1432: "The Sake of Argument"

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Tyndmyr
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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Oct 10, 2014 1:54 pm UTC

Kit. wrote:
Vanzetti wrote:Is it just me, or is Randall starting to exhibit the symptoms of the SJW-plague?

Social Justice???

Am I missing some context for this comic?


It's one way to read it. I think a better way is to simply interpret it as a "recursive fun with words" joke, as is fairly traditional for xkcd. Not my favorite sort of joke, but that's no great shakes. I don't think this was some hyper-serious "you guys have to stop using these terms" thing.

Yeah, SJW-style crap can go too far, and destroy otherwise good humor, but I don't think it's happening here, due to the context of Randall frequently using jokes of this time in the past. I don't mind chatting about meaniehead crap and what not, but I don't think the comic is really about that.

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument"

Postby Kit. » Fri Oct 10, 2014 1:58 pm UTC

Invertin wrote:Warrior? Are you fighting a battle?

In a sense, you are.

"Your claims are indefensible. He attacked every weak point in my argument. His criticisms were right on target. I demolished his argument. I've never won an argument with her. You don't agree? Okay, shoot! If you use that strategy, he'll wipe you out. She shot down all of my arguments." (q)

Unless you are getting totally ignored, that is.

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument"

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:01 pm UTC

Invertin wrote:Okay first of all let's put our wild accusations and assumptions down and realize that Randall is making a joke and is not trying to tell people that arguments aren't being done correctly. NOR is he suddenly advocating crazy people.

To be clear the only people who actually use the term Social Justice Warrior and are totally serious about it are the crazy sorts.

Warrior implies martial might but also a sense of freedom or a lack of discipline. So basically the phrase has nothing to do with advocating social justice by it's own definition and is an attempt by the meanieheads to feel like heroes, because warriors is a heroic thing to be, where Advocate or Supporter or Ally are all non-combatative phrases that aren't interesting or 'cool' or even slightly odd.

Warrior? Are you fighting a battle? No, most Social Justice Warriors are not fighting a battle, they are sitting on the computer, whining about how they were offended because someone didn't use the proper invented pronoun of 'xhiar' for their personal madeup special snowflake gender without actually telling anyone that Xhiar is the pronoun they prefer until AFTER they are allowed to be offended by the muggles getting it wrong.

I'm not against actual social justice. But the people who call themselves Warriors take the definition of 'lack of discipline' and 'violence' and apply it thoroughly in their behaivour by latching onto the idea that anything normal is inherently tyrannical and evil and must be destroyed via constant, unending harassment. The only thing that meanieheads actually do in regards to social justice is become a strawman for actual anti-social justice people to show around as an example of how crazy and unreasonable social justice is, by forcing themselves into the group of people who actually do good for equality by giving themselves this label, they are making every supporter of equality look like a crazy person.

Even Social Justice is kind of a silly term, like the title of an educational comic. By labeling themelves as social JUSTICE WARRIORS it's like they're trying to say "we're basically superheroes". Being an advocate for equality shouldn't be about wanting to be a hero or about wanting to look cool or wanting to be 'different' and unique it should be about being a decent person and meanieheads simply do not understand that.

Now that the ASIDE is out of the way, let's just enjoy a comic where stickmen make fun of eachother. This forum sometimes...

I have never seen anyone seriously self-identify as an meaniehead except as a self-aware reclamation of the word from anti-SJ folks who use it disparagingly.

It's kind of like "PC Police", which is only ever used by people complaining that their bigoted language sometimes has social consequences.
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Tyndmyr
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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument"

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:02 pm UTC

Militant language is incredibly pervasive, yeah. It can be talking argument, sports...almost anything. I think it's mostly a tendency towards hyperbole, as war is seen as an extreme form of conflict, and language drifts to use words that are seen as strong statements in a more mundane and everyday way.

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument"

Postby Invertin » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:02 pm UTC

The main reason you may not have seen the term taken seriously is because you don't hang out on tumblr enough.

That site is either amazing stupid fun or a toxic anti-normal-to-the-point-of-insanity nightmare depending on which 'parts' of tumblr you hang out in.

