of the human population participating. My point is the participation is small for such a valuable resource created from the general public. I claim there is a high percentage of people with a desire to understand. Those searching for the truth eclipse the numbers who attend church. Higher than those who thank of God on a daily basis. My argument is not about religion. It's about the huge market wanting to participate in a process for developing intelligent thought. Thoughts providing solutions. Thoughts evolving through a process of exploration. Thoughts for the betterment of society. Some people are not ready for it. Some will have to wait and see it in action. Others will never participate, but may prefer this suggested source of opinion over Fox News or NPR. The problem is not a market for such a tool. The problem is those unwilling to stretch their imagination for what this tool could provide. There are unexplored collateral risks. Lacking an audience for such an idea is more likely to kill the thought than the trivial behaviour of our current society. An audience of a dozen could take this idea a long way.
  • May 4 2012: Yes to what you said as this is in tune to my thinking in this area. op-ed The Encyclopaedia Britannia, Amazon, Graigs List, Classified Columns, Global News, all have purpose & I for one don't won't to burn books to manipulated history nor do I won't to subdue peoples opinion as all of the above make us whom we are. Clear boundaries have to be set to prevent confuse no matter the model that we no the clear difference between fact & theory or that for me is the end game Clear boundaries have to be set no matter what the model or you get a bunch of nonsense mixt up heads going nowhere in a hurry
    a point that I do not pretend to understand all that is proposed in the model just the things straight from observation of all of the above with unselfish concern & how certain things affects us as a hole in the manner we evole to a point that we all feel is going in the right direction is of my concern. How this helps you in your quest it dose not Just that we are listening Where the voice comes from in the end will be for men like you to decide Not that I reside to the fact but it's one in many that needs adressing I am going of mind & instinct so not to pollute my thinking so forgive me if I misunderstand. We need clear safe structured boundaries to have sanity when speaking about debating the facts & not loose a way of of life 100% agreement. The way & form it comes in I will be watching closely so that the facts can also be shared with all for the benefit of all. As I'm sure you agree. The pollutants we will iron out!
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      May 4 2012: Wayne, tools could provide the means to distinguish between fact and opinion. David Hume describes a concept called association. A tool of association may be a fallacy index. A reader can point out various types of fallacies in an authors argument. Authors passionate with an idea or thought often are blinded from logical reason. Others can tag a "hasty generalization", "a straw man", or a "false analogy". Provided such suggestions the author is likely to build a more logical or fact oriented argument.

      I've yet to develop a mechanism to tag subsections of an argument, but have started to acquire content.

      Understanding Fallacy:

      The U.S. Constitution:

      Quotations of Wisdom:

      I've also had thoughts to build an association database for Supreme Court Docket / Oral Arguments. The University of Chicago has a website called Oyez ( If I could acquire Oyez attention it might be possible to build off their data to create an association database for Supreme Court oral arguments and docket information. Without it a support a group of dedicated individuals could reproduce the oral arguments which are in the public domain. I would also like to create a volunteer system to record in mp3 format oral arguments prior to the collection of audio recordings. Similar to how Librivox recruits individuals to records books from the public domain.

      The concept of association is not new. David Hume described it in Chapter IV of A Treatise of Human Nature. Not everyone thinks in the straight in narrow. It just won't happen. Maybe we should leverage tangent thoughts as a benefit. A new media could take advantage of association as people approach understanding.
  • May 4 2012: Sorry I can't get my point across on my mobile. My concers are for all that they don't fall into the same system as the status qua that its easily manipulated to benefit monopolymen Money will be the factor for it cost to set good intentions up also never forgetting what good ideas and people are worth to them its like scouting for a footballer whomever pays the most I will do your bidding. That's the realm of our reality Charity not excluded
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      May 4 2012: Post's Audio Version:

      Wayne, please continue your thought. I see a potential. I don't mean to make war with the news media, but sometimes change is better. The newspaper industry has yet to recover from what Craig's List has taken away. The Encyclopaedia Britannia is a media in it's own right. I'm not for sure if they will exist without radical change in their economic model.

      What is being proposed is bigger than a revenue stream. It's the civility we hoped for as a country. First it was the classified ads, then factual articles gathered in encyclopedia form, and the next step is to give the Op/Ed page to the people. It can be done. Civility can be granted beyond financial gain.
  • May 4 2012: I see where you are going with this But exams are bias in nature so must be taken out of the equation also to get the interest it deserves we must throw the rule-book out and make people excited but I'm afraid this will not happen because of the state in which politics is in People are getting used to a dictorial world even though it appears that have a voice is a PARADOX better designed to suit the politicians So until they changed any idea I may give will be in vain therefore I give my argument in hope to help in your quest. My augment is that people of lesser means Schools in particular don't get taught the so called tools to be interested in the first speaking from my own background & motivated observation The second thing I see is that politicians always say get involved witch mean to me read the program we send and vote but don't you scrutinize the program because we are suppose to take there word for it! knowing fine & well that what they spit is not worth the spit itself By that turning people off & knowing what the individual has to say won't mean anything because the political world is a law onto themselves For instance if a new law is to be past the individual is misinformed mislead by the system as a hole TV,NEWS,INTERNET and many more plus if a law is stopped the name is changed until they get what they won't. It dose not matter what the mob thinks or popular opinion or the opposition of course they will do it regardless So what dose this tell you? Not you or yours interest but there's This is not democracy it is something else! Knowing this is to be named a conspirator for questioning it? What! So getting back to topic in hand Do you not think it possible there is no tool because we are the tool? That the less we no the better so as they can carry out there interest without a popular uprising that they fear the most Also you can't have a tool that says classless with a system that has class A AA AAA and say it is not bias for A is bias in nature
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      May 4 2012: Post's Audio Version:

