Mark Gump

Westminster, CA, United States

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Mark Gump
Posted over 2 years ago
Create a web based mechanism to discuss if we are asking the right questions about certain subjects. "ARE WE ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS?"
James, I love your topic ideas! That level of subject matter would certainly prompt some interesting discussions. Now to take this whole conversation to another, deeper level, I would posit not only how can we get a rich enough mix of viewpoints and questions explored but how can we move from the discussion to the action phase. In other words, how can we get people and organizations to not stop at the discussion stage but take the conclusions reached and put them into real world actions. Certainly TED is a forerunner in this type of work. What else can be done?
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Mark Gump
Posted over 2 years ago
Create a web based mechanism to discuss if we are asking the right questions about certain subjects. "ARE WE ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS?"
I liked what Jan-Bernd Pauli had to say in his comments to this conversation. Maybe we need to help online thread conversationalists be able to leave their 'comfort zone' so they take a fresh and different look at issues. How could this be done? I agree with you that good questions are the ones that make people think and generate richer ideas. The trick is how to get those "good questions" asked. Maybe conversation moderators could take a more active part in conversations and challenge participants to justify their positions or challenge participants to support an opposing position as an exercise in debate. What do you think?
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Mark Gump
Posted over 2 years ago
Create a web based mechanism to discuss if we are asking the right questions about certain subjects. "ARE WE ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS?"
That is interesting that you work in the area of facilitating discourse. I suspect that must be fascinating and at time frustrating work! I didn't mean to indicate that there weren't many people with the ability to take a re-framing action during a discussion but rather that there weren't as many as it would be nice to have that are willing then commit to doing so. Of course, there are a great number of people who really don't have the mental ability to re-focus their look at issues. Sadly, those people just need to pretty much be discounted and ignored. Having ulterior motives is probably one of the biggest roadblocks to people to be open to new and fresh perspectives. As your earlier post indicated, people will try to get their viewpoint affirmed. What should be considered most important in holding a discussion is to try to come up with the most beneficial viewpoint and possible solution to issues rather than trying to get one's particular viewpoint accepted. This is somewhat against human nature I suppose. How can we build discussion websites that actively encourage such openness and willingness to explore multiple viewpoints through asking questions that prompt better answers? Moderators can shut down flame wars but I'm looking for something to encourage more fruitful discussions.
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Mark Gump
Posted over 2 years ago
Create a web based mechanism to discuss if we are asking the right questions about certain subjects. "ARE WE ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS?"
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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Mark Gump
Posted over 2 years ago
Create a web based mechanism to discuss if we are asking the right questions about certain subjects. "ARE WE ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS?"
James, yes there are definite differences between online threads and in person conversations. I think that is one of the reasons online discussions have become so popular and useful. I'd like to be able to take the online experience one step further with methods to help ensure as many options and viewpoints as possible are discussed. It is unfortunate that real life discussion do seem to be fairly linear, as you said, because they do tend to go down one path. That is the beauty of multiple participants with multiple viewpoints in and online conversation. How would you suggest enhancing online discussions to help promote this richer wealth of ideas and viewpoints?
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Mark Gump
Posted over 2 years ago
Create a web based mechanism to discuss if we are asking the right questions about certain subjects. "ARE WE ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS?"
Fritzie, I am right with you on your comments. It is unfortunate that much discussion is driven by the speaker's agenda. Yes, I am trying to help create environments and methods to guide discussions in ways to allow a re-centering on the base topic when the conversation's participants divert to non-centrist discussion threads. I agree that many, if not most, people tend to have their own favored position and they will often guide a discussion in a way to support that position. I don't mind having varied and even opposing viewpoints expressed. What I am trying to overcome is having those viewpoints be the only ones considered. I'm afraid that many people are not very capable of taking that step back you mentioned. It does take a person with intellectual integrity to be willing to "risk" going against the grain and approaching an ongoing conversation from a different angle. What I'm trying to figure out is a way to help facilitate this type of behavior.
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Mark Gump
Posted over 2 years ago
Create a web based mechanism to discuss if we are asking the right questions about certain subjects. "ARE WE ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS?"
Mr. Long, I suppose my question could be framed as ANSWERING the right question just as much as it could be ASKING the right question. I guess you have to ask the right questions before you can expect to get the right answers. What I am proposing is to find ways of helping to ensure people don't get stuck and become satisfied that ALL the pertinent questions or viewpoints have been explored before they actually have been. I think it is important to note I originally stated I thought it was important to ask the right questions (note the plural) not the right question (note the singular). I'll admit I did pose that statement both ways but, to clarify, I am really saying how can we help to ensure the right questionS are asked so we get the best chance of getting the best and most useful answerS. (I edited my original post to make all occurrences of my statement plural. :) )
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Mark Gump
Posted over 2 years ago
Create a web based mechanism to discuss if we are asking the right questions about certain subjects. "ARE WE ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS?"
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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Mark Gump
Posted over 2 years ago
Create a web based mechanism to discuss if we are asking the right questions about certain subjects. "ARE WE ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS?"
John, I don't think waiting for the results is the only way to figure out if we are asking the right questions. Certainly observing shows us the results of the way we might have chosen but being open to challenging the idea that there is only one possible solution or viewpoint to an issue should open us up to possible finding better solutions. My point is we need better mechanisms to help to keep our minds open to many different ways of viewing situations.