Kit. wrote:
Invertin wrote:Warrior? Are you fighting a battle?

In a sense, you are.

"Your claims are indefensible. He attacked every weak point in my argument. His criticisms were right on target. I demolished his argument. I've never won an argument with her. You don't agree? Okay, shoot! If you use that strategy, he'll wipe you out. She shot down all of my arguments." (q)

Unless you are getting totally ignored, that is.


'Shoot' was a bit of a stretch but I see your point. meaniehead is still a ridiculous term and largely a bunch of nutters.

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument

Postby Vanzetti » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:07 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Vanzetti wrote:Is it just me, or is Randall starting to exhibit the symptoms of the SJW-plague? I don't want XKCD to go in the direction of Sinfest...
Yeah, because if there's one thing plaguing the Internet these days, it's definitely a desire for too much justice.

Like, do you not get how much it sounds like you're setting yourself up as some kind of comic-book villain? When you start referring to a group of people as literal Warriors for Justice and then you oppose that group?


No real world villains think of themselves as villains. They all fight for justice, including the freaking ISIS.

Not that the meaniehead is anywhere near ISIS. But once you start discouraging the practice of trying to understand your opponent (Devil's advocate, et cetera), you are on the path that leads to places I'm not going to mention, lest someone invokes Godwin's law.

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument

Postby 80-watt Hamster » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:14 pm UTC

Carteeg_Struve wrote:
Mikeski wrote:the same way people who say "for all intensive purposes" and "it's a mute point" do.


Who says "for all intensive purposes"? Isn't it "for all intents and purposes"?


People who aren't great with words, like my otherwise quite intelligent wife. Drives me batty. "Based off of" in place of "Based on" is also really common.

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument"

Postby Essah » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:20 pm UTC

RAGBRAIvet wrote:Another phrase we could do without is "It goes without saying".
So then why are you saying it?


because it's the other person that said it

Person A: "Oh we need to pack our sleeping bags too for our camping trip"
Person B: "that goes without saying"

Person B thinks it's it's obvious that they'll need to pack sleeping bags so he tells person A that he didn't need to say that, it was already something everyone *should* know

That's how I interpret it.

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument

Postby s314 » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:27 pm UTC

HES wrote:I thought it was "I'm going to introduce this point, in order to illustrate the argument we're currently having. You may disagree with the specifics of the point but that doesn't matter because its the other point we're arguing about"

For example:

A- There are 4000 drivers on the tube. Introducing driverless trains will lay-off 4000 people.
B- But there are only 3000!

A- For the sake of argument, there are 4000 drivers on the tube. Introducing driverless trains will lay-off 4000 people.
B- Not necessarily, they can take on other roles within the company.


But that may be my fundamental misunderstanding of the phrase.


But 3000! > 10^9000, so is nowhere near 4000, as far as I can tell! I imagine the point would come across a bit more clearly if one were to use numbers that were a bit closer than that!

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument

Postby VDZ » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:29 pm UTC

Kit. wrote:
Vanzetti wrote:Is it just me, or is Randall starting to exhibit the symptoms of the SJW-plague?

Social Justice???

Am I missing some context for this comic?


I feel that this comic is representative of the shift towards groupthink and a more rhetorical (rather than logical) style of arguing on the internet as a result of the echo chamber effect caused by social media. "meanieheads" is a derogatory term often used to describe proponents of certain viewpoints (including pro-gay marriage people, as Randall seems to be in the previous comic) accused of groupthink and utilizing rhetorical arguments to negate logical arguments. (However, a neutral observer will soon note that the people arguing against "meanieheads", especially people using the term, are as much united in groupthink and as easily tempted to use non-logical rhetorical arguments for their viewpoint as the people they are arguing against.)

In the comic, "for the sake of argument" and "playing the devil's advocate", staples of logical discussion for intellectual benefit, are shot down using rhetorical but logically unsound arguments (appeal to motive - she must be saying this to get away with saying something unacceptable, and appeal to ridicule - sure sounds like a good idea to support the devil!). Such methods undermine constructive discussion, but are increasingly used in discussions in the internet. I personally suspect that for many, the discussion is no longer about discovering or sharing knowledge (and both becoming wiser by exchanging arguments for their respective viewpoints), but rather about proving one's moral superiority and adherence to the group's viewpoints (for which they are socially rewarded in such discussions).

