Open for Business

Welcome to the new MT 4.2-powered Winds of Change.NET.

We have a (slightly) new look – which may be tweaked slightly from time to time as we shake things out.

We will be announcing some new additions to the group of writers, and I’ll try and do a revision of Joe’s original mission statement.

One of the design changes we’ve made is to make comments more prominent in several areas; this site is all about the discussions. We’re making some changes there as well; we’re going to require registration to comment from now on. You can use several means to do it – openid, livejournal, vox and Typekey, as well as registering directly on the site. We’re working on integration with Facebook, but there are some bugs, sadly.

The goal is to promote civil, constructive disagreement through argument – which at our best we’ve done a lot of – rather than the usual blog commentary which sometimes tends to spiral downward into disagreement and abuse. Which I intend to minimize here in every way I can think of.

So disagree away, with me, with the other authors, with each other. But this is intended to be a place for conversation, which I’ve described on my work blog as:

Those manners are kind of a scaffolding around which conversation can grow. They imply a few basic truths which are at the heart of conversation.

The first is parity. When we engage in conversation with someone, the implication is that their words are as valuable as mine. We’re peers in the context of this conversation.

The next is agency. We have to believe that whoever is speaking owns their words; that they are speaking from their own authentic self rather than telling us what they have been told or deceived into saying. We respect the speaker as the owner of the words and ideas that they are sharing with us.

Next is openness. We have to actually hear and accept what someone else says. In a debate, I will use my opponent’s words as a springboard to make my own points. In a conversation I’ll accept what I’m told, unpack it, think about it, fit it with my own understandings and beliefs and then respond. The difference is that in one case we are listening to the ‘shape’ of what is told us and searching for a foothold to use to push it away, and in the other, we are actually open to the possibility that what the other person says could be true – that it could actually change our views.

Let’s see how we do on this.

If you’ve got blog technical issues for the next few days, email me at blog09 -at- armedliberal -dot- com

Onward…

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