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Why do some technical discussions last forever

  1. Oct 22, 2011 #1
    Have you noticed in the technical discussions in these forums some go on for hundreds of posts and people get arguing, storm off, call names, become accusatory and so forth, while a different post on a virtually identical topic barely gets a reply? And I have never compared the people arguing in different threads, but it seems like the mix of characters varies from one to another....maybe reflecting areas of interest, wine intake, or technical expertise??

    When I post a question, the few I have thought were most interesting often means the fewest replies, but every so often what I think is a rather mundane question gets people all riled up and the replies ramble all over the universe...even though neither has a precise theorectial nor experimental foundation.

    Of course a post with a simple accurate factual reply usually settles things, but even there some people choose to pick a fight and argue anyway.

    Apparently global warming discussions became so contentious, that all posts have been banned here. Yet people continue to argue about all sorts of other things such as the interpretation of mathematics and mathematical models.

    And maybe along the same lines, what sometimes hacks the moderators off?? Frequently I see comments from others that have "rendered unto me" a one point censure..... for violating a rule I never even realized existed.

    What's up with all that??? Any good theories??
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 22, 2011 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    This is not Philosphy, I'm moving it to GD.

    It could be that no mentors have seen the thread until someone reported trouble. Or that mentors were observing but decided not to take action until it got to the point that action was needed. Just because you don't *see* a mentor take action doesn't mean that action hasn't taken place.

    As for why some 'not so good threads' take off, people like to argue, and the more vague the topic, the more people without expertise feel free to give their input.
  4. Oct 22, 2011 #3
    No they don't.
  5. Oct 22, 2011 #4


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  6. Oct 22, 2011 #5


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    For some definitions of "no."
  7. Oct 22, 2011 #6
    A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. There are some people here knowing a little bit of a subject but not a lot. These are usually the people that are so convinced about their correctness that they are willing to pick a fight. The sad thing is that you can come with the best explanations in the world, and they still won't believe you.

    This rarely happens if the question is something difficult like "what is the cohomology of a compact projective space?" (I just made something up). But if there is something that everybody understands, like 1=0.9999...., then you can immediately expect an entire discussion on the subject.
  8. Oct 22, 2011 #7


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    Dearly Missed

    Do NOT denigrate my previous PhD-topic in such a manner.
  9. Oct 22, 2011 #8
  10. Oct 22, 2011 #9


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    Staff: Mentor

    That is one of my favorite threads of all time.
  11. Oct 22, 2011 #10
    so be it....me too...(oops that's on the list!!)

    all good comments......even a disagreement!:

  12. Oct 22, 2011 #11
    I think a lot of it has to do with the fact many people are convinced that which they know is true when it it not.

    I came across a UK study this morning that showed between 1 and 3 people in the UK steadfastly believed certain things to be true when in fact they've been proven false for decades.

    Thing of it is, nearly all people will say, "Oh, those fools!" while not realizing they're among them.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 22, 2011
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