I really don't like this trend, and I personally quit using Twitter because of this. (The final trigger that made me give up was a person being shot down on moral grounds ('how dare you question her after what happened to her') after asking for evidence to a claim that had no supporting evidence.)

Invertin wrote:Okay first of all let's put our wild accusations and assumptions down and realize that Randall is making a joke and is not trying to tell people that arguments aren't being done correctly. NOR is he suddenly advocating crazy people.


To put it very bluntly, Randall's intentions do not matter here. The resulting artwork (in this case, the comic) will be viewed on its own without knowledge of the author's intentions. People will repost it and think it to mean 'for the sake of argument' and 'devil's advocate' are unreasonable techniques for discussion. That is the effect this comic will have, regardless of whether Randall intended it to have this effect or not.

Invertin wrote:By labeling themelves as social JUSTICE WARRIORS it's like they're trying to say "we're basically superheroes". Being an advocate for equality shouldn't be about wanting to be a hero or about wanting to look cool or wanting to be 'different' and unique it should be about being a decent person and meanieheads simply do not understand that.


Except Social Justice Warrior is a derogatory term coined by their opponents, to describe their zeal in pursuing what they deem social justice, in a ridiculous manner.

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument"

Postby ronzie9 » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:38 pm UTC

Invertin wrote:...a comic where stickmen make fun of eachother...


Only an advocate for the maintenance of the cis-hetero-normative patriarchy would use the word "stickmen"!

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument"

Postby VDZ » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:41 pm UTC

Essah wrote:
RAGBRAIvet wrote:Another phrase we could do without is "It goes without saying".
So then why are you saying it?


because it's the other person that said it

Person A: "Oh we need to pack our sleeping bags too for our camping trip"
Person B: "that goes without saying"

Person B thinks it's it's obvious that they'll need to pack sleeping bags so he tells person A that he didn't need to say that, it was already something everyone *should* know

That's how I interpret it.


I'm fairly sure they meant the usage to invoke an assumption without any evidence to back it up ("it goes without saying that pedophiles are inherently bad people, so we should lock them up before they can do any harm").

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument"

Postby Kit. » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:43 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I think it's mostly a tendency towards hyperbole, as war is seen as an extreme form of conflict,

Or we just tend to reuse the same words (or even the same mental models) for all subclasses of "a bunch of humans uses some kind of force to overcome opposition from another bunch of humans", and war was the first known such subclass.

Tyndmyr wrote:and language drifts to use words that are seen as strong statements in a more mundane and everyday way.

Words that are seen as strong statements usually happen to be tabooed.
Last edited by Kit. on Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:56 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:47 pm UTC

VDZ wrote:
Invertin wrote:Okay first of all let's put our wild accusations and assumptions down and realize that Randall is making a joke and is not trying to tell people that arguments aren't being done correctly. NOR is he suddenly advocating crazy people.


To put it very bluntly, Randall's intentions do not matter here. The resulting artwork (in this case, the comic) will be viewed on its own without knowledge of the author's intentions. People will repost it and think it to mean 'for the sake of argument' and 'devil's advocate' are unreasonable techniques for discussion. That is the effect this comic will have, regardless of whether Randall intended it to have this effect or not.


That happens, certainly. I have seen XKCD comics reposted in a context where they are stupid. However, that's...not really Randall's fault. He isn't obliged to make things that are utterly serious and can't be ever taken out of context. Frankly, that sounds like a terrible goal for a comic strip.

Stupid reposts for stupid points is the fault of the stupid people doing that.

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument

Postby Invertin » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:49 pm UTC

VDZ wrote:
Invertin wrote:By labeling themelves as social JUSTICE WARRIORS it's like they're trying to say "we're basically superheroes". Being an advocate for equality shouldn't be about wanting to be a hero or about wanting to look cool or wanting to be 'different' and unique it should be about being a decent person and meanieheads simply do not understand that.