      I don't think the solution is focusing on what those in control can provide, but what we as individuals can supply. Benjamin Franklin said "it is a Republic if you can keep it" when asked what type of government the continental congress decided. It's not difficult to understand the United States is a democracy by inspiration only. It is an attempt. An attempt which is showing its flaws. Government does not need to be overhauled. The existing system can work. A prohibitive media hiding the thoughts and inspirations of the community is more to blame for our lack of democracy than governance. Blaming the ignorance of the people is a scapegoat. More to blame is the lack of opportunity, respect, and the refinement of thought.

      Let me share an image to better put the A AA AAA league system into perspective. The idea is to give each individual an opportunity to participate. To find an audience willing to develop the quality in a thought. The tier of leagues is similar to the United States form of government. Church/subdivision, city, county, state, federal, and global are tiers. Everyone cannot articulate a suggestion worthy of global demographics. Practice in a smaller arena is required. Please visit the following link for a better illustration:

      The Argument Demographic Visibility Diagram
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    May 4 2012: Post's Audio Version:

    In the response to Krisztián Pintér I describe the tool for civil debate as a game. This post is to explain more.

    Right or wrong those with strong religious convictions and a desire to play in the political arena have learned to use scripture as a strategy. The Supreme Court justices play the game of law through jurisprudence. Referencing prior docket decisions are often used to argue the outcome of new decisions. Each Supreme Court Justice has a staff to research prior law and decisions. Biblical scholars dedicate great time to learn the scriptures. Given an argument, justices and religious scholars use historical/biblical/legal reference to prove an argument. An argument from their persuasion. An argument which sometimes discounts its effects on those of less concern.

    Technology can be created for a more effective way to retrieve such reference. Reference to support an individual's argument. Reference to support an opposing point of view. The Bible, Supreme Court dockets and oral arguments, fallacy definitions, and historical quotations can be indexed and searched. Such indexes can provide the means for readers to tag arguments or portions of an argument. Each tag can provide a direction of support ranging from highly supportive to highly counter supportive. Providing the means for others to validate an author's argument gives a chance for the author to iteratively improve an argument.

    Tools to facilitate civil discourse provides each citizen a chance to express a problem or describe a civil solution. It provides the opportunity to weigh the pros and cons, to identify the collateral damage. It gives those suggesting solutions a better method to articulate the idea. It gives the reader an opportunity to participate in the decision making process.

    Please, let's build it together.
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    May 4 2012: we have a major problem here. this concept assumes that the lack of participation in politics stems from the lack of appropriate tools. so we just build a tool, and we are good.

    however, media firms all over the world are in fierce competition for viewers. this includes websites and tv channels as well as others. if people really wanted a good tool for political discourse, some media firms would already come up with a multitude of such tools to choose from. but they didn't

    and they didn't because they know exactly that people could not care less. people are not interested in public debates, and are not willing to listen to arguments and learn new things. and that's why this idea is dead. you can create such a website or tv forum, just to realize that nobody participates. and if nobody participates, it will not in any degree promote participation in public issues.

    so this proposition tries to solve the easy problem, the platform. but it does not touch the real problem, why would anyone use it?
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      May 4 2012:

      Competition. The sport of it. A chance to compete. An opportunity to contribute. Political debate needs to become a game where an average individual can participate. There needs to be more arenas to house various levels of skills providing an opportunity to climb the rungs of achievement. Meritocracy can be given a chance. Take baseball in the United States. There's the Kourey League. As kids get older the schools facilitate the completion level. In high school there are freshman, sophomore/junior varsity, and varsity leagues. After high school there's college and the American Legion. Professional baseball has as many as four different leagues A, AA, AAA, and the independent leagues. Baseball's incremental level of achievement could be applied in a manner to perfect political debate. A game of civil discourse can be defined and the arenas built to house the competition.

      Political debate can be entertaining in a manner giving each citizens an opportunity to participate and hone skills for competition. Current media does not facilitate it. Our existing media is a one to many form of communication. It's not democratic. It's not based on merit. It's imperialistic. The few direct the conversation. Our current system does not allow the best argument to win. The best argument does not have a chance to be heard. There are few places to debate civil solutions. A competition between the many provides the opportunity to percolate the best arguments from within. Building a better media is not a competition between the existing media and new technology. It's a competition of and for the masses.

      People would use a democratic media to facilitating debate because it provides the method where each voice can be heard. Merit provides an opportunity for civil competition in the debate. Communication tools and internet technologies has evolved to facilitate a democratic competition for political debate.