Join the dialectic

A better way to have Responsible, Respectful, Rational debates about real issues and policies facing Singapore.

mockup of the Dialectic

There are too few debates being held about important issues. This is an attempt to fix that, by reinventing how commenting is done on divisive issues.

Objective introduction

Don't know what the fuss is about? Understand the key terms and concepts before you join the discussion.

Automatic summary and data analysis of comments

No time to read all the comments to see where the disagreements are? Get a balanced summary of a long discussion instantly with charts, data, and a one-paragraph summary of the key disagreements and consensus areas.

Structured commenting

Hate reading long lists of threaded comments? Comments are now sorted and structured in a way that makes sense for the reader and for that discusion - not just by chronology or votes.

Community pre-moderation

Don't trust the moderators, but still wish there was a way to beat trolls? The community now owns the quality of the discussion: Leave a comment, and the next few random visitors will decide whether it is respectful and relevant enough to be added.

Optional anonymity

Still think Big Brother is watching and don't want to leave your details? Registered users have the option of commenting completely anonymously if they want to.

Download the founder's technology study and negotiation analysis research papers at Harvard that catalysed this project. Learn more about how the dialectic works, our vision, and the technology [coming soon].

Issues


Do you support or oppose the use of "Uber" taxi services in Singapore?

59.3% SUPPORT
40.7% OPPOSE
[21 Aug 2014]

We received 4 arguments and 54 votes, in these categories: Customer, Taxi or Uber Driver, and Observer, Analyst, or Regulator.

Key Disagreements

The most hotly debated area was the category/perspective of Customer.
The strongest point that argued on the side "propose" came in the category of "Customer" from commenter Anonymous who said: "The average wait time is less than 5 minutes! Uber is so much faster than other taxi booking apps in NYC."
On the other hand, the strongest point that argued on the side "oppose" came in the category of "Taxi or Uber Driver" from commenter Anonymous who said: "The re-surfacing of pirate taxi! With the private car enable to pick up commuters, how can the commuters knows if they are genuine taxi drivers, there will bound to have some driver taking the risk picking commuters without proper insurance coverage just like early 80s. [http://therealsingapore.com/content/ban-uber-taxi-singapore]"

Key Consensus Areas

The least debated area was the category/perspective of Taxi or Uber Driver, which might indicate some consensus there.
Commenters generally agreed that the existing taxi services could be improved, in terms of the number of taxis available during peak hours.

READ MORE

More Issues

[21 May 2014]

We received 2 arguments and 26 votes, in these categories: public transport user, taxpayer, and observer / analyst.

Key Disagreements

The most hotly debated area was the category/perspective of public transport user.
The strongest point that argued on the side "support" came in the category of "public transport user" from commenter gauravkeerthi who said: "I think that the current train system is not sustainable and the only way to improv e it is through this method. [test synthesis of the comment] "
On the other hand, the strongest point that argued on the side "oppose" came in the category of "taxpayer" from commenter Anonymous who said: "I totally love the trains in other countries. Why can't we have that same system here? [test comment]"

Key Consensus Areas

The least debated area was the category/perspective of observer / analyst, which might indicate some consensus there. Commenters generally agreed that the public transportation system was inexpensive compared to other countries, but could be improved further.

READ MORE
[17 May 2014]

We received 6 arguments and 132 votes, in these categories: commenter, visitor, and website owner / blogger.

Key Disagreements

The most hotly debated area was the category/perspective of website owner / blogger.
The strongest point that argued on the side "love" came in the category of "website owner / blogger" from commenter johnny who said: "Interactivity matters so I want to have lots of people engaging on my website content. More viewers leads to more ad revenue - which is great!"
On the other hand, the strongest point that argued on the side "hate" came in the category of "visitor" from commenter peggypao who said: "Scrolling through hundreds of comments is a waste of time. I just wish there was a simpler way to read comments that did not take so long."