Except Social Justice Warrior is a derogatory term coined by their opponents, to describe their zeal in pursuing what they deem social justice, in a ridiculous manner.


You'd think, but they adopted the term quickly and have no shame in it.

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument

Postby Stargazer71 » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:51 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Vanzetti wrote:Is it just me, or is Randall starting to exhibit the symptoms of the SJW-plague? I don't want XKCD to go in the direction of Sinfest...
Yeah, because if there's one thing plaguing the Internet these days, it's definitely a desire for too much justice.

Like, do you not get how much it sounds like you're setting yourself up as some kind of comic-book villain? When you start referring to a group of people as literal Warriors for Justice and then you oppose that group?


Makes sense ... except meaniehead is usually a derogatory term for someone who pretends to care, but in truth uses shallow arguments that mask the person's apathy. It is not an effort to dismiss the cause they are fighting for, but rather to dismiss the sincerity of their efforts in advocating for it.

But sure. Setup a straw man and knock it down if it makes you feel better.

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument

Postby mvdwege » Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:58 pm UTC

Vanzetti wrote:Is it just me, or is Randall starting to exhibit the symptoms of the SJW-plague? I don't want XKCD to go in the direction of Sinfest...

It is just you. Randall has always taken a stand against at least certain forms of bigotry. If you don't want Randall to go in a direction he's been travelling for most of his comic already, I suggest you leave and take XKCD out of your bookmarks.

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument"

Postby Master Prichter » Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:20 pm UTC

I don't like the art shift. I liked XKCD better when it had stick-men rather than straw-men.

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument"

Postby Burton » Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:31 pm UTC

Master Prichter wrote:I don't like the art shift. I liked XKCD better when it had stick-men rather than straw-men.


There are no straw-men in this comic. Just a stickman being pedantic and intentionally annoying is friend by taking words too literally. His arguments are obviously not serious (especially the title text). There have been many XKCD comics like this one, where a character keeps saying things that are more and more absurd to irritate (intentionally or unintentionally) another character.

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument"

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:32 pm UTC

Of those two, 322 is not really SJW-like. Why? Because the whole "meaniehead" appellation isn't merely having an opinion that happens to match up with a given list...it's a description of behavior. It's the fellow who lazily pastes the currently popular meme, is filled with internet outrage, but doesn't, yknow, actually do much of anything productive. 322 expresses a sentiment that some in the meaniehead camp may share(along with quite a few others), but it does so in a way that is not particularly lazy or boring.

385 is not as good of a comic, I fear. There's no doubt an element of subjectivity here, but I see it as significantly less unique and interesting.

But yes, your point that he hasn't religiously avoided controversy is well taken.

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument"

Postby Klear » Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:39 pm UTC

@VDZ Great summary, I just find it funny how you seem to imply that the internet was a great place for an enlightened discussion until very recently =D

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument

Postby orthogon » Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:58 pm UTC

cellocgw wrote:Do you really not know the difference between 'mute' and 'moot' ? Tho' by now that may be a m[a-z]{3} point.

You nearly nerd-sniped me into regex-golfing mute/moot. OK, dammit, you did nerd-snipe me. But I can't do better than the rather unsatisfying /m(ute|oot)/.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument

Postby Vanzetti » Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:02 pm UTC

mvdwege wrote:
Vanzetti wrote:Is it just me, or is Randall starting to exhibit the symptoms of the SJW-plague? I don't want XKCD to go in the direction of Sinfest...

It is just you. Randall has always taken a stand against at least certain forms of bigotry. If you don't want Randall to go in a direction he's been travelling for most of his comic already, I suggest you leave and take XKCD out of your bookmarks.


You are quoting 2 comics from a long time ago, and which address a specific issue. It's not the same stuff at all as starting to argue against the concept of Devil's advocate.

Oh, and BTW, a much more recent 1357 also smells of SWJ. Yes, yes, I know, freedom of speech is not freedom from consequences of speech. But when you see the meanieheads revel in the bad things that happen to their opponents because of something they said, you realize that for them, freedom of speech is not a value at all. Only freedom of their own speech. To the saying "freedom of speech means the government can't arrest you for what you say", they implicitly add "but we are going to fuck you up as much as we can, because we hate you. And we are not the government, so it's legal, ha-ha!".

