The Value of Discussion

Approximate Reading Time: 2 minutes

CT23I often comment on the flaws of academia – the backstabbing, bullying, posturing, and so on. I have recently discovered (OK, don’t laugh) that the corporate world is worse – at least, when it comes to discussion.

snap01561I am a member of numerous groups on LinkedIn and I sometimes contribute to discussions. Coming from academia and especially coming from science, I am more inclined to comment when I disagree than when I agree. I’ve never been a fan of those endless “Yay for You!” posts. They don’t add anything to a discussion, and many seem to just be kowtowing. I learn much more from following and contributing to a discussion where people have differing viewpoints. Say what you will about the Academy (and I’ve said plenty), many of the discussion forums I’m on allow for some pretty heated debates.

Naturally I assumed that the same was the case on LinkedIn groups. Apparently not. I realize that what people often post to LinkedIn is a thinly disguised plug for their company or product. I’m OK with that, so long as it’s not too blatant. However, I’ve discovered that some of these posters – often ones ranked as “top contributors” – shut down discussion if it disagrees with them.

A few weeks ago I saw a post where the poster used a story to illustrate an example and it turned out that the example had come from somewhere else. Being an academic, I suggested he credit the original source of the story. Instead of taking advantage of an opportunity to make himself look good by crediting the original source, he sent me a private message asking me to remove my comment because it detracted from the “message”.

There have been a few posts on gamification that have been broadcast to numerous groups – one on the definitions of gamification, serious games, and simulations, and another claiming that gamification has been scientifically verified (no, really). I’ll say what I think of these in separate posts, and you can decide for yourself. What prompted THIS post is the fact that I am now begin moderated on all the lists where these two posts appeared.snap01560 My posts were neither spam, nor were they irrelevant. However, they did not agree with the line these folks were trying to feed us.

Now, most of the time, in the Academy, this is how we start discussions. If everyone agrees with what we are saying, there’s nothing to discuss. It’s often when people disagree that the really interesting ideas come up. Apparently, the authors of these posts chose to have me censored rather than address my comments (or learn something new?).

Sad, really. Had they responded instead of trying to shut me down, I might not have written this post.

I also wouldn’t remember them as people I never want to do business with or as people I will warn others to avoid. Somehow, I don’t think that was their goal.


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The Value of Discussion — 4 Comments

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