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Create a web based mechanism to discuss if we are asking the right questions about certain subjects. "ARE WE ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS?"

There are many subjects where discussions get sidetracked and useful resolutions don't get discussed and implemented because the wrong questions are asked.

I would love to see some sort of web based mechanism created and used where people could raise a red flag when they saw subjects debated where the discussion had been diverted and the important facets of the subject were being ignored or missed.

A way to raise these red flags so they can serve as effective warnings that will be heeded by the press and humanity alike would help serve mankind.

For example, in electing candidates, how much time is wasted talking about things that have virtually nothing to do with the abilities of candidates to successfully carry out the duties of their offices? Instead of asking about and discussing things that are irrelevant, we would be better served by defining those skills that are important for a successful office holder to have. The press is particularly guilty of not asking the right questions but rather of wallowing in sensationalism and endless poll results reporting. "ARE WE ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS?"

Another related misdirected type question could be do we mistake desiring to get the MOST people to vote in an election with trying to get the people who are BEST QUALIFIED to vote in an election. We often mistake quantity for quality. "ARE WE ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS?"

I believe there are many subjects that are discussed in public and by the press that are not properly debated because people tend to follow the initial line of discussion and often don't look at issues with a fresh eye to make sure the right questions are asked.

How can you suggest such a mechanism could be created?

Perhaps a website called: "ARE WE ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS?"

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    Aug 2 2012: As 'right' and 'wrong' are always subject to personal preferences, value and belief system and cultural background, no mechanism was able to objectify that.

    I am always sceptical if someone tells me, that I was not asking the 'right question' and usually it means nothing but the answer is 'inconvenient' or 'presumptuous' for their own intention or hidden agenda.

    So insead of stating what is wrong just rise the question you think is right. This keeps a discussion going and is more constructive anyway.
    • Aug 2 2012: Jan-Bernd, I agree that raising a question you think is right is exactly what I am talking about. That would not only keep the discussion going but ,as you say, it would make it more constructive. That is what I am after. I am looking for a way to encourage the participants of a discussion to NOT get stuck with the direction a particular issue is being debated. There is nothing wrong with going back and forth with certain points in a discussion. What I am looking for is a way to help people take fresh looks at issues. We need to have a better way to frame and re-frame issues and possible answers.

      I realize everybody has their own viewpoints and feelings about what is right or wrong. These are, as you point out, based on personal value systems and cultures. That is fine and even helpful in coming up with different "right questions." I am just concerned that people get led in one direction when discussing issues and don't take a step or two back and look at the issue with fresh eyes.
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        Aug 2 2012: I see your point now, Mark.

        What helpes me to see the world with 'fresh eyes' is changing my context, my surrounding and even better, my country. This is why I like to be influenced as 'international' as I can possibly be, as it forces me to question my standpoint over and over again and to learn about solutions people find for the same problems I face myself and what they come up with.

        Changing perspective is also known within the 'creative industry' to find inspiration by 'giving up' a well known environment. Our mind probably works differently if we leave our mental 'comfort zone' and opens up more widely for new perceptions of 'old known knowledge'.

        Sometimes it even helps to go for a walk at unknown places. And if it doesn't it at least was a healthy excercise... ;o)
        • Aug 2 2012: Jan-Bernd, changing the context of how you approach a question certainly does help to prompt one to come at an issue from different perspectives. I am more and more aware of how global our societies have become in past several decades. I think this helps to get varied viewpoints and have questions asked that a person from one culture might not even think to consider.

          Do you think this is something that could somehow be encouraged by changes in website/discussion group mechanisms?

          One thing that I have often noticed is how I can be exposed to one situation and have a realization that some aspect of that situation help me see a completely unrelated situation in a different light. This would be somewhat akin to your comment about taking a walk at an unknown place even though I take it that you meant that in the literal sense of actually taking a walk to change the scenery and way you are looking at something.

          Thanks for your comments!
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        Aug 2 2012: Thanks to you, Mark, for sharing your idea!

        I think TED is already a good example for an international discussion group and this is one of the reasons why I like to come here at times. It is here as you said, were I can meet people from different cultures which give me a different view on things which I would not have seen by myself or stimulated by my fellow citizens.

        What you descibed that one situation may change a complete unrelated situation as well, happens to me too. Sometimes it takes a while for this new perspective to settle in, sometimes it happens instantaneously. I think the reason for this is, that we are not the same anymore caused by the first 'change' and this therefore enables us to give new importance to our 'old' knowledge and to sort it anew.

        To me this is the most vital part of 'life long learning' and I can only hope to stay open for it as long as I walk on this planet.

        I also think that this 'international' exchange should start as early at age as possible, and I wish we would spread school exchange programs more widely, more global and more often than we do today.

        As much as I know the internet already helped to establish an active exchange in between partner schools worldwide and all modern web based social sites like facebook and co. may help to link also the people of different nations much better and more intense in friendship than our diplomats will ever be able to archive with their given resources and objectives.

        Well, we'll see...

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