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument

Postby Foelhe » Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:26 pm UTC

HungryHobo wrote:As with all groups, you can categorise the sets of beliefs which members hold into things which are Obviously Reasonable, Currently Controversial and Obviously Unreasonable.

When their group is criticised people, like yourself above, try to imply that their group is only about the Obviously Reasonable things.
The people who oppose them of course, will also have sets of beliefs which can be categorised into Obviously Reasonable, Currently Controversial and Obviously Unreasonable.
In order to discredit the other group, you of course try to imply that they're all about the Obviously Unreasonable things.


Which cuts both ways. Which is the problem. If the anti-SJW crowd only used the insult for Obviously Unreasonable things, we'd have no problem. But mostly, in my experience, they use it on Currently Controversial things (or even Obviously Reasonable things) and try to paint them as Obviously Unreasonable by association. At this point the word has been used wrong so often that it's lost all meaning to anyone outside the anti-SJW bubble.

ctdonath wrote:
orthogon wrote:if it doesn't affect your main argument, you might even temporarily concede the point


It's a rhetorical tool for really destroying someone else's contention, amounting to "even if you're right about X (which methinks you're not), your point is still wrong because of Y." It's a way to deal with a point the other person won't concede, so you set it aside so you can get on to something else to win the argument on.


Thank you! Glad I'm not the only one who uses it that way.

Vanzetti wrote:Oh, and BTW, a much more recent 1357 also smells of SWJ. Yes, yes, I know, freedom of speech is not freedom from consequences of speech. But when you see the meanieheads revel in the bad things that happen to their opponents because of something they said, you realize that for them, freedom of speech is not a value at all.


1. Freedom of speech is not freedom from consequences of speech.
2. "meanieheads" enjoy consequences of speech.
3. Therefore, meanieheads hate freedom of speech.

This is some piss-poor logic right here.

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument

Postby VDZ » Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:40 pm UTC

Vanzetti wrote:
mvdwege wrote:
Vanzetti wrote:Is it just me, or is Randall starting to exhibit the symptoms of the SJW-plague? I don't want XKCD to go in the direction of Sinfest...

It is just you. Randall has always taken a stand against at least certain forms of bigotry. If you don't want Randall to go in a direction he's been travelling for most of his comic already, I suggest you leave and take XKCD out of your bookmarks.


You are quoting 2 comics from a long time ago, and which address a specific issue. It's not the same stuff at all as starting to argue against the concept of Devil's advocate.

Oh, and BTW, a much more recent 1357 also smells of SWJ. Yes, yes, I know, freedom of speech is not freedom from consequences of speech. But when you see the meanieheads revel in the bad things that happen to their opponents because of something they said, you realize that for them, freedom of speech is not a value at all. Only freedom of their own speech. To the saying "freedom of speech means the government can't arrest you for what you say", they implicitly add "but we are going to fuck you up as much as we can, because we hate you. And we are not the government, so it's legal, ha-ha!".


What I really dislike about the entire argument that 1357 echoes (but is being made by many people) is that it's US-centric misinformation. People apparently assume that the only thing assuring 'free speech' is the First Amendment, which does indeed only protect citizens from the government. However, not only is that situation only applicable to the US (the Dutch constitution, for example, guarantees protection of speech from anyone, not just the government), it also completely ignores the fact that a certain degree of freedom of expression is a human right, as defined by the United Nations.

Article 19

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.


This includes protection from other people and groups. A powerful group would be violating your human rights if they were to censor your free speech if it would otherwise be allowed by law, even if that group is not associated with any government. Pressuring people and discriminating people for what they expressed is legally a far more gray area (well, in most countries - the latter is illegal in the Netherlands according to the Dutch constitution), but morally it should be pretty clear that you're way too close to violating a human right there.

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:41 pm UTC

"For the sake of argument" is a conventional phrase meaning "let's assume this for now and contemplate the consequences of that assumption without getting sidetracked into discussing whether it's actually true" - it's used to avoid arguing an opponent's point without appearing to concede it, usually in order to move on to more substantive or relevant points, or to introduce a plausible or representative fact or figure while being clear that it's not intended to be taken as correct.