Key Consensus Areas

The least debated area was the category/perspective of visitor, which might indicate some consensus there. Commenters agreed that the quality of engagement on most commenting websites and forums was poor.

READ MORE

Policies


Do you support or oppose the new recommendations to transform our Family Justice System?

43.2% SUPPORT
56.8% OPPOSE
[09 Aug 2014]

We received 3 arguments and 36 votes, in these categories: #1: Improve Dispute Resolution, #2: Create a Family Justice Court, and Broader Perspective.

Key Disagreements

The most hotly debated area was the category/perspective of #1: Improve Dispute Resolution.
The strongest point that argued on the side "support" came in the category of "#1: Improve Dispute Resolution" from commenter gauravkeerthi who said: "Dragging a family through a long, messy, and sometimes public dispute will never help them heal their wounds; it only widens the rifts. There must be better - and less messier - dispute mechanisms available to families. "
On the other hand, the strongest point that argued on the side "oppose" came in the category of "#2: Create a Family Justice Court" from commenter Anonymous who said: "Also testing"

Key Consensus Areas

The least debated area was the category/perspective of Broader Perspective, which might indicate some consensus there.
There was broad agreement that the family justice system required reform.

READ MORE

News & Updates


Future Topics


These are some of the more popular potential topics:
  • We believe that doctors should be allowed to help terminally-ill patients end their lives. [Laws and Society]
  • We would make community service an alternative form of national service. [Laws and Society]
  • We believe that formal debates between candidates should be an integral part of all election campaigns. [Politics and International Affairs]
  • We believe in a legislated minimum wage. [Economics]
  • We would increase income tax and not the Goods & Services Tax. [Economics]
Propose a new topic [Voting for topics coming soon].

Commenting Advice


Understanding the Issue

Before you discuss a topic, you must understand what the topic means. The key terms, concepts, and context for the discussion must be clear. A specific and unambiguous topic allows people to focus their analysis and avoid going off on tangents. The topic affects different groups of people differently; each group has its own motivations and interests that need to be understood and respected.
[Learn more]

Logical Reasoning

An argument with clear structure is easier to understand. A thesis (or claim) introduces a reader to your general point. The reasoning (or logic) explains the cause-and-effect theoretical relationship that underlies your view. Arguments need to be substantiated with evidence in the form of examples or statistics. [Learn more]

Persuasive Writing

A good argument is most effective when communicated with a persuasive writing style. Clear and simple language is better than fancy phrases and jargon. Use metaphors, similes, quotes, and other rhetorical devices to make your message more memorable and impactful. A persuasive communicator is likeable, earnest, humble, polite, funny, and confident. [Learn more]

Responding to Others

Read carefully what the other person has said, and try to empathise with their perspective before you respond. Find and analyse the flaws in their understanding of the topic, their thesis or claim, their cause-and-effect logic, or their examples. Explain those flaws clearly and concisely, and provide an alternative explanation. Do not be disrespectful or aggressive, as that is not persuasive. [Learn more]

Gaurav Keerthi

Dialectic Founder & Developer, Debate Educator, TV Host, Author

I have been a volunteer debate educator and organiser since 1997. I started off as a student debater, and quickly realised that the lesson to learn in debate is not how to argue or to win, but to learn how to disagree with someone without disrespecting them. This is not an easy task. We tried to teach this to students when I was the President of the Debate Association (Singapore); I hoped to reach out to a wider audience with my book on debate; I aimed to popularise debate with Singapore's first Emmy nominated TV show, The Arena. Now, I'm trying to improve online debates with The Dialectic. If you share my vision, please connect with me.

Why is it important to learn how to disagree better? Watch dialectic founder Gaurav Keerthi's TEDx video at Harvard to find out.

© Copyright 2014 Gaurav Keerthi. All rights reserved. Patent Pending. That means that the tool and concepts explained on this website are not to be used without permission. This site uses cookies to function.