As with other conventional phrases, the meaning of the phrase differs from the meaning that would be understood by someone familiar with the words (and the syntax) but not with that specific phrase. The juxtaposition of the two meanings - the conventional meaning and the naive interpretation - by highlighting a foible of human language, provides a comedic effect. Okay, it's a nerdier form of humour than balancing a pail of whitewash over a door, but xkcd has always [citation needed] embraced nerdy humour without worrying about whether the average person on the street will get it.

Just check out the warning in the page footer of every page of the main site:

Warning: this comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors).

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument

Postby Foelhe » Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:49 pm UTC

VDZ wrote:This includes protection from other people and groups. A powerful group would be violating your human rights if they were to censor your free speech if it would otherwise be allowed by law, even if that group is not associated with any government. Pressuring people and discriminating people for what they expressed is legally a far more gray area (well, in most countries - the latter is illegal in the Netherlands according to the Dutch constitution), but morally it should be pretty clear that you're way too close to violating a human right there.


Let me post the list of consequences from the comic that was just linked: yelled at, boycotted, have your show cancelled, get banned from an online community.

None of these things are discrimination. I guess being yelled at could be harassment in some cases, but it doesn't have to be. So I'm not sure what point you're trying to make.

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument

Postby Klear » Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:59 pm UTC

Foelhe wrote:Let me post the list of consequences from the comic that was just linked: yelled at, boycotted, have your show cancelled, get banned from an online community.

None of these things are discrimination. I guess being yelled at could be harassment in some cases, but it doesn't have to be. So I'm not sure what point you're trying to make.


Depends on the show. Cancelling Firefly should have been a capital offence.

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument"

Postby Workaphobia » Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:00 pm UTC

Today's comic seems to clash with http://xkcd.com/169/
Evidently, the key to understanding recursion is to begin by understanding recursion.

The rest is easy.

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument"

Postby orthogon » Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:01 pm UTC

Essah wrote:
RAGBRAIvet wrote:Another phrase we could do without is "It goes without saying".
So then why are you saying it?


because it's the other person that said it

Person A: "Oh we need to pack our sleeping bags too for our camping trip"
Person B: "that goes without saying"

Person B thinks it's it's obvious that they'll need to pack sleeping bags so he tells person A that he didn't need to say that, it was already something everyone *should* know

That's how I interpret it.

That's one way it's used, but it's also possible for the same person to say it. In this case, I think the common thread is that the speaker wants to make something explicit whilst reinforcing the idea that it ought to be / would have been understood to be the case whether or not it had been stated. It might be that they want to ensure that everyone does in fact agree, but without opening up the possibility that it's something that's ambiguous or up for discussion. ("It goes without saying that we'll all pay an equal share"). This is a bit like the way lawyers use the phrase "for the avoidance of doubt". Another case is if the speaker wants to make it clear that they have a particular view or understanding, in a situation where any other view might be potentially offensive to the other party, so it's important to reinforce the fact that they aren't just saying it after weighing up the options, but that it's absolutely axiomatic to them. ("It goes without saying that you can bring [your partner] along / that I'll come to your concert / that the guy's behaviour towards you was appalling").
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument

Postby Foelhe » Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:02 pm UTC

Klear wrote:
Foelhe wrote:Let me post the list of consequences from the comic that was just linked: yelled at, boycotted, have your show cancelled, get banned from an online community.

None of these things are discrimination. I guess being yelled at could be harassment in some cases, but it doesn't have to be. So I'm not sure what point you're trying to make.


Depends on the show. Cancelling Firefly should have been a capital offence.


I stand corrected.

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument

Postby Belial » Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:03 pm UTC

Vanzetti wrote:Is it just me, or is Randall starting to exhibit the symptoms of the SJW-plague? I don't want XKCD to go in the direction of Sinfest...


Hi. Randy has always (or, well, probably not always, but for most recent memory) been a feminist, anti-racist, and whatever other causes you're lumping under "SJW-plague". I don't understand how you could read his comic regularly and not infer that, but let me now state it blatantly: you may cease worrying, it's already happened, and it is glorious.

Image

thearbiter wrote:Ugh - I really don't agree with the sentiment behind this comic. Debate can be as much as a hobby as golf or Skyrim or whatever the cool kids are getting up to nowadays, and if the person you are with knows that you are engaging in debate for the intellectual fun of the thing there is no problem.


The thing is, that last phrase is the most important one, and it needs to go further: the other person needs to not only know that you enjoy playing these little debate games, they need to also enjoy them.

The reason "devil's advocate" and "the sake of argument" catch a lot of flak is because it's often a "game" that only one person in the exchange has consented to play. One or more people are trying to have a serious discussion, or talk about real things in their lives, and (without asking if they're okay with it) some third party has decided to use that discussion (which is sometimes quite emotionally charged!) to play a game.

Some people find this really irritating.

The "devil's advocate" game gets increasingly irritating when played with one or more of the following variants:

-The devil's advocate player only mentions that they are playing halfway through the argument when they suddenly feel the need to distance themselves from a patently loathsome position

-The devil's advocate player is a privileged person with no personal stake in the discussion, arguing with one or more less-privileged people about an issue that directly affects their lives.

-The devil's advocate player, believing they are only playing a game with no consequences, derides the other participants for their inability to remain "calm and detached" about issues that affect them.

Invertin wrote:The main reason you may not have seen the term taken seriously is because you don't hang out on tumblr enough.


I assure you, Gmal and I hang out on tumblr plenty.

Though I find his usage habits completely bewildering, but that's a story for another thread.
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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument

Postby Vanzetti » Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:42 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
Vanzetti wrote:Is it just me, or is Randall starting to exhibit the symptoms of the SJW-plague? I don't want XKCD to go in the direction of Sinfest...


Hi. Randy has always (or, well, probably not always, but for most recent memory) been a feminist, anti-racist, and whatever other causes you're lumping under "SJW-plague". I don't understand how you could read his comic regularly and not infer that, but let me now state it blatantly: you may cease worrying, it's already happened, and it is glorious.


Sigh.

I am feminist and anti-racist. I probably agree with 90% of things even the notorious meanieheads say.

I don't agree with their methods. That's what the SJW-plague is about. It's when its suddenly okay to say "all white people are X" and "all males are Y". It's when the idea that your opponents may not be 100% wrong and you may not be 100% right is unthinkable. It's radicalism.

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument

Postby Belial » Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:46 pm UTC

Vanzetti wrote:
Belial wrote:
Vanzetti wrote:Is it just me, or is Randall starting to exhibit the symptoms of the SJW-plague? I don't want XKCD to go in the direction of Sinfest...


Hi. Randy has always (or, well, probably not always, but for most recent memory) been a feminist, anti-racist, and whatever other causes you're lumping under "SJW-plague". I don't understand how you could read his comic regularly and not infer that, but let me now state it blatantly: you may cease worrying, it's already happened, and it is glorious.


Sigh.

I am feminist and anti-racist. I probably agree with 90% of things even the notorious meanieheads say.

I don't agree with their methods. That's what the SJW-plague is about. It's when its suddenly okay to say "all white people are X" and "all males are Y". It's when the idea that your opponents may not be 100% wrong and you may not be 100% right is unthinkable. It's radicalism.


Then your reaction to this particular comic is completely baffling. Are you lost?

(I mean, also, :roll: at that entire line of thought, but I find "what are you even talking about?" a more pressing question than "what did that strawman do to you to provoke such a beating?")
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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument"

Postby Kit. » Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:51 pm UTC

Workaphobia wrote:Today's comic seems to clash with http://xkcd.com/169/

Not really. It's the same Cueball, but with a different antagonist.

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument"

Postby Horselover Frost » Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:56 pm UTC

Like pharmaceuticals, ideas are only ever good if they're properly tested.

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument

Postby VDZ » Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:57 pm UTC

Foelhe wrote:
VDZ wrote:This includes protection from other people and groups. A powerful group would be violating your human rights if they were to censor your free speech if it would otherwise be allowed by law, even if that group is not associated with any government. Pressuring people and discriminating people for what they expressed is legally a far more gray area (well, in most countries - the latter is illegal in the Netherlands according to the Dutch constitution), but morally it should be pretty clear that you're way too close to violating a human right there.


Let me post the list of consequences from the comic that was just linked: yelled at, boycotted, have your show cancelled, get banned from an online community.

None of these things are discrimination. I guess being yelled at could be harassment in some cases, but it doesn't have to be. So I'm not sure what point you're trying to make.


Historical context is in order. This comic was posted in the wake of the 2014 Brendan Eich controversy, in which Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich (Netscape employee since 1995, creator of Javascript and one of the founders of the Mozilla project) was forced to resign after controversy arose about his $1000 donation to a political campaign in favor of an anti-gay marriage bill back in 2008 (that was eventually passed by majority vote). Let me reiterate: Somebody who has been with the company for 19 years and was vital in the company's success was forced to resign from his position for his opinion on an unrelated controversial issue 6 years earlier, an opinion that was shared by the majority of the state.

Legally, it's too complicated for free speech protection (hey, he never got fired, he just resigned!), but it should be very clear that this is the exact kind of issue freedom of speech is supposed to protect against. That's what the 'yelled at' and 'boycotted' are referring to.

(The show cancelled thing refers to Phil Robertson's suspension from Duck Dynasty a couple months earlier, which is harder to defend (tl;dr: in an interview he said he believed homosexuality was sinful, he got suspended from the show for a couple days). The 'banned' thing has no special context, it just refers to people whining over being banned.)

The whole thing reminds me of this cartoon:

Image

Things that seem acceptable now may not be acceptable in the future. I'm pro-gay marriage and agree with a lot of other "meaniehead" sentiments, but if we accept things like this it will be quite possible that at some point in the future I too will lose my job or receive other discrimination because of some opinion I expressed back when it wasn't considered an absolutely immoral opinion to have.

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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument"

Postby Envelope Generator » Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:59 pm UTC

Kit. wrote:
Workaphobia wrote:Today's comic seems to clash with http://xkcd.com/169/

Not really. It's the same Cueball, but with a different antagonist.


This juxtaposition makes the strip gird times funnier.
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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument

Postby HungryHobo » Fri Oct 10, 2014 6:04 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Some people find this really irritating.


unfortunately a some of those "some people" have an unfortunate tendency to march into public fora where people debate for fun, present their cases as things to be debated fairly and openly.

Then they start looking like fools because their arguments are bad, their clean confident sounding blanket statements suddenly get holes poked in them, their arguments are sexist, racist, poorly thought out, contemptible or utterly disconnected from the real world. Then they suddenly declare that nobody who disagrees with them has the right to speak because privilege.

Because they've forgotten they're not in their normal social space.

Of course the reverse also happens where outsiders enter safe spaces.

If your normal social circle is public open fora where people discuss things for fun then it'll seem like there's a constant procession of meaniehead irrational idiots making bad arguments then trying to insist that everyone who disagrees has no right to talk.

If your normal social circle if a closed safespace then it'll seem like there's an endless procession of inconsiderate jerks "playing devils advocate" when the local social rules are that they should just shut up, agree with the person no matter if their position is logically consistent or not because "some things are more important".

And one of the annoying things for people who argue for fun in open fora can be that the people who come marching into the open fora can hold 90% reasonable beliefs that you agree with but present them really badly and mix in a load of inconsistent crap.
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Re: 1432: "The Sake of Argument

Postby Vanzetti » Fri Oct 10, 2014 6:06 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Then your reaction to this particular comic is completely baffling. Are you lost?

(I mean, also, :roll: at that entire line of thought, but I find "what are you even talking about?" a more pressing question than "what did that strawman do to you to provoke such a beating?")


Look, SWJs take the fact that trolls use Devil's advocate tactic, and turn it into an excuse to attack (and avoid discussion with) people they don't agree with. "Oh, you use Devil's advocate - you must be a troll! Go die in a fire!". XKCD is famous. XKCD posted a comic that attacks the Devil`s advocate method. It doesn't matter if it was done jokingly (I don't know if it was) - it will still be used to justify that behavior.


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